Issue No. 25

Table of Contents


Do Not be Afraid of Criticism

The wise Epictetus urges us not be afraid of the criticism of others. Only the morally weak feel compelled to defend or explain themselves to others.

Let the quality of your deeds speak for you. We cannot control the impressions of others, and the effort to defend ourselves only debases our character.

Hence, Epictetus suggests that if you hear that somebody has criticized you, do not bother with excuses or defenses. Just smile and say: "I guess that person does not know all my other faults. Otherwise, he would not have mentioned only these."

Source: Epictetus, The Art of Living. A New Interpretation by Sharon Lebell. Harper San Francisco, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022, U.S.A.

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Anger + Weapons = Disaster

Two cars almost bumped each other while racing towards one parking slot at a cemetery. Instead of being grateful that they had no accident, anger took over the drivers of the two vehicles and they had a heated verbal exchange. Later, one driver shot the rear of the other car with a pistol, killing the pregnant wife of the other driver, and injuring two boys.

In another incident, a housewife had a dispute with her neighbor over a fence. She got a pistol from her handbag and shot the other woman dead.

These are just recent incidents that underscore the danger of anger plus the possession of firearms among private citizens.

The two gun-wielding individuals face the prospect of spending the rest of their lives behind prison bars. They derived no real benefit from shooting the other people dead. The killing did not resolve whatever disputes they were having; it even worsened the problem.

This is the nature of human anger. When it takes over a person, reason and prudence fly out of the window. When a person is in a state of rage, he or she does not think of the consequences anymore.

The columns of journalists were full of these two incidents in the days that followed. Most of them raised again the call for the banning of guns among private citizens, at least outside of one's home.

What none of them has mentioned is the need to undertake a longer-term program to teach young people how to handle conflict and anger, something that we don't have in our schools. Even without a gun, anger can inflict so much injury and hurt. But with a gun, it spells disaster.

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When You Get into an Argument

There are many tested approaches that will help if you find yourself arguing with another person over an issue. Here are three tips from Tom Rusk in his book, The Power of Ethical Persuasion:

Susan Smith Jones, Choose to Live Each Day Fully, Celestial Arts Publishing, P.O. Box 7123, Berkeley, CA 94707, U.S.A.

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How to Handle Criticism

Most people react to criticism in an immature way. Rather than learn from the feedback, they fume and make things worse. Here are some suggestions from authors Sam Deep and Lyle Sussman:

Source: Sam Deep and Lyle Sussman, Smart Moves. Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., Reading, Mass 01867, U.S.A.

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Deaths Due to Armed Conflicts

From 1946 to 1995, the number of armed conflicts in various parts of the world have steadily risen. In 1992, there were 52 armed conflicts in that year alone. Small arms played a major role in these conflicts. The total number of people who died during this period is estimated to be at least 25 million people.

The Worldwatch Institute's State of the World says: "Such near-war violence may stem from a broad variety of causal factors, but it is sustained primarily by one: the easy availability of large amounts of weapons, especially small weapons. Michael Klare, director of the Five College program in peace and World Security Studies in Amherst, Massachusetts, states that 'the abundance of arms at every level of society means that any increase inter-communal tensions and hostility will entail an increased likelihood of armed violence and bloodshed.'"

Worldwatch Institute Report. State of the World. W.W. Norton & Co., 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10110, U.S.A.


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What is Success?

Many people equate success with fame, power, wealth, or elevated social status. Author Tom Morris disagrees with this. Success, he says, is more closely related to excellence, fulfillment and happiness. He writes in his book True Success:

"The happiest people in the world are people who love what they are doing, regardless of whether wealth, fame, power and elevated social status ever come their way. The most fulfilled people are individuals who delight in their work, whatever it might be, and strive to do it well. They are people who derive rewards from the intrinsic enjoyment of what they are contributing to life, come what may. And they are people who relish the challenge to pursue excellence in their activities, as well as in themselves. The people who attain true success in their lives are people who enjoy a good measure of both fulfillment and happiness as they invest themselves in worthwhile pursuits."

True success, he says, means using your talents and following your heart. It involves being true to yourself and being good to others.

