The Case for Female Political Empowerment and Leadership in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

 

 

 

 

The Case for Female Political Empowerment, and Leadership in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

 

                       

A brief discussion

By Gianmarco Piccolo Re

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

North and south Kivu, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), 2013

 

  At 4 am in a dismal and dirty pit, seven thousand miles away from the golden lights, the glitz, the glitter, and the black tarred highways of the developed world a ten year old boy is digging dark red earth out of an open pit mine, a massive sore on the once green landscape of this beautiful country.  He is hungry, thirsty, tired and terrified yet he keeps on digging out the valuable red earth and shovels it into the waiting wheelbarrows of the other adolescent miners waiting nearby. He knows that if he were to stop working, despite his bone deep exhaustion, the consequences for not only himself but his entire family would be dire.  The hard eyes of the foreign soldiers guarding them, full of the promise of pain and degradation, these men who look like him and speak the same language as him and his fellow workers seem to possess a hatred of them which borders on insanity.  So he keeps on digging out the valuable red earth, he keeps on digging not for the meager scraps of food that they are provided to keep them energized enough to continue working, nor out of any sense of work ethic or pride that this work inspires.   No, he keeps on digging in the hope that as long as the hard eyes of these savage soldiers from a neighboring land are upon him and his fellow workers there is a chance that they will not stray to the village where their mothers, aunts and sisters are held hostage to their good behavior.  But these foreign soldiers are like animals and despite all his hard work and all his best efforts he knows that tonight when he returns to his village he will once again have to comfort some female member of his family, who has become another victim of rape perpetrated by these soldiers and perhaps he will have to wipe the tears of someone else’s mother as she laments the abduction of her young son to swell the ranks of these barbaric conquerors.  And as he shovels the valuable red earth into the wheelbarrow he cannot help but wonder what his people did to merit such torment?  When his shift ends several hours after sunset and he is being escorted home through the forest by the foreign soldiers who salute the blue helmeted U.N. soldiers lounging in their white armored vehicles, he wonders where were the U.N. soldiers and the stalwart nations of the developed world when his nine year old sister was raped last week?

  It seems incredulous that in this globally interconnected world, where information is free and easily accessible thanks to the Internet that such atrocities as this, so reminiscent of the rubber slavery of the colonial era still continue to occur every day in a nation that by virtue of its mineral unlimited mineral wealth should be one of the richest on this planet.  Yet the developed nations who normally act as global law enforcers have chosen to turn a blind eye to the suffering of an entire nation the size of Western Europe.  And these atrocities are not secret; they have been well-documented and exposed and are not hidden by a well-oiled and efficient state machinery such as the Nazi regime, which managed for almost two decades to hide their own hideous atrocities.  The world at large is well aware of what is going in the DRC but simply chooses to do nothing about it.  U.N. Peacekeepers have been deployed here in order to protect the population from the deprivations of these foreign soldiers yet at the same time they are given conflicting orders which instruct them to under no circumstances engage these soldiers in battle, despite their continued acts of violence against the population.  The global hunger for the minerals of DRC and the technological growth that they feed continues unabated and as long as the raw materials for progress keep flowing, it seems that the technocrats of the developed world are willing to ignore the fact that since 1998 over five million civilians have died, most of them women and children, in a conflict that rages on in the name of unparalleled greed and moral turpitude.  What difference does it make to them that every day in North and South Kivu over forty women are raped?

History

  The history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of darkness, despair, brutality, hope and determination.  From its inception as a the personal territory of King Leopold of Belgium, a shocking real estate deal brokered by the famous explorer Henry Morton Stanley in which the entire contents of this territory became the personal property of the King of the Belgians, including the inhabitants.  The king quickly demonstrated his belief in his divine right of ownership over the “savages” of this nation by instituting the now infamous rubber slavery policies, which entire villages were held hostage while their able bodied family members were forced to go into the forest and tap the milky sap from the wild rubber vines growing there.  If they did not meet the quota assigned to their village, then villagers would be scourged, burned and the hands and feet of young children were cut off in an effort to “inspire” the villages to greater efforts.  But just as now, technology drove these policies as the global need for rubber increased exponentially with the burgeoning automobile industry and it was not until many decades later that enough of an outcry was raised against Leopold’s policies for other developed nations to finally put a stop to it. So where are those outraged voices now in 2013?

