[last-minute insertion] TaN: In the recent cases of the shooting of Michael Brown and the death (by choke hold) of Eric Garner are prime symptoms of incompetence (or at least ill- or poorly-trained) of some police officers in handling threats in the field. These are good examples where excessive force were disporportionately used to resolve what could have been simple and easy situations — in other words, overkill.
A properly-trained police officer, in the case of Michael Brown, would have (at most) shot the victim in the leg instead of over-reacting with fatal shots. As to the case of Eric Garner, there were enough police officers on the scene (and on top of the victim) to secure him. Since Mr Garner was already on his stomach, there are other alternative wrestling holds that can ensure immobilization, like leg and arm holds. The neck, in any situation, should always be off limits.
Finally, the War on Terror has everybody, or at least many, so worked up that many of our actions and behavior (and responses or reactions) no longer “make sense”. Many appear to have crossed the line from rational beahvior to overkill. Even common expressions have mutated into extremes — such as “forever” (as in “We have been friends forever”) and as “to the max”.
TaN: Last week, I unexpectedly came across am entertainment television program discussing, of all the stupid and useless topics, ass & breast sizes and all sorts of worthless and inane superficial, physical features. As they say: Great minds talk about ideas, average minds talk about events, SMALL Minds talk about OTHERS. I feel sorry for people who have nothing better to do or to talk about than other people and their infantile and trivial concerns.
Truth be told, big breasts reminds me of cows and their udders, while ridiculously massive asses remind me of kangaroos (who have the largest asses proportional to their torso that I know of). And all the most insignificant of concerns, like physical appearances and material possessions, are of little consequence.
We must concern ourselves with issues more worthy of our time, attention, and effort, such as giving drink to the thirsty, giving food to the hungry, giving comfort to the forlorn and grieving, and taking up our crosses and follow Him. There is too much suffering, misery, and grief in the world to concern ourselves with our insignificant wants.
TaN: It is interesting to note that people — actually cultures — everywhere have their own unique customs, traditions, and beliefs (CTBs) and this includes welcoming the new year. However, it is further intriguing to note that many of the CTBs have no basis if one really stops to ponder on them a moment. Among them: (1) buying round fruits for good luck, (2) wearing of polka dotted clothes for prosperity, and (3) jumping to grow taller.
Since there are several calendars in use by different cultures (at different times of a “year”), this would therefore imply that such CTBs are applicable any time of the year. In this case, the rituals to be done at the transition of the “old” year to the “new” is immaterial because each culture’s calendar begin and end at different times of an earth year, unless the rituals are designed to conform to the needs of the specific time of the transition. Moreover, how about those cultures in the southern hemisphere where the calendar transitions differently from that of the northern hemisphere even though both occur simultaneously.
Though CTBs were originally conceptualized for specific purposes and reasons by our ancestors, since times change, there should be some adaptations as times change to make and keep the CTBs relevant and purposeful — though there may be some that are universal (i.e., constant regardless of the changes that occur during the passage of time).
TaN: The two recent air travel incidents — the disappearance of Malaysian AirAsia (Flight QZ8501) and the cascading flight delays and cancellations and overbookings in the Philippine airport — are quite atttention-grabbers. The disappearance is another “black-eye” for Malaysia, while the embarrassing and nightmarish commotion over overbooking (not only in the Philippines but, it seems, is standard practice for many, if not all, airlines) for the sake of ensuring no vacant/unsold seats is nothing short of unethical.
It is really and eeriely uncanny that the coincidence of successive airplane tragedies is plaguing Malaysia. As if the two previous airplane tragedies were not enough. There must be some jinx at work — and it had to happened towards the end of the year, as if fate is trying to squeeze one more tragedy in before the year finally bades farewell.
