The choice to be with God

the choice to be with God or the choice to be in a marriage should not be found on the outer factors for example Beauty pleasure feelings and so on but on my own conscious choice. Faith isn’t always pleasurable. God’s ways are sometimes very painful so is marriage. My wife won’t be always beautiful but never the less I want to be with her. It is my choice. even though now she may be beautiful it is important to know that I want to be with her even though she would not be and will not be always physically attractive . same with God. I want to be faithful because my heart tells me so and all empirical evidence may claim the opposite. I should stand by what I believe is right even though everything May support opposite. This is inevitability of God .if I relativize Everything then I am God-less . if I find my heart’s voice then I know always what is right and what is wrong. We may never know the truth but belief is even more important than truth because belief is real . Take for example abortions. If I’m told to have a mutilated child and am recommended to have an abortion then I may logically follow what is easier for me. on the other hand if I believe in sacredness of life then I would never let any soul to die. Abortion is as well as anti conception always the easy choice. I do not want to sound dogmatic and say that all abortions and all anti conception cases are wrong or evil but it seems to me very improbable that there could be any good in it. Abstractly we can say that these things are evil but concrete cases and concrete people have to decide for themselves. Everyone is responsible only for his or hers own salvation . I cannot judge if someone else’s actions are good or evil because their conscience and their freedom is their uniqueness but not mine. I can only decide for myself what I do . it is important to tell other people what I think is good or evil but I must always know that I never know for sure. I can only be sure about my own conscience and my own choices.

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Words and morality

When i exhort,i dont want to sound better than others because maybe they are right and not me. words, as opposed to empirical knowledge are absolute, do not require empirical experiences. we need to understand that only through words can we achieve absolute consensus to the essence of things which is not based on any empirical evidence. empirical evidence does not hint on spiritual things but on things material. Thus it can be said that premarital sex,eg sex for pleasure is bad,but it cannot be applied on concrete people-it cannot be sais that he or she is an adulterer – this depends on individual consicence to accept or not accept universal truth and goods which is presented via words. Words are absolute because they dont touch concrete world,but use concrete words in order to describe transcedent, abstract, moral things, how to be good. When we talk,unless we reach consensus,we need another words to describe words i use. To be honest, i need more words and arguments until one understands it and agrees with me. to be good in any situation. from this premise come all other postulates. The words that are used for descriptive means of world are relative and not absolute. If one uses words not to describe things in the world but to prescribe how things should be then people reach absolute consensus. Brushes of strokes can either copy reality, or can be used as a tool to express someone´s artistic need to express the truth. Words, though relative (or because of that) can be used only as a means to arrive at a mutual absolute consensus, as well as a painting which may be unique but is nevertheless potentially copiable – the truth is not a possesion of someone, but it is an entity that just IS. Same with words, via words one either accepts the truth, or does not. Words as well as painting may be only a copy of reality (not truthful but empirical – to see that something is empirically something we do not need words but must exprience it) or may be used in order to arrive at truth – use the concepts in order to arrive at mutual consensus – here I do not need to expericence entities to which concepts direct – I can understand those concepts via other words. What is only empirically understandable cannot be explained via words but must be experienced. The only proof of an absolute consensus is mutual understanding which is actually necessary to come to a conclusion if something is bad and something good. Always remember to consider an individual action. Its about concrete occurences,one may be wrong about other pereon,its about my view of my actions and actions in general,but never fromcthe point of view of an another person. Truth cannot be found,it is being found. Neverending proces. Nevertheless,words when used as tools for making situations can be understood absokutely-and the hearer either admits the truth or not,for example in oremarital amrriage – it is not possible to say in concerete people that they are either wrong or good, but generally when I talk to someone about this toppic, we arrive at the conclusion that If someone does sleep with his/hers partner before marriage it is because of the “inablity” (not wanting to!!) curb my physiological needs. Tastes should be controled, tastes and needs of my body should not control my mind and sel. Not everything that is allowed (and easy as in case of premarital sex) is allowed. My carrer as a social care worker showed me that everybody has certain sexual drives – some people I work with are not able to eat, drink, use toilet, but all of them have certain sexual drives, thus I conclude that procreatin is possibly the easiest thing in the world and thus one should be very careful about seeing premarital sex as something that should be adored, because it is the easiest thing and things that are easy are not usually good.