Source: Tom Morris, True Success: How to Achieve Excellence and Fulfillment in All Areas of Your Life. Judy Piatkus (Pulbishers) Ltd, 5 Windmill Street, London W1P 1HF, UK

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Quick Acts of Kindness II

Here are more daily acts of kindness that can make a difference to other people:

Meladee and Hanoch McCarty, Acts of Kindness: How to Create a Kindness Revolution. <D>Health Communications Inc., Deerfield Beach, Florida, U.S.A.

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Why Do People Use Drugs or Alcohol?

According to Dr. David Brizer, here are some of the main reasons why people resort to mind-affecting drugs and alcohol:

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How Do You Discipline Your Children?

There are four patterns practiced by parents in disciplining their children, according to Dr. Paul Hauck, author of How to Bring Up Your Child Successfully. See which style you use.

Unkind and Firm. This style of discipline produces the most number of neurotic adults: worriers, the tense and anxious, the depressed and suicidal. In many cultures, this is almost the traditional way of upbringing children -- a blaming, critical and strict attitude towards children. The parents do not love their children when they misbehave.

Kind and Not Firm. This kind of upbringing tends to develop adults who shirk responsibility, make many demands, who feel the world owes them a living. As children they tend be spoiled, weak and dependent, and emotionally infantile. The parents tend to give in to the tantrums and demand of children, and allow themselves to be overpowered by the will of the children. Even when they impose some discipline, they undermine such discipline by contradicting themselves through being inconsistent in applying rules.

Unkind and Not Firm. Dr. Hauck calls this "a particularly devastating combination." It produces the delinquent child. When the parent is habitually blaming and critical, and at the same time show helplessness towards the misbehavior of children, it leads to anti-social behavior, including heavy drinking, theft, vandalism, etc.

Kind and Firm. This is the most desirable combination of the four. The parents do not hesitate to talk over with their children the conduct they find objectionable. But they focus on the act, never on the child or his personality. They are firm without being harsh. The child is loved, even when he misbehaves or punished. Hence the child is never rejected. Even while reprimanding the child, the parents have words of praise for the child. "Praise and unqualified acceptance of the child can be given constantly, without effort or cost, and its benefits are immense," writes Dr. Hauck.

Source: Dr. Paul Hauck, How to Bring Up Your Child Successfully. Sudha Publications Pvt. Ltd., Prabhat Kiran, Rajendra Place, New Delhi, 110008, by arrangement with Sheldon Press, London.

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10 Things To Do To Help Animals

Animals, too, have rights. Like your pet dog, they suffer and feel pain when subjected to inhuman tests and cruel treatment. (See example of one standard scientific test on animals in the right box).

The breeding of animals for meat contributes greatly to environmental degradation. Cattle grazing is a major cause of the depletion of the world's rain forest. Livestock production requires  much more land, energy, and water use than are necessary to produce the same amount of plant food.

According to Ingrid E. Newhirk, co-founder of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) here are ten things you can do to help animals:

1. Don't buy exotic pets. Such animals are not meant to be domesticated.

2. Spay and neuter animal companions. Unwanted dogs or cats lead to needless suffering.

3. Help wildlife whenever you can. Do not use chemical pesticides or herbicides. Put birdhouses or birdfeeders in your yard.

4. Do not buy souvenirs, jewelry or clothing made from animal products such as ivory, furs reptile skins or tortoiseshell.

5. Report animal cruelty.

6. Eat food that belong to the lower levels of the food chain. Substitute tasty vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains and nuts for meat. According to medical information, it is far healthier for you.

7. Do not support dog races, horse races, animal circuses, or other forms of entertainment where animals may be victims of cruelty.

8. Don't buy fur coats.

9. Remember your pet when the weather is too cold or hot.

10. Please break for animals. Numerous animals die each year because drivers are unwilling to stop their cars for a passing animal.

Source: Ingrid E. Newkirk, "Animals Rights: a More Compassionate Life-style," in The Mother Earth Handbook, edited by Judith S. Scherff, The Continuum Publishing Co., 370 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10017, U.S.A.

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Is This Test Necessary?

Next time you buy cosmetics, remember the following standard test used by some cosmetic companies. You would be helping animals if you do not buy the products of companies that use tests on animals. An updated list of such companies can be obtained from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).

