Letters from Americans are kept on the American Perspectives page.
We all want to be heard. Please bear with my ramblings, you'll be able to see my point in amongst the waffle.
Ah yes, about being heard.
Whether on a personal scale with the people around us or for the
rest of us with bigger mouths, in our community or dare I say it globally!
We now have many vehicles in which to explore and expand our level of communication
with one another and as this happens we all come to the realization that;
1. We are all the same.
2. We are all suffering.
As bleak as that sounds!
Some of us are suffering on a level that the rest of us would only experience in our darkest dreaming.
Some of us suffer physically, some mentally, some emotionally. But the bottom line is, we all suffer.
Some of our suffering seems so lubricious and trivial to others that had we the momentary ability to see ourselves from their eyes we would cease our histrionics immediately and feeling slightly silly, get our heads out of our arses. Or other peoples arses for that matter.
The Dalai Lama has the opinion that we all wish to be happy. When asked the question.
What is the purpose of life? He answers.
"I believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. From the moment of birth, every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering"
Now do we believe that Georgey Junior wants to suffer?
Is he maybe a bit of a masochist?
What makes him happy?
Did his childhood conditioning somehow warp his mind into believing that his past and current courses of action are morally sound?
Maybe being the worlds biggest wanker makes him happy?
Or maybe it is the unsettling fact that he is a born again christian which keeps his happiness topped up and buoyant.
Safe in the knowledge that which ever atrocities he commits, it will all be just hunky doray because he has god on his side!
The horror, the mind numbing, desperate horror of it all.
I believe religion is the cause of ALL OUR PROBLEMS.
It may seem like a sweeping statement but look around and you can see the evidence piling up.
I am reading Richard Dawkins The God Delusion and having had that sneaking suspicion that arrogant,
religious bigotry is the fundamental cause of war and strife on our planet,
I am glad that such a brilliant mind has actually compiled such book to get the truth out there.
And because I am not a good debater and my points tend to get side tracked too much anyway, I have personally willed
Richard Dawkins into my reality. Clever hey? And as a by-product he is now in other peoples realities too.
So hopefully we can all do what Rage against the machine suggested a few years back and WAKE UP!
All we have to do is speak up when challenged, change our own minds and wait for Rupert Sheldrake's Morphic resonance to do the rest.
But from my own very limited experience I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquility
comes from the development of love and compassion for all sentient beings. As hard as that can be sometimes.
Now America, I know how it feels to feel fear. It has been part of my experience and still can be.
But I choose, remember that word? I choose not to indulge fear anymore. There is a higher path
available to all of us at all times. A history and culture of fear is undoubtedly hard to change, but not impossible.
Apparently Atheists are the least trusted people in America. My word. What does that mean?
Would someone who had formed that opinion, be chatting away to me quite happily about the business I run and pay taxes for,
the yoga classes I teach to bring a calmness into my part of the world, my family who I love and respect, the charity that I support ....., you get the picture.
Would they upon hearing that I do not believe in their god or any god for that matter, take a little step backwards? Their little shaking hands pressed
to their lips. Would they immediately gather up their children and leave my company?
Muttering as they fled that they felt something funny when they saw my three tattoos anyway.
I wonder which group of people Atheists would deem the least trustworthy? I'm not sure about anyone else but I try not
to put people into groups, it seems a recipe for disaster and quite stunningly lazy.
But clearly we need a new paradigm. and lets be fast about it please.
Religion is obviously not working. And luckily having free will, we can we look for a philosophy that is better suited.
I believe that philosophy could be Buddhism. Remembering that we all possess the Buddha nature, yes even George,
and at anytime we can tap into that nature and attain a higher level of understanding regarding the other people we share our planet with.
If you have never read anything about Buddhism please I encourage you to.
Be open minded, think beyond your conditioning, you're family history, your country's majority view point, your fears and hopefully your prejudices.
I've enclosed a prayer written by His Holiness in 1960.
I hope that this prayer can be read by those who dearly need to read it and that it is indeed quickly fulfilled.
Yoga teacher + designer.
About the Author:
Name: Leza McLeod
Country: South Africa
Occupation: Goldsmith and Yoga Teacher
Experience With US: Visited the United States
How many times have you walked down the street and noticed the color of someone’s shirt, the way they walk, how much weight they carry, or their gender? How many times have you judged what you saw? It’s universal that no matter where you go, we all see with our eyes. No one wants to be enlightened by the image, to hear the story behind it. People want to adhere to the assumption they’ve made of the image.
We’re taught all along not to judge a book by it’s cover, but in a world that judges everything else who are we to deny that we don’t make assumptions on first glance. If we are so adamant about accepting differences why are we even more adamant about changing our differences to be accepted? When do we know when we have fit in? We’re taught not to care what other people think or say. If you’re human you care. My theory has always been, if you affect my life then I care, but if you don’t then I’m not going to stress over it. Growing up I was never picked on for having green eyes, crooked teeth, hair that seemed to change base on mood, neither was I picked on for being white. Was I lucky or just part of the mold? I grew up surrounded by all sorts of friends who were all different sizes, colors, genders, religions, etc. I was never pinned as anything in particular. Neither were my peculiarities pinned as substandard.
