SPIRITUALITY, FAIR TRADE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
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21
November
2013

Work as a Spiritual Practice

Text 1: "We have learned how to create economic freedom, but we have not yet mastered how to ensure economic justice.We are the wealthiest generation in human history, but are we the wisest? And what will happen now that everyone else in the world wants to be just like us, with our three televisions, two cars, and a personal monthly energy bill greater than the annual income per capita of some poor countries?"

Response 1: I completely agree with this statement and I really liked that the author distinguished with what Americans have. I liked that it bluntly said that we have economic freedom but now economic justice because I think it's completely true. Companies are firing Americans so that they can outsource and take their factories overseas where someone would work for far less than in the United States. I think people are too obsessed with material objects and they don't think twice about someone else. Greed and selfishness has consumed us. This brings me back to "The Story of Stuff" because a valid point made was "we do not have value if we do not own stuff." In our society we are judged by what we have and what we wear but no one ever judges us by who we are or what we do or what our values and morals are. There are people in third world countries who have much better values and morals yet they have far less that what we have. Do we need all the material objects we have? Probably not. But do we want them? The answer is always yes.

Text 2: "When we believe that the world makes us, that it determines what we can and cannot do, then we see ourselves as small and weak. But when we understand that we make the world - individually and together - then we become formidable and strong."

Response 2: This just reminds me that we have the power to define things and we control what we do. However, we do blame society and blame everyone else except ourselves. We point fingers to make ourselves feel better. But it doesn't last long. The feeling of satisfaction lasts far longer when we make a change, a difference. Even the smallest thing could make a difference either now or in the long run. We as individuals want to be our own person and fight for the right to show ourselves as who we are. But what's the point when we go along doing what society does instead of making a change?

Write comment now Authorin: fanezaj Thu Nov 21, 2013 9:16 am
20
November
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Week of 11/19

Text 1:

Quote 1: "“There is no hope of immortality through riches.”

Response: This is such a good quote because it is true without anyone being able to dispute it. It's true. We all die and become equal in death, this may be morbid but it's true. Whether or not one believes in an afterlife is their business, however, there is a lot of merit in living the best life that you can live while here on this earth because you don't know where you will go after that. And everyone knows in their heart what is ethical and what is not, so following that instead of money is definitely important.

Quote 2: "It is clear from this that rites cannot lead to Freedom. Therefore let the wise one strive after Freedom, giving up all longing for sensual self-indulgence; approaching the good, great Teacher (the Higher Self), with soul intent on the object of the teaching"

Response: Who is a good teacher? We argued this in class, but in this quote the best teacher is the higher self. What is the higher self? In my mind it is the best possible version of ourselves that will never be truly attainable but is always what we strive to become. We all have this person in our heads, and some get much closer than others. In my mind, the people who get the closest live the best lives and according to the quote, they are also more free.

Text 2:

Quote: "The advertising industry exists primarily to stimulate these desires and in some cases to invent them whole out of cloth"

Response: As someone going into advertising this is a sad truth. It is very manipulative and many times advertising creates insecurities that weren't there before. Like body hair- Nair wasn't needed in the past but now the message that is sent is that if you are hairy at all men will find you unattractive. Humans have hair. It's ridiculous.

Write comment now Authorin: smurray Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:01 am
20
November
2013

Work as a Spiritual Practice (The Transformation of Work)

Text 1:

"Ten years ago, it was the Japanese-style corporate model that was seen as the world's future. Today, the American economic system is the envy of the world. It remains to be seen whether our dominance will continue or fall victim to yet another turn in the road."

Response 1:

This passage doesn't hold much weight compared to the rest of the reading, but it really enlightened me. I always assumed that the revered American economic system would always remain as the dominant system. This passage made me realize that new and better economic models are always created that trump the previous model. It made me think if one of the sustainable or socially just models that we have examined will be the next "turn in the road".

