Jared Angaza http://www.jaredangaza.com Wed, 12 Jul 2017 17:18:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 http://www.jaredangaza.com/2017/01/06/3533/ Fri, 06 Jan 2017 21:37:07 +0000 http://www.jaredangaza.com/?p=3533 I understand why people are reluctant to talk about politics, especially in the current political atmosphere. It so often fuels negativity, anger and conflict. I believe that is largely due to the nature of our President-Elect. When we speak of someone like Gandhi or Mother Teresa, emotions of peace, love, empathy and benevolence are evoked. […]]]>

I understand why people are reluctant to talk about politics, especially in the current political atmosphere. It so often fuels negativity, anger and conflict. I believe that is largely due to the nature of our President-Elect.

When we speak of someone like Gandhi or Mother Teresa, emotions of peace, love, empathy and benevolence are evoked. And even when we speak of a president like Lincoln or JFK (though they certainly were not without fault) we have a sense of kindness towards humanity.

As a father, I think about his influence over culture and the impact that could have on my impressionable children. I’m left with little option than to shield them from him. Our president. That saddens me. But I cannot shield them from his influence over society. It’s everywhere.

I don’t believe everyone that voted for Trump is a racist or bigot. But apparently voting for someone that is was deemed a reasonable concession in hopes that he’d change the old political system or ensure their medical benefits.

ABOUT THE DJT CABINET…

As deplorable as DTJ may be, he certainly isn’t our country’s biggest threat. His Cabinet is.

They are professional politicians, military leaders and corporation executives that know how to leverage their platforms of power and influence. These people know what they are doing, and how to make it all happen. They wield true power.

Honestly, I didn’t even want to write this article. But I feel like I need to get it off my chest. Perhaps this is my own therapy session.

It also serves as a tool to let friends and family understand why I refuse to support DJT or get excited when he supports the use of the word “Christmas” or appoints a black person or woman to his cabinet. Really?

Here’s a brief breakdown of why I view DJT and his Cabinet as such a threat to peace.

CLIMATE

Democracy Now Article: Scientists Copying Climate Change Data; Wayback Machine Moving to Canada
The Guardian Article: Climate change denial in the Trump cabinet: where do his nominees stand?

// Out of 15 Cabinet members, 12 are climate change deniers, one says “climate change is a reasonable threat” and 1 has no opinion on record.
// DJT has very clearly articulated his plan to pull the US out of the Paris Climate agreement.
// DJT has made an official statement that he will reverse the ruling in Standing Rock and to grant permission to Energy Transfer Partners to go ahead and complete the Dakota Access Pipeline.
// Almost all of the cabinet members have investments in fossil fuels, or come directly from fossil fuel corporations.
// Scientists are frantically copying climate data onto private servers in Canada in order to protect the data because DJT has already begun to target climate activists and has stated that they will be dismantling the concept of climate change in the US.
// The new head of the EPA has sued the EPA twice in the past, and also petitioned for it to be shut down. He’s a board member of Energy Transfer Partners, owners of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
// The new Secretary of State, Tillerson, is the former (as of Jan. 1) CEO of Exxon, with them for 41. He also has close ties to Putin.
All members are in support of the Keystone Pipeline.
A new article in the Guardian breaks it down just with facts, not emotions.

It’s worth noting that the primary reason the US wants to continue our addition to fossil fuels is because we need a socially acceptable reason to continue our war mongering across the globe. War is even more lucrative than fossil fuels.

EQUALITY & JUSTICE

// Steve Bannon, DJT’s Chief Strategist, is an outspoken White Nationalist and ardent racist.
// The Obama administration put the clamp down on human rights abuses when it comes to business policies. DJT is actively in the process of dismantling all of those reforms, in the name of profits, of course.
// DJT is a misogynist that constantly objectifies and degrades women. There’s enough coverage of this one. I won’t give it anymore airtime.
// Every single member of his cabinet has spoken out in their opposition to LGBT rights.
// Multiple members of his cabinet have been sued or reprimanded for racially discriminatory behavior.
// New Attorney General, Jeff Sessions has been reprimanded repeatedly for racist behavior (not just remarks), including verbal support of the KKK.
// Umm…the wall on the Mexican border. I think that speaks for itself. A wall is a deliberate, long term decision in support of division, rather than inclusion. Remember Berlin?

GENERAL

// His cabinet’s combined wealth is over $14.5 Billion, the highest ever.
// He has elected 3 military (very militant) generals to his Cabinet, including one that goes by the name of Mad Dog. (However, he may very well not even be eligible due to an ongoing criminal investigation and the fact that he hasn’t been out of the military for more than seven years, a requirement to be the Secretary of Defense.)
// His Twitter habits tell a haunting story of his intellect, ethics, perspective and temperament. And he now controls our military and the nukes.

The list goes on and on. Frankly, I can’t stomach the research to collect all the data. If you want to understand that depth of it all, just tune in to Democracy Now.

Rolling Stone’s Meet President Trump’s Cabinet of Horrors covers the details quite well in this article.

 

 

SUMMARY

DJT and his Cabinet pose the single largest threat to peace that I’ve witnessed in my lifetime. Remember, the United States is the most influential, and therefor powerful, country in the world.

I’ve spent 20 years promoting interconnectedness, ubuntu, equality, justice and protection of our planet. Many of those efforts included direct resistance to the efforts of DJT’s new Cabinet members. And now they will have more power than ever before.

I lived in East Africa for over a decade, trying to prevent the efforts of imperialistic, tyrannical, megalomaniacs like DJT. And now I’m back in the US for a whole new bread of the same.

The fact that all of the human rights agencies, climate protection agencies and humanitarians are gearing up for Armageddon, (based on facts, policy proposals and official statements, not just blind fear) is quite telling, and scary.

WHAT NOW?

In the US, tyranny is often masked and branded so well that we fail to notice its presence. Apathy creeps in. Habits happen. Social agreements come into place and the tyranny is institutionalized.

But DJT’s presence represents a very specific villain, a very obvious threat. May it be the clarity society needs to motivate us to foster take a stand for peace.

I do believe that we shall overcome, through peaceful perspectives and actions. If anything, I hope DJT and his Cabinet’s presence creates an environment that causes people to wake up from their apathy. I hope they serve as a catalyst for moving society towards consciousness, non-violent resistance and positive action.