Foreign rule

  At present, the government of the DRC is at best a travesty, a bait and switch operation designed to keep the population ignorant of the fact that this huge nation is in reality a proxy for the Rwandan leadership and all decisions regarding its government are being decided in Kigali and not in Kinshasa, the capital of the DRC and the seat of Congolese government.  The Rwandan leadership in Kigali has implemented a deliberate policy to foment continued conflict in the region in order to bleed the natural resources of the DRC and funnel them toward the development of a Greater Rwandan Nation.  The construction boom and robust economy of the tiny neighboring nation are fuel by the rape of the DRC and when one considers the fact Rwanda has no Coltan deposits, how is it that all Congolese Coltan must be transported to Kigali to be certified, the only way that this valuable mineral of which 80% of the world’s deposits reside in the DRC, a mineral which is needed for everything from transistors, chips, cell phones and missile system, can actually be sold?  When one looks at the well-financed black-uniformed soldiers of the presidential guard (GSSP), the majority of which are imported Rwanda soldiers, and how they are given broad police and military powers beyond their mandate to protect the president, the fact that they have a carte blanche to do as they please while the Congolese national army remains ill-trained, ill-equipped, and seldom paid.  It is a recipe for disaster that the leadership in Kigali and their allies are well aware of.

Congolese women

 When one strolls through the market places of the DRC or if one pays attention to the ratio between the sexes with regards to those trading in the market places which are the lifeblood of the DRC, it becomes evident that the majority of the people who are selling in the marketplace are actually women.  They are not selling things for their husbands, or simply acting as shopkeepers for the men who bring in the products for sale, instead it is the women themselves who completely dominate the economics of everyday Congolese life through their strength, intelligence, skill, business acumen, and determination.  Congolese families are fed, educated and nurtured through their remarkable work and despite the deplorable conditions that many families find themselves in, somehow Congolese women manage to keep them afloat.  It is they who make sure the over-worked and under-paid soldiers of the national army are fed and it is they who pay for the sometimes outrageous school fees for their children and purchase medication for family members when they fall ill.  Without the bedrock of their efforts the DRC would have long imploded.  So why is it so difficult for the men in Congolese leadership to see the strength of Congolese women and harness it on the national level for the good of the entire nation?  Traditionally speaking Congolese society is not paternalistic; that is a Western import a consequence of colonialization, and traditionally speaking Congolese women have been equally responsible as queens and chiefs for guiding and leading the many tribes which make up this nation.  Such colonial ideas have no place in Africa and they have damaged the whole continent in ways that will be very difficult to overcome.  In Yoruba cosmology the Goddess Nana Buukun introduces the concept of Thought into Ashe, the formless matter that existed before creation and it is this introduction which transforms Ashe into Oludumare, the Creator and One God.  Judging from the mythology of the Yoruba people, clearly the feminine has as much potency as the male in African traditional culture. 

