Evolution

Are we devolving? Where are we headed towards?

From a Biology perspective, there is no such thing as devolution. All changes or mutations in the gene frequencies of populations, quite often in traits those genes influence, are evolutionary changes. The concept that we humans may devolve only presume that there is a preferred stage of structures and functions. For example, having opposable thumbs are better than having fins. However, organisms that possesses those functions or structures, each of has an effective function.

A misconception of many is that the ultimate evolutionary quest of any non-human organism is to achieve physical adaptivity and mental capacity of a human. But the ultimate misconception of evolution, is that organism tend to change and mutate in order to adapt to their ever-changing environment. Initially, I thought that this was the case as well for evolution generally, however, the known extinction of 99% of all species that lived on Earth are evidences of this fallacy. This shows that there are no guarantees that species will adapt successfully.

image

Image sourced from http://www.macleans.ca/society/science/back-pain-fallen-arches-a-look-at-the-downsides-of-human-evolution/

Extinction in itself is a natural part of being and is quite a common response to the changing of the conditions of the environment. There are evidences of already 5 mass extinctions in earth’s history, the worst being 250 millions years ago when 96% of marine and 70% of land species on the planet were wiped out. Are we headed towards the same fate of these unfortunate species?

Looking at the current state of the society we are living in, it clearly depicts that we are headed towards extinction. As our biological evolution takes place chemically with the deterioration of the environment from the use of fossil fuels to the genetically modified food we eat, the ever-growing consumption of non-biodegradable materials and the clearance of the earth’s lungs is building a mountain of destruction that some have predicted will be the cause of our demise.

Professor Frank Fenner, emeritus professor of microbiology at the Australian National University, has predicted that the Human race will be extinct within the next 100 years, in his interview with the Australian paper. He further explained that the human race will not survive the population explosion and ‘unbridled consumption’. Read the article in 2010 here. Some scientist have also announced that we are actually living through the sixth mass extinction. There are many other prediction of our own extinction and it is scary to actually have these scientist, who are renown in their field of studies, predict the demise of the Human race.

Studies done by the Global FootPrint Network shows that we Humans utilize the equivalent of 1.5 planets to supply the resources we consume and absorb our waste. It means that now, it will take Earth one year and six months to regenerate what we consume within a year. It has even been suggested that if our current population and consumption growth continues, by the year 2030, Humanity will need the equivalent of two Earths to support ourselves. It clearly depicts that we are turning our resources into waste faster than waste can be recycled back into resources. This puts us in a Global ecological overshoot which is depleting the very resources on which human life and biodiversity depends on. This will result in the disintegration of fisheries, the decline of forest cover, the exhaustion of fresh water system, the increase of carbon dioxide emissions and so on, which only add in creating problems like global climate change. These are just the few noticeable effects of ecological overshoot that will only create a compounding effect that pushes us closer to extinction. This overshoot also contributes to conflicts in resources, wars, mass migration, famine, disease and many more human tragedies. These are already apparent in some countries and has an inordinate impact on the poor.

What can we do? How can we change the course that we have set ourselves up for?

There is always hope. Although it is apparent that we are in the twelfth hour of our own demise, there are still actions that we can take that will move us in a different course. We as Humans, tend to show great ingenuity, creativity and imagination when it comes to scientific and technological advancements which can be seen in our machines and crafts of war. In 2011 alone, the world’s top 10 military power spent $1.19 trillion on defence. And today, 795 million people on this planet do not have sufficient food to lead a healthy active life. That is approximately one in nine people on Earth. Clearly, the main agenda is to not help the needy.

Planet Earth provides sufficiently of all that we need to thrive. This means individuals and institutions worldwide need to recognize our ecological limits. Every decision we make as an individual or organisation will need to have these limits taken into consideration. Our ingenuity and creativity have to be put to greater use like discovering new and better ways to thrive together as a collective within the boundaries of earth. Change has to start on an individual level. Before we can manage to save humanity, we need to look at our consumption and take responsibility of the path that we are headed towards and change the course of direction for a new way of living, thinking and thriving. As individuals, we hold a lot of power that most of the population does not know about. In this society as ours, we create the demand and have purchasing power to choose corporations and companies we see fit. In a 2011 documentary called ‘Thrive’, more suggestions and solutions are provided to assist us to move away from the disparity we have in our home, we call Earth. You can watch the video on this here.

So where are we headed towards?

