Depression: The Cancer It Really Is.

This topic is a bit of a sensitive one to talk about for me. This is because I have been battling it for quite a while, and it is one type of illness that I would like to label as a “cancer (of the mind)”. It is, to me, like a cancer because it eats at your soul little by little and makes you feel smaller and smaller, weaker and weaker day by day. However, the worst part is, that in some cases unlike other types of known cancers, this one can go unnoticed. There are many people who put on a brave face, and smile in the presence of family and friends, yet feel their soul imploding inside.

I believe one who commits suicide, does so when their soul has fully imploded. It is difficult to describe and let alone categorize since there are many different feelings that the victim of this cancer goes through in order to make sense of everything. However, as I mentioned, I firmly believe that depression is a form of cancer. It is capable of crippling you not only physically, but also emotionally, cognitively and spiritually.

In my view, it is time that our medical community labelled this condition as nothing less than a cancer since it is just as life-threatening, if left untreated. In fact, there is research being done currently to see if there is a “depression gene”. If true, It would be like having cancer cells implanted within you from birth. But of course, not all cases of depression are genetic, as many cases are actually related to environmental factors. Nonetheless, if our medical community wants to hear from those who have suffered for quite sometime the effects of this cancer of the mind, I would call on them to take more serious action to find a cure, and consider it officially as: a type of cancer.

One may not be completely physically impaired and suffering from blatantly obvious depleting physical health, but the same if not more important functions of the body, being a persons cognitive ability (ability to think logically to solve problems) and their belief systems may become crippled with depression. The ability to function with simple tasks can be deemed too difficult for the depressed. The physical impairment of the severe forms of depression can mirror the weakened physical and mental abilities of a cancer patient. It is thus important that we see depression in a more serious light, with a more serious approach to treating its patients.

We all know that anyone can be crippled by depression, and regardless of your social class, age, ethnicity, or a blessing of fame and fortune, may not make you immune to it. It is a form of cancer not yet realized as such. It can arrest anyone’s mind and prevent them from taking any steps in a positive path, until it has eaten away at your sense of existence, to possess your mind and body, until you are no longer alive.

Depression is a cancer, and like different forms of cancer, it is curable. So, let’s take more serious action while we can and save more lives in need of dire support.

GUILTY OF BEING INNOCENT

GUILTY OF BEING INNOCENT

When your mind is screaming at you to do the right thing, and when every logical sense that you have passes you the verdict of ‘action’, and you cringe and cannot move a muscle. What do you do? I ask myself: Should I stay silent while there are constant mind-piercing orders by my sub-conscious to gaze at what is moral and ethical and logically sound? This is the tremor that is what I endow my body with for not getting involved with the nonsense that is going around. How do you deal with it? People who do not ask for your support but tell you that it is vital not to question their logic and simply go with it. To stand on the sidelines is to stand alone. To take sides is unethical. But regardless of what you do, your involvement to broker for rationality, or your judgment to be impartial, makes you guilty of being innocent.

Fear and Phobia: Among The Political Elite.

There have been countless articles, editorials and books about the oppression of certain governments on their people. From the Machiavellian, to the “good dictators”, to the most evil “Draconian”, to the more modern systems of control (technological age) using complex socio-economic structures, we have theorized how best these types of governments should exercise control by means of laws. In doing so, we have legitimized government statehood, and thought it best to keep the citizens of the state subordinate to the political elite. However, in opposing certain forms of control exercised by government nowadays, we tend to look at the issue of fear from the perspective of the people, only. Let’s now look at the fear that people strike casually against those atop the legal and social hierarchy of society on a daily basis.

The more fear a government strikes against its people, the more it fears its people. Tyrannical governments are generally more fearful and paranoid than their people in any society, although they hide it very well. Their leaders have more to lose and have arguably spent more time and hardship to reach that point of social status in society (unless you were an heir to a thrown, of course, then little effort was needed). They struggle for years at times and sometimes endure prison sentences, forced to be exiles, or simply labelled and condemned as outlaws of society.

