This text is meant to act as a guide for anyone going through a struggle.
My Perspective on Preventing Social Denaturalization
My personality has always been one to believe that I can achieve my body's full potential in physical and mental prowess. I have always been my own "biggest fan," not because I am lonely--I am not--but because I live in a world of uncertainty. When I was young, I spent a lot of time at my grandparent's house in Landover, Maryland. My grandfather is the patriarch of my family, and besides all of the memories and mannerisms I share with him, there are two pieces of advice that will always stick with me. The first bit advises me to ensure that I will never be a follower, and the second, advises me to always be aware of my surroundings. At first I would take this advice literally, meaning that I should be a leader or that I should always know how to get back home from wherever I end up. Though, as well as this interpretation has guided me through rough times, now that I am older, I now realize that these words are worth much more than being a leader or surrounding myself around good company. This counsel helps me navigate through the mess of definitions that overlap, loop, and deceive individuals into believing the world is against them.
In the past couple of years I have been in a funk, like most people these days. Am I feeling this way because of a specific event? Did I feel this way before, or am I using a situation as an excuse? Maybe, I am just getting old, but is getting older supposed to be dispiriting? It depends on the circumstances, doesn't it? Ah, well that makes sense. Not any particular thing is bothering me, but the accumulation of events that have occurred during these past years have cast an unsettling anxiety in my conscience. Anxiety that has arisen from the feelings of estrangement, feelings of a loss in romantic idealism, feelings of there being a lack in opportunity, and feeling an unsettling sense that history is repeating itself. It is my wholehearted belief that America must not lose its standing as the beacon of hope and freedom for nations around the world. The only way to do this is to ensure that our children are able to protect themselves, as well as any person they meet, and to make them aware of their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
My hometown, around the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area, is one of the most heavily trafficked and most densely populated regions in the United States. People do not only come to this state to eat our blue crabs or visit our national monuments, but they also expect to find work or be offered different services from the multiple industries and stores within this state. When one hears an American speak about their home state, they will often refer to it as "Little America" or the "Microcosm of America." They say this to describe the vast geographic regions that are accessible to all Americans; and in Maryland's case, besides the urban lifestyles of the two aforementioned cities, it is a state that is packed with vast areas of farm and woodlands that fill the gaps between our cities and towns, we are saturated with rivers that leak into the Chesapeake Bay, we can drive to the far east side of the Delmarva peninsula to swim in the Atlantic Ocean, or we can travel over our rolling hills and into the Appalachia Mountains to hike, or snowboard during the winter. These are the things I think people are looking to have access to when they are moving and settling into a new location.
There are many reasons why people stay or leave their homelands, and I can certainly come up with a few. Am I able to withstand the temperature's, and if not, can I create heat or be able to cool myself down? Is there enough food and water in the area? Are there any other people who live here? If they do, will they cooperate with me and welcome my assistance, or will they be a threat? Maybe, those questions are a bit out of date, but they correlate with issues considered by individuals today. The average young and mature adult, before making a decision to move, will ask themselves similar questions. Will they like the area where they are moving? Will they have fun and meet new friends there? Are there jobs there that will help them achieve their goals and survive? Will they be able to start their own business? All Americans enjoy the thought of having a country that expands multiple ranges of geographic diversity, which helps and inspires our peoples to be innovative. We create regional businesses that offer goods and ideas to be exported to others who desire these services. I like to believe that the way corporations interact with their employees and customers reminds me of how all industries, or almost all, work very similarly to how the United States government operates, when it is dealing with its relationship with the states, its own citizens, and immigrants. Since its very inception, the United States has been a transit station for every citizen and refugee in the world.
We are the descendents of individuals who were labeled and disenfranchised by others to be royalty, religious zealots, political refugees, eccentric businessmen, and comedic scholars. They came here because they knew American culture represents a vast array of individuals and peoples who have decided that the world is in need of change. America, from its very discovery, has inspired and combined the hopes of all the peoples of the world to cooperate and work together, so that we may someday learn how to live within our own environments. Our descendents decided that the world was in dire need of some type of social revolution, a movement that would create a place where men and women could ensure a future for themselves and their children. They dreamed of a future that would delegate the powers of the world to protect the rights and freedoms of all the peoples of the world.