The Draize Test has been used since 1944 for substances that might get into the human eye. This test is responsible for the suffering and death of millions of rabbits each year, but does not prevent or help cure human injury.

During the test, 100 milligrams of a concentrated solution are dropped into the eyes of six to nine conscious albino rabbits, who are often immobilized in stocks from which only their heads protrude. Their eyes often are held open with clips, and many rabbits break their necks or backs struggling to escape. The damage to the rabbit's eyes is then recorded every 72 hours or so, with the test lasting 7 to 18 days. Reactions to the liquid can include swelling of the eyelid, inflammation of the iris, ulceration, hemorrhaging, and blindness. Pain-relieving drugs usually are not administered. Experiments claim their use would interfere with test results.

Noted toxicologists and health professionals agree that the Draize test is crude and imprecise mainly because the eyes of humans and rabbits are very different. Says ophthalmologist Stephen Kaufman, M.D., of New York University Medical Center: "I have no use for Draize test data because the rabbit eye differs from the human eye. . . . I know of no case in which an ophthalmologist used Draize data to assist in the care of the patient."

Excerpted from: Ingrid E. Newkirk, "Animals Rights: a More Compassionate Life-style," in The Mother Earth Handbook, edited by Judith S. Scherff, The Continuum Publishing Co., 370 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10017, U.S.A.

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Quiet Time Increases Productivity

Many people seem to accomplish only about half of what they should be able to do in a day. If they analyze their day, they will find that they may constantly be delayed by interruptions that make them go into a start-stop-restart pattern in their work. This only lengthens the time a task is accomplished.

Here is a suggestion from Merrill Douglass on what you can do: Quiet time is an uninterrupted block of time so you can concentrate on your work. This usually means turning off the telephone and blocking drop-in visitors for awhile.

What should you do during quiet time? Think; plan; get organized. Do analytical work, write reports, or work on projects that require creativity. One hour of quiet time can get as much done as 3-4 hours of regular time.

If your work area is not the best place to spend your quiet time, go to an empty conference room or the library. But don't abuse the quiet time concept. You can't isolate yourself all day. Test it and see how to make work best for you.

Source: Merrill Douglass, Success Secrets: A Common Sense Guide to Lifelong Achievement. Honor Books, Inc. P.O. Box 55388, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74155, U.S.A.

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How Your Garbage Harms the Earth

Everyday we throw garbage for the city truck to pick up, unmindful of where it goes. Around the world today, the disposal of garbage has become a serious problem. They require landfills or incinerators that have in turn caused damage to human health and environment.

What You Can Do. Reduce your share of garbage throwing by noting the following:

Source: Will Steger and Jon Bowermaster, Saving the Earth. Alfred A. Knopf. Inc., New York, N.Y., U.S.A.

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Beware of the Words You Use

Whether you are conscious of it or not, says author Paul Wilson, "the words you use have a profound effect on the way you think and feel. If you use positive, optimistic words, you will feel positive and optimistic. If you use negative words, you will feel negative."

Fortunately, you can do something about this. Be conscious of the words you habitually use. Try to use positive ones instead of negative ones. The table below gives examples.

Source: Paul Wilson. Calm at Work. Penguin Books Ltd., 27 Wrights Lane, London W8 5TZ, England

When you have the urge to use a word like this . . .

I hate

. . . try to think of using one like this:

I love

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The Greatest Corruption of All

Closely related to wrong-doing in government is the correspondingly corrupt attitude of our people towards official morality. Perhaps the most frightening sign of all is the blithe matter-of-fact acceptance of evil. We might even go so far as to say that the greatest corruption of all is this general acceptance of corruption. Padre Florentino in Rizal's El Filibusterismo summarizes this terrible truth for us: "an immoral government presupposes a demoralized people, a conscienceless administration, greedy and servile citizens in the settled parts, outlaws and brigands in the mountains. Like master, like slave! Like government, like country!" -- RENATO CONSTANTINO

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Peace Quotes

There is nothing noble in being superior to some other man. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self. -- HINDU PROVERB

A person totally wrapped up in himself makes a small package. -- HARRY EMERSON FOSDICK

Three fourths of the miseries and misunderstandings in the world will disappear if we step into the shoes of our adversaries and understand their standpoint. We will then agree with our adversaries or think of them charitably. -- MOHANDAS K. GANDHI

