Thursday, May 31, 2007

Reincarnation - Is It Credible?

To start with, let us assume that reincarnation indeed takes place. What do the Vedic literatures tell us as to why it does take place? Two reasons have been given: Firstly, we're being given a chance to live out our desires. Secondly: We're being given repeated opportunities to attain spiritual realization, break free from material entanglement, and resume our eternal nature in the spiritual world. The Vedic writings are meant to guide us in achieving this goal.

However, if we do not accept that reincarnation indeed takes place, then we have to delve a little further and ascertain whether it makes sense for it not to take place. The concept of reincarnation will fall apart if one denies the existence of God. The goal of this article is not to answer the atheists. The objective is to explain reincarnation to the theists. I will admit that the concept of reincarnation cannot be substantiated if God was to not exist. So, for basic question here is: Given God exists does reincarnation take place?

Let us then come to the point of 'Eternal fire and/or Eternal hell'. There are two major issues with these phenomena: (i) It implies that God who is not only all-powerful, but also all merciful God, is cruel -he does not give us a second chance, (ii) It also implies that God is extremely unfair-he favors some souls compared to others. This is basically a flawed evangelical Christian concept. For instance, one born to good Christian parents naturally gets opportunities to hear about Jesus Christ, and, according to Christian teachings, is saved. But if one is born in an atheistic family -well, go to hell. Obviously, the all-powerful, all merciful God cannot let this happen.

Why is one person rich, another poor, one healthy, another diseased? If we live only once, then the best explanation is: "It's just chance" - which is no explanation at all. The Vedic- Krishna Conscious answer to all these confusions is that at the end of one lifetime we embark upon another. The Bhagavad-gita says, "As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones."

To an inquisitive and intelligent theist, this is the only explanation that can make sense. We cannot look through 'the window' of present life and be bewildered as to why there are differences when God is the supreme father to all. If we take that window as a sliding one passing through many lives, it will make more sense. At this point it is natural and easy to understand reincarnation as a natural cause and effect reaction to our karma. Also, it will only make sense to realize that karma is carried over from one life to another. Having understood this point, one is not bewildered by any of the seemingly anomalies one encounters due to presupposition of one life concept. Reincarnation therefore, is a critical part of theism. Without this, the very notion of the personal loving God who is also all-powerful falls apart. Reincarnation is therefore, the most credible aspect to the intelligent theist.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Hip Hop Culture Imitates Don Imus

Cloaked in 5 college degrees an associates, a bachelors, 2 masters and a doctorate degree, I told my predominately white students that I would never give any one such as Don Imus permission to affect, taint or offend my self concept or self-worth as a human being. I told my students that if a person does not play a significant role in my life that includes loving me or paying my bills; their opinion does not matter to me. A white male student said, I respect you Dr. Sturges, but I disagree with you. He went on to explain that prior to the Jewish Holocaust the media desensitized the public's perception of Jewish people by publishing derogatory cartoons and commentaries in their mainstream media. The media laid the psychological foundation that opened the channels to physical abuse. Once the public no longer saw the Jewish people as human beings worthy of equal respect; this made it easy and justified Germany's position to kill, abuse, and destroy the lives of millions of Jewish people.

I am so angry with my student for telling me this. I am so angry with him for taking off my academic cloaks and exposing that little black girl who always hated herself. I thought my degrees could insulate me from being black in America and especially quiet the little black girl who asked her daddy to paint her white when she was five years old. This request brought my father to tears. My daddy asked me, "Why don't you want to look like the people in this world who love you the most?" I told my daddy that nobody like black people.

I am so devastated that my student's comment unveiled, the shame that I had tucked away while being the only black student in an anthropology class watching a documentary about an African tribe while the white male students made fun of the appearance of the breasts of the women in the tribe, stating how disgusting and unattractive they were. Their breasts looked like mine. I put my head down between my folded arms on my desk and sobbed. I will never forget this day.

The dominant Hip Hop culture did not lay the foundation for Don Imus' statement of "nappy headed hos"; the dominant Hip Hop culture is the physical manifestation of self-hatred among black people that stems from post traumatic slave syndrome. What was unique about African American slavery is not the physical abuse of the enslaved people; but the psychological destruction of their native language, cultural beliefs, traditions and heritage. It is through language that we define ourselves. Africans were forced to use a language that denigrated them and declared them to be property and partially human. Even the "N" word that many rappers use originated from slavery. Don Imus is not imitating the dominant collective consciousness of Hip Hop Culture; Hip Hop culture is imitating the collective consciousness of the white oppressor that is symbolic in Don Imus.

