Posted by: Patrick Mosolf | Tuesday, 19 January, 2010

Could Guinea Be Headed for a Resolution?

A few days ago I found out about the twist in events in Guinea in the last two months or so.

Guinea is the west African country which I only heard about when living in Liberia, but it stood in contrast to Liberia in that it was relatively stable, during the latter part of the 20th century.  Liberia had years of war, while Guinea was dominated by Lansana Conte.  Oddly enough, however, even though Guinea had been stable compared to Liberia, there were still serious problems with power shortages and other basic necessities, meaning it was not that much ahead of Liberia developmentally.  This apparently was due to the corruption or mismanagement of the Lansana Conte regime.

Then in 2008, Conte, died, and a military regime took over power.  They seemed promising at first, pledging to hold civilian elections, but as time wore on, the military group under Captain Moussa Camara grew more and more restrictive and controlling.  Human rights abuses became more widespread.  Then in late September there was an incident in which the military killed a large number of civilians in what some have called a massacre- an armed attack on a peaceful pro-democracy rally.  Women were maliciously violated and raped in the aftermath.

Now a man who media has described as “a top aide” shot Camara in an attempted assassination.  This may have changed the picture considerably, as Camara has basically been incapacitated- he seems to no longer be fit to govern.  In this news article, from Burkina Faso, Camara now says he supports a transition to democracy and that he will not run in future elections.

According to this news article, a member of the opposition has become the Prime Minister, and elections are to be held within six months.

The question now is whether the deputy of Camara, General Konate, will do what he says and let go of power to allow elections to take place.

In any event, the events of the last month have potentially opened the door for change in Guinea’s story, as Camara has been sidelined, and the pro- democracy movement appears to have gained more power.  Or is that an illusion?  Let’s hope that it works out for the best- I’m sure the Guineans could use a service oriented civilian government to improve livelihoods and conditions in the country.

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Posted by: Patrick Mosolf | Monday, 28 September, 2009

International Issue Forum Reaches 8,000 Page Views

Posted by: Patrick Mosolf | Monday, 14 September, 2009

The Positives of Being a Vegetarian: Help the Poor and Save the Rainforests

Many people may not really be familiar with the idea of being a vegetarian, especially if they don’t know anyone who is a vegetarian and they live in a country where there is no real movement in favor of vegetarianism.

I suspect it is in more developed countries, or countries which have a history of freedom and open- mindedness, which will have a stronger presence of vegetarianism as a ideational force.  In many Asian countries some people may be full or partially vegetarian for religious reasons, usually either Buddhist or Hindu.

There are religious as well as practical reasons to be a vegetarian.  In this case I’m looking at the practical reasons to be a vegetarian and appealing to people’s rational faculties, with a compassionate motive.

Being a vegetarian could help reduce the impact of humans on the rainforest, especially meat consumers in certain countries.  For example, meat consumers in countries like Argentina and Brazil, where rainforest is cleared to make way for cattle range, there is a strong possibility that beef consumed in those countries affects the cutting down of the rainforest.

The same link between rainforest destruction and meat consumption applies to any country which receives beef which is exported from those countries where rainforest is being cleared for cattle grazing.  I have not researched it to know all of the countries where this is occurring, but I suspect it is considerable (among multiple other causes of rainforest destruction).

Another logical reason to reduce meat consumption is that prices of many foods have risen, especially some meat and fish.  In 2008, food prices reached extremely high levels and the poor of the world were particularly hard hit.  Several commentators at the time, including the World Bank, said that the rise in food prices threatened to turn back, or repeal, advances in poverty reduction made over the past few decades.

That was before the economic recession hit.

