Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Several Things Wiser :)

I.Melancholy revisited

So previously I had written about Trade (2007), the movie.
Through conversation with other people and a bit of reading on the web, I've come to a few conclusions:

A) Crimes like human trafficking are so complex that one person cannot ever hope to fight them alone. Instead, one person can spread the word about the existence of these crimes to as many people as will listen. By the power of a group of people -- by increased vigilance, pooled resources -- then something more substantial can be done.

B) One can educate themselves about this crime. Knowledge is truly power. When you know, you can then plan go to proceed. After being exposed to that human trafficking still exists and how, in Trade (2007), amateur porn footage can be produced by using these sex slaves, I can make a difference by encouraging people to boycott porn or at least porn of unknown sources.

C) Keep updated with other breaches of human rights. By creating an worldwide atmosphere of respect and justice for fellow human beings, we can decrease tolerance for such crimes. One good (and very prominent) website that I stumbled upon is Human Rights Watch -- news posted here is current and well researched.

II. A story for thought

So today I ate dinner with a peer, who is about the same age and socioeconomic standing as me. As we sat at dinner, this person started to belittle the achievements of a very accomplished and much older and worldlier person (who has traveled extensively because his work is very much in demand and also has one of the most respected positions in his line of work). After trying unsuccessfully to reason with my peer about the merits of the person being belittled, I very quickly finished dinner and left.

Some things about this peer of mine had been bothering me all day. The fact that this person does not like to read, does not like to study for betterment, expresses very little interest in anything even when explicitly asked. To add insult to injury, this person asks for my recommendations and then does not follow up on them. All of these things, I do not understand. I especially do not understand someone not wanting to be the best that they can be by educating themselves.

And so I googled "Why do people not want to be educated," and I found an article by RC, entitled "Do You Want a More Educated Mind? Seven Common Traps You Need to Avoid" at the following site

The article starts with
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
- Aristotle

That made me think. Sure, I was judging this person for judging someone else. But maybe I should have withheld my own judgment and heard them out.

And the first of the seven common traps was "1) You gravitate toward people that agree with you and reject those with differing viewpoints." By leaving this person quickly at dinner, I was doing exactly a corollary of trap one. Because we were in disagreement, I headed off.

And then there was trap three, "3) You label people who don’t match your way of thinking. There are two extremes for this… Labeling people as crazy, loony, far-out, or the other extreme, labeling people as close-minded, “asleep,” or lacking awareness." While this person was labeling someone else as boastful and untrustworthy, I was labeling this person as close-minded and unappreciative of others.

By doing so, I fell directly into trap six, "6) You don’t make the effort to understand an issue from other people’s perspectives."

As I read this article, I realized that while I thought of myself as pretty educated, perhaps a portion of my education is yet incomplete. I can still be much more open-minded.

Like James William Fulbright, US Senator, said,
"We must dare to think unthinkable thoughts. We must learn to explore all the options and possibilities that confront us in a complex and rapidly changing world."

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