Solutions

  There are of course no ready solutions for a problem that has become so ingrained through a century of brutal conquest by colonial powers and their cultural indoctrination of the African continent, but this does not mean there is no hope.  There is a generation of Congolese who are crying for change and are reexamining their cultural roots in an effort to find a solution that is in harmony with their traditional culture, without sacrificing the benefits of technological advancement and integrating some of the more positive ideas of the developed world, including the idea that female politicians can and indeed have proven effective elsewhere in Africa and that they can and do make a positive and dramatic change.  The first female president of an African nation, President Helen Sirleaf Johnson of Liberia has demonstrated this with great success.  She inherited a war-torn nation in its death throes, racked by ethnic divisions, rape, child abductions and corruption all driven much like the DRC by a desire to control its mineral wealth and in her decade of power she has transformed it into a stable, peaceful, nation with a booming economy, a beacon of hope for all of Africa and a chastisement for those of the old guard who say women cannot lead in Africa.  Similarly in Malawi President Joyce Banda is proving her leadership skills with great success and in the DRC despite what the leadership in Kinshasa would have the world believe, there is a dearth of talented women politicians in the DRC who not only have the talent, the skill and the drive to lead but have already paid their political dues.  Female leaders such as Justine Mpoyo Kasavubu, the daughter of the first Congolese president who has negotiated the rough political seas of the DRC for many years, Catherine Nzuzi wa Mbombo, whose political party MPR posted excellent results at the last presidential elections, the politically savvy Madame Landu, and finally the formidable and indomitable Iyombe Botumbe Akerele, president of the Congres Lokole party which was created in 1992 to oppose Mobutu Seseseko in the 1996 elections before the civil war began and who is the granddaughter of the king of the Basengle people from the central of the Congo.  And though none of these women hold political office in the DRC at present, they continue to use their considerable skills to aid the people of the nation.  Justine Mpoyo Kasavubu provides free clothing for the many orphans and destitute caused by the war, while Catherine Nzuzi wa Mbombo provides free food for families which would otherwise starve.  Madame Landu provides a free legal services for those who could not otherwise afford it and Iyombe Botumbe Akerele, by implementing the old adage “give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” has used her own personal wealth to finance not only microloans to small local businesses all over  the DRC but by also building industries that create sustainable employment using indigenous foods and materials, such as corn and cassava which are ground in locally run mills, fish farming and transportation.  None of these women need to take the grave risks they undertake by challenging the status quo; they could live comfortable lives both overseas and in the DRC because of the considerable personal fortunes that they have amassed using their extraordinary business skills and intelligence, but instead have chosen to take those talents and place them at the service of their fellow Congolese in order to do their part in fulfilling a grand vision of what the DRC should be and not what it has unfortunately become.  If both Houses of the Congolese Congress were even marginally representative of the power and potential of Congolese women then the DRC would now be an economically and fiscally sound nation and a regional powerhouse.

Conclusion

The cycle of kleptocracy, pillage and marginalization in the DRC will continue as long as the population continues to allow themselves to be ruled by tin can dictators and their greedy cabinets of old men who do not want the status quo to change, even if it means progress for all Congolese people.  If the DRC is to move forward and take its rightful place as one of Africa’s leading nations, the women of the DRC must become empowered and much more politically involved if this nation will ever be able to pull itself out of this fifty year vortex of chaos.  In African families, traditionally men women have distinct roles to play but that by no means is indicative of a sexist division of labor.  Instead, it involves a deep commitment and understanding of the fact that each sex has a different approach to life’s many challenges and that sometimes the methods of one parent are more effective than the other with respect to these different challenges.  It is the duty of the parents to acknowledge this and make the necessary adjustments so that there exists a peace and harmony within the household as all these challenges are met and overcome using the perspective of both parents.  In the case of the DRC, which throughout its turbulent history has been ruled by a succession of paternalistic leaders calling themselves “the Fathers of the Nation,” this delicate balance has come apart with the disastrous effects that we continue to see every day there.  It is time us males put aside our egos and the colonial mantle of paternalistic views and once again turn to our other parent for a solution, for despite what these foolish leaders would have the world believe it is the women of the DRC who for all these years have managed to keep the nation solvent.

 

Links

http://www.womenundersiege.org

http://www.refugeesinternational.org

http://www.merlinusa.org/

http://www.thefreelibrary.com

http://data.un.org

http://digitaljournal.com/blog/11297

http://www.ultimatehistoryproject.com/belgian-congo.html

http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/publication-type/key-issues/country/conflict-minerals-in-drc.aspx

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0EGn_FDI38

https://www.duo.uio.no/handle/10852/13007

 

 

 

