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Tag Archives: citizen

People of the United States and likely elsewhere across the world put shame upon the People’s Republic of China when it was discovered the young girl who appeared to be singing for the opening ceremony had only been lip syncing. The girl who was actually singing had been deemed not beautiful enough to represent the country. One became a heroine, the other became a “role model” for proper Chinese conduct. A similar shame should be relinquished to the United States. Students in China may sometimes blindly praise Mao Zedong (River Town by Peter Hessler), but in the U.S. students are taught to blindly believe in the goodness of past presidents. George Washington went from “chopping down a cherry tree” to perfect leader. There are other examples of false perceptions in the U.S. as well. Martin Luther King Jr. is appraised qualities of sainthood by the education system. Indeed his feats were great, but he also struggled at times too. In fact, the NAACP felt so strongly about perceptions that it determined who the heroine of the Civil Rights movement would be. Before Rosa Parks took a stand (or more literally, a seat) against racism, another woman took a similar action. The NAACP considered a legal challenge, but one problem arose: the woman was unmarried and pregnant (Soul of a Citizen by Paul Rogat Loeb).

In his book Soul of a Citizen, Paul Rogat Loeb, points out that many developmental psychologists believe individual growth is possible only through the interaction with the human and natural world, and through experiences that challenge us. A number of Chinese philosophers suggest an alternative. The state of Wu Shin (or Mu Shin no Shin) is a state of natural thinking without the presence of ego. More literally, no-mindedness. This concept is paired with Wu Wei, a sort of instinctual action. Bruce Lee was an avid follower of these ancient concepts. Essentially, Wu Shin suggests an ability to improve yourself without anything or the presence of higher thought commanding you to. To understand this better I suggest reading passages by Bruce Lee.

Another example that pits psychology against Chinese philosophy: M. Scott Peck says spiritual healing is “an ongoing process of becoming increasingly conscious.” Ancient Chinese philosophy tends to put more emphasis on simplicity. Again, the concepts of Wu Shin and Wu Wei are important in this way of thinking. Also, the idea of Yin and Yang —a sort of oneness of the world. The most famous of these philosophers is of course Confucius (Kongzi). Others include one of the followers of his ideals, Mencius (Mengzi).

It has been discovered that some granite kitchen countertops contain a dangerous amount of uranium. There is enough of the radioactive substance to exceed the yearly standard for visitors to nuclear facilities. It has been suggested that 85% of granite countertops are safe, but that is unacceptable. Granite countertops are fairly common, and many people have been unknowingly and unwillingly subjected to something that could possibly drastically increase the possibility of cancer. Any company making countertops should now check their materials thoroughly, recall unsafe counters, and allow testing and replacement for concerned consumers. How much of a concern is the situation really? It is unlikely cancer would be caused in a short amount of time for exposure, but ten years or more down the road a consumer who gets cancer may not know what the cause was. It is better to be safe than sorry; companies should respect that and consumers should project that in their actions.

The benefits of exercise are innumerable. Reseachers have discovered that, in patients with early Alzheimer’s disease, exercise helped minimize the progression of the disease. I was not surprised by the findings since exercise seems to keep the mind clear and sharp, but for physically fit Alzheimer’s patients to actually have less brain shrinkage is interesting. It appears that the increased flow of blood to the brain during exercise allows for a healthier brain by delivering more oxygen & nutrients. The connection between exercise and the function of the brain may also point to a future increase of dementia that corresponds with an increase in obesity (citation: WebMD, BBC)