Home > Uncategorized > The continuing Self-search Debate

The continuing Self-search Debate

 The discussion  on soul-searching is still continuing.Here are  some extra discussion  points from Vertias.

 If you are a new-comer, you might begin from this post.

If what I’ve just shared does not seem to be related to what we’re discussing I just wanted to give some more examples in order to show why I shared what and how it’s relevant:

1)So many fellow Ethiopians hold false beliefs about themselves and others and how the consequences of holding false beliefs and being guided by such false beliefs negatively affects one’s life and one’s choices and one’s actions in multiple ways. For example:

a. If a fellow Ethiopian believes that Ethiopia is one of the oldest Christian nations (a belief which we’re examining these past few days) and being in such country is considered a blessing until one dies, one can see how such tragic (false) belief can negatively affect that person’s life and destiny.

b. If a fellow Ethiopian (falsely) believes that for all the problems that occur in Ethiopia ONLY the government is to blame and does nothing to improve his life, that person is being deceived holding a false belief. Government cannot be a reason for ALL problems in one’s country.

c. If a fellow Ethiopian (falsely) believes that Ethiopia is a unique Christian country in the whole world and God is going to prosper Ethiopia and does nothing for that to come to be, that person is ruining his life based on a false belief that cannot be supported by any evidence, except wish fulfillment.

d. So many fellow Ethiopians (falsely) believe that one ethnic group is superior to the other and based on that miserably false belief treat others as inferiors to them. That is a tragic mistake that we’ve observed in our midst that is even a growing problem these very days. Only a deluded fellow Ethiopian can hold such an utterly false belief but how many Ethiopians from different ethnic backgrounds believe others to be inferior to them? We all know that story. Imagine all these fellow Ethiopians believing that one is superior to the other just because one happens to belong to another ethnic group! One form of a reality check for such people is this: go to another country, a predominantly white country, like the US or Europe , and when all the white folks look at you just as one and same poor black African you will learn that bitter lesson: after all we ALL are one and the same: black. The simple truth is that: after all we ALL are one and the same: humans. No need to go to Europe or the US for such a bitter lesson to be learned. We had better learn that lesson by observing that we’re essentially the same: black or white or Asian or whatever. Humans, that is us.

2) One can go on and on with a huge list of false beliefs that many of us happen to hold that because of our being out of touch with reality, or truth, we simply deprive ourselves of the true meaning of who we are and what we should have been believing about ourselves and should be doing as to what we ought to be doing to develop and flourish as a community and as a nation. I hope the above examples show how it’s absolutely crucial to seek truth about everything and how much we need to strive to believe truth and only the truth about ourselves, about others, and about our lives now and what we can and should do about our future as individuals and as a society.

Hope these examples help.

Cheers,

Veritas

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  1. Veritas
    April 7, 2007 at 7:17 pm

    Hello All:

    Here’s a link to much similar issues that we’ve been discussing for about a month now. It’s posted on Ethiomedia last September and the writer is Desdalegn Asfaw:

    http://www.ethiomedia.com/carepress/dysfunctional_behaviors.html

    Hope that many will respond to this post as well.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  2. Veriats
    April 7, 2007 at 11:39 pm

    Hello Daniyot and Tazabi:

    I hope that you’ve realized that our discussion for this month of April has moved here as you can tell from the link.

    What is used to start this month’s link is not a new idea for us who’ve been here and there is no need for you two to respond to that as you’ve already been doing that. New folks, if we ever have some, might want to start responding to what is above.

    Otherwise, I look forward to reading your responses to what I’ve been trying to share in my most recent posts or whatever you want to share with us.

    Hope that you’ll find the link provided by Dessalegn a very interesting one to read. As you can see his argument is intended to show why we lack truly democratic institutions in Ethiopia due to “dysfunctional behaviors”, which we’ve been talking about as bad character traits or vices. Yes, we’ve touched on some of the “dysfunctional behaviors” from a very realistic list, independently, provided by Dessalgen. It’s encouraging to see a fellow Ethiopian being on the same page with us about fundamental societal problems. Dessalegn’s lists of bad character traits, among Ethiopians, are more comprehensive than the ones we’ve provided.

    Though I agree with Dessalegn’s suggested solutions for the “dysfunctional behaviors” that he correctly mentions, I do not think that they are enough as solutions for problems of such fundamental depth and magnitude that define the life-style and deeply ingrained habits of so many Ethiopians. The bad character traits that I’ve been emphasizing all along seem to capture deeper reasons for why, we, many Ethiopians suffer from what we suffer as a society, be it in political contexts as much as in friendship contexts or whatever contexts.

    I hope that we’ll continue to dialogue with Dessalegn’s further contribution to the issues we’re discussion about which he’s so much to offer and my hope is that he’ll join us on this journey.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  3. Dan
    April 8, 2007 at 10:21 pm

    Hello all,

    I would like to start by extending my thanks to Veritas who made me aware of this blog.

    Over the last few days I have been reading what were posted in reply to the initial post and Veritas’ responses. It is essential for one to have a clear understanding of self so that they understand others and clearly see the implications of the chosen way of life. As Veritas pointed out one could go on and on with premises to conclude that we undeniably suffer from failing to live a virtuous life and clearly understand ourselves, and the true value of our culture, history and place in the world. I do have something to share with my fellow Ethiopians here. About a month ago, there was a radio interview with one of the famous Ethiopians who live in the Washington DC area regarding a festival being planned for the Ethiopian millennium and its purposes. According the interviewees, the purpose of this festival is to make the world aware Ethiopia 3000 year’s history, that it has its own alphabet, numerical and calendar systems, and furthermore that there is a contribution that we have made to the rest of the world. I will leave it to readers to question the inherent values of these things we like to be identified with. I am not implying that they are of no use, because they could be. But at this point of time, I don’t think we have any thing to show for them if the entire world says “So What?”

    So long as we do not understand the vices and traits of which our life is a function of, so long will we keep on failing in every effort we make to better whether our personal or societal life.

    I would also like Veritas to comment on the ultimate purpose of this discussion, if it is not irrelevant to the theme of this discussion, for much has been side as to what our problems are, and nothing seems to have materialized and bring about change. What constitutes the success of this search of truth about ourselves?

  4. Veritas
    April 9, 2007 at 4:19 am

    Hello Dan:

    Welcome aboard to this blog and to this discussion which has been going on for a month and has been a rewarding experience for me personally and I hope for my most faithful companions who’ve been here with me all the way. Your addition, I hope, will make a great difference to what we’ve set out to achieve here. This brings me to your very crucial question for us, myself included: which is, “What constitutes the success of this search of truth about ourselves?”

    A short version of the answer to your question is this:

    1)As you’ve seen some of the previous posts (or most or all of them) the discussion was/is a proposal for fellow Ethiopians, including myself all along, to take a stock of ourselves as individuals and as a community and as a society at large for multiple problems we’ve suffered as a society for far too long. Ethiopia as a nation has suffered from abject, grinding and absolute poverty for far too long; we’re a civilization in prolonged crisis; we’ve been decaying and dying as a society for far too long; we rarely had good governance and political leadership for far too long; we’ve continuously deteriorating and dying educational institutions; we’ve a long history in the past with no clear direction for the future as a society; you can add many, many more similar afflictions.
    2)Many fellow Ethiopians readily admit that we as a society suffer from such multiple problems. That is fine. But that is only the beginning a search for the answer to the society’s ills. The search for the fundamental root causes of our society’s problems usually, almost always, as far as I know, does not go beyond some attempts to address the SYMPTOMS of our society’s problems. The most predominant thinking about what causes all our problems usually consists in pointing our fingers at the political leadership. No one can deny that a good political leadership is a positive and desirable thing for any society’s development. The consensus among many Ethiopians is that once we’ve democratic institutions in Ethiopian most of Ethiopia’s problems will go away.

    3)I’m very skeptical of the popularly proposed “solution” that depends on democracy as the most effective solution to Ethiopia’s problems My reason for being doubtful about the popular solution is simple if anyone wants to think carefully about what that means: democratic values are part and parcel and ALSO extensions of the values of one’s society. Democratic values do not develop in a vacuum of values and/or in a society that is largely based on character traits that are self-defeating for the emergence and development of democratic values. Political leadership of one’s country is, to a great extent, a mirror reflection of the society’s values that run throughout one’s society. Characters of individuals, communities, and one’s society are the well- springs, the fountains from which the democratic values of the society emerge. That seems to be obvious to me. I’ll argue for this point when I see some call into question what I’ve just said.
    4)Now I hope that you see where I’m going (in my discussions I’ve been underscoring the indispensable value of character traits in the life of individuals, communities, and a society at large). Accordingly I proposed for us all to debate the hypothesis that I thought/think can explain why we’ve been suffering from multiple afflictions as individuals, communities and a society and my hypothesis that I’m sharing with fellow Ethiopians is that the most fundamental root cause for our society’s problems is the inherently bad and destructive character traits that run in the Ethiopian society as an epidemic of character problems. I’ve given various lists of them from time to time.
    5)You ask a pointed question, “What constitutes the success of this search of truth about ourselves?”. This is more than one question as I see it. Let me stop dividing it into its possible parts and say a few things for now:
    a.Part of the answer, or the beginning of a PARTIAL answer which is logically prior to others is openly admitting all the major character defects that are destructive to the society and starting working on—I’ll explain how that is supposed to work in the future- them with a desire to bring about a drastic change. That is the beginning of HALF of the solution to our problems.
    b.The other (PARTIAL) answer would be to provide an explanation for the so many false beliefs and values that contribute to genesis of the bad character traits. I’ve already provided some examples of false beliefs and I want to encourage you to remember them for now.
    c.Recognizing the false beliefs and destructive values many of us hold as a society would be a huge step forward in doing a realistic diagnosis for the ROOT CAUSES for our societal problems. The next step is to propose as to how to deal with the preceding problems. I’ve already said, in my previous posts, something suggestive with respect to what I’ve in mind about possible ways of dealing with our problems.
    6)One can see that what I’m proposing is not going to be a short term solution for centuries old problems of the Ethiopian society. It’s about a drastic change in the life and values of a generation of Ethiopians to come starting from us, NOW. The problems that afflict us have taken a long time to be deeply rooted and it’d simply be UNREALISTIC to expect to see a desirable and drastic change for better in our society in less than a generation’s time at the earliest. But we got to start doing something substantial about that in that direction NOW, WITH US, OURSELVES.

    One who’s read most of the discussions/dialogue would be able to see a bit fuller picture of what I’ve tried to summarize above. This is enough for now, I hope, to keep our discussion going and we’ll continue to spell out ideas that will shape the destiny of our society. All that starts with a massive soul-searching and that is why I proposed such a project for fellow Ethiopians in the first place.

    Now back to you Dan and whoever would like to share her/his ideas.

    Many, many thanks Dan for your pointed question which I see as a sign of a good beginning for your great contribution.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  5. Veritas
    April 9, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    Hello Dan:

    I realized after sharing my thoughts on the previous post that you had more than one question in your post. I focused on the one that seemed the most important to me at the time.

    Just a few more thoughts on the others:

    1)You wanted to know what the ultimate purpose of this discussion is/would be. Your justification for raising the preceding question that calls for a comment from me (or the other participants) seems to have been driven by some skepticism you seem to entertain about the ultimate purpose of this discussion when you say this, “…for much has been side as to what our problems are, and nothing seems to have materialized and bring about change.”
    2)If your skeptical justification for raising doubts about “the ultimate purpose” of this discussion, as you clearly refer to the discussion we’re parts of, is in terms of what constitutes its success (to which I briefly responded above too), now I see some problems about your thoughts about the ultimate purpose of this discussion and what you should expect to see and what you should not.
    a.If you were expecting or anyone is expecting to see change with such a thought as “nothing seems to have materialized and bring about change” for a discussion that has been around only one month, I can’t see for the life of me what you were expecting. If the purpose of this discussion is to bring about change in the lives of the future generation of fellow Ethiopians but starting with us NOW, how can one rightly justify one’s doubts about lack of change right here and now? I’ve made it clear in many places in my posts that my proposal is searching for the most fundamental root causes for our society’s most fundamental problems and nobody said that there would be instantaneous solutions forthcoming anyways. If you had any thoughts closer to what I’ve shared here, that means you were looking for the right answer by raising a wrong question.
    b.What if you were trying to say that there was THIS purpose for this discussion [I leave for you to tell us what THIS purpose would be for you besides what I’ve shared with all, all along] from the very beginning and it does not seem, to you, that there has been anything materialized given the purpose of this discussion, which I’d like to hear from you. I’m in the dark again as to what purpose you might be entertaining since I can’t figure out even as I’m trying to share different ways of thinking about some possible thoughts you had in mind.
    c.Perhaps, if you show me (or the other participants for this forum is a collaborative work) what purpose we’ve meant to achieve in a given period of time that we’ve failed to materialize, that would be a tremendous help again.
    3)Now if the immediate (as opposed to its ultimate) purpose of this discussion is to share our personal reflections, to share our most reasonable and realistic thoughts in search of root causes (going beyond the symptoms) of our societal problems, and if this is an ongoing project (for at least some time) or until you see the fruit of all this in a more rigorous, focused article or book (which is part of the beginning of a real contribution to bring about some positive change in our society for many years to come) now your skepticism would be wrong or lacks adequate justification for you’ve missed the point of this discussion. It’s not the ultimate purpose of this discussion to bring about the ultimate solution for Ethiopia’s multiple problems just by discussing it right here and now. That can’t be right. I’ve already said “The problems that afflict us have taken a long time to be deeply rooted and it’d simply be UNREALISTIC to expect to see a desirable and drastic change for better in our society in less than a generation’s time at the earliest. But we got to start doing something substantial about that in that direction NOW, WITH US, OURSELVES”.
    4)Your questions were cautiously phrased when you said “…if it is not irrelevant to the theme of this discussion…” and my hope is that I’ve tried to show you whether your questions were relevant or irrelevant to this discussion.
    5)One question for you and am done for now: I’ve proposed what I’ve along with fellow participants who’ve shared most of what I’ve proposed and have been sharing their thoughts in the discussion and I’d also like to hear what you’d think is that that has contributed to the multiple problems we, as a society, suffer from and what solutions, short term or long term you would like to propose. That would be a great contribution. By doing that you might show us that we’ve been wrongheaded all along with our proposals that have been discussed all along or what you share might be combined with ours. Whichever turns out to be the case, my hope is that something will come out of this discussion one of whose ultimate purposes is to contribute something as part of the search for the most fundamental roots for our society’s multiple problems. As is obvious for you now we can’t reasonably expect to see a cure (which is a desired change) in our society WITHOUT first finding what the ultimate causes for the illnesses are. Finding such root, ultimate causes is half of the cure (the solution) for the rest of the healing (desired change) will take a considerable period of time for the root causes have been around for a considerable period of time as well.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  6. Veritas
    April 9, 2007 at 9:32 pm

    Hello Tazabi:

    I’ve been wondering since the 7th of April, which is kind of a long absence for you since you’ve been very active in this discussion all the way from the very beginning!

    Hope that all is well with you; perhaps you were very busy with the Easter holiday etc.

    I look forward to seeing your continued contribution here as always.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  7. tazbi
    April 9, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    Veritas,
    Thanks for asking me. The end of the Qtr. is a very busy time for me. Oh, well, they said “another day, another dollar”. ha, ha. It’s very encouraging to read new concerned fellow Ethiopians contributions. It would be a wonderful opportunity to have a presentation at the Ethiopian Millennium Symposium. I’m very optimistic about that. We should work our goal towards creating awareness in the community. I really like Desalegne’s simplistic approaches (i know, he’s kind of targeting political parties) ,but his outline is right on the issue.

  8. Dan
    April 10, 2007 at 1:17 am

    Thank you Veritas for your response.

    I’ve read both posts with interest. Once again I did not do a good job in phrasing my questions. If I had revisited the maxims of effective discussion before prior to making my posts, I probably could’ve saved you some time.

    By “…for much has been side as to what our problems are, and nothing seems to have materialized and bring about change.” I was referring other similar endeavors of the past, and I do not expect to read solutions of any sort at this stage, because I share your view that the problems that have so far been discussed are deeply rooted in our society.

    Now let me say few things about a serious factor that seem to have contributed to some of the false beliefs greatly shared in our society. That is our failure or tendency not subject what we are doing, hearing or saying to standards that establish the truth to what we are dealing with or creat a clear representation of the matter in our mind. One could easily get to mislead many in our society, for there is a little chance they would be presented with a challenging reaction that would force them consider relevant standards.

    I couldn’t go further due to lack of time. But I will be back to this point.

  9. Veritas
    April 10, 2007 at 6:40 am

    Hello Tazabi and Dan:

    Tazabi:

    It’s good to see you back and hope that you’ll have more to say in the days to come as usual. By the way, I do also hope that presenting a paper at that Millennium Symposium seems to be a good idea and I’ll try to submit a paper eventually. We’ll see what happens.

    Seeing some more concerned fellow Ethiopians here has been a great source of encouragement as you also said. It’s still good to hope, at times contrary to all the evidence we’ve, that we’ll see more Ethiopians join this conversation in the days to come.

    Dan:

    Thanks a lot for your clarifications about your previous post. Now you probably know why I was misled into thinking that your skepticism about lack of change in discussions such as THIS was in reference to this discussion due to your using “this” three times in your last post in one paragraph and in each of them there was no indication that you had some other similar discussions in mind that failed to bring about change.

    For your info, if you’re not familiar, the word “this” which is a called demonstrative pronoun (along with “that”) in the philosophy of language plays key roles in reference fixing (or, in fixing what we’re referring to) in our conversations and writings and hence my taking you to refer to our discussion when you kept using twice “this discussion” and once “this search of truth” which still could be taken to refer to “this discussion” for we’re doing the “search of truth” in THIS context in THIS discussion. You can see in using “this” in the last sentence I’m referring to our discussion on this blog for it’d not make sense if I have another thing to refer to in mind without explicitly saying so. So much for my confusion philosophical reflections on “this”, “that”. Multiple papers and many books have been devoted to unpacking the philosophical significance of such simple and innocent-looking words, which by no means are.

    What you started to share with us about the damage false beliefs do to our society due to the reasons you’ve started to develop is great and I want to leave for you to continue to develop that thought when you get back to it. I hope that you’d recall my initial thoughts about the sociological origin of beliefs and what role philosophy can and should play in helping us to be in tune with reality, with truth. My post on beliefs and truth relationship and the descriptive theses, for example, of ethnocentric (false) beliefs and the normative and prescriptive role that philosophy plays in dealing with beliefs that are true and false and why holding true beliefs is better than holding false beliefs which again is based on the normative role of truth in human life. It’d be great to see you respond to these thoughts that I’ve shared a few days ago and as our conversation continues from there.

    Many thanks, Dan, for your very sensible and clear communications of your thoughts that is really very encouraging to have you with us.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  10. Veritas
    April 10, 2007 at 9:28 pm

    Hello All:

    As I look forward to reading Dan’s contribution and that of the older members of this discussion group I wanted to just share a few thoughts:

    1)We, at least those of us who’re active participants here, know that the issues we’re discussing are very complex and need serious and careful reflections as we keep delving into the details of this discussion. We need to bring together all that we know from personal reflections, our academic backgrounds, and what not. I’m just saying this to continue to encourage us all here.
    2)These discussions are usually spontaneous, meaning they keep going as comments on thoughts shared and that is fine as long as we focus on the theme of the discussion. We know that all of us are free to bring up any view to share here as long as we’ve good reasons to show the rest that the issue is worth discussing and also would contribute to the theme of the discussion in some ways, if all of us are convinced that the theme of this discussion is worth considering further in the days to come.
    3)We should remind ourselves of the most fundamental question to which we’re out here to seek answers to and to argue for those answers as the best answer for the societal issues that brought us here into the public. For example, as I’ve been sharing with you and all of you’ve agreed with what I proposed for us all to continue to reflect on the theme issue of this discussion.
    a.We all want to figure out why we as a society have been exceptionally poor, abject poverty being synonymous with our [international, public] identity; bad political leadership has been with us for a long time too; bad educational institutions have been with us and against us too; and on and on.
    b.We are trying to address the most likely root cause(s) for the multiple problems that Ethiopia is identified with as I mentioned above. Initially, I proposed that widely prevalent bad character traits can go a long way in explaining why we have most of the problems we’ve as a society. That does not mean that every single problem in Ethiopia can be explained or has been caused by bad character traits that run thru the society. For example, we can’t say that bad character is the cause for famines in any obvious way.
    c.If my hypothesis that bad character traits can BEST explain why we’ve all kinds of human made problems I need to show how such a hypothesis needs to be taken seriously as the BEST explanation among others, whatever they are. I claim that most of the human actions are the function or consequences of their beliefs, thoughts and desires and values that those human beings hold at any given time. This is a theoretical model for an explanation of human actions as you recall from what I’ve said a little bit about it earlier, last month. I’ll, of course, say quite a lot about it in the future.
    d.Now if the hypothesis that says that human actions are the consequences of their beliefs, thoughts and desires, I’d go a step ahead and argue that some false beliefs people hold and inherently destructive values that people live by can go a long way in explaining most of human actions. This is equivalent to what I’ve said under (b) & (c) above. Put another way, bad character traits are the consequences of having false beliefs about oneself and living by inherently wrong values.
    e.The next step is identifying those beliefs and values, which I’ve done in various posts as you all know, and to show how widespread those false beliefs and inherently destructive values are. Mind you, I do not need to do an extensive research to establish/prove my hypothesis for my hypothesis predicts what will happen if what it claims to be the case is actually the case. That is, for example, if false beliefs and inherently destructive values are intimately related to one’s character and one’s character is the source of one’s actions, the problems that we’ve taken under (a) would be BEST explained by what I’m proposing under (b & c). That is a first approximation as to how the theoretical model works.
    f.The preceding are the ways as to how I want to go about to show my claims in the full blown project, but then before then I’m sharing with you and the rest of fellow Ethiopians to discuss and debate the claims I’ve been putting forward for debate. What I’ll do in the above ways will begin the diagnosis of the root causes of our societal problems.
    g.The second aspect of the project will be proposing alternate answers to the problems and arguing for the BEST answer to our most fundamental problems. I do not need to say what that BEST answer is at this stage.

    As all of us can see the issues we’re dealing with are so complex and they need our best efforts and best thoughts. Knowing the root causes of our perennial societal problems is half a solution. At proper places I’ll say more relevant things about the literature I’ll be using to work thru the issues and doing that now is not relevant for what I’m doing/sharing now is from just my own reflections/thoughts.
    Please any of you, who read this discussion, if you happen to know a book or article (s) that approaches the problems we’re discussing in much similar way I’d appreciate if you let me know as well. I want to learn from others who’ve gone before me doing much similar work or currently working on similar issues in much similar ways.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  11. Veritas
    April 11, 2007 at 2:12 am

    Hello Daniyot:

    I did not totally forget to talk about what you asked us all to come up with the best thing to do to keep this discussion alive, esp., what we can do to see more people partake in this discussion.

    When we started to see new people added to this discussion here or under the other new and much similar post I tended to focus on responding to some thoughts shared with us and hence did not get back to your suggestion I mentioned above.

    What about continuing as usual hoping that we’ll continue to have Dan with us and some other new participants in addition to the original ones? I’ve invited Aaron from the other site and my hope is that he’d join us here.

    By the way, it’s good to take note of the fact that there are signs of those who apparently read these discussions without participating with us here and that is still better than nothing. Our purpose would still be partially fulfilled if some fellow Ethiopians read these discussions and do something about the contents of the discussion without coming out here to the public.

    As far as I know the BEST explanation for the silence is the target audiences being fellow Ethiopians and we can’t realistically expect much from our people when some such serious discussion goes on; we all know how many fellow Ethiopians drop notes, some of them being the worst ones for any human being to read, and we can at least infer from such experiences that if there is a room for such nonsensical notes here we’d surely have more “participants” than we’ve been having. Such nonsensical comments do not take any effort, what they all take is being truly Ethiopian and show the true Ethiopian character, that means the worst character traits, without any sense of shame. Some even take pride in their shamelessness! Who wants to have such “participants” here? We’ve already seen one of the worst ones under the other post as you’ve already noticed.

