On being open-minded

It seems that people are usually most open-minded about new things when they’re exactly like the old ones.

Your mind is like a parachute – it works best if open.
– Frank Zappa

I’d like to say I’m a fairly open-minded person, and, like most people, I do have some pretty strong views about specific topics. I believe that having strong beliefs is a wonderful thing. We should all stay true to what we believe in, but having strong beliefs doesn’t have to mean having a closed mind.

I think one has to be both stubborn and open-minded. Keep your eyes on the horizon, straight on course, but listen to suggestions for changing that course and don’t discount someone else’s opinion even if it sounds stupid at first.

  People who are open-minded tend to be:

  • …more accepting of others and less prejudiced

  • …more optimistic and able to make the most of bad situations

  • …less stressed because they are more open to change

  • …more adept at solving problems because they are open to unconventional solutions and input from others

  • …more interested in learning and developing themselves in new ways

Why wouldn’t I want to stay open-minded?

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Sweden’s feminist foreign minister FTW!

Is freedom of speech and standing up for others’ human rights worth damaging important legal and business relations with another country? I say yes.

“The Organisation of Islamic Co-operation, which represents 56 Muslim-majority states, accused Sweden of failing to respect the world’s ‘rich and varied ethical standards’ — standards so rich and varied, apparently, they include the flogging of bloggers and encouragement of paedophiles.”

That’s from this article by The Spectator, which you should go read (at least skim it – it is a bit long), because that article is the whole point of this blog post.

Well… if worst comes to worst Sweden’s economy collapses and Saudi Arabia attacks them, right? At least then people would notice a bit more. The EU would help their economy and the UN would help defend them, so with our lovely safety nets in place I say good work, foreign minister of Sweden. If course nothing’s that simple, but please: This is freedom of speech on the part of Margot Wallström and freedom of nothing on the part of Saudi Arabia’s legal and cultural policies about women.

So with these 5-minute undeveloped thoughts out, let me close by apologizing for my lack of posts recently. Be warned that there are several in the works. Adieu!

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Four years ago

A look into my mind

Four years ago, I sat in a hospital room, waiting for what felt like hours for a consultant to see me and see if I needed to be admitted to a mental hospital. I had been reported at school by two teachers for cutting and sent to the assistant principal’s office. I’ve never seen my mom as upset as she was. I rarely see her cry, but I saw her cry that day. That hurt the most.

Four years ago, I sat in a waiting room. I’d been admitted and was waiting for a room to free up so I could stay. It was 10PM before I finally was able to go to bed. I didn’t even really meet my roommate until the next morning. She was one of the nicer girls there. She left a few days later and I got a roommate I really didn’t care for. No matter…

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On the Chapel Hill shooting – food for thought

On the Chapel Hill shooting:

“If the deaths resulted from a hate crime, it is an international tragedy.
If the deaths came simply because a man was consumed with a general hate for all humanity — heck, then it’s still an international tragedy. Because people all over the world have now been deprived of the services Deah, Yusor and Razan would have rendered unto them.” (Barry Saunders, News and Observer)

I could say a lot. Instead, here’s some more food for thought:

Chapel Hill shooting

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Come at me, 2015!

It’s 2015!

Christmas is over. Christmas trees are coming down, irritating songs aren’t playing on repeat, and shops have to find something else to over-commercialize. Hope you had a good one!

That comic’s great, but messed up. If they are talking about not being able to afford new lights, it should be “new ones”, not “a new one.”

Funny-new-years-resolutions-calvin-and-hobbs

Now then, on to the new year! Hmm…

My New Year’s Resolutions

1. Write blog posts with slightly more original themes than holidays.
3. Do that regularly.
4. Stop making pointless lists.
5. Learn to count.
D. Be consistent.

Just kidding. I do have a few real goals in mind though, kind of like a small bucket list:

1. Go almost car-free: I’m going to record every time I go somewhere in a car – and try to keep it to a minimum. I mostly use my bicycle for commuting now anyway. This didn’t start out as a green thing, but it’s kinda turned into one. As I’m not old enough to drive, I don’t. I find it really practical to go everywhere on my bicycle anyway, seeing as I live in the city. But now I’m going to take that a step further and actively try to not ride in a car very often in order to save fuel and a tiny bit of the planet. Sometimes I do go in the car, for instance I did early this morning coming home from a New Year’s party, but that’s the exception.
I shall now aim to ride in a car an average of once a week or less, excluding when I’m travelling somewhere (and thus don’t have my bike).

