Monday, September 28, 2009

Six Degrees of Separation...

Human relationships is a peculiar study. If you are a good student of human behavior, the interactions of supposed stranger is something that stands out. First the introduction, next the background information, then the unsaid body languages and reaction- assumptions made of intentions, personality types, and even match. I think this process takes often less than three minutes at most...and then the unraveling begins. Locations are pin pointed, memories are exchanged, familiar names drop in conversation, details are shared- and boom- they find common ground (or they don't). It can be explained perhaps by the theory of six degrees of separation. 

Six degrees of separation (also referred to as the "Human Web") refers to the idea that, if a person is one step away from each person they know and two steps away from each person who is known by one of the people they know, then everyone is at most six steps away from any other person on Earth (source Wikipedia)

Of peculiar application of this theory is just a mental note of what connects you to the next person you sight on a busy street. A cologne? Perhaps a recent visit to a common shop? May be you are from Thailand,and he is wearing a made in Thailand shirt? Perhaps is music taste. Something, something very unique is the six degrees between you and the next, or the before..or the in between. It is this six degrees of separation in our unconscious that we explore when we argue for healthcare for all, when we insist that our fellow country men deserve a decent meal, good roads and basic education. This six degrees is what drives the child of a noble family to the dingiest streets of the third world volunteering time, money and resources to rid the world of poverty that he/she could otherwise ignore. The six degrees of separation is a space explored by the comfortable worker driven by a desire to change the world thereby forcing a change in ambition: from busy bee to researcher. 

How many degrees are we separated? Six? Perhaps two? May be even one...Ponder on that. 

P.S: Hey, and a shout out to the Coogs for delivering a earth shattering 29-28 victory against top ranked Texas we move up 12th ranked in the country? Go Coogs!

To the other sports team that made my weekend, even though I am not a fan, may you live long! I speak of Wigan for delivering the death warrant to proud Chelsea. The record will stand, and Chelsea is not even close to being a good football team as much as the gunners. You can see it, but you cannot make it. Go GUNNERS! 

Monday, September 21, 2009

Soundtracks of Our Life

Soundtracks..yeah, that one too. I have soundtracks for everything important I guess...everything worth remembering. I often associate music with important milestones, places and above all trips. Whenever I travel, the music that pops up the most (usually) ends up being the soundtrack for that trip. Also sometimes, the place, the music and perhaps the person(s) all just intersect and makes the music.

However, how about a soundtrack for life? Some music that encapsulates everything life is about. Something that is like the said all, tell all of your lifetime..the yet to be lived, already lived and living all in one. May be a Beatles, Jackson 5 and Commodores super mix? Something just present..constant..fresh..refreshing..okay, may be just focusing. Something resplendent, conforming, or perhaps rebellious? A music of life..a soundtrack for life's journey...

I have one such music..100 years by Five For Fighting...

May be it is my fascination with numbers, or the just prophetic attribute of the song, but the track sure sounds good. On this day, when the calls and the wishes reminds one of how far we have come, how far one is yet to go...and the different tiny bits of the web of human relationships one has formed come together, one can only wish for a hundred years...may be more..but 100 will do.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Noam Choamsky's Hypothesis

This was quite an interesting read; I will suggest you save some brain power for thinking if you decide to pick up Noam's submission of American Imperialism. A suggested read from Hugo Chavez at the UN convention where he identified Bush as the 'Great Satan', I finally read the piece in my summer exploration of foreign affairs (Confessions of an Economic Hit man being a companion read). Well, below is the book in Noam's word.

Background on Noam Chomsky

Chomsky's thought as usual is provoking. But am reminded of a scribble I had scrawled behind the book in conclusion that  "No nation should apologize for using her foreign policy to self advantage; that is the point!; In the same breadth, no country should complain about the disastrous consequences of its selfish diplomacy" 

Fall Reading List

1. I intend to spend September- October reading on developmental politics...two books to explore: Oligarchs (a book on the Russian Lords of Capitalism) and From third world to First (The Singapore Story) by the former long time PM. Am also exploring Blink on audio book...should be good company on my adventures out West.