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Dogma

Concerning dogma generally, but basically aiming at religious dogmas, I would like to theoretize a little bit about their consequences – pros and cons. Is it good to be the one to obey laws or the one who creates them? Don´t be the one who obeys laws that are against God´s principle,be the one who creates such, that fulfill God´s will. It is not about creating dogmas,but showing people an alternative for them. One dogma that comes to my mind is that one should not kill anybody, not even it if saves other peoples lifes. Another dogma is that one should not think about his/hers life, but primarily about the goodness that his action brings to the world. It is not about anything else but goodness. Not even life is as important as good actions. One should not do evil, in order to bring a greater good. One should not steal in order to dedícate the money to the charity because the consequences of one´s actions can see only God, I cannot see the future. I can only act right now, in this moment and not think about future. God wants us to be free, we have a free will and choice to shun evil, not because a priest or a dogma tells me,but because I want, and I should want to use my freedom to do good. Doing good does not depend on knowledge or experience, although I may have a bad experience doing something, it may be the right thing to do-beautiful in the eyes of God, my experiences and knowledge notwithstanding. One never knows what´s right and thus should follow his conscience,not anybody elses. It is good to be inspired by others, but it is inevitable to decide on myown,otherwise we are like animals who follow the group leader or base instincts. What consequences my actions shall bring is never known to me and thus I can decide only according to my conscience, not depending on my past experiences, which may be good or bad. What comes out of the heart is the only truth – God within us. Truth is not to be found, but is revealed every minute and will never be fully revealed and thus it is important to critically think about anything and everything that I encounter and not taky anything that comes to my life as a dogma or an absolute truth.

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what changes heart?

I believe in words, I believe in their power, I believe that word is what changes people. Through words we can reach a consensus about what is good and evil, about what is right and wrong. Jesus didn’t write anything, because words he said were already known to us. his uniqueness was in his deeds. what he did was perfect, but what we do is never perfect. we can only try to be better and better but can never be sure that what I do is the best thing that I can do. Only through words we can be sure that we know the truth. what Jesus said is not as important as what he did. what he says is already known to us, in other words, everything we need we already have when we are born. through words we can all agree that we all should try to be good, to do good instead of doing evil. On the other hand deeds are something which depends on one’s own individual conscience, we can never be sure about any act or deed of another person that it is good or evil. This depends on him or on her. those who try to judge other people’s deeds will be judged themselves. Every human activity can be done in two ways, good or evil. In the New Testament when woman touched Jesus with faith she was healed. If she didn’t have faith, she wouldn’t have been saved. Charity, the organization, is sometimes seen as something celestial. people that work there are sometimes seen s flawless because they work in this sphere. they have great responsibilities and they do not have much money . the truth is that working in the charity is nothing different from any other occupation. Politician or manager, occupations often considered to be selfish, if performed well are as good as any charity occupation. This is the reason why we cannot be judged what people should be or do. On the other hand people need to be reproached when not doing the right thing – only true love can I show my opinion about other people’s acts . it is my duty to tell someone that what he does is, in my view, bad or evil. If someone does a crime we won’t change him from outside – by a jail for example but only from inside, by changing his heart through our example or words. words are even more universal than deeds because as mentioned above deeds can be seen through many lenses. Any act may be seen as both merciful but also damaging. giving money to the homeless can both help him but also hurt him. only in words can one understand if it was intended to be good or evil.

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Comparison of the Situation of Disabled in the Czech Republic and in the UK

 

In this entry about minorities I intend to focus on the situation of people with mental and combined handicap in the context of the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom. More concretely I will focus on the difference between community institution in the Czech Republic (sheltered housing) and community institution in the UK (L’Arche). I chose this topic because my occupation is social care worker in the sheltered housing in the Charity, which is also a community place, where I have been working for more than five years. During this time my career went from a volunteer through personal assistant and now I work at the leading position. All my posts offered a different view on the situation of people with certain physical and mental handicap. I am also very much interested in the L’Arche community which is very popular and exists on all continents and in 35 countries except Czech Republic.