We need to look within ourselves and recognise that each and everyone deserve equal rights and freedom to thrive with happiness and bliss. It is an exciting time we are living in and our story depends on each and everyone of us. We are more than any city or country, any race or religion. We are of the human race. Living on our very own spaceship that provides for us. And for now, the only home we will ever know. Although we are considered to be a type of organism that inhabits this Earth, we humans, seem to have not only a biological sense of evolution but also a spiritual sense of it. We have plenty of biological evidences of adaptation in our specific environment, but very little in the sense of spirituality. Spiritual evolution is a theory of which nature, human beings or human cultures adapt to its changing environments and time. This extends from either the established esoteric system of thought or in compliance with certain pre-constructed potentials.

These concepts of a spiritual evolution is complemented by the notion of a creative impulse within us. These concepts are very diverse. It may be of the largest form of existence (cosmological), existence of self or both. One way it can be characterized is by the belief that parts of existence are intimately intertwined and understood only by the reference of the whole. It can also be characterized as a non-dual, which hold no ultimate distinction between the physical and mental reality. In whichever beliefs an individual chooses to hold on to, the concept of spiritual evolution still remains a theory of which is only defined by the perception of the conscious mind. This very much shows that we have much more to learn in time and through our mistakes that have been made. There is not much time to change the course of Humanity and it all starts with you.

Below are a list of websites and information regarding the world today and its current state.

(LINK1) http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/420041/apocalypse-now-wesley-j-smith
(LINK2) http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/world_footprint/
(LINK3) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/06/defense-spending-fact-of-the-day_n_1746685.html
(LINK4) https://www.wfp.org/hunger/stats
(LINK5) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEV5AFFcZ-s

Article written by Fariq Yusoff

Advertisements

Love is love

Homosapien

Are you homophobic? Do you feel disgusted or conjure weird feelings when you are around them?

image

Homosexuality is romantic attraction, sexual attraction or sexual behavior between members of the same sex or gender. The gay community is usually referred to as the LGBT community. LGBT stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered. When people talk about homosexuality they often ask, it is a choice?  Most people in the LGBT community expressed that they have little or no choice over their sexual orientation and that it is not a choice to be gay. While there are those who still hold the view that homosexual activity is “unnatural” or “dysfunctional”, research has shown that homosexuality is an example of a normal and natural variation in human sexuality and is not a source of negative psychological effect.
Homosexual behavior not only happens in humans but also in animal kingdom for example, such as penguins, chimpanzees and dolphins. Prejudice and discrimination against homosexual people, also known as homophobia, however, only occurs in humans.
There are many different words to describe homosexual people. Some of these are used to insult them. Some words to describe homosexual men are gay and queer. Words to describe homosexual women are lesbian, dyke or butch. However, dyke can be an offensive term, applied to lesbians, to stereotype them as masculine. Everyone accepts that it’s possible for a person to be attracted to people of more than one height, weight, hair colour, or race. For bisexuals that openness also includes gender. Bisexuals don’t have to be equally attracted to men and women too. Transgender is a general term applied to a variety of individuals involving tendencies to vary from their culturally conventional gender roles. Most transgender expressed and feel that they were born in the wrong body.
Men tend to have shorter index fingers in relation to their ring fingers; in women, the lengths are about the same. According to scientific research, many have found that in this case, unlike straight women, lesbians’ Index finger is shorter, on average, than the Ring finger. However, this is not entirely true. More so of a myth.
When homosexual people keep their sexual orientation a secret, they are said to be “in the closet”. “Out” or “out of the closet” is a slang term that means a homosexual person is open about his or her sexual orientation. Being out means that he or she does not hide the fact that he or she is homosexual. However, coming out is not always an easy thing to do. Many people hide their sexual orientation because some people do not support their lifestyle. Some people believe that if they are open about their preferences they will not be supported by their loved ones, friends and family. There have been cases of people getting thrown out of the house, disowned, bullied, and in certain countries and religions, jailed or killed after revealing their sexual orientation.
Personally, I have a friend whose mother found out that she was a lesbian and lectured her about it and tried to “talk her out of it”. She was devastated and lost initially but she still likes and chase after girls now because… that is what she likes just like how most or all of you here are attracted to the opposite gender. There are many symbols that represent gay pride such as lower case Greek letter ‘Lambda’ but the most common one known today is the rainbow flag.
Coincidentally, the rainbow also represents the seven ‘chakras’ or energy vortex or chi points in the human body.
In some countries, the LGBT community holds pride parade. The events also at times serve as demonstrations for legal rights such as same-sex marriage. In Singapore, there is an event for the LGBT community, known as the Pink Dot which started in 2009. However, it is not a gay pride parade or even a protest, but rather an event where people gather to form a giant pink dot in a show of support for inclusiveness, diversity and the freedom to love. Singapore might be a multi-racial and multi-religious country, but the same tolerance has not evolved for matters of sexual orientation.  Gay marriage is illegal in many countries and Singapore is one of them. According to Section 377A of the Penal Code, Singapore criminalizes “gross indecency” between men which includes consensual, private, adult homosexual acts. The penalty is up to two years’ imprisonment. Singaporean TV channels also censor positive portrayal of gay characters in popular series like “Glee” and “American Family”. Needless to say, life can be challenging for the LGBT people in Singapore.
In most of the world, homosexuals still do not have the same rights and freedoms that heterosexuals have.
In conclusion, this article is not for the sake of persuading you into being homosexual or anything of that nature. It is only been to inform you on the lifestyle of homosexuals. I have attempted to inform you on what homosexuality is and why some people hide their sexual orientation.