I’m a typical white girl from suburbia that is intelligent enough to know physical differences don’t mean anything. However, I’m naïve enough not to know that, to someone who has no control of those differences, scrutiny can mean everything. I never grasped that until I came to a place where my differences would be picked apart and my image the determining factor of assumption. Where I am classified as an American mold and grouped with a country instead of that of a person.
I follow no religion so I’m going to hell. I’m going to hell because I’m white. I’m white so I must be French. I speak English so I’m American. I’m American so I’m rich. I’m rich so I can be taken advantage of. I’m female so I’m fair game to local men. I’m fair game so I’m harassed. I didn’t think someone could accumulate so many strikes against them, but there you go.
Is this all my assumption too? It may seem an unfair depiction, but I have dealt with all of it since moving to Mauritania. Of course not every part of Mauritania is the same. Views change just like the scenery here, gradually and sporadically, but you are aware of the difference. My experiences come mostly from the northern part of the country where I live amongst conservative Muslim White Moors. This is an area that is used to seeing a white face, considering the north is a great deal tourist orientated. You would think they would be more open to differences, but that isn’t necessarily true. In my experience here, they seem to enjoy scrutinizing them more.
I’m not Muslim so I must be Christian or Catholic. I’ll still burn in hell either way since I’m not Muslim. I’m white so I must be French. Mauritania had once been a French colony and now is filled with French tourists so sure, maybe. I speak English, however, so I’m American. I’m American so I must be a spy, come to get information. Information on what, who knows? I highly doubt much of America would be interested on how many goats I have to dodge just to walk across town, or how many days I can go without getting sick from something I ate. I’m fairly certain that Bush, my best friend and family relation according to Mauritanians, wouldn’t be especially interested. I must be rich, too, so they’d be happy to sell me something with a mark up price of triple the normal price. I’m a female so I must be looking for a husband. My pretend husband isn’t here so that means I’d love to sleep around with everyone.
It doesn’t matter that all of their assumptions are false. I follow no religion, but don’t ever tell them that or else they might burn you themselves. I’m not French. I’m not a spy here to get information; I’m a health educator trying to relay information. I’m not rich. I’m living off the same food, housing, transportation, and a smaller income that they are. I’m not here looking for a husband, I’m here to work. And it doesn’t matter how many stories you make up of pretend husbands or kids you might have. When you are female you seem to have a GPS tracker which reads, Female who would absolutely enjoy your advances! Since being here I have been told to dislike people based on their religion, their dress, their ethnic background, their color, their actions, their political views, and so on. All the while, though, I’ve been disliked for my supposed religion, my dress, my background, my whiteness, and my assumed political views.
I am constantly referred to as the white person. It’s true I am white, why should an apparent fact bother me? Because when that is all you are to someone you realize you aren’t being accepted as your whole self. I find myself thanking people for their clarity on my whiteness. Call it a sick humor. That seems to be my defense. If you don’t have humor then what is the point. My site mate and I joke about these things in order to get passed them. A psychologist would probably say we were repressing our frustration through bad humor. I’ll blame it on parasites, seems a lot easier and cheaper. Psychologically though, how would you respond? If you went on a massacre people would think you were psychotic. If you became a recluse holed up under a rock you’d be peculiar. Repression through bad humor makes you nutty too, but at least it keeps you laughing.
Is this true for everyone I live amongst, of course not. Is it the general vibe; yes. Scrutiny is attached to you at customs and follows you throughout your journey through this country, which makes it like any other place you enter, where you are the outsider coming in for a peek. The only difference being that most people only peruse for a few days or weeks, not years. You don’t see the real issues because the traveler is mainly focused on what makes up the surroundings not on what’s behind the surroundings. For those who live here for an extended period of time we are still considered outsiders no matter how much we integrate into the culture and community. The basic fact is that our lives aren’t here. We can live and work here, but have another life waiting for us back in the states.
Prejudices exist all over the states, but it is fairly accurate in saying that it is universal and comes in all types of shapes and forms. We are a very visual world and a world that will base its decisions solely on assumption instead of investigation. I’ve learned a lot so far about being an outsider living in a society where I am the target of assumption. There are people all over dealing with being ostracized for their differences. There is only one thing that separates all of us though and it isn’t our physical diversities, it is our minds. There is a quote I live by, Assumption is the mother of all f*ck-ups. It holds true for anything. When you assume you distort fact with fiction. What is so hard with making ourselves see past what our eyes see? American and the world should know that the outsider will only vanish once we start seeing with our minds instead of our eyes no matter who you are looking at or what spot you are in.