Depending on their personal predispositions, some aspiring political leaders become fighters for freedom and strive for something beyond themselves. But once they reach that stage, it seems they become intoxicated by their own words and lose purpose. Furthermore, as we all know, not all of us are perfect individuals and we are not fully immune to self-indulgence and material gain. Thus, political leaders may strike fear into the eyes of their people knowing full well, exactly how much there is to lose. They may constantly be reminded of their painful past, and will do anything to protect themselves and their families from experiencing those pains again in the future.

Another point to remember is that it is not only dictatorships that cause leaders to use force and evil mechanisms of control to remain in power. In countries that have laws that protect the rights of ordinary citizens, it becomes difficult for leaders to use their powers to directly strike fear in the eyes of their people. However, they do use instead the “external threat” strategy or policy, which is used by many countries in the developed world as a means to suppress internal dissent or disunity in order to better achieve their political objectives.

Whether it is a dictatorship or a democracy, in the end, each political leader has his or her own agenda, so does each political party, and finally each country in furthering and solidifying their security and power. Within this dynamic, power breeds totalitarianism or, effectively, the need for supreme authority. In other words, there will always be the need to gain more power, constantly. This feeling that one must gain more power in order to guarantee their security and the security of the nation comes from fear.

But one must remember that the people do strike fear in the eyes of their leaders more so than one might think. The people are always more powerful than they think they are. Whether a political leader is a “dictator”, or a democratically elected leader, their job becomes heavy. They must carefully uphold a political system, maintain and protect a reputation, provide a future for their children, whether or not they remain in power; have on the back of their minds that any day, ‘I may be betrayed, setup, plotted against or assassinated!’

Ever wonder why US Presidents’ hair go grey so fast?

What Is A “Legal Protest”?

The title itself is an oxymoron. Why? Well, let’s hypothetically say a large number of people decide to protest openly against a policy or policies deemed as oppressive or an infringement on the rights of protesters, how can one protest it “legally”? If the beholders of the powers that be, known as the “authority” establish policies that are then protected by the force of “Law”, then one must theoretically accept the laws because they are, well, the law of the land. But if a group feels a policy or law, or even a regulation is oppressive, what makes you think the lawmakers would also see it as oppressive?

As long as the beholders of the powers that be do NOT see the laws as oppressive, which they usually do not since it does not affect them, then any protest against the “Law” would be a threat to the system that has established and set the laws and policies that be. In other words, you can deem a law or system to be oppressive, but in order to “protest” against the laws, you need “permission” from the law. That’s like filing a complaint about your neighbour then being forced to ask the neighbour if you can file a complaint against them. If you have, in fact, asked the neighbour if you can to complain, or for our argument’s sake to “protest”, it’s legal. But if you don’t ask them if it’s okay to protest against their conduct, it’s illegal. See the absurdity?

The fact of the matter is there is no such thing as a truly “legal protest”. All true demonstrations where the aim is to change the laws that be can only come through “illegal protest”. For a protest to be legal, it would have to be in agreement with the laws. Thus, any action taken (ex. public protest or demonstration) to change those laws would be counter to the law and therefore, illegal

So, if a government proclaims that a protest is “illegal”, it doesn’t mean anything. It just means that the protesters have not prearranged an agreement with us to coordinate and guarantee that their demonstrations will not interfere, disturb and/or threaten in anyway the policies and regulations established within the system. If the protesters do ask for this permission, then what is the point of protesting in the first place?

Talk is Free, Not Cheap.

Talk is free, not cheap.

I know with these words I’ll make no leaps. And I know y’all don’t give a fuck about me.

They say it’s easy to talk about an issue. It’s easy to criticize, and patronize the one’s that you feel have dissed you.

Fact of the matter is, you gotta fight for life and express yourself and hope, for their sake, only a few have dismissed you.

But then there are days you find yourself in between hurdles. You run around and find yourself only runnin’ around in circles.

You feel oppressed, feelin the aches and pains, and life puttin you to the test

And you, ha, you don’t know the definition of rest.

All the pain inside you is now burnin hot. You gotta raise the issue then hope that you’ve stirred the pot.

You got a whole lot inside but you already know that:

Talk is free, not cheap.

You wanna step outta line, it’s what gives you sleep.

During the days, it’s what helps you leap.

But you know, you ain’t rich and shameless, society says you’re poor and aimless,

All you can do is step outta the way cause’ no one cares what you have got to say.