I choose to look at the positive, to use this threat as more motivation to be a source of peace and a creator of peaceful, inclusive, alternatives in harmony with our planet.

ACTIONS

I don’t have a lot of great advice, but here’s what I’m doing.

// Meditate and pray for peace and planetary harmony.
// Don’t join into the hate and negativity.
// Block out as much of the negative news as possible. (I now limit my Facebook time to 5 minutes per week)
// Send love to DJT and his Cabinet. I mean it. (I am doing this daily.)
// Resist tyranny and division with your lifestyle choices.
// Work to create alternatives to practices that threaten the vitality of our planet and people.
// Remember, a war against a war is still a war.

 

We can’t allow ourselves to be filled with hate or fear. There is enough of that running through the veins of our Cabinet members. We have to rise above and “be the change we want to see in the world”.

I wish you peace on your journey.
May you align with love and let your life speak.
Mitakuye oyasin.

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I Ask for Wonder http://www.jaredangaza.com/2016/08/27/i-ask-for-wonder/ http://www.jaredangaza.com/2016/08/27/i-ask-for-wonder/#comments Sat, 27 Aug 2016 02:33:00 +0000 http://www.jaredangaza.com/?p=3122 I Ask for Wonder I’ve been a philanthropist and activist my whole life. It’s part of my identity. It derives from my profound love and reverence for our human existence and the gift of the magnificent cosmos in which we dwell. Over the last four years or so, my perspective on activism has evolved considerably. I wrote about that […]]]> I Ask for Wonder

Photo by Adam Dyson (one of my favorite muses) AdamDyson.com

I’ve been a philanthropist and activist my whole life. It’s part of my identity. It derives from my profound love and reverence for our human existence and the gift of the magnificent cosmos in which we dwell. Over the last four years or so, my perspective on activism has evolved considerably. I wrote about that shift here.

About a month ago, I realized I had allowed myself to become consumed with the deliberately orchestrated charade of the 2016 Elections in the United States. I know better, but alas, I was seduced by the farce of American democracy and the (momentary) delusion that my effort to expose the lies was anything more than a direct contribution to the systems and perspectives I’d set out to defy and rectify.

I decided to completely unplug from all of it and cleanse my thoughts of the negativity. I stopped checking all my news feeds. I stayed almost completely off Facebook and Twitter. I turned my head when I saw anything involving the elections. I even unsubscribed from a number of daily activist newsletters and alerts I receive.

I watched more Jason Silva (a professor of awe) videos and started watching inspirational films and documentaries and feeding my mind with positivity again. I dove into a few game changing books and began to spend more time with people I know to be positive, enlightened, happy beings. I even sought out more positive feeling music to listen to and began to listen to more music in general.

I am deliberately investing in the influences that will feed my perspective, because my perspective is the foundation for how I view the world and what I believe to be true.

While visiting my parents, I noticed a book in my father’s office called, I Asked for Wonder: A Spiritual Anthology of Abraham Joshua Heschel, by Samuel H. Dresner. The cover caught my eye and I picked it up. Heschel was a Hasidic Jewish mystic with an extraordinary gift for combining profundity with simplicity. He wrote with remarkable feeling and depth. All of these elements, including his beatnik, bohemian style, were intriguing to me.

Heschel wrote:

Awe
Awe is an intuition for the dignity of all things, a realization that things not only are what they are but also stand, however remotely, for something supreme.

Awe is a sense for the transcendence, for the reference everywhere to mystery beyond all things. It enables us to perceive in the world intimations of the divine,…to sense the ultimate in the common and the simple; to feel in the rush of the passing the stillness of the eternal. What cannot comprehend by analysis, we become aware of in awe.

All thoughts take form in some way. And through our thoughts we are dictating our experience of life; our reality. It’s always a choice. I cannot allow myself to contribute to the very fear filled divisiveness I’ve set out to prevent, by way of allowing my thoughts to dwell in that space. I must commit myself to imagining the peaceful, loving society I believe is possible, and to dwelling in that space.

As an activist, that is the vibration I want to activate. As a human, that is who I want to be.

The exponential investment of love, wonder and awe into my being is, in and of itself, a profound philanthropic act.

It allows me to radiate the feelings and emotions I experience as a result of that influence. To respond in love, rather than react in fear. To be a source of love amidst a divisive society. To be the whimsical, loving, happy father and husband I want to be. To inspire others to evolve into love.

The more awe and wonder we infuse into our experience, the more we contribute to a peaceful, harmonious planet. What we feed our soul is reflected through our being.

We are what we think. What we allow to influence our minds is what we ultimately end up thinking about. Who we are influences and impacts those around us.

Be mindful and deliberate in what you allow to influence your thoughts.

Choose wonder.

Choose awe.

Choose love.

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Let Me In http://www.jaredangaza.com/2016/06/26/let-me-in/ Sun, 26 Jun 2016 20:22:28 +0000 http://www.jaredangaza.com/?p=3027 Let Me In Our friend Jonathan Olinger at HUMAN recently wrote and directed the latest Alicia Keys video, Let Me In. The film is a tribute to the refugee crisis around the world. There are more refugees today than at any other time in history. Half of them are children. Despite all our technical advances, the exponential growth of these […]]]> Let Me In

Our friend Jonathan Olinger at HUMAN recently wrote and directed the latest Alicia Keys video, Let Me In.

The film is a tribute to the refugee crisis around the world. There are more refugees today than at any other time in history. Half of them are children.

Despite all our technical advances, the exponential growth of these types of crisis makes me wonder if we’re actually evolving as a society, or going in the wrong direction.

What does this say about our global society? What priorities does it reflect?

I’ve been a philanthropist and activist my whole life. I’m painfully familiar with the constant need for humanitarians around the world to try and get the masses to understand that “those Africans” or “those Syrians” or “those Iraqis” are not other people. They are us. Humans. Just like you or your mother or your son or daughter.

Unless you can confidently say that “those” people are any less human than your own family, you have no other choice than to embrace them as you would your loved ones. To truly value them as equals.

But it comes with great responsibility. And that may force you to reprioritize how you live.

In one of my past charities, we had the slogan, “Where they become we”. We were constantly having to figure out new and innovative ways of helping people understand that “those people” are just as human as you and I. They, aren’t they at all. They, are us.