An additional pressure on food prices which will probably expand even further in the future, is the new bio-fuels.  These bio-fuels are environmentally more friendly (in terms of carbon emissions) , but there’s one catch:  They may compete for land with that land used to grow food for humans.  That is, an energy source is now competing for limited space with the food source.  If bio-fuels had never been invented, more land would be available to grow food, which in turn would probably increase the food supply.  An increase in food supply would drive food prices down relative to a constant level of demand.  Expanding bio-fuel production means that there will be less food overall, which will generally apply upward pressure to food prices in the long- term.  This is of course in addition to expanded demand from growing population, and increasing meat consumption in many countries which are developing and having more disposable income.

So, the idea here is that if a person eats less, or no meat at all, they will be reducing the demand for meat, which will result in lower meat prices, which will reduce pressure on the poor of the world.  If many people did this, it could have an effect over the long term.

Overall, I think at this point that as a species,  humans should reduce meat and fish consumption, as one measure to restore balance with the planet, and wild ecosystems.

Well, it’s food for thought.  I wonder if any readers have any thoughts about this, and whether they would consider being a vegetarian or reducing their meat intake as a result of these reasons?

Please comment!  All thoughts are welcome.

For more information about the link between a vegetarian diet and ecofriendly, green lifestyle, see also this website:  (EarthSave International)

Posted by: Patrick Mosolf | Saturday, 27 June, 2009

Rainforest Action Network- An Organization Worth Checking Out

Just thought I would pass on to readers the name of this organization.

I first heard of this organization from a friend in college who worked on environmental issues.  This was before I was really even familiar with NGOs.  We were both concerned about environmental issues and I was curious about which organizations were working to protect the rainforest.

For a few years I have been getting e mail alerts from them, and they often inform me about interesting issues.  Today for example, I am reading about mountaintop removal mining in the US, a few days ago I was reading about indigenous demonstrations in Peru against land exploitation.

Their website is www.ran.org.

I’ve been happy to see how many readers have read my previous post Stop Deforestation By Reducing Timber Product Consumption.  It shows how many people are concerned about the forest/ rainforest, and that they want to do something about it.

Posted by: Patrick Mosolf | Saturday, 9 May, 2009

How Many Years Will I Be Looking at This River? The Mekong

Some things seem to come around in cycles… It’s funny that as someone who has lived overseas for a such a long time, that I should keep experiencing the same river again and again.

As a child, it was the Ohio river… when I was a child my best friend and I used to tow soda pop bottles about two miles in our wagon to the nearest little town where we could cash in the bottles for their deposit and gorge ourselves on candy while gazing at the mighty Ohio flowing by.

In 2002, I landed on the Mekong river in Vientiane, Laos, during the height of the flood season. Every day the residents of Vientiane would congregate by the Mekong to see how close it was to flooding on that particular day. Today seemingly only a few centimeters away, tomorrow seeming to recede a bit. The Mekong became a kind of spiritual body to me, not merely an inanimate object, but actually a living thing, with a spirit, like a god. Those were hard times, and I confided in the river about the troubles in my life.

Just a few months later, in Phnom Penh, I began a long period near the banks of the Bassac, a massive tributary just a short distance from the Mekong. The Bassac is odd in that it actually flows in two directions depending on the time of the year. For most of the year, the Bassac flows into the Mekong (left to right from the vantage point of the Phnom Penh riverside). But when the rain fills the Mekong to such massive levels, the water from the Mekong flows into the Bassac, changing its direction (from right to left), where the water flows all the way up into the Tonle Sap lake.

Somehow imagining the riverside in Phnom Penh to be analagous to the riverside in places like Varanasi (Benares) in India, I took to meditating on the river bank in Phnom Penh. People may surely have thought I was a bit crazy, as the riverside in Phnom Penh is extremely dirty. Yet even a few Cambodian people joined me while I was doing meditation.

A long time passed there in Phnom Penh- so many conversations were had at the riverside- so many friends met.

Now even more years later, I sit perched atop a chair, guitar in hand, microphone pointed to my mouth, with the Mekong before me. The river flows by illuminated by the lights of the town, the great bridge lit up to my right. From time to time, I stop concentrating on the melody I am singing for the audience enjoying their drinks on the patio, and the spirit of the Mekong penetrates me in a brief instant before I forget which chord I should be playing. A perfect place for a song.

