Reservikieltäytymiseni on pitkän harkinnan tulos ja moraalinen kannanotto. Olen tietoinen, että en voisi välttämättä kirjoittaa tätä suomeksi tai tehdä kyseistä hakemusta ilman omien isoisieni ja heidän sukupolvensa uhrauksia, jotka he tekivät tätä maata puolustaessaan noin 70 vuotta sitten. Uskon kuitenkin, että he haluaisivat minun käyttävän tämän maan demokraattisia vapauksia, joita he puolustivat perheidensä lisäksi ja olisivat ylpeitä miehestä joka seisoo sanojensa sekä perjaatteidensa takana.
En näe yhtään loogista syytä kuulua mihinkään instituutioon tai ryhmään vain sen takia, että se olisi sosiaalisesti hyväksytympää ja samaan aikaan omat arvoni eivät vastaa kyseisen järjestön tai ryhmän arvomaailmaa. Samasta syystä erosin kirkosta, jonka tietyt arvot ovat todella kaukana omasta arvomaailmastani ja en usko asioihin jotka kuuluvat kristinuskon ytimeen. Kirkosta eroaminen saattoi aiheuttaa mielipahaa joillekin lähimmäisilleni, mutta mielestäni ihmisen on toimittava sen mukaan minkä kokee olevan oikein kuitenkin muita ihmisiä fyysisesti vanhingoittamatta, ihmiset tulevat luultavasti olemaan aina eri mieltä niin kauan kuin ihmisiä on olemassa ja näin on melkein mahdotonta toimia tavalla joka mielyttäisi kaikkia. Reservikieltäytymiseni johtuu siis siitä, että nykyinen tila eli armeijan reserviin kuuluminen jonka johdosta joutuisin sotatilanteen vallitessa tappamaan ihmisiä, ei vastaa nykyistä arvomaailmaani.
Ihmiskunnan tulevaisuus on meidän käsissä ja seuraavat vuosikymmenet tulevat ratkaisemaan sen suunnan. Maailman räjähdysmäinen väestönkasvu, ilmastonmuutos, fossiilisten polttoaineiden loppuminen ja siitä todennäköisesti syntyvä energiakriisi ovat vain muutamia esimerkkejä niistä haasteista, jotka jäävät sukupolveni ratkaistaviksi. Näitä haasteita ei (toivottavasti) ratkaista aseilla ja tämä on minun pieni askeleeni sitä tavoitetta kohti. Mikäli haluamme ihmiskunnan selvityvän lajina tulevaisuudessa, tarvitaan globaalimpaa sekä humaanisempaa ajattelutapaa. Ihmisten tulisi tiettyyn pisteeseen asti unohtaa mielikuvituksen luomat näkymättömät rajat hiekassa, jotka maitten rajoina tunnetaan ja muistaa että me kaikki asumme samalla pallolla. Maitten rajat ovat vielä tarpeellisia juridisten sekä byrokraattisten asioiden hoitamisen kannalta, mutta toivon ihmisten pääsevän tulevaisuudessa yli nationalismista ja keskittyvän globaalimpaan ajattelutapaan. En näe aseellista selkkausta ratkaisuksi rajojen puolustamisessa ja en halua olla millään tavalla osallisena muitten ihmisten fyysisessä vahingoittamisessa rauhan tai sodan aikana. Lopuksi yhdyn Einsteinin sanoihin: ”You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.”
Here is a collection of my older texts and essays.
Question of Eternal Life
Question of eternal life puzzles me, I wonder if the people who desire it have actually thoroughly thought it out. The whole concept of eternity is beyond human comprehension, one can have such ideas that a relationship, love, religion, ideology or soul would stand the test of time and prevail forever but it is the temporariness of a human life and concept of time which makes these ideas seem possible. It was well said by character Achilles in the movie Troy: “The Gods envy us. They envy us because we’re mortal, because any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.” Human consciousness is like a twinkle of a star in the night, it lights up the Universe for a brief moment with its beauty and warmth and after that fades back to the endless emptiness where it came from.
Paradise, Heaven or any other transcendental place where one would continue existence after death might have sounded like an idea worth believing at the time when most of our religions or superstitions were created and human life was short, focused on surviving to the next day. That life was full of known and unknown threats, hard work and all the time went to fulfill the lowest needs in Maslow’s hierarchy pyramid. Fear and anxiety of death, the unknown, was relieved by believe that one’s soul would hopefully pass a final test and move to a better, timeless, place where unlimited contentment, peace and harmony would exists. This idea might have helped humans to survive as a species, control fears and explain the world, thus, it was important, at that time when scientific method did not exist.
