As a Californian living in Paris, I have been thinking about culture.
Culture comprises an understanding about people’s ‘way of life’, i.e., the way different groups of people have different ways of being: thinking and believing, feeling, acting, practicing and speaking. Culture is inherited by subsequent generations through learning. Culture is seen in people’s language, arts and writing, religion, education, music, clothing, and in foods, and is observable by ways of being and doing. The word ‘culture’ is commonly used to note or describe: 1) knowledge, appreciation and practice in the fine arts and humanities, also known as high culture 2) integrated patterns of human thoughts, beliefs and behaviors, and general outlook, such as attitudes, beliefs, values, morals, and customs or practices commonly shared by a group or society.
We all have some understanding of the Parisian « joie de vivre ». As usual optimism rallies at the new year. This optimism, that brings the feeling of a clean slate, and offers the opportunity to review patterns of thinking, feeling, acting and speaking. Without even the proverbial ‘New Year Resolutions,’ we receive a standing invitation to observe ourselves anew. We are invited to find more effective, enjoyable and satisfying ways to practice life. This new year, 2016, is ripe to choose and to practise to live in greater consciousness. Even self-observation fills acceptance to this offer. Myself, I intend to practice acting and believing by choice instead of through reaction. I intend to hold beliefs and values that serve as solutions in each and every way I can . Our human skills of observation , choice, reflection of emotions, lead to information about our very important beliefs, values, and decernments. We have much opportunity for solution – oriented actions.
“We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard, or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.”
― John Lennon
“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what… Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.”
― Mark Victor Hansen
One step forward, many years ago: The Pont Neuf (The New Bridge) is the oldest bridge in Paris, and it came to be as a result of winds of change that came in the form of revolution.
Before this foot walkway was constructed, this area of Paris was an open pit waste disposal, full of garbage and devoid of sidewalks. In the early 17th century, a revolution of citizens demanding rights compelled change. In 1607, the construction of the Pont Neuf came to a close. It is the first stone walkway to cross Paris. It took over 100 years to pass before a second stone walkway was created in the capital. Yet, culture and community became connected by taking one step forward.
Pont Neuf was a principal contribution to civilized living in Paris at the time. This bridge contributed and connected communities on the right and left banks of the Seine. Amongst today’s societies, communication is our greatest bridge to contribute to a civilized culture and to connect those subculture communities in our world.
As I have reflected, I mused about community that comprises subcultures, working in California Government during the violence of gang behaviours, I recalled the word, homie, also homey, In the 1970s it was for homeboy (q.v.). The identical word is recorded from the 1920s in New Zealand slang in the sense “recently arrived British immigrant.” Bridges provide a path for members of one subculture of a community to reach another subculture of the same or another community. I consider myself to live in a human, global community of subcultures sharing one home — mother planet earth. Perhaps we are homies of this planet; on the sun side, it indicates a sense, ‘a right’ in belonging, to the culture of humanity by virtue of our very existence .
Really, just as in practising photography, one cannot fight against dark shadows, one can only add light and the shadows diminish.
Light and peace signs envelop integrated civilisations.
I am a global citizen, and it is increasingly more common to hear people speak with this sense of community mind. It is my own choice, as that is what I feel, and always have felt in my heart. Our home, our world, needs now to renew vibrance, balance, health and well-being for all home-mates. ‘HOMIES’ in a civilized and humain society. Love and Light and Peace are powerful words. Honest self-observation, and communication can jar us out of a sleepy or foggy sense of awareness. Imagine, a person who sleeps on the street actually is a street-dweller or a rough sleeper (as I appreciated seeing in Josh’s article at Noël). Just notice the difference in quality of existence between the typical ‘homeless’ tag and street dweller or rough sleeper. One tag de-humanises, and holds a focus on what does not exist: the home, that is. Yet, the person, the human being, does exist, and at times extraordinarily well, under very tough conditions; testament to human resiliency.
And for your information, and for our planet’s future dear Homies, we have many dreamers, and, as ever and always, a growing generation who will cultivate solutions. The Global Citizenship and Youth Philanthropy (GCYP) program is a media and school-based initiative that prepares today’s international youth for responsible, global, civic participation. Through collaboration projects in connecting youth internationally, the GCYP program provides these future leaders and citizens of the world with the knowledge, skills and values for positive action and participation in their increasingly interconnected world.
They give knowledge of factors underpinning social justice, diversity, globalization and interdependence, sustainable development, peace and conflict.
They provide skills for critical thinking, analysis, resource mobilization and global advocacy and action for promoting justice, eradicating poverty, and conflict resolution.
They teach values that enhance a sense of global identity, empathy, respect for diversity, concern about the environment and the belief that people can make a difference.
The Global Kids Connect program infuses global citizenship themes in mainstream youth media with educational modules on these same themes in the classroom. Global Kids Connect also empowers youth to take positive action on the global stage, whether through volunteerism, philanthropy or advocacy. Participants in the Global Kids Connect program interact with their worldwide counterparts through an internet-based “e-bridge,” and video or audio recordings, advocating and taking responsibility to enact social change within their own communities. Global Kids Connect members feel connected with each other and empowered to participate in the global marketplace of ideas and interactions through tangible experiences.
J’ai vénéré la terre pour comprendre le ciel, et grâce aux vers luisant, j’a connu les étoiles …
― Louis Aldebert, Editions le Cherche Midi
(I worship the earth to understand the sky, and by the grace of the luminescent worms, I have known the stars …)
“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”
― Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 – 1968)
Happy New Year! Keep thinking; stay in participation with your community’s strengths. Make time to appreciate yourselves, and you automatically will appreciate others more as well. Perhaps?