Arthur Egendorf's Social Stream

  • Tumblr July 11, 2014, 12:09 pm

    How to Engage in Buddhist Economics

    buddhisteconomics1It is time to change how humans work and manipulate economics. As human beings it is time to stop prioritizing goods before people. There is a big difference between moneyand wealth and it is time to recognize that difference. There are ways to create wealth for communities and entire nations rather than what we are doing now, brining in money for corporations and the government. There is a 1973 book on exactly this topic byBritish economist, statistician, and theorist, E.F. Schumacher, named Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered. In this text, Schumacher groups together essay on ethics, economics, and the environment. His ideas seem related to those of Tolstoy and Gandhi and he delves into ancient wisdom to try to bring back some humanitarian order to the modern world. One of the best essays in the book is title, Buddhist Economics. Here he looks into the moral questions of wealth, writing, “Right Livelihood is one of the requirement of the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. It is clear, therefore, that there must be such a thing as Buddhist economics…Spiritual health and material well-being are not enemies: they are natural allies.” We have a right to make money in a job that we feel compelled to do, which then creates wealth. If we keep ourselves in an economy where people don’t matter, just products and consumptions than it results in a lack of purpose or meaning for the people. This means that everyone will avoid work because it is something that they dread doing. On the other hand is the Buddhist idea of what work should be. Schumacher writes, “The Buddhist point of view takes the function of work to be at least threefold: to give a man a chance to utilize and develop his faculties; to enable him to overcome his ego-centeredness by joining with other people in a common task; and to bring forth the goods and services needed for a becoming existence.”

    from Doing Well by Doing Good

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  • Tumblr July 9, 2014, 10:25 am

    How to Effectively Motivate

    0706GRAY-superJumboWe all have encountered a lack of motivation. Maybe you have an impending deadline but you can’t peel your eyes off facebook. Or perhaps you have to finish a project, but you can’t find the motivation so you clean your entire house instead, anything to do what you have to. The key to focusing on these projects that you have to accomplish is finding the motivation to complete them. The two kinds of motivation are internal and instrumental. For example, if you want to write a research paper because you are really interested in discovering the facts and putting them together in a new way, that is internal motivation. However, if you want to write a research paper to get a wonderful grade and therefore a prize for the rest research in the University, which comes with acclaim and attention, then the motivator is instrumental.

    Usually, your motivation for completing something is a combination of both internal and instrumental motivation. The question is, how do you get the perfect combination of these two motivators so that you are most likely to complete the project, assignment, or task that you have to do? A new paper published in the Proceedings of the Nation Academy of Sciences looks into the secret behind the perfect motivators. They concluded that instrumental motives are actually not very helpful for productivity and that internal motives are much stronger. The study for the paper used 11,320 cadets in nine different classes entering the Military Academy at West Point. They looked into why these cadets wanted to go to West Point, in other words what their motivation was. The questions included instrumental motivation answers like “I want to get a better job later in life” as well as internal motivation answers, for example “I want to be trained as a leader in the U.S. Army.” After a few years, the cadets who entered the program for internal motivation reasons were much more successful than those who entered with instrumental motivation. Those who were internally motivated had a much higher rate of graduation and included more commissioned officers. The bottom line is that internal motivation is the most compelling so be sure to check in with yourself about your own motivations before diving into a large project.

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  • Tumblr July 7, 2014, 1:20 pm

    How To Stop Violence in Iraq

    130314222818-71-iraq-war-horizontal-galleryThe sectarian violence in Iraq is difficult for Westerners to understand. It is a deep-seated ideological and religious difference that keeps these two groups of people at odds with one another. Although it is difficult to understand there is a method that has been tried and tested before that has eased the tension of these groups and should be implemented again. Obama recently pledged, in reference to the sectarian violence in Iraq, “I don’t rule out anything…my national security team is looking at all the options.” One option to consider that has been tried before is Invincible Defense Technology (IDT). This technology has been proven effective and is a way to efficiently end the fighting in Iraq. The problem is, the president must get the Iraqi army on board with IDT. The approach reduces stress and violence in a way that has been proven by over 20 studies and tested by foreign militaries. After 25 years of research conducted in countries in places like the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America, all signs seem to point to the effectiveness of this approach. IDT works by calming the insurgent groups source of power, i.e. stress, civil unrest, frustration, etc. In this way, IDT get rid of the “fire” that causes people to behave in ways that make them want to take up arms and fight. They are preemptively affected so that they do not have the rage to fight in the first place. The reason these uprising happen is due to decades of injustice like poverty, hunger, or other civil unrest or unhappiness with no mobility or hope. IDT reduces stress so that people can think about their problems more thoughtfully and rationally and less emotionally. To administer this kind of intervention they would use a special part of the military known as the Prevention Wing of the Military to use IDT to reduce the stress of an entire population so that they can find other ways to deal with their problems. This is particularly important to deal with issues that may eventually become violent, as in the case of Syria and Iraq. Since IDT has been proven to work, it may be time to start planning for implementation.

    from Initiatives for World Healing

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  • Tumblr July 4, 2014, 7:51 pm

    Refugees Suffer in Extreme Heat

    1403897449674704As global warming takes its hold the earth, record temperatures are being recorded throughout the world. A climate change agency has stated that the world just experience one of the hottest May’s ever recorded. While those in first world countries can retreat to air conditioned homes and cars, many are not nearly as lucky. There are more than 50 million people worldwide who are displaced from their homes and living in refugee camps with little resources, few areas of shade, and no adequate shelter from the relentless heat. The number of refugees throughout the world is expanding rapidly because of the situation in Syria. Many Syrians continue to leave their country in large numbers to escape the violence. By the end of 2013, 2.5 million refugees left Syria to settle in camps in other countries. Even more than that, about 6.5 million have been displaced and forced from their homes to another area of the country. Due to the ISIS crisis in Iraq many are leaving that country as well. These refugees are flocking to countries like Lebanon and Turkey where the heat of the summer is very intense.

