Monday, December 19, 2016

What If?

                                               From The Ramparts
                                             Junious Ricardo Stanton
                                                      What If?

            What would happen if we actually lived our lives according to the tenants of the world's great religions? At their core they all express and stress similar values and perspectives on human relationships. On a very practical level what many refer to as the "Golden Rule" is espoused by every major religion and most all cultural traditions. In ancient times indigenous/aboriginal people realized cooperation and good interpersonal relations were better than conflict and competition, that an harmonious collectivist survival mode was more efficient than a selfish individualistic way of living.
            Our African ancestors developed the concept and virtues of "reciprocity"  which have stood the test of time for millennia. Even the West admits Africans along the Nile developed the world's first practical system of ethics called Ma'at and several tenants were subsequently appropriated and spread around the world. In articulating the concept and philosophy of  Ma'at our African ancestors recognized the holistic interconnectedness and interdependence of:  Divine Order, Harmony, Balance, Truth, Justice, Righteousness and Reciprocity in societal relationships both personal and collective. They said "As above so below" and they recognized the primacy of the CREATOR in the creative process and recognized man's divine nature and wished to replicate DIVINE ORDER here on Earth among mankind. Perhaps this is why ancient Kemet recorded thousands of years of relative peace, prosperity and stability.
            Thousands of years after our African ancestors articulated their cosmology and philosophies, the historical Hebrews consolidated the Forty-Two Declarations of Innocence formulated by our African ancestors, reduced them to The Ten Commandants and substituted the personal affirmation and declarations of a virtuous lifestyle with commandments against certain acts and behaviors. When the early Christian Church fathers formulated their doctrines they absorbed the Ten Commandants as part of their historiography and theological foundation.
            One of the core tenants of Ma'at was the concept of reciprocity. Reciprocity from an African perspective means the solemn duty and obligation to others, doing good in such a way as to generate similar empathy, conduct and interactions that employ all the other tenants of Ma'at: Harmony, Truth, Justice, Balance and Propriety. Reciprocity was an ongoing daily application of good character, good conduct, mutual respect and assistance. Out of the African concept of Ma'at which includes reciprocity came the notion of the Law of Reciprocity which Western metaphysicians define as, "the Universal Law that states that whatever is sent out into the cosmos, what modern day science refers to as 'The Unified Field'... 'The Infinite Field Of Potentiality', in the way of energy or vibration through the resonance of your thoughts, emotions and actions, will manifest outcomes in the physical world... physical outcomes that unfold in your life based on whatever is given or broadcast out through those thoughts, emotions and actions."
            Rooted deep within the Golden Rule is a profound understanding of how the UNIVERSE works on spiritual and temporal levels. Unfortunately we have lost respect for this ancient wisdom, values and virtues. Today the ruling class through the institutions they've created and control like religion, the government, mass media, trade and commerce etc promote values that are antithetical to those ancient values. Today what our African ancestors called Isfet (the polar opposite of Ma'at) is promoted: disorder, discord, deceit, exploitation, wickedness and selfish absorption.
            But what if we went back to the ancient virtues of Ma'at and practiced them on a daily basis, how would our lives be different? What if we promoted them in our institutions and media? What if we decided to live our lives in accordance with the Golden Rule, what if our thoughts, words, deeds and interactions were based upon truth, harmony, justice, rectitude, balance, reciprocity and a deep sense of social obligation? Do you think our families, neighborhoods and world would be better off? Food for thought.