    If you’ve anything to share by way of recommendation for us all please feel free to do.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  12. daniyot
    April 11, 2007 at 4:40 am

    Thanks you Dan, Veritas and Tazabi

    Dan, I have read your article, in which you have pointed out the nature of dysfunctional behavior. it was very clear, they have contributed a lot for our failer as an individual or as a society. One way or the other they are killing us, even they are becoming our identification, and I do also appreciate your suggestions, they are good enough but you need to give us detailed explanation on your recommendations as you did it on the problems. In our one month long discussion we have tried to understand the problems but we have not yet addressed the root causes of those behavioral problems if I am not mistaken, I know and I hope we will discuss on the solutions sooner or later and I am sure you can help us on that.

    In my part, thanks to Veritas relentless effort, by now we have at least a good lessen regarding the problems of our character and related issues (this does not mean it is over), I would like to suggests some points hereunder.

    In order for us ever effectively figure out and map out how to get to where we want to go we have to first know exactly where we are starting .where we are, everything we have and everything we do ,begin with and is based on our PERSONAL TRUTH .That is what have been affecting our life in on way our or the other, when I mean personal truth it means whatever it is that you, at the absolute, uncensored core of you being, have come to believe about you.

    This personal belief is critical because if you believe it, if it is real to you, then it is the precise reality that you will live everyday, but the problem here is that there are positive and negative examples. As we have seen through out our discussion, our negative parts are out weighting or overwhelming our positive examples. if that is the case we will never escape this truth it well get us in the end, that is why it is so critical that we have to clean it up or get rid of all those doubt and distortion in our life ,culture, economy, personality ,beliefs and etc , it is hardly possible to play the game of life with confidence and assurance if our personal truth is riddled with fear and apprehension .in short the personal truth business is a big deal, a huge deal ,If we do not get ours straight ,it will ruin even the best laid plans to revitalize our life and every thing on it.

    I think that is why we spent at least a month by digging deep on our behavioral (characteral) problems; those have contributed a lot for our failer so we have to fix our beliefs. Our institutions, organizations and government and every body should work to straighten our belief, I think straightening our personal belief should be a major area of focus in the way to find out remedy to our multidirectional problems. (Veritas I need your comment and clarification on this issue)

    I have been reading the rest of the posts,so that I will share my points as soon as I finshe and as I get time.

    Thank you all

  13. Dan
    April 11, 2007 at 5:13 am

    Hello Veritas and Daniyot

    I try to clarify and add to my previous post. I believe every issue, purpose or endeavor that we pursue involve some kind of standards, and these standards could be simple or complex based on the nature and context of what is being pursued. The relevancy of these standards comes from their impact to our understanding and perception on which, I think, our beliefs are based.

    Here is my example and I hope it would give some clarity to what I mean by standards, and for that I use the posting made by Agere two days before in response to Veritas’ post. For our discussion here it is the breadth and depth at which the issue is discussed that I consider as standards. If we do not pay attention to these standards as we read through the posts, our familiarity to the issue to some degree would rush us to make sense of the issue being discussed and mislead other in the same way. That is what I’ve seen in Agere’s post, and that is very common in our society.

    In every aspect of our life there are such standards and requirements that we must pay attentions to, and we do not have to write or speak or allow others to do so without proper consideration of these standards. I do not think we have been doing that for years and years and that has impaired every which way we communicate in our society, and we have reached at a point where we cannot make distinction between what we know and do not know.

    Veritas I hope you would share something with us on this, for I would like to see deeper as to why we have become this careless.

  14. Veritas
    April 11, 2007 at 6:24 am

    Hello Daniyot and Dan:

    Thanks a lot both of you for your contributions. Some thoughts:

    Daniyot:

    I’ve a quick question for you about something minor yet it seems to be important too: you started your post thus: “Dan, I have read your article, in which you have pointed out the nature of dysfunctional behavior” and you go on to talk about the article. I was wondering whether you’ve attributed the article on “dysfunctional behavior” to the right person. As far as I know the writer of that article was Dessalegn Asfaw. I did not take Dessalegn to be Dan, and if I’m mistaken about this please correct me. I think Dan did not seem to have realized what I’m pointing out as it seems that he went straight to write his contribution. That is understandable. What do you think, Daniyot?

    Your emphasis on truth about ourselves as individuals which I’d also call self-knowledge, or knowledge about ourselves as individuals, is the logical starting point for all other transformation in the life of a community and a society to start. Without change in the characters, beliefs and values of individuals talk about the changes in a society is like putting the horse before the cart and missing the heart of what it means to bring about a desired and desirable change in the life of one’s community and society. We’ll talk about this a lot. Daniyot, your thoughts are well-taken.

    Dan:

    Yes, that we need a reasonable standard for our discussion the way we naturally are required to meet certain standards to accomplish certain goals in life. This discussion has set its standard reasonably higher and I hope that as all of you who’ve read what I’ve been sharing recall I’ve been saying about the need for clarity, careful thinking, coherence, orderliness in our communications and seeking justifications or reasons to support our assertions. Fellow Agere-type Ethiopians have sunk into the pit, the abyss of absolutely unacceptable standard for any communications worth the name of communications. Agere has given us an example of so, so many Ethiopians who live their lives in such delusion and illusion by which they get fulfillment in their lives. Imagine about some millions of Agere-type Ethiopians and imagine what lasting damage such people do to the society. Characters are like mirror and the kind of character Agere has demonstrated to us is the kind of character that certainly ruins the life of a community and a nation at large. Ethiopia is what it is now because of the individual and collective thoughts and actions of Agere-type Ethiopians, in millions.

    How have we reached this stage in the life of the Ethiopian society? I’ll say something in response to that in the days to come but then in the meantime I’d just say this: educational institutions in Ethiopia have failed to produce a kind of educated people, with knowledge and character, etc who could be distinguished, in their skills of communications, etc., as a result of receiving education from those who never had such privileges. In Ethiopian all are the same with the exception of some who’re genuinely changed, who are not many, if they were many we’d have a chance to have felt their presence already.

    The other day, an economist friend of mine asked me a question about how we Ethiopians can break out of the vicious circle and cycle of abject poverty that we’re in and what we can do about the unhealthy relationship between the western donors and us at the receiving end whose lives have only continue to be that of perpetual dependence on foreign aid. I responded to him by pointing out the fact we need to teach the Ethiopian people the indispensable values of education for our society and I added we need to conduct massive education in values as well. But the sad truth about this is this: those in the higher education, they themselves need massive education about the values of education! Isn’t this another form of vicious circle as well as vicious cycle of chronic problems that eat Ethiopia away? I hope that we all see that we have a very long, long way to go. Nothing short of a change in a generation will bring about any substantial change to the future of Ethiopia.

    I hope the above is enough for today.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  15. daniyot
    April 11, 2007 at 5:43 pm

    I am sorry it is coincidence,thank you again,I will give a detailed exampleas soon as I get time how it was occured,

  16. daniyot
    April 11, 2007 at 5:53 pm

    correction
    it is not example,but it is explanation .

  17. daniyot
    April 11, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    As long as we are in this belog,it is widely open to those persons like Agere,we have no way to protect them,but we can do some things that is just no need to wast our time.

    Let me tell you some thing I experienced when I first happen to see Ageres’ post ,When I first read it I preferred to give her/him a response,next I changed my mind just not to respond,finally I decided just to write a sentence ,at least to let her/him know.the thing here is I spend my precious time on this nonsense case ,imagine how I lost my time due to Agere.

    I have get a chance to visite the forum section of ethipiopian reporter news papar,and I saw some instructions for belogers like a code of conduct,is there anyway that can work for us?

    Now we are on the way to entertain some new ideas on the behalf of Dan and Veritas as usual .I will stay tuned with you guys as long as I get time by any means.

    thanks

  18. Tazabi
    April 11, 2007 at 11:11 pm

    Hi All,
    I was a little behind with agere’s comments. Agere seems a very angry person. However, let’s not dismiss what it’s posted. I recomended few Ethiopians to read the issue what we’re discussing here and they gave me similar comments like agere. Basically what they’re saying is that “yes, we know we’ve problems and are you going to sove it just by discussing it online”. I begged my own family members to participate or read what we’ve been discussing and they think i’m out of my mind and they told me that when it comes to Ethiopia, this’s not their priorities. I wonder how many people out there share the same feeling?

    Danyoit,
    I’m looking forward to read your recommendations. You always have excellent ideas to share.

    Veritas,
    Thanks for your time and effort to makes us all to be a better society member.

  19. Veritas
    April 12, 2007 at 6:43 pm

    Hello All:

    These days, I’ve been getting increasingly busy and that is why I’ve been away for a while which is unusual for me as you can tell but then I’ve already informed you guys that this time of the year is the busiest of all and this could happen. I’ll also be partly getting busy for I’ll be doing some travels that will take a lot of my time as you can imagine.

    Tazabi: Thanks a lot for your note and also for sharing your experience with Agere-type fellow Ethiopians who rarely see the value of what we’re trying to do here and/or even if they do they’d not care much. That is no news for Ethiopians as you know and we’ve lived like that as a society for as long as we can remember. No giving up of hope yet though.

    I’m looking forward to reading the contributions from Dan and Daniyot, the two DDs, and Tazabi.

    By the way, please not that I’ll be reading all your posts and will respond to them as soon as I can.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  20. Veritas
    April 13, 2007 at 5:06 am

    Hello All:

    I’ve been looking forward to reading your posts and I do not see any yet. I’ve been wondering what has happened to all of you.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  21. daniyot
    April 13, 2007 at 6:39 pm

    I am sorry I was busy for the last couple of days ,I hope I will be with you guys tonight or tomorrow.

  22. Veritas
    April 13, 2007 at 11:06 pm

    Hello All:

    It seems that all of us are very busy these days, at the same time, if that is true for we’ve not shared our thoughts for discussion these last couple of days or so.

    As I’ve already noted I’ve not been able to find time to post something worthwhile these days except just a note to let you know that I’m exceptionally busy.

    I wonder if any one of us could post on how bad character traits direcly and negatively affect how society’s well-being can be negatively affected by giving examples. I want to see how we’re thinking about the issues of character in terms of concrete examples for our society.

    After giving an idea as to how characters negatively affect the Ethiopian society, it’d be good to also propose how we can effectively reverse such destructive consequences of bad character traits.

    I hope that we can learn from one another if one of us or more can answer the preceding questions. I’ll join you as soon as I get a chance.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  23. daniyot
    April 14, 2007 at 7:52 am

    Let me give you a short example you guys remember the rise and fall of one mineral water company in Ethiopia,let me tell you some thing about this thing .

    I think it is in 1990s ,one of prominent business consultant in U.S.A who is an Ethiopian . went to Ethiopia to invest all his resources(money,knowledge and enterpernuership) to contribute his best to himself and his country .

    With estimated investment of about about 15 million Ethiopian birr opened mineral water development company and he become the most influential,successfull and entrepreneur businessman in the country-with in a short period of time and he had a dream,but his success did not last longer at least on that area of business ,guess why?

    One person by the name of journalist came to his office and he told to the owner manager that this mineral water company was build on the top the main trash accumulation area of the city so that mineral water from this area has some problem to the health of the society as he figured out.He told to the owner that he is going to write his situation on his news paper unless he give him 10.000.00 Ethiopian money right away.

    But the owner of the business explained how,when and where he conducted laboratory test and how much confidence on his product ,plus he noted him that giving bribe is immoral to him.

    The so called journalist left the office without anything but he did not remain silent. He immediately wrote a couple of pages report on his weekly newspaper(there he lied very good) he put some black spot on the minds of consumer.

    At the end of the day he put unrecoverable meriade on the name of that company ,just ofter 3 or 4 months the company bankrupted .laid of hundred of employees ,loss of profite of profit to the owner ,loss of huge tax income to the goverment and so on.

    If you guys need a detailed information on this issue ,please ask one of your friends in Addis ababa,they will tell you how it was okestrated and worked out ,in a very simple way this shows that how our chracter adversly affects our society

    When I read Veritas post today,this incidence come to my mind and I prefferd to share with you guys.It is not well organised due to time.

  24. Mariyamawit
    April 14, 2007 at 1:38 pm

    Egzehr yistachu yihenin angebegabi guday bemansatachu.
    I sympathize with what you are saying. I am really appalled by some of our compatriot’s characters and attitudes. Let me share you this incident.
    The other day I met some ‘Yager lidghoch’ friends at a dinner party. Actually, it was only one of them who were close to me but I tried to be friendly with them. But the problem was -their subject of discussion tends to revolve around people who are not there. They were saying some cruel and spiteful things about another ‘Yager lidge’ acquaintance. At some point I kept silent to let know them that what they are doing is not nice. But they keep on assassinating that poor creature.
    I hated myself to be in their presence. It is disturbing to participate in conversation where such malicious things are being said about some one who is not there, perhaps some one who feels these people are his friends.
    I have actually my own group of friends, again ‘yager lidgoch’, and I came to realize and appreciate that how decent people they are. I’ve never heard them say anything unkind about anyone. We talk about anything but not such mean things about people.
    Here I was surrounded by a bunch of strangers who are poking fun at some innocent people. And they seem to be enjoying it. They don’t feel any qualms about it. Oh, My God!
    I wasn’t sure what to do.
    I wanted to tell them that ‘You guys are terribly gossipy’ but I wasn’t sure if such confrontation would help. I know how it is like when you criticize some of our compatriots. Most people don’t get away with it. In fact, my observation is that, you will make a lifetime enemy. They would be defensive and might bring an attack against you.
    And I knew the only thing to do was to leave them.
    It was no use wasting my breath with such ill-advised people. And I had to leave. My friend who brought me there suspected my uneasiness and she tried hard to explain after we left. To be honest, I hated her to.
    I told myself I will never see them again.
    I am glad to see there are people who wish to change that.
    I wish these people read this.

  25. Veritas
    April 14, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    Hello Mariyamawit:

    Welcome Mariyamawit! Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts/experience with us about the issues that we’re trying to do something about.

    If you’ve noticed we’ve been discussing wide-ranging issues related to bad character traits in our society since the 7th of March as you can see, if you’ve not, from the previous month’s posts here:
    https://arefe.wordpress.com/2007/03/12/ethiopiansdo-we-need-to-do-soul-searching/

    Yes, we do earnestly want to bring about change in our community and the Ethiopian society no matter how much cynical some or many are about such efforts. If this discussion and a book project that is planned to treat these issues in a much detalied, deeper manner can contribute to bring about some change in the lives of even hundreds or thousands of fellow Ethiopians and down he road some more the effort is worth it.

    I encourage you to stop by and read the on-going discussion and if you’ve not read the previous posts from last month to also read them and to contribute something that you want to see bring about some change in our community/society.

    Welcome again,

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  26. Dan
    April 14, 2007 at 7:46 pm

    Hello All,

    Daniyot thank you for sharing with us. I believe it is one of the conspicuous difficulties facing our society as a result of our dysfunctional behavior. So long as we do not have clear self understanding and our involvement in society, we will keep on having no idea what lies in our social and economic future.

    Veritas, you should be greatly appreciated for putting this discussion forth, for we are in grave need of self-understanding. I have not said much about dysfunctional behaviors in our society in my earlier post, because I thought you have well defined the the strong interdependencies between our clear understanding of our values, principles and as to how they drive our actions/decisions , and furthermore the role of actions and decisions in society.

    My last post was to point out one of these dysfunctional behaviors which is hindering and slowing the process forming understanding and clear view, but whereas fastening the forming of opinion and making illfated decision.

    One example to show as to how this behavior is negatively affecting our society is inexistence of accountability in every aspect of ourlife. We have no fear to our own concern, and we only sense the existence of accountability only if its to a third party. That is to say we do not understand the intinsic value of honesty and believe in higher goals that would greatly benefit ourselves, ourchildren and our society. For instance we do not have any regard to honest people who refused to take bribes while they were able to. There is even a saying that goes “Sishom Yalbela sishar yikochewal”. We do not outcast people benefited from such behavior, and due to the society has nothing to show for honesty.

    I could have gone further, if it was not for lack of time.

  27. Veritas
    April 14, 2007 at 7:48 pm

    Hello All:

    I’ve been wondering if all of us are getting busier every day these days. Daniyot and I have said so and are still trying to stop by to read and leave even a short note.

    I hope Tazabi and Dan will do likewise. It’s good to take a moment to welcome a guest like Mariyamawit who stopped by here as you see above.

    Dan, it’s about three days since you’ve shared anything with us and I look forward to hearing much from you. Please stop by and share your thoughts.

    Daniyot you still owe me the answer to the confusion-driven question that I had about Dan vs. Dessalegn that I’ve shared with you; I know that you’re very busy but then when you come back please say something about that too.

    You can see that I’m like a child who insists on knowing and understanding this or that and would create troubles for his/her parents unless they do something about his/her question. That is characteristically true of philosophers as well. I’m being like a child as I live out my philosophical nature that seeks to know and/or understand whatever seems to have some truth about it. What I raised as a question might seem initially trivial but I think it’s possible to show, if there is any need for that, that it is NOT. You, all can see, by now, why I still bring this up, not because I take it to be trivial, needless to say that I take it very seriously.

    Hope to read contributions from you all.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  28. Veritas
    April 14, 2007 at 7:51 pm

    Hello Dan:

    I just saw that you’ve already posted when I just did the one you see in which I was asking about you!

    I’ve not even read what you shared with us; I just wanted to tell that we’re both typing at the same time, most likely, and you posted seconds earlier than me. Or something like that.

    Great to see you back!

    I’m now going to read your post.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  29. Tazabi
    April 15, 2007 at 3:09 am

    Veritas,
    Here’s an example for your previous post questions. Most of us are not true with ourselves. We don’t even tell the truth about ourselves to our family, friends who lives in Ethiopia. Four years ago, i had to go to Ethiopia for 10 days and i took what i need with me. I’ll never forget that one of my old lady neighbour’s who approached me and asked me if i came from USA or not. Anyway, i got yelled at from my family members for the things i ‘ve not done during my stay in Addis , which was spending more money what i don’t have. My point is that some of us we live beyond our means and intentionally or unintentionally, we give wrong impression, misleading other fellow Ethiopians.

    There’s another issue which is very puzzling to me. I live in a small city and there’s only a handful Ethiopians lives where i live at. So, I go to a near by big cities frequently and when i go to Ethiopian restaurants, gift shops i never satisfied with their customer service. (I don’t wanna talk about my experiance with other areas of business…such as a travel agent who locked my ticket in his office when the day i’m supposed to fly to Atlanta,GA). I consider myself friendly, laid back, who loves to laugh, i get along with almost everybody..,but i never satisfied with the service i get from Ethiopian business. What really annoyes me is that the ATTITUDE!! also, there’s a look i get (it’s hard to describe it, though). We’re living in a country which is a very customer oriented country and i sometimes question myself how they’ve survived as a business with these kind of attitude. I don’t know, may be i’m out of towner and i’m supposed to get that kind of service? who knows.

    Danyiot,
    Thanks for sharing with us. I think these days bribery becomes a way of life. I remember hearing that the govt. is cracking down vigourasouly and hope they’ll continue to do so.

  30. daniyot
    April 15, 2007 at 4:16 am

    Veritas

    There is no hidden thing here ,I read Desalegn’s article and Dan’s post at the same time .I have not paid much attention at the moment,Even I did not get a chance to focus on their names,or some thing like the first letter “D” on their both names and there post in the subsequent days have contribute for this gravey mistake,I will pay much attention now on,I think that is all I can say about the situation.

    Thank you

  31. daniyot
    April 15, 2007 at 4:57 am

    I think we have made some considerable progress in last 10 days even if we have too slow to push our contribution as usual ,to be honest we were slow in regard to contribution, but we got a chance to read Desalegns Article was was wonderfully constructed.We said welcome to Dan with his wonderful questions and contribution ,I hope he will help us a lot,Now We got Mariamawite with true interest and her readiness to get rid of those demerits of our character,Veritas you are doing great job,keep it up,Tazabi I do always appreciate you genuine willingness to quest and and defend/learn.

    “I wonder if any one of us could post on how bad character traits directly and negatively affect how society’s well-being can be negatively affected by giving examples.” yes Veritas we ton have tons of example on this area ,but let me say about the some epidemic in our country’s which is strongly associated with ones character.I would like to note that there might be some exceptiont,limitation or factors affecting my statement ,but it is still true,so I prefered to give some example.

    We Ethiopians are victms of HIV/ADIS right?for your surprise guys in one of major cities of southern ethiopia,the majority of HIV/ADIS victems were not youngisters ,prosteutes..,but maried man and women.can you guys believe that ,yes it is true ,married couples were the major victms of HIV/ADIS in some of the cities of south ethiopia and it was one of the heartbreaking and serious statistical data that the health bureau of south ethiopia released with in a decades,so how this happend?it is the resultant effect of our bad character given the linotation,and other related factors,When I heard this statistics I cried for myself for the first time I was humilated to the who are maried and victms,given other factors.

    Do you guys see how bad character are adversilly affecting our society? I will leave the rest to you guys .

    thank you

  32. Tazabi
    April 15, 2007 at 1:00 pm

    Danyiot,
    Oh no! i’m having difficulty discussing AIDS issues as a bad character traits in this because the disease has so many contributing factors. Personally, I don’t agree a farmer wife or husband committing adultery when they travel to sell their goods and then going back to their partner and spreading the virus. If one knows has the virus and knowingly spreading it, that would be very cruel. I’m not aware of adultry is a wider sociatal character traits in our country,though.

  33. Dan
    April 15, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    Hi Tazabi

    I would like to comment on your respone to Daniyot. Although the high number of infection with HIV virus is not entirely due to our bad character traits, we often times hear that most of the infected people were married or in a relationship. Unfortunately I do not have statistical data readily to support that, but We can see the truth to that from our experiences.

    The point I would like to make is in a country like Ethiopia the majority of the population is illiterate and millions still do not have access to primary school education. In such condition the primary source of morality and principles are religious teachings and social environment. And we claim to be religeous people, but we are not willing or strong enough to live by the principles and values of our religion and this comes down to what Veritas third Article in the series of three.

    I happen to know many people who grew up and lived their adult life out side Addis Ababa, and according to what I heard there is a big drift between their religion’s teachings and what they see and experience in the social environment they live in. Infidelity is not something that would get one outcasted in their village. I think it is fair to assume that most of these people committing adultery when they are away are christians or muslims for we claim to be religous people living in christian Island. But to me I do not see who we claim who we are governing our character and stoppig us from risking too much.

  34. daniyot
    April 15, 2007 at 5:25 pm

    Hi Tazabi,

    did you notice what I have mention in my post ,yes I said the folloing when I wrote about the HIV/ADIS case and character”.I would like to note that there might be some exceptiont,limitation or factors affecting my statement ,but it is still true,so I prefered to give some example.”

    Tazani you said “No” at the beginning of your post ,I will say”yes”but I do not have time right now so I will be with you in my usual time,

  35. Veritas
    April 15, 2007 at 6:05 pm

    Hello All:

    First off, I hope that all of the active participants here know that it’s only because I’m exceedingly busy these days that my contribution has been kept to a minimum.

    Now I want to share some thoughts as follows:

    Daniyot:

    Why did I bring up the question that I raised in one of my earlier posts on the 11th about how it happened that you attributed Dessalegn’s article on “dysfunctional behavior” to Dan, our fellow participant here? Since all of us here know that this forum is supposed to live what it preaches, since it is here we mean to promote truth, truthfulness, personal integrity and transparency, etc, I immediately wanted to see such virtues be visible in the midst of some confusion about who wrote what and to whom the credit should go and to correct our mistakes as soon as it’s pointed out by a fellow discussant, me. Since mistakes such as these happen unintentionally all the time, ideally, I wanted for Daniyot to say simply that he meant to attribute the article to Dessalegn, not Dan. That is enough to correct all that.

    And also I expected to see Dan alerting all of us by asking Daniyot whether Daniyot meant to address another person since Daniyot confused the other person with Dan. As one can see from Dan’s post on the 14th, he does not seem to be aware of what I was trying to say about these things for us all to move forward after clarifying these apparently trivial issues but then if we do not strive to take care of such apparently trivial things it’d more difficult to correct more serious mistakes when they happen.

    In all this my intention has been for us to strive to live up to the standards that we’re setting, such as the ones we’ve mentioned on various occasions and now with Daniyot having made his thoughts clear and with my sharing my concern for us all to be more careful I move now to another issue.

