Poverty Versus Violence

The little girl grew up in the harsh high plateau of Bolivia, within mountains and cold winds year round.  Her mom died when she was eight, but neither before or after her death did she receive a tender, caressing touch of a loving familiar hand. She is now over thirty and the mother of a five year old boy, who she treats exactly the same way she was always treated.

 

When the boy was one year old, he had already been in the emergency room many times, especially for colds and diarrhea, and many times for falling, cutting himself, and swallowing objects. The bare truth is that the boy lived on the floor, and she didn´t care to teach him an hour to sleep, an hour to eat, or an hour to play. So, he ended up eating, sleeping and playing on the floor.

 

When he was two he was forced to shower himself. He had to learn the tough way that the water could be too hot or too cold, and his mom would leave him home alone… with the cell phone next to him, so that he could call her when awake. At three he was responsible for his own food. He learned how to make his own milk, and was forced to ask for food to the neighbors because there was none at home.

 

The boy is brilliant, though. In spite of the way his mother treats him (his father has no say in this, as she beats the man if he complains), he realizes that he must be educated. When someone offers to teach him something, he goes for it and learns quickly. He goes to pre-k and he is very clever. He is even learning how to read before everyone else.

 

This mother doesn´t realize she is being violent.  All the spanking, all the shouting, don´t impress her as being violent. Why? One wonders. But if you think about it, even though she is having people around who tell her what to do and how to do it, the harsh truth is that she won´t learn fast. It will take her time to realize that she really needs to review her ways.  This is because she has known no caring ways throughout her life. She has no model to follow. She does not think this behavior is violent. She thinks it is the right way to go with her son and her husband. She believes that if her husband, who only studied high school, cannot earn enough then she has the right to put him down.

 

The boy is now old enough to understand many things and he makes his father buy him Barney videos. His grandmother sends some books, and his great grandmother usually gives him food, that he eats quickly all by himself. His grandma told him he should not be on the floors sleeping and playing, so now he tries to stand up and run around without falling asleep on the floor.

 

What is wrong with this mother? I asked myself many times. Only this time I got to answer my question: She is ill. Ill with the illness of poverty, and violent with the violence of poverty. She has been struck by the reality of a life that is very, very hard to live. I don´t blame her for being violent, and I know she will learn little by little. Maybe her son will end up teaching her. 

 

She acts instinctively, and even though she now holds a university degree, her attitude towards how to raise a kid, or how to lead her life, has not changed yet. This shows that formal education plays a part in making us more capable, but there must be another kind of education that we are not addressing, which is responsible for changing our set of behavioral patterns. 

 

The definitions of poverty in many books may include the lack of money, the lack of other resources and many other components, but they don´t include violence.  This is because we tend to see violence as a result of poverty, but not as a component of poverty in itself. The case I just presented makes it clear that we need to change this way of thinking. We need to include violence as a component of poverty and we must include this wider view in non formal education.

 

What I can see as the most accessible way to non formal education for young women is television. Remember that humans are copycats. We tend to copy what we see in our environment and TV, radio, and all media are in our environment.  Soap operas and music that talk about how cool it is to rape, to shout, to take revenge, and to be violent in general, are teaching our girls and boys that being violent is alright.

 

These three paths are very important if we will end violence in the world:  1. To change the definition of poverty to include violence as one of its components, and not as a result of it; 2. To change our vision of the popular media, by not accepting songs and shows that make violent attitudes look like acceptable; and 3. To accept that poverty is a psychological illness that needs to be treated by professional behavior consultants not only individually, but  locally and globally.

 

Poverty and its violence make people ill, and this illness needs to be addressed by the whole world, as it creates monsters that don´t caress their children. These children later on are incapable of telling right from wrong, and don´t realize they are being violent. Let us not, in the name of modernity, become evil.

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Money Management 101: Financial Basics

If you read my blogs, you know I am a believer in spirit. You also are aware that my thinking about money is not quite common. So, in this respect, my vision about how to manage the financial equation in your life is not very common either.

“With spirit we are all children of the cosmos; without it we are orphaned and adrift” – Deepak Chopra

I consider money as one more type of resource, with the same value as any other resource. Resources, in my conception, are any living or non living organisms on earth that are available for the sustainability of life on earth. This means that being available to sustain life, makes you or any organism, a resource.

In this sense, money is a resource while serving to the sustainability of life. Otherwise, money is only a piece of paper with lots of chemicals on it, which is not easy to degrade, and is not useful for eating either. Crude reality. Hard to accept. Still, very true.

