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Histographics 2.0 – Can Superhumans Actually Exist?

Video transcript

We are all fascinated by superheroes movies where the main character (such as Captain America or The Incredible Hulk) has all kinds of superpowers abilities. Hollywood has a new hero, the main character of the new Dune movie Paul Atreides has superman powers (such as precognition and omniscience), a result of genetic engineering across many generations.

Histographics 2.0 – Can Superhumans Actually Exist? Scriptwriter: Joanne Reed

The question is: how do you fancy having superhuman abilities like those portrayed in the movies? Would you like to be a real-life avenger and use your superpowers to save the world for the most ambitious or just to save yourself and a few souls for the less ambitious?

You will find out if you watch this video till the end that it is actually possible for humans to have superpowers, and don’t forget to support our new channel by sharing, commenting, and subscribing.

Enhancing human capabilities has been on the mind of people for ages; science has made tremendous progress in that area making this prospect of us becoming superhumans a not-so-far-away-reality.

Histographics 2.0 – Can superhumans actually exist . Scriptwriter: Joanne Reed

Governments, including the United States, China, and Russia, have been particularly interested in gene mutation technology to enhance human abilities to create super-soldiers. These soldiers would have to be immune to pain, need no sleep, have super-intellect, strength, stamina, and exhibit superpowers like extra-fast reflexes.

But before we get too excited about the prospect of having a go at being a superhero or a super-soldier we should pause for a minute or two and reflect on the possible consequences of going down that road. Enhancing our abilities, be it permanently or temporarily is a tempting but risky business.

First, we need to ask ourselves what ‘enhancement’ exactly is.  Biological enhancement started as a restoration of a certain human function, such as eyesight, hearing, or the replacement of a missing limb. Technologies like CRISPR (gene editing), nanotechnology, and even the revolution of wearables and sensors brought new possibilities to human enhancement.

On a vertical level starting with the least controversial to the most controversial, this process of restoration of certain human functions can go in 3 possible directions:

Histographics 2.0 – Can superhumans actually exist . Scriptwriter: Joanne Reed
  1. Removable cyborg extensions – whereby the tools enhancing the individual can easily be put away at the end of use.
  2. Cyborg-humans – technologies causing lasting, but not irreversible transformation like prosthetic limbs, digital tattoos, and biopic implants.
  3. Technologies changing humans forever – genetic editing (such as CRISPR). This is the one that raises the most ethical and moral questions.

On a horizontal level, we can categorize the possibilities of enhancements for a human being in 5 fields:

  1. Brainpower. Our cognitive functions can be enhanced by inserting a microchip into our brain. The concept was first raised in 1968 by architect Nicholas Negroponte at MIT. The idea is to have a chip implanted in one’s brain; that neural implant will let you control a computer or mobile device anywhere you go, allowing you to control an app directly with your thoughts. Elon Musk’s company Neuralink aims to do just that.  I don’t know how you feel about that, but personally having a neural implant in my brain somehow gives me the creeps – even if it could give me superpowers and allow me to ace all my exams!
  • Brain-computer interfaces or BCI are tools that provide constant monitoring of the brain’s electrical activity; this could support a wide range of applications from monitoring epilepsy or ADHD to pain management and sleep assessment. The concept was also thought to be a solution for paralyzed people to move and control things around them with only thoughts. It could also be used to reduce the cognitive effects of aging. I don’t know how you feel about this, but the prospect of giving paralyzed people the ability to move and control things around them with only thoughts gives me hope.
Histographics 2.0 – Can superhumans actually exist . Scriptwriter: Joanne Reed
  • Muscle strength and robotic exoskeletons allow paralyzed people or those who lost a limb to move again. The next step will be A.I. powered prosthesisand the step after that will be to go full Robocop-mode where body, senses, and machine will be mixed together into some kind of AI-Fleshy-Frankenstein. I don’t know how you feel about that, but personally turning into an AI-Fleshy-Frankenstein gives me the creeps – even if it gives me superpowers. And what if the machines take over your body and your senses completely and make you lose all your humanness?
  • Enhancing the senses. Joint replacements routinely restore mobility, but what if they could provide superhuman speed? Laser eye surgery returns peoples’ vision to 20/20, but what if it could let them see for miles? What if technology could aid humans to have better hearing than bats? Or what if implants could let us see microscopic objects? These temporary or long-term sensory enhancement proposals are not limited to people with certain disabilities, the technology can go beyond that, leading us to take you straight into the futuristic world of augmented reality.   I don’t know how you feel about that, but personally having a neural implant in my brain to augment my reality somehow gives me the creeps – even if it could give me ‘bats-power!’
Histographics 2.0 – Can superhumans actually exist
  • Genetic Engineering – a brave new world? CRISPR stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaces Short Palindromic Repeats, otherwise known as gene therapy. It is a genome editing technology that allows scientists to cut DNA with incredible precision and insert or delete DNA to correct unwanted mutations. This method was discovered by two women biologists: Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A Doudna. They received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2012 for this gene-editing tool. Scientists discovered that this CRISPR pattern coded for a defense mechanism in the bacteria’s cells. When it is attacked, by a virus, for example, the bacteria are able to copy and paste a section of the virus’ DNA into its own genome. Then the bacteria could develop a pair of genetic scissors – an enzyme names Cas_ specific to that virus so that any further attacks could be defended by a single snip.

This concept of human enhancement is also known as ‘transhumanism’; a movement that advocates for the transformation of the human condition by developing and making widely available sophisticated technologies able to greatly modify or enhance human intellect and physiology. The concept states that humankind will evolve into a new intelligent species.

So, what do you think? Do you like the idea of us mortals becoming superhumans in the not-to-distant future?  Well, someone took it upon himself to ask that question to a whole bunch of people and wrote the results in a study. It transpires from that study that there is a huge cultural acceptance with technological solutions for restoration vs. tech for boosting performance.

Histographics 2.0 – Can superhumans actually exist . Scriptwriter: Joanne Reed

According to this study, the public almost unanimously agrees with technological enhancement if it is used for restorative purposes: 95% support physical restorative applications, and 88% support cognitive restorative applications. But when it comes to the enhancement of human capabilities for the reason of boosting performance – well that’s a big no-no. Only 35% agree with the concept.

Transhumanism is a scary concept. It is critical for people to really understand who we are as human beings before we think about giving away our humanity.  Those new technologies are being developed to replace our natural biological functions but the danger of these wires, chips and devices that are implanted in our body is that they can comprise the unique qualities that make us humans. The unintended consequence of biological enhancement is that our natural biology begins to atrophy.

We are still discovering what we are and what it means to be human.  Researchers recently discovered a neuron that surprised the medical world. A new scan of the human brain revealed a new kind of neurons that are unique to humans that regulate our consciousness and the state of our awareness. This new discovery was announced in the prestigious publication ’Nature’ in 2018.

Some scientists believe that we need to re-think this idea that human biology is limited, with us being powerless victims of our circumstances. The better we know ourselves the less we need external technology because we are the technology.  The human body is a technically advanced, highly sophisticated, soft technology. And we have the ability to self-regulate all the energy that runs through this soft biology in our affirmations, thoughts and belief.

Histographics 2.0 – Can superhumans actually exist . Scriptwriter: Joanne Reed

The human body contains 50 trillion cells; every cell has about 0.7 volts of electrical potential. We are the only form of life that can harness on demand that electrical potential in our body and we can harness it towards our own healing and in order to create resilience. Tesla famously said: “If you want to find out the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”

The problem we have these days is that technology is pushing morality out of the equation; just because we have the technology doesn’t mean that we have to use it. We are at a critical crossroad, we must determine where we want to go with that technology because once we go down the path of replacing human biology with artificial chips, wires and devices we can’t go back. So, we need to make that choice right now.

May the road you choose be the right road.

Thanks for watching and don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to our channel because this is where you will get to enhance your human potential by one or two notches!

Yours Truly, Scriptwriter, Joanne Reed

If you wish to support my work you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble. The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com

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Histographics 2.0 – Japanese Do This To Stay Young

In 2018, Japan had the second-highest life expectancy in the world. The population aged 90 and over had reached two million in 2017. Japan also has a record number of centenarians: over 80 000. This figure is expected to rise to 400 000 by 2050. Most of Japan’s centenarians (approximately 88 %) are women. In November 2019, Japan was home to 150 supercentenarians (people aged 110 or over).

Now that you are aware of these amazing statistics, the obvious question you should ask yourself is: ‘Have the Japanese found the fountain of youth?’ If you hang around and watch this video, you will find out what the Japanese do to stay young, and don’t’ forget to support our new channel by sharing, commenting, and subscribing.

The human body seems programmed to shut itself down somewhere around the 80th birthday for most people and around the century mark for the more resistant ones, the majority of which seem to be located in Japan.

The Japanese do this to stay young – Infographics 2.0- Scriptwriter: Joanne Reed

There are no verified cases of a person living older than 122.  According to researchers the absolute limit of the human lifespan is between 100 and 150.  Will improvements in medicine, environment, and technology drastically lengthen the average lifespan and make 150 a reality?

Several factors have combined to improve health among the Japanese population: traditionally healthy dietary habits, access to clean water, a hygiene-conscious culture, and old people’s active lifestyles. Other possible explanations include genetics, a low level of income inequality, and a high level of social cohesion.

Reaching a hundred years old is a privilege not granted to everyone. Centenarians are regularly celebrated in the media. In England, upon reaching your 100th birthday you will receive a letter from the Queen. Japanese centenarians receive a silver cup and a certificate from the Prime Minister, honoring them for their longevity.

Japan’s most celebrated centenarians are from Okinawa and the Island’s legendary longevity is attributed to the local diet and their attitude towards life. The elders seem to have no signs of worry on their faces; stress seems to be a foreign concept to them.

An 88-year-old Japanese farmer (who still works all day in the fields) was asked what the secret was for a long life responded, “I hardly get angry. I enjoy life because I am happy at work, and I think that that is the medicine for a long life.”

