Are Arranged Marriages Better for Society?

On September 29th, a talk show about arranged marriages was hosted. For some reason, it sparked controversy. A couple of men and most women were upset about being forced to marry someone they didn’t love. Yet, over 50% of marriages fail. That means, even though most couples enter matrimony in the name of love, the fairytale ends with a divorce. If so many divorcees married for love and the majority are divorced, what happened? Is love enough?

For thousands of years, marriages were arranged. It’s a recent phenomenon that most people choose their own spouse. With an arranged marriage, you have the benefit of your parents and grandparents who shop for your mate. They have been watching specific families for compatibility. They would look at family values, attitudes of parents and children, socioeconomic class, ability to manage money, assets, etc. At the least, they would marry their offspring to someone in an equal socioeconomic class. At best, you can marry up. To do that, the children would have to be prepared to marry, understand their role and uphold the family name.

Today, you are on your own. On top of that, people are taught to be tough and independent. And the idea of compatibility has been replaced by love and romance. At the same time, women initiate 70% of divorces. Does that mean women don’t care about love? Does it mean women don’t value men? Or are men ignoring the needs of women?

In the gay community, 20% of the marriages between men end on divorce. As for lesbian marriages, 45% end in divorce. It seems women are having a difficult time getting along with anyone. In fact, the complaints in lesbian marriages are the same as heterosexual. It seems women are more likely to have unrealistic expectations about their partner or their ideas about how marriage works.

With that said, perhaps people are completely unprepared for marriage. Marriage is a legal binding contract between two people. Its origins have more to do with protecting generational wealth. It ensures the assets the couple acquired are protected and passed down to offspring.

Instead of entering marriage as partnership, there are many who have fallen into the trap of Hollywood love. That means lots of fun, excitement and surprise gifts. Frolic becomes the priority over building a legacy. When the excitement wanes, the so-called chemistry disappears. That is often the path to divorce. Or infidelity becomes a substitute. When fun and excitement are the priority, you find the brain secretes dopamine from the fun stimuli. When the person no longer receives dopamine rushes, they will seek it elsewhere. In reality, that is like being married to a drug addict. They cannot function without their high. Going to the gym is a much better way to get a dopamine rush.

On my talk show, we discussed how the US arrived in this state of dysfunctional marriages. For the most part, it began with a book written in 1819 by John Keats. The book is called, La Belle Dame sans Merci. It was one of the first romance novels. Initially the book had little to no impact on US culture. However, by the 1850s, women started to desire the romance they read in Keat’s novel. If you think about it, it may have been one of the most damaging blows to the institution of marriage. That book shaped how other romance novels were written. And it is responsible for Hollywood love themes. People have forgotten the intention of marriage. At one time, compatibility based on family values superceded love and frolic. Besides, over time, the couple in an arranged marriage would grow to depend on one another and affinity would form. Keat’s book derailed the old social structure and put society on a path of choosing a spouse based on feelings.

In addition, during the 1920s, the diamond company DeBeers created a slogan: diamonds are a girl’s best friends. Before the 20s, only rich men purchased diamonds for their wives. After the DeBeers’ campaign, all women expected diamonds. And they want a diamond that is larger than their friend’s or sister’s.

What’s more interesting is the idea of a man placing a diamond on a woman’s finger goes back to ancient Greece. The Greeks saw precious stones as having spiritual powers. Diamonds were known as the strongest stone. As a result, it symbolized protection. When a man left home for extended time periods, he would place a diamond on his wife’s finger to protect her while he was away.

The third aspect of society that has hurt marriage is the feminist movement. They convinced women that marriage is an institution where men completely dominate women. Men force women to take his last name. Then he influences her belief system and completely changes her. He also keeps her barefoot and pregnant. That mindset has women enter marriage with defensive and protective feelings. The marriage is doomed before it starts. Except, even lesbian marriages are failing. So it is not about men. So what’s missing?

In the past, parents and grandparents were involved in the selection of a spouse. While there were forced arrangements, there were many marriages that were created with the children’s best interest at heart. Parents want what’s best for their children. They would rather see their child in a healthy union, instead of one filled with strife. Through their experience, they may have a better idea of what is compatible with their child. That is not so much based on the child’s personality. It is based on values. When you add the grandparents to the equation, it becomes easier to match your offspring.

