Project FearNaught: ‘Welcome to Project FearNaught’

‘Project FearNaught’ is a very simple idea. I want to start the conversation that changes the world.

This needs to be clear right up front—for I make no denial of my intentions, nor do I intend to play coy. I am an idealist, who believes without a doubt that humanity can and will be better. To this end, I hope not to be a solution, but a catalyst for the surge of decency so needed in this tired world.

My intention is to create a fitting code for the future of humanity. I seek to address the corruption that surrounds us daily, but more important still, the moral impotence which has allowed it to do so.

No doubt, you may think this sounds like an overly high ambition, but not I. The long-term goal of ‘Project FearNaught’—which starts right here, today—is to compile an ultimate ‘Book of Truth’. I want to discuss, explore, and finally settle upon the fundamental precepts which drive humanity—a moral code to which we can all subscribe and from which we all may benefit.

But high-minded discussions like these are better suited—I am aware—to beer halls and dorm rooms than they are to internet forums and personal blogs. So why start such a seemingly naive endeavour? Why strive to create unity in spite of the history books, and Corporate officials, and media outlets which constantly tell us that division is the natural way, and that economic control is the only power which can ever bring humanity to heel?

The proposition is not an easy sell, so let’s consider the reality of our situation. It’s rare to meet anyone these days who will sincerely claim to be optimistic—or even comfortable—about the current direction of our society. This isn’t an inspiring thought in a nation which still claims to be democratic. Every aspect of our lives is controlled by corporations and brutes. Even our elected officials are simple amalgams of surface-level popular opinion, designed to pacify the public while furthering the goals of those with real power.

We are divided on all fronts. We are separated by civil parties that have little impact, by religions that sedate while offering nothing in the way of solution—by every imaginable difference! But that’s just what they are—imagined. They are products of fear, and they keep us blinded to our potential.

Fear itself—that is the enemy. It turns one against another, and keeps us from realizing our true nature. Fear has subdued us, and daily we struggle simply to get by, rather than to grow or thrive. Fear breaks our spirits, and divides our intentions.

But united toward one purpose, humanity is an unstoppable force, and that’s just the reason why such a coalition of hope is the most contested and embattled notion of our times. It is a simple fact that systemic change cannot occur without its ideals first taking root within the hearts of all people. Personal change comes first, and that is the purpose of ‘Project FearNaught’.

My intention is to create an understanding of the universal and immutable human dignities—to remind us of all that fosters hope in mankind. In so doing, we may turn the tides of despair we are now faced with, and work together towards a better future for all.

So now I ask of you, my readers, to continue this discussion. Speak among yourselves—your friends and your enemies. What drives you? What do you hold as the core tenets of decency? Of humanity? What concerns do you have with the present direction of our world?

Consider these things, and then return to me. Challenge me. Push me to be better, and together, we may all be. I want to show you that we can be more than what we’ve been told.

So, come you nihilists and fanatics, you theists and you skeptics. Bring me your hearts, your minds, your input, and together we will find that higher ground. For I promise you this, as I set out upon this great and final task of mine: so long as there is a will towards improving our world, so long as there is a dream for greater virtue, there is a light to guide us. No doubt the days are dark, and the shadows of old terrors once again hold us in their sway. But we are capable of better, and we must remember this now more than ever.

Talk, think, explore. For when we work as one, with common purpose and with righteousness on our sides, there is truly nothing to fear.

 Be part of the debate:Project FearNaught is an effort to start the conversation that changes the world. As such, your voice is key to our ambition. To add your input, questions, or comments, click here.

-Jeremy Arthur

‘Truth Ink.’

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The Jester and the Opposition

In our recent article, ‘What Can Be Said?’, we put out a call for suggestions on political topics. One of the interesting questions that came back was:

“What was the intended roll of the official opposition in a democratic government? What have they evolved into and how can we turn it back? Would such a change have a positive impact on how we view politicians?”

An interesting line of inquiry to be sure. The first thing to clarify here is that the focus is on the Opposition, not on any specific party or political-leaning. Still, it wasn’t until I heard another interesting quote that the motivation for this article really took hold. That second quote was this:

“The role of the Jester was to speak truth to power.”

That bit really got me thinking. Before modern democracy, in the ages of monarchs, was the Jester the original opposition party?

Well, they may have more in common than we would assume, and perhaps sadly, each have become increasingly wrapped up in the intended or surface-level role of the other.

