Friday, February 27, 2015


Tolerance is the appreciation of diversity and the ability to exercise a fair and objective attitude towards those whose opinions, practices, religion, culture differ from one's own. Genuine tolerance is respect for the dignity of others. It focuses more on our common humanity than on our differences.

There are many good, moral reasons to be tolerant. (1) We are all susceptible to ignorance and prejudice, which make us inclined toward hurtful behavior.  Where ignorance and prejudice cannot be corrected or eliminated, we ought to try at least to minimize their severity. Working on our own tolerance training is an effort to achieve for our selves the least-worst problem.

There are many situations where tolerance needs to be exercised: parents tolerate their children’s behavior; friends tolerate others’ weaknesses; governments tolerate dissent; a religion tolerates homosexuality; a state tolerates a minority religion; a society tolerates abnormal behavior.

One can only address tolerance when it is practiced voluntarily and not compelled; otherwise it would be a case of simply suffering or enduring things that one rejects but against which one is powerless.

Roots of Intolerance

In the absence of their own experiences, individuals base their impressions and opinions of one another on assumptions. These assumptions can be influenced by the beliefs of those who are most influential in their lives, including parents or other family members, colleagues, educators, and/or role models. (2)

Individual attitudes are influenced by the images of other groups in the media. Sometimes school curriculums and educational literature provide biased and/or negative historical accounts of world cultures. Education or schooling based on myths can reduce tolerance for diversity and differences.

Religious Tolerance

Most people have difficulty being tolerant to those that follow a different religious or spiritual path than their own. They continue to focus so much on differences that they lose sight of where values are the same.

Three-quarters of the world's human population of seven billion live under government curbs on religion, or among serious "social hostilities" involving faith issues. A 2012 Pew report shows the stark picture of a "rising tide" of intolerance and government restrictions on religious matters. It cites evidence of "crimes, malicious acts and violence motivated by religious hatred or bias, as well as increased government interference with worship or other religious practices". (3)

Despite the high ideals of its constitution, America has struggled with religious intolerance since its early colonial days. The story of religious intolerance in America’s past is awkward and embarrassing and occasionally bloody. (4)

Racial Tolerance

In different parts of the world, ethnic or racial intolerance varies – from offensive or thoughtless remarks, to efforts to exterminate specific ethnic or racial groups as national policy. 

The world’s religions have rarely been helpful in opposing ethnic intolerance. While it is true that some individuals have heroically opposed oppression, religion as a whole has all too frequently sided with the oppressors. (5)

America as a nation applauds its ability to move beyond race or ethnicity. But in a 2012 survey, 51% of Americans expressed explicit anti-black attitudes, compared with 48% in a similar 2008 survey. When measured by an implicit racial attitudes test, the number of Americans with anti-black sentiments jumped to 56%, up from 49%. (6)

For politicians, it is political suicide to openly profess racial bias. After election of the first American president who is half-black, and record levels of voting by people of color, reactionary politicians are erecting more barriers to voter registration. Today for millions of poor, black Americans voting freedoms of are unduly burdened or denied. (7)

That is the dilemma of racial tolerance today. We have hints, suggestions, and indications of racial bias all around us. But it is typically unspoken, if not altogether invisible, most of the time. And where it's not invisible, there is often a plausible cover story that can be told as to why racially differential treatment was somehow justifiable or legitimate. (8)

All of this makes waging the fight against racial intolerance much tougher. It is now quiet, or rationalized and thereby hidden in plain view.

Cultural Tolerance

Culture is defined by a set of practices followed by a group of people. Not all culture is definitive. Culture can be extremely generalized, and the lines between cultures quite gray. Every country may have its own culture, and then every part of that country may have its own culture. Every city may have its own culture, and then every neighborhood within that city. Some cultures can have members scattered around a country or even the world. (9)
The general thought is that we live in a time of “global monoculture”. It would seem that in such a world, coercion is absent, many languages are tolerated and multiculturalism is officially extolled. But, the power of dominant global cultures is such that they tend to overwhelm all local cultures, or reduce them to a status of inferiority.