This inspiration was whispered and shared amongst the public during the "Age of Enlightenment" by young pioneers, inspired by the revolutions going on in the Americas and France. Influential people like Alexander von Humboldt, a Prussian explorer who traveled to both continents of the Americas and became a famous scholar in Europe, wrote large volumes on his travels and on the "Laws of Nature." His reputation preceded him, and he found himself invited as a guest of the President to stay at the White House, which at that time, was under the administration of my favorite founding father, Thomas Jefferson. Humboldt also traveled and became friends with Andres Bello. This man, who was born and raised in the city of Caracas, went on to teach and tutor the great Simon Bolivar, the liberator of South America. I was born just outside of the city of Washington D.C., and find that this history speaks very deeply to the inner soul of my being. Hailing of mostly African-American blood from my father's side, and blood from the Canary Islands through my mother's side, I hold a deep reverence in my heart for these American patriots. My curiosity asks me to pursue the psychologies of these revolutionaries, who so happened to be, influenced by the work of this Prussian philosopher.
My patriotism, which is guided through my anthropologist spirit, leads me to come to a conclusion that our American ancestors had a dream far bolder than the national romanticism of "Manifest Destiny." No, I believe our founding Fathers' took the "Baton of Freedom" from ancient traditions passed down by ancient nomadic families who became the judges of their own fates. They were guided by the patriarchs and matriarchs of their tribes and clans who appointed special leaders, prophets and shamans, to lead and teach their peoples how to fight and survive off of the land. These ancient nomads wandered the Earth for safety from natural disasters like famines, floods, and volcanic eruptions that could threaten their families. Or, maybe they were seeking to put some distance between their homeland and the homelands of competing and hostile tribes. Leaders of the American Revolution, like Thomas Jefferson and Simon Bolivar, simply wished to protect their families, and the families of their friends, from being exploited by the ignorant personalities that, so often, ascend the social ranks through their physical prowess or ascribed status.
The English royal family, the Aristocrats, and other wealthy members in the colonies were not negotiating with the American common folks, and this society was mirrored, if not started, in South America by the Spanish royal family and the Criollos. American revolutionaries in North and South America were primarily formed by soldiers from the colonial armies who were distraught as they found their rights and security slowly being taken away by the royalists. They would return home to their families stymied. In return for helping these elites, they found their homes in even greater danger than when they left, threatened now by the riled up anger of displaced local Indian tribes and other foreigners upset by the territorial disputes. It is my belief that the American Revolution's main goal was to create a system that allows for the individual to become actively engaged in the fight against the "Old World" ways, which entrench their populations with border grievances and taboos. Peoples should not be used as pawns by society's elites to trespass into other nations sovereign territories, and all governments should respect the rights of individuals from foreign cultures. The liberators of the "New World" believed that the Earth required a refuge, a place where individuals could safely establish a code of legal representation that would protect the rights of all the peoples of the world to assist each other in times of natural and man-made disasters.
The previous world order that came to prominence in the continents of Africa, Europe, and Asia helped to develop various systems that would attempt to tip the scales of balance amongst competing kingdoms. Individuals, clans, and city-states would found places of worship for local deities, and assign specific tasks amongst the people of their regional provinces. They did this by using language. Families who were able to understand multiple networks of dialects were able to save their tribes and clans by initiating members through various rites of passages. Villages and cities that had strong bonds in the past, either through family lineages or trade, would acknowledge certain individuals through their local etiquette and laws. These regulations are not absolute, for they are determined by the circumstances affecting the mood, of the citizens within a society, at that time. The behaviors that a group of peoples choose to merit are conditioned, and will change with the arrival of epidemics, natural disasters, or social upheavals.
To prevent these calamities from affecting the peoples again, they created social mechanisms that recognized individuals and families from a particular culture over others. They took pride in individuals who could defend and protect their lands, resources, and fellow countrymen from the threatening and aggressive actions taken by neighboring peoples whom sought to invade their territory. They acknowledged persons who could distinguish different landmarks and fauna that are beneficial and necessary for surviving in their immediate habitats. The natural phenomena of Earth's geography, that makes certain regions of the globe more hospitable than others, is what shields all peoples from grasping the full truth of God's purpose for us. We find ourselves as a species cut off from one another by ecological boundaries that isolate large portions of our populaces from interacting properly with one another. Tens of thousands of years had to pass before our kind was once again united with our brethren, when the old world began to trade with North and South America. Representatives from Europe, Asia, and Africa came into contact with forgotten clans who were lost and wandering about on the plains and valleys of these two large continents, kept apart from each other's histories by the two largest oceans on the planet. Royal families, merchants, religious clergy, and other affiliated groups from these old world kingdoms sought to influence and exert their power in these new lands, but were halted when mankind became aware of what unites us all.