Today, at least in the Western world, most people are living comfortable and long lives compared to our ancestors. With the help of science we can now understand better our place in the world and Universe, how did humans evolved to the point where we are now, how the Universe came to be and what will happen to one after death. There is no objective evidence for any kind of afterlife or soul. Subjective feeling or knowledge does not make it an objective fact and it does not matter how many millions of people believes in such things, it will not make it true. The existence of religions and superstitions all over the world simply proves that psychological functions of humans and way of perceiving the world has been and is universal. The need to understand the world, control it and fears of the unknown, has led to various creation myths, superstitions and in the end to religions.
I think that if life would last forever, here in this world or another, it would lose its beauty. Things rarely last through a human lifespan and if they do, one usually tends to seek something better. We should be grateful that we are able to believe to an idea that love or friendships can last forever, which is the human lifespan. I enjoy from understanding more and more about the Universe and what it consists from, including our species, one out of 8,7 million species on this small blue rock called the Earth (which should be called the Sea by the looks of it). Stillness is an illusion, as many other things, due to limitations of human senses, because everything is moving all the time from atoms, to this planet going around the sun (one of hundreds of billions of suns only in this galaxy) which is going around the center of the galaxy (one of hundreds billions of galaxies in this Universe), galaxies are moving around galaxy clusters and according to latest study the whole Universe has been revolving around itself since the Big Bang. I wish only to increase my comprehension about the Universe and then “I” will return to stardust and recycling of matter. To understand and do this is the beauty of life to me.
Life, this short twinkle of light between cold and dark emptiness of space, is beautiful due to it momentary existence. All meaning is created by man and humans are a product of aimless chaos of evolution, an organism trying to survive and pass on its information inside genes to the next generation, one should appreciate existence as it is, brief but amazing, and try to make life a paradise for all creatures here and now. We will not live forever but if we want survive as a species we have to learn from history and avoid repeating the mistakes of our ancestors, we should live in the present but plan our actions not by looking ahead a quarter year or four years of a political term but tens or preferably hundreds of years beyond our own lifespan so the next generation would inherit not the same but a better world. These ideas might sound utopist but only by achieving this goal are we able to spread our light all over the Universe and it might not last forever but compared to a human life, it will.
Conflict as a tool of evolution
Conflict, Merriam-Webster dictionary gives several definitions for this word; fight, battle, war (an armed conflict), competitive or opposing action of incompatibles: antagonistic state or action (as of divergent ideas, interests, or persons) or mental struggle resulting from incompatible or opposing needs, drives, wishes, or external or internal demands. It could be also expressed with words such as disharmony, discord, strife or friction. Conflict is an essential tool of evolution, it enhances and accelerates development of organisms. Since the first predators evolved in the oceans of young Earth, the battle between organisms has been waged and speed of evolution increased exponentially. Now there were the hunter and the hunted, prerequisite of survival was to surpass the skills of the opposite force. This development ultimately led to battles of man against another and attempts of man to conquer and harness the forces of nature.
Man has evolved beyond bare instincts and is able to reason and think logically about his past, present and future actions. Nevertheless only by gazing to history of man one can see trail of bloodshed and wars over territory, resources and ideas. The latter one separates us from other animals on this planet and it is almost absurd that one willing to die for such an abstract thing as an idea. This idea can be personal, religious, political or any other kind of –ism. With all the knowledge we have gathered over the millenniums, still today we keep on fighting. What are the reasons for persistence of conflict in this age of supposed enlightenment?
The greatest strength and weakness of man is that one always desires something better. It is this internal need, encoded to our DNA that fuels modern conflicts, may they be personal or global. On a personal level, internal conflicts of opposite drives and wishes are familiar to everyone. One wages battles everyday inside one´s own mind between emotions and reason, the end result of these conflicts is our behavior. Regional or global conflicts can be economical, social, physical or mental, between ideologies. There are as many reasons for these conflicts as there are people in the world, however, it is this basic need that makes us strife for better things which is the cause of all the conflicts in the world. Conflicts are vital and beneficial for development of all living things.