And you thought your freedom of speech was enough,

saving your day, day by day, off the cuff.

That the freedom to say shit stood paramount.

Yeah yeah,

but what makes you heard son

are the dollars in your bank account.

Politics Is Bad If We Want It To Be

What is politics? If we walk down the street almost anywhere across the globe and we ask this question, the majority would probably give it more negative connotations than positive ones. They would say that it’s about “manipulation”, “deceit”, and “power”, among other things. Granted, they wouldn’t be entirely wrong, especially with almost all the news that we are fed. But if we look deeper into the issue, we see that politics is possible only when one side is uninformed, weak, apathetic, or inactive. The truth is, we, as a people, bring politics on our selves. If we as citizens become more informed and less apathetic, more engaged and less complacent, politicians wouldn’t find it so easy to govern the way they want as opposed to the way we want. A truly democratic state depends on its people looking at its politics more POSITIVELY.

Part of the reason for our pessimism and negativity is because we think we have a say in our system, but we don’t because we’re not so active and thus get disappointed when politicians don’t make policies that serve our needs. If we change our outlook on politics, we can see it as a place that can generate hope, security, wealth, and understanding, not in the material or spiritual sense, but in an intellectual sense. So let’s educate ourselves and then we have no reason to be pessimistic and feel like running out of the room when we hear the word politics.

If you were waiting for a definition of politics, you are unfortunately mistaken. I think definitions change through time and are not at all definitive. My hope is that we change the definition of politics in our minds for a more embracing and positive one without setting boundaries of what it means or what it could mean exactly. True democracy depends on our outlook. Now it is up to you to decide.

Why Is There A Debate On Legalizing Prostitution in Canada?

ARTICLE OUTLINE
• Questions of debate/discussion to analyze
o Through what lens is the government viewing this matter?
 Is it through a moral/ethical lens?
 Or is it through a “free market” capitalist viewpoint?
 Or is it a stance unrelated to either of the aforementioned reasons, and more to do with the basic principles of Liberalism?
o Why is the government, or more importantly the Supreme Court, now considering a different stance concerning the validity and legality of sex trade?

Reconsidering the Sex-Trade

I found it interesting and a bit surprising when the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the validity of the ban on prostitution. It is fascinating for many reasons and breeds much discussion for or against its merits for legalization. It indeed shows how far along we have come in secular society to decide based on logic and thought-provoking arguments to come to this consensus in our Liberal democracy in Canada. What we can take from this is that our constitution in Canada is not set in stone and untouchable, and this progressive attitude has always been refreshing to see and witness in this country. However, we should also be aware of the reasons for this change in thought and the ideological influences that have led us to reconsider the legality of some controversial issues such as prostitution.

The Canadian system of government is of course founded on the basic principles of Liberalism and the undeniable rights we guarantee to all citizens regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc. We are blessed with right to a fair trial and equality before the law afforded to all, citizen or not. Our freedoms, like any other matter have limits. We are cognizant that we are free to speak, to act, to protest, and express ourselves as long as we do not harm others. This “harm principle”, first introduced by Liberal thinker John Stuart Mill in his book titled “On Liberty”, explains this notion that we are free as long as we do not impede the freedoms of others, through physical or psychological abuse.

If I may ask our government the following question, I would be delighted if I received a response. That is, if our basic principles of democracy are arguably, a calibration of the works of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, among others, then why have we not adopted a more liberal approach to prostitution in the past? These thinkers had a relatively similar argument that a government’s role in the private lives of its citizens should be minimalistic. Thus, why have these recent reconsiderations of the legality of the sex-trade (which clearly do not “harm others” if supervised by authorities under strict regulation) not come sooner? One could argue that the role of religion was all too present in the public and private lives of citizens, which is now arguably much less apparent in modern society.

But to simplify the matter and our ability to debate the legality of prostitution to the undermined role of religion would be a mistake. Religions in secular society are strong and influential in the lives of those who choose to live under its guidance. Faith is still prevalent, but of course, its role in making or influencing political decisions has been diminished to minimal influence. So, how can we account for the sudden change of heart by the Supreme Court of Canada? Is it based on simply a Liberal account on the right of a sex-worker to sell his or her body for pay? This last sentence and change of terms helps those making the case for the legalization of prostitution because its wording frames the matter quite differently.