Compatibility and values is clearly demonstrated in the book, The Millionaire Mind, by Thomas Stanley. In his book, he writes about many millionaire couples he interviewed. He said they experience significantly less divorce than couples from lower socioeconomic classes. He said it was not money or image that kept them together. He found they were better at finding a mate who was compatible based on values. In fact, many of the millionaire couples did not have much money when they met. In other cases, the husband lost everything and the wife had to work. In some cases, they had success and later became homeless. Yet, they never split. The wife remained with the husband even when they had to sleep out of the car. At some point, their team effort allowed them to realize success.

I say that to say marriage is based on compatibility, not feelings or dopamine rushes. When it is an arranged marriage, the two families thoroughly explore other families to ensure the spouses and families are compatible. They may even have businesses that complement one another, like one owns a cattle ranch. The other owns a leather manufacturing business.

In today’s dating scene, when a man and woman are getting to know one another, a man can tell the women anything she wants to hear. When your parents and grandparents are seeking a spouse, they are interviewing the man and family. It is a serious process. Therefore, it will be much harder for a man to be a player, especially with the father and grandfather involved. They may want to know if the man can run the family business. Do you have the qualities of care and responsibility to look after their daughter and grandchildren? They are likely to ask questions and get answers. That means games are completely eliminated, which is the source of frustration for men and women today. When a woman is seeking a man on her own, she can be swept away by deception and the dopamine high. Conversely, the beauty and body of a woman can blind a man. When in fact, she may only care about his resources. And she has no intention of being a good caring partner to the man. In fact, she may even deny him access to her body by not having sex. There are many sexless marriages.

On a side note, many of you may squawk that you don’t want to marry someone you don’t love. On my talk show, I discussed a reality TV program called Beauty and the Geek. The show brought together 10 geeky men with 10 attractive women. The geeks proclaimed that these are women they would never have the guts to approach in real life. The women also stated that these are not the kinds of men that would interest them. Throughout the show, men and women teamed up to accomplish certain tasks together. As the show progressed, they rotated by teaming up with a different person. By the end of the show, it was amazing to see the affinity shared between them. The show was a social experiment that proved even unlikely people could create affinity. They simply need a bridge to bring them together.

To sum it up, arranged marriages could significantly reduce divorce in the US. If you leverage the wisdom of your parents and grandparents or aunts and uncles, you are more likely to choose or be paired up with a significant other based on compatibility. Since feelings are fleeting, love can come and go. However, compatible values can be a stabilizing force.

Furthermore, since parents want their offspring to marry the best person, it would be wise to educate and prepare them for their role as a spouse. First, that will make them a more attractive candidate. Second, they don’t have to play trial and error at everything. That gives the marriage a better chance of success.

When the marriage is arranged, both sides of the family are actively involved in the couple’s success. Because the entire family has a vested interest in the marriage, they serve as a support structure when the couple goes through a rough patch.

Finally, successful unions would benefit society as a whole. The more successful marriages that exist the more people look forward to participating in a union of some kind. Even corporate America will benefit. Imagine. On any given day, approximately 50% of the workforce is headed for a divorce, in the middle of one or just coming out of one. That affects work productivity. Most are distraught when facing divorce. If you eliminate divorce from society, you create a happier and more productive workforce. Everyone wins.

What do you think? I would love to hear your feedback. And I’m open to ideas. Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, connect through my blog

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5 Essential Recreational and Sports Amenities Every Housing Society Must Have

Sports and recreation are key elements of a balanced and happy lifestyle. However, the lives of people in metropolitan cities are increasingly being characterized by a strenuous work culture, which combined with the rise of technology-driven electronic gadgets is becoming a barrier to healthy living. While most people want to relax and take care of their health after coming back from the office, they are either too tired or don’t have access to recreational places in their immediate vicinity.

Let us now look at some of the important sports and recreational amenities that should be a part of every housing society:

1. Swimming Pool

Swimming is a rigorous, full-body exercise that can greatly improve our fitness levels. It boosts the weight loss process, aids in muscle toning, improves lung capacity, and helps maintain heart health. After a long and tiring day at work, a pool session can provide a really rejuvenating experience. For this reason, modern residential societies designed by the best housing architects generally include a swimming pool.