Today, there is increasing awareness of cultural diversity, which threatens established cultures. The resulting rising number of terrorist groups and extremists increase the intolerance of the cultural diversity. Today we are seeing the effect of globalization and the Internet on long-simmering cultural and religious intolerance, and the conflagrations are growing.

The media should use positive images to promote understanding and cultural sensitivity. The more people are exposed to positive media messages about other cultures, the less they are likely to find faults with one another.

Educators are instrumental in promoting tolerance and peaceful coexistence. For instance, schools that create a tolerant environment help young people respect and understand different cultures.

Solutions for Intolerance

Individuals should continually focus on being tolerant of others in their daily lives. This involves consciously challenging the stereotypes and assumptions that they typically encounter in making decisions about others and/or working with others either in a social or a professional environment. (10)

The media should use positive images to promote understanding and cultural sensitivity. The more people are exposed to positive media messages about other cultures, the less they are likely to find faults with one another.

The most effective ways to solve the intolerance problem is education. It begins in childhood. It’s important to teach tolerance at home and in school. If parents are intolerant, then they raise intolerant kids. To help this, the educational system needs to focus on imparting tolerance. It is imperative that new generations learn to be tolerant.

There’s a piece of tolerance inside all of us. It’s important to try to find this little piece. Everyone faces a lot of problems caused by intolerance everyday, even inside the home and workplace is where we need to begin to practice tolerance. We ourselves should work to not make the problem bigger. (11)

Let’s Engage:

For this blog, I’m asking you to engage! Don’t just read passively. Write your views on tolerance directly on the blog! Here are some questions to get you going:

  1. Any discussion on Tolerance is not complete without addressing behaviors and actions that are NOT tolerable. Can anyone be expected to accept direct violence or physical threats without fighting back? Can one simply “turn the other cheek”.
  2. Do you consider the current Middle East conflict a religious war? Or radical extremists?
  3. Do the police shootings in Ferguson, Missouri demonstrate racial bias?
  4. What are the root-causes of ethnic or racial intolerance? How can we ourselves avoid having it, or showing it?
  5. Today, in your own city, state or country, is the problem of tolerance getting better? Or worse?
  6. Has the Internet affected religious or racial tolerance?
  7. Is it reasonable to hope that someday all religions and races will co-exist peacefully? Is that simply a pipedream?

  1. Is Tolerance a Virtue?
  2. Religious intolerance on the rise worldwide:
  3. Our History of Religious Intolerance Must Come to an End:
  4. America's True History of Religious Tolerance:
  5. Guardian: America is still a deeply racist country:
  6. 2012 AP poll: U.S. majority have prejudice against blacks:
  7. 11 Facts About Racial Discrimination:
  8. Cultural Intolerance:
  9. 8 Habits of Intolerant People:
  10. Intolerance in all the world – problem-solution essay:
  11. Excellent essay on Tolerance:
 Jim Pinto
Carlsbad, CA.
27 February 2015

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

30 seconds speech to the entire world

The world is poised for change. There’s growing need for fresh thinking in all human arenas – philosophical, ethical, moral, and spiritual.

Democracy is a luxury that the poor and starving cannot afford. A system that routinely provides self-enrichment for few at the expense of many is programmed for eventual collapse.

The gap between the haves and have-nots grows inexorably. Acting from an utter sense of despair, religious zealots and extremists become willing to sacrifice everything, even their lives.

Conventional solutions are inadequate. Tanks and warplanes cannot stop suicide bombers. Jet fighters and cruise missiles look like large, lumbering high-tech sledgehammers targeted ineffectively at terrorists who simply scurry away to regroup.

The ever-present high-tech media amplifies the harsh events as they unfold. While disaster looms, the vast majority remains silent, feeling like helpless onlookers incapable of doing anything.