The word nappy is a very loaded word. Prior to being shipped to America during slavery blacks did not view their own hair texture as nappy in its natural state. The term nappy implies that the "normal" or correct texture of hair is straight or curly. Moreover, this term was used to compare the hair texture of bi-racial children of the slave master to those of African descent. The slave masters children were given preferential treatment and told that they were more intelligent and attractive because of their genetic connections with the dominant European white ethnicity.

I would like for everyone to imagine that they are white. Now I want you to imagine that all of your world leaders are black. Imagine that superman and all of your super heroes are black. I want you to imagine that the very first time that you learn about European culture outside of your immediate family and community you are on a slave ship. I want you to imagine that the only time that you discuss European history is once a month out of the year. Do you think that you would be who you are today?

I think that what is most dangerous about Don Imus's comment about the Rutger's Women Basketball team is not whether or not they heard it, but the long term ripple effect on the hearts and souls of the other people who are listening and how this shapes their perceptions and expectations of black women in general. As for the dominant Hip Hop culture, my question to society is—Do you think that Hip Hop culture is reflective of a psychologically healthy group of people who respect, love and honor themselves or is Hip Hop reflective of a people who are hurting with self-hatred?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Money is Power and You Need to Get Some

With gas prices in Sacramento, California almost reaching $3.50 per gallon and the average price for a single family home over $300,000, few people can take a vow of poverty and survive.

The good new is that you need to be rich and being rich is not a bad thing. After reading The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles, I am happy to announce to the world and also to my southern Baptist brothers and sisters that being rich is noble. Being poor is not noble.

Can you imagine my sheer joy at finding the answer to my most pressing questions in a manuscript written in 1910 by a really funny looking guy? The practical applications that are outlined in "The Science of Getting Rich" are taken directly from the pages of the Bible.

The problem has been that these practical applications for getting rich were never explained to me in terms that I understood. I always thought that money was the root of all evil.

The reverse is true because poverty causes more evil than riches ever could.

This is quite a revelation for a girl from the south who attended Sunday school, BTU (Baptist Training Union) and night services for her whole life, reading this manuscript literally turned my life upside down.

When I talk about being rich, I envision corporate jets and mansions located in several strategic locations around the world. I see people who tend to my vast acreage of land. I have dreams and ambitions that when I voiced them, my mother would just shake her head.

I am so profoundly grateful that I now have a voice and a purpose for wanting, desiring, even demanding those things that are mine from the universe. The Science of Getting Rich gives me justification for everything that I ever want in my life. For "in order to know more, do more and be more, we must have more. This knowledge frees the spirit and your soul.

I don't have to compete to be rich. I don't have to drive hard bargains or take advantage of others. I can create my entire rich abundance just by knowing that the universe intends that I become all that I can.

"The desire for riches, writes Mr. Wattles, is simply the capacity for larger life seeking fulfillment. Ever desire is the effort of an unexpressed possibility to come into action"

As to the practical realities of getting rich, I found it necessary because of my character to explore business models that would bring the riches that I desire. When Wallace D. Wattles explains the analogy about the sewing machine, he tells us that if you want a sewing machine you must hold the mental image of it with positive certainty that it is being made and is on its way to you.

I took this same analogy with a business model and I contend that the Google Adsense program is my vehicle for riches. I can create this thought in my mind, create Adsense websites and see people happily clicking on my website providing a quick and easy way to riches.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Some Thoughts on $400.00 Haircuts by Politicians

Why do politicians spend $400.00 on their haircuts? One Democrat Politician recently spent four-hundred dollars on his haircut and then bought a $1.00 bumper sticker for his $250,000 car? The other day I got an excellent hair cut for $20.00 with shampoo and all. The most I have ever spent on a haircut has been $40.00 and only due to the very high-rent district I was in.

How can any politician claim to be one with the people they are to serve if they spend $400.00 on a Haircut? I mean even the famous pop-stars barely spend that much. In fact, I just read in one very reliable news journal, perhaps you have heard about it; "National Inquirer" that even Paris Hilton only spends $300 or so dollars on her hair and she even gets paid $100,000 just to show up at parties.

It is a slap in the face to the working men and women of this nation for our politicians to go and blow $400 on a haircut and then tell us they are "one of us" and that we must vote for them? No Way! Someone needs to go and mess up their hair and teach them a lesson. I mean this is utterly ridiculous - what a sham and what a disgraceful message they are sending to our younger generation.