The legalization of prostitution now not only becomes a matter of individual liberty, but also grants merits for “worker’s rights”. It is now not a matter of not just a liberal juxtaposition, but one that introduces a capitalist “free market” ideology and the undeniable right for all to use their bodies to sell their “labour” for pay. This “Lockean” terminology makes it increasingly difficult for the courts to uphold the current laws and easy to question its validity. Labour is a man or woman’s use of his or her skills either physically or otherwise to receive pay in exchange. In our capitalist society, once we accept that our need to labour is a consequence of the fact that as individuals, we too are commodities, then we can see why in a “free market” society it would be difficult to sanction against a prostitute’s right to use his or her body for commercial use.

The Peculiar Life of Justin Case. [short story] (Part 1)

He worked as a lawyer, highly educated and astute in his line of work, yet nobody seemed to give him a chance. Many men in the office thought of him as pretentious and aloof, while the women, well, thought of him as a tall, handsome man with good intentions. Yet, nobody really knew who he was.

His name is Justin Case. He graduated top of his class in Law School. Finding work, he had impressed his bosses, but rarely his colleagues. Nobody believed that anybody would have a name like this unless it was a pseudonym. One of the reasons why he has difficulty making friends, and introducing himself has been this very problem. He has argued cases in court, yet his own name and personality was the hardest one to prove as legitimate.

In the Case family, everybody is highly educated. He has two younger siblings who are both science majors. Carey, 25, works as a Chemical Engineer but secretly aspires to be a comedian, and Melanie, 21, studies in her last year of University hoping to be a Nuclear Physicist. Meanwhile, Justin’s parents both teach in University. His mother, Lauren, teaches English Literature, and his father Gerald teaches Psychology.

One of the last things Justin’s parents thought of or even cared about was the repercussions of naming him Justin. They were not worried, particularly Mr. Case, who believed that a strong and supportive family dynamic with love and affection would counter any outside forces that threaten their son’s self-esteem. And they were right, to a certain degree, as Justin became an accomplished student all throughout his school years with relatively high motivation.

Justin had a problem separate from all that as today, his boss walked into his room and asked if he could “come to my office in a half an hour, I have to talk to you”. His boss was one of the name partners, Mr. Robert Goldfinder. When Justin had applied to this firm and conducted his first meeting, in order to make Justin feel more comfortable, he said: “Don’t worry, people get my name wrong, too. The “i” in my last name doesn’t sound itself. Like the word hinder, it’s Goldfinder.”

Right before Justin was going to leave his office to meet with Mr. Goldfinder, his colleague Rebecca walked in. She had a keen interest in his life and his style. However, she also liked to toy with him, to gauge his reactions. “Did you hear about the merger?” she asked. “No, I didn’t. But, I kind of have a meeting to get to.” Justin didn’t mean to be rude, but he was now even more interested in knowing what Mr. Goldfinder was planning to discuss. “Well, as long as you have a bit of time, you can spare a few moments. I have heard that some of the guys are plotting against you, to get you fired. And, I think, with me coming and telling you this, that you’d maybe wanna have dinner sometime?”

Justin took one look and said: “We’ll see”, then walked hurriedly to Mr. Goldfinder’s office, whom he’d worked for, for three years. Thinking his days were numbered at the firm, Justin knocked on the door fairly worried and confused. “Come in…Alright, sit down.” Mr. Goldfinder ordered. He paused and took a good look at Justin as though he was studying an art sculpture, with his right hand over his chin and mouth. He was clearly thinking about something, which Justin was dying to know.

Then he began, “you know I think you’re clearly an asset to this company. One of the best lawyers we have. Yet, you are consistently uncooperative, unaccommodating, and unfriendly, and I’m not talking about your relation with me. I’m talking about your relation with your colleagues.

Justin didn’t know how to react. He didn’t think his job would be on the line because he wasn’t social enough. It sounded like an elaborate joke. But he still responded, with a monotone voice, proclaiming that “I’m here to do my job. Nothing else.”