    Thanks to all of you participants for sharing some examples of actions that reflect the beliefs, values that many Ethiopians hold and what such values and choices would naturally lead us to. Now in his latest post Dan said this, among other things: “And we claim to be religeous people, but we are not willing or strong enough to live by the principles and values of our religion and this comes down to what Veritas third Article in the series of three.”

    I thought the reference to “Veritas third Article in the series of three” would seem mysterious for some readers in this forum for I think they might not be aware of the three articles Dan is referring to. Dan had a chance to read those other articles that I wrote for another Ethiopian web site, and it’s possible that some of my audience here might have read them from the other place or places (they were posted on more than one place anyways) without realizing Veritas here is Alethia there.

    Though I had no intention of referring to them in our discussion here until this point I do not think that there is anything wrong in doing so for some of you might find them of interest to read and even add your comments on them as PART OF the present discussion without losing track of the heart of our discussions here. Remember Gricean Maxims, please! The articles I’m providing links to touch on most of the issues we’re discussing here but also they are broader and in some sense specific as well. If Dan did not see their relevance to our present discussion I think he would not refer to one of them as he did.

    Here are the links to the three articles; if the links do not show after I post them I’ll leave another note to tell you how you can access them:

    http://www.ethiopianreview.com/opinion_journal/?p=155

    By the way, my other pen name is Alethia, which means truth in Greek. Having said that, I think I’d like to encourage you to read Part III of the articles for that was the article Dan was referring to and which is easily at home with most of our discussions here so far.

    Hope that you’d find something in these articles as well that you can interact with and relate to our present discussions as well. I’ll not discuss explicitly politically oriented issues in the present forum for the following reason which should be clear to anyone who’s read and understood why I chose all these discussions to go the direction they’re going from the very beginning according to my thesis so far, which is: Ethiopia’s fundamental problems, root causes for our societal ills, are not primarily political, rather they are primarily the consequences of bad character traits, vices. That includes those in political leadership, of course, but then it includes equally acutely the wider Ethiopian society whose character traits are the primary part of the root causes for the multiple problems we, Ethiopians suffer from. I chose to FOCUS on us Ethiopians generally without specifically talking about politicians as it’s all too common among most Ethiopians to do so who blame the government about almost all problems. That is not entirely true and my intention is to equally shift some of the blames on the political leadership to many, millions of, Ethiopians, who also are to blame for our own society’s problems. Anyone who has read the present discussion starting from last month would understand what I’m trying to say; or, I hope that is the case.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  36. Veritas
    April 15, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    Hello All:

    As you can see now, with the articles that I’ve shared in the link, they’re three in a series, you’ve a lot of things to read and think about as I keep getting busy these days though I’ll come back to respond to your thoughts whenever I can.

    I hope that we can now go a step forward to proposing some possible solutions to the problems that we’ve shared, though we all know that there are too many like them that we do not need to record here since we seem to have seen the relationship between beliefs, values, and bad characters and the multiple societal problems that afflict us as a society.

    What possible solutions do you want to propose and let’s also make progress in that direction as well.

    I look forward to reading your valuable contributions.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  37. Tazabi
    April 16, 2007 at 1:28 am

    Dan & Danyiot,
    Thanks for you guys comment. If you guys think adultry as a bad Ethiopian society character traits, I’m looking forward to hear your possible solution.
    Veritas,
    Thaks for posting your article link. When i read Dan’s comments, i was not sure what he meant.

  38. Veritas
    April 16, 2007 at 2:11 am

    Hello All:

    I’m dropping this note to share this short note:

    when you read the articles, perhaps all of the them in the link provided above, I encourage you to read my exchange with Daniel under the first article, “Truth is Stranger Than Fiction”. Scroll down all the way, to read the exchanges. If you read them there will be lots of clarifications about article three, which is about “Who am I? Who are we…?”

    Enjoy reading them and of course your comments are most welcome.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  39. Aaron
    April 16, 2007 at 5:39 am

    I have been reading your posts I think since mid of march,I was very much impressed by the points you guys are raising,I know that it might be some what difficult to directly let all ethiopian fellow read or learn some thing good from this discussion through intenate,due to so many reasons ,like this discussion is limited to those who have internate access while majority of our population do not have that much access to local news papers,radio and/or televionlet alone enternate,here I do not means that your works are in vein,but it means it will be better to find a way to let majority of our people have access to this informations,because it look to me very important to let every body see his/her character so as to
    work on it beause there is some destortion on it as we have seen on this blog,you have to find some alternative ways so as to make this vuluable contibution to be seen by your fellow ethiopian.

    I have read the last two or three posts by Daniyot,dan and Tazabi,I was impressed by those posts,bebause .This belog is dealing with our character traits right?here they tried to attach the HIV/ADIS cases with bad character ,here it is true it is the results of bad character ,that is why all community ,govt,organisations in ethiopia are trying to bring behavoural change on the cases of HIV/ADIS,even if it was not successfuldue to so many factors,it is also our societs main problems,it this case is being addressed in this blog it means you are tring to address tha main problems of our society step by step.thank you friends!

    I think Tazabi would like to hear some recommandation from you friends,I know the topic by itself is wide and it is not easy to address in this blog let alone to provide adeuete recommandation but still it is possible to say a word regaring it,

    I have some recommandation,As you know since the emergence of HIV?ADIS a number of policies ,activities and number of things have been done but nothing has changed yet ,we have seen all about HIV/ADIS by every possible means.there for our recommandation should be hard enough to give final solution.

    We need to have hard and strong recommandation,let us say every body in the country should have Identification card of HIV/ADIS

  40. Aaron
    April 16, 2007 at 5:43 am

    I have not yet finished my hard lined recommandation I will continue tomorrow ,I am sorry .

  41. Dan
    April 16, 2007 at 1:29 pm

    Hello all:

    This is to thank you Veritas for always pointing out essential adjustments. As he has mentioned in his post yesterday, I should’ve added a note to my post on the 14th about the attributions of Desalegn’s article to me by Daniyot.

  42. Veritas
    April 16, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    Hello Dan:

    Many thanks for your note and for understanding why I shared what with you all. If you were a typical Ethiopian, whose character is the subject of this discussion and my future book, you’d not accept what I said. We’re making a tangible progress in what we’re doing here. I could tell that you were innocent about the issue I was raising but then I wanted us all to learn something from what I thought could be a good thing for us all to take a note of. Many thanks once again for your understanding.

    Aaron:

    Welcome again, this time, to this discussion board after fighting a battle on another page of this blog with one instance of a fellow cynical Ethiopian. I think you’ve won that battle. It’s a tough battle to fight with fellow Ethiopians like Agere.

    Yes, it’s unfortunate that our discussion is confined to that who’ve access to the internet and that is its limitation obviously. The other problem in that connection is that we all know: even those who’ve access to the internet have been persistently unwilling to be part of this discussion. I’ve sent links to this discussion to many friends of mine, even including two fellow philosophers and the response is a deadening silence!

    I look forward to seeing your contribution.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  43. agere
    April 16, 2007 at 9:45 pm

    varitas,
    I’ve so many solutions for your book, if we split the book income. One of my solution for you is get “tebele”, i’ve a good priest and he’ll treat you real good. yours.

  44. Tazabi
    April 16, 2007 at 10:16 pm

    Aaron,
    Thanks for your comment. I’m interested to hear recommendation in “adultry” related to AIDS/HIV cases, though. When you said ID card, is it for the people to carry it and not to be ashamed of the disease? Or, do you think that carrying the ID will reduce it? How so?

  45. Tazabi
    April 16, 2007 at 10:42 pm

    agere,
    I’m afraid to tell you this, but you need help.

  46. Aaron
    April 17, 2007 at 5:04 am

    Agere

    your gear is still around selling books and/or getting income or something like that ,I am sure that is your final goal in your life ,you have no dream you are in nightmare or illusion, that it why every single words of you are associated with money,selling or income,there is Abashes’ saying “lebaleg melsi Ayisetim”but I have to say a word.
    you are evil minded so no deed to talk to you any more,do you have friends ,families I hope you may have ,is that correct,please just tell them about this blog and you position on this blog ,try to understand there answer.

    I wish I could get a chance to speak a word with you ,To see how many kinds of people this country have,to see how you mental condition is ,To ask you what you will do if you get some american dollar because your night mare is mnly on many
    I am sorry for you ,I do appologize the public because I was a little bit nervous,sorry again,I think this would be my final word with a person like Agere.

  47. Aaron
    April 17, 2007 at 5:52 am

    Let me start from the place where I stopped ,I raised the issue of ID card ,I will say a couple of words on this issue, but I would like to remind you something ,if we keep on sharing Words on this issue ,it will completely change ,the direction of our blog,therefore it will be better to go to the next step once we understand the correlation of HIV/ADIS and our character, that means how our character is badly affecting our society in a different ways, that is enough ,but I have to explain something to you why I recommended ID card ,but I did not said for whom it should be .But I know that we need strong recommendation ,

    Let me tell you some thing, Like a couple of days I ago, I was sharing words regarding this blog with one of my dear friend, We were some times boldly agreed or disagreed on the subject, do not forget our under main umbrella of discussion was character ,in the mean time the case of HIV/ADIS come to our discussion we said a lot its association with character ,then we started to discusses the majors taken by various entities and its impact on the society, nothing has been changed even if the news paper,radio,the elderly ,community organization,govt,and any concerned body have made his relentless effert,but it is alarmingly increasing instead ,then My friend asked the following question” how many of your neighbor did we me lost, how many of our friends , did we lost ,how many of our relatives did we lost ,how many of our friends did we lost ,how many of our families did we lost, how many of our brothers and sisters did we lost? My answer was too many, so my friend asked me so do you think that we can learn about this pandemic very easily? I said NO, so we need some hard lined recommendation becouse the prevous ways were not effective ,yes we need that but what kind ,I was laughed and said ID given other things as they were, that is all how we proposed ID having to hear your vies on this recommendation .that is all

    Thank you Tazabi ,I am sorry if I mislead you.

  48. Tsion
    April 17, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    Aron
    Did you say evil minded!
    I am disgusted.You were acting as if you are a perfect human being by saying all the shit things about others, Ethiopians are like this, they are like that .But you don’t feel any thing when you say such a mean thing a bout a person whom you haven’t any ifea about.So this is your standard!
    Take a good look at yourself before you put a blame on others.Jesus’s admonition would help.Who are you to judge while you have big Gudif in your eyes?

  49. Tsion
    April 17, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    Mariyamawit,
    I like what said about gossip.I think I myself have problem keeping to myself what I’ve heared about others, whether good or bad.How about you?
    I think every social interaction has some gossip to it.Well, some are worse than others.
    The friends you’ve mentioned discuss people.Don’t you think it is follish to expect otherwise? What do you want them to discuss?
    You need to be a liberated mind to come up with noble ideas for discussion.
    Don’t you think?

  50. Veritas
    April 17, 2007 at 2:55 pm

    Hello All:

    Tsion:

    Welcome aboard to this discussion forum where we’re struggling to figure out something that might, and ideally, should and would be of some contribution to our own society though we’re at a stage now when we’re just sharing our reflections etc.

    1) Tsion, Thanks a lot for stopping by and sharing your comments. One thing I want to take a blame for: When I welcomed Aaron back to this discussion I said, “Welcome again, this time, to this discussion board after fighting a battle on another page of this blog with one instance of a fellow cynical Ethiopian. I think you’ve won that battle. It’s a tough battle to fight with fellow Ethiopians like Agere.”

    I think it’s this comment that I made that drew Agere’s response to which Aaron responded the way he did. I sincerely apologize for what followed. I hold nothing against Agere. Mind you, I’m not saying that what I said about Agere was wrong and judgmental or anything like that. I want to leave for everyone in his/her right mind to see whether what I said about our fellow Ethiopian Agere was right or wrong GIVEN her responses/ contributions to this blog. I say again: I apologize for the subsequent exchanges between my fellow Ethiopians which could have been averted, or avoided.

    2) Now having said the above I want to add the following to ALL of us who’re active participants and new comers as well: as I said before and am saying again I WILL NOT RESPOND to any post which is not meant to advance the discussion forward in a significantly positive way. What I mean put differently is this: if any person posts any unacceptable personal attack, malicious thoughts about this or that contributor to this blog etc and if anyone wants to provoke to drag the participants into side issues and destructive issues that are counterproductive to this discussion I think the BEST and RIGHT thing to do is not to respond to THAT OR SUCH A PERSON, an Ethiopian or otherwise AT ALL, as long as that person keeps sharing such unacceptable and counterproductive posts.

    This forum is to promote virtues and one of the best ways of doing that is by resisting the temptation to slide back into practicing vices, bad character traits as our primary purpose here is to fight and overcome such bad character traits in the first place. Agere and Agere-type fellow Ethiopians are welcome to share ideas with us and to debate with us and to show us where we’ve gone wrong when and if we do, etc. It’s a free forum where pursuit of virtues of character and “noble ideas”, as Tsion put it, is the guiding principle. From now on, I hope that we ALL participants try to do our best NEVER, EVEN ONCE, to respond to any post that is counterproductive to the purpose of this discussion. I WILL NEVER DO THAT.

    Finally, it’s instructive to read Tsion’s posts and especially these words: “You need to be a liberated mind to come up with noble ideas for discussion.

    Don’t you think?” One of the clear purposes of this forum, if you’ve read previous posts as of March the 7th, is about a campaign, as it were, to liberate the minds and hearts of fellow Ethiopians, including ourselves, of course, to bring about virtues, good, and desirable character traits as part of a national and individual soul-searching. My hope is that you’ll also contribute to this noble project.

    Welcome again and many thanks for your contribution.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  51. Tazabi
    April 17, 2007 at 10:08 pm

    Aaron,
    Thanks for taking your time to respond. I hope you’re not coming up with this ID recommendation just for the sake of recommendation without any supportive ideas. I guess, sometimes when nothing seems to work, it’s worth trying anything. Hope it helps. Thanks

  52. Veritas
    April 17, 2007 at 10:20 pm

    Hi Tsion:

    When I posted the previous response I was trying to remember a quote that would capture an answer to your question which you raised for Mariyamawit: “The friends you’ve mentioned discuss people. Don’t you think it is follish to expect otherwise? What do you want them to discuss?”

    The answer to your question I remembered from a well known quote goes as follows:

    “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people”. [Eleanor Roosevelt].

    I do not know how you’d react to that but I’d like to defend it if someone wants to challenge this small quote that goes to the heart of many Ethiopian’s deeply ingrained habit, talking about people all the time. Tsion unintentionally gave us a typical reflection of Ethiopian ways of thinking about fellow Ethiopians and how many Ethiopians’ lives revolve around character assassination. By the way, this is not judgment, Tsion; it’s a solid fact, if there is any fact at all, that anyone can prove to any skeptic’s satisfaction. The simple and damning confirmation of such claims about Ethiopians is just to take a few moments to listen when some number of typical Ethiopians get together (coffee houses, bars, wherever) and take note how many of their conversations are about people and how many of those talks about other people are inherently wrong, harmful, and outright bad. These are character traits of many, many fellow Ethiopians. Tsion thanks a lot for bring up something we should have brought up before.

    The following quotes might be of interest for some of us I hope:

    “There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come” and “”In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die, and the choices that we make are ultimately our responsibility.” Both from Eleanor Roosevelt.

    It does not take a genius to see how such ideas are antithetical, or foreign to many fellow Ethiopians.

    Many thanks Tsion once again.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  53. agere
    April 17, 2007 at 10:23 pm

    tazabi,
    You’re too nice to say something to you. The so called philosopher is keep saying agere -like ethiopians and i have to say something to him. He will leave me alone now.

  54. Veritas
    April 17, 2007 at 11:32 pm

    Hello All:

    This is a note to alert you about the possibility that I might not be able to find any time to post anything from Wednsday night until Sunday.

    The reason?I’ll be out of town and will be attending an annual philosophy conference from 9:00am thru 10:00pm every day for three days!

    Whenever I get time to read your posts I’ll certainly read them! I hope you all make this discussion the BEST it could and should be!

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  55. agere
    April 18, 2007 at 1:52 am

    Emama Tsion,
    By the way, you’re the subject of their discussion. Have you looked at your face, yet?Gudif face. Typical Ethiopian women.

  56. daniyot
    April 18, 2007 at 7:04 am

    I think we have said a lot about the nature of our character ,false belief ,and the consequence of this problems ,I know that it may not be enough but we have tried a lot on the area but I prefer to leave the rest to the readers I mean they are the one who can say some thing good or bad about this discussion ,In my part I do believe that I have learned a lot of things, it has gaven me a chance to see myself ,that means it awakened me to see long stretched adverse effect of bad character in myself, in my friends ,my families ,my societies and my country ,at large .

    Having said that I would like to suggest something, I thing it may help us, if not please do not west a minute to forward you usual comment because I want to see myself again, I think that is what I learned in this blog.

    For the purpose of this post I do prefer to use individualistic approach ,I will focus on what we have to do as an individual because if all people do the best for them self individually, if they are successful in the place where they are then ),in effect the society will grow ,because a society is a collection of individual in a ordinary speaking, or it is I think “neo classical approach to Economic growth,” neo classical economic model focus on efficiency and effectiveness in individual firm level ,that means if you maintain equilibrium in a firm level ,then, gradually you will get the equilibrium level of the industry or the market at all[you may call society or county in stead of market for our purpose].I think Tazabi can help me a lot here, any way my main point here is I would like to focus on individuals so as to get a gradual solution on societal level, here are my suggestion ,but they are not sufficient enough to be a recommendations .

    NOTE. This does not mean working in a group, or cooperation or help one another are useless.
    1.If you guys remember I have raised some points which are directly related to this suggestion in one of my previous post .let me remind you it is” In order for us ever effectively figure out and map out how to get to where we want to go, we have to first know exactly where we are starting .where we are, everything we have and everything we do ,begin with and is based on our PERSONAL TRUTH” yes we have to straighten our personal truth ,when we straighten our personal truth it means we have authentic belief and no distortion on our self and we are clean to face the challenges of life so as get access to a better life ,that[personal truth]should be your personal starting point.

    2.We should be honest to our self first before nothing else ,when we do cheating ,lying or counterfeiting other ,it may seem we did something good at least for the time being for our self but it is nothing because ,we humiliated our self ,we disgraced our self ,we devalued our soul. that it what we have to feel when we do evil did ,imagine when you feel that you did something wicked ,when we lie we despise our self ,the way to get red of wicked personality ,low moral status is just to be honest for our self ,let us speak to our self what we are doing when we are lying or deceiving?. Therefore, let us be honest for our self, but nothing else.

    3. Do we guys know, in a vivid detail, who what authentic you is? I am sure we ,most of may lead our life in a compromised way that means ,we way answer our life questions based on the situation ,if you lead your life my compromising ,there will be a huge problem to identify you authenticity on the later days ,you have to seek the truth in stead of compromise ,because you have the right to compromise stealing if you are needy ,that is the worst thing of all. Not living faithfully to your authentic self created a void, an ever present feeling that we are incomplete. Therefore our authentic self is with us it has always been there and it is fully accessible to us if we seek it.

    4. Avoid your fictional self, which is the source of wrong identity and wrong information to yourself and others, let us see our self how do we present our self to others ,how do we speak our behavior ,goal ,achievement, problems to others ,I know we most of us west our time to present our fictional self ,that is why we have character vices ,let me give you some example, or think of this way ,”you come to crossroads and you should go right ,you go left instead .that is a double bad deal .left is taken where you do not want to go ,but us importantly ,it is also keeping you from going in the right direction .if you travel ten kms left when you should have gone ten kms right ,YOU HAVE MADE A THIRTY KMS MISTAKES :THE TEN KMS YOU WENT ON THE WRONG DIRECTION ,THE TEN KMS YOU HAVE TO GO BECK TO GET WHERE YOU STARTED FROM ,AND THEN THE TEN KMS YOU HAVE TO GET TO WHERE YOU WERE GOING ,that is what we pay whenever demonstrate fictional self ,

    5. When you work hard or when you study hard just do it for your self, eventually it will help your society, your country given other factors constant.

    To sum up, seek our PERSONAL TRUTH, WE HAVE TO BE HONEST FOR OUR SELF, and WE HAVE TO GROW AUTHENTIC SELF AND AVOID ARTIFICIAL SELF AND WORK HARD FOR YOURSELF,

    That is what I have for today thank you guys.

  57. Tsion
    April 18, 2007 at 7:08 am

    Veritas
    By saying that gossip is a deeply ingrained Ethiopian character, you are implying that it is this isn’t a trait prevalent in other societies. Right?
    So how many nations have you seen to make such an authoritative and commanding statement? Or you are an omnipotent God? Or you try to act like one?
    Admit it. It feels nice, yeah?

  58. daniyot
    April 18, 2007 at 7:55 am

    Hi Tsion.

    You might be right ,but it is not the issue of omnipotence ,or there is no need to see all the countries in the world to speak about a character problems in Ethiopia as long as we have the problem by itself ,the point you have to understand here is that characteral problem may exist every where in the world ,but the point here is if we Ethiopians are victims of this epidemic , have a huge opportunity to discusses the about the nature ,extent ,and solutions of this problems in the context of Ethiopia.there is no problem as long it is wide spread in our society.

    Let me remind you some thing Veritas has never used the word “gossip” in any any of his posts as far as I know ,please do your best to help yourself and others,please let us see things in a perspective,

    Thank you Tsion.

  59. Veritas
    April 18, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    Hello Daniyot:

    Many, many thanks as always for your great contribution. We’ll discuss your contribution in the days to come. You know that I might not be able to respond for some days as I’ve already informed you guys.

    Hello Tsion:

    Good to read your post and thanks for your contribution. A few thoughts for now for I do not have much time to respond in an extended way with better clarifications as to what I see as a problem (s) in your short note.

    I’ve answered to much similar questions about the value of comparing some problems (we’re discussing about our own society) in relation to other societies and it’s good if you go back and read those responses for I do not see any need for another response to a much similar question. Please read the previous posts dating from March 7, 2007.

    1)Do not worry about me by thinking and saying things like whether I’m God, omnipotent, acting like one, etc. To be honest with you all these ways of talking about another person, now about me, are just examples of a mind and character that can hardly think about anything else about a person’s ideas without reducing another person’s ideas to personal attacks, and malicious thoughts about others.
    a.You’ve already made it clear to us all that your first appearance in this discussion forum was to attack another fellow Ethiopian and your next post was sharing the following: “I think I myself have problem keeping to myself what I’ve heared about others, whether good or bad. How about you?
    I think every social interaction has some gossip to it. Well, some are worse than others.
    The friends you’ve mentioned discuss people. Don’t you think it is follish to expect otherwise? What do you want them to discuss?”
    b.I’ve already responded to your contribution and have encouraged you to continue to contribute your share of ideas but as you can see this is not the usual blog by some Ethiopians just to say whatever they want to say and get away with it. Here you’ve to be WILLING to change; otherwise you’ll see yourself leaving this post like some others have done before only to stay as “undercover readers” as Tazabi once said of those readers who do not want to go public for various reasons. One of the reasons for being behind the curtain is due to fear that their writings would show or give away their character flaws and shame and embarrassment in public. Those of us have decided to undergo change for better no matter how many shortcomings and drawbacks we’ve as Ethiopians. All those who read this blog will judge which category you’ll belong in a few days. CHARACTERS ARE LIKE MIRRORS, as I’ve said before, and you cannot, I repeat, you cannot, easily get away with saying whatever you want to say without REALLY showing all of us here who you TRULY are. We here know all this and are learning the painful truth about our own and fellow Ethiopians’ character problems. Will you continue to contribute your share here? You’re most welcome. But note that this is not a place for display of character flaws WITHOUT ALSO BEING WILLING OR WITHOUT HAVING A DESIRE TO CHANGE. The choice is up to you.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  60. Veritas
    April 18, 2007 at 4:41 pm

    Hello Tsion:

    I thought it’d be helpful if I give you a specific date on which some similar questions to yours were raised and to see my initial response in there; please read the posts on the 12th of March, last month. That would save your time to find which questions were similar to yours if you’re really interested in seeing what we’ve discussed in the past.