You would think that with all our advance wireless and cyber space technologies that we would have developed an airplane blackbox and flight data recorder that not only stores vital flight data but simultaneously transmit the same to a (group or network of) pre-determined remote servers or recording devices. In this manner, every time a tragedy transpires, there would be no need to wait for the recovery of the blackbox and/or flight data recorder before investigators can commence to determined what went wrong and who or what is to blame.
As for the nightmare in Manila, the news reports that the whole sorry affair was brought about by (1) the lack of airline personnel to man the airport counters and (2) overbooking, which the airline management denies is a cause since it argues that the overbooking is barely one percent over the maximum capacity. However, even though airlines are business operations (and profit is a prime consideration), this cannot be used as an alibi or justify putting profits ahead of people and ethics. There is no rule that says profit must be maximize at all cost, especially at the expense of people.
So what if there are a couple of seats vacant or unsold. It is not as if the airplane seating capacity is only 10 or even 20 and 2 vacancies makes up a large loss in revenue. But today’s airplanes, especially international flights, have capacities in the hundreds. What is 1 or 2 empty seats — especially in the case of the United States of America where their airline industry enjoys substantial government subsidies, which explains why airplane fare is cheaper than train fare even if trains are more fuel-efficient and cost less to operate — when there are hundreds all filled, especially those in First and Business classes?
Overbooking, as employed by airlines for the sole purpose of guaranteeing profit, is unacceptable as an airline business strategy even if they attempt to mitigate the injustice by offering compensation or renumeration (a bribe) for inconveniences arising from being overbooked.
The way I understand how business work: there are risks and profit is not always assured; there will gains and there will be losses, but for as long as the fiscal year ends in profit, it is alright; and, even if the fiscal years ends in being in the red, there is always the next fiscal cycle to recover or recoup losses. This is how business is conducted — but it seems that certain industries fail to grasp the whole concept and insists on not only profit every time but the profit should be increase otherwise the decrease in net profit is still considered a “loss”. How greedy of them.
TaN: We presume that our IQ (intelligence quotient) is much higher than most other animals, even the most intelligent of animals, and we appear to associate high IQ with certain qualities that we claim is only possible with high intelligence — emotions, like compassion, sense of fairness and justice, gratitude, cooperation, and even problem-solving abilities (which requires imagination). Well, one would be pleasantly, if not amusingly, surprised to know that many animals possess the same qualities that we argue are the exclusive domain of Homo sapiens.
In repeated demonstrations and exhibitions (via animal studies and experiments), there is mounting and compelling evidence that even creatures (i.e., animals) considered to be “lesser evolved” possess many qualities that were (once believed to be) in the sole domain of man. Several studies and experimentations have repeatedly and convincingly proven this — and they were conducted by reputable and renowned researchers, scientists, and experts in their own right in their respective fields of expertise (behavioral science, moral philosophy, etc).
Take the case of the study of Professor Frans de Waal (please refer to: http://www.ted.com/talks/frans_de_waal_do_animals_have_morals?language=en), that of Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce of the University of Chicago (please refer to: “Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals” — http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/041612.html ), that in the Telegraph by Richard Gray (please refer to: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/wildlife/5373379/Animals-can-tell-right-from-wrong.html) to cite a few.
Taking these into consideration, it would appear that either such moral qualities have been with animals since the onset or, if Professor Rupert Sheldrake’s Morphic Resonance theory were to be extended, knowledge could somehow be elevated to a common metaphysical pool of knowledge or noosphere where it can be accessed and shared by all of the same and will eventually permeate to other noospheres (which would be subsets of a universal noosphere). This would explain how moral behavior and qualities can “migrate” from Homo sapiens to other animals and down the evolutioary scale — i.e., assuming that there is such a thing as “evolution” the way conventional (atheistic) science defines it and which I prefer to call as mutational evolution where each distinct creature “evolves” within its nature and not into some other creature (as conventional science would like to believe).
So, regardless of what the true reason is behind the possession of moral values and behavior among animals, we can no longer claim to have exclusivity to morality.