Are you going to vote for some politician who spends $400 on a haircut just so they can look good giving a speech or so they can look their finest on their next radio talk show interview? Not me. You decide if you want to be taken for a ride.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Jimmy Carter Didn't Lie

Jimmy Carter didn't lie when he called President George Bush, "The worst president EVER, in the history of this country." He lied when he said his words were misinterpreted and taken out of context. Mr. Carter, having given his assessment a second thought, called his words "reckless," when in fact they were a accurate assessment of Mr. Bush's presidency. No president has done more to circumvent the Constitution upon which this nation was founded, than George Dubya Bush. He has single-handedly lowered the high esteem and stature in which the United States was once held. He squandered the considerable residue of international good will we enjoyed shortly after Nine-Eleven. His shoot from the hip foreign policy initiatives has been disastrous. The so-called war on terror is a farce. As he well knows, you can't seriously wage a war against a tactic. Iraq had nothing to do with Nine-Eleven or al-Qaeda and wasn't a threat. They were contained before Mr. Bush decided a pre-emptive strike was in order. In so doing we lost the moral high ground and became the terrorists we were supposed to be against. We tend to forget the huge toll the war and subsequent occupation has had on innocent Iraqi civilians. Iraq has become unhinged and we are in the middle of their civil war.

Mr. Bush's operating tactics are straight out of the Nazi handbook. He has literally gotten away with murder, by convincing us that the Boogie Man exists and is intent on doing us harm. Al-Qaeda is the Boogie Man of choice. Nine-Eleven has become his mantra. To keep the fear factor going, Mr. Bush recently released declassified document that suggest Bush family friend Osama bin Lardin wants to cause us further harm. That should have been obvious, but there's no need for us to retreat to the bomb shelter. Bush has positioned himself as the great defender, in a world that is hell-bent on our destruction.

The truth of the matter is he has weakened us by creating existing and future terrorists, because of his repressive policies. Other countries have experienced greater levels of terrorism, with more frequency than us, but none of them reacted the way we did by attacking an uninvolved sovereign land. Bush's domestic policies have resulted in the loss of so-called inalienable rights. American citizens are now subject to have their phones tapped, e-mails and letters arbitrarily read and could be spirited away in the middle of the night without legal recourse. Under the Bush Reich we can be taken to a foreign country and tortured, with the stroke of his pen. This president has ignored the Constitution upon which this nation was founded and reinstituted the monarchy. King George has ruled by fear. So afraid are we of being harmed or being called coward that we have allowed him to rule unfettered. Unfortunately, like his political party of choice, the Democratic Party, Jimmy Carter lacks the courage of his convictions. The Democratic Congress came in with a mandate to end the war, instead they have thus far capitulated to the worst president EVER!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Terrorism is Unfortunate Indeed

As the virus of Islam grows with hate,

The innocent victims and lovers of freedom relate.

We are joined together in a cause of just,

Our steadfast resolve cannot rust.

The Middle Eastern media and propaganda has convinced themselves,

That we will lose and put our weapons back on the shelves.

As Al Jezzera incites gang attire and color,

They create more hateful youth to die as fodder.

Preaching violence and hate against the Jews,

Only causes them a further fall as they lose.

For in war there are no winners,

Indeed, in the end all men are sinners.

The pathogen of evil must be quelled,

The purveyors of hate must be repelled.

Islam must stand up against this humanitarian crime,

Then we shall have the peace we search for in our time.

Those who turn their heads and refuse to see truth,

Will only lose another generation of youth.

It is time for Islam to cure their ill,

Stand up and allow cooler heads to chill.

Where is the real problem in the World not the West,

For one to purport this can only does so in jest.

Its all just desert sand furious sound,

Islam has been a war with its self as long as it has been around.

No one can deny the historical past,

Why won't Islam give peace a chance.

Say what you will or say what you might,

This does not make international terrorism alright.

For those who wish to change the world to hate,

I am sorry to alert you that it is a little too late.

Peace always comes at a price,

Why won't the international terrorists just be nice.

If we cannot convince them to render their best behavior,

It shall be our honor to eliminate them forever.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

What About the War in Iraq, Mr Brown?