Let Me In was designed to help people remember that the “refugees” we talk about on the news are no different than the people living in your own neighborhood. No different than your own family.

They….
aren’t less human than you.
aren’t less susceptible to pain than you.
don’t love their family any less than you.
share very similar desires with you.
were created by the same God as you.
love and fear just like you.
care about their children.
care about their parents.
feel heartache, just like you.
are human, just like you.

We are interconnected. Every action creates a ripple effect around the world. Equally as important, our inaction and apathy are just as profoundly impacting.

Refusing to allow yourself to truly, deeply empathize with people in crisis has a ripple effect that is bringing humanity to it’s knees. The rapid growth of the division of our society is not sustainable. It will crash.

The problem with the potential impact of Let Me In is that American’s (especially) have been so unbelievably desensitized to violence and programmed to devalue or demonize people outside of the US that they can’t even fathom the concept this film is attempting to deliver.

But I encourage you to try. Try and imagine what it would feel like to be dodging bullets and bombs in your own neighborhood. To imagine what it would feel like if the majority of the world treated you or your loved ones as less than human.

What would you do to protect them?
How would you feel if other nations stood by idly?
How would you feel about the nation bombing you for the sake of money and oil and control?

Think about the effect it has on our global society when these tragic wars continue to rage on. The longer it carries on, the more desensitized and numb we become to our fellow humans. When will it be enough? When will it be too late?

I encourage you to take some time to remember that we are all interconnected, derived from the same source, star stuff. And until we embrace that fact, we will be unable to solve the maladies of the world. Because all of them are rooted in the fear that keeps us divided.

Fortunately, we have the ability to stop reacting to the world in fear and start responding to the world in love…right now.

Click here to see the FULL VIDEO

Thank Jonathan and Alicia for your courageous love, and for being love.

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The Choice to Value Love http://www.jaredangaza.com/2016/06/17/the-choice-to-value-love/ http://www.jaredangaza.com/2016/06/17/the-choice-to-value-love/#comments Fri, 17 Jun 2016 16:58:54 +0000 http://www.jaredangaza.com/?p=3014 The Choice to Value Love The country of Bhutan protects 51% of it’s land for conservation, ensures that 60% of the land is covered in forests and is one of the top ten most bio diverse countries on the planet. What does Bhutan value? Costa Rica’s national slogan is “pura vida”, meaning “pure life”. 25% of their land is protected […]]]> The Choice to Value Love

The country of Bhutan protects 51% of it’s land for conservation, ensures that 60% of the land is covered in forests and is one of the top ten most bio diverse countries on the planet.

What does Bhutan value?

Costa Rica’s national slogan is “pura vida”, meaning “pure life”. 25% of their land is protected as national parks. In 1948, President Jose Figueres delivered an epic speech about demilitarizing the country, where he notoriously bashed a large hole in the stone wall of the nations military headquarters, and completely demilitarized the country.

What does Costa Rica value?

Genghis Khan amassed the largest empire of wealth and control of any other single ruler in history.

What did he value most?

What about the Dalai Lama, MLK or Gandhi? Their lives told a story of what they valued most.

They lived their values out loud.

It’s June of 2016 and the US has already experienced 23,567 incidences of gun violence, and counting.
Over 6,045 people have died at the end of a gun.
1,292 of them were teens.
1,052 of those deaths were accidental.

And we’re only half way into the year.

The US represents 5% of the world’s population and is home to 31% of the world’s mass shootings.
So far this year, there have been 139 mass shootings in the US.
136 of them were carried out by people that were labeled as mentally ill, deranged, white supremasts, anti-gay or similar.
3 of the shooters were Muslim. The 3 Muslim shooters were labeled as “terrorists”.

There are an estimated 357 Million civilian owned firearms in the United States.
There are only 317 Million citizens.
92 people are killed in the US with a gun, every day.
Around 30 of those are homicides.

The United States has the highest rate of suicide of any other country in the world,
of which about 50% are carried out with a gun.
There are almost no failed suicide attempts when a gun is involved.

In 2014, the NRA spent over $28 Million on lobbying for gun rights. And they are only one of many.
Of the 33 ratified Amendments to the Constitution, the Second Amendment is currently the most discussed of them all.

Second Amendment
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

*Nevermind the fact that the people fighting for gun rights are rarely in a “well regulated militia” designed to provide security to a free state. Apparently that part isn’t important.

On June 12, 2016 the United States experienced yet another mass shooting where 50 unarmed, innocent people were gunned down in Orlando, Florida by a tormented man that lost himself in his agony. Fear overtook him, and the results were horrific.

And the statistics go on and on.

So, what does the United States value most?

Freedom? Control? Love? Fear? Money? Possessions? Relationships? Peace?

Our values govern our individual contribution to society. So, what do you value most?

In the wake of yet another horrific mass shooting, we have a choice.

We can twist the story into being an act of terrorism from “radical Islam” and further fuel an ongoing, bloody religious war.

Or we can choose another path.

The violence in the United States is a result of a perspective rooted in fear, sponsored by the media and protected by those that believe a gun is a civil right and instrument of peace.

The shooter killed 49 innocent people because of his own oppression, and his deep sadness that turned to rage.
The media is determined to use this tragedy as an excuse to further demonize Muslims in the name of “national security” against “radical Islam”. 
But they can only succeed with your support.

We can choose to perpetuate the cycle of fear and hate and division that results in ramped violence across our nation, and beyond.

Or…

We can choose not to be apathetic or divisive.
We can choose to allow all of these tragedies to move us, deeply.
To break the cycle.
We can choose long-term peace over the short-term illusion of comfort and safety.
Unity over control.
Oneness over division.
Love over fear.

Your life tells the story of your values, whether intentional or not.
Your beliefs inform your values.
Your values inform your choices.
And your choices contribute to our collective reality.
No one is free of this responsibility.

I pray you will choose love.
In every moment.
With every human you encounter.
Regardless of circumstances, religion, gender, race or sexual orientation.




Here are some helpful resources on the state of gun violence and mass shootings in America. There are many more resources, and my full perspective on gun control, in my previous post, The Way of the Gun

34 Years of Mass Shootings in One Chart
America’s Gun Problem, Explained
US home to nearly a third of world’s mass shootings

* The mass shooting data above utilizes the Gun Violence Archive interpretation of “mass shooting”, which is defined by an incident where at least four people are shot intentionally in a public area, regardless of whether or not they die from the incident. 