What strikes me as the most topical issue today is the fact, that calling disabled people is in fact stigmatizing. It is enough to talk about someone as “disabled” and one is made disabled. This was seen on the results of children´s tests in the PBS Frontline series. When the teacher talked positively about the group – the group had better results than the same group when being told to be stupid and inferior (because of the color of their eyes). I think that this is also the case of children from special schools. Many of them would not be there if they were given a chance and were made motivated by the teacher, parents and surrounding. Some children just need to be more cared for and require more time spent with the teacher before he or she reaches results same or even better than the other students. If people and children with a certain disability, be it physical or mental, were given a chance, they would discover hidden potential within them. In my career as a social care worker for people with mental and combined disabilities, I can very easily describe that it is not their handicap that make people inferior, but rather their inability to cope with it. There are people who are motivated, and although they are handicapped, their effort is seen and these people are sometimes even capable of greater achievement than the “healthy”, “normal” society. The faulty view that people with a handicap are less capable or inferior stems from the fact that they are very little integrated into Czech school system and society generally – there is still the remnant of the communist regime – to shun them, to shut them somewhere where they will not be seen and will not bother the “correct” society. Children go into special schools and stay there and thus are kept segregated and thus it is so difficult to see them as normal in the sense of having the same value because in adulthood human is less capable to adapt new views about those people. The majority is not used to see them and encouraged to accept them as “normal” or rather equal and thus tends to keep them away. One of the possible means to change this is community instutions.

Sheltered housing which I work in was established in 2001 and is now home for more than 30 people with mental and combined disablities. Even though sheltered housings offer a very different approach (I dare say much better approach) than for example assylums, the vision of Jean Vanier´s L’Arche (also a community institution) is also very interesting.

“After a visit to a mental asylum in France, Vanier was moved by the appalling living conditions he witnessed to take unprecedented action: He bought a derelict house in a village outside Paris in 1964 and invited two patients to live with him in fraternity and equality. He called their home “L’Arche” — a play on both “ark” and “bridge” in French — and thus inspired a movement of 146 similar communities that now exist in 35 countries.For this radical at the time recognition of the essential humanity and dignity of the disabled, as well as his promotion of interfaith dialogue, Vanier has received the prestigious Templeton Prize. The $2.1 million award for “an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s breadth of spiritual dimensions” has previously been awarded to Mother Teresa, L’Archebishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama. Vanier, now 86, still lives in the original L’Arche community in Trosly-Breuil, France.” (“A well deserved honour for Jean Vanier).

I believe that this excerpt illustrates very nicely the commitment of Jean Vanier to the cause. The greatest difference in my view and experience is that workers (personal assistants) in sheltered housing in the Czech Republic are still considered employees, whereas people in L’Arche community are said to live with the people with disabilities and not be on the outer rim – opposite side – the idea of L’Arche is to eliminate as much as possible the dichotomy between a worker and a client. The approach of L’Arche is that employees are not the half-gods that help the people who are not so good, so healthy, so economically effective – all aspects so much adored in society today. The idea of L’Arche is that assistants and disabled people are equal, that there is not an inherent difference which makes one group better and one worse than the other. The idea is that although disabled people are not so capable, it does not make them less human, inferior than the “healthy” society. Although the L’Arche community is probably the most progressive, I must say that I like the sheltered housing model more. The greatest difference between L’Arche and sheltered housing is the fact that in L’Arche the workers are more of a roommates to the disabled (cared for) people, whereas in sheltered housing the difference or line between worker and a client is a clear one – which in someone´s view is not good, but in my view is not wrong at all. One such aspect is that for disabled people, because of their naturalness (which I shall elaborate on later) they are very prone to easy fall in love and express their felings. Sexual energy is one of the strongest drives in human life. Seeing the asistant being capable of almost everything and anything is making him/her virutally a half-god in the eyes of the disabled person. The disabled one who sees things, which are for an average human normal and easy, as a hard tasks starts idolizing such a person. Although that the plight for equality is getting more nad more intensive, there is still a certain difference which cannot be so easily overcome. A female colleague of mine experienced such a situation. A young man with mental disability fell in love with her because they were in a (although working) relationshiop on a daily basis. She was living with disabled people in a community and although that the relationships between “them” were encouraged, the gap between assistants and those cared for is still existing. He was very straight-forward and did not care for the women from withing the circle of similarily handicapped as he was. This gets us to the problem of making difference. How low has the IQ be in order to disable someone? Anything above or below 90-109 average IQ points makes one disabled or extraordinary (“IQ Classifications”). But how can be a disabled or somone extraordinarily inteligent be labeled solely on the basis of his or hers inherent IQ level? Should not be people measured more complexly and according to their character and not their inherent, given assets? Such an approach would of course be much more fair but still is in my point of view utopic, because although that people do not always find a a partner with the very same values (be it psychological, intelectual, physiological etc), it is probably true, that one finds someone who is equal – the more equal the better. An averagely inteligent human does not want to have as a partner someone who is too distant from him – too much inteligent or too little. This is the reason that I consider sheltered housing as a more benefitial model for both – the caring and the cared for. Nevertheless, Vanier´s vision is to create a community not a division to workers/clients, so common in Czech social system and even in the sheltered housing institution. This vision stems from the belief that all people are equal, and that all people are capable of helping others, one way or another.