Last night it struck me how odd that I should be here again, this time looking over the river while performing. Life is a series of cycles and repetitions, but these cycles are something that someone who travels and moves around often loses- since there is no permanence, and the locations are always changing and shifting.

At least I have the Mekong to remember- to remind me of years gone by, flowing by… “jaded by the years”…

Posted by: Patrick Mosolf | Tuesday, 7 April, 2009

Song Recording: Song of Thanks (Danyavad)

Song of Thanks (Danyavad): Based on Indian Classical Music

Link to Quick Time Player of This Recording

(To listen to the recording above with the music player, click on the arrow facing right. However, this will lead to an interrupted version of the song as it downloads. To avoid this, first click on the arrow and then press the pause button. While it is paused, the computer will continue to download it, and after a few minutes (depending on the speed of your connection), you should be able to listen to the song uninterrupted.)

This song is a derivation of an Indian Classical music song which was on a cassette I bought in New Delhi. Since I no longer have that cassette on my person I don’t know the name of the original song, or even the singer. But the melody is so beautiful that it has long been in my mind, and I finally stumbled upon an appropriate chord for it.

I’m not even sure if the first word of the song is, in reality, “Danyavad” (which means “thank you” in Hindi). But it certainly sounded like it in the original recording. The rest of the “words” are not actually words at all- it is my form of “scat”, or vocal improvisation, which is vaguely based on the original sound of the words. In this case it is the feeling conveyed which is important, not the meaning of the words.

This is a live recording, which means it is not a multi- track recording.

Again, any comments or critiques are welcome.

Posted by: Patrick Mosolf | Tuesday, 7 April, 2009

Song Recording: You’re A Big Girl Now, by Bob Dylan

“You’re a Big Girl Now”

Link to Quicktime Player of This Recording

(To listen to the recording above with the music player, click on the arrow facing right.  However, this will lead to an interrupted version of the song as it downloads.  To avoid this, first click on the arrow and then press the pause button.  While it is paused, the computer will continue to download it, and after a few minutes (depending on the speed of your connection), you should be able to listen to the song uninterrupted.)

This is a cover of a Bob Dylan song on his album “Blood on the Tracks”, which was released in 1975.  Most people have probably never heard it, but the sound of it appeals to me and so I learned to play it.  It is pretty different from the original because of Bob Dylan’s unique vocal style, which I could not, and would not want to imitate.  So, unlike some of my other covers, which are pretty close to the original, this one is more of an interpretation.

This song is a multi-track recording. I know it is not perfect- there is a lot of background noise, aside from the errors I made in playing it. But I enjoy putting my music online, and it might take me forever to perfect it, so I have put it online even in its imperfect condition.

I hope you enjoy, and please leave any comments on how it could be improved!  Happy listening!

The chief scientist for the UK government has warned that there will be more severe food, energy, and water shortages as the world’s population expands to 8.3 billion people by 2030.  Food and energy demand is projected to grow by more than 50% over current levels, while demand for fresh water is to grow by more than 30%. (See this link)

The scientist, Professor John Beddington, said that while food and fuel prices have fallen again since highs in 2008, the lower prices must not become a reason to ignore the problem, which demands urgent steps be taken.

I would predict that these problems will hit the world’s poor in the most severe way, as food prices will increase, cutting dramatically into the already meager budget;s of the world’s poor families.  Many rural people around the world already work long hours to attain water, especially affecting women and children who are usually the ones carrying out this work.  Of course, water shortages could also affect agricultural production by poor farmers.

Hopefully, this will be a wake up call for people who think that the size of the human population is not a problem.  At the same time, while pointing at population, this article does not raise the issue of overconsumption by the wealthier people in the world, which is equally a part of the problem.  It will be difficult, although entirely possible, to create ways for wealthier people in the world to reduce their consumption of these resources.