The Japanese do this to stay young – Infographics 2.0 – Scriptwriter: Joanne Reed

Locals eat a daily average of 97 grams of seafood. Fish, especially deep-sea fish like mackerel, sardines, and salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which act as a strong anti-inflammatory and protect against heart disease. They may also reduce the risk of diabetes, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, some cancers and mental decline.

Other key ingredients in the local diet are vegetables, such as peppers, broccoli, sweet potato and goya (a distant relative of the watermelon) which has been credited for reducing blood sugar levels and is also full of antioxidants.

Antioxidants are known to help slow down the aging process and research suggests that certain antioxidants may help prevent, Alzheimer’s disease and complications of diabetes. The islanders also eat a lot of seaweed and unrefined brown sugar, both of which are rich in minerals, accompanied by green tea. Then there is the water, which reportedly has a very high mineral content compared to the rest of Japan.

Finally, inhabitants of Okinawa consume a diet that is 20 percent lower in calories than those in the rest of Japan, most practice a dietary philosophy known as “hara hachi bu” which means to eat until you are 80 percent full.

The Japanese do this to stay young – Infographics 2.0- Scriptwriter: Joanne Reed

What about exercise? A lot of the residents in Okinawa practice “teodori” a type of traditional slow dance that uses hand movements. They also practice “rajio taiso” which is a set of dynamic aerobic exercises that are easy to perform and won’t take too much of your time.  It is customary in Japanese culture for employees who work in offices to start the day with this rajio taiso routine.

The statistics seem to confirm that the Japanese have found the fountain of youth.  For centuries the quest for eternal youth, immortality, or just a prolonged life has been a topic of various myths and legends. The fountain of youth is a spring that supposedly restores the youth of anyone who drinks or bathes in its waters. In Japan stories of hot springs that could heal wounds and restore youth are common. 

Alexander the Great searched for the Fountain in the 5th century AD and was said to have found a healing “River of Paradise.”  Similar stories were prominent among Caribbean people during the early 16th century, they spoke of the restorative powers of the water in the mythical land of Bimini.

Explorers and adventurers have long looked for the elusive fountain of youth or at least some remedy to aging. Has science found the map? It seems that this dream could be at least partly obtainable!

The Japanese do this to stay young – Infographics 2.0 – Scriptwriter: Joanne Reed

Even after you are fully grown, your body is constantly working to replace or repair itself. The body replaces itself on average every 7 years or so but not every cell’s lifespan is the same. For example, the cells that line your stomach can renew as fast as every two days, since they’re often in contact with digestive acid.

Cells that make up your skin are replaced every two to three weeks, your fat cells live a fairly long time — an average age of 10 years roughly the same as your bones which also regenerate about every 10 years. Brain cells don’t regenerate as you age, tooth enamel is never replaced, and the lenses of your eyes are also with you for life.

Enzymes are biological catalysts that speed up chemical reactions in cells. Enzymes play a huge part in the day-to-day running of the human body and are vital for the proper functioning of all human systems e.g., the digestive system, the nervous system, etc.

Some enzymes help break large molecules such as glucose so that the body can use them as fuel. Other enzymes help bind two molecules together to produce a new molecule. Enzymes are a highly selective catalysts, meaning that each enzyme only speeds up a specific reaction.

Every cell in our body contains DNA. DNA is the genetic material that makes each of us who we are. Each time a cell divides – for growth or repair, its DNA needs to be copied. Enzymes help in this process by unwinding the DNA coils and copying the information.

The Japanese do this to stay young – Infographics 2.0 – Scriptwriter: Joanne Reed

Telomeres help in this process by unwinding the DNA coils and copying the information. Telomeres, from the Greek “telos” (end) and “meros” (part), are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protects our chromosomes.

Telomeres, like the aglet at the end of the shoelaces, can become frayed until they can no longer do their job. Telomeres are shortened as we age, but can also be shortened by stress, anxiety, smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, poor diet, and lack of purpose. When telomeres get too short, our cells can no longer reproduce, which causes our tissues to degenerate and eventually die.

Breaking news! Each of us has a fountain of youth within us! There have been many experiments that have shown to increase the maximum life span of laboratory animals. Science has found that it is possible to extend telomeres to help you live a longer and healthier life and discovered that there are 6 key triggers that can positively influence the length of your telomeres.

These triggers are:

  1. Good nutrition.
  2. Exercise
  3. Happiness and gratitude.
  4. Positive outlook.
  5. Self-love and love.
  6. Being in service.

We all know that good nutrition and exercise are vitally important. Hippocrates also known as the “Father of Modern Medicine” is credited with being the first person to believe that disease was not a punishment from the Gods, but rather the product of environmental factors, diet, and living habits.

He noticed that bodies grow relaxed and sluggish through sedentary lives which led to various illnesses. Those who walked more stayed well longer, so he often prescribed exercise. Hippocrates’ medicine was humble and passive; his therapeutic approach was based on the “healing power of nature”. According to Hippocrates’ doctrine, the body contains within itself the power to re-balance and heal itself.

Hippocrates is known for saying: “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.”

Being grateful and having a positive outlook on life will also help you live longer. Be grateful and wake up happy every day, happy to be given another day to be, to strive, to create. Be grateful for your family, your loved ones, and the people around you. Be grateful for who you are and what you can do. Keep a positive outlook on life. Change the things you can change and stop worrying about things you can’t.

Philautia”, the Greek word for self-love. Self-love is in its healthiest form (not focused on personal fame, gain, and fortune as is the case with narcissism.) It shares the Buddhist philosophy of self-compassion, which is s deep understanding of one’s own self, such that you feel comfortable in your own skin.  Self-love is important, as Aristotle described: “All friendly feelings for others are an extension of a man’s feelings for himself.”  You cannot share what you do not have, if you do not love yourself, you cannot love anyone else either. The only way to be truly happy is to first find unconditional love for yourself.

Being of service is critically important for our well-being. Not having a purpose, waking up each morning with nothing to do or nowhere to go creates stress and shortens our lifespan. Conversely, studies have shown people who report a greater sense of purpose and direction in life are more likely to outlive their peers.

The Japanese do this to stay young – Infographics 2.0.criptwriter: Joanne Reed

Older age or retirement is a time when we start aging very quickly and when disease and depression are more likely to set in. Having a purpose gives meaning to life, it doesn’t have to be saving the world or anything extraordinary or amazing, every person great or small has important work to do. It can be something very small indeed. Each one of us has our own path to walk and our own mission in life.

The “secret” path that will lead you to your own fountain of youth can be found within you. The “magic triggers” that will show you the way is to eat well, exercise regularly, express gratitude, love yourself, love others and be of service. So, how do the Japanese live so long? They activate their own fountain of youth!

Thanks for watching and don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to our channel because this is where you will find out some secrets such as where to find your own fountain of youth!

Yours Truly, Scriptwriter, Joanne Reed

I wrote a whole chapter about this in Chapter 22 of my book “This Is Your Quest”. You can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble. The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com

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I Am So Looking Forward To The Year Of The Tiger


Happy New Lunar Year to all my family, friends, followers, and readers! The Lunar Year is linked to one of 12 zodiac animals each possessing its own character traits. The animals consist of Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. The Chinese zodiac finds its origin 2000 years ago in ancient China which was then ruled by the Qin Dynasty. As the legend goes, the emperor of the time challenged all the animals in the kingdom to join in a Great Race. Whoever arrived at the palace first would win its favor. Twelve animals turned up for the race. As a reward for turning up, years were named in the order in which each animal finished the race. In first place was the Rat who cunningly rode on the back of the Ox as he crossed the river and proceeded to shoot off to the finish line. The Tiger ended up placing third after the cunning Rat and the Ox snuck in ahead of him.

Looking forward to the year of the Tiger …

The Year of the Tiger . Photo by Maryna Quramchuk via freepik.com

According to people who know how to decipher those zodiac signs, the year of the Tiger will be about making big changes. The Tiger sets the tone for what feels like a more promising time after the tough work and energy expended during the year of the Ox and the year of the Rat. The year of the Rat (2020) was about survival and the year of the Ox (2021) was about anchoring ourselves in a new reality, plowing and working patiently and diligently on the ground for a forthcoming harvest which we hope will be plentiful.

This year will be a year of risk-taking and adventure. We are finding enthusiasm again, both for ourselves and for others. Everybody is fired up, generosity of at an all-time high and social progress feels possible again. Tigers do things their own way and hate being told what to do. Expect things to rapidly change this year. After the steadfastness and resilience required to plow through 2021, fittingly symbolized by the Chinese zodiac’s Ox, the powerful tiger is ready to roar and act swiftly and decisively. This Tiger year brings with it a sense of fearlessness and momentum, fostering opportunity, financial and entrepreneurial success. It is said that the tiger also drives off evil spirits. Tiger symbolism is most commonly associated with strength and courage, as well as determination and independence. Tigers travel great distances, but they also spend time resting and saving energies, in readiness for their next hunt or battles. Some fights are worth fighting others are not. Tigers are really good at choosing which pursuits is worth their time and energy.

A few things we can learn from the Tiger spirit. The Tiger animal spirit is silent and solitary. Its focus becomes more laser-sharp when there are no distractions, the silence makes it easier to spot any kind of movement nearby. Tigers do not come rushing and roaring at their targets because it is the easiest way they can lose them from their grasp. Take a step back and think of the best approach. Sometimes to be successful in life, you need to forgo speed and aggression; slow down listen closely and wait for the perfect timing no matter how long it takes. When the tiger animal spirit makes you aware of its presence, it will teach you to focus on your goal, quietly and silently. And then when the time is right trust your instinct, take action with swiftness and confidence. Persistence, patience, and hard work will lead you to success. Balance all the possibilities before you make a huge decision and act swiftly when required. Rely on your personal strength when you need motivation, determination, or courage.