Text 2:

“Another problem with capitalism is that while it rewards success, it does not protect against failure. In fact, the nature of the game is that for there to be winners, there must be losers.”

Response 2:

When putting it in such simple terms, it is easy to see how capitalism leads to such economical differences between "winners" and "losers". Competition drives progress, but in US capitalism one group keeps progressing and the other worsens. Nina used an excellent analogy talking about this same quote, and I completely agree. In competition, all parties involved should start at an equal level; no one should get an unfair advantage. In US capitalism, there is always an advantaged party and another who is left with a disadvantage. This predetermines who will end up a "winner" or a "loser". It plainly shows how the current system is unfair, and illustrates why we need models such as fair trade to improve on everyone's life quality.

Write comment now Author: Pat.Alicki Wed Nov 20, 2013 5:32 am
20
November
2013

The jewelcrest of wisdom

Text1: "Knowledge is gained by discernment, by examining, by
instruction, but not by bathing, nor gifts, nor a hundred holdings of the breath."

I like this quote, as I believe that it promotes action. It says that you cannot receive knowledge, you must earn it. There are many parts of life that you cannot simply get by performing the bare minimum, or expecting to receive simply because you completed a perceived prerequisite. It's almost like expecting to learn just because you go to class. While going to class is good, just like the religious actions described in the quote, it is not enough.

Text2: "The moon's form must be seen by one's own eyes; it can never be known through the eyes of another."

Here, another quote that promotes action, but in a different way. Before it was a quest for knowledge, now it is one for experience. It seems that people are content to hear stories of the amazing experiences and phenomena that exists in this world and not see them for themselves. It is difficult to learn a new language, or travel to distant places and so its easier to sit back and admire those who have. In reality sometimes all it takes is a little more effort or courage to get up and experience the world.

Write comment now Author: lucasaleone Wed Nov 20, 2013 4:46 am
20
November
2013

The Crest-Jewel of Wisdom

Actual text #1

"I am burned by the hot flame of relentless life and torn by the winds of misery"

I think most of us have felt this way at some point in our lives. Life seems to have a perpetual engine that doesn't stop for anyone and can be very relentless. For example, senior year there is an added element of finding a job that can at times feel overwhelming. The prospect of not only performing up to standard in school but also going to interviews and sending out applications can bring on serious stress. For me I find solace in my parents and my friends. I feel most stressed when I'm at the library on an island and my head is spinning with things I have to do in the upcoming weeks. However, when I get home and realize that everyone else is enduring the same process and talk it through it becomes a lot less taxing.
Text #2
"Sons and kin can pay a father's debts, but none but a man's self can set him free"

This is true of everything in life. Material assets and girlfriends and status can create an illusion of success and happiness, however the true platform and root of happiness is finding a comfort and understanding of one's self. We tend to distract our minds from the lingering issue of self worth and self-importance. We are naturally a confused sole but with time and reflection we can find our true core meaning and true happiness. Therefore, we need to spend more time on the things that do affect core happiness like relationships and faith versus jobs and acquisitions. We need to define ourselves through our relationships and faith and not social status and wealth of currency.

Write comment now Author: Ryan Ennis Wed Nov 20, 2013 4:46 am
20
November
2013

The Jewlcrest of Wisdom

Text #1: "Another problem with Capitalism is that while it rewards success, it does not protect against failure. In fact the nature of the game is that for there to be winners, there must be losers"

Response #1: This quote reminds me of many discussions that have happened in class. Though capitalism promotes success and economic growth, it does not protect against failure. Nina once said in class, "people with safety nets are more likely to take risks." Because capitalism does not protect against failure, people without safety nets are less likely to take leaps of faith in the capitalistic market we live in. Unfortunately this leads to the winners, mentioned in the quote above, will continue to win, while the losers continue to lose. This contributes to the ever growing gap between the upper and working classes in the United States. Though other countries face this problem as well.