    If you read the whole of last month’s discussion, of course, you’ll learn a lot. I encourage you to do so and if you’ve any intention of contributing to this discussion you’d help yourself by saving your time before you raise similar questions, if in case you do, and also that will help the rest of us not to go back again and again to respond to issues previously discussed.

    I hope these thoughts are of some help.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  61. Tazabi
    April 19, 2007 at 12:01 am

    Danyiot,
    When i read you post, i said to myself “Amen”. It has to start from within self. We need to be an accountale individually for evry actions we take. Let’s say, you’re drunk and offered you a ride and then while i’m driving, you were destructing me and as a result i get into accident, so,the police or the insurance company are not going take your destruction into consideration. After all, i’m the driver and i’m responsible for the damage i caused. You got my point, though. The question is that some of us we may remind oureselves to do good in our daily activity and how we maintain the degree of responsibility, accountability collectively? For almost a week, i’ve been thinking about possible solutions and i keep running to the country goverence body. I know govt. is not going to be a police for the bad characters we experianced (obviously, these days our Govt., priorities are something else so, i shouldn’t expect much). I’ve hopes in religious organizations to teach and create awareness. I’ was going to say communication media could play a big role, but what i’m wittnessing even in this blog for people who are capable running a PC are having difficulty keeping the online code of conducts and it’s really worrying me that how we’re going to learn in this manner.

    Veritas, just to let you know that i’m still thinking….
    By the way, i meant to ask you if you’re familiar with a book called in Amharic “Bahre Hasab”? My husband is trying to get it for a while and nobody seems to know what he’s talking about. Please, let me know. I think he said the writer is an Ethiopian philosopher (Getachew?)

  62. Veritas
    April 19, 2007 at 12:31 am

    Hello Tazabi:

    Good to read your post.

    I’m going to be very brief:

    I’ve never heard the book you mentioned before. I do not know all Ethiopian philosophers but then I know most of them (they are not even 20 overall, way less anyways) if we’re talking about those who’re our contemporaries but never heard of Getachew Haile being one of them. He could be. It’s not very difficult to find who writes what if a country has only 10 philosophers and most of them keep track of the others’ work. Right?

    Let me know if you guys get a hold of the book. Good luck.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  63. daniyot
    April 19, 2007 at 1:44 am

    Tazabi

    Thank you for your relentless effert through out this discusion,it is possible to find out a solution from defferent angles, you can suggest the possible solution in respect of governemn,society,community or individuals.

    To me it is very important to look the inside out first(ourself) ,then it will be easier and possible to extend part of the solution to different entities,but first of all we have to see our self ,that is the core issue for me ,that is why I prefered to focus on our individual .

    thank you

  64. Tsion
    April 19, 2007 at 12:04 pm

    Hey are you all a mouth pece to one another.Why don’t you speak for yourself?

  65. Tsion
    April 19, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    Don’t you have anyother thing to say?
    you are all a bunch of mozazas.

  66. daniyot
    April 19, 2007 at 5:19 pm

    Tsion

    Thank you,that is what I can say in my part,…but…..if your intention is to attack persons ,that is extremely nonsense,I am sure that you do not read or you do not have any motive to read this blog,but you have some PC and some thing very immaterial , that is why you are acting like that .

    please come back to your mind and read at least some of the posts,then attack the ideas but not the person,that is when I will be proud of you.

  67. Tazabi
    April 19, 2007 at 11:31 pm

    Veritas,
    Thanks. Just to let you know that i think you named him by mistake “Haile” as his last name. I wrote only his first name “Getachew”. I’ll let you know if we’ve any luck finding it.

    Danyiot,
    Please, keep sharing with us your excellent ideas, stories…..

  68. Dan
    April 20, 2007 at 12:49 am

    Hi Daniyot

    I’ve been too busy over the last few days and I didn’t get a chance to say anything on your post. It really is an important enforcement to the main theme of this discussion. I am firm a believer of clear understanding of self and sincerity in every aspect of life, for number of significant reasons including what you’ve stated in your post. Hope to read more in the coming days.

  69. Veritas
    April 20, 2007 at 6:03 am

    Hi Tazabi:

    No time to write much as I said before. Thanks for alerting me for the possibility of confusing the Getachew we’re talking about.

    Having said that, I think the writer of the book you mentioned is Getachew Haile. If I got that wrong once again, let me know. I searched for the writer of that book and that is what I’ve found.

    I got to go now.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  70. Veritas
    April 20, 2007 at 8:11 am

    This days we are getting some more and more participants even if what so ever sort they might be from, it is interesting to see many faces of people, this directly or indirectly certify that at least some people are paying attention to this blog, this is wonderful, on other hand we do not have any loop hall to determine the quality or quantity of participants (as a reader and as contribute) there is no way to limit or restrict them, but there is something we can do from our part ,let say Veritas has introduced us so many valuable points so as to keep our discussion clear, cozy and meaningful, that is one, when we encountered some interludes ,we have to see things in a positive way ,that means we have to pay scarifies to shape ,to teach ,to save those guys who would like to mess around with or without intention(just for the sake of saying), that is the second alternative ,Again we have the right to ignore ,let is try one of the either ways and pursue our discussion.

    As all of us (I think) agree, we are victims of bad character belief and many other related behavioral problems, there for we need character education? Is that impossible, no nothing is impossible as long as we are ready to challenge it and human mind has a great potential of problem solving,

    It should be a national movement creating schools that foster ethical, responsible, and caring young people by modeling and teaching good character trough emphasis on universal values{I hope Veritas will give us a detailed explanation on universal values when he get time }.it should also be the intentional ,proactive effort by schools ,government, community,family,organizations and any concerned party to instill in their students important core ,ethical value such as caring ,honesty, fairness ,responsibility, and respect for self and others, but we have to take some factors in to account.

    When I get time I will say a few words on why we need character education, and how it works.
    Thank you guys

  71. daniyot
    April 20, 2007 at 8:44 am

    CORRECTION

    It was me who has posted the above paragraphis on the issue of chracter education,in the mean time I was reading some of Veritas articles and papers from some other related links,accidentaly I wrote his name on my pc,that is how it happened ,please read As” Daniyot says “instead of “Veritas says ”

    I do appologize for the mistakes,sorry Veritas and all

  72. Tsion
    April 20, 2007 at 10:04 am

    something very immatreial!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Ahaaaaaa!
    What a ‘asmesay’ statment!
    Babe, I am in my right mind, I tell you I am.It is just that i am dnot; try to sound prepostrous like you.

  73. Tazabi
    April 20, 2007 at 11:05 pm

    Danyiot,
    You just reminding me of a class we used to have “Gebregeb” in elementary school. I’m not sure if the subject still in the cariculm,though. What i remember was that it’s a bsic ethics class (not entirely religion). Of course, i’m talking about the good old days, and since then many changes occured, especially education in the lower level became unthinkable. I agree, we need a grass root effort. My usua question is how these would be implemented? I don’t wanna sound like illusional diaspora who would think what the western system could be applied to Ethiopia in the same order and fashion. I understand Veritas’s book project would be very instrumental, however, we’ve to find a way to address the issue. In the mean time, how about submitting petition to Ministry of Education in Ethiopia? (who knows, we may have 4 signatures from us only), but at least we would do something in our part.

    Veritas,
    You’re right. I googled him and i found Getachew Haile. I may ask favor from back home.

  74. Dan
    April 20, 2007 at 11:43 pm

    Hi Tazabie

    I too was old enough at the time for that “Gebre-gub” education you made mention of, and I do agree with you in adding that to the present curiculum. But I believe the people whose actions and decisions have shaped or still influencing the existing circumstances and situations in our society attended school when “Gebre-gu” was part of primary school education, considering only part of the population that had access to primary schooling. I think it is the process of living that disendowed us off all the important value and principles we have been discussing here.

  75. daniyot
    April 21, 2007 at 6:07 am

    Hi Tazabi and Dan,

    Tazabi

    Thank you very much for usual enquiry ,and ambition ,yes it is possible to implement, but the main thing here is we have to come into agreement on the subject matter ,we have to work it out ,we have to see the need from different angle ,then it is possible to design implementation strategy, right.

    Dan

    Thank you Dan you clarified the gap between Gibre geb and character education, both of you guys are right, there is moral education which is very much similar to our Gibre geb and it is not a new idea .it is in fact as old as education itself,” but the way we see character education should be much more different glass than the then Gigre geb ,because the way of life ,the influence of technology and the current socio economic situation of the world is much more different from that time ,here it does not mean to ignore the values of gibre geb ,even it is a spring board for our today’s character education as Dan pointed out in his post .

    In countries all over the world, education has had two great goals: to help people become smart and to help them become good” as many intellectuals in this area asserts .Good character is not formed automatically; it will be developed over time through a sustainable process of teaching, example learning and practice –it is developed through character education ,the intentional teaching of good character is a sin-qua-none specially in today’s society since our society faces many danger and unknown to earlier generation, besides we have concluded that in one way or the other we are the victims of bad characters .

    The need for character education is much more important to young people than any body else in our country, one for it is much more easier to shape once character or it is possible to instill a good character at early age that later, please our youths are very much prone to the negative influence of media and other external sources prevalent in today’s culture, but it should not only be limited to young people.

    There are a different ways to show how character education works, for instance to be effective, character education must include entire school community, and must be connected throughout the entire school curriculum and culture, it should promote core value of our society in all phases of school life, it should include proactive strategies and practices that help children not only understand core, ethical values but to care and act up on. Here the roll of churches, mosques, community organization and parents are so tantamount, it the resultant effects of the sum total effort of these all entities, and it is a process.

    The over all goal of character education is to develop students socially, ethically, and academically by infusing character development into every the school culture and curriculum. And its implementation is also possible when formalized character education begins when members of a school, along broad community ,NGOs ,parents ,traditional institution like” edir members” churches and mosques involvement ,come together to determine the core ethical values that they share and that form the basis for good education .

    There might be financial problem to develop the theory, to convince different societal group on the need for character education, to develop curriculum and to implement the character education, but let us leave the issue of finance just to Ethiopians living abroad and their respective community based associations and organization (just an idea)

    Thank you guys, by the way this is what I have collected from different articles for the purpose of this discussion, here I need your help to make the proposal more ideal and working.

  76. Tazabi
    April 21, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    Dan,
    I don’t want to make conflicts by creating a good generation and a bad generation or good “gone” bad generation catagories here. I say sometimes my generation is much sensible than what we’ve now (i’m not even that old and when i compare my generation i feel ancient). We MUST find a better way for today’s kids so, they won’t become a victim of bad character traits like us or a genration before us. I’m not saying our generation already screwed up society and let’s focus on new. It would be much easier to teach kids in early age than grown ups. There’s no overnight solution for all of these, it’s going to be a long journey, and progressive. However, in order to make changes, we need to start some where. My vision is “one person at a time”.

    Danyiot,
    I was talking with my nephew on this issue and told me that he never had Gebregeb in elementry school and what we had instead was sort of communist ideology and principle teachings and then they changed the name to civic. My point here is that it’s not what it’s called, but we need a class program designed to cover all the areas you mentionrd above.

  77. Dan
    April 21, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    Hi Tazabi

    I would provolke all the conflict if in making such catagories there was way of getting into the roots of our societal problem. I understand that we are in an exploratory discourse here and for one thing, this is a challanging process that should be pursued at great depth so at to reach as many as constitutive elements of our bad character traits. For the other, the limitations and constraints we are living within shoule be paid thougtfull attentions so that the solutions and remedies to these bad character traits, we are suffering from, are studied and developed in manner suitable to our existing condition. Anyway we can discuss this further, after identifying as many problems contributing to our societal loss of essential vices for social development as possible.

  78. Veritas
    April 22, 2007 at 5:47 am

    Hello All:

    Though I’ve been away from this discussion I’ve been trying to read what you gus have been discussing and I want to say thank you for keeping the discussion alive.

    I won’t be able to actively participate in this discussion for another week. I’ve writing deadlines to meet next week. I’ll try to share some reflections as soon as I get time.

    Please keep the discussions going.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  79. Veritas
    April 23, 2007 at 6:31 am

    Hi guys,

    Due to lack of Veritas contribution or something else ,we are lagging a little bit behind ,isn’t it? but we have to work hard at least to cover the gaps,Guys let us Go!I hope he will be back soon but we have to to do something until he comes back,

    I have a question,what do you guys think or what comes to your mind first when you think an Ethiopian fellow?I mean how do you design the nature of An Ethiopian fellow in your mind?

    let me give you an example ,one upon a time Ato Sibihat was asked how he sees his fellow Ethiopian,then he said ,”we are the first to make appointment with friends,relative,or more someone we want to,we are the first to miss the appointment with out any suffient reasons,then we are smart or busy enough to create false reason to justify our absence or to convince “this is just example or in other words Sibihat may not said that ,just example,another example ,our hospitality ,just let us design our common characters ,then we will work out on our common values,let us see those points if it is possible

  80. Daniyot
    April 23, 2007 at 6:37 am

    Guys I am sorry I made the same mistake again ,I do not know how to justfy but it was happened ,I need your correction again,please the above post is mine,I was reading his articles through google ,that is how it was happend ,I am sorry again

  81. Veritas
    April 24, 2007 at 1:17 am

    Hello All:

    Daniyot has expressed a little bit of concern as to how our discussion is not making enough progress these days and I think I share his concern and wish that this lack of adequate progress is not due some absence in my share of contributions to the discussion these days. I hope that is not true.

    Just a quick addition to Daniyot’s mentioning of HOSPITALITY which I want to see him develop further for all of us to discuss and develop it a bit further; in the mean time here is what I just want to share:

    I think many Ethiopians sincerely and earnestly believe that among the uniqueness of us Ethiopians, generally, is our being well known for our hospitality. I’ve been very doubtful of something about Ethiopians’ being people with something unique to their hospitality. I’m not denying that there is something positive to be said for Ethiopians being people of hospitality in some sense. That probably is true.

    My concern is not with whether Ethiopians’ claim for hospitality is based on something genuine, true, and self-less desire in helping others as they host other people. I doubt that the foundation of such probably widespread culture of hospitality is a genuine and truthful and self-less desire to extend kindness to others with a true sense of generosity and goodness and love etc. Just take a minute or so to reflect on who we Ethiopians are generally inclined to extend our hospitality to: Strangers without any sense of expectation for something in return? Or, to people who are poorer than us, the less fortunate ones? Or, do we generally extend our hospitality with some sense of expectation in return whether that be thanks from recipients of our hospitality, and also with a desire that others would speak good of us and leave the impression that we’re kind and loving people? Or, is it generally the case that many Ethiopians extend their hospitality mostly to their own circle of friends, people from more or less their own socio-economic status, religious and ethnic affinity, etc, etc?

    Hope that these questions show us whether our character traits are not reflected in even our well known claim to fame, hospitality of the Ethiopian people! Now back to you all.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

    P.S. I’ve been wondering about Aaron and his absence from here lately. I hope that he’ll be a more active participant here as he’s demonstrated to us to be so for a while with a promising beginning.

  82. Veritas
    April 24, 2007 at 1:25 am

    PP.S.

    Sorry for a typo:

    The paragraph that starts thus, “My concern is not with whether Ethiopians’ claim for hospitality is based on something genuine, true, and self-less desire in helping others as they host other people” should NOT have the “not” in it. Please ignore the “not”. The presence of “not” in the sentence changes the thought that I meant to share with you all. Read it without “not” please. That means, put another way, there should not have been “not” in the sentence.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  83. Dan
    April 24, 2007 at 3:56 am

    Hello All,

    I share Veritas’ concern, and I believe our claim being a people of hospitality should not be looked at that same way for every segment of our society. And the reference of my post here generally is self-less desire to extend kindness and help to others without expecting anyform of return, not only hospitality.

    Ethiopia is a country where more than half of the population lives without its basic needs fully met and without any access to basic social services, and they should be looked at separately. There are the other ones who live in total abundance driving their luxury SUV’s and sedans every day in cities full of impoverished children and Youth and live in their multimillion birr Villas and without having no fear to their own concern, and their kindness and hospitality is entirely different from that of the former ones. In making these catagories, I am not implying there are no in-between smaller segments.

    I think our Kindness is limited only to the ones who are very near to us and its seems to me we the ones who belong to the former group are hospitable and kind to eachother and our giving of any form of help is not based of any expectation, for we all are living in desperation and there is no end in sight, at least in a forseable future. And I believe it is the kindness and giving amongst ourselves that makes our life, that has no material comfort whatsoever , warm enough to make us think of all others regardless their social and econmic class. That is why we don’t see unpleasant visits made to the neighborhoods and properties of others in our strenuous to only have our basic needs met.

    The other ones who are living in the island of abundance in the midst of poverty and total destitution, we may claim we also are people of hospitality and belive in treating others with love and kindness. If we say so, we are not who we claim we are, for there is nothing we are doing to others who are in desperate need of our help. But we are benefiting from the kindness, love and humanity of others, for we are leading a peaceful life free of any disruption despite our being oblivious to others’ pain.

  84. Tazabi
    April 24, 2007 at 10:57 pm

    It depends of the nature of “help”, being kind.., it’s a human nature expecting return from others (it’s easy for me to say this because my carrer is in business). I would say by far we’re very hospitable society and we do it mostly because we’re God fearing people and also that’s what our parents thought us. Little we have, we’re very giving society too. Remember, we don’t even drink coffee alone, we hand out food, money to the needies. I think one of our distinct culture which separate us from others is that our hospitability is not limited to the people who’re close to us.

  85. Daniyot
    April 25, 2007 at 12:40 am

    Hi guys,

    You guys deserve many, many thanks, at least for the following reasons ,if you remember I just used one word “hospitality” in my previous post ,but you did a great job by explaining it in relation to our character ,therefore I would like to add my part here ,

    Are we kind enough to any one is need of help, or are we contributing our best to share what we have with those who are desperately in need of their basic needs, here I am not saying giving away what you have with out any good reasons, I do not mean that .the answer for the above question may be yes or no, I can say yes in some parts of rural Ethiopia, I do say ,No in all over urban areas ,here I do not mean we do not have kind people in urban area, but they are imminent ,when ever we discuss about those kind of issue we keep in mind that to which part of our people we are referring to( I think Veritas has mention this thing in one of his posts)so no need to explain about the group here .let me go to the basic questions.

    In the history of our country we the Ethiopians are considered as the most hospitable people in the world, yes many of us claim that, but this statement might be true some decades ago, at the current time it may not look true for me for a number of reasons .If we acct as a hospitable, it must be associated with expectation of some reward in the future, that is what I can say,

    In our country we have hundreds of community organization who are engaged in catering service to the needy, who have a sacred plane in there documents to help the poor, but do you guys remember the employee of those community organizations (NGOs), why they like to get employed in this organization? To contribute there best to help the needy, to take part in the process of poverty alleviation, in short no, they do not, they want it because they want higher salary and benefits, next to snatch some of the money from the mouths of the poor again, please just give a few minutes and try to analyze the life of those peoples, here I do not mean all of the people, but many of then, either they seek higher salary or in some way to involve in corruption, they have no wisdom to help the poor.

    Let us see today’s newly emerged milliners, just go back in memory to the last one and half a decades, who are they? And how did they accumulated millions of many, we can also imagine the rate of return on any kind of genuine investment in a country like ours, but how on earth a given individuals become milliner just with in a couple of years,it is impossible, let see them ,they are either government ,company or NGOs employee one time ,the original source of their investment is embezzled public property in one way or the other .those may look like the most hospitable people in the world or they may do some hospitable activities from what they acquired some evil means.

    Then we look like we are hospitable, I do not think so.

    Tazabi

    I have some words to Tazabi; she says we are the most hospitable society in the world, no we are not but we are smart enough to act like that, do you remember what we give away when we see needy person out side our door? We give food which is desperately left behind (which is firfar) with whom do we drink coffee, with our neighbors, who can offer the same coffee after a while, right? How do we spend our time in coffee ceremony, if you also expect some thing in return for your good did, it means your relation is some thing like a business, but not a benevolent, do you remember that in the words of God which says “do not let your left hand know what you are giving in your right hand “but how do see this words of God, Are we really acting according to his word or do we like to make a big announcement in front of the public ,let us see our self one more time!!!!

  86. Tazabi
    April 26, 2007 at 12:21 am

    Daniyot,
    I totally disagree with you. You may find very small number of rich folks and few Ethiopian who works for NGO’s acting irresponsibly. Iwould say , it’s not fair charcterizing us as you mentioned above. We’re the people who watch our neigbor’s children, look after our neigbour elders, we help out stranger in a good and bad times, i might add, we don’t get worried for our unannoced visit, either.

    By the way, we don’t invite our neigbour for coffee because we anticipating the same invitation back later. Are we talking about the same Ethiopia, here? Also, we’re very poor people and i don’t find it odd sharing whatever left-over from our lunch or dinner we’ve. Ideally, it’s nice to do volunteer work and dedicating your time and money to help others, but the econmy situation in Ethiopia is not allowing you to do just that. Well, first, you need to help out yourself.

    Given the lack of employment in Ethiopia, your choices are very limited. I know personnaly three guys who’ve a master’s degree and they were unemployed for so many years and endded up working for UN voulnteer program so, they’re hoping (after a certain year services) that one day they may get higher as a full time employee. Life is not rossy up there.

    In the end, i would say that it’s not fair to assasinate our hospitality characters.

  87. Dan
    April 26, 2007 at 4:14 am

    I don’t think there its only a matter of few Ethiopians that we don’t know too many NGO’s that have succesfully achieved the good humanitarian cause they were established or stood for.

    I don’t think claiming that we are kind, loving and God fearing people as a society is accurate characterization. To mention just few examples, If a person just get hired they might be asked whether or not he/she could get a chance to steal, it may not be literally as such, but it happens. Not only the ones who get the chance to work for these NGO’s and foreign companies, there are many well to do people we see arround the city, and when you ask what these people do for living, you get to hear that they were/are purchasers of some Government institution or company. They could be church goers and who invite friends and relatives to their house oftentimes, the very same people claim that religeous god fearing kind people, and they face no objection to their claim in our scocity.

    We have even brought this behavior to North America. There are thousands of Ethiopians living in the United States who steal, make significant financial contributions to their church and manage to maintain close relations with their community members and at the same time considered as God fearing, kind people who love their country and fellow Ethiopians.

    We may not have much as a society, but we are no where close to say we have done all what we could to our fellow citizens. If we really were concerned about others there were many things that we would not see about us, that we do see hapenning now.

  88. Daniyot
    April 26, 2007 at 5:36 am

    Hi Tazabi please, let us just read this definition and meaning of hospitality so as to summaries our points.
    Hospitality
    For an in depth understanding of the term of hospitality, the starting point is the etymology of the word itself. The word hospitality derives from the Latin hospes, which is formed from hostis, which originally meant a ‘stranger’ and came to take on the meaning of the enemy or ‘hostile stranger’ (hostilis) + pets (polis, poles, potentia) to have power. Furthermore, the word hostire means equilize/compensate.
    If now you combined the above etymological analysis with the story of Telemachus and Nestos you can start develop in your mind the concept and idea of hospitality.
    First of all Telemachus is a complete stranger for Nestor, however he was hosted and treated more than warmly. In the Homeric ages, hospitality was under the protection of Zeus. The God of the Gods. The semantic behind this was to highlight the fact that hospitality for Ancient Greeks was of the utmost importance. A stranger lost in the night could be invited inside the house of a Greek family, been fed, offered wine and only after he/she was feeling at home could be asked to tell his/her name.
    After having welcomed Telemachus, Nestor asks his unknown guest to introduce himself to find out that he was the son of Odysseus. By that time, the man in front of him was a complete stranger, a hostis as described in the etymological analysis of hospitality at the beginning. Nonetheless, Telemachus was equilized with his host. Another meaning that is included in the etymology of hospitality. Note also that one of the Nestor’s sons slept on a bed close by Telemachus to take care that he should not suffer any harm. This means that hospitality for Ancient Greeks include also the idea of protection. Lastly, Nestor put a chariot and horses at Telemachus’ disposal so that he could travel the land route from Pylos to Sparta in two days, having as charioteer Nestor’s son Pisistratus. The last element of hospitality as can be realized is guidance.
    To cut a long story short, hospitality is about compensating/equilizing a total stranger with the host, making him feel protected and at the end of his hosting, guiding him to his next destination.
    Now bring in mind how many times you have been asked for your passport or credit card before even entering your room after a long and exhausting journey. Bring also in mind how many times has a waiter “invaded” your hotel room while having a shower, despite the “do not disturb sign” and lastly remember how many times have you been looking for a TAXI outside the entrance of a hotel in a foreign city while the bellboy or the concierge or whoever responsible was absent

  89. Daniyot
    April 26, 2007 at 6:21 am

    Hi all

    REMINDER

    The afore mentioned paragraphs are not mine, but what I find out from Google when I happen to see that we are in the two extremes of the issue, plus I do believe that defining an issue helps a lot to understand the subject matter or it helps to avoid unnecessary dialog if we are willing to take time and see things in a perspective. I hope it will at least help us to get some clue about the term HOSPITALITY. I will be with you guys by tomorrow, TAZABI UNTIL THEN PLEASE TRY TO GO BACK AT LEAST IN MENORY TO OLD DAY AND RECENT DAYS OF ETHIOPIANS LIFE STYLE SPECIALLY IN THE CITIES OR JUST TRY TO SEE PEOPLE AROUND YOU ,AND THE LIFE YOUR FIRNDS JUST SHARING TOGATHER .