Let’s start with the court Jester. On the surface, the role here is simple. Juggle, tell jokes, wear some bells on your head, and never pass up an opportunity to slip on an errant banana peel. In short, the role of the Jester was moreover to lighten the mood in the court, to provide a sense of levity.

In so doing however, a skilled Jester could surface some contentious truths—pointing out oversight or flaws in plans, checking assumptions, and with a pointed laugh, helping those in power consider alternative perspectives.

This was no easy job of course, and if ever the Jester tread too far off the path of entertainment and into the realm of politics, it was doubtless no rare occurrence that a jingle-belled head would be the starring role in a very aurally-pleasing beheading.

So, what about the Opposition party in a democracy? Here, we find things rather opposite. The surface level role is a bit more complicated—and overtly aimed at speaking harsh truths to power and keeping a balance on the perspectives of those making decisions. The opposition is meant as a constant check against groupthink, and to prevent one particular perspective from dominating political discourse to the detriment of open debate, consideration, and decision making.

Sadly, in this day and age the Opposition (on both sides of the spectrum, and in most every democratic nation) is taking what to the Jester might be considered the safer route. Rather than speaking truth, checking assumptions, or facilitating difficult dialogue, contemporary Opposition parties seem fixated only on their own survival.

Less interested in viable alternatives or reasonable debate, they have reduced themselves in most cases to a clownish side-show—calling names, sharing whacky photos of Majority party members, questioning sexual identify, faithfulness, or anything else to take away from the perceived legitimacy and humanity of those in power, hopefully veering the voters towards their own ill-defined cause in the next electoral cycle.

It is rarely, if ever, about improving the current cycle—only about ensuring that it is not their heads on the chopping block the next time the voters cast their ballots. Truth, reason, and virtue are tossed to the wayside in favour of insults and gripes, and nothing is ever accomplished short of an occasionally comedic soundbite.

It is a sad and telling reversal of fortunes. On both ends of the political spectrum, Opposition parties have acted to obstruct any progress—even progress they should be ideologically in support of—in order to later gloat that their opponents have accomplished nothing. Then, they bask in the wild glow of their own buffoonery—illuminated by the burning of the nation’s former high aspirations.

In the end, the clown role of the jester has won out, and we are treated to a shocking display of histrionic slapstick, while true (Read: Corporate) power rolls on unchecked.

Getting back to the original question then, what would it take to turn this trend around, and would it improve the way we view politicians? Well, the answer should be apparent enough. To serve their true role, politicians in Opposition parties would need first courage, then clarity. The courage to speak up even if it risks putting them in a vulnerable position—the courage to speak truth even at cost. Truth then, is the other matter, and for this they would need clarity. Truth is a relative thing to most, but to hold true to honest values and virtues is incumbent upon anyone who seeks to change a nation for the better. Do away with the name-calling and infighting, and remember the shared values that should make any nation great.

If this were to finally unfold, perhaps politicians would once again be viewed as defenders of society, as builders of nations and keepers of values.

Sadly, until this occurs, politicians on all sides will be viewed less as the tools to honest debate and growth, but continually as the hapless jesters they are; bumbling about mindlessly, and taking turns tripping over the awkward elephant in the room—that they have no true politics, only prices.

-Brad OH Inc.

‘Politics’ is Not a Dirty Word

Another day, another tragedy. Presently, it’s the Las Vegas massacre on my mind, or the recent terrorist attack in Edmonton. But depending when you’re reading this, I have sorry little doubt there will be some fresh new event to use for context. Nothing will be different if we use another example, so it doesn’t really matter anyways. Inevitably, you will be told that “this isn’t the time to get political.”

“Let’s not politicize this.”

“Can’t we just have a day to grieve?”

There are a million ways to say it, but it always boils down to the same idea—“Let’s not go using the government to solve problems…that’s not what they’re for.”

It happens after all the most political events. We are told not to get political, not to examine issues and causes. Just be sad.

Pray…if that’s your thing.

Just…don’t try to do anything about it.

They can’t afford real change. They won’t.

But ‘politics’ is not a dirty word, and must not be treated as such if there is ever to be any real progress in this sad world of ours. To turn any political discussion into a taboo subject is to actively waste the opportunity for learning and growth. Further, to claim that political discourse over a tragedy is disrespectful to the victims is not only unhelpful, it’s pigheadedly ignorant.