Tools of evolution are time and death. We all feed on death in one way or another, some eat meat, others are vegetarians, yet, the plants have “die” when they are harvested and in the end the plants are consuming the energy of the dying sun. There is no true death in a way, since all matter is recycled over and over again from the remnants of the Big Bang. Without death there would be stagnation and end of life as we know it. Change is constant and unstoppable, it is pointless to fight it and thus I state that new is better. From a human perspective, change might be difficult to handle. Such issues as end of a relationship, loss of an employment, and death of a close one or any other kind of hardship one can encounter in life might momentarily seem to be overwhelming. Though these experiences make us stronger and one needs to evolve to surpass these issues. Change might not be easy, yet, it is the force which makes us better. But what about war, the greatest conflict there is, can it improve life?
War. The word brings out various emotions and war in different forms has been with us since the time of dawn. War is fought every day in some form, on a microscopic level the battlefield is full of viruses and bacterial. One´s immune system fights against these foreign invaders on a daily bases without the conscious knowledge of the individual. War of ideologies can be illusive, nevertheless, it is fought in conversations between individuals, media, politics and other –isms such as atheism against theism or individualism against collectivism.
Man stands on the top of the food chain on this planet, thus, the greatest enemy of a man is another man. The most familiar meaning of war, is an armed conflict between nations, states or other forces. Wars cause devastation, deaths and horrors in many forms, nonetheless, wars bring out the best and the worst of human nature. Wars unite people under a certain banner or ideology in an unprecedented way and they are then able to perform enormous tasks in short period of time. Medical, communication and other technologies are developed faster than in peace time, this is obvious in the Moon race during the Cold War or in technological development during the Second World War. Do not understand me wrong, I am a pacifist, though there are always two sides in a coin. Nothing can exist without an opposite.
Improved things can come out of wars; better immune system, more sophisticated ideologies and enhanced technologies. The first two results of a certain types of wars are welcomed thus new is better. Latter result can be achieved in other ways without the environmental and human cost, when we learn from the experiences of wars and see that trough unity we are able to achieve incredible things. Unfortunately this kind of unity on a global scale seems possible only when there would be an even greater threat than man to another man. This might sound apathetic but the only realistic force which could unite mankind under one goal would be a global catastrophe which would annihilate mankind as we know it. This force could be an environmental catastrophe with looming consequences, pandemic which would kill people at a fast rate or extraterrestrial menace such as impending collision with an asteroid.
I have studied consequences of wars only from historical sources and I wish it would be so in the future. I also wish we would overcome armed conflicts against each other, though, other kind of conflicts are welcomed. As one can see conflicts are tools of evolution to improve all organisms physically or mentally. Change might be challenging, nonetheless, it is unavoidable and imperative for survival. One can challenge a change and create new conflict where one critically ponders the benefits of the change. New is better, life is change.
Origins of Thought
This essay defines and analyzes the concept of dialogue based, mostly, on the information gathered from David Bohm´s book On Dialogue. Possibilities of dialogue in social pedagogical work are critically examined and personal learning process and outcomes have been elaborated. Dialogue might sound simple at first, however, use of it in the modern world is limited by many factors and these are reflected from evolutionary perspective to psychological aspects. Dialogue has unlimited possibilities and whether we survive as a species in future might partly be determined by the use of dialogue or lack of it.
2 Dialogue Essay
David Bohm was an Emeritus Professor of Theoretical Physics at Birkbeck College, University of London. He continued to enhance his ideas of dialogue until his death in 1992. The material used in Bohm´s book On Dialogue dates back to 1965 and was collected over the years by him. First four chapters are based on essays written by Bohm in 1970 and 1971. Other information was collected from seminars and small group meetings held in Ojai, California between 1977 and 1992. This book provides an incisive introduction to dialogue, such concepts as collective and participatory thought, proprioception and nature of thought are explained. Possibilities and challenges of dialogue are discussed and all this information enlightens a person to think about dialogue and thought in a new and interesting way. (Bohm 1996: i-xii.)
Now when the writer and background behind On Dialogue has been presented it is time to focus on content of the book and subject of dialogue. First short chapter of the book concentrates on communication. Radio, TV, air travel and satellites were mentioned, however, one important modern mode of communication is missing due to the fact that this book is 20 years old, and this is of course Internet. Internet has revolutionized and increased communication exponentially, it is still hard to say how it will affect our lives. I would compare it to the invention of printing press over 500 years ago since it enables cheap, instant communication around the world and allows people to create and spread information.
