Some thoughts that often come to mind whenever I see people in the west celebrating Valentine’s Day is just how everyone gets fixated on finding love or buying love with chocolates. An article that caught my attention about the documentary “The Dark Side of Chocolate” noted something interesting: the NGO mentioned at the end, Stop Chocolate Slavery, is hosted on UCSD servers (go Tritons!). It got me thinking about love and causes, though.
My close friends know me for being a health freak–emphasis on the latter. But at a certain point, when the documentary Food Inc noted that a ful 1/3 of Americans born after 2000 would have diabetes from the food we eat, it wasn’t hard to become more health conscious–especially considering how my father had diabetes, which led to his passing with pancreatic cancer.
In living the alternative health style, I question what goes in my food, like the antibiotics used to feed the animals that in turn affects us. When looking at the food cycle–or rather, what this new odd cycle is–I noticed the issues of not just health and nutrients, but production process, sustainability, and human rights.
Having followed a few documentaries on slavery a few years back, especially in Ivory Coast like this one here on Free Documentaries, I generally make sure none of the raw cacao beans I purchase come from Ivory Coast, which, based on the new documentary featured in today’s Mother Jones spotlight article, doesn’t seem to be ending, and is all the more appalling with the fact eight year-olds are trafficked and thrown into slavery.
Yeah, so some companies try to avoid accountability and responsibility say “We don’t own the plantations, we just buy the beans.” That’s along the lines of the Nazis in concentration camps killing everyone, or the Khmer Rouge in Tuol Sleng all saying that the people they killed should not hold them accountable, they’re just following orders. Why is it the same I say? Because it’s called enabling, whether you’re the one following orders, the crowd, or turning your head the other way because you don’t think it’s your problem. But it is.
I cannot in good conscience eat some chocolate not just because of health, but because of the lack of transparency and accountability in these companies’ practices, and the avoidance of responsibility by continuing to purchase from these slave traders.
“You want to be defiant? You get shot,” some might say. August Landmesser was a German in the Third Reich who refused to give the salute to a regime that he could not agree with. What was his reward for sticking to his morals? Imprisonment for “dishonoring the race”.
There are many names to consider for being defiant and turned into martyrs. Chiune Sugihara, John Rabe, and there are individuals who, even without a name, come to symbolize through their actions the importance of their cause, like the nameless man in Tiananman 1989.
And let’s not forget the reporters who were fired from Fox for reporting on the BGH scandal of Monsanto.
The point I’m making is, sometimes, you need to stand for something, or fall for everything. Take action, or don’t complain when nothing is changing, just like I say to everyone who hated George W. Bush but didn’t vote against him for the two presidential elections that they were eligible to vote in has no right to complain. Power not used is power wasted.
Where am I going with this? Knowledge is power, love is power. I just recently filmed a video which I’ll be uploading once I finish editing it that was supposed to be uploaded before today, but as usual, school got in the way. It’s based on how for every girl I asked out half-seriously for Valentine’s Day who turned me down, my next response was to ask if they weren’t interested in helping me find love, to instead help me spread the love by lending on Kiva.
“Do you want to be my Valentine? No? Do you want to lend on Kiva for me then?”
It’s karmic capitalism, as Tim Ferriss, author of the Four-hour blog writes. If time is money, look at the time we put into making effort to please someone whom we call our Valentine, the effort we put into trying to find love if we have nobody. Where have I put that time and effort into? Personal growth and improvement, and promoting causes I care about, even if it’s getting people to do things as simple as signing a petition for a cause I learn about and want to be part of on change.org, writing letters on behalf of prisoners of conscience and against governmental policies on Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, or lending on Kiva.
I live to express because I love myself and I love life, this world, and everyone on it–even when a lot of individuals piss me off for their own misdeeds like those who cause genocides or beat women and drag children into slavery. I don’t need to fall in love, for love is blind and my own history has shown that I become thoroughly blind. I am blind to how co-dependent I can become in a relationship when I am not comfortable with myself, when I am not working on improving myself but pleasing someone else and her insecurities, and blind to what’s going on in the world because I’m constantly worried about losing the one individual whom I measure my self worth by.
If I live for other individuals, it’s to demonstrate the example of trying to follow values and ideals and not compromise them, such as giving up my integrity and reputation for an evening sexual satisfaction by going to a brothel in Bangkok. I won’t please, inspire, or impress a lot of people, but before living with other people, I need to live with myself, and if I can’t live with myself, why should I be concerned about living with a girl?
I don’t like to repeat myself, but I need to reinforce this statement I’ve mentioned in several posts already: “Fall in love with you: everyone else already has.”
So for Valentine’s Day, what did I do? I made effort to better love myself by continuing to be the type of person I admire and aspire to be. I make effort to become that person myself instead of wishing I was him. I remind others who do find inspiration in my example and admire me that I am no different, that we can all be this person. Love is in us all, and it doesn’t come from one person, it doesn’t come from having sex, it doesn’t come from being in a relationship, it comes from within. For me, it is knowing that the happiness and well-being of another is essential to my own. And when my friends now and the friends whom I’ve yet to meet, the friends I’ve yet to reconcile with, and the friends whose memories live on through me, and for me (being my own best friend) are all to be considered–in other words, the whole world, its past, and future population, all living beings included–I have a lot to live for.
For the money you would have spent on that perfect date to impress the one you think you would love? Spend that lending money on Kiva or donating to a cause you care about. Find a cause you care about and fight for it. After all, passionate people are more attractive. Learn ways to love yourself, whether it’s for who you are or what you do. You don’t need someone to sleep with you on the condition you fit into the ideal they wish you were, you need to love yourself which in turn will attract someone who says “It is okay to be you!” And if you’re not happy with who you are, work on striving to better yourself.
Changing the world begins with changing yourself. If you can make one person smile or be thankful there are good people in the world, you’re already a hero. That goes with the new direction of this blog, which is adopting the right attitude to make personal change before making global change. That’s why this is a blog project for love.
Share the love.
But hey, while I’m at it, I sure wouldn’t mind if this girl shared her love with me.