  90. Tazabi
    April 26, 2007 at 9:29 pm

    Danyiot an Dan,
    Thanks for your comments, but i see these issues from totally a different angle so, i don’t agree.

  91. Veritas
    April 27, 2007 at 1:08 am

    Hello All:

    I’ve been reading your posts though I’ve not been able to actively participate in the discussions as usual for reasons I’ve already told you all.

    I just wanted to share a few thoughts on the item being discussed: hospitality:

    I think I largely agree with what Daniyot and Dan have been saying and could hardly see why Tazabi disagrees with their ideas so much. Let’s remind ourselves what we’re discussing here for the most part: it’s about some typical and widespread character flaws, vices that we find in our society that contribute to some negative consequences in terms of actions that reflect respective characters: good or bad. Our focus has been on bad character traits and their consequences for the society at large.

    If our understanding of what hospitality means is more or less the same, as Ethiopians, how can we arrive at such diametrically opposite conclusions from what we observe among our active participants about the subject under discussion? I could not help wondering how Tazabi’s understanding of hospitality would be such that that would bring about such opposite conclusions as she repeatedly shared with us.

    Let’s grant Tazabi that there is some degree of hospitality among the Ethiopian society. I do agree with that. As we’ve been trying to dig deeper than our casual and less careful thinking we ordinarily do we’re aiming here to understand the deeper reasons why many fellow Ethiopians do what they do, including hospitality. As always, I’m more interested in the deeper reasons for human actions that reflect the beliefs and values of those humans who perform this or that action. Immediately, once we start thinking in terms of seeking reasons for our actions what we’ve granted above, that is, that there is some degree of truth that Ethiopians generally are people who practice hospitality starts to go away.

    Yes, many Ethiopians are APPARENTLY people who practice hospitality. Do not forget those who genuinely practice hospitality but also do not forget that they are NOT the majority of us, Ethiopians. But at the end of the day, the truth is that the reasons for those who apparently practice hospitality are not because such people are genuinely and selflessly loving and exceptionally kind and generous and compassionate. I very much DOUBT that.

    I want to leave it for Tazabi how she would defend her belief that Ethiopians generally are mostly about taking care of strangers, welcoming guests, feeding unknown (strangers again) needy people ALL SUCH ACTS WITHOUT ANY SENSE OF EXPECTATIONS FOR ANYTHING IN RETURN OR RECIPROCAL ATTITUDE AT ALL. Show me one Ethiopian who feeds, hosts, etc for example, one foreigner in Ethiopia as one’s guest WITHOUT ANY EXPECTATION IN TERMS OF SOME FAVOR, BE IT FINANCIAL OR OTHERWISE, and I’ll show you 101 fellow Ethiopians who APPEAR to be good and kind to a foreigner for as many favors in return as possible. Examples such as these are almost countless for they happen in Ethiopia and among Ethiopians even in Diaspora so much so that defending the view that many Ethiopians as people who practice hospitality does not seem to be right by any stretch of reasoning.

    Tazabi please before turning to your defense of any genuine sense of hospitality among fellow Ethiopians please re-read what I’ve said to distinguish who is doing what to clarify some confusions. I did not say that there is no genuine practice of hospitality among Ethiopians. I did acknowledge that many fellow Ethiopians practice some sense of hospitality but most of them for WRONG REASONS that are reflections of their flawed character traits. If many Ethiopians are professionals or experts in self-deception and deceiving others, it’s when it comes to claiming that they are a special group of people whose degree of hospitality is far above all other societies. Nothing can be farther from the truth.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  92. Daniyot
    April 27, 2007 at 6:55 am

    ”Thanks for your comments, but I see these issues from totally a different angle so, I don’t agree.” This is just what Tazabi said in her previous post, I think she might be busy, but I an eager to hear from her about the angle through which she sees HOSPITALITY, I hope also that she may come up with some concert evidences in a way to convince us, that is what I want to know and I am more than willing to hear her points directly from her because I want to learn more and more about my society.
    Please, Tazabi take your time, but come up with points which may support your disagreement .having said that Veritas has come with extra ordinary approach to hospitality; he has showed us where the truth lies even if it is bitter, it is really bitter, but still it is truth, that means there is no loop hall to escape, there is no dos and don’ts here.
    .I know that we may worry about families ,relatives and close friends to some extent ,we may pay some attentions to those by the time when they get ups and downs & twist and turns for a given period of time ,we do that for some times some of us BUT THAT IS NOT HOSPITALITY ,THERE IS NOTHING TO DO WITH HOSPITALITY ,you can say am hospitable or he/she is hospitable when you practice something like this “A stranger lost in the night could be invited inside the house of a Greek family, been fed, offered wine and only after he/she was feeling at home could asked to tell his/her name.” imagine you do not ask his/her name until the stranger is being satisfied with what you supplied to him ,when you do that then you can say that that you did something hospitable ,please do not bring our poverty, and lack of subsistence into this points because you are always expected to supply what you have ,but nothing else, so hospitality works in any economic rank of a society ,you have the right to supply a glass of water if that is what you have or you may give” Doro wet” it does not matter as long as you can afford it .Is it possible to us to claim hospitality as our seal ,no I do not think so ,
    For some extent Tazabi may forgot some of our traditions trough time because she said “By the way, we don’t invite our neighbors for coffee because we anticipating the same invitation back later.” no Tazabi, please do not go far away ,just ask one of your friends they tell how the coffee ceremony take place, it is almost tit for tat (what I can do ,it is true ,how many of rich people do you know in Ethiopia, just go back in memory, and try trace back their friends ,how many of their friends are extremely different economic status, how many of them become life long friends given that their economic positioning ,we have some thing masked like for a centuries ,some it almost turned to look like true but it is not true when you uncover the long existed mask the truth ,YES WE HAVE TO DIG DEEP WHAT SO EVER THE COST MIGHT BE SO AS TO GET THE TRUTH AND ITS SOLUTION , AND THAT SHALL SET US FREE AND THAT IS WHEN WE CAN SAY THAT WE ARE TRUE ETHIOPIAN ,BUT THE REST IS JOCK UNLESS IT IS HIGHLY WORKED OUT ,
    In his last post Veritas forwarded the some question like statement for Tazabi, which is” I want to leave it for Tazabi how she would defend her belief that Ethiopians generally are mostly about taking care of strangers, welcoming guests, feeding unknown (strangers again) needy people ALL SUCH ACTS WITHOUT ANY SENSE OF EXPECTATIONS FOR ANYTHING IN RETURN OR RECIPROCAL ATTITUDE AT ALL.” Please Veritas do not worry to find out her response she already said as follow,” It depends of the nature of “help”, being kind.., it’s a human nature expecting return from others (it’s easy for me to say this because my carrier is in business).therefore there must be something wrong on her understanding of hospitality or something else, but I have a question her what is the point here that lead you to mention your areas of carrier ,I mean what is the need to mention business carrier here, because we are talking about hospitality which polar opposite business relation
    Tazabi if you know you have a chance to read some national income and equity models you will not be confused on the issue, the worst thing or one thing you have to fight if you are in a war of national income distribution, you will be winner when you see fair distribution income or you try to avoid accumulation of wealth through different means to a few part of the society, that what you have to avoid, it think you have to read” trickle down theory “In our country about 85% of our national wealth is in the hands of few individuals ,so do not say like …”… You may find very small number of rich folks and few Ethiopian who works for NGO’s acting irresponsibly”

    Here I have some issue here, do we love our country? What do we understand when we mean that? and how can we measure and test our love toward our country? What do you guys have here?, let us be free and out of emotion, because we are going to measure our love to our homeland and test our self, is that ok .let us go guys .

    Thank you Tazabi and all

  93. Veritas
    April 27, 2007 at 9:51 pm

    Hello All:

    I look foward to being fully back for a while in the middle of next week. I’ll try to do the review of Teodros Kiros’s book on Zara Yacob within the next two weeks and then I’ll post the review here.

    Otherwise, I’m following the discussions as I’ve told you and look forward to seeing active exhanges of ideas go forward as we keep learning from one another.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  94. Tazabi
    April 28, 2007 at 12:32 am

    I found it very interesting that everytime when i’ve disagreement with you guys, i either don’t understand the term or the subject matter. When it comes to Ethiopians hospitality i totally disagree with you guys. Oh, well, If we don’t have acceptable hospitality, my single opinion does not change anything. I would love to hear the solution or how it gets corrected from all of you. You guys could talked about who works where, how they earned their money,and the people income distribution, however, these have nothing to do with Ethiopian people hospitality. In my opinion, i don’t find it relvant to this discussion.
    Danyiot,
    I was not comparing hospitality with business. The reason i said “It depends of the nature of “help”, being kind.., it’s a human nature expecting return from others (it’s easy for me to say this because my carrer is in business) is that you guys were saying “our kindness, help is limited to someone close to us, expectation in return..” so, If you’re in a business world, you may help others, being kind, but you’re expecting in the same return from the help you’ve given. I was not relating business with hospitality.So, it depends of the circumstances, when you help someone you may expect in return.

    I understands you guys effort here, but if we bring all the problems under the earth here and trying to find solution, we may not be effective.

  95. Veritas
    April 28, 2007 at 4:13 am

    Hi Tazabi:

    A quick question for you, but before that: I’ve also found it both very interesting and puzzling to see how we as Ethiopians talk past to each other about this subject matter: hospitality, more than others we’ve been discussing here.

    Now would you please tell us what you mean by hospitality in general and then give us how that understanding is reflected in what we are discussing about our society’s degree of hospitality or lack of it? As you know so well by now, this is a discussion group where our opinions do not count much until we support them with good reasons.

    As you know this well, this is not a typical Ethiopian blog where people come and say they agree or disagree with others about this or that and leave it there. Such typical Ethiopian style ways of “arguing” about important issues are useless and I do not think that you’re intentionally doing that. I can only think of the reason for your short words of disagreement due to lack of time.

    I look forward to reading your thoughtul and careful reflections on the issue that we’re discussing with a desire to advance this discussion forward.

    One more question that just occurred to me right now: have you had a chance to order and ideally read one of the books that I recommended for us to read, esp., the book on critical thinking? I assure you that if we all follow some reasonable and careful ways of proposing ideas and arguing for them, this discussion will develop and mature none like it. I’m not singling you out to recommend such a valuable book,but that does not mean that I do not mean to recommend to you too such a reading and practice of writing and sharing thoughts in the days to come and for your personal life.

    Look forward to reading deeper and more careful contributions from Tazabi and all of us!

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  96. Sam
    April 28, 2007 at 4:16 am

    You people are ethiopian people haters. Who gives you authority to declare we do not have hospitability? Who are you? God? We wouldn’t have hospitality to a people like you. We have no respect to Melese butchula’s. if we’ve no hospitality, ask yourself who you’re and then you know why. You don’t know how to treat people and you don’t know how to recive. you all are butchulas and you get no respect from nobody. Dogs are not allowed in the church gate and so do you. How much you are charging your villagers for coffee. there is no coffee where you come from.Learn Ethiopian history before you open your hate mouth.Why you’ve problem with rich people. You are jealous of rich people.

  97. Veritas
    April 28, 2007 at 5:11 am

    Hi Sam:

    Thanks for stopping by. No (!!!) to everything you said.

    If you’ve read even part of the standard for being “eligible” to freely discuss issues/ideas here you’d not have said a word about this or that since by sharing shuch thoughts you’ve only confirmed to to ALL that you’re among those fellow Ethiopians whose lies, self-deceptions, arrogance, pride, pretensions, ignorance, etc have brought this discussion into existence in the first place. You’re among the very reasons for the discussions coming to existence. That is your contribution. Well done, Sam!

    Some day you will have a chance to see how shameful ideas you’ve shared here. Some learn from their shameful thoughts and acts and you might be one of those fotunate ones. I hope you will live to see the fruit of what I’m talking about.

    Please go back to the beginning of this discussion–March 7, 2007– to see how much you’ve given away of who you’re: a typical Ethiopian whose life is a living proof of what shame we as a society have become. At least some of us here have had the courage to face the potent enemy of Ethiopia: that is ourselves.

    You’re the first person to associate us with Meles and for that you’ll be remembered as an embodiment of shame for years to come. Being remembred for shameful thouhts? What an honor! I’m sorry for sharing all these but then you’ll know why I said all these when you realize the degree and depth of your shallow thinking and thoughts. You could well be a great thinker and a promising person for Ethiopia’s future but that is not what you’ve shared with your fellow Ethiopians.

    Stay with us and please argue with us if you are sincere and honest enough and if you’ve any desire to learn to change to be a better human being along with us. We all are learning from one another and have been open enough to admit our stupdities and shames as members of the larger Ethiopian society to whose future we are dead serious to contribute whatever good we have and will have.

    I quote from what I shared in my previous post with our most faithful and active participant here, our fellow Ethiopian: Tazabi. “As you know this well, this is not a typical Ethiopian blog where people come and say they agree or disagree with others about this or that and leave it there. Such typical Ethiopian style ways of “arguing” about important issues are useless and I do not think that you’re intentionally doing that. I can only think of the reason for your short words of disagreement due to lack of time.”

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  98. Daniyot
    April 28, 2007 at 5:37 am

    Hi Tazabi

    Tazabi we have even the right “to agree not to agree”, I will never neglect or ignore any of anyone idea or misjudge any one of us , if that is the case this bog will not last these long ,in my part I do raise some issue that seems to be right ,that has supporting document and which has some value to our discussion, I think that is what we have been doing for about 60 days ,but we have to be open enough to defend our points , to be criticized if we deserve it ,then we will try to understand the truth in between ,that is all we are doing but we do not do misjudge any body ,you have a complete authority to disagree as long as you have some points which are true ,justifiable and with supportive arguments ,you are the one to prove it ,please , hasty generalization is not good in this blog,we have to make a great attempt to be heard ,that is what we have to do

    Besides, thank you for your comment in the last paragraph, I do agree with you if we try to solve every problem at the some time, if we do that , it does mean we may not solve anyone of them, but we are not, we are discussing all the issues under the umbrella of character, if that is not right please correct me, as far as I know all the points we raised are directly or indirectly associated with character isn’t it?, please make me your last paragraph clearer for one more time .

  99. Daniyot
    April 28, 2007 at 6:46 am

    Just moment after I read Mr. Sam’s post, some thing come to my mind, to be honest tears shaded my eyes, do you guys know why? I worried too much to him, to his friends, to his families and his countries at large, I was wandering how great the damage he caused to those who have direct and indirect influenced by him. I was ashamed of him when he tries to defend Ethiopia with those rude words, he does not know how to talk to his fellow Ethiopian let alone to others, and he does not know what Ethiopia means at all, he does not how to respect himself & others and I think that is why he uttered like that.

    Please, show me how you coined us with Meles, is there anything like that in our discussion or that is how you guys attack people when you are short to justify your points ,I think insulting is for those who do not respect themselves and others ,and you are one of then ,that is unfair ,

    Tomorrow I will discuses with you on core human values and virtues as I get time, because I have a moral responsibility to help a person like if you are willing to stay with us, or I will wash my hands with …like” Pilatos”

    For the heaven sake do not misjuege us ,try to understand the main aim of this blog ,which is soul searching …..read ,read,read that is the only way you can change yourself and others ,

  100. Tazabi
    April 28, 2007 at 11:56 am

    Veritas,
    The book you suggested me seems important. Thanks for reminding me and i don’t know when, but hopefully someday I’ll get to it. Actually, I’m not very busy right now. I’ve enough time to sapre for discussion, share ideas here, but i don’t have much to say about Ethiopian hospitality. Overall, my experiances and what i know about Ethiopian people hospitality have been positive. It doesn’t mean i’m right, though.

    Danyiot,
    Sorry confusing you. I was concerened that as a human being there’re so many character issues out there and we may not have expertise in the subject or we may not have enough facts to check in and balance. That’s all. Nothing really important. It shouldn’t get you comments like Sam. I’m not sure why he’s relating our discussion with politics. We share ideas, discuss, learn from one another in here and our discussion never been politics. Hopefully, one day he’ll come to his senses.

  101. Veritas
    April 28, 2007 at 3:56 pm

    Hello Tazabi:

    Thanks for sharng your thoughts as always. A few things in response to what you’ve shared above:

    1) As it’s clear for those of us who’ve been actively part of this blog discussion, among the core things we desire to see chage in smaller and greater scales is about us, Ethiopians, our beliefs, thoughts and values that shape our lives inside out like any other societies’s.

    Now to one application of the above to the active members of this discussion, us: when I shared the titles of the books I shared, one of which is on critical thinking, I did not just recommend reading such a book because I like such books. I recommended it because I could see lack of care, coherence, clarity in communications by even some of our own active participants in this blog. I wanted us all to develop skills in communications of our ideas clearly, carefully and coherently.

    Most fellow Ethiopians, those who’ve had opportunities for learning/studying whatever academic disciplines, etc, have never devoted time and energy to developig such skills that are absolutely essential for any effective, productive human communications which we rarely, if ever, have in our society. As a philosopher I absolutely need to develop such skills to the highest level required by my pofessional work, only a small part of which I share here because most of what I write is to the professional philosopher audience.

    My idea when I recommended some books was to see if the active members of this blog would be more serious and do something that will certainly change their levels of thinking, writings, communications and now what you’ve said above for example is not a sign of strongly desiring to learn and change; you said: “The book you suggested me seems important. Thanks for reminding me and i don’t know when, but hopefully someday I’ll get to it. Actually, I’m not very busy right now”. Such expressions of your thoughts simply shows how much you care (which is very little), and value (not much) the kind of reading and writing habit, which are virtues that go a long way in shaping societies anywhere. What you’ve said reminds me of what you said once about how much you love books. I can hardly imagine how a person who says that I love books would fail to get a crucial book when others recommend even for the sake of curioisity.

    Since you live in the US and it’s absolutely easy to get books in many ways, if you’re willing to read good books and grow, I cannot reconcile the conflicts between what you say about books and what you’ve done when a crucial book is bought up to your attention more than once. I’d really appreciate your honest response to this. By the way what you claim to have read and love reading etc and your doing nothing to get and read such a book that will change the course of this discussion in a significant way, reminded me of so, so many fellow Ethiopians who’ve assured me that they read so many good books and promised to read other books but would never do.

    2) Please be careful in how you take the above message: we’re here to promote virtues that we want to pursue and practice, intellectual virtues among those at the top, and for me failing to address something lacking in our own blog is being dishonest. I cannot do justice when I encourage anyone who joins this blog to be more careful thinkers and writers and fail to challenge you as well as any one who wants to be part of this discussion.

    Confession time: this blog discussion is one of those very rare things that I read out side of professional philosophy works which are absoluetly, absolutely, absolutely nothing like this. For me to be patienlty an active participant in a discussion which is not in any way philosophical enough is among those things I do only for a strong desire and greater purpose of serving my community doing things that I’d never, under normal cicusmtances, do.

    Honesty demands and I want to say this again: I can say this with certainty that not a single professional philosopher among those that I know would even spend moments reading blog dsicussions such as this and can stand reading writings that are so, so, so unlike what philosophers do. I’m talking about contemporary analytic philosophers in the English speaking world. That is the tradition I blong professionally to. Please have this in mind again: whenever I encourage my fellow Ethiopians to be more careful thinkers and writers I’m only tryint to help fellow Ethiopians develop intellectual virtues as part of all-encompassing virtues of character that is the subject of our discussions all the way.

    I do hope the above provokes you and Daniyot and whoever is part of this discussion under whatever manner, to develop skills, virtues that we, Ethiopians, massively lack and one of my desires is to see come change for , hopefully, better here and to continue to develop those concerns in the book project though I know that not many Ethiopians will read books contrary to their endless claims that they are among those great thinkers, readers, and writers, etc.

    Hope the above helps and shows you the concern that I wanted to share and hopefully trigger you to do something in the direction of developing some more skills and virtues, some among many. We need to grow, develop, mature in all ways and I’m just encouraging fellow Ethiopians as I’m doing my own share.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  102. Veritas
    April 29, 2007 at 1:31 am

    Hello All:

    After sharing the previous post which is somewhat serious though not unusual for me so say such a thing I thought it might be of some help for some of you to have an idea why I keep saying that academic/professional philosophy is so, so demanding in so many ways: thinking about things, about whatever, in a very unusual and extremely careful way, in how it is demanding when it comes to articulating our thoughts with clarity, coherence etc. And also preparing us to anticipate almost all possible and strong objections and how to respond to them even when objections are not yet raised. All these and much, much more, are done based on standard and widely accepted ways of developing arguments based on logic (deductive, inductive and abductive).

    I wanted to share with you a link or two that would give you some idea about the things you would certainly claim that you have a good idea but on which so many professional philosophers spend their entire lives trying to articulate those too obvious words that everyone uses every day everywhere and anywhere such as the word “know” and the word “now”. We all claim to know this or that; fine. We all say it’s now this or that; fine. But not until you start reading and studying philosophy! Not all is well and not all is fine. Not at all. Not at all.

    Please read the first link on “know” and the second on “now”. Even if you find it difficult to follow or understand the writings please read as far as you can and just remember that almost all that I read every single day of my life is that stuff; what I write, when it’s with professionals in mind, which is the case most of time except for this blogging which is the only blogging I’m actively part of. Hope that the links will show up on the blog; otherwise, I’ll try to find another way to share something similar. Mind you the papers are NOT mine.

    1) On “know”:

    2) On “now:

    Hope that you’ll enjoy reading them. The reason I’m doing all this is to share with you an experience you might have a difficult time conceiving as to what I’ve been talking about whenever I talk about professional philosophy.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

    P.S. On my part one of the papers I was working on lately was on the question why the universe exists at all and whether it has caused its own existence or God or something else brought the universe into existence.

    My paper was focused on the central idea of self-causation, whether that is a coherent and defensible concept and whether that concept would explain why the universe exists and how it came to be. I wish such a paper were relevant to share with you all for discussion. It’s not and I just shared the focus of one of my latest papers to give you an idea what in the world I spend lots of my time thinking about while also trying to be an active participant with you all about crucial issues that are dear to many of us, fellow Ethiopians.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

    PP.S. The above was what I posted a moment ago but as I was unsure the blog did not allow for the links to appear that happens for some reasons. Now here’s the idea as to how to access the links:

    For(1) google the following the way I say: type: S knows that P+ Ram Neta; then it should appear as a PDF file and click on it and open and read.

    For (2) google the following the way I say: How do we know it is now now? +many philosophers have found; then click on the PDF file, open and read it.

    I hope the links work this time . If you type correctly they most likely appear at the very top of the choices for you to click on.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  103. Veritas
    April 29, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    Hello All:

    I’m looking forward to reading posts by Dan, Tazabi, and Daniyot as this is like addressing a small family by name.

    Dan has been away for a few days and it seems that he’s very busy and hope to hear from him soon.

    Tazabi, since the previous posts by me were triggered by your posts and since I addressed you I’m looking forward to hearing your responses and since you told us that you’re not that busy these days I hope to hear from you sooner.

    Daniyot has been as active as he’s been and I hope to see his continuing contribution in the future as well.