If we want to prevent tragedy, we must learn from those that occur, and improve our society to prevent future occurrences. That’s what politics is. Anything else—any claim of respect, or timing, or taboo is obstruction of politics. It isn’t kind-hearted, or even well-intentioned. It’s intellectual dishonesty, and in any such instance, you can be damn sure someone is being well paid to convince you that scoffing at the chance to fix things is somehow the moral high ground.

Yes, this is about informed gun control policies.

At least today.

It could also be about systemic racism.

Or police brutality.

Or climate change.

Or money in politics.

Or dozens of other important debates which have been put off for far too long.

These aren’t inappropriate subjects, and they are absolutely the business of politicians and citizens alike. What they are not, is the business of corporations and lobbyists, and yet those are the only ones who seem effective at turning it into their business—specifically, profit.

Shame on them, and shame on anyone who resorts to such hair-brained, nihilistic diversions as ‘let’s not make this political’.

Avoiding civil discourse creates a gap in our understandings, and feeds the ever-widening divide in our nation, and our world. It is uncouth to discuss who you vote for. It’s provocative to talk about the ecosystem during a hurricane. It begins to feel anti-social to make any attempt to discuss our world, when it should be incumbent upon every citizen to do so.

Sadly, when this happens, it usually quickly devolves into attacks like ‘snowflake’, ‘libtard’, ‘hack’, or ‘radical’. This inevitably kills any drive towards honest engagement, and prevents us from truly exploring our values and examining the facts to dream up a better world.

The truth of the matter is that at the end of the day, just about everything is political—especially if it has the potential to affect another living thing without their direct consent. That may seem like a heavy qualification, but there’s an easy litmus test to use for those of you too jaded to do your own research.

Is a great deal of money being spent to convince you something is none of your business?

If so, it’s probably directly affecting to you, your family, and the world you live in.

So, talk about it.

Scream if need be.

If that fails, act.

Make them hear you.

Leave them no choice.

You still have power—never forget that.

 

-Brad OH Inc.

 

What Can Be Said?

Lately, our more observant readers may have noticed a serious lack of articles under our ‘Purely Speculation’ category. ‘Purely Speculation’ is geared towards political posts: exploring recent events, examining key issues, and answering the essential questions about this ridiculous world of ours.

So why the lack of activity on this front?

Well, what can really be said at this point?

Satire falls flat before the sort of asinine stupidity currently on display the world over, and serious insight is wasted on those who look not for understanding, but seek only a target for their own deep-seated rage.

It’s happening on all sides. Finger wagging, insults, and misguided blame are the new debate, openness, and inquiry. There is no room for compromise in a world guided by such hate and ignorance.

The worst part is, it’s simply not a laughing matter anymore.

How do we turn it around at this point? What would it take for people so thoroughly deceived to stand back, take a few deep breaths, and really consider what’s going on beyond their own personal biases? It’s hard to say, and any real effort to do so usually devolves into yet another round of name-calling and threats, with no tangible progress made.

Is there any hope for change?

Well?

…That wasn’t rhetorical, we’re wondering what our readers think!

Yes, we’re putting it back on you. Contact us at the link below to let us know what perspectives you’d like us to explore. Do you have legitimate questions about what’s going on in the world? Do you have a specific issue you’d like to see discussed? Or perhaps an idea for where the world should go from here? Send your thoughts our way, and we’ll happily see what we can do!

Until then, find something worth doing, and then do it. Make it count, and make it real. In the end, after all, each of us can only do our part.

-Contact Brad OH Inc.-

-Brad OH Inc.

Harbinger…

It’s often said that we here at Brad OH Inc. have the bad habit of eagerly pointing out problems in the world, yet providing sorry few solutions. Admittedly, we remain firmly committed to the principle that the first step in solving any problem is defining it—but still, there’s something missing.

What is the problem?

How is it solved?

How do we improve our society?

…How do we change the world?

Those—in part, are the questions. The answers? Well, at this time, we can only promise that there are people—at Brad OH Inc., and beyond—who are working diligently on exactly that.

So don’t worry.

Or more aptly…

-Brad OH Inc.

The Dangers of Dogmatic Thinking

People have had a lot of brilliant and noble ideas throughout the ages. The best of our intentions have—on our finest occasions—come through to provide us with incredible esoteric insights, high-minded ambitions, inspiring works of art, and other enlightened insights into the human soul and condition alike.