2. Indoor Games

At times, people want to stay away from an intense physical workout and just relax. Indoor games such as snooker and billiards, carom boards, bowling, table tennis, indoor skating, etc. help people beat stress and feel refreshed. Moreover, most indoor sports can be played by people of all ages, so including them is beneficial for the health of all residents.

3. Health Clubs & Gymnasium

Nowadays, a gymnasium is a must-have amenity in every housing society. Working out helps us keep our blood pressure in control and get a perfectly toned body. Keeping this in mind, the top residential architects are building housing societies that include high-tech gyms with state-of-the-art equipment and the best trainers.

4. Outdoor Sports

Playing outdoor sports is the most preferred way of staying fit and healthy. Amenities for playing popular sports such as cricket, badminton, volleyball, can be incorporated in most modern housing societies. Besides, a segregated children’s playing area with slides and swings could also be included.

5. Multipurpose Hall

Activities like yoga, meditation, and aerobics, have gained immense popularity and are increasingly becoming a major part of the regular lives of people. In such a scenario, including a multipurpose hall that allows residents to practice these activities can help them relax and promote their well-being.

The top architects know the importance of sports and recreation in a person’s daily life. If you choose to stay in a housing society developed by the top residential architects, you can enjoy a healthier, cleaner, and a much more relaxing environment.

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Did My School Prepare Me for My Society?

Whenever I hear a student or any graduate asking this question, I always think that the right question they should or ought to ask themselves in place of this is ‘Did I allow my school to prepare me for society?’

School is described as an organized environment for the purpose of adding values to the lives of members of a society through teaching and learning. What society does through schools is educating, that is, making known to the people of the society something that is previously unknown to them. So, knowing the unknown is what we call ‘knowledge’, and that is the essence of going to school – to possess knowledge, skills, minds and virtues which one needs to survive in the society, (and which hitherto going to school is completely unknown to them). If you say, ‘did your school prepare you for society?’ my question for you is, ‘everything you know today, do they come to you by chance, without ever going to school, without any contribution from your schoolmates? Your teachers?’ if your answer is NO, then it means your school has performed or is performing its duty of making know to you; the problem might probably lies with you.

Whatever is credited to your brain are those things that you know – your knowledge; whether you like it or not, society rates you based on your knowledge, and your chances of getting job or you creating jobs yourself is based and determined by that knowledge of yours. This is because all about school is society! Whatever you have come to discover about your society from school, whether good or bad, are all knowledge. Knowledge can be the discovery of a problem and it can also be the discovery of a solution to a particular problem. But whether problem or solution, all is called knowledge – and both are still parts of the same society and both can become money for you.

Schools are not there to help us discover only solutions to problem, they are also meant to help us discover problems as there might have been. There must be problem before solution. Your participation in learning age – whether through formal or informal means – is to know and discover something about something; what you want to know and discover something about is in the society. Society is the inspiration behind all its schools; it is the foundation for all of them and the reality of their existence and the reason for their establishment.

Society doesn’t establish school without having reason for it. The need must be for it. Society needs people for some specialized services for its people’s sake; it needs those that will be managing its technological services; it needs people who will be protecting the lives and properties of its people and its territory; it needs people that will be helping it managing the financial issues – the cash flow, so that there won’t be inflation or the other; it needs those who will be teaching its people how to access instruction and information, and the help of those who can stand between its people and the spiritual entities. And for these people to be qualified to handle such services, there must be a means of training them – and that training centres are schools of all kinds. That is the essence of establishing schools – training people to serve people for a benefit. And to ensure that the people to be trained are well equipped before their training period (learning age) elapsed, society arranges and organizes the last step of the period (university and other higher institutions) to look just as the society itself – that’s why there are different kinds of religious bodies, organizations and associations within higher institutions with lots of chances and time for students to participate in some activities, such as doing student-based businesses, rendering volunteering services, watching educational movies, having time for group discussions, etc.

