Entitlement

I have been struggling a lot with the word ENTITLEMENT. Of course I am able to look into dictionary’s what it means but unfortunately my mind is still puzzled. Living in South Africa the word entitlement is more often used by white South Africans as an expression for black South Africans who seem to be entitled to receive free housing, free medical care and are seen as being entitled to other privileged situations. When I hear certain phrases, ideas and expressions my mind starts thinking and everything in me (all senses) starts to be active and I make observations and even more frequent I find myself wondering and asking questions. I like to share some.

I feel SPICY which means that if you prefer your sleeping state, do not read. It is as with television, if you do not like the program switch it off. I “normally” write the outcomes of thoughts. I prefer right now to have it pure, transparent and in the middle of processing. 

After the suppression during Apartheid is there more equality in South Africa? Is in average, amongst others, the economic situation, much better right now for the black South African people? Is the schooling for black South African people as good as for the white and colored in South Africa? Is the medical care for black South African as well organized and well equipped as for the white South Africans? When I travel around, I observe a “few” differences. I can not help to acknowledge these differences. Most black citizens are unfortunately not having medical insurances. They are not able to pay for it and due to that they can not have access to private hospitals which are modern and fully equipped. Most of the black South Africans face difficult, challenging situations at schools. Schools needs to be safe environments. While driving through the settlements/townships I am not so sure that the schools are really safe. If I listen to the stories of the majority of the black population, there are very little good school books, no computers and teachers are not always on duty at times that they should be present for the scholars. This is not to criticise the government of South Africa and this is not to criticize the teachers either. Teachers face tremendous stressful situations and we can not expect the Government to handle all the problems immediately and all by themselves. I do not know one government who is able to do that. The only thing I want to put the attention on is that I really try to understand entitlement. Is it entitlement when rich people believe it is “normal” to fly first class/business class while traveling around the world. Is it entitlement when a small group of people firmly believe that it is “normal” that they have fortunes. Is it entitlement to expect that everything will be the same as during Apartheid for the white children at this moment and in the future? Is it entitlement to expect that people have to fit in the “superior” thinking of the privileged few people in a country?

Are we entitled to: Freedom of Speech. Never heart of: What we have to try to avoid is pouring oil on the fire?

Some politicians (everywhere in the world) are exactly doing the opposite for their own sake, their own (mis) use of power. Addicted to attention? Addicted to gossip, rumors and disagreements? Addicted to fight’s? Addicted to opposition? And it is not surprising that they blame others for what is an exact copy of their own behavior. In Psychology called Projection!!!

Nothing seems to be so misused lately as FREEDOM OF SPEECH. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

In October 2011 on my way to Cairo I was reading an interview with Deepak Chopra in Happinez, from which I think it is a very nice, entertaining magazine. As you might know I will always refer to Deepak as my teacher which means that I feel entitled to put some remarks and commends to his interview. 

Deepak says in this article that he likes the fact that people in the Middle East open their minds and ask critical questions and look for their freedom. I have some remarks and a few comments. We as outsiders do not know whether what is happening is good or bad. We can only observe that certain things are taking place. It is neither positive nor negative. It just happens. I am not sure while knowing only a bit, not enough, whether in the Arab world people are looking for more freedom. Walking around and listening to the stories of taxi-drivers, shop owners and random people I meet, I hear that they are looking, searching for more equality. They talk about the very few very rich people and a large group of very poor citizens and the difference between the groups and their abilities to have some economic benefits. One person said: “I give a dam sh.t about freedom. I want to have more access for my children to good schools and better housing”.

My husband was participating in the deans meeting of The African Association of Business Schools and heart the same stories of all the directors from different countries. It is more about the fact that people have no access to good schools. They face corruption and do not have opportunties to progress. They observe that houses, palaces are built and they do not participate in the economic growth. Growth in itself does not create better circumstances for all. As we wrote in our book “Rethinking Growth” it is time for change.

We talk quit often about freedom and we have no clue what it is. Are there countries who respresent real freedom? In the United States we will find the highest number of prisoners with life sentences without parole. Amongst others young people. Crime and murder numbers are extremely high. It seems that the wealthiest 1% of all Americans now own more than a third of all wealth in the United States. IS THIS A JOKE??? Some other figures: In the ‘recovery’ of 2009-10, the top 1% of US income-earners captured 93% of the income growth. IS THIS TRUE???