    In a sort of cruel ironic way, the climate change that is making it so unbearably hot is also part of the reason that the conflict in Syria began. The results of climate change were very hard on the Syrian people, even before the conflict. Climate changed caused drought throughout the country, resulting in little crop yields that eventually led to the discontent that caused the nation to go to war. The fight that essentially began over a lack of resources is now continuing to punish those who fled with even less resources and even more extreme heat. The Middle East has reached peak temperatures this summer. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration refers to the region as possessing a “much warmer than average” temperature from March to May this year.

    from Benefiting the Public Good

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  • Tumblr July 1, 2014, 3:12 pm

    Energy Market in Ghana Start Safe School Program

    Story-38-Vivo-Energy--680x365Vivo Energy Ghana is a part of Shell and their primary job is to market and distribute fuel and lubricants that are Shell brand. Now the company is doing more that just dispensing gas as they develop their Community Investment Initiatives. This time their efforts are going towards a school road safety empowerment program that has teamed up with the National Road Safety Commission and the Ghana Education Service. Together these organizations hope to make the roads to children’s schools safer through education.

    The program has been named, “My Road Safety, My Life.” The program will encourage and educate children about being safe on the road through good behavior, civilized conduct, and understanding how pedestrians, passenger, and cyclists can work together. The students will learn through classroom work, outdoor and on road experiences and simulation exercises, and more traditional quizzes. As the program begins, they will start small with the most high-risk roads. The Minster for Transport began this program and is encouraged that a corporation is taking steps to help the public as part of their corporate social responsibilities. The Minster, Dzifa Attivor said, “It is for this reason that we shall continue to support in any way possible, any measure that has the potential to contribute to the reduction and prevention of road traffic crashes in the Country.” The Executive Director of the National Road Safety Commission, Ing. May Obiri Yeboah also weighed in on the corporation doing their part, praising Vivo Energy Ghana for helping to educate children to use more caution and smarts when frequenting motorways. Mr. Fred Osoro is the managing director of Vivo Energy Ghana and has publicly promised that the company is determined to stay committed to the project and that they will work with sponsoring stakeholders to keep the implementation moving through its various stages.

    from Doing Well by Doing Good

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  • Tumblr June 17, 2014, 12:12 pm

    Building a Business Built for Good

    2014-06-10-EntrepreneurPath_FeatImageIt would seem that you should automatically build your business in a way that you can have a profit, but many also want to have a business that does good for the people around them. Now entrepreneurs want more. They want to be able to bring in profits while simultaneously helping others and using their business for a higher purpose to enrich their lives. There are other examples of changing business throughout history. During the Industrial Revolution businesses were expanding as new markets emerged and capitalism was born. Since that point capitalism has evolved, but really only to make more money for those in business. This evolution has occurred without any thought for those that are affected by the business, with the exception of the shareholders.

    However, this model of capitalism, which is often taught, does not take into consideration the fact that the businessmen and women may be unsatisfied with the work they do. Is it enough to make piles of money if there is no tangible result of your work or no larger contribution to the world? This shift with those in business wanting to make a positive impact is known as “Second Stage CapitalismTM.” This change and a shift in what capitalism is in this country will surely change entrepreneurship. The new goals of business involves three different perspectives, mainly: yourself, others, and society at large. These perspectives work in stages. Entrepreneurs are primarily focused on themselves and then on the others that they work for and serve and finally society at large. By looking to help others it ultimately empowers businessmen and women because they will want to achieve moreand give more back. This will ultimately morph capitalism into something that is more future-minded, authentic, and heart filled. Really, the more conscious people become the better off the world will be, so bring on the change.

    from Doing Well by Doing Good

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  • Tumblr June 16, 2014, 12:24 pm

    The Spiritual Brain

    leadNeurotheology is the study of the brain and how it interacts with religion. It is a field that tries to use science to explain religion and why so many flock to it. Dr. Andrew Newberg recently released a book on the subject, titled, The Metaphysical Mind: Probing the Biology of Philosophical Thought. In it he says that “everyone philosophizes” because we all speculate about what is going on in our lives, like a conflict with a coworker or even the purpose of living and being on this planet. It can be exciting to philosophize and come up with ideas about being or even having mystical experiences. Newberg explains in his book that our everyday concerns and our big spiritual questions are essentially the same neurological process. He also found that thinking about these big questions of a spiritual nature can increase both our mental and physical health.

    Newberg is really one of the first people to every delve into looking at religion, faith, and spirituality, scientifically. He is a pioneer of neurotheology. He started his research in 1990 by scanning peoples brains while they meditate. He chose this spiritual practice for the ease of monitoring it. He expanded his research to scanning the brains of Buddhists, nuns, atheists, Pentecostals speaking in tongues, and Brazilians practicing psychography (interpreting messages from the dead through handwriting.) The action in the brain really depended on what kind of practice was happening. If there was prayer or meditation involved the frontal lobes (the area of attention, modulating behavior, and expressing language) were activated. For practice that included surrendering will in a sense, like speaking in tongues, the frontal lobe activity decreases and activity is higher in the thalamus, which is responsible for controlling the incoming sensory information for many parts of our brains. This indicates that when speaking in tongues, the speech does not come from the same place as normal speech patters. This information has served as proof for believers and non-believers look for neurological explanation. Newberg is careful to consider both sides and writes of the field that “an ardent atheist, who refuses to accept any aspect of religion as possibly correct or useful, or a devout religious person, who refuse to accept science as providing any value regarding knowledge of the world, would most likely not be considered a neurotheologian.”

    from Initiatives for World Healing

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