Tag Archives: Conflict

Those Smarty Plants!

Have you ever wondered about plants?

I know, weird question.

It actually all started with stumbling upon David Suzuki’s “The Nature of Things” video segment entitled “Smarty Plants”. While watching this video, I began to give these seemingly docile creatures a little bit more thought. I mean, they are everywhere and yet we pay them very little attention. But, what if they are smarter than we humans had thought? What if they “talk, forage, wage war and protect their kin” (CBC Television, 2012)? If you watched the video, what did you think? Did they display a higher consciousness akin to us OR was it simply mechanisms set in place “in favour of selection”, as one commenter pointed out?

Well, hopefully following the lead scientist and ecologist, Cahill, helped solve that question for you. His quest to find these “smarty plants” definitely uncovered some plants that blew my mind, such as the dodder vine favouring its victims based on their biochemistry. Another aspect discussed that intrigued me was how plants let out “chemical screams” to repel certain species of animal and insect, or attract the higher-ups on the food chain to avenge that specific plant from the unwanted invaders. Suzuki even points out that the smell of freshly cut grass is actually the grass letting out their “chemical scream”… to whom? … Now that’s a good question isn’t it. To whom indeed.

So, this entire video got me thinking… is it too bold to conclude that the grass might be formulating the right “scream” to get rid of us?

What do you think?

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Source:

Smarty Plants: Uncovering the Secret World of Plant Behaviour. (September 27, 2012). CBC Television. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/episode/smarty-plants-uncovering-the-secret-world-of-plant-behaviour.html

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Ripples

Fact: Starting October 2012, Sheridan college is starting to charge 3 dollars to park after 3:00 pm for those part-time students who do not have permits (Parking Policies). It has been free for all this while… so why change it now?

Well, to answer that question, let me ask you this one: Are higher education establishments becoming money-grabbing institutions? I mean, you have to admit that the cost of pursuing higher education (either via College or University) is ridiculously expensive, like for instance investing in textbooks that will become obsolete in under a year.

Now what does this have to do with “ripples” you ask? Well remember that it only takes a drop of water to cause ripples in a vast body of water… so maybe it will only take a cumulation of small changes like this to start off the vehicle of change. What do you think? Have we, the masses, become mindless drones so overwhelmed with the regular bustle of life that we fail to think critically? Critically enough to push for changes?

You tell me.

The Corner

A place where if a snake was backed into, would instantly strike viciously at its attacker(s). It is a well coined expression based on this absolute truth of what actually happens. So this begs the question, do we humans always strike back without a second thought if faced with a similar predicament to that of the snake?

I believe it is instinctual, ingrained in our basic need to survive. But, can we ever overcome that instinct with out intellect and squash that behaviour if we feel it to be self destructive? Sounds like an intellect vs. instinct topic doesn’t it.

So I will leave with this: What will happen if one is backed into a corner? An even scarier notion, what if that person had nothing to lose?

The Void

We all have one don’t we, that metaphorical hole which we fill with something or another to make us feel whole. Its substance unique to the individual as, of course, everyone has different priorities. The putty, if you will, could be anything from socializing and shmoozing, shopping, family, religion, health and fitness, etc.

So where exactly am I going with this seeing that the above paragraph is ridiculously obvious? Well, what happens when it’s barren? When life is void of meaning? It’s dismal to think about the idea if yours is filled to the brim with nothing but positive things, but for some people this is their reality. So is this when people turn to scrupulous activities and become self-destructive? I mean, it’s undeniable that many negative outcomes to such a bleak outlook on life exist. For instance, a prime example would be the unfortunate and deadly, last-ditch-attempt-to-make-the-world-a-better-place suicide. So this begs the question, shouldn’t there be more effective safety nets installed in any given society that helps these said people? There are so many factors which can deprive someone of a full void like, for example, losing their job. So does that mean that we, as a collective, are responsible for these people? That the government should be more active in helping those who risk severe depression? Now don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that our society has installed a plethora of groups specific to treating those that fall into self destructive habits. But, are they as effective as we think?

Thoughts?

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With all these questions swirling about, it would have been nice if I were qualified to research further into this… maybe a major in sociology wouldn’t have been such a bad idea.

Suits, Ties, and Higher Education

I’ve been watching Suits after some extreme nudging from those around me and I’m not going to lie, it’s an amazing show. I mean, what’s not to love! The music is great, the characters are believable, and the fashion is incredible… but it’s the premise of the show that really got to me. Mike Ross, one of the main characters, never went to Harvard and yet he landed an associate position with an extremely popular corporate lawyer Harvey Specter all because of his wit and his gift of memorizing and understanding everything he reads. Aka, he gets a chance to make a lot of money without the education to back him up. But, of course, this is illegal. VERY illegal.

*lightbulb*

This got me thinking about real life. There are brilliant people like Mike Ross out there and yet, they don’t reach their full potential because they lack the higher education. It’s a bold statement to say, but unfortunately it is true. They say that this is the era for opportunities which are readily available to all those who seek it… but is it really? Higher education is expensive and with the economy in such bad shape, why should people spend so much money on degree after degree when the promise of a lucrative job available upon graduation is non-existent? Furthermore, for some families, scrounging up the money for higher education seems like a burden, so some people are deprived of the vital support and funds.