Looking forward to a year when divide and conquer is a thing of the past…

The Year of the Tiger . Photo by Maryna Quramchuk via freepik.com

Divide and conquer is a strategy that has been used from the beginning of time and is still being used today. Peasants vs. Aristocrats, Rich vs. poor, Black vs. White, Christian vs. Muslim, Men vs. Women, Straight vs. Gay, Left vs. Right, Vaccinated vs. Unvaccinated and the list goes on. Making people fight against each other serves the purpose of the elite; but this strategy is not working anymore, because people are not duped anymore, they can see through the veil of deception, contradictions, and lies.

“The man who is free is the one who knows.”

Unknown Author

So, instead of relying on someone else to tell you what to think and what to do open your eyes, open your ears, open your heart, exercise independent judgment, take responsibility, and become self-reliant. If someone tells you that there is a hailstorm outside, and another person is telling you that it is bright and sunny outside; your job is not to believe and repeat those two contradictory statements, your job is to open your front door, step outside and see for yourself if it is stormy or sunny.

“The opposite of courage is not cowardice, it is conformity.”

Rollo May

According to the psychologist Rollo May, one of the ways conformity manifests itself in society is through blind obedience and a pathological need to follow rules. Most people believe that to be a good person you have to be a compliant person and do what one is told by those in position of political powers backed up by their lackeys in the media and celebrity culture. Those who act with blind obedience remain blissfully ignorant of the fact that government rules can be immoral.

There are many examples throughout history of crazy things you won’t believe used to be legal. We tend to think of the law as an obvious truth, the reality is that society pretty much makes things up as we go along. A brutal statement you may say. But take a look back at history, travel back in time when your parents and grandparents and great-grandparents were kids, and all kinds of crazy things were legal from meth to owning people, to be able to legally cut half of someone’s brain out for being gay.

The problem these days is that people who value social conformity are so self-righteous that they feel the need to impose their views on those who are more fluid in their thinking. It wouldn’t be so bad if the conformists would just be happy to conform and permit those who can exercise independent judgment the freedom to make their own choices. No, that is not how things work these days; we live in an era where you are not permitted to think for yourself anymore, if you dare to do so, the thought police will make sure to penalize you, de-platform you, censor you, so that you can’t express those “unacceptable views” anymore. We are now living in a society where you can’t say or do anything without having to ask some authorities for permission; but if you are inhabited by the Tiger spirit you would know that “a Tiger doesn’t lose sleep over the opinion of Sheep.”

I am really looking forward to 2022 as I believe that more and more people are inhabited by the courageous spirit of the Tiger, they are ready to roar and make themselves heard.

And this my dear friend is your Quest.

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com

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Self-Help Uncategorized

Things Are Not What They Seem, First Impression Deceives Many …

Things are not what they seem, first impression deceives many, the intelligence of a few perceive what has been carefully hidden”. Phaedrus c.444 – 393 BC. Phaedrus, whose name translates to bright or radiant was an ancient aristocrat who enjoyed the company of philosophers. He was particularly interested in the nature of reality. He spent long hours asking himself the following questions: do we see things how they are or only how they seem to us? Is seeing believing? Can we trust our senses? How do we know how something really is?

“The mind is strange in the way that it picks and chooses what it wants to see. The way people let their emotions, conditions, and state of mind guide their perspective ultimately decides who they are as a person.”

Maya Reed

Things are not what they seem, the first impression deceives many

The text below is an extract written by my eldest daughter Maya which introduces Part Two of my book “This Is Your Quest

The view from my window – by Maya Reed.

Things are not what they seem, first impression deceives many. The view from my window.

No matter a person’s race, gender, status, or health, everyone has a window that acts as their unique glimpse into the world. However, this window varies greatly from person to person, and any aspect about someone can determine what he or she sees out of it. The view from these windows is in a constant state of change and can be altered by something as substantial as how we are raised or our lifestyle, to something as trivial as how we are feeling on a particular day.

When looking out of this figurative window, things such as the time of day can reflect a specific state of mind. In times of happiness, the beauty of the world hits me like a truck. This is when I look out my window and see a bright sunrise marking the dawn of a new day. As the sun makes it steady ascent, it brings the excitement of new possibilities with it. Light bursts forth from the horizon in an onslaught of colors, forcing the darkness into a hasty retreat. In these moments, everything is picture perfect and it only magnifies with the growing light – the world radiates alacrity.

The sky is painted in stunning streaks of red, pink, purple, and blue and the birds sing their delight to the heavens. With sunlight already streaming through the window, my eyes turn to a world blanketed in tranquility. Leaves dance in the wind, taking my mind with them. People amble down the street, content clear on their faces. I see a couple as they walk by my window. They stroll hand in hand, simply appreciating each other’s touch. Birds soar through the sky with effortless grace, trees sway in the wind, and everything is infinitely beautiful. I can see all the wonder the world has to offer.

Somewhere, in the distance, a newborn takes its first breath. Elsewhere, jobs are being offered, vows are taken, homes are found, love is declared, sickness is overcome, and countless more bring a smile to my face. It is as if the sun’s rays illuminate anything and everything worthwhile and lift them up on a shinning pedestal. In this merry state of mind, negativity is easily overpowered, but the light that ensures this sanctuary is not constant.

Light brings wonder to people’s lives, but it is not possible for light to exist without darkness. I once again find myself taking a moment to properly look out my window. However, after a long and strenuous day, the sunset is upon me, and as I watch, the sun is slowly but surely beating back under the horizon.

My eyes scan what’s below me and a vague familiarity resides beneath the layers of dense darkness, but my optimism died with the sun. The light is gone, and with it, the happiness it brought. Now, all the wrongs the light refused to expose become painfully clear. In my mind’s somber restlessness, the shadows jump out with murderous intent, and the darkness is suffocating.

The same couple walks past my window, but this time I notice the strange tightness in which he grips her hand, and her refusal to look him in the eye. The amblers’ steps are reduced to depressed plodding, and even the breeze seems to whisper threats. It soon becomes achingly clear that the songbirds fled long ago, and the silence they leave behind is deafening. The glass is the only thing that separates me from the world where evil lurks around every corner, but the darkness threatens to break the seal.

In an instant, the darkness thickens and every shadowed window hides a depressed, overworked child. It is far too easy to notice that every second, a driver’s mistake becomes a death sentence, tears tun like rivers, blood taints the soil, someone takes the fatal jump, maledictions are hurled at one another, lives are shattered, and the savage reality of this world cracks down like a whip. In the same way, the light blinded me to anything I didn’t want to see, the darkness is enough to suppress everything worth seeing.

The mind is strange in the way that it picks and chooses what it wants to see in the world. Some days it will go through the terrifying, disheartening, and even confusing process of freezing to gawk at the shadows. Other days it will inexplicably decide to turn it back to what lies in the darkness and instead ogle at the brilliance of the sun.

In fact, the true nature of the world is rarely seen. Constantly fluctuating emotions act as lenses for our window. They can taint, brighten, dull, enhance, blind, illuminate and change the view of different surroundings. The way people let their emotions, conditions, and state of mind guide their perspective ultimately decides who they are as a person.

Things are not what they seem, first impression deceives many, the intelligence of a few perceives what has been carefully hidden

‘The eyes are useless when the mind is blind”

African Proverb
Things are not what they seem, first mpression deceives many. Photo by Ilin Serguey via freepik.com

The truth is not the truth anymore. Video games aren’t real life. Gambling isn’t really investing. Social media isn’t really social. The news isn’t real facts anymore but more like a propaganda machine.

The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent. The media will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing. This is the sort of propaganda tactic that I would call psychological warfare.

Malcolm X

We think that we are living in a peaceful time, but in fact, life is a battlefield. We have a tendency to portray battlefields with imagery of soldiers being stuck in trenches firing at each other or imagery of civilians having to hunker down the basement whilst bombs are being dropped from the sky; some battlefields are not so obvious to spot but they are there, nonetheless. Whether you realize it or not you are living in a world where psychological warfare, information warfare, financial warfare spiritual warfare is a common occurrence.

In life, if you are stuck in your own self-righteous and rigid way of doing things then you will lack the mobility to advance. Stiffness of thoughts originates from an inability to think critically preferring instead to submit yourself to groupthink and an ideology without questioning it. The world is not black and white, there are several shades of grey in between. Things change all the time. What is true today may not be true tomorrow. You don’t need a group, a leader, or some media platform to tell you how to think and how to act. You can think for yourself. Passive non-critical thinkers take a simplistic view of the world. They see things in black and white, as either-or, rather than recognizing a variety of possible understandings. They see questions as yes or no, with no subtleties. They fail to see linkages and complexities. They fail to recognize related elements. They take their facts as the only relevant ones. They take their perspectives as the only sensible ones. They consider their goal as the only valid one.

Don’t let people put you into a box and stick a label on it, because that makes you predictable, vulnerable, and controllable. Be your own person, be curious about what’s going on, ask questions, spot all the inconsistencies. If you know how to observe, listen, think and act accordingly, you become a dangerous person.

“I’d rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief.”

Unknown author

No one wants to hear this, but we are all being mind-controlled, and the truth is not true anymore. Where does human behavior come from? Behavior comes from our perception of an event or a situation. Where does perception come from? Perception comes from information received, be it from personal experience, newspaper or media. Controlling human perception can therefore become a weapon used to control what people think. The best way to do this would be to filter or censor the type of information that the public receives, or by using deceptive tactics such as subterfuge, propaganda, or misinformation to make the public believe something that is not true.

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear”.

George Orwell

Life is not what it seems, first impression deceives many, the intelligence of a few perceives what has been carefully hidden.

And this my dear friend, Is Your Quest

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com

Categories
Self-Help Uncategorized

Are There Any Heroes Left?