Then, we tend to wreck it all.

The legal system, for instance, is certainly a respectable and necessary structure for any society. Arguably, this system was created initially as a general system of laws, rights, consequences, and limitations on human behaviour with the intention of keeping the playing field even and the right to life and freedom secure. Laws were laid out to protect the sanctity of civilized existence, and the means to judge and enforce those laws were clearly defined.

So too with religion. While the source can be argued to death—and certainly has been—the foundation of most earthly religions is a set of considerations, principles, and inspiring examples of humanity’s spiritual potential. Most of these sacred texts address the nature of sin, self-control, love for one another, and other such entirely admirable ambitions.

So with such incredible aspirations, how does humanity continue to get it all so wrong?

Well, in short, we are creatures of habit. Worse yet, we adore taking shortcuts.

With most any system devised—and the two above are shining examples—we may reach fantastic heights in our state of being. But successive generations tend to skip out the hard work of exploring and understanding the nuance and reason behind such systems, and begin to rely on hard and fast rules instead.

These become mindless and dogmatic restrictions on human behaviour. More destructive still, they often become guided by a matter of precedent. Here, laws and religious tenets are continually reinterpreted to fit the needs of whoever is presently in charge of their interpretation. Then, these new bastardized definitions become the benchmark for further misinterpretation. The original good intentions are lost, and the guiding principles of law and religion alike quickly shift away from the nobility of human betterment, and become just another system of maintaining otherwise unjustifiable power structures.

In both scenarios, we see a series of great intentions written down in stone, then systematically misapplied, misinterpreted, and misused. Each new iteration of this misuse is then made sacrosanct, to be further abused and distorted. Eventually, we are left with none of the good effect, all of the high-minded self-righteousness, and very little of true grace or justice.

So what can we do to avoid these ever so common failings? Well, we can start by taking a very serious look at our own intentions. Growth and insight are never easy, and achieving any real sense of decency, grace, or virtue is seldom possible when taking the quickest path.

Without fail, the easy ways will lead to the most common of results, and with us people, that is seldom a respectable scenario. Rather, we must constantly consider the truth of our intentions. We must examine the reasons behind our needs and desires, and, rather than turning to dogmatic principles and knee-jerk reactions, we would do best to consider all angles, remind ourselves of the deepest principles we hold dear, and move forward not with expediency or—heaven forbid—righteous indignation, but simply with patience, love, and an ever-present sense of respect for our fellow humans.

This is what must surely lie at the root of all such systems after all, be they religion, law, or others. So to leave them out is a terrible oversight, liable to result in the enforcement of something else entirely.

-Brad OH Inc.

‘33’

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

It’s not that I’m getting old. I’m not feeling especially tired either. Besides, those are hardly the sorts of things I’m inclined to worry about. At least I’d like to think that’s the case. It’s just that there’s so very much to do. So many aspirations, and so dreadfully little time. Occasionally, I suppose, I get the sense I’m running a little behind.

A man can dream of innumerable potential lives, but has only one to live. With each commitment, another potential sets sail. There are always the basics to cover: a stable job, a place to live, a good group of friends. It’s not so very much, but each aspect shaves off a bit more time that could theoretically be spent elsewhere.

Each day spent on one thing is wasted to all else. We make our decisions, parse out our time and effort as we see fit, and carry on the best we can.

But the dreams, aspirations, and desires do not fade. Neither do the questions.

How does one balance the daily grind, and also seek to better himself?

Do the basics of daily living get in the way of aspirations to change the world? Or is the way we live daily the very thing which defines our world?

Can a man ever be his best self without a better half? Do we live to serve, and if so, who?

Is our duty to ourselves, our loved ones, or the world as a whole?

We all dream of answers. Of contentment, adventure, satisfaction.

Some of us actually find them. Others manage to convince themselves they have. The rest, I suppose, search forever.

Each day can feel like an effort. Sometimes they may require an exhausting exertion just to get through. Yet as each day closes, how many unanswered questions and unaddressed desires remain? The love you’ve yet to find. The voice you’ve yet to share. The world you’ve yet to live in. What about them?

…33.

It’s not so old by any stretch of the imagination.

Still, there are times—day, evening, or night—when I get that weird feeling in my gut. Like maybe, I’m just running a little behind.

-Brad OH Inc.