Human beings, by nature, are social beings, and we are all in search for a place to call home. The Americas represent a sanctuary for nomads and immigrants seeking redemption for transgressions they have committed in the past, thus the nickname "The Wild West." It is also seen as a refuge for individuals whom seek adventure and love. As I grow older, I am finding that we are meant to find truth through companionship. The American continents should be seen as an asylum that allows for grievances of the past to clash and be settled once and for all. There is still potential and talent amongst the peoples of these purple mountains that can create innovative and new technologies. We can still conceive and bring to light new examples of hope that will inspire people to have faith in their common man, and lend a hand to all individuals working to contribute toward a society that represents all peoples.
The greatest fear I think one can have is to be at the complete mercy of authoritarian powers who declare individuals to be ruled by tyrants and mobs. Dictators who create rules created in haste, by public demand or national tragedy, and who urge these laws to be followed without question, granting no means for the common folk to provide and protect their families from impending danger. They create laws that segregate certain groups from participating with others, and who demonize a person before they could be judged for their merit and character. Repeating the great, and first biographer, St. Augustine, "An unjust law, is no law at all." This line has been repeated by Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr., and other prophets of our time, and must be continued to be taught to every generation.
I reflect on all the families I have seen this morning, from the moment that I have awakened to finding myself in this seat. I reminisce about all the memories I have of traveling as a kid with my parents and the indebtedness I owe to them. I have the typical notions in my head that if I had only done this, or if I had known that back then, that my circumstances would be far better off. Which, in all cases is true, but, of course I feel guilty for assuming this, and I try to repress these thoughts of regret and sadness. At the same time, however, I can't help but agree that they represent suggestions to consider. I keep in mind that competition is not new to the human experience, and though I may have fell victim to the fast and quick wittedness of my generation, and these confusing times, I feel compelled that I also have a story to tell. A narrative of caution, an admonition to my peers that warns we, too, are not invulnerable to the corruptions and tribulations that have been set like traps, and enshrouded by history, which have ensnared past and current societies.
I look out the glass window, and a feeling of nostalgia comes over me. It is pouring down rain outside, and it reminds me of when my family and I lived in the South Florida metropolitan area. As far back as I can remember, I have always loved to watch thunder storms, and was glad that at least this has not changed about me. I sit and listen to my music, and begin to wonder about what the people sitting beside me in this classroom are thinking about and where they are from. I have no clue whether they are first or second generation Americans? Are they even American or from this state? Are these people atheists or religious? If so, what faiths do they believe in, and if not, how come? Do they believe that every citizen has a duty to participate and make sacrifices for their communities, or do they believe they should be left to themselves? Have they been recognized by others to have a skill? What are their hobbies or do any of them have a job? Ever since I was young, I was told that I was a deep thinker, and I find it is hard for me to not ask questions like these whenever I am around people.
I think about how the United States is perceived by peoples around the world, and I try to compare it to the rise and fall of great civilizations of the past. America is living in different times today than ever before in its history. We face different threats and challenges now that the rest of the world has caught up in technology, and has also recovered from the trauma and shock of massive devastation. All the frustration and violence I have seen expressed on the television from various media outlets, opinion shows, and celebrity interviews always repeat sickening stories of crime, war, and politics. Not only that, but they also chastise and discredit any elected officials or mediators for attempting to compromise, and accuse them for conflict of interest. I then mull over at the thought of why people complain about why can't there be more stories on compromise, peace deals, and innovation.
My anxiety arises from a concern that our nation's paralysis is caused by our countless failures to recognize moderates. We are letting down individuals not only in our own country, but around the world. There are countless of individuals, and their loved ones, who go unseen and whose families are caught in the middle, and torn apart, by the collateral decisions taken by two warring worlds. People trying to bring in jobs with the help of their local government are blasted by those on the right side of the spectrum for not being genuine, and those who already have jobs to offer are accused by those on the left side of the spectrum for not being inclusive. Call me crazy, but the only remedy I can come up with is for a group of peoples to send elected delegates to negotiate the proposals offered by these entrepreneurs.