Then let me answer the question with Malcolm London’s statement in his 2013 Tedtalk which he gave while he was still an undergraduate. He said, “I hear education systems are failing, but I believe they’re succeeding at what they’re built to do – to train you, to keep you on track… “

The truth, dear, is that your school is succeeding in its purpose of establishment. I don’t believe there is any school that is failing in that aspect. If you have been seeing graduates out there who say their schools fail to prepare them for society ask them these questions as I’m asking you, now, ‘How do you study while school?’ ‘Do you study both theoretically and technically?’ ‘How often do you put into practice on your own, aside assignment, all that you are being taught in classroom?’ ‘Are you only exploring the library or exploring the whole school in totality?’ ‘In your exploration of the school, do you explore it consciously or unconsciously, with aim of learning or with aim of flexing?’ ‘What can you confidently say you have allowed the school to change in you?’ etc.

The reason for these questions is that while schools prepare for students both academically and practically, most students (larger percent) only prepare for schools academically. Only few prepare for schools in both studies and these are the students society celebrates in truth.

I don’t know how you’ve been going through your school or how you did while still there, but I do know that exploration of classrooms, library and lesson-notes only can give you as much as course or discipline knowledge, while it’s only your self-teaching and school totality exploration that can give you elements of education such as outspokenness, confidence, inner strength, ability to decision, taking risks, knowledgeability, creativity or ability to improvised, etc which society needs. If your discipline knowledge gives you job; elements of education help you stay and grow in the job.

The only reason society allows the features of real society in higher institutions is to give you the elements of education. It is their exhibitions that will tell society and its people that you have really been to school because those elements will activate your knowledge, lift it up, direct it, sharpen it, position it, protect it, expand it, sustain it, advertise it and most importantly make you happy that you have acquired such discipline knowledge.

One of the reasons most graduates consider their course or discipline knowledge irrelevant and not useful in their society is because they lack those elements of education which can help them position it to the right place. As a matter of fact, these elements of education are what make a difference between two personalities of the same academic qualifications, and they are what most employers want to be sure of first in their prospective employees before considering their academic standard.

Friend, all schools make move to prepare students for society, but most students refuse to welcome the gesture. They won’t explore the chance; they won’t allow school to prepare. School is more than the teachers, the classrooms, the library, the textbooks, the assignment and the exams; school is all that contributes to your knowledge and these may include your friends, your association, your thinking and reasons, where you often go to, what you often do and say, etc. Along with the primary features of a school, those are secondary, but imperatively important to your mastery of what the primary features are teaching

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Domestic Violence: A Scar on Indian Society

Domestic violence is a reality in many families around the world. Since I come from a relatively secure environment I am nothing short of appalled by the fact of domestic violence. I used to think that this was a problem mainly in developing regions and among uneducated people but stood corrected once I became sensitive to ground realities. According to the global estimates published by the World Health Organization, 1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime. Domestic violence isn’t something that happens merely in purely and if I may add, harshly, patriarchal structures, but also in so called progressive cultures. It is as much of a problem in America as it is in India, although the levels and kinds of interventions may differ. Domestic violence is a sad occurrence for it reveals the lack of respect and honour given to women not only in society at large but within the boundaries of their own homes!

The National Crime Records Bureau reveal that a crime against a woman is committed every three minutes; a woman is raped every 29 minutes; a dowry death occurs every 77 minutes, and one case of cruelty committed by either the husband or relative of the husband occurs every nine minutes. This occurs despite the fact that women in India are legally protected from domestic abuse under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. The Act provides a definition of domestic violence that is comprehensive and includes all forms of physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, and economic violence, and covers both actual acts of such violence as well as threats of violence. Despite having such systems in place, domestic violence still continues to carry on its demonic existence within families.

In the case of domestic violence, the victim is usually the woman who is perceived to be subservient to her male counterpart. According to the National Family Health Survey – 4 (2016) conducted by the Union health ministry, every third woman, since the age of 15, has faced domestic violence in various forms. The survey reveals that 27 percent of women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15 in India. These are pretty disturbing figures. It doesn’t matter that such cases are more common in rural areas than in urban ones. The cause of concern here is that something as demeaning and barbaric as this is even occurring in our country. India’s listing according to a report by Thomson Reuters, as the “fourth most dangerous country” in the world for women doesn’t help our cause. No country is without its flaws but for a country that worships women deities… it doesn’t speak very well about us.