On the 11th of November, the world commemorates Armistice Day and honors the brave men and women who have died in the line of duty since the First World War. The armistice between the Allies and Germany was signed in November 1918, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. The armistice brought an end to four years of fighting; on this day the world pays homage to our fallen heroes, but today I am asking myself are there any heroes left?

World War I & World War II cost the lives of millions of men and women who fought bravely to combat tyranny. Heroes are admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or their noble qualities. Heroes may be exhausted, but they persevere. They may be fearful, but they face danger courageously; still, they do not quail in the face of countless obstacles and danger. Heroes are undeterred by profoundly insurmountable difficulties and most of all they don’t allow themselves to be intimidated by dangerously potent antagonists and destructive forces that cross their paths.

History is full of admirable heroes who fought against tyranny but in the modern era are there any heroes left?

Are there any heroes left? Photo by Creative art via freepik.com

No one battlefield look alike, they come in all shapes and form. We have a tendency to portray battlefields with imagery of soldiers being stuck in trenches firing at each other or imagery of civilians having to hunker down the basement whilst bombs are being dropped from the sky; some battlefields are not so obvious to spot, but they are there, nonetheless. Whether you realize it or not life is a battlefield you are living in a world where psychological warfare, information warfare, financial warfare, spiritual warfare is common occurrence.

The American Revolution was all about overthrowing what the Americans considered to be a tyrannous British Government. In 1787, in Philadelphia George Washington, James Madison, George Mason, William Paterson, and some others sat down to draft the Constitution of the United States to give to the American people the Right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Recognizing that tyranny could come from a single powerful ruler or from “mob rule” the founders wrote into the Constitution mechanisms to prevent tyranny and promote the rule of law. They separated the powers of government into three equal branches of government: The executive (the President), the legislative (Congress), and the judicial (the Supreme Court). Each branch can check the other to prevent corruption or tyranny.

Fast forward to the second World War, Winston Churchill fully deserves his place in history, he was a phenomenal leader who famously called upon his people to stand up and fight against tyranny and what he had to offer to those who would join him in this fight was nothing but blood, toil, tears, and sweat. Despite this blunt and dire warning, many young brave men signed up to fight for their country and against tyranny, knowing full well that they may never return to their families. True heroes.

“You ask, what is our policy? I will say: it is to wage war, by sea, land, and air, with all our might and with all our strength that God can give us, to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark lamentable catalog of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, What is our aim? I can answer with one word: Victory-victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival. Laws just or unjust may govern men’s actions. Tyrannies may restrain or regulate their words. The machinery of propaganda may pack their minds with falsehood and deny them truth for many generations of time. But the soul of man thus held in trance or frozen in a long night can be awakened by a spark coming from god knows where and, in a moment, the whole structure of lies and oppression is on trial for its life.”

Winston Churchill

Fast forward to today, where have all the heroes gone? It is very difficult to recognize a George Washington or a Winston Churchill in politics today. Politicians these days look like bad actors in a B-movie. They are misleading their audience who came to the movie theater to watch a good adventure movie full of heroes doing good deeds for the people, but instead, the audience is left puzzled by what they are seeing on screen because what they are watching instead is a schmuck-clown show.

If you lived in a tyranny, would you know it? And if you did, are there any heroes left to fight against this foe?

Are there any heroes left? Photo by Creative art via freepik.com

Yuri Bezmenov (1939-1993) is a name that few people seem familiar with today. He was a soviet informant and KGB operative who defected to the United States in the early 70s. In 1984, he was interviewed by G. Edward Griffin (Author of The Creature from Jekyll Island). He said during this interview that deception was his job, and he explained what the 4 stages of ideological subversion are.

I will let Yuri Bezmenov take over the rest of this article.

Most of the American politicians, media, and educational systems think that they are living during peacetime. False. The United States is in a state of war, undeclared war. It is a total war against the basic value principles and foundation of American society. The ultimate aim of the Marxist ideology was to deconstruct American values, destabilize their economy and provoke crises in order to Sovietize the free world. The highest art of warfare is not to fight at all, but to subvert anything of value in the country of your enemy, until such a time that the perception of reality of your enemy is screwed up to such an extent that he does not perceive you as an enemy.

Ideological subversion is a process that is legitimate and open, it has nothing to do with espionage. In the USSR, only 15% of the time, money, and manpower are spent on espionage, the other 85% is spent on a slow process called ideological subversion. This process will change the perception of reality of every American and despite the abundance of information, no one is able to come to sensible conclusions in the interest of defending themselves, their families, their community, and their country.

It is a great brainwashing process that goes very slow and is divided into 4 steps:

1. First stage – demoralization. During this stage young people are influenced to question the integrity of their country’s morals and values; this is done through media propaganda and academia. Perception takes center stage and facts become meaningless. It takes 15 to 20 years to demoralize a nation. Why so many years? Because this is the minimum number of years required to educate one generation of students in the country of your enemy. In other words, Marxist ideology is being pumped into the soft heads of at least 3 generations of American students.

Those people are contaminated and programmed to react to certain stimuli in a certain pattern. You cannot change their mind even if you expose them to authentic information, even if you prove to them that white is white and black is black. Demoralization is important because it robs the targeted population of its ability to process valid information. Even when demoralization targets are showered with authentic proof of contrary positions, they simply refuse to believe it.

Another powerful tool in the demoralization arsenal is guilt. Targeted audiences are pushed through media propaganda to feel guilty about their society and national history. For those people the process of demoralization is complete. To rid society of these people, you need another 15 to 20 years to educate a new generation in the art of patriotism, rationality, and critical thinking.

2.Second stage – destabilization. In this stage, the fundamentals of the targeted population’s economy, political system, and culture would be attacked, while the demoralized population could not mount much of a defense. Demoralized people lose faith in their nation, history, and ideals. They argue against individual liberty, sovereign rights even the rule of law. In essence, a demoralized population becomes willing to believe the worst criticism of its own society while learning to see defenders of that society as their enemies.

3.Third stage – Crisis. Once a society has been destabilized, the time is ripe to create a crisis. A crisis has the obvious benefit of panicking destabilized people into abandoning their legal protections and constitutional rights. Those who control the organs of public communication have the power to emphasize and exaggerate the danger of the crisis to create more fear and panic among the population. A crisis is essential for terrorizing the middle class into accepting a political agenda that is hostile to its interest, which leads to the 4th stage of subversion: the offer to make the pain and fear go away by accepting a political and tyrannical agenda.

4.Fourth State – Normalization. After a crisis, which caused a violent change of the power structure and the economy, you have what is cynically called a period of normalization which can last indefinitely.

If you live in a tyranny; would you know it? And if you did, are there any heroes left to fight against it? It is not a good idea to expect a white knight (disguised as a government official) to come on his white horse to save you. Save yourself. I believe that there is a new breed of heroes that are emerging. They are difficult to spot because they don’t wear a cape and a mask, they don’t jump from building to building, they don’t ride a white horse; they are hiding in plain sight, amongst us hidden by their familiarity, they are hiding in you and me. Today’s heroes are you and me and anybody who has the courage to stand up when the demoralized people are kneeling in submission.

And this, my dear friend, is Your Quest.

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com

Categories
Self-Help Uncategorized

Life Is a Battlefield.

Life is a battlefield. Nothing is easy, we have to fight our way through everything, and with this, in mind, it would be a good idea for us to familiarize ourselves with combat strategy and learn the best tricks in the book from trained warriors. In military strategy, before combat units are sent to combat zones, they have first to learn the art of mobility, protection, and precision firepower.

No one battlefield look alike, they come in all shapes and form. We have a tendency to portray battlefields with imagery of soldiers being stuck in trenches firing at each other or imagery of civilians having to hunker down the basement whilst bombs are being dropped from the sky; some battlefields are not so obvious to spot but they are there, nonetheless. Whether you realize it or not you are living in a world where psychological warfare, information warfare, financial warfare, spiritual warfare is common occurrence.

Life is a battlefield – Learn the art of mobility

Life is a battlefield. Photo by freepik via freepik.com

In the military world, the ability to maneuver cross-country and in the most restrictive terrain is essential. During World War II tanks brought tactical mobility to the battlefield, helped reduce the number of casualties, and disrupted the enemy through decisive action. The ability for tanks to maneuver off-road created tactical options for soldiers on the ground, increased their unpredictability and allowed them to surprise the enemy and operate with greater effectiveness.

In life, if you are stuck in your own self-righteous and rigid way of doing things then you will lack the mobility to advance. Stiffness of thoughts originates from an inability to think critically preferring instead to submit yourself to groupthink and an ideology without questioning it. The world is not black and white, there are several shades of grey in between. Things change all the time. What is true today may not be true tomorrow. You don’t need a group, a leader, or some media platform to tell you how to think and how to act. You can think for yourself. Don’t let people put you into a box and stick a label on it, because that makes you predictable, vulnerable and controllable. Be your own person, be curious about what’s going on, ask questions, think for yourself. If you know how to observe, listen, think, and act accordingly, you become a dangerous person.

Life is a battlefield – Learn the art of protection

Life is a battlefield. Photo by freepik via freepik.com

In the military world, when you have a good protection system in place you maximize the mission performance with minimum casualties. Psychological operations (PSYOP) are a vital part of military strategy. PSYOP enhances combat power and offers some level of protection from the enemy, through the use of information, and disinformation.

Intelligence gathering is an important aspect of warfare. Knowledge of the enemy, of the weather conditions, and the terrain are of paramount importance and are used in the planning and conducting of combat operations. During the 1940 Blitzkrieg, the Luftwaffe often struck and bombarded London under the cover of darkness. In order to make it more difficult for the German planes to hit targets, the British Government issued city-wide blackouts. The Royal Air Force (RAF) was able to repel German fighters in part because of the development of new secret radar technology. The onboard Airborne Interception Radar (AI) was invented and first used by the RAF in 1939 and had the ability to pinpoint enemy bombers before they reached the English Channel.

