Saturday, January 17, 2009

Curiosity vs. Fundamentalism

Not only is Seth Godin a business and marketing genius, he also has an uncanny understanding of human nature. I could talk/type a long time about his latest book, Tribes (click on the title in my book section on the right to check it out) -- and very well may write another post or two on my ruminations from the book -- but here's what is churning inside me right now. It can be summed up in this quote from Godin:

"A fundamentalist is a person who considers whether a fact is acceptable to his religion before he explores it; as opposed to a curious person who explores first and then considers whether or not he wants to accept the ramifications.

"A curious person embraces the tension between his religion and something new, wrestles with it and through it, and then decides whether to embrace the new idea or reject it."

It's impossible to read this book and not consider the question of what 'tribe' I belong to. Seth Godin has helped me articulate it. Yes, I'm of the tribe of faith, I'm of the tribe of art and creativity, I'm of the tribe of entrepreneurship -- but I think the best term to succinctly describe the tribe of World to the Wise, it's this:

I'm of the tribe of the culturally curious.

Godin describes curiosity as a desire to understand, a desire to try, a desire to push whatever envelope is interesting. Curiosity has to do with searching for your voice until you find it -- very often against great odds. Many times the curious are punished -- and, sadly enough, nowhere does that happen more often than in organized religion and education.

"What we're seeing is that fundamentalism really has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with an outlook, regardless what your religion is."

This blog -- and everything that is to come out of World to the Wise -- is for the culturally curious. The ones who look at the 'whys' as much as the 'whats'. The ones whose only fear is losing their sense of fascination with this planet and the diversity of the peoples that have been placed on it. The ones who believe that this diveristy is not some great cosmic mistake, but on the contrary, that there is something of the Divine on the face and in the heart of every culture.

Stay tuned for the announcement of the inaugural World to the Wise Cultural Tour, followed by lots of other exciting developments. We're just getting started.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Let me explain:

The year 2008 held many challenges for all of us, and I am no exception; in addition to fiscal challenges, the year also saw the passing of my hero/father -- on Good Friday.

In going through some of Dad's files, my older brother came across some poems Dad had written that show not only his wit and wry sense of humor, but also reveal that he also faced his own set of challenges. This poem's message of perseverance is one that most of us need to hear; so to kick off the year 2009, which I believe holds great promise, and in honor of the man who shaped my life more than any other person, I present you with:

To a Cockroach
(Or, Bug Me to Live)

Ah, thou cockroach, you endure
Far beyond my overtures
For you to be exterminated,
And myself emancipated
From the gran ubiquity
Of your creep-and-crawlity.
You resist all tech-damnation
You’d survive e’en radiation
From wars that do mere mortals in.
So tempted, I, to hate like sin
Your shuddery longevity
That points to some eternity –
Until I realize your drive,
Against all odds, to stay alive
Is like the very verve I need
To stand against the word and deed
That tempts me to despair of heart.
Live on, thou bug, and life impart!

– Ron Durham, date unknown