When we think of domestic violence, we are prone to think that husbands are the primary perpetrators. While this is true to a certain extent it is not the only offender. 31 percent of married women, according to the survey, have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence from their spouses. While married women are prone to receive trouble mostly from their husbands besides other family members like in-laws, unmarried women have also reported physical violence mostly from their mothers or step-mothers (56%), fathers or step-fathers (33%), sisters or brothers (27%), and teachers (15%).

As if this wasn’t enough to sour the mood, the surveyors discovered a chilling fact: Women in India are supportive of domestic violence! Yes, you read that right. Data shows that women between the ages of 40-49 were most supportive of domestic violence, with 54.8% in agreement. The percentage justifying abuse is surprisingly only marginally lesser among younger women. 47.7% of girls between the age of 15-19 agreed with domestic violence. 54.4% of rural women agreed with domestic abuse while 46.8% of urban women supported it.

Take a minute. Go over the numbers again and think about what they have to say. The Indian family is definitely not a healthy place. Nearly 50% of families are marred by domestic abuse be it from husbands, parents, in-laws, siblings, children or other relatives. This brought home to me the grave situation our country’s women are in. For most of my life, domestic violence was something I read about in the newspaper or watched on television. But after listening to a colleague who shared her experience of domestic abuse, I couldn’t ignore its ugly existence any more.

This got me thinking: How can we prevent domestic abuse from taking place? Education has a pivotal role to play in alleviating this somber situation. The main distinguishing factor in acceptance of domestic violence is education, much more than income, or even age. The report stated that instances of domestic violence, including physical and sexual violence decreases sharply with schooling and education. Cases of physical or even sexual violence are significantly lesser among educated people than among un-educated ones. But this alone is not enough.

A legal framework is set up to tackle issues of domestic violence but often such issues don’t make it to the court or even to the police because of the culture of conservatism and shame that is attached to them. However, women need to be made aware that there is the strong arm of the law behind them. Numerous NGO’s are working around the clock to ensure that women’s rights are met and their grievances heard. Domestic abuse is a blot on any society’s character and concerted efforts must be made to erase it all together. The way ahead is tough and the battle has already begun. But have the soldiers prepared for the war? The side-effects of domestic abuse as well as those of external interventions are numerous and threaten the overall fabric of the family and society but justice must be done. How and by whom are important and urgent questions but if each one can take the bold step to prevent and/or address abuse appropriately, they would be playing no small in restoring the integrity of society’s character.

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Is Competition a Destructive Force in Society?

Everything comes with positive and negative sides, especially if we talk about competition. On one hand, it brings plenty of hopes and advantages, while on the negative approach, it conveys ruinous jealously and gaucherie. Most people believe that competition makes their life more challenging and tricky.

One of my classmates at schooling level was often confused that why other students race with him in academics. He was an above-average student, who used to attain good marks and attention of teachers with the help of his brilliancy and knowledge, but he never was the topper in the class. I firmly believed that he was the most intelligent student of the class. Even after this, he never managed to get overgenerous marks, as he never believed in competition, in competing with other students. This approach never let him achieve what he wanted, because he never competed with anyone, as he believed that he would get whatever is in his mind, with the help of his knowledge and experience. Though, he succeeded initially in his career, but later on, his entrants, at his workplace, were blessed (or let us call it ‘cursed’) with competitive mindset, who were ready to take over his profile. They competed with him, which my friend never liked. So he started moving to new organizations and this is the sole reason behind the instability in his life. However, I still believe that he is going to get a great life ahead, but he needs to originate his competitive creature from his deep inside.

Why People Think Competition is Destructive

When I spoke to my friend about his non-competitive approach, he told me, “I hate jealously, where a person is ready to the cut the throat of others just for the sake of his betterment.”

Well, jealously is the only bad thing about competition. Otherwise, it is something, which has evolved the human race, from trees to mars. Without competition, the society would not have progressed to this height.

Why Competition is the Necessity

I strongly believe that – for a better environment and lifestyle, competition is necessary in the society. There are eight billion people on the planet. Without competing with others, you can not achieve what you want, as there are thousands of other people, who also desire to achieve the same. You can capture the scene of competition at schools, workplaces, markets, economy, and businesses, and even in your family. In the following snippets of the article, I have described some of the positive impacts of competition on our society – you can not keep away from these affirmative factors.