To protect their secret weapon, British Intelligence invented a propaganda campaign that claimed that British Pilots could see in the dark because they ate a lot of carrots! There is no denying the fact that carrots, by virtue of their heavy dose of vitamin A (in the form of Beta Carotene) are very good for the health of your eyes; but this truth was stretched a little by granting carrots the “superpower” of improving your night vision and give you the power to spot enemy planes in the dark?! The truth is that eating carrots does not help you see better in the dark any more than eating blueberries will turn you blue. That said, the carrot campaign of subterfuge helped hide a new technology that was critical to the Battle of Britain, a major campaign fought entirely by air forces and the first defeat of Hitler’s military forces, and to the eventual Allied victory.

Life is a battlefield – Learn the art of precision firepower

Life is a battlefield. Photo by freepik via freepik.com

Once you are positioned strategically, you can use your firepower against the enemy. Overwhelming precision direct firepower will have the effect of intimidating, demoralizing your adversaries, and imposing unacceptable costs on the aggressor, leading to victory. In life, you need to have courage in order to fight those battles. Courage is the mental preparedness and ability to deal with difficult challenges, and sometimes seemingly impossible circumstances. It is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, intimidation, and other threats.

Courage is not a quality that you are born with. It is one that has to be cultivated and honed. Today, we typically associate courage with heroic deeds but being courageous does not necessarily entail doing something dramatic or astoundingly heroic, everyday living requires courage. When we work to develop courage, we both empower ourselves with the ability to confront problems head-on, as well as acquire the skills required to deal with life’s inevitable challenges.

“The opposite of courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow.” Jim Hightower.

In life you have to choose your battles carefully; some battles are worth fighting for and others aren’t. Some situations may require an immediate response, others may not. Sometimes patience is required. Do not come rushing and roaring at your targets because this could be the easiest way you can lose them from your grasps. Take a step back and think of the best approach. Sometimes to be successful, you have to forgo speed and aggression; slow down, listen closely, and wait for the perfect timing. Focus on your goals, quietly and silently. And then when the time is right, trust your instincts, take action with swiftness and confidence. Balance all the possibilities before you make a huge decision and act swiftly when required.

Life is a battlefield. Learn the art of mobility, protection, and firepower.

And this my dear friend is your Quest.

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com

Categories
Be Happy Self-Help Uncategorized

Words Can Heal. Words Can Destroy. Choose Yours Carefully.

Words can heal. Words can destroy. They have tremendous power and energy. Choose yours carefully. Well-chosen words can breathe hope into you when your spirit is broken and can make you stronger than you know. Mean-spirited words can deflate you, destroy your spirit, make you feel hopeless, and force you to live in idiocrasy.

“Words. So innocent as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Language is what makes us human it is a vital part of human connection. Although other species have their own way of communication, human beings are the only ones who have mastered the skill of cognitive language communication. Language allows us to share our ideas, thoughts, and feeling with others. It has the power to build societies but also tear them down.

Words can heal rifts and even stop wars.

Words can inspire. Words can destroy. Photo by Amix Studio via freepik.com

Words can heal. Words can destroy. The power of words is immense. Well-chosen words have in the past sufficed to stop an army and change defeat into victory. In the olden days, ceasefires were called parley (from French: parler – to speak) and were often spoken after waving a white flag, requesting for some time-out and for a last attempt discussion/negotiation to try to end hostilities between two groups of people.

“The magic of words is that they have the power to do more than convey meaning; not only do they have the power to make things clear they make things happen.”

Frederick Buechner

In October 1962, the world came very close to a devastating nuclear war between two superpowers, the USA led by President John. F. Kennedy and the USSR led by Nikita Khrushchev. The whole drama started when the CIA discovered that medium to long-range Soviet ballistic nuclear missiles were being built on the Island of Cuba, just 90 miles off the coast of Florida. The fate of millions of people around the world depended on how these two men would communicate with each other.

President Kennedy’s advisors put a tremendous amount of pressure on him to act quickly and aggressively by destroying the missiles site followed by a full-scale invasion of Cuba. Instead of rushing into a decision that was not well thought through, Kennedy decided to pause and reflect in order to understand the bigger picture before deciding on his next move; and instead of sending his army to invade Cuba, he decided to parley with Khrushchev via exchange of letters in order to see if they could find a way to resolve this conflict without having to annihilate each other in the process.

Kennedy had recently read Barbara Tuchman’s book The Guns of August, a book about the beginning of World War I, which imprinted on his mind the image of overconfident world leaders rushing their way into a conflict, that once started they couldn’t stop. Kennedy also felt inspired by a passage from another book he read by strategist B.H. Liddell on nuclear strategy.

“Keep strong if possible. In any case, keep cool. Have unlimited patience. Never corner an opponent and always assist him to save face. Put yourself in his shoes, so as to see through his eyes. Avoid self-righteousness like the devil, nothing is so self-blinding.”

B.H. Liddell

Against the wishes of the majority of his advisors, Kennedy decided upon a less aggressive strategy, a naval blockade. This approach was to prevent further missiles from reaching Cuba, but also to give him time to think, time to communicate, and time to understand the intentions and responses from Khrushchev. On 22 October 1962, John. F. Kennedy addressed the nation via live television broadcast. His message was intended for the domestic audience but also for the international public at large, and it demonstrated true statesmanship.

“The 1930s taught us a clear lesson, aggressive conduct, if allowed to go unchecked and unchallenged, ultimately leads to war… we will not prematurely or unnecessarily risk the costs of worldwide nuclear war in which even the fruits of victory would be ashes in our mouth; but neither will we shrink from that risk at any time it must be faced.”

President J.F Kennedy

Words can heal. Words can destroy. Both Kennedy and Krushchev chose their words carefully, those words had so much power that they suffice to put an end to this conflict and save the world from jumping into the M.A.D world of Mutual Assured Destruction.

Words can destroy and even kill.

Words can heal. Words can destroy. Words can destroy. Photo by Amix Studio via freepik.com

Sometimes words can kill, they can easily arouse feelings of fear and anxiety. History is full of events where the smallest of occurrences had the most momentous consequences. Words uttered to the wrong ears can create offenses that can result in the fall of empires and wipe away complete nations.

When you think about the types of weapons used during a war, you think planes, tanks, machine guns, grenades, etc… Yes, all of these were important tools in the effort to win the war, but so was information issued by the government. During the Second World War, words were seen as powerful movers of men and women; they became mobilizers of the national spirit and called for courage and sacrifice for the sake of the nation. Most of the battles during World War II happened all around Europe, North Africa, and Asia. The USA territory was fairly remote from the action until the tragic event of Pearl Harbor. From this point forward, the U.S. government waged a constant battle for the hearts and minds of the public, persuading Americans to support the war effort.

In 1942, the Office of War Information (OWI) was created to craft with the task to disseminate through posters, pamphlets, radio shows, and movies the government’s message. Artists, filmmakers, and intellectuals were recruited to take the government’s agenda and turn it into a propaganda campaign. The objectives of the U.S. Government for the propaganda campaign were unifying the public behind the war effort, eliminating dissent of all kinds, and finding the necessary resources to finance the war effort. The government posters pulled at emotions both positive and negative. They used words as ammunition.

“The function of the war poster is to make coherent and acceptable a basically incoherent and irrational ordeal of killing, suffering, and destruction that violate the very accepted principle of morality and decent living.”

O.W. Riegal, Propaganda Analyst for the Office of War of Information.

The power of words. What is etymology?

Words can inspire. Words can destroy. Photo by Amix Studio via freepik.com

Words can heal. Words can destroy. What is their true meaning? Etym – olog – gy. Etym derives from etymon, which means in Greek true, real, and actual – Ology means the study of. So, etymology means the study of what is true and real. Let’s have a look at the etymology of a few words, just for fun; the idea is to find their true meaning.

Universe: Uni-Verse literally means one verse. We often refer to music as being a universal language that can be understood by anyone anywhere. The message behing any musical piece can be understood far and wide, wherever you are and whatever language you speak, because there is an universal tone to it.

If you read the word live from right to left, you get the word evil.

“How long does it take man to realize that he cannot want what he wants? You have to live in hell to see heaven.”

William S. Burroughs

A Bond in finance means an instrument of indebtedness to the government. Its origin comes from the word bondage which means keeping someone in a state of servitude. The word mortgage comes from the old French –mort- gage – a dead pledge. Anyone who has gone through the process of obtaining a 20- or 30-years mortgage knows it can feel like signing your life away. The deal dies when the debt is paid or when the payment fails.

Words can heal. Words can destroy. Photo by Amix Studio via freepik.com

In closing I will leave you in the company of Sadhguru, who has a special talent with words.

“If you become pleasant in your body, we call it health. If you become very pleasant in your body, we call it a pleasure. If your mind becomes pleasant, we call it peace. If it becomes very pleasant, we call it joy. If your emotions become pleasant, we call it love. If it becomes very pleasant, we call it compassion. If your life energy becomes pleasant, we call it bliss. If it becomes very pleasant, we call it ecstasy.”

Sadhguru

Words can heal and words can destroy. Choose yours carefully. And this my dear friend is your Quest.

Words can heal. Words can destroy. Photo by Amix Studio via freepik.com

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com

Categories
Self-Help Uncategorized

life is a journey. Enjoy the ride.

Life is a journey, enjoy the ride. Sometimes the road is nice and pleasant and other times it is rocky, arduous, dangerous, and most unpleasant. No one voluntarily chooses to go down the unpleasant road, except that sometimes there is nowhere to go but down that road. Life is a road filled with hardships, celebrations, success, failure, heartaches, joy, and special moments.

Route 2020 & 2021 is one of those roads that gives you the chills when you are on it, danger lurks at every corner, there is no good visibility, it is isolated, rugged, with many up and down hills and unexpected turns. We have been driving on that road for a year and a half now and it has been rough.

Life is a journey. Enjoy the ride.