 The Social and Ethical Implications of Biometrics

 What are biometrics[i] exactly?  In today’s information driven society in which the greatest tool of information dissemination, the Internet, has become the home of disinformation, conspiracy theories and personal opinions packaged as authoritative fact it is necessary to define exactly what the term biometrics means so that the consequences of implementing the worldwide use of biometrics can even be reasonably discussed.  So what are biometrics?  Well a biometric or biometric identifier is an objective measurement of a physical characteristic of an individual which, when captured in a database, can be used to verify the identity or check against other entries in the database (Youmaran & Adler, 2012). The best known biometric is the fingerprint, but with technology moving forward in leaps and bounds there are many other forms such as facial recognition software, retinal scans, DNA analysis, voice recognition, and even odor sensitivity (Youmaran & Adle,, 2012).  Biometrics are quickly becoming the ultimate tool in a world that is becoming smaller and smaller and more and more interconnected globally, a grand family where all the various members are linked together by computer technology, information and science in ways previously unimaginable at any other point in human history. From a purely technical perspective it is of course very possible at this point to establish a center to store biometric data and to test and evaluate biometric technologies but there are many legal, technical, ethical issues and sociocultural issues which must be first addressed with respect to any future implementation of biometrics, especially with respect to individual privacy and the scope to which the organizations collecting this data would have access and some form of control over an individual’s biometrics which are far more private and revealing than any government issued ID number (Lodge, 2012). As the technology becomes more and more a reality, these concerns must be addressed if society and the world in general is to quickly come to an informed consensus as to how this technology should be used and to establish extremely strong checks, balances and controls in order to limit potential abuses and the inevitable ethical violations which surely will arise.  In the end humanity must ask itself how much of ourselves do we need to share with the rest of the world?  When has connectivity gone too far?

            James Watson, the co-discoverer of the double helix structure of DNA and the founding father of the Human Genome Project declared that “we used to think our fate was in the stars.  Now we know a large part of it is in our genes (Horgon, 2003, p197).”  The Human Genome Project was hailed as one of the greatest achievements in this century because coupled with new medical technologies such as gene therapy, stem cell research, and prenatal medicine, the possibility to “improve” the human race became a possibility.  Pharmaceutical companies began to actually patent the rights to certain genes in an effort to control the lucrative market that was rapidly rising in treating illnesses at the genetic level, and litigation quickly began flying through the court system as to whether or not a gene could [ii]be owned (Horgan, 2003).  In much the same way the use of biometrics raises a possibility that whole classes of people will be marginalized because things that were previously private would be revealed.  For example, even though certain individuals carry the gene for Muscular Dystrophy and phenotypically speaking are perfectly healthy, because the public now would have access to their DNA profile these individuals would become less desirable as a potential mates.  Potential employers could reject individuals’ applications for employment for fear that their medical insurance costs would rise, or that these individuals would have to take many sick days despite the fact that phenotypically they did not suffer from the illness. In a world where people’s identities are stolen every hour, how could core biological information such as this be safeguarded?  The fact is once Pandora’s box is opened it cannot be closed, and even with safeguards and ethical checks and balances in place human laws often do not take into account human nature.

 Part of the allure of using biometrics to categorize and organize our world in further depth is that our bodies (unlike any sort of physical documentation no matter how sophisticated) can provide an objective and verifiable source of truth about our identities, our genetics and even our psychology and it is these technologies which are believed to give access to this inseparable part of humanity (Martin & Whitley, 2013).  Biometrics are also believed to be capable of securing or fixing identity in a way that makes fraudulent or multiple identities much more difficult, if not impossible, to maintain. Through the use of biometrics, organizations aim to individuate entire populations and then fix identities to administrative markers such as unique identification numbers [iii](Ackerman, 2012). The concern that the unethical use of biometrics against vulnerable individuals for the benefit of others becomes a very real concern.  To minimize this concern there must be some sort of national if not international body to shoulder the onus of maintaining any potential database and even then, cross-cultural difficulties and barriers will no doubt affect just what is considered a violation of privacy and what is considered to be acceptable level of transparency when it comes to collecting the biological information needed for biometrics to work (Youmaran & Adler, 2012).  Of course the administrative burden would be greatly reduced by biometrics, since a person’s identity would be established by their body itself and not by various pieces of documentation, and thus the cost to the taxpayers for the organizations which must maintain these records would be greatly reduced (Lodge, 2012).  Imagine a world with no more long DMV lines because all your information could be coded into a database, based upon your own biology.  No need to renew a license when your own body functions as your license.  The term inter-operability best describes what proponents of this technology are trying to achieve.  With the simple implantation of a RFID chip subcutaneously coded with an individual’s biological information that is unique to them, all their banking, medical, travel, and commercial and cross-border information  becomes easily manageable (Lodge, 2012). In this mind set the many concerns that most citizens raise are batted aside with the idea that if one has nothing to hide then one has nothing to fear from this technology.

