Monday, September 29, 2008

Exodus from Wall Street?

As a distraction from the current hemorrhages on Wall Street, here are my thoughts on the song "Exodus" by Bob Marley.

**The instrumental introduction at the beginning of the song is one of the song's best parts, but obviously I'm going to do a poor job of describing it here, so I'll just skip that part.

"Men and people will fight you down"

As long as self-interest to be protected has existed, various kinds of oppressors have flourished. Whether it be religious oppression, political oppression, social oppression, economic oppression: oppression has been a dominant theme of human history. We have all sought an escape from some form at oppression at a specific time in our lives, even if we sought refuge from a mere kindergarten bully. It's important to stand up for ourselves: to stand up for what we believe, what we value, what we cherish.

"Let me tell you, if you're not wrong...then everything is alright"

If you firmly uphold a set of convictions, you can resist oppression. If what you believe is worth holding your ground for, then even if all kinds of trouble befalls you, you can take satisfaction in knowing that you are ultimately in the right on the matter. If you have some reaffirming principle, you can take courage in your beliefs and use them as an anchor to keep yourself steady during ordeals which you may face.

"So we gonna walk...alright...through the roads of creation"

No matter who we are or what we believe, we all walk through the same planet. We all inhabit the same world. We all enjoy this creation, regardless of creed or race or any other consideration.

"We the generation"

Each generation has its own responsibility to improve the world that has been passed to it. Each has a special dictate to fulfill its duty to create a better world. We have to hold ourselves accountable for our actions, because we're the only people we've got, and this is the only world we have.

"Trod through great tribulation"

All of us deal with great stresses and disturbances during our lives. Some of us are surrounded by extreme violence, sadly, through circumstance and events beyond our control.

"Open your eyes"

What kind of life is this for us if we refuse to acknowledge what's going on all around us? We can't live with blinders. It paralyzes us. When we examine our lives, we see both great wonders and great tragedies. Enormous responsibility lies with those who are the most knowledgable about our world. For having once opened our eyes to the world, closing our mind at the same time is a most dangerous step. We cannot learn new knowledge in one area of life and unlearn it in yet another area.

"And look within"

As we move through this world, interact with other people in our lives, it is essential that we learn something about ourselves in the process, or we are moving blindly. Who are we? It is a fundamental question posed to us by our very existence as people. So why not take some time to look inwards? It might help us understand how those around us act; it might help us turn outwards, and empathize. If we can understand at least one human being, that is, our own person, then we have a much improved chance for understanding other ones.

"Are you satisfied (with the life you're living?)"

Are you? I'll let Bob Marley ask this one. Because if you're not, then you really need to start doing something about it.

"We know where we're going; we know where we're from"

Unless we truly appreciate our background, we cannot appreciate our future. But I discussed this quite a bit in my last post. But it's great to have tradition, and connections to a larger community. Not all of us have that. And most of don't know where we're going. I don't.


Anonymous said...

interesting blog, I cannot tell if you believe people are basically good or basicaly bad


Teleprompter said...

Great! Then I am doing my job. Thanks for following my blog. I really do appreciate your support. Please keep reading and commenting.

Are people basically good, or bad? Well, there are several questions one must answer before addressing this. What makes a person? How do people act? Why do people act the way they do? How can people be expected to act under these circumstances? How do people act under these circumstances? By beginning to answer these questions, you may arrive at an answer to your question.

Pablo Taco said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I believe that people are influenced by a combination of genetics and environment, the old nature versus nurture argument. In my humble opinion, this is established before the age of 3, the nurture part, and that without a good foundation people will have a more difficult time in life if there is no compass established in their psyche by that young age. Thoughts????

Matt said...

This is a very thought-provoking post.

I agree with anonymous to a certain extent. I think the first 3 years of our lives has a huge impact on who we become...but I also think it's possible for people with ideal upbringings to go bad and for those with poor upbringings to make something of themselves.

Teleprompter said...

I've provoked thought?!


Yes, I agree with both Anonymous and Matt. I do agree that people are influenced by a combination of genetics and environment. And I do agree with Matt that some people are able to flourish after being raised in what is perceived to be a "bad" environment, and that some people do bad things after being raised in what is viewed as a "good" environment. For example, read the book Freakonomics to see how a young boy raised in a loving home became a prodigy at mathematics and an intellectual success...until he became a notorious serial killer. And I would add that Matt's exceptions are often exceptions that prove the rule, as the cliché goes. People who have mental or emotional problems in a "good" environment do bad things, while some people may be raised in a "bad" environment, but be influenced by caring family or possessed of enough natural ability to overcome their surroundings.

I do believe that the first three years of life are a critical time for the formation of a person. However, while the very youngest children are the most "malleable", people are still willing to adapt their basic assumptions about life well into the college-age. The more exposure to the outside world, and the more educated that people are, the greater the chance is that their basic assumptions about life may be altered. And these assumptions are what we live by: the things we both consciously and subconsciously believe that determine the way we live and relate to the world around us. And I further believe that these assumptions are evolutionary in nature. In the same way that animals can make basic judgments about their surroundings, we make similar, but more complicated judgments about the world around us. And I believe that these judgments help define what is good and bad...they help define our sense of morality. And this is why I believe that much of our morality is subjective...because it is based on a form of convention. And this convention may seem to be natural and in fact not conventional to us, but that is only because we have not been around for the whole of human history to see the formation of these judgments as they were conceived by our ancestors.

Anonymous said...

People can challenge their assumptions at any age, age is not a number it is a state of mind -- if people cannot change then they become stuck and mired in their own stubbornness -- people who are able to be flexible, open to new things, and grow intellectually throughout their life, don't get stuck in the mud. Don't be an "age-ist."

Teleprompter said...

I agree that people can change at any age, but it is far more likely that people will change at a younger age. I am not an "age-ist".

I don't see how you can dispute that the longer you hold an assumption, the greater force it holds over you, thus making it progressively hard to undo. Of course people can change at any time or any age, but generally it is more difficult after longer periods of time.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.