It is also rarely mentioned in the news media, but reducing consumption of meat, or becoming vegetarian altogether, can help to resolve these problems by reducing the amount of food eaten, as well as the water used to produce it.  (Meat usually takes large quantites of grains and water to produce.  Eating plant- based products instead of meat would reduce the amount fed to animals, leaving more to go around among humans, and reducing market prices.) 

In my observations, people generally assume that the situation will continue pretty much as it is now, or that people’s living standards will continue to improve in the upcoming years.  But articles like this show that many people may be in for a rough ride in this  century.

All the more reason why people need to get active, involved, and do something to solve this problem!

Posted by: Patrick Mosolf | Wednesday, 11 March, 2009

International Issue Forum Reaches 6,000 Pageviews

While I haven’t been able to write recently, people continue to view older posts from the site. So another marker was passed recently with the 6,000th view.

I’m still thinking about how to make the site more like a forum, whereas now it is mostly my own writing, with a few comments. I would like to invite readers to write something about an issue that is of concern to them, or that they would like to discuss. If any readers are interested in writing something, they can leave a comment or write to the e mail adress on the “About” page.

Another idea is to organize a live forum and then write here about what was discussed- possibly with pictures. This would link the local event with a wider audience, and maybe inspire someone to hold their own forum or discussion group wherever they are!

Thanks to all those who have left comments!

Posted by: Patrick Mosolf | Wednesday, 7 January, 2009

Coming soon- something…

Well Happy New Year 2009!

I’m finally back to a place where I can make use of the internet easily. Looking forward to writing again soon.

Hope everyone had good holidays and are now looking optimistically to the new year!

Posted by: Patrick Mosolf | Tuesday, 30 December, 2008

Stop Deforestation by Reducing Timber Product Consumption

When I travel through many of the most beautiful parts of a country which is partially forested, I can see often the results of cutting of trees in vast swathes across hillsides. I then think to my self how great it would be if this cutting would stop, and we as a species would be sure we had preserved enough of the rainforest (instead of the mad dash to log we see now). Many people around the world, who are changing the way they see nature and are coming to appreciate the importance and value of preserving natural places, no doubt share this feeling that we need to maintain a reserve and store of natural forest. Home to diverse species, ecosystems, a network of life which exists parallel to humanity, these places are of such value that they must be preserved, protected and allowed to grow wild.

Recalling a discussion of the impact of logging activity in that country, I realized that if I had traveled here years ago I would see a much more natural, full forest- full of vitality with wildlife living freely. It’s possible to see the effect of human demand for wood when traveling in many countries, and is reinforced by coverage in newspapers and in conversation when traveling.

Yet as a species humans still are consuming more and more wood – fueling logging. The Amazon rainforest continues to decrease in size year after year. Humanity would be wise to stop the decrease in size first, then figure out how much more deforestation is safe. The issue is linked to that of global warming through the proposed mechanism of reabsorption of CO2 by forests.

Much attention has been given to getting certified timber, but it seems that the one of the best ways to resolve this problem is for people to try to reduce their use of wood products. If people would as a group attempt to use less wood, and find wood substitutes, and recycle so that wood products can be re-used, a lot of the strain on the forests could be reduced.

Even simple things can make such a difference. Take the example of China, where the use of disposable chopsticks in an unsustainable way has no doubt led to much deforestation. A global taste for wood products- in houses and furniture, continues to drive unsustainable logging. What if consumers, just said “no”? “I prefer to have a living forest”.

It is often not discussed, but the consumption of a great deal of meat, which is of origin in the South American region, could lead directly to deforestation of forest regions. A great deal of forest land has been cleared for the purpose of grazing. Therefore, a vegetarian diet (or a reduced meat diet) can be another way for people to reduce impact on the rain forest.