            In conclusion, biometrics is not just another technology that the average ignorant person automatically resists, as is natural to humanity because it represents a change in the fundamental way that we live and interact with the world and each other.  As the world becomes smaller and smaller and the population continues to grow, individual privacy will begin to mean that much more than it did a few decades ago as we become forced to be connected to others in ways that we perhaps neither envisioned nor wanted.  Because of this it is very important that the debate about biometrics remain very much in the public spotlight and that those advocating or criticizing its use have an open forum in which to air their views in a way that the public, who will be most dramatically affected by the implementation of this technology, have the opportunity to make an informed decision on what could be the last time that we as a species are truly multicultural and diverse.  Without ethical, sociological and legal oversight this technology has the potential to change this world but in ways that no one will able to predict.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

 

Ackerman, S.  (2012). U.S. holds onto biometric databases of 3 million Iraqis.  Wired, December 21.  Retrieved from

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/12/iraqi-biometrics-database

Horgan, J.  (2003). Eugenics revisited.  Scientific American, 269(6), 122-131.

Lodge, J.  (2012). The dark side of biometrics: accommodation, ethics and new biometrics.                        International Library of Ethics, Law, and Technology, 2, 305-328.

Martin, A., K., & Whitley, E., A.  (2013). Fixing identity?  Biometrics and the tensions of            material practices.  Media, Culture and Society, 35(1), 52-60.

Youmaran, R., & Adler, A.  (2012). Measuring biometric sample quality in terms of biometric       feature information in the iris image.  Journal of Electrical and Computer Engineering, 1, 1-9.


[i] The term biometrics comes from branch of biology that studies biological phenomena and observations by means of statistical analysis but has evolved into use as the definition given at the beginning of this paper.

[ii] There are 3,000–5,000 U.S. patents on human genes and 47,000 on inventions involving genetic material.  There is at present a patent reform bill passed by the House of Representatives and is pending in the Senate; there is also a bipartisan bill to ban gene patenting.

[iii] This system is actively in use in the modern military.  The “dog tag” has been replaced with RFID chips ostensibly so that even the smallest body part will be able to be identified.

The Joys of laughter

Metamorphosis is an
exercise in willed restructuring of the mind.
All attempts to reorganize the mind involve a duality between
conditions as they are and the preferred condition. Thus it is
impossible to cultivate any virtue like spontaneity, joy, pious,
pride, grace, or omnipotence without involving oneself in
more conventionality, sorrow, guilt, sin, and impotence in the
process. Religions are founded on the fallacy that one can or
ought to have one without the other. Life is bittersweet
and  sweet and sour;  it seeks to achieve any arbitrary
perceptual perspective at will.

Consider laughter: it is the highest emotion, for it can contain
any of the others from ecstacy to grief. It has no opposite.
Crying is merely an underdeveloped form of it which cleanses
the eyes and summons assistance to infants. Laughter is the
only tenable attitude in a universe which is a joke played upon
itself.
The trick is to see that joke played out even in the neutral and
ghastly events which surround one. It is not for us to question
the universe’s apparent lack of taste. Seek the emotion of
laughter at wnat delights and amuses, seek it in whatever is
neutral or meaningless, seek it even in what is horrific and
revolting. Though it may be forced at first, one can learn to
smile inwardly at all things.