End of monopoly – It is a consumer-driven market, where monopoly is the greatest nuisance. When there is only one market player, there occurs domination, in which, the seller sets (hikes) the price of its poor-quality goods and services. If there will be other players, as well, in the market, there will be a healthy competition, which will pull down the exceedingly high prices. It will be beneficial for the society to have access to low-priced (and good-quality) goods and services.

Innovation – Due to antagonism, manufacturers will enforcedly prepare innovative products in order to earn their unique identity in the market. For instance, it was the competition (between US and Russia), which piloted the human space exploration program in the decade of 1960s. Additionally, competition also encourages political leaders to work in their constituencies.

Growth and Development – Competition promotes the growth and development of the nation and society. When hoping for a sustainable economy, finance minister lays the foundation of growth and development programs for the nation. This plan is made to take over the economy of some other the nation.

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Full of "Brules": Our Lovely Brain-Washing Society

What are “Brules”?

Brules = BS rules

Today, there are many different kind of “brules” that the society has used to brain-wash us. Some common “brules” include:

  • University Degree is necessary
  • After you get a degree, you must go out and find a well-paying job or else you are screwed
  • Time is money (What?! This is also a brule? I will get to this very soon. Continue reading.)
  • The pursuit of money is inherently bad

This list is inexhaustive.

Let’s reflect. Were you told by your parents and teachers to study hard and get an University degree? After that, were you pushed by them and the society to find a job, the higher the salary the better? Are you currently stuck in a job that you don’t necessarily like at all? Are you pressured by all the bills coming in every month?

All of this happened because the society has asked us to follow this path repeatedly, generation after generation. Are you sure University degrees are necessary? If it is, how did Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Walt Disney, Bill Gates, Richard Branson… and so many famous college drop-outs come about? I must admit that these people are talented in one way or another. But, what about you? We all are talented in certain areas. The only difference between successful and unsuccessful people is their level of perseverance and resilience.

Achievement seems to be connected with action. Successful men and women keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit. – Conrad Hilton

So don’t be afraid to follow your own intuition and go and pursue your interest. University education is like a tool for you to do something. For example, if you want to start a business, University education can equip you with necessary skills and knowledge for you to get into this area. Please don’t study University because the society says you must have a University degree in order to get a job in order to have a living in order to…

Let’s move on to the next “brule”. We all were taught since young that time is money so please don’t waste time. Let me tell you, this is bullshit. Time is money because people are always spending their precious time working for money. Just like part-time jobs or any other normal jobs where you earn money based on the time you spend working. In this way, the more time you spend on your work, the more you earn. This is the “employee mindset”. If you detach time from money, you are able to live a life which you don’t need to rush for time, work for time and work for others. This happens when you are able to escape the rat race and generate passive income streams. Your money will be flowing in automatically and you can enjoy your life without the need to compete with time. This is totally possible today for anyone to achieve as you can make it as long as you have a laptop and an internet connection. There many ways to bring in wealth without sacrificing time. What I would recommend is the Laptop Lifestyle. You can earn money while you are asleep or enjoying your life. So make sure you detach time from money in your dictionary! This is really important. Don’t be fooled around by the society anymore.

In today’s society, we have brought shame on the pursuit of money. Many people regard the pursuit of money as a bad attitude. This probably occurs because there are people making money at the expense of product quality or at the expense of other parties involved. But honestly, who don’t want to earn money and get rich? There is nothing wrong in pursuing money at all as long as you earn money in a decent and legal way. What’s wrong with earning money? The most important thing is that you do not sacrifice your product quality and customer welfare. With quality products and services, you will be able to earn much more money in the long run.

So, don’t be limit by the “brules” and don’t let the society brain-wash us anymore. There are many more mindsets that the society has embedded in us. Have an open mind and follow your intuition. Try to discover the rules that are confining you in life and make improvements to them that can lead you to a better life.

Let me end off with a quote from Steve Jobs,

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.

All my best to your success!

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What Is Normal In Today’s Society?

What is normal really? If you think about it in today’s society what really is normal? Is being a blonde normal or a brunette? What about your height? Is that normal? Think about your background for a moment, is that normal? There is so much that goes into just one person’s life story and how they got to where they are today, how can we classify anyone as being “normal.”