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The Revolution Begins at Home http://www.jaredangaza.com/2016/05/01/the-revolution-begins-at-home/ http://www.jaredangaza.com/2016/05/01/the-revolution-begins-at-home/#comments Sun, 01 May 2016 21:13:17 +0000 http://www.jaredangaza.com/?p=2937 The Revolution Begins at Home In my 20 years of philanthropic endeavors, I’ve certainly been guilty of “fighting for peace”. But after many years of deliberate studies lifestyle transformations, I’ve awakened to the irony of that tactic. Why do I gravitate towards fighting? I suppose it’s in my blood. But I also know it’s mostly just because I care so […]]]> The Revolution Begins at Home

photo credit to Jenny Lindsey, a great friend and exceptional photographer //

In my 20 years of philanthropic endeavors, I’ve certainly been guilty of “fighting for peace”. But after many years of deliberate studies lifestyle transformations, I’ve awakened to the irony of that tactic.

Why do I gravitate towards fighting? I suppose it’s in my blood. But I also know it’s mostly just because I care so deeply about human beings and this planet we call home.

I have a deep reverence and appreciation for the opportunity of our planetary existence. I am awed by it.

As a philanthropist, I believe it’s my responsibility to dive deeper into science, consciousness, anthropology, politics, strategy, economics and a multitude of social studies.

Along that path, I believe I’ve evolved as a human. And by evolution, I refer to a process of shedding attachment to the past, learning to “flow like water” and growing closer to personifying love.

I want my life to contribute to a more peaceful and harmonious world.

What I want is less fighting, not more of it. I don’t want to amplify anger or hostility from my being, or my platform. I want to be, and amplify love in all of my being. And that includes my writing and other creative endeavors.

I believe our experiences develop our perspective, and our perspective is the root of what we believe to be truth. It serves as our operating system.

If I truly want to contribute to peace, it seems logical to focus on the root of what influences people’s worldview and lifestyle most. I want to imbue their perspective with a desire to personify love.

So I’ve been thinking on that for a while.

Ultimately, I’ve resolved that the revolution I seek, begins with my self, my thoughts and my lifestyle. Beyond that, my first priority is to lead my family along the same path, and to do so through my example, not my rules.

What if everyone’s greatest priority was to journey towards love and to inspire their children and others they influence to do the same? Imagine the impact that could have over time.

Rather than fighting the destructive symptoms of fear (distance from love), we could begin to reap the benefits of a society rooted in interconnectedness and love.

Is that so far fetched of an idea? Does it seem any less viable than “fighting for peace”? Because that’s what we’ve been doing for centuries. Perhaps it’s time for a shift in tactics.

I believe my role as a human, and certainly as a philanthropist, is to personify love, and then amplify it through my life in a way that inspires others to do the same.

The Quakers say, “Let your life speak”, which translates to, “Let the highest truths and values guide everything you do.”

I want my life to speak of my commitment to becoming love. My greatest philanthropic opportunity is to inspire my children to do the same, and to allow my marriage to be my greatest opportunity to fulfill my mission to exude love, no matter the circumstances.

My family is my greatest mission.

Beyond that, I want my life and my philanthropic endeavors to inspire and equip others to adopt a similar mission for themselves and their family. I truly believe this is our greatest and most effective path a peaceful society.

This is the revolution I want to be part of. And I hope to see you there.


As a testament to our resolve to personifying love, Ilea and I are happy to announce the launch of Love Like Water, our YouTube channel for hosting “authentic discussions about love and freedom”. I hope you’ll join us there!

 

]]> http://www.jaredangaza.com/2016/05/01/the-revolution-begins-at-home/feed/ 5 THE CHOICE BETWEEN APATHY & DEMOCRACY http://www.jaredangaza.com/2016/04/12/the-choice-between-apathy-democracy/ http://www.jaredangaza.com/2016/04/12/the-choice-between-apathy-democracy/#comments Tue, 12 Apr 2016 03:30:45 +0000 http://www.jaredangaza.com/?p=2914 THE CHOICE BETWEEN APATHY & DEMOCRACY
Elections come and go in the United States, and often, little changes. But the 2016 Presidential Election is already proving to be an entirely different animal. Something important is brewing. Due to the dramatic juxtaposition of the characters in this charade, the United States has created the world’s most discussed reality TV show. Sensationalism is […]]]> THE CHOICE BETWEEN APATHY & DEMOCRACY

Elections come and go in the United States, and often, little changes. But the 2016 Presidential Election is already proving to be an entirely different animal. Something important is brewing.

Due to the dramatic juxtaposition of the characters in this charade, the United States has created the world’s most discussed reality TV show. Sensationalism is king, and the media are having a ball with it.

I don’t think Jerry Springer himself could have crafted a better lead character than Donald J. Trump. He’s really quite a legend. His, “Make America Great Again” slogan carries a similar level of depth and authenticity as his typical SNL performances.

I feel safe in knowing that Trump is just an orchestrated distraction to divert people’s attention from issues that matter, but his continual rise in the media is troubling, nonetheless.

While I don’t believe he is actually a presidential candidate, I do believe he’s a real threat to American society and to international relationships with the United States.

He is the personification of the fearful, misogynistic, homophobic, narcissistic, racist, elitist perspective that keeps the United States divided. His violent nature, simple words and fear driven policies appeal to the average, frustrated, fearful American, as well as the media’s lust for easy ratings. So his popularity isn’t necessarily surprising.

It’s a lot easier to blame immigrants, minorities and the poor for America’s problems. The elite have been systematically orchestrating that perspective since the inception of the United States.

Trump isn’t anything more than a pathological, failure ridden businessman that has expertly leveraged our tyrannical capitalistic agreement in his favor. Yet he still proves to be quite a threat to international relations with the US.

Any American that has lived in another country knows the pervasive reputation of the United States is that of an elitist bully. And Trump is determined to make it official.

In many ways, Trump’s sensationalist behavior in contrast with Sanders’ “people’s revolution” ethos and Clinton’s “maintain the status quo” legacy has made election issues a lot easier to navigate and discuss amongst the masses.

We’re no longer dealing with a game of nuance.

Sanders has unleashed a firestorm of facts about how our entire political system is a facade, designed to protect the elite and provide the illusion of democracy for American citizens.