One of the components of poverty is the lack of money. People usually call themselves “poor” because they don´t have money. In my case, there have been times (about 13 years of my life), when I didn´t have money, not even to take a bus. Many times I would have to walk with my two kids, one in my arms and the other one barely walking, through crowded streets, through bad weather, or even being hungry.

I never called myself “poor”, though. So this is the first lesson on MM 101: never call yourself poor. Money, at those times, was barely keeping me alive. I needed more of course. I had one thing on my mind: I didn´t want to be moneyless ever again. I would do whatever it took to overcome this phase. Necessity is the mother of all inventions. I tried to think of all kinds of businesses, and soon I realized I needed to have some tools available to me.

Scarce money, was to be well spent. I decided to use my money wisely. I put order in my life. First I set rules at home for my husband, who was really violent to my kids. I said enough. If he wanted to be violent, he would have to leave, or otherwise, one of us would die. Crude, simple, yet very hard to do. It was very needed though, in terms of achieving order.

I took all the opportunities that came to me

Once I saw a person walking in the streets looking for a birthday cake, and asked her how much she would pay for one. When she told me, I offered myself to make her one, for a little less. Soon I had an ad in the local newspaper , offering “special cakes for special people”. Then I would begin distributing cakes to restaurants, and hired three women who shared my situation to work in the business.

It took a long time to make the business work. And here comes lesson number two: never give up too soon. Businesses are like people. They need time to learn how to walk, but you need to feed them well and make them practice a lot, otherwise they could end up dying. Be patient. I had one big problem. I used to hire ovens to work. I didn´t have money to buy an oven for myself. It took me around three years to save up the money to buy one second hand oven, big enough to make the business really grow.

In the fifth year of the business, I was also in my fifth year of college. Yes. I was studying at night. Business Administration, of course, as I said before, I had realized I needed some tools. I was going to study whatever, because I knew knowledge would give me power. And by chance I met a nice middle aged who advised me to sign up to that career. He happened to be the Director. Nice coincidence, or the Universe working to favor my willingness to work on the tools I needed?

To finish up my studies, I needed time. So I sold the business for a good amount of money, that helped me through the process of getting my thesis done, and set the basis for new businesses. From there on nothing could stop me, I never was moneyless ever again.

Many coincidences, many miracles, came to my life after opening my arms to the love existing in the Universe for me. This gave me strength. So these two lessons are enough for this first session on MM101: Be rich in spirit (never call yourself poor), and don´t give up easily, keep trying hard.

“With spirit we are all children of the cosmos; without it we are orphaned and adrift” – Deepak Chopra

My Ideal World

“I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I exist” says Rene Descartes. “I work, then I exist” says Patiño. Is Patiño challenging Descartes, copying him or just being absurd? None of them, as she believes what he said applies so well to his time, and what she says applies so well to the present time. She is not copying him as the meaning of this sentence is dramatically different from the original one, and she is not being absurd as this sentence has science backing it up. The main similarity between them is the fact that both intend to use these phrases for demonstrating the most epistemological principle, that science and mathematics are justified by relying on clarity, distinctiveness and self evidence.

In this new times, when knowledge is already available to most everyone, and thinking is not a privilege of a caste, one could say that thinking and existing are taken almost “for granted”. We know this is not true completely, and there is a need to be aware that to exist we also must think. But the point here is to understand the paraphrasing Patiño does from Descartes: “I work, then I exist”, so let us focus on this sentence for the sake of this article.

Energy is regularly defined as the ability to produce work or transfer heat. Energy is very important and closely related to the first and second laws of thermodynamics. The first law is the one you will surely remember from school: “Energy cannot be created neither destroyed, it is only transformed”, while the second law is a bit more complicated, as it introduces the concept of entropy, which is associated with the incapacity of producing work. When the energy input equals the energy output, it is said that the system has reached balance. Balance in this case means entropy is winning territory and the living organism ceases to work properly.

Nature works 24/7. It needs to use all the energy available in the environment. If work stops then entropy takes over, and the system could die. Can you imagine what would happen if nature stopped working? Everything would begin dying, because when there is no energy being spent, it is logical that the living organism is not needed anymore. Energy and work are closely related. The human body is a system that works with energy input through food, and people need to work to stay alive, because nature works to stay alive.

Remember that these two laws of thermodynamics are not in discussion, they exist, period. If we choose not to see this truth, then we may make some wrong decisions. For instance, if we become obese, this means we are storing too much energy in the form of fat. Due to the laws of thermodynamics, this energy being kept in storage causes entropy, and entropy could finally kill you if you don´t start moving to get rid of the unnecessarily stored energy.