2. Towards thanksgiving I'll kickstart my proper winter list...hopefully an exploration of world history, starting from home. Two books, a History of the Yorubas by the Legendary Bishop Samuel Johnson & History of Nigeria written by some UT professors should come in handy. On audio, I hope to explore the Gun, Germs  & Steel by Jarred Diamond, if I can lay my hands on it.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Losing My Mind

I wonder what to scribble
A poem or a prose?
Perhaps from the jungle of my mind
Some mumble jumble will flow
Confused? NO
I am in the know of what is going on
A strange feeling courses through my heart
But it is not strange because it is new
To the contrary,
I have felt this way before
Even as much as I hate to admit it
But I never knew

I never knew I will fell this way again
The weight of true feeling heavy on my heart
This feeling that I thought I have lock for eternity
In that innocent corner of my heart
With feelings of youthful vigor,
With feelings of youthful indiscretions,
No despair, no dissapointment,
Willing to forbid, and forbade none,
I thought these feelings had dissipated for good
With the wrongs of the past,
With the pain of the endings thereof,

Wrong it now seems
For the withering carcasses of this boar has risen
The star of dimming constellation
Born in the revelation of its own glory

I make no pretense
Make no pretensions as to having control over this feeling
This? To be controlled?
It seems absurd to write control and mind in one word
But I feel perturbed in the inward realization of its power
Fear? May be..Fear of what?
That I might lose it? Lose my Mind? No
That I might lose this feeling

How can I be sure,
That she feels the same way,
That this feeling will endure,
That this is not just some fleeting madness,
That this is for real since I had not known one lately,
That what I see is the real thing,
That my understanding will not diminish,
My sight may not falter,
My steps may not come to a halt,
My hands may steer clear of danger..

Admiration? Yes..that one too
I felt it before.
Respect? Perhaps, for one or two
Sensuality? All the time
Collegiality? A real starter
Conviviality? May the spirit of our ancestors endure
But all rolled in one,
That calls for a green light,
Perhaps a champagne,
Perhaps something more real,
More enduring, More Encompassing
Something to lose my mind for

Perhaps if she only knows...

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Life as a Journey & Impact as a Factor of Immersion

2009 will remain a memorable summer for me; the joys of nature, the geniality of family and friends, the triviality of adventures all come together into a truly amazing piece of self discovery. As the summer gives away to Fall, I have been pondering (may be way too much), the essence of life's journey. 6.8 billion people we are told: differing aspirations, sometimes even conflicting energy levels: yet same apparent goal! i.e. success.

Life's journey confounds the simple, and amazes the complex. One thing I have discovered though is that the friendships, and companionship we make along the way on this road determines the mileage we get out of the trip. This summer, friendships have been made or marred. Those that held back, have given away. Those that blossomed have been all the way confounding. It has been a productive one however. My life journey has been resoundingly re-focused. I have truly for the first time ever defined what truly makes me happy. Granted that I might have toyed with the idea, but it all comes together now more than ever. My passion for starting things have not gone away. I sold a company, and started three new ones. I re-entered the stock market, and made some resounding life decisions. I cleared my head, and reconnected the missing dots. Such are the blessings of this life's journey and perhaps my favorite season of all.

As I turn to Fall, I am reminded of how how environment impacts us: by Osmosis or by Immersion. This reminds me of one of that little remembered affiliations I have had in the past. It was to this Bible Study movement while I was on the campus of PVAMU. It was called Impact Movement. One of the most enriching college experience for me. There we had young adults meet once a week to share the struggles of college life, as Christians with some real pressures in college. More than a form of therapy, it gave me profound insight as an immigrant to the window of the American society as none other interaction as- and for which I am still deeply grateful. Countless dinners, couple of walks and important such road trips introduced me to America the Beautiful (Land and People) that I still capriciously consume to this day.

Some friendships I made there have in wonderful ways endured to this day. I remembered visiting DC for the first time, and traveling any where in the US for the first due to an Impact conference held at the Hilton Hotel in DC. During that trip, I was opportune to visit the White House grounds courtesy of a Secret Service agent that obliged me on that cold wintry December evening. The profound influence of that generosity still draws me to DC as magnet draws pure iron.

To those who make an impact on lives they will never know how much it means to, I say you do such a magnificent work that the world will most definitely stop spinning if you don't get going. To those who do a horrible job at it, what are you waiting on? I am personally convinced that life's journey however starts with self introspection- a lonely life journey, perhaps an experience that only you can recount but which you transmit by osmosis or DISpersion as you mount that sometimes lonely campaign to pave the journey road of life for those coming after you...

Book Review: Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins was my summer favorite. Half way through its cousin written by Renowned Linguist and Father of Modern Linguistics and Anarchist Movement, Noam Chomsky i.e. Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance. These books on International Global power Play lays a good ground work for my fall book list that will be dominated by History readings on Nigeria, and her peoples..may be add two books each on Africa and Human Civilization Issues. Got 2 recommendations on such exploration of collective Human civilization...I am considering that..full list shortly. And yeah..someone just made me discover audio book..shout out!


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