Monday, December 12, 2016

Random Thoughts on Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump


                                                     From the Ramparts
                                                  Junious Ricardo Stanton
                                    Random Thoughts About Reagan and Trump

            It's been five weeks since the 2016 Presidential election and folks are still shocked, upset, despondent and dismayed about the results. Why? Is it because people dislike Trump so much we forgot our ancestors lived and experienced much worse, even thought Trump hasn't even been sworn in yet?! I can't believe Black people thought Hillary Clinton or the Democratic Party was our friend, our benefactors or they would do right by us given their history of supporting Bill Clinton's policies of "welfare reform", his war on crime that created a massive gulag system that incarcerated millions of Black and Brown people for minor non violent offences, and opened the door for privatized prisons, his repeal of the Glass-Stegall Act which paved the way for the financial collapse, fraud and corruption, the foreclosure crisis and loss of equity wealth of people of color, wealth we probably will never get back. I just don't get it.
            Our people have lived through much worse, suffered and experienced abuse, brutality and exploitation during centuries in this country where we had no redress or protection, when the courts, were stacked against us, when we could not vote, when our lives, dignity and prospects for redemption were few. The US Supreme Court even said in 1857 in the infamous Dred Scott vs Sanford decision, "Blacks were not citizens and had no rights a white person was bound to respect."
            There was a time when almost everything was arrayed against us, yet we still persevered. The only thing our people had was hope and faith. They had faith there would be a better day, faith THE CREATOR and ancestors would give us the strength to persevere and overcome. Their dogged hope and faith sustained our ancestors, helped them pave a way out of no way, hew a sense of personal and collective dignity out of the mountain of deprivation and allowed them to survive unfathomable horrors, constant terror, degradation, rape, dehumanization and desecration. And today we are worried because someone like Donald Trump is the next president?! We should be ashamed of ourselves!
             I was watching PBS the other day, they were featuring a documentary entitled Black America Since MLK. It chronicled the circumstances of discrimination, deprivation and oppression, our responses and the counter reactions of the oppressive US system. When it came to the 1980's and Ronald Reagan I saw an alarming similarity to Donald Trump.  Reagan was a former Hollywood actor, never a real star, who was active in the union who used his Hollywood career as a stepping stone to politics. Trump like Reagan is a media personality who knows how to use the camera to his advantage. Reagan's campaign slogan was "Let's Make America Great Again". Donald Trump's campaign slogan was "Make America Great Again." Reagan and the Republicans proposed massive tax cuts for the rich, and government deregulation. With a straight face Reagan and his cabinet members said it would trickle down throughout the economy and generate jobs and wealth. His tax cuts and deregulation did neither.
            In fact Reagan's policies so destabilized the country's fiscal standing he and the next two presidents: George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton were forced to raise a myriad of taxes to cover the massive shortfalls Reagan's tax cuts created! Several years later, George W Bu$h claimed tax cuts for the rich and deregulation would spur economic growth, it did not. Then they allowed 9-11 to happen and all budgetary restraints for the Military Industrial Complex and the subsequently created Department of Homeland Security went out the window!
            Now Donald Trump is making the same claims and promises, tax cuts and deregulation will spur economic growth and prosperity for all. But Trump has added a new twist. He says he will negotiate better more favorable trade deals which will save the nation money. Yeah right. The taxpayer funded boondoggle is part of the way Washington works and the 1% are not going to take kindly to having their money and profits from overruns, fraud and waste cut.
             Anyone who has had to balance a budget knows you can't cut revenue and keep spending the same amount or more if you want to get out of debt. So do not expect Trump's plans to work. Anyway we cannot depend on Donald Trump to save us. I don't want to be a Davy Downer but if Trump is anything like Ronald Reagan, things will get worse  policy wise for us during his watch and the 1% will have a field day ripping off the government! Remember Iran Contra, the cocaine and opium importation and the Saving and Loan crisis?!
            As we approach a New Year let us not wallow in despair, self-pity, hopelessness or defeatist attitudes. We come from strong stock, our ancestors were great people who  made a way out of no way, we can do it again. We rumbled against white supremacy and won (the Civil Rights movement brought US statutory apartheid down)! Stand up straight, hold your heads up man and woman up; let's be about the business of doing for self!


Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Get Your Sleep


                                                        From The Ramparts
                                                     Junious Ricardo Stanton                          
                                                           Get Your Sleep

            "The price of insufficient sleep may be poor health. Study after study has revealed that people who sleep poorly are at greater risk for a number of diseases and health problems. And now the search is on to discover why this might be."

            Several years ago I interviewed activist Dick Gregory on my Internet radio program (The Digital Underground and he told me most Americans suffer needlessly from three conditions that over time will cause major health problems that could easily be avoided. He said we do great harm to ourselves due to dehydration, insufficient sleep/rest and malnutrition. Study after study has shown we need to drink plenty of clean fresh water, eat a balanced and nutritious diet and get plenty of rest.
            I recently saw an article Online that stated sleep deprivation is a major problem in the US, so much so that it costs millions of dollars in lost time, wages, production and health.  I though about what Dick Gregory told me many years ago. It is important we get plenty of sleep and rest. Sleep is the body's way of rejuvenating itself, restoring your body's unique homeostasis, maintaining mental alertness, quality brain functioning, strengthening our immune system, providing psychological balance and wellbeing. During sound restful sleep the body repairs itself. This essential repair and maintenance provides the strength and peak energy for us to effectively navigate our daily lives and routines, successfully cope with stressing situations, meet and overcome the challenges we encounter every day.
             Failure to get good and regular sleep will negatively impact you in numerous ways. Sleep deprivation can cause or lead to serious illness and lower life expectancy. Research has documented that lack of quality sleep can contribute to:  heart failureheart diseaseobesity, diabetes, high blood pressurestroke or transient ischemic attack (mini-stroke), depression, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In African-American families and communities, we have a higher percentage of these diseases and conditions most of which are related to our "lifestyle" or more correctly deathstyle.  Demographically we suffer disproportionally from all the disorders that often result from sleep deprivation, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, depression and emotional instability. Reports show adequate sleep slows or eliminates inflammation because lack of sleep throws off our normal hormonal balance and can cause early aging and conditions associated with aging such as inflamed joints and lowered immune system. When we add poor diet and dehydration we are setting ourselves up for poor health and increased health risks! The good news is we can eradicate much of our suffering and dis-ease.
            Not only is sleep deprivation a personal issue, it is a major societal problem as well.  Lack of sleep is having a devastating impact on our collective health but also on the nation's economy.  "The U.S. loses just over 1.2 million working days a year due to sleep deprivation among its working population. Productivity losses at work occur through a combination of presenteeism, where employees are at work but working at a sub-optimal level and absenteeism – employees not being at work. The study is the first of its kind to quantify the economic losses suffered because of the lack of sleep among workers."
            Sleep deprivation is responsible for serious mishaps, accidents and disasters, "Investigations of the grounding of the Exxon Valdez oil tanker, as well as the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, have concluded that sleep deprivation also played a critical role in these accidents. In both cases, those in charge of the operations and required to make critical decisions were operating under extreme sleep deprivation. While the Challenger disaster put the multi-billion dollar shuttle program in peril, the Exxon Valdez oil spill resulted in incalculable ecological, environmental, and economic damage."
            On a spiritual level sleep is essential. It is the conduit to the universal consciousness, our  higher self that is always attempting to communicate with us, assist and support us. In a awakened state often our egos and stream of conscious thoughts get in the way of the messages from our deep psyche and spirit. When we are asleep or in the alpha level of brain activity, we are far more receptive to the messages, images, promptings and creativity from the spirit realm. Denying ourselves sleep cuts us off from a valuable reservoir of wisdom and creativity and an opportunity to access UNIVERSAL CONSCIOUSNESS. We need to actualize this portal to the Higher Self, sleep is a great way to do it. 
            So the take away from all this is, get plenty of sleep. Studies show humans need between 7-9 hours of sleep a night. If we get our sleep drink plenty of clean water and eat healthy meals our overall health, productivity and life expectancy will improve. Try it for a few months, if you don't like it; you can always go back to your unhealthy habits.