Imagine you are in your car on your way to Pleasant Ville which represents your ultimate dream destination. You put in the coordinates and drive along quite happily until you realize you are going in the wrong direction after taking a wrong turn. There is no need to panic, the GPS will re-direct you to Pleasant Ville, albeit using a different route. This little detour cost you some time, but you are now more focused on the road, determined not to take another wrong turn or to miss the next exit. You are getting closer to your destination and will get there as long as you stay focused.

Life is a journey. Enjoy the ride. Photo by Alize Reed featuring Joanne Reed.

There could be times when we encounter rough terrain and end up stuck in dead-ends. Those who can only proceed in forward gear and on a smooth track cannot make it to the end of the road. Being able to turn back and reversing is as important as raw speed and moving forward. This is especially true when we encounter deliberately altered road signs that send us the wrong way.

Now, imagine that you are sharing the road with three other drivers and you all want to go to Pleasant Ville. Driver 1 is the fast-and-furious type who starts his engine and immediately speeds off, impatient to get to his destination as quickly as possible. But, after taking a wrong turn and finding himself in the wrong place, Driver 1 is now annoyed, discouraged, and disheartened by losing his early lead (who said that this was a race anyway). Driver 1 returns home feeling defeated.

Life is a journey. Enjoy the ride. What kind of driver are you? Photo by freepik via freepik.com

Driver 2 is the are-we-there-yet-type of driver who drives around not paying attention to his GPS and turns around in circles thinking are we there yet? Driver 2 eventually gets disheartened by driving around in circles not knowing where he is going. He also returns home feeling defeated.

Driver 3 is the zig-zag type of driver. Before arriving at his destination Driver 3 decides that a different place is better than where he was originally going, so he changes the coordinates, again and again, never arriving anywhere.

Driver 4 is the smart and steady type: focused, and patient, he pays attention to the road and doesn’t fret if he takes a wrong turn, because it doesn’t matter which road you take, there is rarely only a single road that leads to your destination. Eventually, driver 4 arrives at Pleasant Ville and when he gets there, he realizes that it was worth all the time, effort, sweat, and tears and rejoices in the happiness of the moment. Driver 4 had the vision and discipline to keep going on the path that he chose; his journey leads him to his ultimate destiny. His passion was the fuel that kept him along the way. I know what type of driver I want to emulate. Which one are you?

Life is a journey. Enjoy the ride and learn along the way.

Road trips are fun, but they can also be filled with unexpected events, delays, and danger, but whatever comes our way we should take stock of all the lessons that we are learning along the way. There are many roads one can take on their life journey; choose the one that defines you the most, the one which has a purpose for you.

Life is a journey. Enjoy the ride. Leave a trail. Photo taken by Joanne Reed. Saint Philippe. Ile de la Reunion.

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Being on a road trip doesn’t mean that you are on the go all the time, there will be times when you will need to stop, have some rest, refuel. Stillness is an important tool on your journey to find clarity. The ability to see clearly when you are frustrated, angry, or scared, will help you find a more logical, less emotional response, and give you choices to do things differently, or do nothing at all.

Life journeys are not always smooth, throughout our travels, we will encounter many challenges. Some of these challenges will test our courage, strengths, and weaknesses. Those obstacles could be blessings in disguise, but it is hard to realize that sometimes the obstacle is the way. All the obstacles and hardships are a test of our strength and weakness, courage and faith.

Life is a journey. Enjoy the ride. A bend in the road is not the end of the road… Photo by freepk via freepik.com

“A bend in the road, is not the end of the road… unless you fail to make the turn.’

Helen Keller

When things don’t go our way we can either focus on the fact that life is unfair and everything sucks or we can take the challenges with courage and determination; whether we end up victorious or defeated what matters the most is the way we carry ourselves when facing those challenges. If we do it with dignity and integrity we can be proud of ourselves. When on the road, do not travel with too much baggage. Excess baggage takes too much space and will hinder your progress.

“Look at life through the windshield, not the rearview mirror.”

Byrd Baggett

Value the people you meet on your journey of life. Some of the people you take on board will stay with you for life, others will ride with you just for a little while until they jump off to take another road. Value all of them, learn from them, enjoy their company whilst it lasts. Everybody we meet can teach us a lesson, open our eyes, help us look inside ourselves, and help us discover who we really are.

“Never blame anyone in your life. Good people give you happiness. Bad people give you experience. Worst people give you a lesson. Best people give you memories.”

Zig Ziglar

And this, my dear friend, is your Quest.

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

Categories
Self-Help Uncategorized

the truth is, you don’t know what you don’t know

The truth, is we don’t know what we don’t know. We don’t even know the questions we need to ask in order to find out because we are so stuck in our narrow-minded way of doing things.

“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence”.

Charles Bukowski

This is a brutal statement from Charles Bukowski but it contains a lot of truth in it and it encapsulates a lot of what is indeed wrong with the world these days. It is concise, straight to the point, and quite difficult to argue against.

According to Sadhguru, I Don’t know holds tremendous possibilities. We should learn to say I don’t know more often, instead of jumping to conclusions. The moment you destroy, I Don’t know, you destroy all the possibilities of knowing. Confusion is better than stupid conclusions. In confusion, there is still a possibility.

The problem is that everyone is pretending to know things they don’t. In fact, too many people are dead certain about things that just aren’t true. The next time you hear something you are not sure about, instead of picking a side and believing or disbelieving, why not admit the truth: I don’t know. By refusing to draw a conclusion you keep your mind open, and you give the truth a chance to get in; but by drawing a conclusion you naturally become close-minded and dismissive towards all other possibilities.

The truth is, true wisdom consists in knowing that you know nothing – Socrates.

According to the Ancient Greeks, the source of all wisdom and clarity is to know thyself. That moto Know Thyself was one of the maxims inscribed on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi.

“The only true wisdom consists in knowing that you know nothing.”

Socrates
The Truth is, true wisdom consists in knowing that you know nothing Photo by freepik – via freepik.com

According to the Wise Man of Ancient Greece, you may find the path to wisdom, if you start from a position of humility and if you accept the extent of your ignorance. A lot of us like to think of ourselves as pretty smart, rational individuals and funny too. But what if we are wrong? Do we overestimate our own abilities? Are we completely blind to our own failings? You probably don’t know as much as you think you do. When put to the test, most people find they can’t explain the workings of everyday things they think they understand. There is great power in knowing what you don’t know. When we accept our ignorance and limitations, we become wiser.

Socrates is known as the wisest man in Athens, but he doubted this very much until he put it to the test. Socrates’ favorite pastime was the pursuit of Truth. His reputation as a philosopher spread across Athens and beyond. When told that the Oracle of Delphi revealed to one of his friends that he was the wisest man in Athens, Socrates responded, not by boasting or celebrating but by trying to prove the Oracle wrong. Socrates decided to find out if anyone knew what was truly worthwhile in life as anyone who knew that would surely be wiser than him. He questioned everyone he could find, but no one could give him a satisfactory answer. Instead, they all pretended to know something they clearly did not. Finally, he realized that the Oracle might be right after all; he was the wisest man in Athens because he alone was prepared to admit his own ignorance rather than pretend to know something he did not.

Too often we fall into the delusion of thinking we know a lot more than we really do, this concept is commonly known as illusory superiority. Recognizing what you don’t know actually puts you in a unique place of power. It can improve your choices in life because it’s an honest view of your knowledge and capabilities, as well as your ignorance and limitations. Understanding the limitations of your knowledge puts you at an advantage over people who overestimate their knowledge or aren’t aware of their own ignorance.

This isn’t a negative thing, this is about being honest with yourself which means acknowledging both your strengths and your weaknesses. If you are willing to keep an open mind about your beliefs and the possibility that you don’t have all the facts, you will be much better off than if you were to just take everything you believe as complete truth. See things the way they are, not how they could, should, or might be. Same with people. Look at people as they are, not how they could, should, or might be.

“Most people take their thoughts so seriously believing every thought that passes through their heads as if their thoughts represented the undeniable and irrefutable truth of the matter. But thoughts aren’t facts, what you think isn’t what it is. Thoughts are just thoughts. Just because you have a thought doesn’t mean it is true.”

Sadhguru

The Truth is, uncertainty is uncomfortable, but certainty is an absurd one – Voltaire

The Truth is, you don’t know what you don’t know. Have you heard of the Lemon Man? Photo by Mak Labs via freepik.com

McArthur Wheeler is also known as the Lemon Man became famous for his total lack of self-awareness and an incredible level of stupidity. In 1995, McArthur Wheeler was arrested for robbing banks in broad daylight, with no visible attempt at disguise. He believed that the lemon juice he wore on his face made him invisible to surveillance cameras.

The Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive bias characterized by inappropriate overconfidence about mastery of a subject. The term was coined by psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger in 1999 in a study called Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence lead to Inflated Self-Assessments. The Lemon Man story is an example of self-awareness, or rather a lack of self-awareness that ended disastrously. Why do people fail to recognize their own incompetence? Because people who are incompetent at something are unable to recognize their own incompetence.

Dunning himself stated that “If you’re incompetent, you can’t know you’re incompetent”, but also noted the reason for this seems to be ignorance, not arrogance. So, why is this a problem? It is a problem because if you have a tendency to overestimate your abilities you will end up making sub-optimal decisions until your misassumptions catch up with you.

Should you overestimate or underestimate your competence?

As well as showing that less-competent people tend to overestimate their abilities, the Dunning-Kruger effect study also showed that competent people tend to underestimate their own competence. This ability to underestimate our capabilities can also produce sub-optimal decisions but does have some positive impact by increasing our capacity for humility, curiosity, and a drive to improve ourselves.

The Truth is, you don’t know what you don’t know. Fake or fact? Photo by Diloka 107 via freepik.com

That drive to improve ourselves can be deeply rooted in culture; researcher Dr. Steven Hein, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia, did similar studies to Dunning-Kruger but looking at the issue from a different angle y comparing North American and East Asian People. When asked to self-assess their abilities, Hein’s study reveals that East Asians tend to underestimate their abilities, with an aim toward improving the self and getting along with others, whilst North Americans tend to overestimate their ability and competence.