Society is undergoing irreversible change. Solutions will come when we care enough to ask each other, "What am I doing that makes you feel you must hurt me?" With that understanding will come the beginnings of a universal brotherhood of humanity.

Jim Pinto
Carlsbad, CA.
24 February 2015

Thursday, February 5, 2015


Dalai Lama: “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”

The prevailing standards in contemporary society are clearly biased towards self-interest. The philosophy of “enlightened self-interest” implies that those who act to further the interests of others ultimately serve their own self-interest. So, everything stems from self.

In my own view, we cannot grow to our true potential if we are narrowly self-focused. In a world that’s growing increasingly fragmented, let’s examine the roles that kindness and compassion play in building a better world.

Meaning of Kindness

Kindness is being generous, friendly, and warm-hearted. It means having a kind and gentle nature and involves doing good rather than harm. When practicing kindness, people show an understanding for others and treat them with respect. Kindness involves doing thoughtful deeds for people who are in need. It often means putting other people's needs before your own. When people feel compassion they are kind. (1)

What goes around comes around; with kindness it really does. Experience shows that being kind to others increases our own levels of happiness as well as theirs. Additionally, kindness is contagious and makes our communities nicer places to be. (2)

Hard-wired for Kindness

Recent research into brain functioning confirms that humans are hard-wired for love and compassion. Kindness has its true source deep within each of us. Some people are innately kind, but it's something that everyone can cultivate by choice.

Each and every one of us is part of our society and everything we do (every thought, word and deed) affects the whole. (3) Being kind is a vital way of bringing meaning to our own lives as well as the lives of others. It allows us to communicate better with others, to be more compassionate, and to be a positive force in people's lives.

Why kindness?

There are lots and lots of reasons for being kind: (4)

  • Being kind feels good.  Making someone smile makes you feel better. Doing something for someone else really does make us feel good.  Kindness releases healthy endorphins, just as exercise does.   
  • Kindness generates health and reduces the effects of stress on our bodies and our hearts.  In many ways, kindness “unclogs” your drains and clears out the trash.  
  • Kindness broadens our perspective.  In order to be kind, we have to pay attention to what is happening around us.  As we notice more needs and help others, the broader perspective helps us to keep things in context.
  • Kindness softens our heart.  When we look for kind deeds, beauty, and the opportunity for kindness, we'll find that we are more compassionate and more tolerant.  As we practice empathy, it opens our heart to others.  
  • Kindness brightens our world. When we are kind to people, it makes them happy.  The more people who experience kindness from us, the more happy people will be in our lives.  When those around us are happier, our world becomes a brighter, better place to live.
  • Kindness helps people feel respected and less alone.  By recognizing someone's need for help and acting on it in a compassionate manner, it makes the recipient feel valued.  It also makes the giver feel better about themselves and more connected.
  • Kindness begets kindness.  When you are kind to others, the impacts of your actions don’t stop there.  Many times the recipient of your kindness and others are inspired to be kinder.  The ripples of kindness are truly endless.
  • Kindness breeds tolerance and understanding of others, beyond our own narrow views and perspectives. It moves us beyond "us vs. them" thinking which devalues others as "less" than ourselves.  

Stress Reduction

There are many benefits to helping others that come right back to you. Professor, researcher, and philosopher Stephen Post talked about how being good is beneficial for you mentally and physically. Post's research has shown that people involved in volunteer work feel healthier and happier. (5)

A good number of people also feel less stress when being kind, and less stress means better well being, a sense of gratification, greater resiliency when coping with problems and tough times in life.

Says Post, if you just make an effort to be kinder and more helpful in your daily life you can benefit. You don't have to change your routine or schedule. You just need to see the opportunities in your daily life where kindness can exist. Just a little bit of kindness here and there can go a long way, and it benefits everyone.