Granted that there are some fields where higher education is needed like, for instance, the medical field. Personally, I would feel a whole lot better being treated by someone who has their credentials. But in that being said, getting the essential education shouldn’t be so hard. Solution? What if obtaining higher education wasn’t so expensive? What if it were, dare I say, free? I’m sure you’d agree with me when I say that that would tap into a wealth of brilliant, disadvantaged people. Then, this would truly be the era of opportunities.

Propelling Michael Phelps

Right now I’m watching a news broadcast on the jaw dropping (and not in a good way) results of Michael Phelps’ 400 IM event in the London 2012 Olympics; the same prodigy athlete who dominated swimming in the 2008 Olympics. Now when I say dominated, I mean won by a ridiculous amount of time, every single time. It really was a genuine treat to witness such mind-numbing, perpetually achieved victories. But oh how the tides have turned. According to the article “London 2012: Michael Phelps admits he swam a ‘crappy race’ vs. Ryan Lochte” in the National Post, Lochte beat Phelps by 4 seconds in the 400 IM event. Yikes!

Now back to the broadcast. The anchors and specialists were not only talking about how disappointed fans must have been, but also touched on the reason as to why the disappointment was so intense. Ever since that picture of Phelps smoking marijuana surfaced, his career and reputation took a nosedive. They went on to state that the North American culture is to “propel people on a pedestal too quickly”, thus causing an intense negative reaction when they fail to meet our standards…

To me, this sounds all too familiar as I did write about a similar subject in a previous post of mine called The Plight that is Teaching. Needless to say, I could not stop grinning as I witnessed this theme weaving its way through this broadcast and how it was taken one step further. In my post, I had talked about how we tend to do this to our teachers, but of course this can be applied to our idols whether they are celebrities or teachers.

To be honest, I think we need to keep things in perspective and not put our idols through ridiculous standards. Once we realize that they are indeed human beings as well, we don’t risk suffering needless, severe blow to our psyche.

Accessibility

“…we believe that everyone can have access to yoga and everyone can walk into a Moksha studio and know right away that they belong – all religions, body types, injured bodies, all political views…”

– Moksha Yoga

A beautiful and idealistic notion isn’t it, to include everyone regardless of their differences. To have that one sanctuary void of judgement, a place to find internal peace and a strong sense of community.

This increasingly strong Moksha subculture has taken root in the Western world despite being around for centuries. Why? Because of this promise of inclusivity. The Western world is a conglomerate, a heterogenous mix of differences all bombarding each other. There are different institutions and facilities based on strong diasporas, but has anyone thought of an attainable union? Now, that goes without saying that there are institutions in the public sphere aimed at embracing differences, but I have never come across a pure place of union – of different people with different religions, political views, etc – like a Moksha studio. Granted, I’ve never tried to search for places like this. I just only happened to stumble on Moksha because I wanted to try hot yoga. But, needless to say, places with this ideology are much needed, especially in an increasingly hostile environment towards differences.

Intoxicating in the promise of sheer bliss, this – dare I say – social movement is taking the Western world by storm. With all the scrupulous activities, global conflicts, and hectic lifestyles, environments like that of a Moksha studio is seemingly the white knight we all need, the white knight that is accessible to all who seek out the peace and belonging they desire.

©Farrah Merza: The Buddha statue that, upon entering the Moksha studio, you first see. Peaceful isn’t it.

The Few

In the name of “The Few”, the worst atrocities can be committed. They twist themselves into the roots of humanity like a weed, slowly choking our trees we’ve so lovingly planted (reference to blog post: Toast to the New Year). And, if The Few deem it necessary, The Many’s reputation is forever tarnished, as they peel it off like skin.

What makes The Few so powerful enough to taint the rest? That any bad news can spell T.H.E. E.N.D.? Perhaps it is humanity’s flaw that we regard the negative more important than the positive? If so, can we ever overcome that flaw?
 
… thoughts to ponder I suppose… 
 
 

H2O

Imagine waking up to a world changed overnight, where your morning glass of water becomes impossible to find and expensive to buy because of a sudden shortage of water… a world without water, a frightening concept indeed. But, it’s not really a foreign concept to us is it. We’ve known for a while now that this will happen, but we’ve pushed it out of sight and out of mind. Okay okay, the world wont exactly change overnight, but let’s face the facts, it won’t be long before water becomes scarcer. Sorry folks, but our water supply is running out.

According with an article in The Toronto Star (via Twitter), the slowly decreasing water supply could be used as a weapon in future wars. What’s heartbreaking is that “the use of water as a weapon of war or a tool of terrorism will become more likely … in South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa”(The Toronto Star: ©2012). With their dire political and socio-economic problems, they don’t need any more problems right now.

“It [the report] says floods, scarce and poor quality water, combined with poverty, social tension, poor leadership and weak governments will contribute to instability that could lead the failure of numerous states.” (The Toronto Star: ©2012)

It makes me wonder about how Canada will deal with this impending conflict…

We in the west are rather spoilt; we control most of the fresh water supply and yet we squander it as if it is no big deal. Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but it is. We fail to think of those who wait in lines for a bucket of water every day while we turn the faucet on, having fresh running water available to us whenever we want. It’s so normal to us. But, as dismal as this sounds, this false sense of security will crumble. It’s scary to think of a society drastically different from our own. But to be honest, it seems to me that the future is going to be unstable and volatile. Don’t you think so?

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