“Love is a human experience, not a political statement.” – Anne Hathaway

Article written by Fiona Wee

7 Deadly Sins

I want you to know about the unspeakably undesirable, immoral & to be utterly disrespected things in the world that turns it into the living hell that encompasses it every once in awhile. When us humans are not busy saving the Earth and preparing for our leap into the future, the Seven Deadly Sins reveal itself.

These so called ‘deadly sins’ trace its history back to Christian roots which were depicted as guidelines and instructions to avoid humanity’s unruly tendencies to sin. The classifications of said fixed are commonly known as;

1. Pride

2. Greed

3. Lust

4. Envy

5. Gluttony

6. Wrath

7. Sloth

image

The aforementioned words or terms are bunch of ideologies or actions that millions of people still stick to due to their evil nature. Now, when I say ‘evil’ it is not to mean to be as dark as the devil, it is a metaphorical way of saying one can commit dark deeds that are seeds of thoughts from the devil’s mixing pot. Portrayed in such manner; lustful appetite (gluttony, fornication, and avarice)
irascibility (wrath)
mind corruption (vainglory, sorrow, pride, and discouragement)

Fellow mystical human beings, please take pride (oops!) in ensuring that these thoughts and actions are completely avoided as often as possible. Let’s forge our way into a new and improved reality for Mother Earth’s sake!

Live in the light, love with the light. – Unknown

Written by Yoji Amashiro

Blissfully Aware

image

The path to happiness does not exist at all. There is no exact “way” or method to be happy.
If one has read the book – ‘The Art Of Happiness’ written by the Dalai Lama himself, one should be able to understand the fundamental concept of this mindset. Being happy is simply just that, being happy. When you feel your emotions surging through your body you understand that those are your feelings speaking to you. The easiest way to react to a situation or an experience is to feel angry. This is why people sometimes get mad easily all the time. They seek an alternative to finding the concentration to be balanced in terms of mind, body and soul.
For example, when you are bursting with anger, all you feel like doing is to shout or hit something. And when you are feeling sad, you have no other ways to express your feelings but to cry. Now, don’t forget about laughter – the ability to laugh is the only true way to express your happiness in a realistic manner. These are just methods and ways of how people naturally react to their own emotions and feelings. This is what truly makes us humans. Animals too, in their own right and ways have the ability to feel. We are empathetic creatures by nature. Mirror neurons exists in all of us and that is what makes us able to understand and relate with one another in terms of emotions and what we feel.

All living things on Earth share this deep bond and connection. The sacred moment when you feel and touch the leaf of a plant, when you sit under the shade of a tree, when you stroke your pet dog’s fur, when you look into eyes of a dolphin. Earth is unique because it is teeming with lifeforms, as compared to the other planets in our own Solar System.

In short, the way to feel happy is to, “Live the life you love, love the life you love.” – Bob Marley

Written by Yoji Amashiro

The Reflection

This is an excerpt by one of our talented writers, Fariq Yusoff, 30, who works at an advertising firm and loves to dabble in the arts of music! Super talented and possesses a philosophical mind, please enjoy!

The Reflection

Nothing too far beyond the boundaries of existence,

A story lies in the depths of its magnificence,

Through the phantom, time and coincidences,

A tale of realities, colliding in an infinite precedence.

The Actor; Adaptable, dramatic & inventive.