We all grew up in a society where most of us went to school, had peer pressure, and even parental influences in our life to be “normal.” But when you think about it there really is no normal. We are all different and unique energetic beings on this planet. We have all had different background growing up, different families, look differently, sound differently, and act differently. So why is there this pressure to be normal?

Society today has influenced multiple generations into this complexity in our life. It has placed the emphases on not being an individual but rather on being like other people. Do you have the latest clothes, hairstyle, car, gadgets? If you do then society says you fit in with others and are “normal” and if you don’t you are considered “weird” or “different.” But the wondrous thing about life is that we are all this way! We are all unique in our own right, and this is what the “normal” is for us. It isn’t about the material things in life, but rather it is about understanding that you are perfect just the way you are.

Think about it, was there every a time in your life when you didn’t feel normal or you thought if only I was normal. The normal is understanding that everyone is different and loving yourself for who you are. You have a perfect soul at your core and that you are unique in your own right.

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Amish Life – Maintaining Social Responsibility

As the world began to shift from an economy reliant on agriculture to one of industrial influence, so too did daily interaction among human beings. Community life that once hailed the virtues of work ethic and intimate interaction slowly gave way to a society corrupted by the destructive nature of self-achievement and individualism. To maintain a way of life that coheres with the principles of old, certain sects of people began to withdraw from the blooming of this new type of society. Such people set up small societies that were generally self-sufficient, and stressed the importance of maintaining close relationships with neighbors as well as family. In such societies today, the most common example is likely the Amish community. A total withdrawal from all technological aspects of society enables them to focus more on religion and social interaction than modern society can allow.

To define these two types of society, sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies (1887/1988) categorized them as two distinct styles of society. He applies the term Gemeinschaft to refer to a community focused on intimate social interaction. He states that everyone in the community knows everyone, and that the members of the society share a sense of shared fate. This type of society keeps itself in line, because if one deviates, the rest of the community will conspire to damage the deviant’s reputation. Although their lives are largely controlled by the opinions of others, they can derive comfort from knowing that they are part of an intimate group.

On the other extreme of the spectrum is Gesellschaft, which refers to the chaotic society of today’s industrial society. Tonnies noted that the industrialization of the 20th century was tearing at the fabric of simple village life. The importance of personal ties, lifelong friendships, and family connections was effectively belittled in the light of short-term relationships, individual accomplishments, and self-interests. Gossip within this type of society is much less effective, because if things turn poorly, short-term relationships could be terminated while new ones began. Formal agencies such as the police and courts replaced the influences of peer pressure and gossip.

The Amish communities of today are beautiful examples of what Tonnies referred to as Gemeinschaft Communities – which he accurately predicted would exist as a result of resistance to industrialization. In these communities, weekly meetings regarding distribution of goods and the common welfare replace today’s courts and other agencies. All decisions are made based on the needs of individuals who you share close relationships with. Thus, each decision is wholly made to better the community on all levels. In typical society, laws must be passed to appeal to the common good of many sects of people – generally favoring the wealthy and those living in modernized areas. These laws are often not relevant to communities like Indian reserves and Amish districts, and thus have no place in society. In this way, the Amish way of life makes perfect sense.

Another reason the Amish separate themselves from the world is because of a literal interpretation of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount. They hold that in order to remain loyal to their faith, they must minimize the distractions produced by modern society. In smaller, family centered communities, one can put most of his stock in biblical study and worship than in the job market, social acceptance, and other financial concerns.

The importance of preserving wholesome values of old is held more highly in the eyes of some. A deeper connection to your neighbors and family allows for a well rounded development and a fuller sense of security. As Tönnies states, humans will do whatever is necessary to maintain strong social bonds.

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Individuals in Societies

The relationship between individuals and societies is very close. Man is a social animal who lives in social groups in communities and in society. Man cannot live without society because man is a biological and psychological being equipped to live in groups. Human life and society almost go together. Society has become an essential condition for human life to arise and continue to live.

The relationship between individuals and societies is ultimately one of the profound of all the problems of social philosophy. It is more philosophical rather than sociological because it involves the question of values. Man depended on societies as a result of the society that is surrounded and encompassed by culture which is a societal force. It is in the society again that he has to conform to the norms, occupy statuses and become members of groups.

The questions of the relationship between the individual and the society is the starting point of many discussions. It is closely connected with the questions of the relationship of man and society. There are two main theories regarding the relationship between individual and society. They are the social contract theory and the organismic theory.