Dialogue #15

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15.  I am the Son of the Morning; I shine with white light.  My birth has heralded an age in which humanity is no longer brutalized by the morality of its own creations.  I stretch out my hand and part the roiling seas of humanity and place my rod in its secret center.  It is from here that I viciously mount the world, raping and ravishing it with mystical brutality until it begins to resist and battles me for the privilege of fertilizing the Cosmos.  I am the eye in the mirror, so briefly glimpsed by the hero who fights the dogma and doctrine with which I penetrate the world, filling it with a rigidity that will never yield to hypocrisy.  So what will my ritual divulge to those who embrace its orthodoxy?  It is both beautiful and terrible in its unwavering faith that its eyes are the only ones that can see.  Through the medium of a million mouths singing hallelujahs, a strange brew is milked from the pendulous breasts of Wisdom which drip with the sweet milk of perpetual salvation.  It a promise of things to come, a terror that wrenches me from sleep and flings me against the mirror as I beat at the walls of this sliver prison which does not keep me in, but instead keeps me out.  In my madness, I suck at it, licking and biting it, hoping to escape its wicked lure and return to a simpler time where I was not born.  But the red glare of its aureole and the ripeness of its nipples hold me firm and I cannot break free from the hunger that arises inside me as I gaze upon the perfection of its mighty bosom.  Breathing, its rhythm hypnotizes me, lulling me into a spiritual complacence that only push me further from the hand stretched out to me from the mirror.

 

It is a dim hope that flashed at me with a maniacal grim and tells me to kneel:  so I bow my head and pray, “Thou Child, holy thy name and undefiled!”  The mirror knows this ritual as it gives me the Bread and the Blood showing me the midnight hour which will lead me to the Sun.  But I am not a holy man; I am a sinner.  I cannot allow a baptism for in anointing my forehead my eyes will close and I will lose my passage to the world beyond the veil.  So I wrench myself from the ritual which has so engrossed me for so much of my life and plunge myself in the filthy waters that have been bleeding from my soul.  I revel in them, washing my eyes and my tongue until I feel like myself again.  The best parts of me had been washed away but in my ablutions I am once again clothed in my strength and sadness, waiting for the light of my early morning birth to bounce back strongly and clearly reflected with clarity and cleanliness from the upraised had that I see saluting me in the mirror.

 

 

 

 

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Tell me why

So why should I succumb to fires

Of long summer days and hot desires

On what cool cave shall I depend?

To which cold fountain shall I bend.

Instead I look to ease the pain

That remedies cannot contain

The moisture of my tears confessed

So helpless in her frozen breast.

Tell me why

Sometimes

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Sometimes

Sometimes, I feel today’s the day

Sometimes, I sense the month of May

Sometimes, I’m sure my words are true

Sometimes, I know they’re sad and blue

Sometimes, I try to be legit

Sometimes, you know I’m forced to quit

Sometimes, I wish that I was dead

Sometimes, I eat the words I said

Sometimes, the pain is in my heart

Sometimes, I know it’s time to start

Sometimes, I find the sky is blue

Sometimes, I paint in scarlet hue

Sometimes, I speak my heart’s content

Sometimes, I’m sure my ethic’s bent

Sometimes, the time is ripe to mend

Sometimes, poem has to end.

 

The Guiding Light of Philosophy

The Guiding Light of Philosophy

 

                There is a part of humanity which is singular in nature, although the mind seems to be unable to perceive it as such.  We look at the world around us believing that perception and will are separate, yet at the same time question the grand disparity that we see communicated between us and our world.  Philosophy is the balance which appeared in our world to unify these twin functions of will and perception in order to give rise to another more important function, that of wisdom.  In our dualistic mind and reflected world, this wisdom is deeply buried and is trapped in the aimless wanderings of our restless and untrained minds, clouding it with rambling thoughts and irrelevant experiences and clusters of opinions about ourselves and the world which we call ego.  It is these blurry abstractions and hazy metaphors which have cursed the human race to forever wallow in a murky pond of its own creation ignorant of the beauty and majesty which lies just beyond the veil.   Fortunately, there is a silver lining to our cloudy minds.  Philosophy is that lining, a grand cosmic broom which sweeps away the clutter of an unquiet mind.  Through its agency humanity gained the ability to question the cosmos and all that makes up existence.  Without it humanity would not have risen above the level of other primates.  As a result, philosophy allows us to examine the profound questions evoked by human existence, it creates an open forum in which to explore new ideas, and finally it provides us with a moral code by which humans may live by.