About the Author:
Occupation: Peace Corps Volunteer
Experience With US: Have lived in the United States
I must admit that writing this letter is proving to be more difficult than expected. I really admire you. I really really do. Or at least did. You seem to have lost it now.
Take the Iraq war. It's irrelevant whether the war was justified or not in the first place. What really irritates me is that your political leaders didn't even bother to plan it properly in the first place. As a result young American men and women are dying for a botched cause, in a botched war. And you let them. Just because your political leaders say so.
Or take the fact that as the world's most industrialised nation you should be the ones tearing down barriers to scientific research, and yet there you are denouncing science in the name of God, just because your religious leaders say so. In the name of God? Since when have we slipped back into the Middle Ages? Over 40% of your people claim not to believe in evolution. How can one not believe in a law of nature? I can deny the existence of gravity but I'll still fall down if I jump off a cliff. It is quite ironic to battle religious extremism on one end of the globe while fostering your own version at home.
It is quite sad that being anti-American is cool. It is quite unfitting that young Europeans should choose to associate themselves with Communism just to spite America (because if they knew what Communism really stood for they wouldn't embrace it so lovingly). Yet it doesn't make sense to ignore your natural allies and go it alone. You may have all the power, but Europe has the experience.
You are in your early adulthood. Physically powerful, and full of testosterone, you consider your weaker elders to be just cowards who are fit for nothing. Yet that is the mistake a lot of young adults make, and come to regret later on. In a world where your enemies are increasing, it would make more sense to consult more with your true friends.
And even accept criticism with a smile once in a while.
About the Author:
Experience With US: Never Visited the United States
As a Canadian, I realize that you are our protectors. Not that we've needed you lately, but we know you are there.
America is most criticized because it is the chief of police of the world. One country had to take that role, and it was you.
Even though I find it annoying that you have such a high percentage of people who deny evolution and even an ancient earth, I realize that your approach will lead to the availability of the truth. It is there at least, and nobody is prevented from getting to it.
You realize that radical Islam must be reformed, and learned a lesson about trying to make it happen so fast in Iraq. It was inevitable that a middle eastern Muslim majority country had to be taken to task, and Iraq made sense.
We have seen a step forward in many of the Arab Muslim countries because of it. It will take more time than you thought, but at least now, the groundwork for reform is there.
You realize that the Palestinians are the true aggressors in the Israeli conflict. You realize that if the Arabs dropped their guns there would be peace. You realize that it is the Palestinian's fault for the mess they put themselves in. Arab Muslim intolerance must disappear before the world will peaceful.
America, you get it. Don't worry what idiots think of you. In the morning they will still be idiots.
History will salute what America is doing today.
About the Author
Name: The Atheist Jew
Experience With US: Visited the United States
When I am asked about what I don’t like about you, I could recite a litany of attitudes, people and things that I do not like. But when faced with a white piece of paper and a blank cheque (yes, with a que) to write about this topic, it becomes much harder to do it because the answer cannot come from a moment of irrationality; it has to be thought out.
A few months ago a teacher asked us during a class what we thought of you. Some said they admired your power, your will, your way of life, some others said they didn’t like you, largely for the same reasons. I was the only one who actually said I couldn’t understand you, and I still think, after almost two semesters of teachers trying to explain to me what you are, and how you behave, that you have this aura of mystery that will never be broken.
I will not say that I hate your policies, even though I am Mexican and thus on the losing side of a wall that your leaders have decided to set up, but the truth is, sometimes my country has taken advantage of your weakness. I will not say that I admire you in absolute terms because I believe that some things can never be absolute. But I will say that I think you must have something other than a special permission from God to become what you are. You have people that take the world situation, analyze it, and work to your advantage (at least most of the time). You are a country where the majority of people wouldn’t be able to pin point Montana, let alone
So if it is a special deal you have with God, enjoy it. If it is a cultural thing we could all learn a bit from you. I am not saying you haven’t made any mistakes, or that we should learn everything from you. Nobody is perfect, but while the rest of the world laughs about the stereotype of the big-blond-burger eating American, you are still racing far ahead of us. I still don’t agree with the way you have treated my country, and a lot of others, for that matter. And I do believe that your biggest mistakes in foreign policy have come back at you, a boomerang with a vengeance. But through it all, you have found strength, and your people are slowly realizing that mistakes can be corrected, that leaders aren’t always right.
So your society shouldn’t be despised, since we could learn quite a few things from it. Being your neighbour by a long border makes everything that happens to you important to me, at a very personal level. And while I cannot say that I admire you in your true glory, I can say that if we only stopped to think about why you are “so great”, we would find many, many reasons to either prove or disprove your greatness. I am sitting on the fence for this discussion, but not before I say that perhaps we always make fun of the stereotype I mentioned above because that is exactly what we are becoming ourselves.Alba
About the Author
Occupation International Relations Student