Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Poison we readily consume...

We are poisoned.

Evidence of this poison surrounds me. My room is currently in a very messy state. What is it that causes this mess? It is remnants of things I once thought important enough to accumulate which now serve as nothing more than obstacles between my bed, my desk, my closet and my door. Part of it is just part of my laziness in tidying up, but it paints quite the picture. Newspapers, still-unpacked suitcases, books, shopping bags... they all fill the floor. It's just STUFF. Stuff that was once important enough to make it into my room, but now lies discarded.

My gym clothes lie in a heap as well. Yet more evidence of our poisoned lifestyles. Someone once pointed it out that we eat so much that we then have to run in place to work off the fat. It's true. I spend half an hour each day running in place on the cross-trainer, accomplishing nothing more than burning calories and maybe building up some muscle. And I would think it weird if there weren't dozens of other ladies at the gym doing the same thing. Often I have to stand in line to do nothing more than run in place. What is it about our lifestyle that we find it so vital to consume more calories than we will naturally burn, then spend valuable time running in place? And yes, I am definitely more conscious of my caloric intake these days, but the whole running in place really represents years and years of too many calories. And I'm not the only one who struggles. Child seats are no longer big enough for many children. Obesity has reached EPIC proportions. "They" say it is an epidemic.

We gear our lives towards success and financial independence. We chase after our dreams - whether it be owning that first home, driving a nice car, earning the next promotion at work or getting on the dean's list. Our culture has taught us that happiness comes with success. And we hunger for success. I definitely include myself in this we... My skin has broken out more than usual as it is final exam time, and final time is stressful... why? Because I feel such a strong need to achieve, to somehow prove my worth as an academic.

And I'm not saying that these things in and of themselves are bad... But what are we losing in the pursuit? How many a businessman or even a pastor, has left a wife and children to run off with another woman? How many families period have broken up in this pursuit of success? How many diseases have resulted as a consequence to our over-achieving lifestyle? How many kids have suffered self-esteem or other damage in an attempt to live up to these expectations?

It makes me sad that there is not a single famous Hollywood marriage that has stayed together. And movie stars, they've got everything... talent, money, fame... But they can't maintain what is really important.

We "first-world" Westerners are NOT living the good life.

And we spread this poison. This materialism, this drive for sucess at all costs... It reaches to the third world and pours salt into the wound of their genuine poverty.

And I wish I could ignore it. Because I think that success - the way we have come to define it - is within my grasp. But what horror it would be to achieve it, then realize it's empty.

So, I don't know what to suggest. But, here's a start... a link to the blog my friend Ruth set up to promote her social justice film festival.

No more exams, please... (I wish)

So, I've finally finished 3 exams and only have one to go... which means I will be done in no more than 25 hours.

Unfortunately, I also have to study for my accounting exam because rumour has it that there are a lot of theory type questions... So, while I can crunch numbers without taking an accounting course, this final requires me to actually KNOW something.

But, I'm tired of studying and tired of exams and really wish I could just fast-forward my life to a time when I'm not literally in the middle of exams.

Today's exam was ESPECIALLY frustrating because it was multiple choice, but the answers were so ambiguous! I spent my weekend memorizing theories and names of important people, but the exam tested minutiae. Which is dumb, because what kind of manager would you rather have - one who knew that Buzz Hargrove was the president of the Auto Worker's Union during the filming of the video "Final Offer" or one who knew Vroom's Expectancy Theory, and consequently that the important part of motivation was to offer rewards that were valued?

ANYWAY... It's over now and I have to wait and see if I picked enough of the most right answers.

Accounting, you're next.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Problem with Capitalism...

The biggest problem with capitalism is that there are people who get left behind and there is no good way to deal with them.

The government certainly does not have the answers - they may think they do, but millions of dollars of red tape later...

And of course, there is the not-for-profit sector, but often the problems they face are out of their control, and it can be difficult to improve things within the "system" of capitalism.
So, I would like to propose an idea for all of the big corporations out there (yes, all of you who read my blog ;) ). I really think that corporations need to take on more social responsibility. Let's take, for example, Nike. Now, I just want to say that I do not want to start a child labour debate... the issue here is that Nike goes into communities and provides jobs... which should impove the quality of life... But, why can't they go one step further and actually undertake community development work? The cost to them would be so marginal, and it would improve their reputation.

One story that we heard in my ORG A 201 class is about how 3M was working on a drug that was supposed to do something for cows, but they discovered in the process that it could help with a major epidemic amongst humans in Africa. After they found that there was no way to profit from the drug (the people who needed it couldn't afford it and there was no government that would subsidize the cost), they just donated it. And, when they found there was need to distribute the drug, they covered those costs, too.

Why can't more companies do that? The 3M story tells me that is is possible...

So, that's my rant, of sorts. Corporations need to pick up the slack on social responsibility.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Not a Rant...

So, the rant is still coming, but I am currently house-sitting a place with no Internet connection and actually am spending some time studying for exams... (Although, trust me, if I had easier access to the Internet, this would be the sixth post of the week, undoubtedly)

If you get a rant before May 8, be happy.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Corporate North America

Here it is, the long awaited rant...

The truth is that I am hesitant to share my views because they are popular with neither the left- nor the right-wingers, and while I have no problem ticking off the left-wingers, I consider myself to be rather conservative. But here goes...

Capitalism and democracy work because they are the only systems that take into account human nature. Other systems, such as dictatorship and communism, depend very heavily on goodwill and good intentions of both the leaders, and the general public.

I am not naturally an altruistic person. My natural inclination is NOT to put the needs of others ahead of myself. Capitalism says, "that's fine, but here's an incentive to do so." For example, if a baker makes bread to sell, his motivation is to make some more money than it cost him to make the bread. If his bread sucks, people will stop buying it, and then he can't make money. Likewise, if he puts sawdust in the bread, people will find out, and they will stop buying it. So, rather than having a special bread-checker come around each morning, the baker is kept in check by his own greed. And that's how capitalism works... each seller of a good or service produces a quality good because that's the best way to make money.

Any other system won't work because it assumes that people NATURALLY look out for the good of others. And if we, as generally good people, know that is not the natural way for US, how can we trust everyone else to naturally look out for our interests?

Since my blogs sometimes get too long, I will continue this at a later time... But that is my defense of capitalism. [And, on a side note, the reason democracy works, to quote Jon Foreman of Switchfoot... "You see, I believe in democracy because I mistrust all humanity equally, (including myself). Power corrupts us all and we become political, (in the worst connotation of the word). We become simply pawns of our own insatiable hunger for control. Maybe control is a myth, like Santa Claus or the easter bunny: a nice fable that makes the children want to be good all year round. Well, seems to me there's a monster in all of us. I pledge allegiance to a nation without borders, without pride, without politicians like ourselves" - from]

Stay tuned for the problems of capitalism.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Beauty of Disappointment

*Disclaimer: the important stuff starts in the third paragraph after this one. The first two are just background.

There are a million things on my mind that I could blog about, but for some reason, this one made the cut. And I'm not sure why, because I haven't experienced any devastating disappointment lately... but I digress.

Perhaps it is because it is a gloriously dreary day today. Rainy days are supposed to be a negative thing, think "rainy day fund" or "rain cheque"... but I really enjoy them. So, I think that's what has put me in the mood for this topic.

I think that what makes failure so satisfying is that you've hit rock bottom, but you're still okay. Realizing your worst fears, but then discovering that the only thing left is to learn from them and move on. That nothing has really changed.

Just a totally random thought.

Stay tuned for a rant on the evils of Corporate North America and what I intend to do about it...