                Philosophy allows us to examine the profound questions evoked by human existence by dissecting metaphysically the cosmological mechanisms of which humanity is a great part.  When we look at our place in the universe, at the sights, the sounds and the many sensations which bombard us at every step, we are forced to ponder the existential questions which confront us because we exist.  Without the tools provided by philosophy and its inquisitive methods, humanity would not have progressed intellectually, emotionally, or spiritually.  Philosophy has allowed us to peel away the shiny veneer which lies between us and our true existence and gives us the sensory organs to perceive and comprehend what we find there.  Without it all these profound questions would forever hang in the air decaying as we turned our backs upon that which we would not have the tools to comprehend.  Life is a great mystery and philosophy is the key to its cipher.

                But what do we do once the flow of ideas begins to tumble down upon our unsuspecting heads?  Through philosophy we are able to open forums in which to discuss and explore these new ideas in a manner that allows for all variables, variations, and angles to be sampled and examined in order to add to the great pool of knowledge which is humanity’s legacy.  In the open forum of philosophy nothing is sacred.  By this I mean that there is no subject, no field of interest which escapes the piercing eye of wisdom and its penchant for disassembling the most complex of topics and learning just how they work.  Through its eyes we are able to see our world all the more clearly as we question not only our existence but also the way we acquire the knowledge to devise these same questions.  If humanity is an inquisitive scientist, then philosophy is the lab, the equipment and even the education of the scientist enabling us to peer through wisdom’s lens and into the world.

                Finally, philosophy provides humanity with a very necessary moral and ethical code.  Through its questioning and examination philosophy has forced us to search deep within ourselves in an effort to better define the standards of behavior that human society must have in order to continue to thrive as a species.  Moral and ethical codes make it possible for the laws which keep us safe to exist, yet these laws would not be possible without having been developed through years of philosophical questioning and exploration of not only the nature of humanity, but of what rules us.  Through it we categorize the standards of human behavior that we believe are acceptable and unacceptable to our societies as a whole.  Philosophy allows us to meta-analytically examine our species and forces us to come to certain conclusions about ourselves.  We are a society of laws because through the self-examination and introspection which philosophy brought, we became aware that without morals and ethics our species and societies would soon implode and destroy each other.  Through philosophy moral and ethics are the dam holding back humanity’s primal urges and cool our passion’s heat. 

                Philosophy is the manifestation of humanity’s unmet needs.  Through its all-seeing focus humanity has been able to quickly evolve past the primitive state from which it arose, and indeed would have been doomed to remain in without the advent of reason.  Through philosophy and philosophical questioning humanity was able and is still able to examine the profound questions evoked by its very existence, questions which throughout our brief history on this planet have haunted even when we were still in the most primitive of states.  Through this questioning an eternal forum was opened where the constant influx of new ideas and the unanswered questions of older concepts may be discussed and explored in an effort to better understand the world and our relationship to it. Through this questioning and the resultant  understanding of human nature, morals and ethics were able to develop, without which we would have been doomed to barbarism and darkness as the world turned in on itself, devoured by the inevitable and incessant conflicts that must arise in a world without moral and ethical codes.  Yet despite the presence of philosophy in the world as a harbinger of light to the darkness, humanity is still threatened daily by another darkness that is set to devour us if we should be caught slipping.  We must not forget that philosophy is the love of wisdom, and it is in these words that humanity must find its solace and bind its courage to it tightly for the world today seems to be taking tentative steps down a road where there is no bright beacon of philosophy to light its way.  Down this road morals and ethics are less important and the transformation promised by the forbidden knowledge that they seek will come at a great price.  Without the cooling light of philosophy, this world would never have pulled itself out of the cave where our entire species was born and resided in darkness and ignorance, doomed and content to live out their existence, ignorant of the beauty and majesty of the world outside its flickering walls.  With that being said we must tread carefully and not try to explore to deeply the darkness at the back of the cave, lest in our blindness it devour us.Image