We have no clue of the number of Native Americans who died due to homicide. Historians fight amongst each order on the cause of death, killing or smallpox?. What the heck? We know some statistics (this changes all the time) of victims in the Vietnam war. And what about all the people who died after the invasion in Iraq based on never proved evidence of the existence of nuclear weapons. Who is taking about human rights? Why is it so difficult to see our own mistakes, our own violence and aggression? Why talking about human rights of other countries when we can not reflect on what is happening in our own countries? Which countries are responsible for the biggest mess, disasters on planet earth? Who caused most of all pollution? Who is still against changes related to money making? Who is entitled in these cases? I visited once a conference in which Al Gore was talking about climate change. I loved his speech and I was wondered why he was not able to do more when he still was in charge/on duty as Vice President. While listen to the different interesting subjects I felt freezing cold. The outside temperature was wonderful but in the conference hall and everywhere else in the building the airconditioning was making over time. What about climate change? How is it possible that we talk about it and are unable to make some small changes even in the middle of the experts? Entitlement

Are we happy when London is full of rebelions? Why not? Are we pleased by all the youngster that demonstrate in the streets of New York? Why not? Are we happy with the demonstrations of the Romans, the Algerians in the streets of France? Why not? Are they fighting for freedom? Are we sure? Why is it that we have different ideas of what is taking place? Why is it that we do not realize that we are not free at all, that our observations are full of beliefs, perceptions, assumptions and cultural approaches? 

This is not about religion and yes maybe it is. It depends on how we define religion. Religions of any kind, at least the ones that I studied, Christianity, Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, are always talking about the importance of sharing,contributing and serving communities. Religion in itself does not exist. I am sorry that I repeat myself. It is people that make their assumptions about what is right and what is wrong. It is people that make interpretations of what is written. They use the Bible, the Koran, the new technologies, research, to proof their rightness. It is the same in Hinduism. The whole concept of karma is an (interesting) belief system.

Unfortunately the concept is used to justify inequality. India has a wide spread inequality due to their caste system based on the idea of karma. Many of the exchange students at Euromed Business School from India prefer to stay in Europe, Canada and sometimes United States. Why is that? We can learn a lot from the many sages, saints in this enormous country, the incredible holy sacred places and even more from everything else as well. Nevertheless many people in India live under horrible conditions, streets are highly polluted, rivers and streets are full with garbage. It is said that India probably has more modern slaves than any country in the world. It seem to have millions of woman and girls in its brothels, often held captive against their will, until they are mentally indoctrinated enough. India’s brothels seem to be unusually violent, with ferocious beatings and sometimes even killing of the girls who are uncooperative. 

Many western people search for answers and would love to find them in India. Business Conferences are titled with interesting titels such as “East meets West”. I know since I participated. If I watch the poluted rivers, I can not help feeling very sad. I just think what kind of spirituality is this? I like to call this garbage meets a complete absence of awareness. All repetitions of mantra’s, the beautiful chants, the pujas, does not seem to have any impact on day-to-day behavior.  Many people have an vegatarian diet but I observed in India the most abusive, cruel behavior towards animals. I rather prefer to die as a bull in the bull fighting arena’s in Spain than living under these horrible conditions in India. The working environments are for most people terrible and I have a different approach to what I refer to as good leadership. The whole interpretation of karma makes that changing processes is not taking place, or not fast enough. Not due to the concepts of karma in itself, but due to the interpretations (beliefs = religion) of a small group (higher casts) of very rich people. I hope and wish that “the awaking” of many citizens in India will not cause as much death people as in in the Middle East. But what I do hope is that THEY DO NOT ACCEPT this inequality.

Latest news: India 03-10-2012

Then thousands of poor farmers demonstrate against the non-inclusiveness of economic development

Acceptance is often preached as a great achievement and indeed in general it is. Nevertheless we can not accept inequality since this causes the world problems. Many people died in Libya, Syria (30.000), Morocco and Tunisia and I really believe that this has nothing or very little to do with a fight for freedom. It is about inequality and not having access to important facilities. Capitalism is a religion as well and very well spread throughout the world. In the name of this religion many wars have taken place. It is not due to cause and effect of karma of the people in Somalia, India, Ethiopia, Eritrea that people die from starvation. It is because a small group of people feel entitled to have more (everything) and created the idea that this is “normal”.