    One more point: some (among us or whoever) might conclude from what I say on and off about the relationship between philosophy and clear, coherent and rigorous writings that I’m trying to make all people to be professional philosophers. If someone thinks that way I should point out right now that nothing could be farther from truth. Absolutely not!

    Developing skills in thinking about ideas, articulating and hence communicating ideas and raising objections and responding to objections and carrying such activities in a logically sound way is an ideal thing we ALL OUGHT TO SEEK. Since most of us are not pursuing academic disciplines such as philosophy (that is an example I know best) as professionals I decided to encourage all of us to develop such skills as part of this discussion and for our own personal development beyond this discussion forum.

    The skills mentioned above contribute immensely to the development of the intellectual virtues such as love of truth, pursuit of knowledge and understanding and wisdom, being reasonable/rational , being careful and prudent, being open to learn from others and also from one’s past mistakes, and above all seeking an intellectual humility. These are among widely regarded intellectual virtues and we all can tell how much of these virtues we have among fellow Ethiopians. Not much. Not much. Not much. Not much……………………………………

    My heart’s desire is to promote such desirable intellectual virtues as part of larger, all-encompassing, virtues of character that is the subject or focus of our discussion so far. I’ve been trying my best to pursue and embody such intellectual virtues as a person and it’s my heart’s desire to want to flourish with other human beings and in this case with fellow Ethiopians and hence the reason that I urge you guys once in a while.

    Fortunately or for whatever reason I’m in an academic discipline that promotes some or all of the above intellectual virtues and I do know firsthand how much such virtues are important in the overall development and flourishing of the human person and my intense desire to encourage you all to do something like reading good books (not all books are good books by any means) that are designed to help us acquire some of these virtues etc. None of you need to think about philosophy at all if you do not have some serious interest to pursue it professionally and I do not expect that people, esp., fellow Ethiopians, would simply want and decide to study philosophy professionally; that rarely, if ever happens. I can count all living Ethiopian professional philosophers and that would take me almost less than one minute or so to count all of them.

    My desire is for us all to individually and collectively develop skills that help advance this discussion forward as well as benefit all of us develop personally for our own personal flourishing. The point is: choose whatever intrinsically good and desirable MEANS that you can think of to achieve the DESIRABLE, VIRTUOUS END which is, among other things, acquiring intellectual virtues by way of developing some of the skills that I’ve been promoting on and off here. Philosophy is so intimately related to the virtues that I mentioned but it’s NO the only means to such ends. That I hope clarifies issues.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  104. Sam
    April 29, 2007 at 10:37 pm

    There’s no such ethiopian name called Veritas. You couldn’t find your fake ethiopian name.First, you’ve to be an Ethopian to talk about Ethiopians. Youhave no right to complain about us. Your wife left you or you’re dumped by Ethiopian girl and you’re bad mouthing us.I don;t blame them.You need to go back school and finish your elementry school. Are you in welfare.Where do you get time to blame ethiopians and writing all these pages, who’s reading your nonsense blame. Don’t worry about me at the matter of fact for the rest of ethiopians. You’re the one who need serious help. Please finish your high school at least.

  105. Bisrat
    April 29, 2007 at 11:19 pm

    Sam,

    I am really desappointed and embarrased by your response and filthy mind. How many times do I have to exile from a kind of blogs where Ethiopians curse and use slurs to defend any criticism or claim. Please if you can’t make a point intellegently or try to refute any idea profoudly with good intention, go to your fellow blogers.

    There are a lot of people like me who resides in the shadow of silence reading such intellectual debates. If you are the kind of man who has nothing to offer, humble yourself and learn. Don’t try to defend us”Ethiopians” by your uneducated pen.

    Guys keep up your good work. I assure you that there are a lot of peole out there enjoying your debates.

    Peace to you all,

    Bis

  106. Veritas
    April 29, 2007 at 11:56 pm

    Hi Bis:

    Thanks for your re-appearing, at least, to express and share with us your outrage and sense of embarrassment at our fellow Ethiopian’s shamless show off of ignorance and depth of human stupidity; thanks a lot for encouraging those who are still actively participaing in this fourm.

    Imagine holding people like Sam, who’re willingly sick and helpless, and also at the same time trying to address our society’s multiple problems that take us back hundreds of years. With even one million people like Sam, a country forever will regress, go back thousands, if not millions, of years.

    We, so many Ethiopians, are desperately poor and ignorant, among so many other things and how can we overcome our tragic existence with even one hundred people like Sam? Such one hundred people have an immense capacity to tarnish, destroy, and to bring to nothing the labors and efforts and all the good done by some fellow Ethiopians.

    Sam, thank you for your brilliant comments and for your showing us how much you’re educated and how much the education you’ve received over the years has transformed your life. We are all the witnesses to your wisdom, which we do not need; and your deep knowledge, which we would not desire; and your shining brilliance, whichwe would not admire nor envy. Thanks so uch for all your generous offer to fellow Ethiopians.

    Fellow particpants, please recall how we treat our guests when they join us even for a day or two like Sam. The most disrespectful guests deseve a very respectful FAREWELL. Since they do not know how to respect themesleves it’d be really difficult to accept our sincere respect for them. So, we bid them goodbye as I’m doing for Sam in this note.

    Until your respect and accept yourself, Sam, our greatest respect for you would not be different from tons of contempt and disdain and derision for you-if you know what all these are and that would happen only if you’ve an idea as to what I’m talking about.

    This is my last response to you. You’ve made it impossible for youself to stay longer here with other fellow Ethiopians. You know who you addressed in your post? Yourself. None of what you shared reflects an iota of truth about me. Character is like a mirror and you can’t avoid showing your true nature once you issue acts in public from the wellspring of your actions: your heart, mind and character. I wish you had even a very little idea as to what I’ talking about. That is only a wish. That I know.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  107. Daniyot
    April 30, 2007 at 6:27 am

    Hi Sam
    When I read your first post, I felt some what bad because I took you situation very innocently, I thought you are some one who throw his wild words just for the sake of saying, or you might be motivated by your friends to say something because they may consider you some what like well educated person, but God and your mischievous did prove that who you are, I hope today your friends and even your family can easily infer that what kind of immoral and wicked person you are ,if they do not prove this to you, they are committing crime to themselves and on you , you guys are like “birds with the same feather flies together “

    I am sure you may tell to your friends about your contribution, you might be also admired by them, who know?, this unlucky country has a number of this and that.

    May I ask you some thing; did you read some pages of a book in your life time? Did you shared some IDEA with your friends, I know you may look like good at in dirty politics, I think that is why you mentioned Males with out reason .

    Wow I am afraid to talk to you, please try to read, and try to understand the purpose of this blog .just say some thing worthy, please show me your knowledge, please show me your wisdom, come on Sam, some thing in fever or against to the points under discussion, Wow… I fell sorry whenever I think of you, just attack the ideas, and let us start from the beginning if you want to, please.

    After I read you second post I decided to let you know something about character from the very beginning, please read the following

    ”The character of a person is considered to be the distinguished qualities or principles to which the person subscribes as a guide for his or her behavior. Character influences how someone makes a decision or chooses to act or not to act .it summarizes a general way in which a person deals with others .Aristotle says “each man speaks, acts and live in accordance with his character “and the virtue of man will be “the state of character which makes him good and makes him do his own work well” in addition to that Aristotle tell us the importance of knowledge so as to exercise good character.

    Hi Sam that is what we are trying to do, that is what we are sharing with our fellow Ethiopian, that what we want to learn but nothing else ,so turn your face toward the truth, and please make your own best to share the glory.

  108. Daniyot
    April 30, 2007 at 6:50 am

    Hi Sam
    I have two simple questions

    1 .What do you mean when you say “Your wife left you or you’re dumped by Ethiopian girl and you’re bad mouthing us” what does really mean .what is your points here or you wont to degrade Ethiopian women ,please let me know your intention

    2 ” you’ve to be an Ethiopian to talk about Ethiopians. “what kind of generalization is that ?or Are you sure on that ?or in which grade did you learn that ? , go to the first page of this blog and read about this name ” prof. Donald Levin’s! then say some thing ,please ,

  109. Veritas
    April 30, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    Hello Tazabi:

    I’m wondering if you’re getting busier again since I’ve thought that we’d hear from you sooner based on what you said the other day that you’re not that busy these days.

    I hope that you’ll take some time to respond to my posts in which I asked you to respond to some of the things that I shared with you and I’ll be happy to clarify issues if what I said then was not clear or incorrect or false or anything that I should not have said.

    I’m also wondering about Dan’s silence these last four days. When I knew that I’d not be consistently available here I tried to say so in advance so that others should know that I was busy and hence unable to actively participate here. I think it’d be nice if we do something like that if we’re getting busier and if we know in advance that such a thing is coming. That is part of a habit of developing good character traits in relation to fellow human beings.

    I hope that both Tazabi and Dan will come back sooner to share their thoughts as usual.

    If any one of you wonder whether I’m imposing, in some subtle way, a very demanding and hence frustrating standard for us all to follow, I think that would be simply unreasonable to conclude as such for I’ve just been encouraging all of us to do some of the things that are ESSENTIAL here in a better way, progressively, and that is for two puporses, at least: for our own personal development and also for more fruitful and more productive sharing and communications of our thoughts for the purpose that we’re here. I think these are noble causes unless someone shows me that they are not.

    Hope to read your contributions as always.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  110. Dan
    April 30, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    Hello Veritas

    The last few day have been busy and I couldn’t make time to share my thought sooner on your concern as to how we all should participate responsibly. I Understand the importance of what you shared with us, and thank you for the reminder. Becasue sometimes there is a feeling of intimacy to the issue being discussed and we may overlook subjecting our views to essential standards consistently.

    Dan

  111. Veritas
    April 30, 2007 at 11:01 pm

    Hello Dan:

    Thanks a lot for stopping by and sharing your thoughts despite your being busier these days. That is understandable.

    The thing you said in your post about the fact that this discussion involves subjecting our own lives to standards that we want to promote is a really good way of putting things in perspective. Thank you for your understanding. That is very true.

    One thing that is related to what you said above is this and that is what I want all of us to bear in mind all the time if we do really, truly care to be people of character:
    There is ONLY one effective way of being a person of character, a virtuous person and that way is by PRACTICING virtues of character. Theoretical understanding of virtues, that is good making qualities about human life is incomplete until we practice and embody those virtues.

    What I mean by the preceding thoughts is clear, I hope: this discussion is also an opportunity for us to practice virtues; if we ONLY discuss them that will leave our lives incomplete and we’d never be better off as persons, Ethiopians or whoever. That is the key to the pursuit of character and virtues and I want to encourage ALL OF US to have these thoughts that I’ve shared in mind as we continue to discuss and learn and practice virtues, intellectual and all.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  112. Sam
    May 2, 2007 at 12:43 am

    “Imagine holding people like Sam, who’re willingly sick and helpless, and also at the same time trying to address our society’s multiple problems that take us back hundreds of years”. Ask your uncle crime minister why he took us 2000 yrs back. Our motherland and our people were fine until you showed up with no human character with your fellow gangisters. work on your shameful character.people are dying from your uncle crimes and you wasting yor time ethopian are this that bad mouthing my beloved country.you all shamelss. Donald Levin is you guys hero? another self proclaimed looser who thinks knew ethiopia. you larned ethiopian history from this Veritaas fraud and Donald. i see your histoty lesson is sky rocketing.

  113. Daniyot
    May 2, 2007 at 5:09 am

    Hi Tazabi(1704)

    How are you doing?almost 1704 minutes elapsed since I have seen your last post. please come back again with your melodious and arbitrary words. Your participation really matters to me .

    By the way is there any thing wrong ,I means is there any way you get disappointed due to my last post ,if so just come back and show me the points from my previous post ,I will erase it automatically if it is really disappointing.

    It was not my intention to disappoint you if in case you got disappointed with my last post . Never at all.

    Please break the silence.

  114. Veritas
    May 2, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    Hello All:

    I’ve already shared my sense of puzzlement about Tazabi’s absence and it’s good to see Daniyot’s added concern too.

    It’d be difficult to imagine Tazabi disappearing without saying anything if she does anything like that and this is a BIG IF given her faithful contribution here from the very beginning. Having said that, I should make it clear, once again, that one way or the other whatever decisions we make and however we act, our decisions reflect/mirror our values and beliefs as so do our actions.

    Tazabi, I do hope, has understood the values of her having been here throughout all these discussions and she should be the first to realize that her actions, this time, if she simply disappears, which is so hard to accept without huge explanations, would just show us who she is. She’s proven to be a faithful participant and she’s proved to us many times how much open she’s been to learning and sharing her thoughts whether they were right or wrong. That has been of tremendous value and we look forward to such contributions whenever she get back with us. Otherwise, it’d be really difficult to say why she would simply disappear without telling us the reason why having shown us promise that she’d be there as long as this discussion goes. She does not have to be; she has no obligations. I’m only saying that is what she has communicated to us in her many contributions on this blog.

    Having said the above, I want to add this: I’ve invited other fellow Ethiopians to contribute here as usual, from another blog, and I look forward to some of them doing some contribution here sometime hopefully soon. But let’s wait and see. We’ve thought this way many times before and we were mostly wrong because of the nature of the subject matter that we’re dealing with: the character issues of fellow Ethiopians.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  115. Daniyot
    May 3, 2007 at 7:41 am

    Hi Veritas,

    I have tried my best to comprehend your post dated 28th April, but some questions have been still pending in my mind up to now, therefore I prefer to speak it out even if it is late a little bit .I hope you allow me to do that because I have to clear it. Do not forget that I have read your post dated 29th April, too.

    1. You said that “…Wanted us all to develop skills in communications of our ideas clearly, carefully and coherently.” Yes, it is good to have good knowledge and skill to express once idea, but it takes time and needs relentless effort to develop clear, careful and coherent ways of expressing one’s idea and it is not possible to have that in a blue moon for the purpose of this blog so it should not be criterion to take part here in , just for the following reasons, One- it is hardly possible to find many Ethiopian fellows who have an idea and excellent skill of self expression simultaneously for the purpose of this blog, Two – we need to have points to share with, to argue for or against, then we will make an attempt to express those points, that is what most of us have been doing for the past couple of months, if not we are going to remain silent until we became fluent on it or we need to have some one who can help us on coherent and clear writing even if we have some thing worthy to share with ,,I know that you did not say that but it sounds like that to me ,plus I do work hard to improve my level toward coherency and clarity .that is my long run and short run plane not only for the purpose of this blog but also for my life period, hence , I want I short explanation on this issues.
    2. “I can say this with certainty that not a single professional philosopher among those that I know would even spend moments reading blog discussions such as this and can stand reading writings that are so, so, so unlike what philosophers do I can say this with certainty that not a single professional philosopher among those that I know would even spend moments reading blog discussions such as this and can stand reading writings that are so, so, so unlike what philosophers do.” when I read this paragraph I was a little bit perplexed because of the following reasons .
    -As far as we know this is a min project that can be at least a loop hall to test some of your wonderful ideas and to see the response of your fellow Ethiopians if it works out as it was planed ,other ways it is a bridge to forward your ideas directly to the concerned bodies or it is a means to take part in identifying the hidden problems of the society to which you belong to ,therefore it is part of your moral and social responsibility to support your society ,here I do not mean it is your burden to leave on your shoulder ,in short you are expected to work on some thing even more less than this if you commit yourself to help your society .
    -do philosophers write and read only to one another? Or how do they address the problems of there society if they are restricted them self to professional writings of philosophy? How do they take part in the building of a better world, for instance if this is the case your book project is going to be exceptional, yes it is exceptional because it is going to address the practical problems of our society and you are going to take or undertaking some empirical study to make a fully fledged analysis. Let me put this way how do they directly address societal problems if they limit them self to professional philosophy writing and reading .I need your explanation on those points, please.

    Tank you

  116. Veritas
    May 3, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    Hello Daniyot:

    It’s good that you decided to share some of your thoughts about which you needed to get some clarifications from me about what I’ve said some days back.

    1) Now you’re right to express some worries if I were pushing those who’re participating here and those who want to but not yet by appearing to impose some standard or criteria that all need to meet in order to be part of this discussion group. The short answer to this is no, no, by means, as you’ve already indicated that for that is not what I’ve been trying to do. Your mentioning one of my posts ( April 29th) in which I made it clear that I never said or would say that those who want to participate here need to meet this or that criterion or they should not be here. Who am I to say such a thing in the first place?

    One thing we all, I hope, agreed not to allow here in this discussion and that is a habit of attacking persons instead of ideas, character assassination, ideas which have nothing to do with the theme of this discussion unless we mean to separately pursue them. We can’t pursue all sorts of discussions at the same time, mixing all sorts of thoughts etc. That we all agreed I hope. Otherwise, for myself I’d not be part of such a “discussion” that goes all over places and accomplishes nothing of substance for I ought to use my time wisely.

    One thing in relation to your question under (1) that I’ve been encouraging us all to do, as much as possible, is to work on improving our skills in communicating ideas here as much as elsewhere in life and in order to do that there is no way except just working on such skills at every opportunity that avails itself such as this blog discussion that explicitly encourages cultivation of character and also intellectual virtues which are essential for our personal and collective development over the course of time. No, I’d not expect someone to develop such skills or intellectual virtues, that I’ve mentioned before, to develop them overnight.

    Having said that, I must point out this too: if one does not strive, consistently, as much as possible, to do things that are essential to acquiring and developing the skills that we all ought to seek to develop, sharpen, what is the point of claiming that one wants to develop such skills? For example, I mentioned some helpful books for us to consider getting a hold of that will tremendously help us develop such skills and if some of us who claim to be all for developing such skills show no sign of doing something in that direction, I would rightly worry if we mean what we say. If you’ve, for example, gotten a hold of a book like the one I mentioned on critical thinking and started to practice developing a habit of thinking critically and communicating your ideas building on skills that you’ve acquired previously and from your recent readings that would partly be a great way of achieving the desired goal. We do not have many Ethiopians who do that. Many will tell you that they have taken a logic course at college but they show nowhere in their thinking and writings and communications of ideas that they ever taken a course that they report that they have taken. That happens because people have the tendency of forgetting what they’ve learned at school for many people school is just a mere passport for “success” in terms of getting jobs and making money and it’s nothing to do with developing virtues, intellectual or otherwise. This issue will receive a chapter in my book. I hope that you see the point for now.

    2) As for two, that is a tricky and complex question. I do not want to speak more than I should for other philosophers why they do not read blogs and discussions of ideas at this level though I can say this much: professional philosophers spend most of their times trying to address technical issues in philosophy that those who do not have trainings in academic philosophy would would not understand. I repeat this: there are philosophical writings those who do not have considerable academic trainings in logic or something that can provide an equivalent degree of knowledge would not be able to understand and so they write and address such technical issues in their circles.It’s not different for any advanced academic field such as physics, linguistics, etc, etc. Who can open a physics journal and just read and understand? I can’t even read technical phhysics let alon understand it! Likewise for philosophy.

    But the trickier aspect of your question is why philosophers do not address social problems and make efforts to improve this world? The answer to this question is complicated and I do not want to get into it for it’s a philosophical question that deserves a philosophical answer but the short version is this: it all depends on what it means to make this world a better world?Some philosophers spend a considerable amount of their time and energy trying to understand the meaning of life, whether there is purpose to life, how to figure out what it means to claim to know this or that, what it means to be a person of character, how to understand the nature of beliefs, and values , and truth and human actions and morality and morally responsible actions etc etc. These and countless other problems that they address in their works have practical bearings in many, many ways. Is pursuing an understanding of such very important concepts impractical or has no practical importance? These are tricky questions.

    As you know the ideas that I’ve been sharing here and mean to develop in a book project are as philosophical as they are practical. Yes, not all philosophers apply their theoretical knowledge and understanding to pressing practical problems that we see in all societies throughout the world as much as they should. I’m trying to address the social/practical problems of my society because I’ve taken it to be something I should do something about. Yes, there are philosophers who address societal problems yet they are not many. I said I should not speak more than I should about all philosophers.

    Those wo do advanced theoretical physics or linguistics, astronomy, geophysics, quantum chemistry, relativity physics,etc, etc are not better off when it comes to addressing social issues. All these theoretically oriented fellow human beings should give up their work in order to address pressing social problems.That does not sound quite right. Right? Likewise for fellow philosohers.

    Hope the above helps.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  117. Veritas
    May 3, 2007 at 5:27 pm

    Hi:

    I hate typos but they seem to creep in all the time. A few I just wanted to correct:

    1) under (1) “…by means…” should have been “by any means”. Alternately, one can read it, “by no means” too.

    2) The last paragraph, “Those wo do…” should have been, “Those who do…’ and

    3) The very last word in the last paragraph, “philosohers”, of course, should have be “philosophers”.

    Sorry for the typos.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  118. Veritas
    May 3, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    Hi:

    There is another typo in the post that is supposed to corret typos in the previous post!!!

    I leave that for readers to correct in their minds while reading–it’s just two letters missing. That is a little exercise.

    Sorry again.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  119. Veritas
    May 3, 2007 at 6:29 pm

    Hi All:

    Just a thought to share about my relation to typos, at the sight of which I almost panic.

    a) For me personally that is a good and desirable habit since I want to minimize as much mistake as possible, though I might never be able to be free from such mistakes. No one in his/right mind should feel happy about committing typos, spelling mistakes, I mean.

    Do not forget that those spell checks we’ve on our computers do not distinguish between words correctly spelled but with different meanings than the ones we have in mind when we write. So, it needs extra effort to minimize typos. I consider such a habit a good and desirable one, but mind you , I’m not expecting all who contribute hereto panic like me at the sight of typos. It’s good if they react that way so that we all will be improving the way we write and mean to communicate our thoughts. I’m not demandig anyone to do such a thing. But I want to be demanding on myself since I want to do things better if and when I can.

    b) It’s good to know this, the following, but then I’m not going against what I’ve just said: it’s almost inevitable to see typos even in books published by Oxford University Press, MIT Press, and their likes. I almost always discover typos in such books. At times many typos in one book. Now I’m reading a new book from MIT Press, for example, and before even three pages into its first chapter I’ve discovered two or three typos. That happens.

    So, the moral of this post isthis : it’s good to strive to do better about what I’m talking about but we should not avoid posting our ideas due to fear of grammar, spelling mistakes and the likes. There is no other way of improving our writing and communication skills if we abandon writing in order to avoid making mistakes. The best way to learn how to avoid mistakes, usually, is the only way to learn how to improve, that is, by doing it while making mistakes on the way! That is like practicing virtues: no one can be a virtuous person, that is, a person of character WITHOUT PRACTICING VIRTUES. No other way, unfortunately. If anyone doubts this I’ll come back to argue for it. Now I take it to be just obvious for us all to see the point I’ve just made.

    I hope the above makes sense.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  120. Tazabi
    May 4, 2007 at 2:59 am

    Hi Danyiot,
    Regarding your “1704 minutes” absence post, i just wanted you to know that i was not dissapointed by any of your posts at all. Your count down to minutes were funny 🙂

  121. Daniyot
    May 4, 2007 at 6:42 am

    Hi Veritas ,

    My words are not quite enough to thank and appreciate you for your wonderful responses,but I have no choice than them ,you have already hit the target that means you have cleared all my dilemmas and you lit some thing in my mind ,I hope that can enlighten me for the rest of my life ,thank you so much.

    Tazabi

    For the last couple of days we worried so much for your disappearance ,thank you ,your arrival turned all the night mares in to a wonderful dreams .please be active as usual.

    I hope Dan also will get some times to be with us in the following days .

  122. Veritas
    May 5, 2007 at 10:15 pm

    Hello “All”:

    Addressing a “crowd” of one or two in the audience as “All” feels strange, to say the least. But honesty demands that for me to address one or two in the audience as “All” feels much less strange than realizing one painful fact, one more time (as always), about who I belong to as a society, and as a people. There is no doubt that having this few audience, which has been dwindling in numbers, is a direct consequence of the kind of people that I mean to address, not the number of people that is the issue now. The number of people here is a consequence (function) of the kind of people being addressed. I think I’ve a pretty disturbing explanation why this blog discussion has been the least popular and seems to be in a category or list of those to be avoided at any cost. That explanation is not far for us to seek: it’s is the conjunction the beliefs and values of those being addressed and their actions that provide a needed explanation as to why we’re few here and might even go out of existence as participants.