Showing Kindness

When we're kind to people it strengthens our connections with them and provides a source of support. We ourselves benefit from giving support, as much or more than those receiving it. We are also more likely get support when we need it. Being kind to others builds a wider support network which increases well-being all round.

Doing kind things for strangers helps build co-operation, trust and a sense of safety in our communities. It also helps us to see others more positively and empathize with them. (6)

Here are 10 ways to show kindness:

  • Try to appreciate others' talents and skills.
  • Be a good listener.
  • Comfort those who are grieving
  • Help those who need assistance.
  • Put others' needs before your own.
  • Help those who are less fortunate.
  • Show consideration and kindness through your actions and words.
  • Show your appreciation by thanking those who do you a kindness.
  • Help others because it is right, not because it is required.
  • Show forgiveness to those who have hurt you.

Kindness Practice

Here are 5 ways to practice kindness: (7)(8)

  1. Kind act a day: Being kind is about doing just one positive thing each day. Send a kind text, go and open a door for somebody, make coffee for a colleague, buy a friend a random gift, phone someone you haven't seen for Practice-Kindness a long time. "
  2. Ripple Effect: If you are kind, the person you are kind to will benefit, you will benefit and the people you come into contact with will benefit as well. You will feel good, they will feel good and the multiplier continues.
  3. Random Act: Pay for the coffee of the person behind you at the coffee shop; become a volunteer at a nursing home; donate food to a food bank; let someone go ahead of you in the queue. The beneficiary will be surprised, then happy and then think about how they can do something nice for someone else.
  4. Kindness breeds longevity: People who practice kindness and compassion have better general health and live longer. The inner glow you get from doing something nice boosts mental and physical wellbeing.
  5. Economic Benefit: Kindness attracts kindness. If you are kind, you will tend to have kind people around you. You are far more likely to succeed by being kind and creating a kind community around you because that same community tends to look after each other.
Random Acts of Kindness

Kindness is contagious –you might want to consider doing random acts of kindness yourself whenever you feel inclined. It’s truly a win/win/win situation. The person you are being kind to benefits through your help. You feel good for having helped someone. And the world is a better place through your kindness. (9)

Never underestimate the impact of a single act of kindness. It remains in your memory for the rest of your life, and stimulates an endless cycle of kindness.

Pay it Forward

You’ve probably seen the movie “Pay It Forward”, a story about a young boy who did 3 good deeds for others in need. In return, all that he wanted was that they pass on the good deed to three other people and keep the cycle going.  It had enormous impact everywhere.

Anyone can start the pay-if-forward cycle: Do a good deed without asking for anything in return. Instead let the recipient know that they can, if they wish, pay it forward to someone else in need.

The Pay It Forward Foundation provides cards can be handed to recipients explaining what Pay it Forward is all about, with boxes on the back of the card that are ticked off as the card travels around. Take a look for ideas at their website for ideas. (10)

Let’s Engage!

For this blog, I’m asking you to engage! Don’t just read passively. Write your views of Kindness directly on the blog! Here are some questions to get you going:

  1. Are humans basically selfish and greedy? Or kind and thoughtful?
  2. What’s the opposite of Kindness? Animosity? Hatred? Intolerance? Meanness?
  3. When you see a homeless person, how do you react? (11)
  4. Can you think of anyone or anything that justifies unkindness?
  5. Do you limit kindness to your family? Friends? Race, color, religious beliefs?

  1. Wikipedia on Kindness:
  2. Kindness and Taoism:
  3. 10 Amazing Stories For World Kindness Day:
  4. The Science of Kindness:
  5. Why It's Good for You to Be Kind to Others:
  6. Video: Simple Acts of Kindness - Give it a try:
  7. Kindness Video that will change your life:
  8. 24 Incredible Acts of Kindness:
  9. Random Acts of Kindness:
  10. Pay it Forward Foundation:
  11. The Homeless – 39 Questions For Your Reflection:
Jim Pinto
Technology Futurist
Carlsbad, CA.
6 February 2015