Text #2: "The advertising industry exists primarily to stimulate these desires and in some cases to invent them whole out of cloth"

Response #2: This quote was very thought provoking for me. I intend to major in marketing and thinking about the corruption within the advertising industry makes me question my path. Although I have thought a lot about the business industry, reading these words in a solemn writing such as this one really brings forth questions for me. People have become very materialistic in today's society, especially in the United States. The people may not be totally to blame, as there perceptions are shaped by the exposure. The advertising industry works endlessly to expose people to things that do not need in attempts at making people desire these goods simply to turn profits.

Write comment now Authorin: hshort2 Wed Nov 20, 2013 4:35 am
20
November
2013

The Jewelcrest of Wisdom/The Transformation of Work

Text #1
"To transform one person is to begin the process of transforming many people. If our modern workplace is to become more humane, caring, and devoted to the well-being of people and less obsessed with the short-term efficiency and profit, then that larger transportation must begin one person at a time."

This is an adept observation by Richmond. Instead of making an overarching suggestion to the system as a whole, she instead suggests to the individual to make the difference. Companies and Organizations are "a sum of all the parts." These parts are us and we are the ones that dictate change since the system is a product of us. If we each individually make a concerted effort to change the way we treat work and the mentality of "dog eat dog" then we can work to create a more fair and equitable system that benefits not only us but also our peers. Those that the system disregards and leaves in the abyss can then have an opportunity to contribute and support themselves. People are not all capable of pure genius or incredible responsibility but that doesn't mean they are useless. Our society has become to results driven and too based on social status and the acquisition of material goods and money. We need to see the possibility of change and take direct action at making it happen.

Text #2
"Most human suffering and injustice has its origins in desire- desire for wealth, power, security, safety and long life."

This age old buddhist philosophy is so true and prevalent for contemporary western society. One of the shortcomings of education is that the way that our system is designed kids get educated for the sake of getting a cush job and acquiring capital. Therefore the end of the education train equals money. Kids a lot of times are not genuinely interested in the subject of their studies but rather the the money or status that the subject of their study will yield. Kids fail to follow their academic passions or beliefs in order to fit in and get a job that makes them feel elite or in line with their peers. Jobs on Wallstreet have insane demand and a surplus of qualified candidates. Meanwhile teaching jobs in inner city schools have deficit of qualified candidates and have to settle for teachers that aren't capable of the task at hand. A lot of times it takes more skills, especially people skills and makes more of an impact if one chose to be a teacher versus a corporate soldier. However, the reality is that people will choose money over passion and good will. A teacher who teaches in the nasty areas of New York City basically has to live in that nasty area. Whereas a Wall Streeter gets to live in a nice apartment in a safe nice community. This is a long standing issue that can only be changed by a systematic change led by people to reorganize the pay and social status of our jobs.

Write comment now Author: Ryan Ennis Wed Nov 20, 2013 4:13 am
20
November
2013

Blog Post #?.... The Jewelry One.

Text 1: "There is no hope of immortality through riches"

Response: This is a statement that I can truly stand by. People are so wound ip about making money in this world when we should be making a memory of ourselves. Sure, money can open up multiple paths to make us immortal, however when it comes down to it immortality takes action. To become immortal whether it be good or bad, one has to act. One has to change the world. And changing the world takes on thing and that is conviction, not money. Only through conviction and belief can anyone become immortal. I mean just look at me. I want to make money to provide a comfy life for my family, and yet I haven't made a single step forward towards making me immortal. My dad and I both want to be immortalized someday and hopefully we can accomplish this before our time runs out.

Text 2: "Can a man be king by saying, 'I am king,' without destroying his enemies, without gaining power over the whole land?"

Response: Yes, a king is only a title and once people learn that being ones best is already enough than everyone can become a king. I believe that a king can be called a king without decimating all of his enemies and gaining power over all the land. Real kings, men and women who are appointed leadership should before anything else always take care if their followers. It isn't about conquering or gaining power, it is about taking care of the people that you have been tasked to protect. It is about serving the people who believe in you, It is about fairness, that is what being a king is meant to mean.

