Archive for September, 2013

CHARACTER AND GREATNESS

September 28, 2013

CHARACTER AND GREATNESS

by Leonard Dabydeen, Paralegal (LSUC); author of Watching You, A Collection of Tetractys Poems (2012)

According to Jim Rohn, a man’s character is “a collection of qualities” analogous to greatness. He contends that “When you have character, you’re a person of substance – and you truly deserve the personal and professional success you’ll attain.”

Greatness then, I opine, is the resonance that beset your personal and professional success – being in science, work in the humanities, arts and literature, medicine, legal services as judges, lawyers and paralegals, or religion, or any other discipline. It is the yardstick that measures your character. It sculpts your character to accord with who you really are, and what you’ve become on the basis of your achievement.

Anne Frank puts it this way for us to feast our candlelight thoughts: “Human greatness does not lie in wealth or power, but in character and goodness. People are just people, and all people have faults and shortcomings, but all of us are born with basic goodness.”

According to Aristotelian ethics, “We are what we repeatedly do. Greatness, then, is not an act, but a habit.” And good habit is a derivative of a good character. A good character, therefore, makes for greatness of the person. David Henry Thoreau, an acknowledged pillar of great inspiration to Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., shared his motivational thoughts by saying: “Never underestimate the seemingly difficult course in your life. No matter what direction you take be sure to choose one that will give you happiness and appreciation.” Such direction is the hallmark of good character and greatness.

However, being of good character does not necessarily make for greatness of the person. But the propensity is always there. In the legal services industry professionals such as lawyers and paralegals are expected to be of good standing with the governing Law Society, meaning as well to be of good character, but to what extent will they achieve greatness? It is no small wonder if this merely implies essentially the understanding and application of a Code of Conduct and established By-laws. Character building can be suspect on these platforms per se, as in the case of paralegals who were investigated by the Law Society for misconduct as a result of complaints from the public for sexual harassment. There is certainly more to being of good character beyond any Code of Conduct and By-laws. The rhapsody of greatness comes from what is inside the inner Being as the character is sculpted to perfection. It must be benign.

 A more in depth framework for good character is the indelible ethical doctrine by the Josephson Institute, Center for Youth Ethics, titled The Six Pillars of Character:

 1.  Trustworthiness

  • Be honest
  • Don’t deceive, cheat or steal
  • Be reliable – do what you say you’ll do
  • Have the courage to do the right thing
  • Build a good reputation
  • Be loyal – stand by your family, friends, and country

 2.  Respect

  • Treat others with respect
  • Follow the Golden Rule
  • Be tolerant and accepting of differences
  • Use good manners, not bad language
  • Be considerate of the feelings of others
  • Don’t threaten, hit or hurt anyone
  • Deal peacefully with anger, insults, and disagreements

 3.  Responsibility

  • Do what you are supposed to do
  • Plan ahead
  • Persevere: keep on trying
  • Always do your best
  • Use self-control
  • Be self-disciplined
  • Think before you act – consider the consequences
  • Be accountable for your words, actions, and attitudes
  • Set a good example for others

 4.   Fairness

  • Play by the rules
  • Take turn and share
  • Be open – minded; listen to others
  • Don’t take advantage of others
  • Don’t blame others carelessly
  • Treat all people fairly

 5.  Caring

  • Be kind
  • Be compassionate and show you care
  • Express gratitude
  • Forgive others
  • Help people in need

 6.  Citizenship

  • Do your share to make your school and community better
  • Cooperate
  • Get involved in community affairs
  • Stay informed; vote
  • Be a good neighbor
  • Obey laws and rules
  • Respect authority
  • Protect the environment
  • Volunteer

 In order to magnify these Six Pillars of Character in search of greatness, or to have greatness trusted upon oneself in harmony of building good character, Mahatma Gandhi says,

                       “As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being

                       able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age –

                       as in being able to remake ourselves.”

Sources:

 1.  Your Achievement NewsLetter, September 25, 2013: Article: Creating Your

     Character is Like an Artist Creating a Sculpture by Jim Rohn.

