There are so many things we can think about each day...we can think about the orbiting planets, sloths crawling for their breakfasts in the rain forests of Costa Rica, or all the beautiful waterfalls that gush ceaselessly as I write this. It makes me wonder why we're so prone to think about conflict in ways that perpetuate them. I suspect if we all just sat and thought about giraffes and their beautiful long eyelashes for 10 minutes each day instead of thinking about whomever or whatever bothers us life would improve for everyone enormously. If you don't trust me yet, listen to the man below, he's the master on the garden of your mind...
See this this nice little maroon shirt? I have thrown it away and pulled it out of the trash or goodwill pile 3 times now. I bought it during a business trip to Poland...my friend from Heidelberg told me Hugo Boss has really terrific clothes. They do.
Poking around the mall in Warsaw, I found this shirt and decided to give Mr. Boss a try. What I discovered months later working on a thesis about companies involved in the Holocaust, was a very unflattering past for this brand.
Hugo Boss himself was a fervent Nazi and his company produced Nazi uniforms. More specifically they seem to have produced uniforms for the German armed forces and the Waffen-SS (a division of the SS). They were the armed division of the SS and were tried as a criminal organization after the war ended.
No, I really can't wear the shirt.
As I study corporate liability/accountability for mass atrocity, I need to look into these things.
In 2011, Hugo Boss released a study that explored their role in Nazi clothing production. The study, "Hugo Boss, 1924-1945. The History of a Clothing Factory During the Weimar Republic and Third Reich," found that the company did produce uniforms. To make matters worse, they were made by POWS and 140 force laborers- the majority of whom were women. Click here for a copy of the abridged study on Hugo Boss wartime history.
Everyone has to decide how they feel about buying from companies with icky pasts. The older the company, the greater the chance for ickiness. The U.S. was built on slave labor. We know this. Still, there's just something about Boss...the irony that I bought the shirt in the country where my great aunts and uncles were murdered is just too weird.
My roommate has the shirt now. It will look great on her...and I'll continue to drive a VW.
As this blog is entitled "the Language of Conflict," I could not resist sharing with you something wonderful regarding the power of words.
Now many of y'all know that we've moved far beyond Newtonian physics, but who really studied it beyond high school? Zukav's Dancing Wu Lei Masters is a great book about modern physics (although less modern now as it was published in 2001)... if you want to have a peak. Zukav interviewed hundreds of physicists with the goal of making modern physics accessible. In addition to doing this, he added the wonderful twist of showing how modern physics was moving towards Eastern mysticism..In other words, their discoveries were lining up.
This is not so surprising perhaps to those who have had a "mystical" experience or who are sensitive to subtle energies..
So what does this have to do with the Language of Conflict? Well, it turns how what you say..and how you say it is actually vibrating along and affecting the world around you. This isn't really news. You know the difference between someone walking into the party whose energy will bring it up or drag it down. You know the difference between the feeling of "I love you" (said lovingly) and someone screaming "Move the fuck out of my way" out of their car window. .... But did you know that water also feels the difference?
One caveat here, you can google more about this and read all the critiques of skeptics. I like skeptics. They're fun and they help us be more rigorous and less sloppy. And it's really good to be skeptical especially when talking to professionals (health, finance ,etc). You never really want to outsource your health or finances. So, this is why I like skeptics...and why I recently said so on CBC, Canadian national television.
And I also think it's important to take a magic carpet ride before you try to look under the carpet's hood. So that's what I'm doing today in this blog. I'm taking you on the Masaru Emoto magic carpet ride.
Dr. Emoto..doctor of something not science or history, had it in his mind to freeze water crystals and photograph them...oh, and yes, talk to them first. He thought that words and intentions might actually affect how these crystals formed. And it seems they did. The image above is one that he either spoke to (or wrote on the container) "LOVE FOR HUMANITY"
Check out those below.....water gets pretty "ugly" when you tell it mean things. I think this is beautiful. Especially since we're about 90% water. Yes, magical...delicious. Oh the possibilities. I put "thank you" stickers now on all my water bottles, though "thank you" in French, Korean, and Japanese actually created even far more beautiful crystals.
This also got be thinking about "water and conflict".... We had some folks from El Salvador come speak about some gang rehabilitation programs in El Salvador. Inter-Gang animosity is so strong they cannot even put them in the same prisons. They actually have different prisons for the different gangs. Well at this one prison, someone cared enough to provide them water filters...normally their water looks like tamarindo, they said...or for us a kind of pond water. When they saw how beautiful the clean water looked, one of them said something to the effect, "Wow, I felt like someone cared about me. Like I was actually worth something. The clean water gave me a new kind of self respect."
Wow, right? A water filter can increase self-respect. Interestingly, at first the guys thought someone was trying to poison them and didn't trust the filters. Just shows the kind of fear they carry.
This issue of "water and conflict" also got me thinking about dysentery. We know that poverty and violent conflict often hang out together. As Leslie Dwyer, my wise anthropology and transitional justice professor constantly reminds us..most kids are dying from diarrhea. It's such a gross topic, that it's hard to rally lots of support for clean water. So thanks Matt Damon for your focus on this. So our family is looking into ways to contribute to clean water around the world.
So please love your water, say kind things to others, invest in clean water programs around the world and remember to say "Bless you" when someone sneezes...it could cure their cold.