Nature also strives towards order. For example, if you throw a pile of bricks into the air, they will come to the soil in disorder. To make a wall with them, to put them in order, you need to work with them, using your energy. This means that if you are lazy and don´t work, logically disorder will prevail. Same thing happens in nature. If you see the way a baby is created, millions of spermatozoids struggle to reach the ovum, searching to create order in that disorder. Each cell will also grow in uniform ways, orderly. This is nature working to avoid disorder, to avoid entropy, to stay alive. Staying alive is the main purpose of nature. For this, it needs to create order. To create order it needs to work. To work it needs energy, and to have energy it needs to transform matter into energy. Interesting. Amazing how nature never stops working. It can´t. Human beings can stop working when they decide not to work though. Then it is self evident: “I work, then I exist”, although all living organisms will die at the end to begin a new cycle of life and while alive, it will keep working to avoid entropy.

How do humans make a decision that could cause high levels of entropy in their bodies? Or to put it another way, how do they make decisions that lead them to die? According to what has been said above, disorder can cause the death of the system, of any system, remember that a leaf is a system, an insect is a system and, you are also a system. All these systems need to avoid entropy to stay alive. You need to avoid entropy to stay alive. You need to work.

What is different from the system called human being and the system called insect? That the first can decide when to stop working, while the other can´t. This is really just one more of the differences, but it is the most important in relation to this article. An insect does not get paid to do its job. For instance, if we would have to pay for the service that bees do for the planet and especially for human kind, all banks would go in bankruptcy and governments would need to create some other type of money. We are the only living organisms that get paid to work!

Human beings make the decision to stop working. I am not talking about working on a paid job only, because as I stated before, work is more related to energy and life than it is to money. This idea is not really what everyone expects to hear when it comes to fight against unemployment, so I don´t expect it to be massively popular right now; but I need to begin spreading this new vision about work. It is more necessary than you can see right now. It needs a network to become popular, and this is my network, my community, the reason why I am being listened to in the world. It goes beyond fashion. It is a social construction that needs to be changed. It is as strong as democracy, as it cannot be stopped anymore.

Why do people consciously stop working? There are mainly two reasons. One is because of their political beliefs. This means that they are left wingers who believe they are working too much, thus creating money for someone else, i.e. their boss, and who are very careful with their labor. They would rather be independent workers and many of them end up asking for money in the streets. Anything to avoid building capital for their bosses. They usually are not illiterate, but have been lenient in their education as a whole. They believe governments must provide for them when they don´t have money and they like to live in communities that share expenses, as they otherwise would not be capable of paying their bills. Does this description meet the conduct of some of your friends?

Right wingers can also stop working because of their political beliefs. They think that they need to “make” others work while they enjoy life. They are abusers who usually make a lot of money, many times using illegal schemes, so they stop working because they think work is only for the people who need the money. Does this description meet the conduct of some of your friends?

The second reason why people stop working is mental. It is depression. Persons who stop working because they are depressed, can even hold jobs that don´t lead them anywhere. They don´t know that they are fostering entropy, therefore death, with this action.

In my ideal world people will realize that work doesn´t have anything to do with politics or depression. Every person will make a conscious attempt to work, in all and every way possible, from morning to evening, just like nature and its creatures do, and thus he or she will avoid entropy. In my ideal world she will not let depression overcome her mind and will. She will consciously work using her energy to transform disorder into order. She will realize that she is the most important person in her life, and that every cell in her body is striving to stay alive.

To me, it is utterly important that she realizes that nature is working for her, not against her. She needs to recognize when a partner in life is not being helpful on her everyday struggle, and she needs to acknowledge that she is the one that needs to work in her relationships to put them in order, which is truly important to stay alive. Order is achieved only through work, and to make the effort necessary for the work you need energy. So, if you watch what goes into your mouth, choose healthy food, avoid sugary and fatty food and exercise a lot, you will have enough energy to put order in every aspect of your life.

Does it sound logical to you? I want to know if the idea of working to strive for staying alive, using your energy to create order, putting your political ideas and your depression aside from your own personal achievements and focusing in creating your own wealth through sincere, consciously programmed work, would also become your ideal world, one in where doing the work is more important than only working for the money it renders to you.

The answer to the question “but what do I do when I am so poor, I don´t have money for anything”, will become clear to you when you are too busy working, trying to achieve order in every aspect of your life. Do you not think so? Science, nature and your own instinct will prove me right or wrong, but only after you try it out and start working. Comments welcome.

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