It’s worth noting that the most effective tactic of tyrannical oppression and social control is to keep the people divided. Trump would serve that agenda well.

And there is yet another very telling battle amongst us.

If the election were determined by the votes of the majority of eligible voters, the US would have a true democracy. But this is certainly not the case. As Sanders and Clinton battle it out, the world is getting a rather profound view of just how orchestrated the US election process is. It’s a game of who can raise the most funds, obtain the most Super PACs, and buy the most Super Delegates.

On top of that, there is the issue of voter suppression in Arizona, “DOJ looking into voter suppression claims in Arizona”, and the release of the Panama Papers. Bernie is winning the votes of the people. Clinton is racking up Super Delegates and continuing to beat him anyway. Trump is leading the GOP and his colleagues are vowing not to support him.

I pray that at some point, the compound interest of irrefutable evidence begins to convince society that it’s time for a revolution founded in love and interconnectedness. {A boy can dream…}


The United States political monster has become so grotesque and powerful that most people can’t even fathom the concept of challenging it. The fact is, the majority of society doesn’t even want to know how bad it is. But the ones that do care, recognize the rather tremendous opportunity in our midst.

What we’re seeing from the Sanders campaign is a ploy to create an actual democratic revolution founded in our interconnectedness and authentic desire to thrive as a society. That’s real democracy, from and for the people. Not the corporate owned illusion of democracy we’re used to.

This is no longer just about who becomes the next president of United States of America. The US is the most influential country on the planet, and the world is watching.

This is a story about the perspective, values, priorities and ultimate resolve of American society. Over the next eight months, Americans have an opportunity to help foster a real democratic revolution, if they so choose.


The likelihood of Sanders being elected in an ultra oligarchical US government is beyond unlikely, and arguably impossible. But, let us not neglect or squander the value of the widespread conversation about the brokenness of the US government and its elitist and capitalistic nature.

This is a time to really think about what you value most. What kind of country do you want for our children? You are now presented with one of the most extraordinary opportunities to participate in the future of your country that you may ever experience.

Apathy is like an acid that deteriorates a society, and may be the most effective tool for maintaining the status quo.

It’s easy to pin Sanders as just a naive, unqualified, utopic thinking, hippy, despite his 34 as an elected government official and pristine record of petitioning for justice and equality for the American people. And frankly, discrediting him provides and easy out for to negating any responsibility of playing an active role in fostering a peaceful and united nation.


In the end, Trump isn’t the real threat, nor is the imperialistic nature of the US government.

The greatest threat to American society is the combination of well orchestrated, corporate owned propaganda and consequent societal apathy that has developed the fearful perspectives responsible for the rise in popularity of a violent narcissist like Trump.

We are at a crossroads. It’s time to engage. Those that choose to refrain are casting a vote of apathy, and that is the most dangerous choice of all.

Whatever, you choose; I pray you are motivated by love.

 “Justice at its best, is love correcting all that stands against love.” – Martin Luther King Jr.


SOME EXCELLENT COVERAGE

BOSTON GLOBE FRONT PAGE SPOOF ON TRUMP

This is pretty priceless. And I think it’s also important that people really think through the most likely outcomes of someone like Trump actually being the POTUS. Fortunately, I don’t believe that could ever happen. CLICK HERE TO GET THE PDF


BERNIE’S LATEST AD WILL GIVE YOU CHILLS

This is a clip of The Young Turks doing a review of an ad that a colleague of mine, Jonathan Olinger, made for Bernie Sanders through his project HUMAN. It’s a spectacular 1 min film, and the commentary around it is also quite compelling.


‘HUMANS OF NEW YORK’ IS PISSED ENOUGH AT TRUMP TO WRITE THIS POWERFUL LETTER

Well, I think this one speaks for itself. One of the most thoughtful and talented photo journalists of our time saw Trump’s rise in popularity as being so vile that it was worth him jeopardizing his role as a non-biased journalist in order to use his platform of influence in the name of peace.


UPFRONT – NOAM CHOMSKY ON CLINTON VS SANDERS

This is a very thoughtful and intelligent discussion with Noam Chompsky about the importance of this election and some of the vast differences between the candidates.


LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER: DONALD TRUMP

John Oliver’s summing up Trump, or Drumpf, video has been viewed over 24 Million times since it came out just over a month ago. It’s definitely funny, but also painfully telling about the type of person Trump actually is.


PROTESTS, VIOLENCE PART OF TRUMP’S ROAD SHOW | RACHEL MADDOW | MSNBC

Rachel Maddow used a series of real clips from the past few months to very clearly and irrefutably outline how Trump is a promoter and instigator of violent behavior. This is probably the most frightening portrayal of Trump (all via his own words) I have seen to date.


SUSAN SARANDON TALKS BERNIE SANDERS, HILLARY CLINTON

Susan Sarandon is speaking out in support of Bernie Sanders because she believes we’re on the cusp of a real revolution, even if Trump were to win…. (And I’ve have to agree.)


ROSARIO DAWSON INTRODUCES BERNIE SANDERS IN SAN DIEGO

Rosario Dawson gave an extremely moving speech to introduce Bernie Sanders in San Diego and continues to campaign for him around the US. She notably stated, “This isn’t the GOP vs. the DNC. This is the 99% that is too big to fail against the 1%!”


SIGN THE GLOBAL OPEN LETTER TO DONALD TRUMP

AVAAZ, arguably the world’s largest and most effective petitioning platform, has created an “Global Open Letter to Donald Trump” attempting to gather 2 Million signatures, and then leverage that to inspire bigger influencers to help remove him from the election process. They are already at 1.6 Million signatures in less than a week, and celebrities and others of influence are already signing on as well.

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The Trend of Celebrity Philanthropy http://www.jaredangaza.com/2016/03/05/the-trend-of-celebrity-philanthropy/ http://www.jaredangaza.com/2016/03/05/the-trend-of-celebrity-philanthropy/#comments Sat, 05 Mar 2016 12:47:54 +0000 http://www.jaredangaza.com/?p=2646 The Trend of Celebrity Philanthropy Society has always been heavily influenced, if not guided, by celebrity. They are the trend setters and often the primary influencers of politics, economic agreements and social environments. Paris Hilton is what you’d call a celebutante: a celebrity not through talent or work, but through inherited wealth and lifestyle. Gandhi was a poor peasant that […]]]> The Trend of Celebrity Philanthropy

Society has always been heavily influenced, if not guided, by celebrity. They are the trend setters and often the primary influencers of politics, economic agreements and social environments.