Then, Mr. Goldfinder took his seat looked straight into Justin’s eyes, and said: “Look, I know you’re new here, and everyone thinks you’re some kind of hot shot, but you have got to be more accommodating, how else am I to give you a promotion? I mean, this is to stay just between you and me, but for now, I can’t even consider it if you don’t get your act together. This is not something I don’t think I’ve ever done, but I’m going to assign less cases to you and ask that you go out with your friends and colleagues more. Ever been to a bar? Just keep your mouth shut, don’t say your full name, just say: ‘Hi, my name is Justin, I’m a lawyer’ and you’ll wake up beside her the next morning, guaranteed”.

Thinking Justin would never go out on his own volition, Mr. Goldfinder called in Tommy Jacobs, the craziest lawyer in the firm for assistance. He was one of those lawyers who was social and enjoyed the bar scene, and was not a very good lawyer, but good enough. However, on this day, at this moment, he was called in to be Justin’s wingman for a night around town. Like Justin, Tommy also thought it was strange for a boss to get this far into the private lives of his employees. To be clear, Tommy wasn’t too fond of Justin either, but he didn’t care, as long as he could impress the boss he worshipped.

With enormous reluctance and trepidation, Justin accepted the offer to work less and go out. The plan was to meet with Tommy on the coming Friday night.

The Boomerang of Feelings.

On this too-warm-to-wear-a-sweater-but-too-cold-to-wear-a-t-shirt kind of day, I examine the reasons why it is that we tend to allow our feelings to get away from us and often quite easily. This whirlwind of emotions can grip us and if we should God forbid take our eyes off it, it can come back and hit us in our heads! The whole process thus, can be circular. How so? Well, everybody’s feelings are different, but it is the fact that whatever the case may be, if you are not in tune or in line with your feelings and emotions, they will fly like a boomerang as you are left merely watching. And, unlike an actual boomerang, this process can be slow and agonizing.

So, I thought, what is it that needs to be corrected? How does one control their emotions all the time? Why would they want to? Obviously, for some, they’d like to be “swept off their feet”, and that means letting go, and throwing not a boomerang but a “heart dart”, hoping it hits the target, or at least very close (and if it does congratulations, you are in love)!

Coming to a pretty easy realization, I think what needs to change are not the strategies that deal with the emotions, but your place in your “space” at the time “the boomerang is thrown”. What you need to do is find a nice place, and imagine it being your serene sphere of self-nourishment. It is there that whichever direction the boomerang is thrown, it will come back to a good place, to the initial pleasant feeling, which it was.

But if, for example, you are in a dark place, those feelings will go and however high or low the elevation, the “boomerang of feelings” will come back to you to the DARK SPACE! So, try to put yourself in a great place and environment and your feelings will only settle to what they were, which was hopefully a serene, happy and fun place.

So, always remember: location, location, location!

Good Luck!

The Scottish Referendum: A Perspective from Canada

As I write this piece, it is now the middle hours of voting time allotted for Scottish people to vote whether they would like to stay within a United Kingdom, or become an independent entity. I am proud of our human race to have come to a point where we can think not of weapons and violent protest and uprisings that harm one another, but more peaceful means to exercise a people’s will. I am happy that we opt for conciliation and charm, rather than intimidation and harm to bring people on our side, these days.

It is with great optimism that we can, at the very least, dwell on the fact that war is no longer necessary, and a cost of dear human life for the expression of the will for freedom and independence no longer under threat. I sincerely hope that like another country’s expression for independence as Canada’s, which was peacefully conducted from the United Kingdom through dialogue, can be emulated in Scotland (although they are different of its circumstance and historical trajectory, of course). I also hope that for the rest of the world, a lesson can be learned. We are advanced enough as a human race to peacefully express our desires, our aspirations, hopes and dreams, through proper assessment and through dialogue.

With this, I hope that whatever the outcome may be in Scotland, that a democratic decision and with an ultimate will of the people the fate of her nation can been decided. Notwithstanding the politics involved, it is important to embrace these processes and learn from the great nation of Scotland for their bravery, honesty, and true belief in self-expression through the ballot, and if they choose, through their independence.

Good luck to the Scots,

Respectfully Yours,

Sam Dali