Citizens both locally and internationally can also organize to influence the situation and advocate for sustainable natural forests. One thing which could be impacted through campaigning is the vast burning of the Amazon rainforest- simply uncontrolled burning which destroys forest and contributes to global warming. This senseless burning must be stopped. I am aware that there may be a natural level of forest fire, but the level of burning now is past the natural level, I think. Probably other major forest regions also suffer from unnecessary burning.

So, what I’m proposing is to try to reduce the amount of deforestation by individual and collective effort to reduce the use of wood products, and organize where direct change in consumption patterns will not help.

I consider the need to protect the great forests of the planet as one of the most important things that people should be talking about and working on. The value of these natural places is priceless. We have to search more for ways to preserve and protect these places, even expanding and strengthening them from their current status.

So, opening up the idea for debate from readers: do readers think that reducing the consumption of wood products would be an effective way to reduce human impact on forests? Would readers consider doing this themselves in order to make a difference?

Posted by: Patrick Mosolf | Wednesday, 17 December, 2008

Today’s thoughts: Change in Thailand, Human Need in CAR

A few comments on things happening today:

In Thailand a new Prime Minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, is sworn in after months of protests by groups in Bangkok opposed to rule by a party connected with, and probably controlled by, Thaksin Shinawatra.

This Prime Minsiter is a shift, as he is from the Opposition Party, and thus are replacing Shinawatra’s party, which was the target of the protests. So possibly this will lead to the end of the instability in Bangkok.

In the past few months, I’ve had the odd experience of people saying they are avoiding Bangkok, because of their knowledge of the events taking place there. It’s odd because it is usually a place where many people are going.

Although I’ve been following too distantly to understand these events enough to make a good comment, let’s hope this change will bring stability to Bangkok, but only if it is done in a way which preserves democracy. I say that because one of the more questionable propositions of the main group protesting in Thailand are those who would propose to reduce the number of directly elected members of Parliament.

BBC reports on a serious humanitarian situation in the little covered Central African Republic. (click here)

Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced from their homes as a result of civil war, and the figures are stark: 200 out of 1,000 children die before the age of 5. Life expectancy is 42 years old. Health services are hindered by great distances to health care, and poor infrastructure makes this transport more difficult.

Although it is no doubt different, the description reminds me of my experence in Liberia, where the incredibly poor roads in some provinces, prevented people from accessing healthcare. In southeast Liberia, the neighboring provinces were hardly linked with Harper by road, making anyone who needed a higher level of healthcare in those provinces a day or more away from the hospital. Hopefully healthcare has improved in Liberia since then.

Although it’s remote for some readers, let’s try to keep those people in Central African Republic in our minds. And when there’s a spare moment, reflect on how this kind of problem can be solved. I would like to hear any comments or suggestions on how readers think this situation can be ameliorated.

Anyone?

Posted by: Patrick Mosolf | Friday, 12 December, 2008

Further Economic Difficulties as Markets Decline Again

Just saw that markets in the US are looking bad again as the Senate refused a bill to help the US automakers. Thousands, even millions, look set to lose jobs.

It appears the effects will also be felt globally as index futures have fallen in other countries as well.

How much worse can it get? It seems the US government must do something to resolve the situation, as the human costs will be serious.

Hope everyone who is really suffering as a result of this crisis can stay calm despite the difficulties- hopefully we will all see a timely resolution of this problem and standards of living will recover!

Posted by: Patrick Mosolf | Friday, 21 November, 2008

Inner and External Conflict, the Ego and Meditation: Response to Olga Lednichenko

A while back I received this comment on my original blog post: “Fallacies of Karma and Its Relation to Injustice”, which can be viewed by clicking here.

The original comment was:

What is a Conflict? And no. I am not talking of the Yom Kippur War or Iraq.