Paris Hilton is what you’d call a celebutante: a celebrity not through talent or work, but through inherited wealth and lifestyle. Gandhi was a poor peasant that spent his life petitioning the world for peace. Both are celebrities. Both have influenced society.

The United States of America is the most influential country in the world. Not necessarily because it the best or the most of any elements needed for power, but because it produces an astounding number of celebrities.

Worldwide, the developed world (which also tends to set the trends) follow the influence of celebrity, no matter where they’ve derived. The ole US happens to the most.

I wrote a blog back in 2011 called “Who Needs Celebrity Philanthropy”. I was living in Rwanda at the time and I noticed the pervasive sentiment amongst fellow humanitarians that celebrities were just self serving attention whores with no right to be engaging in philanthropic work. Frankly, that never made any sense to me.

Celebrities have a tremendous amount of power influence. They shape perspectives and beliefs; for good or for bad. The defining element that makes them a celebrity is that they are celebrated by a significant portion of the public.

If you have a cause to promote, a policy or system to reform or a movement to incite, it seems advantageous to recruit the most influential people in society. It’s not the only way, but strategically, it has a lot of value.

They could certainly use their power and wealth to carry out a much more self serving lifestyle, and many do. But they have made a conscious decision to “use their power for good”. It doesn’t mean it’s perfect. It doesn’t mean it’s not going to boost their ratings.

The growing trend of our most celebrated and influential members of society engaging in benevolent service is a trend I’m happy to support. Perhaps if we celebrated more of their benevolent work, and less of their self serving drama, we’d see them grow exponentially more effective as humanitarians.

You are a member of “the public”. You probably have a Facebook account. What types of news and videos are you most likely to circulate? Does it support the positive aspects of celebrity, or the sensationalized, narcissistic drama? You are playing a role in what gets the most attention.

If you didn’t see Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscar acceptance speech, I highly recommend taking the 3 minutes to listen. It was a beautiful moment, and I feel this is precisely the type of celebrity behavior we, as a society that chooses our celebrities, should be honoring and sharing. 

Here’s a high quality video of DiCaprio’s acceptance speech

DiCaprio’s recent production of Cowspiracy, was one of the most well created and important documentaries I’ve seen in 20 years of activism.

People tend to do whatever gets them the most attention. I’d say that’s doubly true for celebrities, because their livelihood depends on it. Just remember that we, the people, are the ones choosing what we celebrate.

You are a participant in this grand production. May you hold yourself to the same standard as you do the celebrities you follow, and may you be responsible with your power to choose the type of lifestyles and behavior you promote.

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TECHNOLOGY // Progress or Disconnection? http://www.jaredangaza.com/2016/02/28/technology-progress-or-disconnection/ http://www.jaredangaza.com/2016/02/28/technology-progress-or-disconnection/#comments Sun, 28 Feb 2016 18:34:25 +0000 http://www.jaredangaza.com/?p=2634 TECHNOLOGY // Progress or Disconnection? Is technology helping society progress? Perhaps we need to start by asking a different question. What is progress? PROGRESS // WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY : movement forward or toward a place : the process of improving or developing something over a period of time When we think about enrolling our children in school, my wife and I look at […]]]> TECHNOLOGY // Progress or Disconnection?

Is technology helping society progress? Perhaps we need to start by asking a different question. What is progress?

PROGRESS // WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY

: movement forward or toward a place
: the process of improving or developing something over a period of time

When we think about enrolling our children in school, my wife and I look at it like this.

“Our desire for our children is that they learn to be loving, peaceful humans with the passion and ability to thrive in harmony with the planet and humanity. For us, this is the purpose of education.”

We are very deliberate about asking, “what is intended the purpose of our traditional education systems, and is it in line with our educational aspirations for our children?”

I recently wrote a blog about our family’s goals for educating our children, We Will Teach Them To Love.

TECHNOLOGY // WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY

: the use of science in industry, engineering, etc., to invent useful things or to solve problems
: a machine, piece of equipment, method, etc., that is created by technology

For simplicity, let’s just say technology involves manmade machines, equipment and platforms for communication (social networks, email, phones, computers, etc.).

Society tends to make the assumption that our technological advancements automatically imply “progress”. But progress reflects the status of movement towards a goal, and just like with our education, I think we need to be clearer about what that goal actually is.

What do we consider to be progress?

In the United States, “the pursuit of happiness” has been a popular notion since 1776. I believe “happiness” is an important goal, as long as we agree that true happiness cannot come at the expense of others.

Today, we use technology to build weapons that kill more people more rapidly, and with very little human interaction on the trigger. Our cell phone, email and social network habits have certainly connected us from a logistical standpoint, but are they really connecting us on a deeper, human level?

This reminds me of a brilliant video from one of my favorite spoken word artists, PRINCE AE.

We need to be clear about what “progress” really looks like for society.

I believe technology has the ability to deepen our human connection and further our understanding of the vast and awe inspiring universe we live in. But we must collectively determine that as the goal and move deliberately towards it.

This means we must resist any gravitational pull that would allow technology to further disconnect us from humans, nature and the divine. Technology only benefits society when we collectively resolve that the most advantageous use of technology is to further our pursuit of self actualization, interdependence, happiness, equality, peace and love.

Otherwise, we’d be better off to retreat back to the stone ages and reanalyze our goals as a society.

I think we’re hanging in the balance right now. But we have a role in all of this, individually and collectively. We can choose to embrace this responsibility on a personal level and amplify it through our lives… and probably our social networks.

Everything from love to the Internet carries the yin and yang of possibilities. As much as they improve our life, they have equal power to destroy it. It is up to us to determine how these elements are used, and what the purpose of their use will be.

I’m sure you can think of many ways that technology has made us a more fearful and divided society. And you can likely think of as many ways that it’s deepened and improved our human experience.

Let us be clear about what progress means to humanity. We are interconnected. Our actions affect the greater whole. And each of us has the ability to contribute to a collective purpose, set of standards and system of agreements.

The way you use technology personally and professionally contributes to the collective agreement that determines the purpose and goals of our technological progress. It’s our choice to use it to bring us closer together and into alignment with our planet.