Relationship between individual and society

There would be no society if there were no people talking to one another, acting and interacting, cooperating with one another. But how to behave in one’s society or what is right and what is wrong in the society, all these things, one has to learn in the society. Each society has its own special set of rules, its own customs and traditions, its own set of values and beliefs, and each must teach its members to fit into the society. The idea of the society implies a mutual give -and -take process by the individuals concerned either in the form of mutual glances, waving of hands, greeting, handshake, conversation or the more subtle forms of give -and take such as letter writing, talking on the phone, e-mailing, internet chatting and participating in public affairs.

The relationship between individual and the society can be viewed from three angles

1 functionalist

2 interactionist, and

3 culture and personality

Functionalist view

Functionalist regard the individual as formed by society through the influence of such institutions as the family, school and workplace. Society is a reality, it is the origin and for all individuals. The collective consciousness showed the ways in which social interactions and relationship and ultimately society influence the individual’s attitudes, ideas, sentiments.

Interactionist views

As regards to interactionist view, it is through the interaction of people that society is formed; the main champion of this approach is built up out the interpretations of individuals. The structuralists or functionalist tend to approach the relationship of self-individual and society from the point of the influence of society on the individual. Interactionists on the other hand tend to work on self (individual) outwards, stressing that people create society.

Culture and personality

In reality, it is not society or the individual, but it is society and individual which helps in understanding the total reality. The extreme view of individuals or society has long been abandoned. for sociologist the present have recognized that neither society nor individual can exist without each other and that they are in reality different aspects of the same thing.

To conclude it, it can be stated that the relationship between society and individual is two-sided. Both go hand in hand, each is essentially dependent on the other. Both are interdependent on each other.

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The Addictive Society and Cannabis Part II

Buy-in to the Addictive System at Your Own Risk

MORPHEUS: “The Matrix is everywhere; it’s all around us, here even in this room. You can see it out of your window, or on your television. You feel it when you go to work, or go to church, or pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth… Unfortunately no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.

In the end, it’s practically impossible NOT to buy-in to the addictive system (AKA the Matrix) at some point in our lives, or in one way or another. All around us, it can hijack how we think, feel and behave.

I learned a principle in the 1970’s that has stuck with me: context generates content. In this instance, the addictive system of modern society is the overarching context generating content to perpetuate and benefit itself via the fertile field of our minds, regardless of possible negative outcomes.

External forces exert enormous influence. How we self-identify and express ourselves in the world comes not only from our family but also from adapting to and accepting what we consistently see and hear. We may lack an authentic connection to ourselves, having accepted our identity from external dictates while the cultural language and behavior of control limits real connection with others. (1)

Though the addictive system functions invisibly, you can see it for yourself. Hint: The core pillars that prop it up and hold it in place are: dualistic black or white thinking, dishonesty, the illusion of control, dependency and self-centeredness. (2) Powerlessness is its primary addiction.

From substance abuse to process addictions, i.e. spending too much time on technology, or shopping too much, these often originate from a sense of powerlessness. Mood disorders, including being consistently over-stressed, are also indicators of buy-in to the addictive system.

Those of us who live with anxiety (and PTSD) function in crisis mode when there is no crisis. This has become much more prevalent since events of 9/11 and the over-dependency on cell phones.

Those of us disabled by depression do not always know why. They might be conscientiously working out their personal issues leading them to feel depressed. However, their antidepressant medicine may not be of much help when they have not been able or willing to admit the elusive contextual factor of an addictive system and its effect on them.

Those of us who over-consume in an attempt to feel better find out how short-lived their ‘high’ actually is. No purchase and no number of ‘friends’ can ever substitute for the inner experience of wellbeing.

Kudos to those of us genuinely committed to addressing an addiction or mood disorder. I leave you with this to consider: If you address only problematic symptoms in isolation of the overall impact the addictive system has on you, you may still overcome an addiction or heal a mood disorder but fail to identify its insidious grasp for your mind.

Stay tuned for Part III: The Possibility of Soul Renewal

(1) Patricia Evans. Controlling People. Adams Media. 2002

(2) Anne Wilson Schaef. When Society Becomes an Addict. Harper and Row, Publishers Inc. 1987

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