Tag Archives: water

Day 378: Are Our Values Misaligned?

The Soccer World Cup of 2018 gives rise to many questions and it also answers many of them. For example – I now know why we have difficulty creating healthy and sustainable living conditions for everyone on this planet. It is because we do not care. How do I know? I know because we would rather spend several billions of dollars on creating a soccer cup, which is nothing but pure entertainment. There is absolutely no need that justifies arranging a world cup in soccer – it is motivated by our desire. We should not be surprised that this world is a horrible place for many animals and humans. It is that way because we do not have the discipline to commit time, effort and resources to create solutions. We instead devote our resources to entertainment.

The world cup highlights what is problematic about the current human condition. We do not have the ability to use common sense, we do not have the ability to prioritize our resources and our time, we do not have the ability to be empathic and place ourselves in the shoes of another, and we do not have the ability to live by principles. That is what the world cup is showing us, that we would rather prioritize what we desire before that which be of benefit to everyone. Thus – when shit goes sour in our world – there is no point in complaining or wondering why things could not become better, why is there no politician or leader out there that can do something about this? There are none – we have decided that this is how we want things to be. If we would be serious about really fixing problems, we would have devoted the money going into the world cup, to for example, providing effective sanitation for everyone in the world.

Bringing water and sanitation to everyone in the world would cost $10 billion a year according to Richard Jolly, chairman of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, sponsored by the W.H.O. (see article here https://www.nytimes.com/2000/11/23/world/price-of-safe-water-for-all-10-billion-and-the-will-to-provide-it.html). The 2018 FIFA World Cup is estimated to cost $14.2 billion (see article here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economics_of_the_FIFA_World_Cup). Consequently, if we decided to miss out on one FIFA world cup and spend that money on providing water and sanitation – that would make a BIG difference for many. According to W.H.O. Inadequate sanitation is estimated to cause 280 000 diarrhoeal deaths annually and is a major factor in several neglected tropical diseases, including intestinal worms, schistosomiasis, and trachoma. Poor sanitation also contributes to malnutrition (http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/sanitation).

When put on paper like this, it is obvious that it does not make any sense. No one in their right mind can justify spending 280 000 lives to watch world class soccer for a couple of weeks. Yet still, we do it.

There is no mystery to understanding why the world looks like it does. It is like this because we do not care. There is no mystery in understanding why there is not enough movement to change things. There is no such movement because we do not care. We simply do not care enough about ourselves, our neighbors, our environment, our country or our world – we care about – SOCCER, ALCOHOL, HOBBIES, ENJOYMENT, PLEASURE and ENTERTAINMENT.

It might feel overwhelming to look at the world and see the disarray. It might feel as if there is no point to attempting to do anything about it. However – the point is that someone must begin. Someone must be the first to step up and make the necessary changes. If we wait for the mass to change before we do, then expect that everyone else is waiting for the same thing. The consequence of such a waiting game is that nothing ever happens. Status quo exists because we have been waiting for someone else, a leader, a movement, a organization, an external push and drive – that will not happen. If we want things to change – we must make it happen – firstly – in our individual lives. Where are we spending money on entertainment and pleasure instead of tending to our own and our families basic needs? Where in our lives are we making decisions with money that does not make any sense? When our personal lives have been given direction – we can turn outwards to start dealing with the bigger system and the major flaws that exist there.


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Day 361: Organic Growth

There is a time for planning AND there is a time for organic movement. That is my insight for this week.

The way I tend to approach at least some parts of my life, is with exactitude in planning, preparation and execution. Everything should be considered and thought-out beforehand. And the underlying idea is that when everything is preemptively directed – that will bring the best results. However – I have found that this is not necessarily the case. On example of this is nature, specifically, trees.

If you look at how a tree grows, it is in the moment. The branches and roots will stretch out in search for optimum nutrition. That movement might be genetically planned in the design of the seed. However the actual growth of the tree happens organically. When the tree is young, there might be a water shortage. Hence the tree will focus its energy on growing its roots deeper into the ground to reach water. This shapes the tree, making it shorter and with less foliage than what would have been the case if it had instead focused all its energy on growing its branches towards the optimum position for receiving sunlight. Though, if it would have followed such a stiff and inflexible plan, the tree would have most likely died. Because it was able to improvise and grow organically according to its environment – it survived.

Then, many years later, the water shortage comes to an end. The tree now wants to focus on expanding its branches and foliage. Unfortunately for the tree, it has two big tree neighbors that blocks most of the sunlight coming directly from above. Instead of trying to outgrow its neighbors, the tree then grows its branches in such a way where it seeps up the small portions of light that moves past the foliage of its neighbors. The movement is yet again organic – in equilibrium and alignment with the trees environment.

The growth of a tree is flexible, organic, sensitive, receptive and balanced. It grows with common sense – moves on the opportunities that arise and redesigns its direction according to its environment. And as a whole, a tree looks magnificent – perfectly positioned and aligned with the rest of its neighbors.

Compare this organic growth with how us humans tend to move. Most of us decide upon a goal – a dream we want to realize for ourselves. It could be striving to achieve a certain income, enter a profession or become admitted to a education. Regardless, we tend to hold unto our goals stiffly and stubbornly – and when things does not move our way – instead of bending – we break. Because that is the problem with a person that has a stiff mind – he breaks when enough pressure is applied, while a flexible, soft and organic person is able to move around the obstacle. The tree did not stubbornly hold unto a goal of wanting to grow its foliage when there was a water shortage – it moved WITH its environment and was thus able to survive.

Hence – I have this week seen this pattern within me. One example of this is how I have had the tendency to structure/dream projects in my mind. Last summer I dreamed of creating a small carpentry studio in one of the unheated houses on our property. I arranged it and planned installing electricity and heating after a while. However, I did not have the funding or the time to install electricity and heating. This week I realized that there is actually a room on the property that already have heat and electricity installed, that I could have utilized instead all along. I had not however and the reason for this is because I got stuck in a ‘box’ like way of thinking. Where I only saw my initial goal – instead of expanding my thinking and instead of looking at the pictures – looking at the general process/movement that I want to facilitate. The room that is available, it cannot be aligned to fit my dreams of how my carpentry studio should look like – though it facilitates my interest in carpentry more effectively – because it gives me access to heat and electricity so that I am able to work even though it is dark outside. If I had moved myself organically, from moment to moment, I would have taken notice of this room and set up my shop there.

With this blog I want to emphasize the importance of MOMENT to MOMENT living. I want to emphasize that it is not the image/picture that is important – it is the process/movement. If we have an interest in photography – it is not the camera that is important – it is that process/movement of engaging in our interest. Hence if we cannot afford the camera we want, then instead of getting stuck, thinking we cannot advance ourselves within our interest, it is to instead find ways to facilitate and move with what we have at our disposal – to be creative and not break. There is always a lot more that can be done than what we think. The difficult part, that is to break free from our stiff and inflexible goal-driven mind – to instead see the opportunities that are here.