The Rebel; Stubborn, dominant & selective.

The Child; Joyous, carefree & attentive.

The One; Subdued, aware & receptive.

On a warm blinding morning…

Beaming rays with a distinct cyan calm yet uncomfortable,

Baking necks while fresh warm winds danced around his stroll,

Blanketed by invisible steam that pressured his every step, palpable,

As secretion of sweat etched his limbs, straying his thoughts and control.

“Why such luck?” He uttered under his heaving heavy breath,

Down and battered he contemplated his untimely demise,

Then, a familiar figure, the Rebel, slowed his path stealing his penance of death,

A mask donned concealing his aches and freeing his lies.

The sun stood high and blazing rays of light pinching my skin….

He halted with a sharp piercing stare and muttered reasons.

“I beg your pardon?” The Rebel forcefully request.

As the heat altered the Actor, the Rebel faltered, to interrogate his own.

A solution unacceptable, perverse in the perseverance for an answer,

A potent conquest!

“Intolerable!” Answered the Rebel as the Actor cringed in his bones.

This congregation continued for hours and days,

Through sunlight and sunbeams in haze,

In darkened skies and stars ablaze,

Finding an old friend in each deep, haunting gaze.

Heated my mind, losing my sight, wearing me thin…

The Spirit of past and future reveals as the Phantom passes,

Speeding through their doubts, beliefs and emotions,

Slowly, surely, the Actor dissipates and anguish envelope the Rebel in Darkness,

He involuntarily slips into an abyss of confusion and frustration.

“Do not abscond from my heart!” Shrieks the Rebel as the latter left in moments,

Helplessly swimming in pounds of water dripping. Endless.

As the Actor blurred through the nebulous, crimson Sun. “Entombment!”

He sank to his knees, the Rebel scorned. Alone and powerless.

Scorched the surface and my lustrous landscape turns grim…

Egos in this Ethos of the present life’s rich tapestry,

The wisest lucubrate its history with an orison.

As the Rebel stand upright from the grounds of fallacy,

The Child appeared like first light from the horizon.

Playful gestures and wild imagination brings hope to the Rebel,

Bridging decades of despair and blissful blithe of his soul, insouciant.

All shall pass, as the past shall fall into place, compelling but subtle.

The Child shows the Rebel elation and exuberance.

The darkness and death, breathes life and hope in…

From ruination to patching it whole,

The Child plays, learning and collecting snippets of life’s quiddity,

Unknowingly, the Child seeks while the Rebel hides in a hole,

In true fact of the play, the Rebel, lost and disappeared in humility,

The Child, alone, frames from moment to moment.

Living in a picture book full of colours and blush,

Puerile in its nature and no fear yet to be spoken,

No future. No Past. Never too slow, never a rush.

The Phantom, a magician of sorts, in Life or Death it sings….

Suddenly, a candle was lit deep within, sparking mystery.

A lost connection, that transcends through Phantom and Space.

It grew with every gesture and play, like a seed in a nursery.

From questions, comes understanding, though frozen by fear in place.

The child confounded and cried in doubts and trepidation.

Piecing the puzzle of this mystery while taxing his juvenile thoughts.

Complexity in its essence, the Child faltered in a last shriek of condemnation,

Shrouded in confusion, he felt elevated in comfortable hands, he thought, was God.

Fuzzy vision while light unveils the dawn of morning…

“Awaken”, a gentle whisper, warm in both his ears.

As the blindfold comes off the light pierced his sight.

Soft supple hands gently caress his rosy cheeks damped with tears.

“Do not despair. Do not fight the light!”

A figure appear, calm and safe, as the Child stood free.

Looking up with absolution that his saviour has arrived.

Nothing else was said. They understand what needs to be.

Sliding his hand, the child grasps his, in a hopeful and blissful vibe.

Clear presence, back and forth so effortlessly, in a summer’s dream…

I awoke with a sudden breath of life, emerging from the depths of sleep,

Halt my thought from straying yet free to roam in its vastness of possibility,

Holding on to the wisdom of past, and the knowledge of the future I will keep.

Forever awaken in oneness from the Heart through Yesterday till Eternity.

My sight has set to the stars while the mind listens to my beating Heart.

It paves the road for my Soul. My eyes opened wide against the Sun.

Smiling in bliss without doubt and regret no matter how hard. Or when my Soul departs.

I am every moment. I am the Actor, the Rebel, the Child and the One.

Written and composed by Fariq Yusoff