There are cultural, social, and individual motives that explain these tendencies. As Western society becomes more individualistic, successful life is equated with confidence, self-assurance, and high-self esteem (often to the verge of arrogance). Conversely, East Asians tend to adopt a self-critical self-view, the downside effect of this being they tend not to feel so good about themselves. Knowing thyself, knowing your strengths and weaknesses is important so that you can exploit your strengths and seek help in areas where you are weak.

To know who you are is important, but in addition, belief and confidence are as big a part of the equation too. There is a robust body of scientific and anecdotal evidence that suggests that people who believe they will become successful at something are most likely to succeed. Similarly, there are countless stories of cancer patients who credit their survival to a positive mindset and their determination to survive this terrible illness. Inspirational quotes such as Your thoughts determine your future are popular in the self-help sphere.

So, is it better to overestimate yourself or underestimate your abilities? The truth is always somewhere in the middle. Overestimate your futures and underestimate your past; acknowledge the fact that the more you know the more you realize you don’t know, this will give you the benefit of humility, but overestimate the future, because these positive expectations will give you the benefits of higher performance.And this my dear friend, is your Quest!

Personal note.

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code.

Categories
Be Happy Uncategorized

Life is a double-edged sword. Learn the art of not hurting yourself

Life is a double-edged sword. A Knife is only as good as the one who wields it. You can use a knife to cut vegetables and cook a beautiful dinner, but if you are not careful you can cut and hurt yourself with that same knife. There are times when our greatest strengths turn out to be a source of weakness as well; this occurs when we overplay on our strengths or rigidly work to them.

The starting point is to know and be aware of what your strengths are and know when and how to use those strengths bearing in mind that self-awareness and flexibility will help you stay the course. Life is a double-edged sword the way you communicate and express yourself can be good or bad depending on your communication style. Every communication style has its strong points and weak points. The strength of your communication style can turn into a weakness if people rely too much on it.

For example, a reflective and cautious person is admired for her thoughtful approach to every problem and decision-making process. However, this strength can become a problem if it is exaggerated. A reflective person can turn this strength into a weakness if their reflectiveness makes them suffer from analysis-paralysis and make them unable to make a decision due to over-thinking a problem. This reflective person turns into a way-too-cautious-and-inflexible person unable to arrive at any decision without detailed and complete information. Anyone who is expecting to have complete information before making any type of decision is doomed because it is an impossibility. Things change all the time, what’s true right now at this minute can turn out to be untrue 5 minutes later. Every day we make decisions based on incomplete information.

But I digress. Let’s go back to the main point of this article which is to explain the concept of why life is a double-edged sword. To help me do this, I tapped into the wisdom of Jay Shetty and some interesting concepts that he explains in his book “Think like a Monk”. Jay Shetty explains that there are 4 types of people in this world. 1. The Leader. 2. The Guide. 3. The Creator and 4. The Maker. All 4 types have strengths and weaknesses and depending on how you play those, you will find yourself operating within your mode of goodness, or within your mode of ignorance. The rest of this article will be based on Jay Shetty’s explanation of this concept.

Being a leader can be a double-edged sword adventure.

Life is a double-edged sword. being a leader can be a double-edged sword adventure. Photo by User 14190141 via freepik.comfencing. Mixed media

Originally, leaders were Kings and warriors. Today you have politicians, military personnel, law enforcement personnel, justice personnel who occupy that position. The skillset required for this type of position is good communication, honesty, and integrity, being driven by a noble cause to defend and protect your people; being inspiring and engaging is definitely a plus.

Those who are operating in this group are natural leaders of people, movements, associations, and families. They are motivated and directed by courage, strength, and determination and are driven by the need to protect those who are less privileged. They are led by higher morals and values and seek to enforce them across the board. They provide structure and frameworks for the growth of their people. They like to work in teams. They are focused and are dedicated to a mission.

Throughout history, there are countless examples of leaders who proved that holding this function is a double-edged sword, and not in the best sense of the word.

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Sir John Dalberg-Acton

If a leader operates under a Mode of Ignorance as Jay Sheety describes it, you will witness a shift happening. That person would go from being an honorable individual to being a despicable character who gives up on change due to corruption and hypocrisy, develop a negative and pessimistic viewpoint, and loses his moral compass in his drive for power. They use their talents and influence to serve themselves and not humanity.

Life is a double-edged sword. Stay the course. Practice the art of not hurting yourself and the people around you.

Being a Guide can be a double-edged sword adventure.

Life is a double-edged sword. Being a Guide can be a double-edged sword adventure. Photo by User 14190141 via freepik.com

Guides are teachers, coaches, gurus, mentors. Their skillset is learning, studying, sharing their knowledge and wisdom. A coach and a mentor want to bring the best in the people they connect with, they want to help you be the best version of yourself and will help you find your purpose. Their quest in life is to find meaning, fulfillment, purpose, and share their wisdom with the world. They are here to serve. They enjoy intellectual pursuits and meaningful conversations.

If the Guide operates under a Mode of Ignorance, you will see a shift from sage to fool; not practicing what they preach, and not leading by example. They could also use their knowledge for strength and power and not for the good of humanity.

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Sir John Dalberg-Acton

They are countless examples throughout the world of mentors/gurus/spiritual leaders who became corrupted by the power of their position and the unconditional devotion of their disciplines. Those supposedly enlightened individuals became harmful, destructive, taking advantage of their followers, clients, disciples in the most despicable ways, because those people were extremely vulnerable, desperate, lost, and confused.

Life is a double-edged sword. Stay the course. Practice the art of not hurting yourself and the people around you.

Being a Creator can be a double-edged sword adventure.

Life is a double-edged sword. Being a creator can be a double-edged sword adventure. Photo by User 14190141 via freepik.com

Originally Creators were merchants and businesspeople. Nowadays they are marketers, salespersons, entertainers, producers, entrepreneurs, and CEOs. Their skillset gravitates around brainstorming, networking, innovating, making things happen. They have great sales, negotiation, and persuasion skills, they can convince themselves and others of anything. They are highly driven by money, pleasure, and success, they are very hardworking and determined. They are status-driven. They are dynamic, charismatic, and captivating. They create products and ideas that make money but also serve others. They provide jobs and opportunities for others.

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Sir John Dalberg-Acton

Still, if the Creator operates under a Mode of Ignorance, you will see a shift from a great negotiator to a scammer. Creators can become corrupt they can lie, cheat and steal to sell something with no value. They can burn out, and become depressed, moody, difficult, and very unpleasant characters.

Life is a double-edged sword. Practice the art of not hurting yourself and the people around you.

Being a Maker can be a double-edged sword adventure.

Originally Makers were artists, musicians, painters, writers. Today, the same list applies but you could add engineers, architects, programmers, coders, carpenters, cooks. Their skillset gravitates around inventing, creating, implementing an idea, a vision, a concept. They like exploring and experimenting with new ideas. They tend to choose meaningful goals to pursue. They are driven by stability and security.

Still, if the Maker operates under a Mode of Ignorance, you will see a shift from creative to destructive, when they feel anxious, stuck, and unworthy. They focus more on money and fame instead of focusing on honing their skills.

Life is a double-edged sword. Practice the art of not hurting yourself and the people around you.

Moral of the story

Whatever you do, whether you are a Leader, a Guide, a Creator, or a Maker, life is a double-edged sword. You have to stay alert and stay on the straight and narrow path with some flexibility thrown into the mix.

“A Knife is only as good as the one who wields it.”

And this, my dear friend, is Your Quest.

Personal note.

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

Categories
Self-Help Uncategorized

A Story About Freedom Within the COnfine of Reunion Island

I wrote the first draft of this article – A story about freedom within the confine of Réunion Island – in our little hideaway cabin up the hills where my youngest daughter and I spent our week of quarantine (called septaine here as it only lasts 7 days). The year 2020-2021 would be remembered as the year of lock-down, confinement, curfew, quarantine. Never in our modern history has our freedom of movement been so restrained, albeit justified for public health reasons. This is not an article about the pros and cons of restrictions imposed for public health reasons, it is a story about freedom within the confine of Réunion Island; it is the story of some brave souls from Réunion Island who fought in the most admirable manner to free themselves from their shackles. This article is also the perfect excuse for me to introduce you to Réunion Island, where I was born and where my family lives.

A story about Reunion

Réunion island, or in French ‘Ile de la Réunion’, is a smallish island situated east of Madagascar and about 175km southwest of Mauritius. It’s a volcanic island, like Hawaii, with a mountainous interior and a population of about 1 million people. If you haven’t heard of it, that’s not unusual, it’s typically only known by sailors and stamp collectors. The island is famous for a number of things including the first Euro Transaction, occasional – but very heavy rain, and one of the world’s most active volcanoes.

A story about the First Euro transaction

Réunion Island is a French Department and because of its geographical position is the most easterly part of the eurozone. The Island was the first European territory to handle the Euro currency when it was introduced in 2002. The mayor of St Denis (the Capital city) purchased a kilo of lychees after a brief barter with a local stallholder.

A story about Rainfall

For the most part, Réunion Island has a mild tropical climate, but it is in the hurricane belt (here it’s called, cyclone belt) and when it rains, oh boy, it rains. Réunion has set a number of records for the highest rainfall measured including the official 24-hour rainfall record (1,825 mm or 71.85”) during a tropical storm in 1952 and the 48-hour rainfall record (2,467 mm, or 97.13”) at Cilaos, which has sadly – or happily- now been beaten. Have you ever wonder what is the difference between hurricanes and cyclones? It is just a question of geography. A tropical storm system is called a hurricane in the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific and is called a cyclone in the Northern Indian Ocean.

A story about a very active volcano!

