Thursday, January 17, 2008


I finally have the courage to admit that I (and unfortunately, most fellow humans) have become casualties of what Cornel West calls the WMDs or Weapons of Mass DISTRACTION.

Those weapons are as devious and dangerous as radioactive poisoning since they slowly destroy us, but without inflicting any physical pain or spilling a drop of blood in the process, thus they are much harder to detect and once detected they require immediate intensive treatment if we are to have any chance of surviving them.

Those weapons are meant to:

  • Distract us from examining our own lives and from fixing our own faults and short-commings

  • Distract us from our humanity and compassion to other humans so that we continue to be involved in petty fights among ourselves and become distracted from the more important issues that we should concentrate on such as human and citizenship rights for everyone everywhere

  • Distract us from our obligation to speak out and take action against injustice so that we can be easily controlled and manipulated and to drown the voices of the victims in an atmosphere of despair and surrender

  • Distract us from our ability to differentiate between what we actually need and what we are made to think we need, and our will to resist the Shop-Until-You-Drop culture in order to continue to feed the wanton machine of the giant corporations and rich countries with no regard to how this is depleting our resources and destroying our environment

  • Distract us from finding an alternative to the capitalist system or at least seriously reforming it so that we can stop and reverse the widening gap between the filthy rich on one hand and the middle and poverty stricken classes on the other

  • Distract us from ensuring that we hold on to values of critical thinking & quest for education & knowledge instead of those of greed, cut throat competition, and trivial and shallow thinking

  • Distract us from our ability to tell the difference between the music, art, poetry, film, and literature that enriches the soul and that which only enriches that pockets of its producers

  • Distract us from our duty to install all the positive values in our children instead of leaving them prey to the cultures of apathy, triviality, and selfishness

I can go on and on and on but I need to go take my anti-distraction pills. If you need some, they are cheap and widely available in history books, in works by humane intellectuals, in quality music, art, novel, poetry, or film, in speaking out against injustice and tyranny, in always examining one's beliefs and actions, in true faith, in civil, activist, or social work that betters the lives of others, in a helping hand, a hug, or kiss to a child, or even in a kind smile to a fellow human.

Listen to Cornel West's Edward Said memorial lecture at AUC: The Vocation of a Democratic Intellectual

And if you can spare 20 more minutes, watch this video titled The Story of Stuff, examining the underside of our production and consumption patterns.

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