Here’s a great example from JASON SILVA of technology being used to bring awe, beauty, discovery and understanding into our lives.

Here are a few questions to ponder. Please feel free to leave your comments!

  • What does “technological progress” mean to you?
  • Does the technology you use bring you closer to humanity and more in line with nature?
  • How can you more deliberately contribute to the global perspective on the purpose for technology?
  • How can you use technology to deepen the human experience?
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The Way of the Gun http://www.jaredangaza.com/2016/01/07/the-way-of-the-gun/ http://www.jaredangaza.com/2016/01/07/the-way-of-the-gun/#comments Thu, 07 Jan 2016 16:42:31 +0000 http://www.jaredangaza.com/?p=2412 The Way of the Gun In the early 1400s, Europeans came to the Americas. In 1776, the United States gained independence from Britain and our Founding Fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution shortly thereafter. From the 1400s to the 1800s, those Europeans completely annihilated over 100 Million indigenous people across North, Central and South America, 19 Million […]]]> The Way of the Gun

In the early 1400s, Europeans came to the Americas. In 1776, the United States gained independence from Britain and our Founding Fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution shortly thereafter.

From the 1400s to the 1800s, those Europeans completely annihilated over 100 Million indigenous people across North, Central and South America, 19 Million of which were in North America alone. It was an extremely barbaric point in our history.

With that in mind, it’s not particularly surprising that they worked in an amendment that allowed the people the “right to bear arms”. That seems pretty consistent with the times.

However, let us not forget that some cultures around the globe have deliberately evolved since that period. I would imagine we could as well. For instance, I moved to Costa Rica because they are vehemently opposed to violence. They demilitarized in 1948. Then they channeled all of the money previously used to support their military on improving education and health care.

Here’s a great read on how that decision has paid off.

War, guns and violence are extremely lucrative. The United States military expenditure was $581 Billion in 2015, dwarfing the expenditures of any other country. The nation is not well motivated to kick its dirty addiction to violence. It works too well with our economic agreement. Each year, around $45-60 billion worth of arms are traded globally. Arms are also the most (illegally) trafficked product across the globe.

In 1861 the first speed limit was introduced in the UK, for 10 mph. At that time, and in almost every attempt to create speed limits since, there have been groups of people that felt it was an infringement on their freedom. Fortunately, that is an area where we collectively decided to evolve.

I believe the United States’ obsession with guns and addiction to violence is simply a symptom of an entrenched perspective of fear. Guns are simply a means to violence.

Lao Tzu (Tao te Ching) posited that if you resolve to war, you’ve already lost. Sun Tzu (The Art of War) posited that if you choose to fight, you have already lost the battle. The Lakota Indians mourn after every battle, regardless of whether they win or lose. They believe that all fighting and war is a shameful act, no matter the reason or purpose.

“Weapons are ominous tools. They are abhorred by all creatures. Anyone who follows the Way shuns them.” ~ Tao Te Ching vs 31

I have no desire to debate gun laws or discuss statistics. I am no expert in those matters. I simply want to discuss the realities of guns and violence in the American culture. Let’s begin with some basic questions.

What is the intended purpose of the following items?

Hammer
Car
Blender
Chair
Table
Toothbrush
Gun

I think we’re all intelligent enough to understand what just happened there, so let’s move on.

What are the primary reasons for having a gun?

Kill another living being with an equal or greater ability to kill you
Kill an animal for food, fun or agricultural preservation
Kill another human
Kill yourself
Artificially elevate your self esteem and/or confidence

I can’t help but notice a common thread there…

When is a gun ever used for any other reason than to kill, or to feel the power to kill if desired?

Remember that story about the man that stormed an Amish schoolroom and shot ten girls, killing five? Many of the Amish then attended the killer’s funeral to mourn the death of the shooter with his family. It was a very raw and human moment. What did you feel when you heard that story?

Remember the feeling you got when you heard MLK give the “I Have a Dream” speech?

Or when you read the teachings of Gandhi, Jesus, Mother Teresa, Mandela or Aung San Suu Kyi?

We have idolized these sages for eons. Do you believe that any of these people would advocate for guns? It seems their stories would be much less compelling if in the end they had just thrown up their arms and resolved to violence.

 

I believe the only reason to own a gun is to have power over another living being.

You may want that power for many different reasons, including self preservation and hunting for food. But let’s be clear that guns are not intended to shoot inanimate objects. They are intended to kill another living being.

I come from Nashville, Tennessee, so let’s just agree that I’m well aware of the hunting scene and the arguments that go with it. Again, I just want to be clear that if you are a hunter, you must be willing to admit the fact that you like to kill. If you hunt and do not kill, it’s considered a fail. I think the math is self explanatory on this one.

A hunter is a killer with a uniform, a license (sometimes) and typically lots of photos of things they’ve killed that represent their joy of killing.

Outside of hunting animals, as a gun carrying citizen you are just a human that has mentally and emotionally succumbed to the fear that makes you resolve to violence as the best solution to any threat you may encounter.

As a father of four, I couldn’t imagine teaching my child to kill, anything. I’ve spent their whole lives teaching them to be love, no matter the circumstances.

I think what is really happening here is that we all know that a complete absence of guns would be the best path to world peace (along with a reformed economic agreement). But we chalk that up to utopic thinking simply because there are so many of them out there, presumably “in the wrong hands”.

We couldn’t possibly eradicate all guns. As long as one person has one, others will feel they need one.

But this is the United States we are talking about. Since when did Americans see a problem and just roll over and say it can’t be fixed? If there is a problem in the US that isn’t getting fixed, you can be sure there is an economic reason behind not fixing it. This is certainly the case with guns and violence.

Remember when Americans used to have slaves in the United States?
Remember when they abolished slavery?

At the time, that goal seemed almost as dramatic and unattainable as abolishing guns does today. But we did it (mostly).

You can fight for your right to have guns. That’s fine. But just be clear that you are fighting for a killing tool, which happens to be called a gun.

My feeling is that we could use a lot less killing and a lot more love on this planet.

When Jesus (and many others) said, “turn the other cheek”, he wasn’t suggesting that we be passive, naïve pushovers. He was suggesting that we each be individually committed to resisting violence to the extent that we begin to foster a culture that values peace over violence.