The news in the UK today has been all about Gordon Brown and his candidacy to become the next leader of the New Labour Party and with that the next British Prime Minister. He will move next door, so to speak. What has been a little surprising is that he seems to be taking on the leadership of New Labour without the murmur of opposition. In response to this Brown is doing the 'I am so humble act'.

During the day the radio news has been providing snippets of Brown's "I am so humble' speech. He says his prime focus is education, pronounced in capital letters, then he also has to fix the NHS, restore trust in government and worry about housing, environment issues and building fabulous communities. All of these sound so wonderfully soothing.

So far I have not heard one word about what he intends doing about the war in Iraq. Possibly Mr Blair, who is having tea parties with Bush at the moment, thinks he can sort this disaster out while he is still at the helm, thus leaving Brown with a rosy future. After all it is Blair's stubbornness that got the UK into the war in the first instance. There were a fair number of Brits against it at the time, in fact it was one of the bigger popular protests seen in the UK for a while. However, to no avail as Blair decided he needed to play on the world stage and attach himself to Bush.

Of course Bush and Blair are adamant that they are winning the war in Iraq. Today the BBC reported on a particular damming report which has been published by the UK foreign policy think thank the Royal Institute for International Affairs, also known as Chatham House. It states that Iraq is facing collapse and maintains that the Iraqi government is practically powerless and irrelevant in many parts of the country.

Not only does the report say that there are several civil wars in Iraq, with strong leanings of support towards al-Qaeda in many areas. But it also points out that Iraqi's neighbours are fueling the unrest as they have more to gain from an Iraq in turmoil and fragmented. Neighbouring states are Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey and each has its own reasons for seeing continued instability in Iraq. The efforts of the US and allies are purely moving the unrest around into different areas rather than overcoming it.

While politicians, political analysts and academics ponder the success or not of a war, the ordinary people of Iraq are suffering hardships which we in our protected little cocoons can't even imagine. Talking about that, we see so little of the horrific effects of this war on the people in Iraq. Is there a media gag out there?

I found this blog and recommend strongly you find your way to it as well. This is an ordinary girl in Baghdad reporting on how this war is affecting her and her family. It is devastating. It really puts a face to what ordinary folk are having to live through, or mostly die from, at the mercy of two megalomaniacs. Find it at Blair and Bush should be charged with crimes against humanity. They should not be allowed to get away with this.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mother's Day - How An Abolitionist Liberal Wrote A Proclamation For Peace And An End To War in 1872

Did you know that Mother's Day has a controversial and political meaning, going back to 1872? That is when a woman named Julia Ward Howe wrote the Mother's Day Proclamation. Howe was opposed to war and tried to get mothers throughout the United States to join together against war anywhere in the world.

Julia Howe had written the words to The Battle Hymn of the Republic earlier, in 1861, after being devastated by the Civil War. She wanted women to unite and help to bring an end to fighting and war of any kind. She believed that if mothers stood up against war then the men in government would listen and wars would become a thing of the past.

But it was not to be. Howe was a vocal abolitionist and had come into disfavor with those who wanted slavery to continue well after the end of the Civil War. These people made it difficult for Howe to get her message out. Her Proclamation became an underground message for women's rights. Women's liberation was not a popular movement at this time in our country's history so Mother's Day for Peace was celebrated quietly by few women for the next 30 years.

It is interesting that Mother's Day would have its roots in a peace loving, abolitionist, women's rights system of beliefs. Howe wanted women to be able to vote, but that desire probably kept the women of her time from having any more rights and privileges than they already enjoyed. If women had been given the vote back in the 1870's the future of the United States may have gone differently. Instead, women were forced to wait until 1920 to vote.

Susan B. Anthony had cast an illegal vote in the same year,1872, and was fined $100 for doing so. More than likely she cast her vote for Horace Greeley and not for Ulysses S. Grant. Greeley, who died a few weeks after the election, was considered to be the more liberal candidate and also had spoken in favor of women's rights in general.

So in the same year that Susan B. Anthony was voting illegally and Horace Greeley was running for President as a liberal candidate, Julia Ward Howe wrote her Mother's Day Proclamation and started Mother's Day for Peace.

It wasn't until many years later that Anna Jarvis, the daughter of a woman who helped care for soldiers during the Civil War, was able to start a national day of recognition for all mothers in the United States.

Here we are 135 years later and although women now have the vote and many other privileges once only granted to men, not much has changed on the war front. Happy Mother's Day to all women readers. Think about what we can all do today that was only allowed to be done by men in the past. Maybe we can change some more things for women of the future.