My multi-racial background has taught me that one must always fight for what they believe in, because conviction is what leads people to act. I announce my beliefs to make it clear to others where I stand, for it is always a battle to keep one's integrity when they find themselves defined by other parties within and outside of their group. We must all learn to fight against perpetuating stereotypes that make us trust one person and question another. A fear of one's surroundings and neighbors, are thoughts that can cause peoples to unknowingly enslave themselves through the creation of arbitrary and hateful laws that leads to the labeling, targeting, and eventual detention of certain peoples. Anti-drug laws contribute the most to this dissolution of public temperance, in my opinion, because they unfairly target and imprison minorities within our society, even though they use drugs just as much as members in the majority classes.
I hear that voice again in my head giving me the advice that was passed on to me from my father, and his father before him, that says, "Be aware of your surroundings." As a kid, I heeded this warning quite literally by taking note of who was in the same room as me, and when I was outside I would always make sure to look ahead, and behind me, to make sure I was not stalked or crept upon. Now that I am older, I have also learned to apply this guidance as a way to instruct my emotional and cognitive reactions. I give a little chuckle out loud as I think about how absurd it was for me to link certain encounters, with friends and random people I met, with the intentions of untrustworthy philosophies and ideas I hear so frequently parroted by news anchors and politicians. It would take a lot of gall for anyone to be actively engaged in trying to under mind the will and resolve of the American peoples to fulfill our obligations to our own peoples and allies.
Currently, there is so much turmoil and conflict going on in the world. The Middle East is in a regional war, with the Syrian-Iraq border as the epicenter, though this war is entrenched and entwined deeply in Sub-Sahara Africa as well. Eastern Europe is erupting into another civil war as a country larger than Texas, the Ukraine, is being split apart by the European Union and Russian Federation. Thailand, the only Southeast Asian country to never be colonized, also has its share of political unrest as civilians clash with one another as foreign investors sit back. Lastly, but not unimportant, since this next conflict can injure and inflict casualties on members in my own family, are the protests going on in Venezuela. All of these conflicts ignore and under mind the demands of the people. Individuals who are being shut out of the conversation, but are at the same time, essential for achieving the realization of the peoples desires' to live, travel, and work in their respective communities.
I am not going to go on an absolutist spiel about how if only things were done a certain way that it would guarantee a world where everybody is given a chance, or that there would be less ignorance and more knowledge in the world, because there are many cases where the opposite is true. History has shown us there are sinister individuals who have no sense of responsibility and care nothing for the duties entrusted to them by others, and do not appreciate gestures of immense concessions given to them by opponents in good faith. They express their thanks by committing some of the most heinous and dehumanizing crimes in history through the use of educational propaganda and militant intimidation in all sectors of the public--like Muammar al-Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Bashar al-Assad, Hosni Mubarak, and soon to be added to the list are Nicolas Maduro and Viktor Yanukovych A system like this can only be manifested by persons who have realized that they have access to an extensive web of relationships, and can link members of their own group to various groups, organizations, and governments in regions all around the world. They use this network to benefit each other at the expense of the people they employ or govern. This is why it is important to consider a system of checks and balance to exist within all forms of society, and the best mechanism to achieve this is through the family.
Families must open up and participate in the realities of their relative communities, and participate in the social phenomena that created their culture. Problems in Africa, the Middle-East, Thailand, the Ukraine, and Venezuela will never be resolved unless the families in these countries learn the truth that their struggle for autonomy is futile without the help from the citizens of the United States. The problems with their governments are being echoed in different tunes in our own government, the United States Congress. We, Americans, must understands that foreigners, currently, look at Americans as elitists who represent the 1% of wealth of the world, just as the American people believe that CEO's and politicians represent the 1% of the American economy. I believe this is why Obama has held back on punishing the bankers and hedge fund traders, because they are merely the middlemen between two opposing systems--individual wealth protected by the family vs. social wealth protected by politics. This is, unfortunately, a mess that the American establishment has always been in since it's very founding, and why justice has always been at the forefront of our culture. How does an individual, of minority standing, protect what is truly his against the maniacal claims of a majority?