By the way: Here is the Yom Kippur war:

The Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War or October War (Hebrew: מלחמת יום הכיפורים‎;

transliterated: Milkhemet Yom HaKipurim or מלחמת יום כיפור, Milkhemet Yom Kipur; Arabic:

حرب أكتوبر‎; transliterated: ħarb October or حرب تشرين, ħarb Tishrin), also known as the 1973

Arab-Israeli War and the Fourth Arab-Israeli War… more

Yom Kippur war was an attack – on Israel- from 3 sides. I am talking of the war from two sides.

Ironically, the war from 2 sides is a never ending war. Its a Conflict. So, it has to have 2 actors – 2 players. Here are the warrior factions:

1.
The mind
2.
The Heart

Let me explain:

*
In the night when no one is listening: its the heart that’s doing the talking
*
But suddenly, there is a voice – the one that justifies. It starts with the sound of — BUT —-

SO the conflict = Difference between the above two voices.

Funny, thing is : you don’t even need a Bible or Torah. Geeta or Koran.
You have those 2 actors – inside – built-in – by Design.
So, now we know what a Conflict is :We are ready to answer : what is Confusion:
Confusion = Not knowing which voice to suppress?
Food for thought – a talk with you – Tonight:
Are you clear or confused ? Wait a minute: Are you in a conflict?
Before you answer : Answer this: Who are you answering this – TO ?
You are the receiver and the Transmitter. No one’s listening. Are you?
Between the two voices: One is called Psychology – and the other Philosophy.
The place where Psychology meets Philosophy is called – YOU.
Are you listening to YOU? Are you free from YOU? –
If not then who are you listening to ?

If you are in doubt : Consult You. I know. I know. There is a but – impeding YOU ..Now, Some Hints for you:

1.
You won’t find the answer in any book. No Bible. No Koran. No Torah, will tell you – you.
2.
Before you label it outlandish : let me ask you : Is admonishion = an answer? Hint: Thou Shalt NOT -> Is an admonishion.. Is it not?
3.
What is answer ? -> Here it is : An Answer = One that resolves the Anxiety.

Finally: Are you – now – going to read the book called YOU?

Warning: Don’t be sorry -> Everyone has the But – Inside. Its called the “Intelligent Design”///

PS: This is 100 % original, no copy, no paste -> not even – inspiration – and/or perspiration

Cheers

Olga Lednichenko

I finally got around to replying to this comment, which is a good chance to discuss the issue of conflict, both internal and external, meditation, the Buddhist conception of the ego, and the question of internal conflict as a cause of war in the world.

My reply was:

Olga,

I have been meaning to reply to your comment for a long time, but there is an irony in my life, which is that the longer someone’s message to me, the longer it takes me to reply. That is because I consider it only fair to reply to them with an equally long message, which makes it harder to reply.

Your reply is very poetic, so its hard for me to know exactly what you mean. You are speaking of conflict, but I’m not sure if you are replying directly to my blog post or if you are just making a new comment.

I won’t reply to the political part of your comment about The conflict between Israel and the Arab world- I am not prepared to comment accurately on that at this time.

But I can reply to a few other parts: First on conflict. Since for some years now I have been thinking about ways to improve our small, shared planet, of course I thought about and reflected on conflict. The conclusion I have come to is that at least SOME conflict cannot be avoided. Even in the most just world, there will always be some conflict between people. I do think that as humans we can significantly reduce the conflicts in the world by reducing injustice and finding new structures and ways to address problems. However, some conflict will always remain which results from the unavoidable fact that we are separate and do not always have the same wishes.

The issue, then, is not to eliminate conflict, but rather how to manage conflict. Since conflict is unavoidable, we need not feel particularly distressed about it, but simply strive to handle it in the best way. I won’t delve now into how I think this can be done.