Though Internet has provided new possibilities for communication, almost nothing has changed in the past 20 years, regarding a notion in the book. People living in different nations, with diverse political and economic systems still have hard time to talk to each other without fighting. Similar pattern of misunderstanding exists from micro to macro groups. Bohm recommended paying attention to our mental “blocks” which can hinder understanding of what the other person is trying to communicate to us. He claims that by dialogue people make something in common and create something new, though, this is only possible if people can freely listen to each other without prejudice and without trying to influence the other person. People should be able to drop their own ideas and try to understand things in a new way. (Bohm 1996: 1-5.)
What is this dialogue which could change the way we communicate? Bohm clarifies the etymology of dialogue as “trough words” or “stream of meaning” (Bohm 1996: 6). Dialogue can be among any number of people up from two or just by one person if it is done it right spirit. Dialogue is creative, it is a way to create something new and unknown. Discussion, which means to break things up, focuses on analyzing and backing up your own ideas where in dialogue nobody is trying win, everyone wins just by participating in it. People tend to identify themselves with their own assumptions and defend them with emotional outbursts, dialogue goes behind assumptions to the process of thought. (Bohm 1996: 6-9.)
The way we perceive the world is due to our past experiences, culture, education system, family, socioeconomic status and all the other things which affect your life have influenced the ideas and opinions you have. The sensory information from the world is overwhelming, thus, our brains cannot process it all and to make some sense of the world the brain makes shortcuts and divides things to understandable pieces. This fragmentation arises from thought which has eventually leaded to people identifying themselves as American or Finnish, Buddhist or Atheist, or to conceptualize something as chair, mouse, television, lake etc. All things are created by thought. Nevertheless thought is unaware that it created these things and when we defend these abstract ideas there can be no dialogue. Bohm states that optimal group size to dialogue is between 20-40 people, this creates a microcosm of society and after some time communicating in this way, a group might have coherent movement of thought even at the tacit level. (Bohm 1996: 9-14.)
Dialogue is not a simple and fast solution to problems of man. It takes time, patience and practice. Dialogue should be free, without any agenda, this could be challenging to many people thus a facilitator might be needed for guiding the group. His or her role should be to get things going, explain issues if needed, keep the dialogue flowing and to make him/herself obsolete. Dialogue group meetings weekly can last two years or more. Dialogue is a process, first parameters are negotiated and trust between the participants is built, finally people might be able to communicate coherently with each other at all levels. They are able to go behind their assumptions and reactions, to the source of thought. (Bohm 1996: 15-21.)
Dialogue is about awareness, observation of one´s feelings, impulses, reactions of the body and process of thought. In dialogue conflicts will and should arise, these ought to be observed and understood by going to the source of it, thought. When dialogue reaches uncomfortable zones of people, absolute necessities start to come up and people tend to “stick to their guns”. If people think something is absolute dialogue is not possible, only by questioning the necessity of absolutes people are able to move on to new areas of awareness and understanding. Dialogue does not aim to change the minds of people, however, this could happen when awareness is increasing. By proprioception of thought we can better understand the process of thought. When one is aware how a thought arises from sensory perception such as seeing or hearing and creates various feelings and impulses, absolute necessities appear less rigid. (Bohm 1996: 21-25.) Buddha had noticed this same issue around 2500 years ago, he said “The mind is everything. What you think you become.” (Brainyquote 2012).
Successful dialogue can lead to a shared consciousness where opinions are suspended and observed instead of defending and analyzing them. This could be achieved by collective thought where people could think together and create ideas without judgment, adding to previous ideas and knowledge of other participants would create a flow of meaning. When people are looking and thinking the same thing, participatory consciousness would emerge. This kind of hive mind would be something between individual and collective, opinions and assumptions would lose their inexorability when personal blocks are removed. (Bohm 1996: 26-27.) It is imperative that this kind of change would happen together, since, an individual change would only have a minor global affect. This kind of change could go beyond solving only social problems and change our relation towards the Universe. (Bohm 1996: 46-47.)
Our species, Homo sapiens, has evolved in such a way that our brains interprets information from the world and decodes it in to thoughts of abstract objects such as lion, bird, airplane or skyscraper. These skills were useful in the jungle where one needed to make fast decisions whether to run, freeze or fight and these choices concluded the odds of survival. In humans, an image can produce similar reactions and impulses as a real action would. This disturbs our perception of reality, when we observe nature with our senses, thought represents our perceptions as abstractions. This chain of actions results to assumptions and opinions we construct, problems arise when we are not aware of this process and we give the representations value of an independent fact. If we could be aware of our thought process, we would see our facts and assumptions for what they are. This could be achieved through dialogue. (Bohm 1996: 54-58.)
