The Success in Avoiding War

The topic of war is something to look at from all sides.  These sides can include what we like to define as “right/wrong”, “defense/offense”, “freedom/dictatorship”, and so on.  The one thought that comes to my mind instead, is the existing absence for a fight in favor of humanity as a whole.  For now I only have time to introduce a quote that sparks further thought into the matter. 

… Everybody is looking with a mixture of confidence and apprehension to the “statesmen” of the various peoples, ready to heap all praise on them if they “succeed in avoiding a war,” and ignoring the fact that it is only these very statesmen who ever cause a war, usually not even through bad intentions, but by their unreasonable mismanagement of the affairs entrusted to them.- Erich Fromm in The Sane Society

FNM

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The Definition of Success

A short intro on the topic of success came to mind today – A more extensive overview will follow.
To tickle the mind even before we begin; two quotes on “success”:

“The person who gets the farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore.” – Dale Carnegie

“Most successful men have not achieved their distinction by having some new talent or opportunity presented to them. They have developed the opportunity that was at hand.” – Bruce Barton

It seems like everywhere on the Web the word “success” is found.We see it in more than one headline, forum entry, Facebook post, Twitter tweet, blog entry and all other online media pages. Surely enough this isn’t something surprising to anyone. On TV, the news, in movies, in everyday life “success” comes to mind. When we hear celebrity, philanthropist, corporation, VIP, élite, upper class, management, and/or other words that entail fame, fortune, power and a societal definition of awe towards particular individuals’ achievements, bells go off and ring to the ear “success”.
It is also certain that someone is shaking their head “No” this very instant and defining “success” as subjective and an opinion. The flip side of the coin to this word is that some define “success” as being in the beholder’s eyes; the beholder being the individual that is leading his/her own life.

This side of the story holds true that to succeed in something one merely needs to accomplish his/her set goals. As long as what they long for in life or desire is achieved, to them, they have achieved “success”. On the other hand the former definition of “success” is held by external factors, people, by society and other groups at large.
In this introduction to the two fold nature of “success”, the definition of it should also be included. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary “success” is defined as:
1 obsolete: outcome, result
2 a: degree or measure of succeeding
b: favorable or desired outcome; also : the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence
3: one that succeeds

From the passing of definition number 1 as obsolete, we can note how at one point in time “success” was related to outcome and result. It would be interesting to linguistically find out how this definition came to pass. The first thing to cross the mind is evolution. Outcome and result evolving from something simple and attached to an action or situation, to something material and tangibly visible to the world, such as media coverage, world and/or international fame. Research will follow, but if any ideas come to mind, please do share!

Definition number 2a is not even a definition according to an English professor once known to me. He stated that a word’s definition should not include the same word it is defining. However, if we want to expand on it, the statement defines “success” as a degree or measure of what desired object or end one has obtained, as well as a degree or measure of something that turns out well (these two definitions of the word succeeding also come from Merriam-Webster Dictionary and are only definition number and 2b).
Definition number 2b states that “success” is a favorable (preferred) or desired (wished for) outcome (result). It is also the attainment (achievement) of wealth, favor, or eminence (when someone is prominent, superior, stands out, leads, to name a few words in reference to eminence).
Definition 3 is pretty obvious: someone who “succeeds” linking it back to definition since the definition given of “succeeding” came from the definition of “succeed”.

On the basis of these definitions alone, it seems that “success” can be and is defined by both external factors, of which most likely society plays the biggest role, or by the individual themselves. A link to an argument found on how “success” is defined by society and others, as well as a discourse against life coaches is found on J. Erich Smith’s blog; while an opposing argument is made on Sean Ogle’s blog.

What I would like to know is what you and others think about “success”? Is there only one right answer?
I look forward to comments and ideas for those who wish to share them and have the time.

FNM

Miami Halloween costume contests and events

Do you like haunted houses and amusement parks with a spooky twist?  Do you like dressing up for Halloween and possibly winning prizes?  If your answers were yes and you are in Miami this upcoming weekend you may want to check out the Miami Halloween costume contests and events article on Miami Friendship Examiner.  You will find a couple of places to go to for costume contests in Miami and/or Halloween event parties.  Happy Halloween!!

A Discourse on Human Potential

It has been a while since my last post; unfortunately sometimes life gets too busy to enjoy the time to manage my blog.  I am trying to work out a schedule for that, maybe I will find the perfect balance soon…we will see!  In the meantime, for those of you who follow me or like reading along when you have the time, today I thought I’d mention the great potential humanity has and ask if you would like to share what your thoughts about this subject are at the end. 

Today’s “Quote of the Day!” expresses the potential of humanity according to Leon Blum; although I am sure there are others who would agree with his point of view.  I need to specify before I continue that this excerpt is not talking about human potential in reference to the Human Potential Movement (aka HPM); although this movement is something an enquiring mind could want to read about in the near future or following this reading. 