2. Join 7 Cups of Tea as a listener: It’s an anonymous support site for anyone to talk to someone they don’t know about anything at all. Once I’m 16 (with parental consent), I can take their course and join them as a listener. I think it’s an awesome thing to do; a way to make a positive change to someone else’s life. Their site is 7cupsoftea.com.

3. Go busking. It’s as simple as that. I play the darbuka (a type of hand drum) and the guitar. I also sing a bit. I have loads of musician friends. There are so many possibilities!

4. Back a crowdfunding project, such as one on Kickstarter or Indiegogo. I won’t be someone’s main backer, not by a long way, but I can fund a small bit of someone’s project – perhaps a green start-up or someone’s debut music album? Again, there are lots of possibilities.

5. Attempt to break a world record: ‘Nough said. I might even manage to break that world record if I’m feeling super-ambitious.

Funny-new-years-resolutions-comic

There are a lot of thing I want to do. What makes 2015 special to me in regard to other years? Nothing, except for the fact that it’s happening now… and now is when I can do things! It’s very well to plan for the future, but I don’t intend to let the present be a drag. So 2015, just like every year, will be special because of the things people do in it. Simply put, time is the ongoing existence of things and a way of recording successive happenings. Ok, maybe that wasn’t that simple…

And then there’s this, fellow Whovians:

Happy New Year! Hope you have an amazing one, and I obviously hope I have an amazing one too. Can’t wait to see what happens.🙂

“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.” -Benjamin Franklin

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Quite a hectic week.

It’s Christmas Eve. I’m sitting on the couch, simultaneously using my laptop and watching Hitch on television. (It’s got Will Smith in it – I had to watch it.) I’m house-sitting for someone over Christmas and totally loving it! I’ve walked the dogs, Bonnie and Angel, and now I’m just relaxing, pretty much for the first time since the weekend before last. All last week was a busy rush of working at the sandwich shop, walking dogs, researching various human rights issues for a conference, and doing schoolwork. Now suddenly everything’s over and I can sit back.

Human Rights Committee at Youth Voice Conference. We rocked.

Human Rights Committee at Youth Voice Conference. We rocked.

On the weekend I enjoyed debating various issues as part of the Human Rights Committee at Youth Voice Conference. It was an amazing experience. Earlier in the week, I finished my beginner’s course in programming with Python, which was also pretty neat. And I worked my heart out at The Big Eat, the sandwich shop/juice bar which I started working at nearly 2 months ago. But good things don’t last forever, especially in the case of Cyprus’s economy. My boss did well for 5 years, but now sales just keep going down and he’s losing money. Yesterday I got on my bicycle and rode away from The Big Eat for the last time. It’s not opening again after Christmas.😦

The good news is that Christmas is tomorrow,  and perhaps even better news is that the overly-commercialized, “let’s put up decorations and listen to corny songs way too many times on repeat” season somehow associated with Christmas is almost over.

Rainy day activity: Eat ice cream. (Photo my Jasmine.)

Rainy day activity: Eat ice cream. (Photo by Jasmine.)

Once I can get myself to, I need to do some dishes, wrap some presents, and make the desert I promised to provide for dinner tonight. I’m heading back home at my parents’ special request for dinner with the family.

I’ve got a bunch of apples, so apple-something is on the menu… and shall I get some ice cream? Yes, it’s winter, but it’s not too cold (17C/63F). I’ll eat ice cream any time anyway!

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I respect you and your beliefs.

I’ll cut to the chase: I have very strong personal beliefs, and I believe that it is extremely important that all people are able to make informed, independent, and personal decisions about what to believe. I’m not the kind of person who will identify with a certain viewpoint but, when questioned, isn’t sure about it. At least, I try very hard not to be, although I have my shortfalls.

I have my own personal moral code and religious beliefs. I may disagree with the very fundamentals of something you say, and I may or may not discuss said differences with you. It depends on who you are and the nature of the disagreement – or perhaps “different viewpoint” is a better term. I think it is absolutely essential to society on all levels that people communicate peacefully, responsible for their own actions, firm in their view and yet open minded.

Recently the media has been focusing a lot on the gay or LGBT rights movement. In case you don’t know, LGBT stands for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender”. Here’s something I find interesting – I come across the word “homosexual” a lot; a slightly outdated synonym for that is “homophile”. The term “homophile” emphasizes love rather than sex, which is actually pretty cool in a way.

People have a right to their beliefs. If I expect you to respect my beliefs, I should respect your beliefs no matter what.

Oh, and did I say? I don’t support the gay movement, but that won’t stop me respecting the people behind it and their beliefs.

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