Write comment now Author: anguyen16 Wed Nov 20, 2013 4:10 am
20
November
2013

“The Transformation of Work”- Work as a Spiritual Practice by Richmond

Actual Text 1: “When we believe that the world makes us, that it determines what we can do and cannot do, then we see ourselves as small and weak. But when we understand that we make the world- individually and together- then we become formidable and strong.” (Page 2)
Response 1: These were the first words I read from the article. It set the stage for me in regards to my thought process. I was confused at first upon reading that the world makes us. We are always told that we make the world go round but it almost seems quite the opposite here. We allow the world to control us by anxiety, insecurities, fear of failure, etc. We let the world at times take over our actions and take charge of what is next to come. Richmond says that when we allow the world to overcome us and take control we become “small and weak”. Speaking from personal experience, this is nothing but true. My anxieties make me fell this exact way. The second part of the quote is more uplifting. The moment we understand that we “make” the world, both on our own and with help from others, we are given a sense of strength and hope for the future. I am confused by what “make” means in this context…

Actual Text 2: “We are the wealthiest generation in human history, but are we the wisest? And what will happen now that everyone else in the world wants to be just like us, with our three televisions, two cars, and a personal monthly energy bill greater than the annual income per capita of some poor countries? Can the planet sustain us, or are the three-legged frogs now cropping up in the fresh-water ponds all over America one of many warning signs that it cannot?" (Page 5)
Response 2: I really enjoyed both the bluntness and discreteness of this quote. Starting with saying we are the wealthiest generation in human history was not new news for me. This has been a common theme in our course. What did strike me by surprise was that everyone in the world wants what we have. This is quite disturbing because countless individuals who do have all this stuff mentioned above are not any happier with these material objects. These objects are just objects but fill this bizarre craving that many of us have. We lust for these objects and it’s disgusting. The energy bill comment was very shocking and I almost didn’t want to believe it. The end of the quote asks the reader if the planet can sustain us and gives an analogy of a three-legged frog becoming more common in fresh-water ponds. To me this was the part of the quote that has a discrete meaning. It was alluding to the facts that if we keep consuming and flourishing in our own wealth, where will the rest of the world be? We can see clear signs of an abusive relationship with nature and there will come a time where she will not be so giving, and will become fed up. I am surprised this has not already happened…

Write comment now Authorin: Alyssa Mattocks Wed Nov 20, 2013 3:55 am
20
November
2013

The Crest- Jewel of Wisdom & Work as a Spiritual Practice Post

Actual Text #1: “Knowledge is gained by discernment, by examining, by instruction, but not by bathing, nor gifts, no a hundred holdings of the breath.”

Response #1: I really liked this quote because it talks about discernment, which is something that is very inherent to a Jesuit education. True reflection comes about when one takes an inward look at oneself. No corporeal things can bring about true knowledge, and it can only come from deep contemplation. I think this applies to our Fair Trade course because it requires us to discern proper and fair treatment in working environments. We must think through the decisions that we make and the moral implications of them, especially when we have the ability to make a difference in our communities or in the larger communities that we are a part of.

Actual Text #2: “The marketplace does not control us, we control the marketplace-at least to the extent that our inner values and character are stronger than the lure of advertisements and possessions. If we truly want our system of commerce and the conditions of our employment to change, then the place to start is with ourselves.”

Response #2: I thought that this was a very thought provoking statement because it is extremely accurate. Our mind controls a lot of the things that we do. If certain expectations were not created by society, we definitely would not feel inclined to do half of the things that we did. This reminded me of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s activism. He wanted change and did something about it. If we want fair wages, proper working conditions, and equality in the marketplace, then we must start incorporating those behaviors into our everyday practices. Supporting Fair Trade companies and working for Fair Trade companies is a great way to begin the change.

Write comment now Authorin: mmcguire Wed Nov 20, 2013 3:35 am
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