They believe, it is due to their positive intentions, hard working, co-creation and positive belief system that they are entitled to have more than they can spend. They surround themselves with like minded individuals, spend time at the same resorts, read each others books, talk to the same “important” people and have very little clue, awareness and even more important no reasons to reflect on their own behavior and thinking. The right to be (extremely) rich is a believe = religion in itself. Is it wrong to have a few houses? Is it wrong to have millions on bank accounts? I have the feeling that many individuals think it is “normal”. A deep routed and wide spread religion. Frankly speaking I think it is not “normal”. It is because we think, believe that this is “normal”. We created a very strange economic system. We talk about what is wrong with religion to avoid talking about what really “sucks” namely the enormous gab between rich and poor. I have seen many people hard working, having extremely positive belief systems and have the most incredible intentions and yet they do not have access to the most essential needs. I am really interested to learn how many (proven statistics) of people born in dis-advantaged families were able to reach and live the American Dream? Is it 10% or more? Is it 2%? Even when it would be 10% which I do not believe, I would never fligh an airplane that has 10% change of arriving my destination. Why do we repeat this ILLUSIONS when they do not seem to work? Could it be that organizations repeat this nonsense for higher revenues for their shareholders? We seem to be blind for our own seeds of religion and entitlement, me included. We seem to find each and every time new ideas to defend inequality. What if the whole world would believe in “The law of attraction”. “The law of Karma”. “The Secret”? Why and how many books do we need to justify inequality? Most people are unable to pay for (self realizing) courses, included the ones offered by the Chopra Center. Are rich people more spiritual? Due to Karma?

Can we change this? Yes, we can try to better understand this human drama. We still believe in a material world. We separate between me and others, not realizing that the others do not exist. Why is it that we always want to change others? Why is it that we can smile when people open their mounths to express their truths, especially when it is in line with our own thinking?

My husband and I visited once Cuba. We wanted to learn more about this country while Fidel Castro was still alive. We wanted to be “in time”. We are not blind for the supression that is taking place in this country. We know the fact that people can not leave the country when they really would like, but something inside us thought that when the US would take over the country, which is possible, it could be changed in just another gambling paradise, with many expensive unaffordable hotels and it might be that nothing of the natural beauty will remain. Is that freedom? Since the actions of certain governments does not fit in our belief system we are “entitled” to create embargo’s. When I did my PhD in Spain and followed Spanish classes our Spanish teacher talked about Cuba and at one moment one of the American exchange students (Political Sciences) asked: “Is Cuba a province of Spain? since it is close to Portugal and Spain, isn’t it?  Indeed if you have never been there, if you have no clue were Cuba is situated (air travel distance from Spain – Cuba is about 7.155.67 km is equal to 4446.33 miles), not knowing the number of inhabitants (about 11.250.000), it could be that you identify  them as MONSTERS. Very dangerous people. Exclusion.

We rented a car, drove long distances and had many hitch hiking passengers. We danced salsa and talked, laughed with the most beautiful and incredible people ever. How come we did not see the danger? Are we blind? 

We know that embargo’s never worked but we are entittled to ingnore research. We exclude the so called others troughout our life. It is remarkable that we do not exclude people, nations when they fit our ideas of economic growth.

Many people (and we will call it different) are excluded due to the high contribution to be a member. Most private schools in South Africa are unaffordable. It seems very difficult to walk the talk and it is an interesting question to ask: “What answers do we have to justify this? Is this based on concepts, ideas and when it is, did we create another religion?”. 

When we serve others, it is not at all altruism, it is serving ourselves. Altruism is a by people created concept, a wide spread idea, religion, but in the unified field it does not exist. Florence Nightingale, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa never talked about others, or altruism. They just served “others”, by serving themselves. Sai MAA would say, serving others is for you, is for you, is for you. And indeed even the courses of Sai MAA cost a fortune. I feel entitled enough to express that. 

I always like to reflect on myself since this is how I learn. I feel many times entitled. I like to receive good high quality services. I love drinking clean water and bathing in clean water, I love massages, staying in 4-5-star hotels (which I can not afford on a regular basis) and I would love to fly business class. I have access to great books. Can participate in courses. Travelled around the world. Is that “horrible”? Is it “normal”? As long as I do not justify it? As long as I do not feel entitled? As long as………………….?

Observe your own thoughts, ideas, expectations (and listen to others for reflection) and try to find what you do not know and it might be that you will learn about all your entitlements

You can imagine that I prefer silence when there is a discussion going on about entitlement of black South Africans. I prefer to write about it. 

The spiciness went to sleep. I ask myself: “shall I delete this flow of words”? I am free. I am amble to delete. I can change some of the critical words and transform it in something that shows my “enlightend” spirit. I can shift my focus to all the great adventures and things I have in my life. I do not have to talk about it. I can put my head in the sand (as the ostrich)pretending that I did not see, hear and experienced.

I decided to take a taxi, driving to the biggest shopping mall in Egypt. I never saw so many new buildings, houses that are under construction. Not finished yet! Will they ever? Thousand of expensive houses and just a few people that work. I ask the taxi driver: “How many new houses are built in this area? Where are the workers? His response: “Police is watching the traffic”. Mmmmmm, okeeeeee!!!