    In one of my most recent emails to a fellow Ethiopian whom I’ve also invited to contribute to this blog nearly two months ago, I said the following: “There are moments when I thought/think that I want to leave or give up any project to do with Ethiopia in whatever form and just concentrate on a number of philosophical problems that have nothing in particular to do with Ethiopia and I’ve many of them that matter to me to the highest extent humanly possible. I’ve decided to share my time and energy to do something to my country/people (not in any patriotic sense at all, just as a fellow human being), about which at times I strongly think that I should not do ANYTHING WHATSOEVER”.

    Truth be told, that trying to work with my own people is among the worst and most painful experiences that I’ve gone thru and yet a sense of obligation to do something good to the society that I’ve some relationship with, to which I belong in some sense, drove me into the project that I mean to undertake and have undertaken as a way of sharing thoughts here.

    I do still hope that some in the audience behind the curtain, as it were, would join this discussion to share anything worth sharing with fellow Ethiopians. I’ve tried to share mine and am still hoping to continue to do so despite almost all the negative experiences that I’ve “discovered”, (though I knew what I was getting into all the way) to live with until I accomplish something, good and desirable.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  123. Veritas
    May 8, 2007 at 4:33 am

    Hi:

    It’s been three days since I’ve posted my last note and I’m adding the following thoughts as a lonely voice in the wilderness, asit were. Many, many have promised to contribute to this discussion even recently and not that many (!) are keeping their promises. I might be so naive to believe when fellow Ethiopians promise to do this or that. I’m learning in a painful way the truth about my people, slowly, one more time.

    Anyways, if I get enough time these days as I start traveling as I’ve informed you, whomever I’m referring to now (?), my hope is to post the book review that I’ve been looking forward to doing some time ago. The book I’m referring to is Prof. Teodros’s on Zara Yacob.

    At a recent philosophy conference I attended I was nominated to organize a session on African Philosophy at an international philosophy conference next year. If my nomination gets approved I’ll let you know who’ll be the speakers that I’ll be putting together and that might bring some fresh answers to TAZABI’S questions about African philosophy. Alas, Tazabi does not seem to be with us any longer!

    I’ll also be meeting with Prof. Donald Levine this week to talk about the book project whose ideas I’ve been testing here, which has come to a pause, for some time or for good. Very few projects of which many Ethiopians are part of live longer and it’s no wonder if this is among those short-lived blog discussions. Do not forget this fact: the book project is 100% independent of this blog discussion. It’ll be done no matter what the fate of this discussion is. It’s an independent project from its conception and inception but then along the way I thought (naively (?)) that there might be some future to this blog to continue to discuss some of the ideas to be expanded and/or nuanced in the book. Our future is our past, I said in some of my posts, and no wonder that that is being confirmed even here. We do not have a future as a society which is in any sense better than our past and we got stuck in the present only taking pride in the past that is no longer of relevance, in some sense, to us at the moment.

    If anyone is out there, I’d still be happy to keep the discussion alive as much as I can. Otherwise, I’ll devote my precious time to work on various more valuable projects, the book project being one of them.

    I look forward to reading any-one’s thoughts, if there are good points worth reading.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  124. Dan
    May 8, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    Hi Veritas,

    Althougth I have not posted any thing in the last few days I hardly skipped a day without checking this blog. I would like to see it kept alive and also think there would be others who do the same. Why then is the participation so low? This blog unlike many others has shown that it is not enough forming and sharing our views without backing them with reason and considering others’ competing views and opinions. As a society we are not used to taking middle ground and trying to have rounded view on issues and looking into our own actions. We have to oppose or support at all times without doing the hard work needed by the position we take. And I think that could be the reason.
    We saw few posts made here just similar as the ones we do see in other blogs, and if there were responses to such posts, this blog would have been as liveliest as other blogs. But my point is , although we don’t see strong participation, there might be people who were following this discussion and led to think about themselves and the role of the way they live their life in society. Instead of just posting the first thing that comes to their mind, there might be people what they read here made them to look back on opinions and views they previously shared with others. So even though there are not many of us participating here, I would like to see it going. I personally have learned something from this blog.

  125. Daniyot
    May 9, 2007 at 6:27 am

    It has been a couple of days or I can say a week I was thinking about the life’s of this blog in respect to audience, contributors (even the active participants) and the rest , At the beginning there were at least 8 to 10 people who had a considerable amount of share on the life of this blog .Just after a couple of weeks the number of participants dramatically decreased to three or four, but it was lively until the last two weeks, now it is hardly possible to find two or three contributors, it is sad to see that ,just we are at the beginning of almost everything ,so how on earth we make the beginning the end ,if it is ,it is going to be one of the worst encounter in my life ,yes it will be unless we find some other possible ways for the revival of this blog! Guys we have to find out at least the some reasons for this situation..

    As Veritas said so, I have tried too much to reach and encourage my entire friend with different back grounds through about the world, but nobody said something yet, so what would us the reason? Is there some thing strange? , is there some thing impossible in this blog ?, something vague?, NO , I do not think so ,as long as we are talking about our self ,it is widely open to anybody who want to share ideas in regard to his/her situation ,the hidden problems on the future prospect and direction of his /her country ,it is not even necessary to be a professional and fluent as long as we care to the future of our beloved country and we have something in a way to alleviate our character problems ..there is no restriction at all and we do have something in common to say just by being an Ethiopian alone ,so let us work together ,I am sure many of us read this blog ,but we have to move forward at least one step ,it is a new approach to tackle chronic problems of our country in one way or the other .

    As Dan said it ,there is a need to think and rethink about the points ,the subjects and the impacts of our contribution ,yes we have to do that ,as long as we are dealing with the hidden problems of our society ,yes we have to see things in depth ,unless it will be a jock like some other blogs as we see usually ,that is not what I do not want to see ,but we have to work it out ,it is possible to do our best as long as we have enthusiasm and courage to word sacred objective of this blog.

    As soon as I get time I will be with you guys.

    Thank you,

  126. Veritas
    May 11, 2007 at 1:49 am

    Hello All:

    These days “All” means one or nothing or nobody, in the context of this blog discussion. That is a good piece of evidence that this discussion does not seem to have a good, long future if it’s forced to be between only one person, asit were, or two, since Daniyot is still around, with Dan appearing on and off these days.

    Anyways, I’ve had a wonderful time with Prof. Donald Levine and it was quite a relief for him to see the beginning of some work being done by Ethiopians about us Ethiopians that he’s been trying to do for decades. The subject matter of this blog discussion, about typical Ethiopians’ character, was what he addressed as a foreigner decades back and now he’s started to see some of us openly discuss that very issue and that has turned out to be a great source of encouragement for him to see.

    To be honest, on the other hand, for me this blog discussion has lately become a wastage of my time to return to this blog discussion to find only a very few fellow Ethiopians who’ve courage to discuss the subject matter consistently and after having lost even the most faithful one to silence I do not think it’s a wise thing to continue to be here longer than I ought to since time is so precious and it should be invested in a wiser way. I’ll certainly be part of this discussion as long as there are concerned fellow Ethiopians who do also extend further the ideas that I’ve proposed for debate here.

    Otherwise, I’ll visit this blog everyday to see if there are people sharing thoughts worth reading and responding to and if they want to see some posts that I’d like to post with some more development of the ideas that have been going on here more or less in a spontaneous way than in orderly and coherent and consistent way. Since this is a discussion forum we cannot achieve all that is crucial for a development of ideas in an ideal way that exhibits all the virtues of good writing which I’d love to have done.

    When I’m done with the book review on Zara Yacob I’ll post that, among others, if this discussion continues proving me wrong which is perfectly fine with me. May I be proven wrong multiple times and the spirit and the truth about these issues contiue to flourish!

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  127. Veritas
    May 14, 2007 at 4:33 am

    Hello All:

    Just a note;

    There has been a few exchanges between one visitor by the name Shita and myself about our blog on the other page of this blog which you can read here:

    https://arefe.wordpress.com/2007/04/07/the-glory-that-was-ethiopia/#comments or under the title “The glory that was Ethiopia”.

    You’re most welcome to contribute your thoughts there too.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  128. shita
    May 15, 2007 at 8:35 pm

    Hi all,

    I was so ecstatic when I read that the issue making oneself a better person is being considered by my people. It feels good to see some interest in things beyond money and material staff and of course beyond politics.

    Veritas, I see you had a taste of what it is like to try to give good things to others. It is not a straight forward thank you sir staff, is it? I can see both forces at work which is good in my book.

    You understand the concept of resistance. It makes you stronger, even your strength workout at the gym works on the same principle. A few

    Who was that who said I know I am alive when people say bad things about me or something to that effect? When you are condemned you know you have done something and most importantly you have knocked the essence of what you are fighting. It my days, it was “Agul Ferenji” if you apologise “Meraqeq”. Good and the truth is not always easily accepted by humans, unfortunately.

    Keep up the good work guys.

    Shita

  129. Aaron
    May 16, 2007 at 4:34 am

    Hi shita
    I have read many of your contribution with in those two or three days, you have shown us how thoughtful you are, I have so many things to learn from you and Veritas .Thank you guys, but I have reservation on the issues related to Agere ,I want to know your position on the issue because it will be a lesson to me if you convince me on the matter ,by the way Agere come to this blog like four or five times and she/he contributed the followings to our discussion , neither of them were ideas nor points. it is just direct insult.

    Please let me know your ground for your argument when you make an attempt do defend the situation. Just take a moment and convince me. Then, I will immediately show you my position.

    Agere says

    A.…Veritas endless nonsense talking outside the country, why not he come in the country and make some changes. He writes like he has some kind of hidden agenda. May be selling books???Talk is cheap.

    B…Emama Tsion,
    By the way, you’re the subject of their discussion. Have you looked at your face, yet?Gudif face. Typical Ethiopian women.

    C…The so called philosopher is keep saying agere -like ethiopians and i have to say

    D…something to him. He will leave me alone now. One of my solution for you is get “tebele”, i’ve a good priest and he’ll treat you real good. yours.

  130. Veritas
    May 16, 2007 at 5:06 am

    Hi Aaron:

    I’ve tried to post a few things earlier and could not. Just trying to see if I can now.

    Welcome back, Aaron, and please continue to share your ideas as before. It’s good that you’re asking Shita some questions that you’re not convinced about and I do also look forward to Shita’s response to your challenges since it’ll be instructive to see how we can create a room in which we can learn from one another and grow together.

    Shita’s posts have been refreshing and great and I look forward to reading many more from her in the future.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  131. shita
    May 16, 2007 at 7:45 am

    Hi Aaron,

    I tried to post a reply at the other side yesterday and it disappeared, I want you to know I did not ignore you.Yes, I have read the posts you summarised. My point in short is this.

    We have to respond to everything in accordance to what we are trying to teach people and it an uncompromisable criteria for people who decide to be on the side of good and civilisation.
    a) regardless of how anyone else behaved you can not hit back because your actions are your responsiblity
    b) You have to leave people with different views alone unless they ask a question
    c) Regardless of their behaviour all humans have a right to respect

    Remember that the people you are trying to help have all some behavioural problems which means you have to rise above it. The only way you can teach people is through love and respect when they are will or by walking away when they are not.

    shita

  132. shita
    May 16, 2007 at 7:58 am

    Hi Veritas,

    If we choose to respect and help only those who behave themselves, we will be failing fundamentaly against the very purpose we stood for. My favourite philosopher and teacher Jesus has said something about this. Even the killers and muderes love their own family and friends what the difference between us and them our ability to love our enemies, something to this effect. Those who are already changed do not need you anyway!

    a)Our right to choose is respeected for us and we are expected to do so.
    b) Opposition is a pre-condition to development and we should tolerate it. Is it not the major problem we have in our world intolerance to difference and opposition?

    Actually, I quite liked how you you handled the down right rude participants, like you said they are doing to themselves and sadly to their community which is made up the individuals within it. It is even worse when they have children.

    Shita

  133. daniyot
    May 18, 2007 at 3:49 am

    Hi shita,

    from the beginning ,I have been reading all the points you and Veritas have raised you pointed your views regarding some important issues but I have not yet get your comprehensive view regarding character ,life ,value and related subjects,is any way you can share some of your thoughts in I way that can help us understand your views in regard to charecter ,culture and so on,the main reason that has urged me to raise this question is I have not yet get your points yet for some reasons or other ,

  134. shita
    May 18, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    Hi Daniyot,

    Thanks for asking for my view.

    My view can be summerised in just a few sentences. Every person’s life will be affected by the belief system he has and these beliefs, right or wrong are formed by his environment which is the family value, friendships, the kind of education he/she had.

    The kind of society we were brought up in plays a major role with slight differences impacted by the kind of family value and friends we had. one can argue that it is the kind of government or economic status that determines a persons future. True, they can put difficulties in your path but they will never play a determining role in one’s life.

    A person that believes a child from a poor back ground will never succeed has made the final decision for himself not to lift a finger. Even if given a chance he is likely to attribute all problems to descrimination or whatever and end up quitting and blaming everybody except himself. Unfortunately, this a prevalent belief in our society.

    From experience, having an integrity and a pleasant manner is the passport to success in any part of the world, at any capacity and with whoever we wish to interact with. this is the most misunderstood concept I observed in our community. Integrity is to uphold ones values like be honest, do not steal, respect others..etc regardless of circumsrances. I hit him because he insulted me therefore it is not my fault, I stole because I was hungry or he has millions it does not matter, I said it for a laugh or it is big deal are among the explanations I commonly hear for justifying actions involving lying, assault and tsking other peoples property. And in some cases the person that pointed out this matter is labelled as Agul Ferenji.

    The problem is such seemingly minor flaw in one’s personality is what is reflected in all our interactions, in friendship, at work, marriage and later on as manager and even politician. It is also contageous enough to pass on two our children. How can a child that grew up in a household where insulting is a daily occurence know any different way communication?

    Who would want to be friends and work with a liar, employ a disrespectful person in a customer service environment? Bad habits are repulsive.

    As an Ethiopian person I have successfully lived with people of varied background, have worked with them and have developed good relationships. All that was required of me was being pleasant and sensitive to other peoples feelings and ineract with them with integrity.

    I think this should give some idea of my opinions are.

    Shita

  135. Veritas
    May 21, 2007 at 1:27 am

    Hi Shita:

    I’ve not been able to share my ideas for several days after having read your post, which is great and in line with what we’ve been discussing on this blog. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    I just want to ask you a question or two:

    1) You say, “Every person’s life will be affected by the belief system he has and these beliefs, right or wrong are formed by his environment which is the family value, friendships, the kind of education he/she had”, and which is stating how beliefs are formed and as it is it seems to be correct and many might agree with you on that. I do tentatively agree.

    What you said there is mainly just describing how people form beliefs but I hopet hat you’re not saying that that is applicable to every person. If you mean that literally “every person” that seems to create a paradoxical situation for your statement and hence problematic. Why not you qualify it with something like most or the majority of people will be affected by the belief systems…I want to hear what you think about that. Yes, beliefs affect our actions but it does not follow that “every person’s” beliefs are formed in the same way as you seem to say. More explanation might shed some light on your point.

    2) As I said above you stated, described how people form their beliefs but that does not tell us WHY they form certain, some beliefs the way they do and HOW they can go about replacing such beliefs if such beliefs are wrong beliefs worth changing. How would you go about addressing such issues?

    3) I do not know whether you’ve read my post on belief and truth relationship and if you’ve done that I want you to share your take on what truth is and how belief and truth are related to each other; you do not have to read my post to do that but my point is it’d be good to hear your take on what truth is and what a belief is and their relationships for these are crucial issues in the context of the present discussion as I’ve tried to briefly address these issues at various times on this blog.

    Look forward to hearing from you.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  136. Veritas
    May 21, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    Hi Shita:

    I thought adding the following thoughts might add some clarification to my first question above which does not seem to be clear enough since I’ve left out one thing that led me to raise that question the first time I read your post;

    1) You first say, ” Every person’s life will be affected by the belief system he has and these beliefs, right or wrong are formed by his environment which is the family value, friendships, the kind of education he/she had”

    2) Then you also say this “From experience, having an integrity and a pleasant manner is the passport to success in any part of the world, at any capacity and with whoever we wish to interact with. this is the most misunderstood concept I observed in our community”.

    3) I was wondering how would one know what personal integrity and pleasant manner would look like and are if what one believes and knows from one’s environment are the total opposite IF one’s beliefs are inevitably affected by one’s environment, which is your key claim. It seems one can’t help believing and acting in much the same way that others in his community believe and act for one’s beliefs and actions are “affected” by one’s community’s beliefs and actions.

    4) Now if you’ve made your ideas clearer by telling us more about what it means to be “affected” the way you use that word which is quite ambiguous for me since I’m raising these questions because, partly, I’m not sure what you mean by it since it’s a degreed concept that means one can say one’s beliefs are slightly affected by one’s community’s or all of them are affected by one’s community’s, and also somewhat affected, in that case things are quite different. That needs a bit more careful clarification on your part.

    One more question: It’s okay to take your idea of integrity for the moment though it still needs more clarifications; I wonder what you mean by “pleasant manner” though. Do you mean an agreeable personality, easy-going, socially attractive, or what? One can show a pleasant manner in all the above senses, if you mean any one of them, and still can do all evil things in one’s life once one gets what one wants from others and one can do all these intentionally without letting others know his motives for the time being by just “apparently acting” in a pleasant manner. A pleasant manner does not necessarily show that a person has changed from within. It could be used as a mask to just get away with so many evil actions as long as one is clever enough to “appear pleasant” to people until one gets what one wants.

    I hope the above will get clarifications from you. As they stand I think they can only be superficial ways of “passport to success”, very pragmatic and even they would go against developing an integrity which is a genuine change of heart and character. I think that there are too many people in our own community who “seem genuine” yet appear in a “pleasant manner” just to deceive others in order to get what they want to get from others and consider that “success” just because they got things others could not because the others did not know how to “appear in a pleasant manner”. I’d call that an ultimate art of deception unless one’s genuinely and truly acting out of one’s character as a virtuous person. Hope you can see why I wanted to know what your take is on truth and belief above. These things are crucially related.

    Look forward to reading your more thoughtful responses.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  137. shita
    May 22, 2007 at 10:22 am

    Hello Veritas,

    Sorry for the delay.

    I must say your comments in these two posts have different flavour. I will try tyo address the second part as it seems to have made more statments than ask questions.

    Forgive me for not giving a definition to each and every term I used. I think comments spoken or written are more attractive when they are concise besides I do not speak to people assumin they know nothing. This is more a common sense discussion about things we know but we don’t do.

    Integrity= Acting according to the principles we claim to have despite difficulties and conflicts of interest

    Pleasant manner= Not displaying repulsive habits, from picking our noses to opposing everything others say because they are repulsive.

    I have no doubt everybody understands what pleasant manner is unless we are talking semantics here. In the country I reside in that is the term used. I did not get into details nor said it is a sign of becoming a changed person. Agreeable personality is admired by all.

    Let me say a bit about our belief being formed by our environment. When you said that according to my statement everyone in one community should behave the same way and also wanted me to qualify my statement by saying majority or many but not all.

    1- people have believes about every aspects of their lives- starting with themselves, about their family, country, health, God , gender, life, style, education, parenthood ..etc

    2- Our beliefs and opinions are influenced by society, family, education, pears. Which means, Although we are fed very much common stories by the community, the family has the biggest in put into our beliefs and a child who grew up getting beaten up so often and another one being bullied so often and the other one wh grew up being loved and praised by his parents are bound to have different beliefs in some aspects of life not to mention different personalities.

    Some of us were introduced to reading and ideas that are not widely known in our society, in some ways with blanket rejecttion as “yeferenji bahl’ and some have met a teacher who opened our eyes to some new concepts. All this could have an impact on our outlook and beliefs.

    Let me qualify my statement again as I was asked to do. I agree in principle that there are always exceptions but we are all affected by our upbringing and our exposition to the world. If having just one different idea qualifies as being different from the community, just studying oneself for a single day will reveal to us that the we are indeed a product of our upbringing. I believe this because all the evidence I have supports it, please feel free to provide me any tangible proof otherwise becuse I know the importance of basing one’s belife on facts.

    In fact this knowledge is so powerful the spy organisations have used it to flush out the trained inflatrators among themselves. It is also used by psychiatrists to treat patients, crime investigators always study a persons background to find the reason behind his action but most importantly to trigger some reaction in the most difficult of personalities.

    I can not remember discussing how one change beliefs, which is a very broad subject. I would to love to share one great discovery of mine acquired during my years of struggling to improve myself.

    IDENTIFYING OUR DEFECT AND ADMITTING TO IT IS THE FIRST STEP TO CHANGE AND THE HARDEST THING TO DO! Do you know why? Because most of the time it happens to be that belief we hold dear.

    I had a great time participating in these blogs and very much enjoyed observing my compatriots discussing issues that matter.

    Change- Since the world is 50 years ahead of us, as usual, in discovering the importance of changing oneself instead of demanding other people’s understanding their change to fit our needs the Personal Development industry has grwon into a multi billion dollar industry. There are coaches and systems to fit everybody. You can choose from buying programmes and do it yourself if you believe theories and the mind enable people to change, or getting a personal who will assist you from identification of the flaws in your beliefs to eliminatiing and replacing them, which could cost anywhere around millions of pounds.

    To clarify what these coaches do i will give some examples. My two favourites, Anthony Robbins and Ed strachar are both coaches to Microsoft directors and high ranking officials in US government repectively, which means having one does not make you bad or sick person. Making oneself better enables one to see the world in a different and clearer way more than any theory can. If it works for George Bush it can work for Ethiopian people don’t you think.

    I will leave you with an email to a group providing multinational coaching. They were recommended because they provide servics to people who different cultural background and at a reasonable price. They also provide confidential one to one coaching which is always advisable. Send an email to betteringlife.coach@yahoo.co.uk. They are UK based multinational service.

    It is with sincerity I want to add this comment here. The start of this discussion( debate sounds like battle) is a great phenomenon in the history of our society and we are here to contribute our bits, however small or big, to move it forward. Despite our good intentions, this process can be hindered by our own well meaning but personal interest triggered actions. There a very fine line between doing something for a kick and doing it to serve a greater good let’s make sure we keep our motives in check all the time.

    We are all one regardless of ethnicity education gender and any differences that we claim to have.

    Shita

  138. shita
    May 22, 2007 at 10:45 am

    My apologies, the email address is betteringlife.coaching@yahoo.co.uk.

    S

  139. Veritas
    May 22, 2007 at 4:01 pm

    Hi Shita:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts further on the issues that we’re discussing and it was helpful to read your extended thoughts.

    There are certain things that I can think of and agree with from your clarifications about some of your previous posts and thoughts but then, to be honest again, I’ve not seen anything in your post that was meant to address my more serious questions about how belief and truth are related and how personal integrity and pleasant manner are related to the nature of truth.

    I still want to read your thoughts on these issues. It was on the 15th of May that I shared with you something from my previous post which I wanted you to read so that we can move on to addressing some more foundational issues to which your answer so far has been silence. I hope you’ll address these questions so that I’ll be able to show you why I see some problems in what you’re sharing despite the fact that you do not want to hear that since you want us to believe what you share with us, period. Just re-read some of your statements that are there for all to see what I’m trying to refer to.

    I’m so sorry if your understanding that defining terms or clarifying ideas, I used the latter any ways, amounts to saying to people that the audience does not know anything. I can see why you say that but nothing could be more wrong about such a take when it comes to a discussion of ideas the virtues of such things is clarity of communications and providing good reasons for what one believes and thinks some view iare right or wrong. I cannot assume what you wanted to say unless what you say is unambiguous, crystal-clear, and I pointed out to you that some of your ideas are not clear and unambiguous the way you think they are. It’s your responsibility, if you truly value good discussions that ought to be communicating clear ideas for those who read your thoughts here. If you do not believe in such a thing just make youra clear and unambiguous case to the contrary. Please re-read your opening two paragraphs above to see what I’m talking about.

    I’ll not respond to the other points with which I do sharply disagree, for record, until I can see that you’re here with us to discuss ideas and even debate some ideas as being good or bad. Yes, debate is not a word with the connotation you suggested. It’s debating ideas that is part of this discussion; it’s both, not one or the other.

