The Concoction

An Ethiopian woman's musings on Africa, the world and everything in between

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        Friday, March 03, 2006
        More comments until I find new topics...
        I invited my good friend Dr. David Wickstead to comment on cooperation as the foundation of societal development and civilization, and here is what he said...

        No surprise there. Civilisation started when we were able to grow surplus crops and allow some people to do non food collecting activities for the benefit of society - I'll get you some food if you build me a house, or play me some music or paint a picture.

        But recently with capitalism and materialism becoming (especially in the West, but
        envied in the rest of the world) accepted as the "right way" to do things we have celebrated the individual succeeding and obtaining material wealth - inevitably at the expense of others. Looking after those who can't contribute material wealth to your society is a mark of civilisation but is too costly for those who want to maximise their own wealth and material possessions. For good cooperation (and a civilised society) each individual or group has to be prepared to give up their position of power and share it equally with others. This goes for relationships between men and women where men have held more power than women for too long, it goes for business partnerships and it goes for international power politics. There will always be unrest while the US perceives itself and is perceived as having more power than any other nation. Unequal partnerships do not result in good co-operaton but coercion,
        and the weaker partner feeling used and abused - hardly the mark of civilisation.

        Then he got carried away and said this about freedom of speech...

        Republishing cartoons: you would never have published unless you'd seen people getting upset. That the cartoons had been published is not free speech, but intimidation. Given the news of the deaths that have ensued because of the publication, republication is akin to incitement to hatred or even murder. That is a murder as well as a moral crime. It smacks to me of the action of a bully.... but bullies intimidate usually because they are frightened and I am sure that "the West" is frightened of Islam because it doesn't know or understand it enough. We are afraid of the unknown. We don't know enough about Islam to be confidant that the suicide bomber is alien to most Muslims’ understanding of what is morally right.

        We in the West cherish "free speech" and "democracy" as the most important things that make us civilised and criticise other nations for not adopting our versions of them. We have the luxury of wealth to do this. If you take Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs free speech comes after water, food, shelter, security, love. In fact at the top of Maslow's pyramid is self actualisation - and we in the West would probably say that that meant individual success, material wealth and the freedom to say whatever you want whatever the consequences for others....but what about making yourself equal to others so true co-opration can take place and civilisation is achieved.

        Phew. Thanks, Dave. Come back to my blog site every time you need to vent. By the way, making you write these comments was my retaliation against you for not prescribing any medication for my headaches 13 years ago, and making me drink water instead . Sweet revenge!
        posted by Fikirte @ 7:02 AM   Digg!
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