As for inner conflict, I also think this is unavoidable- although the conflict may not always be between the mind and the heart, as you have suggested, but may be within the mind, or even within the heart as well. Again, as for inner conflict, I see no need to be distressed about it, as inner conflict is natural at some stage of life. Some people may feel too much inner conflict, which may indicate that they need more time for reflection, or need to listen to what they truly feel inside. But in many cases inner conflicts are just normal. They require insight, and in some cases patience, to resolve. In many cases, the external world will resolve these conflicts for us as conditions change.

Its interesting that you talk about the heart. I used to facilitate a meditation group which involved concentrating on the heart. I think most people these days hardly listen to their heart at all. Some of the people in the meditation group commented that they couldn’t feel their heart at all during the meditation.

I find it somewhat amusing that you refer in large case to “YOU”. It amuses me- since I have been influenced by Buddhism, I’m not sure if I really believe in the concept of the ego, or of an “I”. The ego is just made up of component parts of consciousness which can be dis-assembled. Perhaps that is why inner conflict does not concern me- because when the ego dissolves it is easier to see plainly and clearly the thoughts and feelings which are present and to be aware of their interactions, without any sense of angst.

A further comment: You said “you won’t find it in any Gita, Bible, Koran.” In a way I agree with you. I remember reading a Zen story a few years ago, in which one of the monks burns all of the cherished books of sutras, much to the shock of the other monks. The point the monk was trying to make was that Enlightenment can’t be found in any book. On the other hand, I don’t agree with you, since religious- spiritual books can often be a guide, although one should not follow them too rigidly but rather approach them critically. For example, I have learned a great deal from the Bhagavad Gita, and it still invigorates me when I read it. I also benefited greatly from the Tao Te Ching. The point is, while we need not take any book as having the final answer, they can often introduce new ideas and concepts which will stimulate us to greater accomplishments…

Finally, I don’t know if you are alluding to the idea that external conflict, or conflict in the world, will be eliminated, if people’s inner conflicts are also eliminated. Over the years, when I asked people how to bring peace in the world, this was an answer I often got. I think this is true in many ways, but I also think it is too simplistic. On the one hand, I think it is true. If, for example, US citizens were more peaceful, and had less tendency towards violence and aggression internally, I believe that they would have resisted the Iraq War much more strongly. However, violence is so much a part of US society, that I believe there was a kind of resonance between Bush’s proposed actions and how they were feeling internally.

On the other hand, I think that even if people feel inner peace that in and of itself will not bring peace in the world because of structural problems and inequalities of power. For example, in the US many people were against the war, but they had no real power to do anything about it. And that is in a democracy where people have access to information and have more power to influence things. In a country like Iraq, where before they had virtually no power relative to a dictator, and were probably easy to manipulate due to control of the media, there is virtually no chance that the inner peace of the Iraqi people could prevent a war. Because they have absolutely no power to control their leader, and further, through the media, which cannot tolerate true debate, they can easily be manipulated to support war.

So what I am saying, in response to one of the truisms that I often have heard (“peace will come in the world when people feel inner peace”), is that peace will never come to the world without the resolution of some of the external, structural causes of conflict, which are outside of people.

In sum, you seem to be suggesting some sort of inner reflection. I wholly support this, especially in a kind of meditative practice which would be similar to “Insight meditation”, or “mindfulness meditation.” At the same time, we also need to address the structural problems in the external world which amplify conflict and create many conflicts which actually do not need to exist. If we do that, in the end there will remain some conflicts, both internally and externally, but they will certainly be manageable by wiser people who have developed more than we as humans have, up to this point. May we all strive for greater realization and understanding.

Further comments and discussions are welcome!

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Posted by: Patrick Mosolf | Wednesday, 19 November, 2008

Song: A Case of You, Originally Written by Joni Mitchell

I am re-publishing this song because I have made a new recording of it which is much better than the previous one. Click on the speaker icon above to hear my performance of the song “A Case of You”, written by Joni Mitchell, and included on her album “Blue” in 1971.

I first learned this song around 1994, and relearned it in 2006. It is performed in the same key as the original, only sung one octave lower.

Any comments are welcome!

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