    Hope to see your next post addressing some foundational questions I’ve been posing for you repeatedly and I’ll try to show you and the audience why I wanted you to share your thoughts about them when others and I in the audience will be clear as to what you mean by this or that about the relationship between truth and belief and what truth is. I hope that you see the point again: why should one care if an idea or a belief or whatever I share or you share is false? Truth is here to stay as a norm and we strive to know the truth and live the truth about the very same reason why we’re here and hope that you know why we’re here on this blog.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  140. Veritas
    May 22, 2007 at 8:26 pm

    Hi Shita:

    I’ve been wondering about your frequent references to and contrast with the theoretical and the practical. You tend to talk about actions more frequently as well. It’s been deeply puzzling for me as I think about such references and such contrasts but I rarely see your take on what you mean by the theoretical though one can find some intimations, hints about your reference to practical things or actions, which, to be honest again, I’m not sure what you mean by them.

    I’m familiar with a number of alternative understandings of such theoretically loaded, mind you, I said theoretically-loaded, phrases and to follow your ideas without wondering to which you’re referring to at any given moment is quite puzzling for me. I cannot speak for others but then I want to understand you better so that I can engage you in a better and fruitful way and hence am trying to give you another opportunity to say some more clarifications on what I get puzzled about from your posts.

    I can just remind you of the following that I’ve posted in response to one of your posts and I hope that this time you face head-on these puzzling experiences on my part. I said the following several days ago, it started with a question for you THEN AND AS NOW:

    “What do you mean by practical and theoretical? As far as I’m concerned there is NO practical thing that is worth considering that does not involve theoretical elements to it. All practical things have ideas behind them, theories behind them, and also some ideas are better than others, nonetheless ideas all the way. Ideas are not practical in some sense yet there are no practical things that do not involve ideas in some sense. It’s a matter of which ideas would work practically better and which would not and why do we choose one idea over and against the other? The answer to this question still depends on providing justifications, which are ideas thru and thru, for why we choose some ideas as being better and workable than others. Ideas have consequences and consequences are things that we experience and hence practical in some sense.”

    Hope that you see value when one takes one’s time to understand you better for a more fruitful discussion.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  141. daniyot
    May 23, 2007 at 6:55 am

    Hi shita

    I have get a chance to read your post dated 22nd of may 2007,by the way I do appreciate you for the way how you express things in very clear and plain Ways,you are one of a few who deserve great applause .

    But I have some reservation here ,I mean you have recommended some thing like CAUCH that can help us to see the the future in a more brighter way and some individuals those can lead us to achieve our personal goal or whatever as you have said it(if I made a mistake correct me here

    But, does this website or individual coaches are recommended for all Ethiopian people ,or is this for some individual those are in need of this couching’s? is it somewhat vague to me to understand,

    When you recommend this website or individuals , do you think that it can help to shape or direct our character to develop into its best level ,do you think we can bring change to our self and intire society through couching by website or some individuals .it look like funny but it might be embodied with some thing else which is not discovered yet,who knows?

    here I think you might be lost some where because we are not talking about a person ,what we are talking about is an individual with in a society ,even about a society at large ,that is the way how we are discussing about character problems .and cauching will never be possible for a socity.that is true ,it does not work for entire country ,it is not a foot ball or soccer team,Right?

    ,you recommendation look like the wrong doctor’s, wrong pills ,with wrong doze to the right patient ,which means devastating resultant effect .it sounds like that to me or you may have some thing you want to say about this website or about those individuals ,that what can understand for the time being .

    here is the points I do believe that education is the main instrument to change the life if individuals and a society at large ,there might be some problem in our education system ,that may not include the core values , value system and other related very important elements that can lead us to build a better society ,that will also be fixed though time with the help of well designed education system ,commited individuals and with the active participation of the mass ,it is really hard to believe that cauching has some relevance tothe wide spread problems of our society,it is really vague to me .

    Yes ,I do remember once a while ago ,my dear friend Aaron posted some funny recommendation ,I think it was about Aids ,the difference here is he corrected him self right away,but you did not ….so there must be some thing ,or I do not know!!!!???

    Now I will do one thing personally ,I would try to find out about those individuals and theire websites because they may have some hidden agenda at there back that can cause a damage to the socity.I try my best to figure out that in the next couple of days ,

    For the time being ,please ,show me how coaching can work for our society,? I have some more questions for you but I am short of time right now.

  142. Veritas
    May 23, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    Hi All:

    I’ve been wondering about other participants other than Daniyot, Shita, and myself, as to where they all have been.

    I look forward to fact that I’ll contribute less frequently to this blog due to other commitments and also due to some inconvenient circumstances on my part that make blogging harder and my hope is that this blog discussion will go on as as long as the project/the discussion we’ve been engaging in is alive and relevant, which I’ve no doubt that it is both.

    My a bit extended review of Teodros Kiros’ book on Zara Yacob will be posted here pretty soon. My review of it has been interrupted by some other commitments.

    Hope to read contributions from old and faithful contributors and new ones as well.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  143. Veritas
    May 25, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    Reviewed by Veritas

    Review of Zara Yacob: Rationality of the Human Heart (Red Sea Press, 2005); 156pp. Author: Teodros Kiros, PhD.

    The book under review is a slim volume yet it contains lots of insightful ideas on one of the few Ethiopian philosophers we’ve ever had, Zara Yacob. Teodros Kiros has done a tremendous service by writing this book, which, I’d like to think, could well be a source of inspiration for more works on Ethiopian philosophy to be done by a new generation of Ethiopians in the years to come. That is my hope. In this review, I’ll highlight some of the key points in the book and share, at the end, a few points by way of reflection on the book.

    The book is divided into Seven Chapters. Chapters I & II, are stage setting and I’ll only mention the issues they touch briefly. Chapter III is on Zara Yacob, the main subject of this book. Chapter IV focuses on Walda Heywat, Zara Yacob’s student and his work. Chapter V focuses on Zara Yacob’s work in light of African Philosophy, while Chapter VI highlights his place in the history of philosophy in general. Chapter VII concludes the book by touching on Zara Yacob’s distinct contribution to philosophy as a philosopher of the rationality of the heart. My review does not necessarily follow the above chapter divisions.

    I

    In chapter I, “Classical Ethiopian Philosophy and the Modernity of Zara Yacob”, Kiros sets a stage for his exposition of Zara Yacob’s work and his exposition of classical Ethiopian philosophy is accordingly short. Consequently, Kiros contrasts Zara Yacob’s radical break from tradition by emphasizing classical Ethiopian philosophy’s focus on tradition and a subtle appropriation and integration of Greek, Egyptian, Aramaic and Arabic philosophy into that of classical Ethiopian philosophy.

    Kiros emphasizes the fact that classical Ethiopian philosophy has never been a pure work of translation. He writes, “Ethiopians never translate literally; they adapt, modify, add, subtract. A translation therefore bears a typically Ethiopian stamp: although the nucleus of what is translated is foreign to Ethiopia, the way it is assimilated and transformed into an indigenous reality is typically Ethiopian.” (P. 12). Kiros reiterates that anything that gets ethiopianized is through a transliteration more than translation and in the process gets fundamentally changed, that is, becomes ethiopianized.

    Kiros also notes that classical Ethiopian philosophy focuses on moral values which is the feature of Fisalgos, that is the transcription from the Greek Physiologos that contrasts with The Book of the Philosophers, which is “a collection of sayings that illuminate tradition as a source of philosophy and philosophy as orality” (p. 2). Most of the sayings in The Book of the Philosophers are ethiopianized interpretations of the works of classical Greek philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle and Pythagoras (p.2).
    Kiros pays attention to two major elements of classical Ethiopian philosophy. Accordingly, he briefly discusses three main moral categories such as wisdom, moderation, and faith as examples of the classical Ethiopian philosophy. He also highlights the key place the story of Skendes occupies in classical Ethiopian philosophy. The story of Skendes, Kiros notes, has been the subject of Greek, Syrian, Arabic and classical Ethiopian philosophy. Kiros remarks, “The pervasive philosophy of wisdom through silence, the need to control the tongue, discourse on the nature of women, the miseries, slayings, excess and abstention of desire, fear and anger, which Skendes delicately analyzed, became powerful ethical and septennial [sic] themes in classical Ethiopian philosophy.” (p.9).
    It is in the background of such classical Ethiopian philosophy that Zara Yacob emerges, in the 17th century, whose radical break from the way philosophy was conceived in Ethiopia before him was a point of departure and the subject of Kiros’ work. Kiros says, Zara Yacob was “…the first rationalist and modernist [who] simultaneously appropriated and transcended the sapiential tradition that engulfed him.” (p. 11) Modernity contrasts with tradition or being traditional and it’s progressive and it’s, more or less, identified with scientific rationality.

    II

    Kiros underscores two methods of interpretation of existing philosophical work that Zara Yacob introduced as a way of doing philosophy, viz., Hassasa and Hatata. Claude Sumner, who has done more than any other person to bring together much of the extant literature on Ethiopian philosophy, alongside Kiros, contends that “…Zara Yacob along with Descartes was a founder of modern philosophy”, to which, Kiros adds, that “Zara Yacob and Walda Heywat are the first rationalists and modernists in Ethiopian history.” (pp. 17-18)

    Now Kiros notes that by the modernity of Zara Yacob he, Kiros, refers to Zara Yacob’s rejection of tradition if and when tradition and traditional beliefs and values fail to meet the standard of reason, or rationality. For Zara Yacob, as it’s the case for philosophers in general, reason should play a key role in our reflective appropriation of what has come before us through the tradition of our fathers and forefathers. But Zara Yacob’s rationality is that of “the rationality of the heart”, which is the theme of Kiros’ work. More on that below.

    Philosophy is a reflective and critical activity and hence Zara Yacob’s use of philosophy to critically engage the beliefs, thoughts, and values in the context of which he was born in the 17th century Ethiopia. Zara Yacob’s starting point for his philosophical activities and philosophizing in general was his conviction that God exists and reason is God-given and God rewards those who seek truth, truly, so to speak, and most of his reflective activities were informed and infused by his faith in God and in his desire to be a wise person recognizing God as the fountain of wisdom all the way. Kiros writes, ‘He [Zara Yacob] prayed to God to make him intelligent and wise so as to use reason accurately and fairly and decipher human nature and inform it with moral wisdom and depth. This was the test of Rationality.” (p. 20)

    According to Kiros “[Zara Yacob’s] fundamental conviction is that God exists”, which Kiros contrasts with that of the modern philosophers’ attitude to God and faith in God that is dismissive. Though Zara Yacob starts with his faith in God, his philosophizing was meant to make his faith rational, reasonable. For Zara Yacob true faith is always reasonable or rational or should be consistent with reason if reason is also directed at seeking truth.

    For Zara Yacob human actions reflect human rationality which is flawed if it does not reflect the rationality of God and if humans are irrational their actions would also be irrational. Kiros remarks on Zara Yacob when he writes, “On this view rationality is not a given, what are given are intelligence and will, and it is the proper use of both that makes it possible for us to develop a rational way of life, as a habitual way of existence.” (p. 27) Again, Zara Yacob is emphatic as to how our choices and our actions are reflective of our thoughts in that they show where they spring from, our hearts. Zara Yacob says, “…God created man to be the master of his own actions, so that he will be what he wills to be, good or bad.” (p.64). Hence human thoughts and choices and actions are intimately related according to Zara Yacob.

    Kiros underscores the fact that for Zara Yacob praying to God is a path to thought and God discloses himself for those who intensely engage in prayer with a desire to seek the truth. Kiros remarks that for Zara Yacob prayer is a modality of philosophy, a mode or a means by which philosophy is done and prayer “is a highly concentrated and disciplined exercise in thinking.” (p. 41). Hence prayer plays a key role in Zara Yacob’s philosophy.

    It was facing conflicting truth-claims by people who embraced different faith-commitments, e.g., Christians, Muslims, and Jews, that led Zara Yacob to engage in Hassasa, that is searching as a method of discriminating which truth-claim is true. Zara Yacob shares his reflections on the human tendency to lie, speak untruth as follows: “We cannot, however, reach truth through the doctrine of men, for all men are liars…God sustains the world by his order which he himself has established and which men cannot destroy, because the order of God is stronger than the order of men.” (p. 47). Kiros notes that only if humans rely on God’s reason and are guided by God’s reason and God’s doctrine, besides using their own reason, that they can be protected from liars or lies since all men are liars. In other words, relying on human reason in seeking truth about God and other things is a necessary condition but not a sufficient one according to Zara Yacob.

    Kiros contrasts Zara Yacob’s work with his French contemporary, Rene Descartes, and he goes on to note that Zara Yacob’s Treatise addresses philosophical issues such as metaphysics (study of what reality is), morality, and the nature of knowledge. As we’ve already observed, knowledge, according to Zara Yacob, can be obtained through prayer, and meditation on the doctrines or teachings of God, and by using our human reason at the same time relying on God’s reason. As for reality, that is, what exists and what does not, Zara Yacob starts with God’s existence and the existence of all the creatures God has created and sustains in existence. As for morality Zara Yacob was concerned as to how to live our lives rightly and rationally and how the human search for truth following God’s precepts can guide human life and action. Kiros writes, “Zara Yacob portrays humans as potentially reasonable—but only if they work on the potentiality, otherwise, they are evil and disposed to lying.” (p. 62). One cannot miss the emphasis Zara Yacob places on truth and the value of truth.

    Among the features of Zara Yacob’s philosophy is his focus on the heart as the seat of reason and rationality and hence his philosophy being characterized as the rationality of the human heart. Kiros notes that “Intelligence, for Zara Yacob is centered in the heart. The heart as opposed to the brain is expected to enable us to choose correctly. The relocation of intelligence in the human heart is a measured redefinition of reason according to Zara Yacob. Intellection itself is an activity of the heart.” (p.57).Again, Kiros underscores that the heart is the source of feelings and passions thus: “Zara Yacob is contending that thinking is an activity of the heart, and that genuine thinking is passionate, and passion as an expression of feeling is an integral part of thought and not separate from thought. Thought itself is passionate; thought is a passion for truth and feeling grounds truth.” (p. 70). These preceding ideas capture the rationality of the heart according to Zara Yacob.

    III

    Kiros devotes a chapter to the work of Walda Heywat, Zara Yacob’s student who went on to transform his teacher’s work. Walda Heywat drew out implications of Zara Yacob’s work mainly for social ethics. He like his teacher emphasizes the value of intelligence and reason in human life. Kiros notes that “Walda Heywat was an accommodationist whereas Zara Yacob was a radical critic of traditions.” (p. 86). Walda Heywat’s ethical teachings underscore the fact that in order to live rightly we need to develop self-awareness. Kiros remarks that critical awareness of oneself is indispensable for one to develop character since character development requires knowledge of one’s vices.

    Kiros considers how Zara Yacob’s and Walda Heywat’s philosophical work can be seen as an example of doing African philosophy that shares the value and universal role of reason in philosophy against the prevailing view that holds African philosophy as being based on emotions without reason. He also discusses Zara Yacob’s place in the history of philosophy as he compares Zara Yacob’s work with that of Immanuel Kant and Aristotle especially Kant’s emphasis on the faculty of reason which is also Zara Yacob’s as we’ve so far observed.

    The book concludes with Kiros’ contention that the heart as opposed to the brain is the seat of rationality, reason, and thought and passions with which he captures Zara Yacob’s work. He argues that among Zara Yacob’s contribution to philosophy is the recognition that “The heart as part of the body is a muscular pump, as the house of the mind, [it] is an organ of thought…the human heart is both part of the body and the mind”. (pp.118-119).

    Kiros finally contrasts rationality of the heart, following Zara Yacob, with that of scientific rationality. Scientific rationality Kiros argues is exclusively concerned with meeting the economic and psychological needs of the individual with a focus on devising means to meet the individual’s needs. Scientific rationality is indifferent to the suffering of the other and hence at the end self-centered. Rationality of the heart, on the other hand, issuing forth from the human heart, offers what scientific rationality lacks such as compassion and concern to the other and that is due to the fact, according to Kiros, that thinking and feeling and passion affect the actions of a human being as these originate from the human heart.

    Kiros adds a short appendix in which he addresses the debate about the authenticity over the author of Yacob’s Treatise and he supports his conclusion for Zara Yacob’s authorship of the Treatise by providing some textual evidence.

    IV

    Now it’s time for me to share a few points by way of reflection on the book under review and will leave it for another occasion to fully develop a more philosophically informed evaluation of the book.

    First off, personally, it’s been quite an experience for me to have been exposed to the work of Zara Yacob, which is a remarkable achievement for a person given the historical context in which he had lived and also developed such a critical work. Any philosopher who works in the contemporary analytic philosophy of religion, while reading Zara Yacob’s work, cannot help thinking about Zara Yacob’s philosophical predecessors of the European medieval period and how similar his work was to that of his predecessors.

    Consequently, Zara Yacob seems to belong to a tradition of doing theistic and Christian philosophy known as “Faith Seeking Understanding”, or in Latin, Fides quaerens intellectum, originated with another African Christian philosopher, St. Augustine of Hippo (of present day Algeria) in the 4th century, which was also adopted by St. Anselm, the Archbishop of Canterbury who lived in the 11th century, who is also known as the founder of European scholasticism. The most famous living contemporary Christian philosopher who belongs to the tradition of “Faith Seeking Understanding” is the American Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga of the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.

    I’d call Zara Yacob the first Ethiopian theistic (Christian) philosopher to be followed by his student Walda Heywat. Zara Yacob’s work distinctly belongs to that of theistic (Christian) philosophy tradition of the medieval times and that of the contemporary Christian philosophy that has experienced unprecedented renaissance in the last three decades or so under the leadership, among others, of Alvin Plantinga. If Zara Yacob has independently developed all his philosophical reflections without any contact with the works of his mainly European predecessors his work is truly a remarkable achievement.

    At this moment I leave for historians to determine whether Zara Yacob had any contacts with any literature by any one of his predecessors from outside of Ethiopia. Since philosophical work is usually done in response to and in interaction with other philosophers’ works, even if one establishes that Zara Yacob was exposed to an outside philosophical work, that does not undermine the fact that he was the first Ethiopian theistic (Christian) philosopher. By theistic philosopher I mean a philosopher who’s committed to belief in God and by a Christian philosopher I’d refer to a distinctly Christian philosopher as one who does not only believe in God but who is also committed to a Christian understanding of who God is as opposed to that in Islam and Judaism.

    The reason I call Zara Yacob a theistic (Christian) philosopher as opposed to simply calling him an Ethiopian philosopher might raise some questions for some. A very short answer to such a question would be this: all philosophers start their philosophical work with some givens or starting points to which they are committed. Some start with belief in God while others start with believing all that exists is the universe plus nothing else, or no God as understood in a Judeo-Christian tradition. The former could be called theistic philosophers while the latter naturalistic philosophers. The point is that both are philosophers. There is no philosopher who does his/her philosophical work in a vacuum of fundamental intellectual commitments. Zara Yacob starts his philosophical work with his belief or faith in God. Hence he can rightly be called a theistic and also a Christian philosopher. From what has been presented about Zara Yacob in the book under review it seems more reasonable and more accurate to call him a theistic philosopher (as opposed to calling him a Christian philosopher) since Zara Yacob’s emphasis is on a generic understanding of God to all the major theistic traditions such as Christian, Judaism and Islam.

    Finally, though this book contains number of insightful ideas on Zara Yacob’s contribution as a theistic philosopher I’ve also found some areas that the author can take into consideration for future revised edition that can improve the quality of the book significantly: there is a tendency by the writer to repeat the same ideas throughout the book. That could have been avoided and the book could have been shorter, concise, if the writing was more precise, and more rigorous. Most analytic philosophers would be put off by writing that does not aim at precision and rigor of argumentation and my hope is that the future edition of the book will consider adding such valuable things to make the book a contribution also to philosophy as practiced in the analytic philosophy tradition to which this reviewer belongs.

    One other problem that I’ve noticed is about multiple avoidable typos and there are words miss-spelt on many pages and I hope that they’ll be corrected for the subsequent edition. There are a number of ideas in the book to take issues with but not now as I’ve indicated above. Otherwise, I think the book can serve as a source for more work on philosophy by a new generation of Ethiopian philosophers in the years to come. It’ll particularly be an inspiration for future theistic and Christian philosophers in Ethiopia.

    Veritas

  144. shita
    June 26, 2007 at 9:03 pm

    Hello Veritas,

    Sorry for the delay. When there are many things that need doing one has to give them priority. I was not ignoring you by not answering each and every question you asked, actually I do appreciate the value of asking. One gets an answer through them, it opens the door to understanding and once in a while an unkind man can use them for personal gains. When I am short of time I prefer to explain the points I believe are more important

    Theory & practice- that is the difference between talking about something and actually doing it. We all know it is good to be patient, to admit to our mistakes and as your central theme indicates, to speak the truth. You know the saying “easier said than done..” Perhaps contemplating the psychology behind all human errors could help when dealing with human behaviour. It also helps to test the medicine we are prescribing to others, if anything to underrstand the process of healing.

    It is good of you to post your review of kiros’ book. Thanks.

    S

  145. shita
    June 26, 2007 at 9:23 pm

    Hello Daniyot,

    My apologies for the delay.

    I must admit I was unable to comprehend the message in your mail, however, I will answer the question regarding coaching.

    Coaching- is like football coaching. You will do the job of changing your flaws and developing good ones in their place while the coachguides you by giving you tips, different methods of identifying the flaws in your personality, assessing your progress. It is a kind of relationship based on respecting your right, feelings, needs and your choice. It is very hard to even admit we have a problem, then to start seeing what is wrong in our thinking and consequently our behaviour. The coach will kind of hold your hand initially but never criticise you.

    When you said if it is useful to our country, you reminded me of something. One of the central problems we have as a nation is seeing our country as separate from others. Sadly we use it to justify our refusal to change and nature has a way of dealing with those who refuse to change and always unkindly.

    Daniyot- we are human beings like others, made of the same physical and spiritual staff and all rules and universal laws apply to and work on us. What made us look different is that we were refusing to change for many many years and we ended up having the most backward mentality and way of life in the world. We were created at the same time as others.

    The other defence mechanism is we make it a national issue when it is opposite to our personal belief. Wanting to change and become a better person is the BEST NATIONAL SERVICE YOU CAN GIVE TO YOUR COUNTRY. In my part it was a suggestion based on my personal experience, not to agree to it is allowed.

    Feel free to ask if it involves any practical help.

    Good luck.

    S

  146. shita
    June 27, 2007 at 6:39 am

    Daniyot,

    About education, no doubt people need to be educated to get a good start in life. Coaching was not suggested instead of education but in addition to it. Although, being educated does not always guarantee honesty and a positive outlook.

    S

  147. daniyot
    June 30, 2007 at 4:18 am

    Hi Shita,

    I do apologize for my delay, too.Still I am not in a convenient situation to respond and to go through you points ,I will make every thing clear in the next couple of days ,please , feel free as long as we are sharing ideas and views .

    Finaly I would like to thank you for your concern.

    take care

  148. Veritas
    July 5, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    Hello All:
    Yes, I’ve been away from my computer and also I’ve been increasingly hectic as I’ve been traveling these last couple of weeks or so.

    I can’t engage Shita and Daniyot for now but then I just want to share the following story: I’m writing this note from Hong Kong and my experience of this city has left me speechless and wondering about our own civilization and the possibility of Ethiopia as a nation ever developing like Hong Kong or any other Western civilization. I’m having a hard time imagining Ethiopia’s future in the light of such incredibly massive civilizations. My experience has been very much limited to Ethiopia and the West, esp., the USA, and now adding this Asian civilization/massive development as we try to think about Ethiopia’s future, that is, what Ethiopia will look like in decades or a century or centuries, is a tremendous challenge for it’s almost inconceivable for us to develop this much, ever.

    I’d like to hear some reactions to this rather pessimistic note about Ethiopia’s future if considering other civilizations for the sake of comparing the pace of our own development is permissible for a moment.

    I hope to be back to the discussion once things settle down and I re-start a routine life-style that would allow me to share my contribution.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  149. September 18, 2007 at 4:26 am

    Hello

    Very interesting information! Thanks!

    G’night

  1. July 26, 2007 at 6:40 pm

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