 2.  https://www.facebook.com/annefrankauthor/posts/465500663501096

 3.  http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/a/aristotle.html

 4.  http://www.success.com/article/profiles-in-greatness-henry-david-thoreau

 5.  http://josephsoninstitute.org/sixpillars.html

 6.  http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/142891-as-human-beings-our-greatness-lies-not-so-much-in

 

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September 28, 2013

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9/11 12th ANNIVERSARY – September 11.2013 – Leonard Dabydeen

September 12, 2013

Today the world marks the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 horrendous terrorist attack on the United States of America. On this day on September 11, 2001 almost 3000 people perished in the early morning gaze of a clear, blue sky when an American Airlines Boeing 767, Flight 11 rocked the 110-story sky scraper that emboldened the New York skyline. Then almost instantly another airliner, United Airlines Flight 175 emerged into focus from the skyline and rammed into the south building, creating a loud burst of cloud. It was almost like the walls of Jericho tumbling, notwithstanding a catastrophic collision. The Pentagon was also hit in Washington, D.C. by another plane. And there was a plane crash in the fields in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

 Today family members and relatives gathered to mourn losses of their loved ones at the site of the WorldTradeCenter. Many lost their husbands, wives, children, brothers and sisters and other relatives. There were 25 people of Guyanese background who died in the terrorist attack. Others included 343 firefighters and paramedics, 23 New York City Police Officers and 37 Port Authority Officers. Others included people in various fields of employment. And reports indicated that only about 6 people survived the catastrophe, with an approximate 10,000 people given medical treatment for injuries and trauma and a host of ailments as a result of the collapsed buildings.

 Many social media critics inked their thoughts on tabloid, and on the internet to muster some explanation for this historic situation in the bombing of the TwinTowers and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Some may believe it to be mysterious that the TwinTowers represented the number 11, and the American Airlines Boeing 767 was listed as Flight 11. Some may conjecture that it was in faith an act of divine revelation because the name JESUS CHRIST is made up of 11 letters. Then from a historic perspective, events that occurred over time pointed like a sore thumb to warrant discourses and speculations. Even conspiracy theories expounded justification that the terrorist attack was pre-empted, arguing that some incidents were known before they even happened. Then there is the Devil’s Calendar itemizing events that took place on 9/11.Briefly some of these events include the following:

  • September 11,1609 – New York City was born out of Hudson’s claim of Manhattan;
  • September 11,1777 – Battle of Brandyvine in Pennsylvania;
  • September 11, 1786 – The revised Articles of Confederation giving birth to the United States of America;
  • September 11,1885 – Author D.H. Lawrence was born in Eastwood, England. He wrote the famous books: Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Sons and Lovers and Women in Love;
  • September 11,1916 – For the first time at a baseball game in Cooperstown, N.Y. was sung the “Star Spangled Banner”;
  • September 11,1936 – The Hoover Dam was built;
  • September 11,1948 – The death of the founding father of Pakistan – Mohammed Ali Jinnah;
  • September 11,1971 – The Soviet Union mourned the death of Nikita Khrushev at the age of 77;
  • September 11, 1973 – The President of Chile, Salvador Allende was killed in a military coup.

 On a balance of probabilities these events are by no means exhaustive in world history. But there is the conscious belief that 9/11 is a phenomenal date. The events listed above can be crated for events related to forms of sustainability under socio-political and economic circumstances. However, there are two special events in world history that are linked to another human condition that should be given very serious thought, since they present applications of events that affect our geo-political and economic understanding for human survival in the 21st century.

 Firstly, it was on September 11, 1893 that the great spiritual leader, Swami Vivekananda crossed the oceans from India to America to attend the Parliament of World Religion in Chicago. Here he postulated  the spiritual meaning of the brotherhood of man as he introduced Hinduism to his attending audience and the world. He began his keynote address in the introduction saying: “Sisters and Brothers of America”. And the world listened, but failed badly to give qualitative value to the meaning of relationships; and sowe continue waging war, even with the use of chemical weapons. Swami Vivekananda said:

              This I have seen in life – those who are overcautious about themselves

              fall into dangers at every step; those who are afraid of losing honor and

              respect, get only disgrace; and those who are always afraid of loss, always

              lose.              

 

And 120 years later to date we are failing to strengthen this relationship in a divisive world.

Secondly, on September 11, 1906 at a mass meeting at the Empire Theatre  in Johannesburg, South Africa, a diminutive but powerful campaigner named Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi introduced  the spirit and meaning of satyagraha- a weapon of non-violence consciousness and will power in search of truth – against the socio-political  constructs of the South African government, to defy injustice and indignity to mankind. After 107 years later, amidst the turmoil, unrest, anxiety, and animosity so prevalent in our chaotic world today, the teachings of Mohandas Gandhi are refreshingly  welcome.

 As we mourn our loss on this September 11, 2013, we need to reflect on the guidance of such renowned spiritual and political leaders to mend our ways and to reshape our broken global landscape.

 

Sources:

1.  http://911truth.org/osamas/history.html

2.  http://www.history.com/topics/9-11-attacks

3.  Ramnarine Sahadeo: Author: Mohandas K.Gandhi, Thoughts, Words, Deeds,

     ISBN 1-4653-4282-6