In this blog entry I am talking about human potential in the sense of individual self-fulfillment in relation to life and humanity.  Even though the topic is not about HPM, there is a common point that I want to mention before I continue on.  Part of HPM’s idea is “the belief that through the development of “human potential”, humans can experience an exceptional quality of life filled with happiness, creativity, and fulfillment. As a corollary, those who begin to unleash this assumed potential often find themselves directing their actions within society towards assisting others to release their potential. Adherents believe that the net effect of individuals cultivating their potential will bring about positive social change at large.”  The HPM idea is a part of humanity’s real potential as individuals and if they reach this state of mind, through fulfillment of themselves and unity with their brothers and sisters, with the human race, the consequence will be positive for society and everyone at large. 

Life events and situations show us every day how each and every one of us, in one way or another, try to reach our top potential as humans.  We all try to make that difference, that change for the better for us (humanity) and our home (the world).  Our everyday efforts are seen through the people we know, the books we read, the good we see.  We don’t have to be scientists to know that each individual strives for growth, unity, completion and betterment.  Whether an individual does it through what is seen as negative or positive, they will each think what they are doing is for growth and good, trying to fulfill what they believe to be their potential.  If it is not their true potential, it is still a potential they have been taught to have.

Before reading on, please beware that there are negative opinions about the HPM, as well as on human potential.  The HPM promotes self-actualization, a topic that can sway from “good” to “bad” depending on who is talking about it and what a person’s opinion is in regards to being a true individual or a societal conforming and standardized individual.  As everything in life, it comes down to personal opinion and subjectivity.  Some things of a theory can prove true, while others less so; either way, like the yin and yang, both can hold some validity. 

For the interested reader: Wikipedia and The Free Dictionary By Farlex give a brief explanation of HPM, along with some references; as for one of the counterpart opinions on HPM you find a blog piece entitled “The Dangers of the Human Potential Movement!” on the UK APOLOGETICS website.  The negative opinions on human potential on the other hand fall among those ideas and theories that see and state humanity as a race that is evil and that must be controlled in order for people not to kill each other and dominate cruelly and fiercely over others.  Personally, my research and life experiences have shown me otherwise.  This being said, you should expect a blog piece that sees human potential as something positive and constructive.

It seems to me that our human potential reaches the extent of our open-mindedness, empathy and life views.  This conclusion was brought about by the comparison of actions and behavior of individuals I have encountered in social and professional spheres, as well as through the academic institutions and surroundings experienced.  The second reason for my conclusion is due to the reading I have done of various psychologists,social-psychologists, and psychiatrists such as Carl R. Rogers, Erich Fromm, and even M. Scott Peck, not to mention the philosophers, sociologists and other humanity and social science literature I have come across.  I noticed a recurrent theme throughout my reading so far: humans want to obtain what I define and understand as self-completion (in the sense of individual self-fulfillment, self-realization; not in any way related to the symbolic self-completion theory).  Self-completion can be seen as internal growth, discovery, and expression.  All of these characteristics and more are what therapy sessions, friends, and family, as well as life help us discover throughout our lifetime.  Unfortunately there are also constraints to that growth, which consequently bring about oppression, suppression and a sense, as well as a state, of incompleteness that can then divulge into multiple negative behaviors on behalf of the individual.  It would take a book to elaborate on where this particular part of thought could go (which I am actually writing) or I could continue discussing it in another post at a later date, but at this point I would like you to simply know why in my opinion human potential involves open-mindedness, empathy and life views. 

In order for individuals to promote growth and self-completion one has to be open-minded, one has to be able and empathize with others, and one’s life views need to be so that they promote and accept change, difficulties, and differences as ok and innocuous; no judgment of right and wrong, no condemnation for those who are not like you.  Open-mindedness can be seen as how willing we are to question our beliefs, as well as test them to ensure they are truly what we believe or maybe that they are what society and our culture have taught us.  Open-minded is also related to being flexible and aware that everything we see and think is through our eyes and therefore subjective. 

One’s level of open-mindedness affects how tolerant an individual is towards others and their different ways, as well as the level of empathy one holds towards a person and their differences.  If you can empathize with someone, it means you can actually understand how they think, feel and live.  You also understand why they are who they are.  This doesn’t imply that you justify the person’s actions, just that you understand them. 

Once an individual holds these two characteristics their life views are the last piece to influence their level of human potential.  When a person can accept events in life as hard or easy, ugly or pretty, but not the end of the world; at that point one faces life with a reactive spin.  This helps life to be somewhat lighter to handle and confront.  It doesn’t mean there won’t be hard days; just that it is easier to overcome the rough patches.    

The three characteristics mentioned above vary in consistency and level and depending on where each one of us stands with them is also how we can measure where we stand in our human potential

I realize this topic could be expanded on even further, but for now I will stop here and look forward to reader feedback.  Thanks for reading and for your possible constructive criticism.

FNM

Human Potential

“The human race had the wisdom to create science and art; why should it not be capable to create a world of justice, brotherliness and peace?  The human race has produced Plato, Homer, Shakespeare, and Hugo, Michelangelo and Beethoven, Pascal and Newton, all these human heroes whose genius is only the contact with the fundamental truths, with the innermost essence of the universe.  Why then should the same race not produce those leaders capable of leading it to those forms of communal life which are closest to the lives and the harmony of the universe?” – Leon Blum