The concept of “I” is interesting, it is not something concrete or constant rather a collection of concepts and past experiences. This “I” is in constant fluctuation due to new information pouring in from the world which is filtered through your assumptions and opinions. Bohm quotes Krishnamurti is his book: “the observer is the observed”. When one observes his/her feelings, thoughts or even the world one cannot separate these and look at them as objects. (Bohm 1996: 70.)
Since David Bohm was a quantum physicist it is relevant to bring out the observer effect in quantum theory. According to Jim Al-Khailili in the measurement problem “an atom only appears in a particular place if you measure it, in other words an atom is spread out all over the place until a conscious observer decides to look at it so the act of measurement or observation creates the entire Universe.” (Daily motion 2010.) The role of consciousness or “I” thus affects to state of world as one perceives it. This realization has tremendous ramifications on the power of an individual to change the world he/she is living in. The way one looks at the world changes it.
Bohm claims that we need proprioception of thought, hence, we would be able to perceive the origin of our reactions, impulses, reflexes and assumptions. Dialogue between people on a global scale would revolutionize the way we understand each other, ourselves and the world. (Bohm 1996: 75.) How dialogue works in various social pedagogical situations is another question.
I will ponder how dialogue could be used in various groups, however, first we can look at it as a way communication on a global level. Bohm (1996) stated in his book On Dialogue that dialogue would change the way we perceive the world and others, it would change communication between people if only applied on a grand scale. I can agree on that claim, though, I am skeptical towards the number of people whom would be able to participate in Dialogue as Bohm described it. First one can contemplate Maslow´s Hierarchy of Needs theory, where he states that people need to fulfill certain needs before they are able to move on to fulfilling other needs. On the highest level of his pyramid are self-actualizing needs which concentrate on self-awareness, personal growth, concerning less with opinions of others and focusing on achieving the fullest personal potential. (Hierarchy of Needs 2012.) I would state that only on this state people are able to fully participate in dialogue and from the seven billion people on Earth only a portion is at this highest level. This is a challenge we need to face before it is possible to achieve dialogue on a global level.
Dialogue in social pedagogical context might be possible in a limited way. Social work in groups or one-on-one situations is limited by time and resources. Bohm mentioned that dialogue takes time and it is not a form of therapy, nonetheless, curing someone might happen as a byproduct (Bohm 1996: 16). This leads one to consider in what way dialogue could be used in these situations where clients are usually facing some kind of crisis or are in the lower levels of Maslow´s Pyramid. Some ideas of dialogue could be used when working with these client groups to improve communication and understanding between individuals.
I see dialogue as a useful way of communication between professionals working in the social field or within an individual. When workers have meetings to improve their skills or work environment, dialogue could be a creative way of communication. Workers should be aware of dialogue as a concept, which is required from the participants to make dialogue work. Use of dialogue would enable free and innovative atmosphere where new ideas could easily arise. Dialogue within an individual might not have a global effect, although, it could have a transforming effect on the individual. One could practice proprioception of thoughts and perceive personal problems, social issues, and even the Universe in a clearer way.
I have gained a rough understanding of dialogue which I assume was the goal of this course. I now see the potential of dialogue if it is applied on a global scale or even in local level. Dialogue in a limited way might be useful when working with clients in the social field and inside the team of professionals, this is vital knowledge for the future. I can now use dialogue within my own thoughts and spread the idea of it to others. Now I am aware of this flow of meaning, applying dialogue to everyday life will require mental resources and concentration, though, I am quite sure it will be worth the effort.
Brainyquote (2012) Buddha quotes. Internet document. <http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/b/buddha378282.html> Read 24.4.2012.
Bohm, D (1996) On Dialogue. Edited by Lee Nichol. London & New York: Routledge, i-xii, 1-5, 6-9, 9-14, 15-21, 21-25, 26-27, 46-47, 54-58, 70, 75, 16.
Daily motion (2010) A Conscious Universe – The Observer Effect. Internet document. <http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xewndx_a-conscious-universe-the-observer-e_tech> Read 24.4.2012.
Hierarchy of Needs (2012) The Five Levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Internet document. <http://psychology.about.com/od/theoriesofpersonality/a/hierarchyneeds.htm> Read 24.4.2012.