I tried to speak in French, it might help, but nevertheless I do not get an answer that had anything to do with my questions. I am still able to produce some words in Spanish but get silence as response. I decided to give it a last try and using different words in English and while observing my voice and words, I realize that I am almost screaming. Is this what we do when we can not communicate? Starting to talk louder and louder?

Is this the reason why people scream and fight in streets?

Are they being heart? Did we listen? Did we see? Did we recognize? Did we support? Did we contribute to their well-being? Did we search with them for sustainable solutions? 

I arrive at the shopping mall, not having any clue in which part of Cairo. Nevertheless, walking around everything is familiar, Vera Mode, Zara, Aldo, nothing different. I feel a bit dissapointend. The same shops all over the world. Who says we are so different? A young man is asking me: “Are you Egyptian”? I tell him I am Dutch. For some reason he follows me. I am not sure why. Is he trying to sell me something? He is not wearing any product that could be sold. Does he want to offer some services? He tries to get my attention again by asking a question that I really do not understand. I smile. Smiling is easy and not dangerous. He still follows me. He is waiting for me when I enter and leave different shops. I like to think that this good looking young man is blowing away by my appearence. Suddenly I realize: “I am a woman”, let me act in the theater play “one day in Cairo”.

Actors: Abayomi = brings joy and is my bodyguard. My safety is guaranteed by his prensence.

My name is Ain = Priceless.

Joy and Priceless are walking in the shopping mall of Cairo. Who is she and why is she called PRICELESS? you may ask.

In one of the sages of Egypt it was mentioned that a woman would visit Cairo. She would walk and observe, knowing and observing the process of observations of what is there to be observed. She is called AIN = Priceless since she not for SALE. In the world of shopping, trade, sales and buying, this is remarkable.  Why this is? Simple: Priceless is FREE. You can not buy her. Impossible. You can not convince her since her ears will only hear your needs. She will not try to convince you since she has nothing to sell.   

Priceless IS Priceless.

Her freedom was predicted by the Stars    

All readers of stars are aware and saw the signs long before the dark nights came. Freedom is always seen as “highest value”, since we know so few and can be dangerous, especially for women in times of fear and therefor Ain is accompanied by Abayomi = Who brings joy. The perfect defense in times of danger. Stronger and more powerful than weapons and words. Priceless and Joy, what a wonderful partnership. Ain is trying to understand what people want. She is asking questions: “What are your needs, what is were you are longing for? She tries to read this in the faces. She tries to find answers in the behavior and actions. Ain realizes that she is in Cairo to be truthful, authentic and aware. She smiles and people respond by smiling. She is overwhelmed by the friendliness of most people. 

People whisper and smile: “Who is this lady and the man?. This woman and her shadow?” . They are curious. All love to learn more about them.

AIN and ABAYOMI = PRICELESS AND JOY. This is the answer!!! The answer for WORLD PROBLEMS.

I walk trough the street of for me unknown Cairo and children come and smile. Some little hands are in my hands and we walk for a while together. Abayomi is not longer Ain’s shadow. Ain and Abayomi are reunite in me. Priceless and Joy

I am back in the taxi. I bought nothing. Although I feel so connected and loving towards myself and others I end up having diarrhea. Is this since I do not love myself and others enough? Is it since I did not imagine myself as healthy? What did I do wrong? Could it be that I took: “Surrender and Release” to serious. Is it infectious? These are the kind of questions people sometimes make in our western society. 

What do we know about the great Mystery? 

It might be that having diarrhea is the best what can happen when I feel surrounded with SHIT. I might be that diarrhea is the creative expression of my system. Transformation. Why do I use the word shit? you may ask. Shit = indeed a vulgar word.  I know, but what other word can describe what I experience and observe? “The shit of pollution, the shit of inequality, the shit of misleading information in newspapers, on television, the shit of manipulation of numbers, figures, the unacceptable shit of exploitation, the shit of abusive behavior, the shit of child prostitution, the shit of misuse of power, the shit of starvation, the shit of demagogy, the shit of all death’s caused by terror, violence and aggression, the shit of………………..

No wonder that I release (my own) shit on the toilet. 

I hope that many of “the changes” around us will not make more victims and deaths. That children are protected and be able to play their gorgeous plays. That they learn from us to be devoted to love. 

    

In this kind of difficult complex situations in the Arab world, it is even more  important to act responsible and to be careful with the so called Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Expression. 

My mother used to have the following expression: SPEECH IS SILVER, SILENCE IS GOLD.

I apologize to each and every one for hurting your feelings

I hope and know that the mysterious wisdom unfolds

INSHALLAH

 

 

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