1- Human Values Unite, Religious Values Divide!
There are many different initiatives to strengthen the dialogue between cultures and religions, but they have not let to the desired results. The prominent Palestinian professor of philosophy Sari Nusseibeh see the weak points of such dialogue.
Nusseibeh: Whenever we talk about such a dialogue, we only ever mean the dialogue between the monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and we never speak about the relationship between Buddhism and Hinduism, where there aren't any very serious problems. On the contrary: Shintoism was originally the dominant religion in Japan, and when Buddhism came from China, the Japanese didn't give up their Shintoism, but became Buddhists as well and united the two religions.
The problems seem to emerge primarily between Judaism, Christianity and Islam, because they are so similar and have the same origin. Buddhism and Shintoism could co-exist precisely because they are so different.
The solution lies above all in the abandonment of all religious fanaticism, and in our orienting ourselves on human values, and not on religious values, because everyone can agree on the former. And if a religious principle is in conflict with a human principle, then we have to uphold the latter. That's the only way we will come to mutual acceptance.
2- ‘The Social Network’ and the case against intellectual property rights
Ideas — in this case, an online student network — bear none of the qualities of property. They are abstract and intangible. They don’t exist in any physical sense. If another thinker has the same idea, the original thinker is not suddenly deprived of access to the idea; it simply multiplies.
This is not the equivalent of stealing your friend’s apple. It’s the equivalent of having an apple exactly identical to your friend’s appear in the palm of your hand. Your friend still has his apple.
Defenders of intellectual property protections will object to your apple on the grounds that its existence lowers the value of your friend’s apple; your friend won’t bother to grow apples if you can obtain yours for free. This creates a free rider problem, they allege, in which nobody grows apples and there are none to be copied.
But such thinking ignores that fame can be as compelling a reason to produce something as fortune.
During a legal hearing, Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg makes the ultimate statement against intellectual property rights, asking, “Does a guy who makes a really good chair owe money to anyone who ever made a chair?” If people value Facebook and the system that made its development possible, the answer should be a resounding no.
3- The Others Talk: Women's issues, sexual issues, female genital mutilation, virginity problems and "honour killings” are all related to patriarchy and class. Rape is the result of the lack of dedicated societal attention to the safety, respect, and prosperity of women in peace time, as well as in war. That is why empowering women is so necessary to preserve and reform our culture.
Here is an inspiring lecture in which "Kavita Ramdas talks about three encounters with powerful women who fight to make the world better—while preserving the traditions that sustain them." On her bio page is this quote: "Being a philanthropist doesn't mean necessarily writing a huge check. It can mean mobilizing your community to start asking questions." Kavita Ramdas directs the Global Fund for Women, the largest foundation in the world supporting women's human rights across all borders.
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