Said a great thinker, "Humanity will be happier when it will be more just." But humanity can be just only when the individuals composing it are just. Weak nations are always just because they do not have the power and the might to commit any injustices. Strong nations should be the ones to be just because weak nations are the only ones who can be the object of justice. -- CLARO M. RECTO

Master your breathing and you'll be able to find a calm sanctuary in even the most stressful work environments. -- PAUL WILSOM

The Useful Life

I offer to you the useful life, devoted to self-improvement and the service of the state. It must be rooted on character, self-discipline, and work. It should glorify productive enterprise, a high sense of responsibility, and ethical virtues. Its objectives are personal perfection and social efficiency. -- MANUEL LUIS QUEZON

A peace that comes from fear and not from the heart is the opposite of peace. -- GERSONIDES

To encourage good customer service (and positive customers), put this sign up in your workplace: "Our Return Policy: All Smiles will be Returned!" -- JOEL GOODMAN

A Fence and a Lawsuit

A man bought a farm, and soon after he met his nearest neighbor. "Have you bought this place?" asked the neighbor. "Yes." "Well, you've bought a lawsuit." "How is that?" "Well, sir, I claim your fence line is ten feet on my side, and I am going to take the matter to the court and prove it." The newcomer said, "Oh! Don't do that. If the fence is on your side of the line we will just take it up and move it back." "Do you mean it?" "Of course I do," was the answer. "Well," said the man, "that fence stays just where it is." -- CHRISTIAN HERALD

Peace won by the compromise of principles is a short-lived achievement. -- ANONYMOUS

Our first and most pressing problem is how to do away with warfare as a method of solving conflicts between national groups within a society who have different views about how the society is to run.. -- MARGARET MEAD

If You Would Win a Man to Your Cause

. . . first convince him that you are his sincere friend. Therein is a drop of honey that catches his heart, which, say what he will, is the great highroad to his reason, and which, once gained, you will find but little trouble in convincing him of the justice of your cause, if indeed that cause is really a good one. -- ABRAHAM LINCOLN

War is a profession by which a man cannot live honorably; an employment by which the soldier, if he would reap any profit, is obliged to be false, rapacious, and cruel. -- NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI

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Handling Stress

Dr. Joyce Brothers, the well-known columnist, offers a way to deal with stress:

Do you exercise at least twenty minutes a day? If you don't you should, because it will relieve stress and allow you to work and sleep better.

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Gun Buy-Back Programs

In order to control the proliferation of small arms among citizenry, many countries have instituted gun buy-back programs wherein the government pays for the surrender or the sale of guns, or exchange them for goods. Below are some examples:

Colombia. In 1997, the cash-for-weapons in Bogota resulted in a sharp drop in 1997 homicides.

El Salvador. Goods-for-guns program run by Patriotic movement Against Crime collected close to 5,000 weapons during 1996 and early 1997. Unfortunately, the acquisition of new weapons, which is 1,500 registered arms a month, far outpaces this noble effort. Another program, sponsored by New York-based Guns for Goods exchanged guns for vouchers for food and clothes.

Australia. The government paid $217 million for 600,000 guns from citizens. This program was due to the massacre of 35 people by a gunman in April 1996.

United Kingdom. A 1996 law requires that all handguns larger than .22 caliber must be turned in to police stations or taken out of the country. This is estimated to cost $250-850 million.

Haiti. The U.S. Army paid $1.9 million for 33,000 weapons. The good ones were given to the police, the remainder were melted down.

Mozambique. The Christian Council of Mozambique exchanged guns for cows, sewing machines, plows and other goods. It began with a $1.2 million-grant from Germany and Japan.

Nicaragua. At a cost of $6 million, the government bought back 78,000 weapons, confiscated 78,000, and collected 250,000 pieces of ammunition.

United States. An effort in Seattle in 1992 took in 1,772 guns, or less than 1% of the guns in Seattle homes; in St. Louis, Missouri, a program collected more than 7,500 weapons in 1991. In both cases, the impact on gun-related violence was minimal.

Worldwatch Institute Report. State of the World. W.W. Norton & Co., 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10110, U.S.A.

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Prepared by:
Peace Center
Theosophical Society in the Philippines