Life is an adventure. Out and about with an active Volcano in my sight – Photo taken by Alize Reed – Piton de la Fournaise – Réunion Island

Piton de la Fournaise, or Furnace Peak in English, is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, along with Kilauea in the Hawaiian Islands, Stromboli, and Etna in Italy, and Mount Erebus in Antarctica. The volcano is a major tourist attraction and offers some excellent hiking and scenery.

Since 2010, the Piton de la Fournaise has been a member of a very exclusive club as one of the natural assets listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for their outstanding universal value. It is an honor that it shares with the island’s other volcano, the Piton des Neiges which culminates at 3070 meters and which is a dormant volcano. For the past 10 years, the Piton de la Fournaise has erupted on average every 9 months, fortunately without endangering the islanders. Not many volcanoes can boast such exuberant activity.

The latest eruption of the Piton de la Fournaise started on 9th April 2021 and is still going on as I speak. I went for a hike with some of my local friends to the volcano site to have a closer look. We saw the fumes coming out of some craters, we couldn’t see the flow of lava from our viewpoint but we were told that there was a tunnel of lava still running underneath. The whole volcano site is surreal, very out of this world kind of scenery.

A story about freedom

Coming back to the main topic of this article – a story about freedom within the confine of Réunion Island, slavery was used widely in the French colonies in the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean. The French slave trade began in the 15th century, not for use within mainland France, although France’s northern ports were heavily used to trade and ship slaves, but in the French colonies, where sugar accounted for 80% of exports. Slaves from Africa were brought into the colonies to cultivate sugar cane. Regulatory measures constantly governed the supervision of slaves, the control of their labor, their movements, any possible activities by them outside the plantations, and events in their personal lives.

These regulations allowed extensive freedom to plantation owners regarding the range of punishment they could administer to their slaves. Slaves were subjected to physical and emotional abuse on a daily basis. The phenomenon of resistance on the part of the slaves, individually or collectively, has been the focus of relatively little research. Yet, slaves in the French colonies resisted their plight in the most varied and admirable ways.

They attempted to escape on a regular basis (a phenomenon known in French as “marronnage” escaping the plantations in coastal areas to find refuge in the mountains where they remained hidden in the hope that the plantation owner would eventually give up looking for them. The word “marron” originates from the Spanish word “cimarron” which means “to escape.”

On Réunion Island, historical accounts reveal stories of the Black- Marrons taking great risks to escape to the mountains, preferring to live as free men in precarious conditions rather than staying at the plantation under the bondage of a brutal plantation owner. Those who successfully escaped established semi-permanent camps in the mountains. Once a small group of trusted companions had settled and had organized themselves, they conducted regular raids on the plantations to steal weapons, tools, food, seeds, and farm animals (chickens); they also brought back with them their women and children.

Eventually, the Black-Marrons successfully managed to grow their own food, raise farm animals and create a new community of free men, women, and children up in the mountains. The plantation owners were terrified of these raids which were becoming more and more frequent. They started manhunts for the Black-Marrons and offered hunters 30 Livres per “catch” dead or alive. Hunters had to bring as proof of a “catch” (in order to claim their prize) the severed left-hand of the Black-Marron they had just killed. Hunters were free to capture or kill men, women, and children alike. Despite this brutal repression against the Black-Marrons not all of them were captured or killed and the most resilient managed to keep living as free men and women in the mountains until slavery was abolished.

The Black-Marrons became legends in their own right; nowadays, if you go hiking on Réunion Island, you will come across several mountain peaks that are named after them, amongst them, Dimitile, Cimendef, Mafate, and Anchaing. One of the most notorious of those Black-Marrons was a slave known by the name of Cimendef. After his escape to the mountains, Cimendef created a new identity for himself. Originally from Madagascar, he created a name from the words “tsi” meaning “non” in Malagasy and “mandevi” meaning “slave” – so, Cimendef means “non-slave.” Through his new name, he wanted to show everyone his will to live as a free man. Slavery was abolished in France and its former colonies in 1848.

There is a policy of organized forgetfulness of the past that suits the agenda of the rulers, the people in power. History is written from the perspective of the victors and not the oppressed, whose role in their own liberation is often forgotten or downplayed. Historical accounts have found a way of denying centuries of resistance by slaves and the role they played in resisting oppression and pursuing their freedom. Historical accounts tend to attribute the happy resolution of a very shameful episode in history to a particular government or piece of legislation; while forgetting the acts of resistance that were carried out by the slaves themselves and the oppressed, who fought bravely for their inalienable right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

It is worth pointing out here that despite what most people believe slavery should not be automatically associated with ethnicity. Slavery has existed since the beginning of time; the color of someone’s skin was not a key factor to determine whether that person could find himself in the unfortunate position of being a slave. Those who became slaves were chosen because of their vulnerability compared to another dominant group and not because of the color of their skin. Since the beginning of times, Europeans enslaved other Europeans, Asians enslaved other Asians, Africans enslaved other Africans and Arabs enslaved other Arabs. A slave is a person who is the chattel or property of another. The etymology of the word “slave” finds its origin in the medieval Latin word “sclavus,” originally “Slav” because of the many Slavs sold into slavery by conquering people.

Of all the tragic facts about the history of slavery, the most astonishing to an American today is that, although slavery was a worldwide institution for thousands of years, nowhere in the world was slavery a controversial issue prior to the 18th century. People of every race and color were enslaved and enslaved others. White people were still being bought and sold as slaves in the ottoman empire, decades after American blacks were freed. The region of WestAfrica was one of the great slave-trading regions of the continent before, during, and after the white man arrived. It was the Africans who enslaved their fellow Africans, selling some of these slaves to Europeans or to Arabs and keeping others for themselves. In East Africa, Arabs were the leading slave raiders, ranging over an area larger than all of Europe; slavery is often and wrongly associated with ethnicity and skin color. This practice was an accepted fact of the society of the time on the basis that the strongest has the right of appropriation over the weakest.

Thomas Sowell

This article is dedicated to all the people who have been oppressed and have suffered injustice and who have found the courage to resist oppression and somehow free themselves from their shackles.

For a more detailed analysis of this subject, I invite you to check Chapter 7 of my book “This Is Your Quest.”

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

Categories
Be Happy Be Healthy Self-Help Uncategorized

As one chapter ends, another one starts

As one chapter ends another one starts. Every day you write the story of your life. Your life is like a book, there is a beginning, a middle, an end and there are chapters that catapult you from one event to another. These past few weeks, or shall I say months have been very hectic for me and my family as we geared ourselves up to say farewell to South Korea which has been our home for many years.

The Land of the Morning Calm has been the greatest adventure we had as a family. Korea has been the land where my two daughters grew up with our dog and two cats in tow. The land where we met and made long-lasting friendships with wonderful people. The Land where we had many exciting adventures making the most of the amazing scenery, beauty, and delicious food.

The Land of the Morning Calm chapter has now ended, and new events have catapulted us across the globe. My husband has started a new job in Saudi Arabia building a brand-new futuristic city in the desert, 100% powered by renewable energy. My eldest daughter has settled well in Calgary, Canada where she is studying Bio-Med, and where she is having the time of her life. My youngest daughter and I just arrived in Réunion Island, where I was born and grew up and which is going to be our new base for now. As one chapter ends, another one begins, and so our story continues….

As one chapter ends, another starts

As one chapter ends, another starts. Photo by freepik via freepik.com

When one chapter ends, it’s just one chapter in the book of your life, don’t close the book the story is not finished, just turn the page and move on. Whether this chapter brought you grief or brought you joy, no other page is written like this. If you don’t like the way the previous chapter of your life happened, have a good cry, learn the lessons. Put your big girl’s or big boy’s pants on and move on.

“If you are going through hell, keep going.”

Winston Churchill

“Whenever an obstacle rises that seems to block the path forward, in reality, the obstacle has an essential function. And that is, it forces me, or it forces humanity to generate more – either more strength, more energy or more consciousness.”

Eckart Tolle

If you really like the way the previous chapter of your life happened and wished that it never ended, rejoice in the memory of all the good times and the precious moments that made this chapter of your life so pleasant and beautiful. Human beings like comfort and order, and as I discussed in one of my previous articles, order is the place where the world’s behavior matches our expectations and our desires, the place where all things turn out the way we want them to.

We like to be in there. In order, we’re able to think about things in the long term. There, things work, and we are stable, calm, and competent. We seldom leave places we understand – geographical and conceptual – for that reason. But even the best things have to end. If you read a really good book and you come to the end of it, you don’t throw it away wishing you never read it, you put it on your shelves and rejoice in the knowledge that you were fortunate enough to have come across this book.

Changes are hard, but it’s OK. It is the beginning of a new chapter

There is no denying the fact that changes are hard, especially when you are facing life-changing events such as the end of a job, or the end of a relationship or moving across the world to relocate someplace new, with all the logistics that such a move requires. I have just been through this, it’s hard, definitely not a walk in the park, but more like an obstacle course where you need stamina, speed, dexterity, flexibility, and coordination.

The harsh reality of life is that everything moves on and for things to move on, first things have to end. People leave, they leave you and they leave places, and they leave things behind. Everyone finds their way, an end is just a new beginning. We are all made up of fragments of other people, places, and things, and each time this happens we write a new page in our book of life.

No matter where we are, some things are under our control and some things are not. The fundamental reality of chaos and order is true for everything alive, not only for us. Living things are always to be found in places they can master, surrounded by things and situations that make them vulnerable. Order is not enough. You can’t just be stable, and secure, and unchanging because there are vital and important new things to be learned.

Nonetheless, chaos can be too much. You can’t tolerate being swamped and overwhelmed beyond your capacity to cope while learning that you still need to know. Thus, you need to place one foot in what you have mastered and understood and the other in what you are currently exploring and mastering. Then you have positioned yourself where the terror of existence is under control and you are secure, but where you are also curious, alert, and engaged.

As one chapter ends, another one starts. Keep writing the story of your life. To be continued…

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code