We are all the children, parents, siblings, or the extended family member to someone, and if not, than they should have friends and associates that can help assimilate this individual into society. I am convinced that families can exist through various bonds and not just through the blood of the nuclear family. My mind drifts toward a thought considering the origin of families, and all peoples. How an animal that walked the Earth 4.5 to 4.3 million years ago, identified today as Ardipithecus Ramidus}, began to use tools around 1.8 to 1.3 million years ago, to then be known as Homo Habilis, whom gave way to other species to walk more frequently on their rear two legs, such as Homo Erectus and Homo Heidelbergensis, whom then paved the way for the rise of Homo Neanderthalensis and Homo Sapiens, and finally, the first anatomically modern humans. Tales about the creation of a "Mitochondrial Eve" and "Y-Chromosomal Adam" have dominated our imaginations for millennia, and they are believed to have come into existence around 150,000 years ago. They are our earliest ancestors, who are responsible for establishing human dominion over the world.
At times, I cannot help but think that I was better prepared for the world when I was younger. Eighteen years old was an awakening year, a year when I experienced the realities of family relationships, religious ideals, political truths, economical values, and educational necessities. Sociologists and Cultural Anthropologists tend to refer to their subjects and studies through the prism of five perspectives: 1) Family, 2) Religions, 3) Politics, 4) Economics, and 5) Education. Physiologists and Neuroscientists agree that the human being and individuals perceive the world through the prism of five senses: 1) Taste, 2) Touch, 3) Hearing, 4) Sight, and 5) Smell. Though, social scientists would debate whether these are the only five institutions that make up a particular society or culture, it is my belief that these are the five systems that provide the strongest bonds amongst individuals in separate cultures and societies; just like how biological scientists agree that there are animals with the capability of extra-sensory perception, they also agree, that the five aforementioned senses are our species, homo sapiens sapiens, best tools for revealing the beauty of the physical world.
There must be a way to give similar tools that introduce and teach our children about the beauty of the social world they live in. A way to teach them that these institutions, by themselves, are not the whole package, but combined, allow for the individual to make sense of the world they live in. The family is like taste, in the sense that everything an individual loves is, usually, experienced through the family. Religion is like the sense of touch, because it is the institution that allows individuals to have faith in their common man, and that we are all here for the same reason. Politics represents our sense of hearing because it calls for law and order, when we do begin to step on each other's toes, by allowing the individual to each social group's story circulating within the community. Economics is like our sense of sight because it allows the individual to have personal wealth, which allows us to create plans that allow us to set our sights on a particular goal. Education is like our sense of smell because the individual can perceive ideas and news that is relevant and introduced to them already, but new and strange material will require some time before it is able to be fully recognized by the brain. This is my philosophy on social relativity.
If you are a father, make sure that you are there for your wife and children, and act as their prophet. Be the judge who protects members in your community, so that they may all learn to live like royalty and gain the trust of strangers. If you are a wife than make sure you are there for your husband and children, and act as a god that is to be adored by them. At the same time, be a representative of the community, so that people will give to charities under a common belief that it will be for the greater good. If you are a son, than act as a priest, and be an example for the community. Maybe, one day, they will ask you to become a leader for the people, so that we can all trade together under some type of order. If you are one of our daughters than, please, do not shy away from the world. It was made to take care of your health and well-being, because you are the reasons why boys and men invest time in to so many trivialities, so that their time, spent on whatever, may one day show you what you are worth to them. If you are neither of these, and are estranged by your family, just know that there is always someone out there looking out for you. The critics who seek to discourage or guide your impulses, the military which attempts to recruit or provoke your knowledge in survival, or even, the crazy scholars who seem pessimistic but simply wish to teach what it means to be free and to reach one's full potential. Life is too valuable to be angry all the time, and it is too precious to ignore when it is in peril. We are all on this third rock from the Sun, together, and we must all realize what that means when getting involved in any one of these social cliques.
Table of Cultural Realities
Family Religion Politics Economics Education
Taste Father Mother Son Daughter Extended Family
Touch Prophets God Priests Celebrities Scholars
Hearing Judges Representatives Administrators Healthcare Military
Sight Royalty Charities Commerce Banking Universities
Smell Love Faith Law Currency Skill