Human Ego, a Friend or Foe?

We are raising this issue because it may affect, influence, direct or even determine our future, particularly when involving individuals who we consider as the global “game changers”.

Our world is populated by 7 billions people, but when it comes to shaping the future, only a few who really matters. History tells us that global game changers are minorities consisting of prophets, philosopher, kings, presidents, scientists, artists, religious figures and so on. Jesus changed the course of humanity; Plato, Newton, and Einstein also among those who did, but so did Caligula, Genghis Khan, Hitler, Stalin, and ISIS. So, human ego does matter; how should we deal with it?

Is Democracy Dying?

War is never a good thing; its impact is always catastrophic no matter what the purpose is, and yet the warring parties still view war as a “solution”. To us, the main reason why the world still witnesses war is because we humans are still territorial beings. The territory itself is much more than just geographical; it stretches to politics, economy, technology, and religion. When any territory is felt threatened, people respond in many ways, and often irrationally. So we agree with John Steinbeck, one of the greats in American literature, who once said,”All war is a symptom of man’s failure as a thinking animal.”

Following the end of the Cold War in the 1990s, globalization seemed to be embraced as the way to world peace. Along with it, democracy and sense of freedom seemed to flourish everywhere. Today, democracy is still at center stage, but it is viewed and practiced as a mechanism that divides rather than unites people. Democracy respects and upholds diversity within the frame of unity. So if the frame transforms into disunity, is democracy still relevant to our lives?

Closure

Democracy is a system attempting to accommodate and uphold fairness, equal opportunity, human rights (and responsibility), and justice within a community, society and nation. In Western modern democracy, at a state or governing level, democracy is a check and balance system implemented by Judicial (the Court), Legislative (the Congress/Parliament), and Executive (Government) bodies, while Election is the mechanism used to determine who the leaders will be. Have we been successful? Well, it depends on how we perceive democracy.

In the US, for example, the four essential elements (Court, Congress, Government, and Election) mentioned above are exercised according the rules. Does it make everyone happy? Obviously not. The number of people participate in Election keeps decreasing, not because of the system, but because of the output of the system, and political attitude of most politicians.

Democracy is not a perfect system, so we shouldn’t expect a perfect outcome. If the (economic) welfare of the people is the utmost importance, then democracy is not the only system that has the chance to deliver it. Qatar, for instance, is more democratic than Saudi Arabia, but it doesn’t run the Western modern democracy either. The good thing is that its annual income per capita reaches over U$ 80,000; not only the highest in the world, but also way above any affluent Western countries. China is definitely not a democratic country, but its economic growth has been the highest in the past twenty years.

So, how do we measure the practiced democracy as true, partial, false or even never exists? We have three options. First is whether the check and balance, and election are exercised in accordance to the rules, regardless of not only the corrupt attitude of the politicians but also the consequential result(s) of the system, good or bad. Second is the level of welfare of the people regardless whether the system is democratic or not. Third is all of the above, meaning that the system is democratic, and the people’s welfare is high.

Our perspective may not be amenable by some or most people, but we would like to urge people to use the right measuring tool(s) when evaluating the success and/or failure of something. On this closure, we would like to thank your participation by giving your questions, views, and opinions; it’s been nothing but enrichment to us all. Although we are already moving on to another subject, you are still welcome to continue giving comment on this matter.

World War III

The world had experienced terrible tragedies in the past, from bilateral & multilateral wars, dictatorship to genocide. But humans never seem to learn from those devastating pains.

Today, the world is facing so many issues that could trigger even bigger disaster: racism, trade war and protectionism, extreme ideologies, terrorism, global warming, and immigrants. So, how near is the world war 3, really?

Graffiti and Mural

Arts in its all forms (such as performing, visual, street and literature) is perhaps too broad of a subject to discuss, not to mention the discussion on which of the cultural creation that can be taken as arts. So let’s start again with particular forms that we see everyday: graffiti and mural. If we look at the two photos below, which one is which? Is either a form of art? Or both are?

Graffiti and Mural Photo 1

 

Graffiti and Mural Photo 2

 

What is Art’s role in Society today?

It has long been taken for granted that Art is present in all aspects of human activity and culture. That Art has roles in society. One role of Art is that Art expresses the emotions and struggles of the society it exists within, and inspires society to cope and even overcome.

But increasingly in some corners of global society we see that society feels that Art has become distant from every day life, that people begin to feel that Art no longer inspires them and has nothing to do with their real, every day lives. Are we okay with this?

So what is the role of Art in today’s society? Do we really need Art to inspire us in our daily lives? What works and objects do we consider to be Art, and does Art still have a place in today’s “modern”, cosmopolitan World?

illustration by Bintang Perkasa