What if we stopped focusing on the laws and rights and statistics and focused on developing a culture that rejected guns and violence, and strove for peace?


RESOURCES

Join the discussion about the NRA and Gun Lobby with Brave New Films.

Watch the full press conference where Obama announces the Executive Order on gun control.

Here is a PETITION to support Obama’s executive order.

Here is a PETITION regarding the NRA backed Republican party.

Moms Demand Action, “For gun sense in America”

This is an interesting and thoughtful perspective from a pastor, “Would Jesus Wear a Sidearm”.

Hash Tags for Twitter: #stopgunviolence #guncontrol #nra #gunsense #obama

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A Year of Intention, Awe & Love http://www.jaredangaza.com/2015/12/28/a-year-of-intention-awe-love/ http://www.jaredangaza.com/2015/12/28/a-year-of-intention-awe-love/#comments Mon, 28 Dec 2015 17:57:53 +0000 http://www.jaredangaza.com/?p=2388 A Year of Intention, Awe & Love We’re all aware of the the implications of the ensuing increase of responsibilities the new year brings. Our global social agreement is that the beginning of the year is the time of assessment and recalibration. It’s the time for improving, everything. At the end of every year, I meditate on what I want to experience […]]]> A Year of Intention, Awe & Love

We’re all aware of the the implications of the ensuing increase of responsibilities the new year brings. Our global social agreement is that the beginning of the year is the time of assessment and recalibration. It’s the time for improving, everything.

At the end of every year, I meditate on what I want to experience in the next year. I want to be intentional about the thoughts I foster and the story I program into my psyche. That story will transmute into my reality.

This week I’m polishing up my New Year Intentions and organizing them into a lists of all the experiences I have committed to intentionally manifest in the coming year. Each of these elements represents an aspect of my journey towards self actualization. Each year I pick a theme, a word or a phrase the represents the essence of what I want to experience over the next 365 days.

That’s 525,600 minutes. What will I program my mind to believe into fruition?

Last year, my theme was “sacred”. I wanted to experience and contribute to more sacred moments and elements. In a society so pervasively dominated by the lust for control, safety, comfort, status, ease and security, there is far too little reverence for the sacred elements of life.

2015 INTENTIONS

Here is a bit of reflection on some of the sacred experiences of 2015.

  1. We moved to Santa Ana, Costa Rica, traveled the Guanacaste coast and found the magical little town of Nosara where we will move in May.
  2. I dove deeper into my studies of the Tao Te Ching. This daily practice has afforded me more sacred moments than I could have ever imagined. Those 81 verses have profoundly impacted all aspects of my life.
  3. I had a deeply spiritual experience learning and presenting at the DO Lectures at Puerta a la Vida in July.
  4. On August 4th, Ilea gave birth to two beautiful souls, completely naturally, with zero complications, in Costa Rica. Here is the story: The Sacred Flow of Life
  5. After many years of R&D on my Ubuntu Revolution concept, I am gearing up to launch the first phase over the next six months. This is a venture I believe in very much. You can read a bit about it here.
  6. We got to spend time with my sister and her beautiful family here to Costa Rica while they visited for a month.

For another 2015 intention, I decided to make a habit of walking barefoot every day. It’s part of my ongoing effort to connect more with nature and keep myself grounded. Today, the bottoms of my feet have a similar ruggedness to a used tire on a 1977 Land Cruiser. Success.

Those are just a few highlights. 2015 was my most sacred year yet. I learned so much and created many habits that will be with me for the rest of my life, constantly allowing me to have and contribute to more sacred experiences.

2016 INTENTIONS

This year, my intention is to “infuse more awe into my life so I may be a more effective instrument of love.” I believe we are all here in this human existence for the purpose of refining ourselves into instruments of love, despite any and all circumstances.

Everyone’s journey is different, but the purpose is the same: to be love.

For me, being love is intrinsically linked to creativity, imagination and awe. The thoughts we choose to dwell on and the level in which we develop our imagination are the two most integral elements of our experience.

I find that my imagination is healthiest when I am connecting with nature and constantly allowing information and experiences into my life that blow my mind. Reminding myself of the awe of this infinite universe has done more to alter my perspective than almost any other practice.

Top Ten Intentions for 2016

  1. Seek out more awe and inspiration that expands my perspective and brings me joy, every single day.
  2. Spend more time in silence and meditation, aligning myself with God.
  3. Speak less and truly, intently listen more. Say more with less.
  4. Spend (even more) time in nature, grounding myself and connecting with the awe of God and the cosmos.
  5. Develop a habit and reputation of looking people in the eyes and giving them my undivided attention.
  6. Be like water, never fighting, but always flowing, able to overcome anything through patience and determination.
  7. Refrain from judging anyone or any circumstances.
  8. Continue to deepen my studies of the intermingling of cosmology and consciousness.
  9. Launch Ubuntu Revolution. Outside of exemplifying love in all of my being, this venture is my most effective contribution to fostering ecological harmony and human interconnectedness across the globe.
  10. Continue developing resilience in my resolve to always respond in love, no matter the circumstances.

There are many more, but these represent the essence of my intentions. My family already gets my primary focus, and that will never change. The elements I’ve listed here are complimentary to that overarching priority.

I wish you joy, ubuntu, whimsy, love and a year full of extraordinary experiences.

Take time to inspire yourself, feel the awe of this universe and above all else, live your life as an example of love.


INFUSE A LITTLE AWE INTO YOUR LIFE

I dove into my journey of awe last night by re-watching OVERVIEW with my wife. If you want to understand awe, perspective, the vastness of our cosmos and our innate interconnectedness, you will enjoy watching this 19 minute film. I just purchased their new feature length film PLANETARY, as well. I am very much looking forward to that.

I also found this beautifully created short film (7:07 min) To Scale: The Solar System. It’s a brilliant teaching tool for showing the true scale of the solar system, in a very creative way.

I highly recommend SHOTS OF AWE by Jason Silva. I’ve followed his work for a long time, but he continues to inspire me with every new thought and endeavor.

Jared Leto is art. His latest creation is BEYOND THE HORIZON where he “focuses on the future of humanity with the world’s most interesting visionaries in science, art, technology and politics”.

HUMAN, a film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, is one of the most raw, beautiful, authentic pieces of art I have witnessed.

The work and life of JR continues to inspire and challenge me. I have so much awe and respect for his craft.

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