Now I would like to focus on the differences that I consider worth mentioning between people working as assistants and the people that assistants should care for. In my job I experience on the daily basis lessons from people with disablities – one of the most important for today´s people is naturalness. It seems to me that people today are too much cautious about what they do, what they say and even think, because today everything is connected and it happens more and more often that one may be fired because of what one says on social media. People with disabilities, specifically people objectively having lower IQ levels (mental disability) do not think about so deep consequences. They are teaching us that the naturalness (when sincere) is nothing to be afraid or ashamed of. I think that it is still more and more difficult for people to be candid to other people because of the fact that it may cause them trouble. Is this really the case? Is it not better to fight the fear in order to restore the natural human condition of honesty, frankness and outspokenness? I believe it is much more better for anybody to not need to be always aware of what others think about one because of what one says. It also works vica versa – people I work with are very outspoken and when they do not like what I do or say, they do not just nod as some people politely would, but readily ask and oppose to what they think is not right, even though that their opinion is usually not very sophisticated, because of their IQ, but this is precisely the thing that distinguishes people with belief in equality of disablied people and people who see them as inferior – the fact that someone has lower IQ than average does not make one less human. This is I believe the most important statement that should be emphasized. Today´s society I believe is very racional, admires intelligence and education, but the fact is that some people, with certain illnesses or (dis)abilities are just not capable of such achievements – nevertheless the case is that they are counted and viewed as same people and equal to those who have high IQ, abilites, education etc. What matters is I believe trying itself, potential to reach things although one achieves it with much more strain and effort than the healthy one. The inherent quality of beauty, ability or intelligence does not play any major role.

Now I would like to focus on some data concerning issues as housing, employment, discrimination etc., provided by the UK Government and compare it to the Czech Republic and my experience as a social care worker. According to the UK Government statistics, “The prevalence of disability rises with age. Around 6% of children are disabled, compared to 16% of working age adults and 45% of adults over State Pension age.“ (“Disability facts and figures.”). This is in my point of view a very topical issue not only in the UK, but anywhere where social system focuses on the elderly people and their well-being. Modern technology and medicine prolongs life span and thus generates a rising number of people above productive age. This is a positive issue, but the negative is that for example in Czech social system the ability to look after the elderly and infirm is not very developed. It is virtually impossible to find an acomodation in a hospice (this I know from my own experience). My great-grandmother became ill and it was impossible to lok after her in the home surrounding, but to find a place in a hospice for her took many months full of stress and uncertainty.

Living standards: “19% of individuals in families with at least one disabled member live in relative income poverty, on a before housing costs basis, compared to 15% of individuals in families with no disabled member.“ (“Disability facts and figures.”). In Czech social system the disabled member is entitled to claim benefits – in my sphere (people with mental handicap), there are four possibilities according to the stage of one´s handicap (from light to severe). The contribution is 800 (a little lower IQ than the average population), 4000, 8000 and 12 000 Czech crowns for those in need of daily and all-time care. Although that this benefit may seem rather high, the fact is that all parents (who usually care for their adult handicapped chldren) has to stay at home with them and the only breadwinner is the father (usually) thus making the whole family to live below standard level of income.

Employment: “According to the Labour Force Survey, disabled people are now more likely to be employed than they were in 2002, but disabled people remain significantly less likely to be in employment than non-disabled people. In 2012, 46.3% of working-age disabled people are in employment compared to 76.4% of working-age non-disabled people. There is therefore a 30.1 percentage point gap between disabled and non-disabled people, representing over 2 million people. The gap has reduced by 10 percentage points over the last 14 years and has remained stable over the last two years despite the economic climate.“ (“Disability facts and figures.”). The employment issue is one very relevant today. People with handicap are naturally not so capable and able of effectiveness so much desired today in a world focused on effectivity and high economic contribution – who is not contributive for the state or company is automatically seen as inferior. Nevertheless, in past ten years there has been a great shift and development in sheltered workshops. It has to be acknowledged that the country like UK has a long history of Charity and caring for people with disabilities, whereas Czech Republic began a more progressive approach only after the Velvet revolution.

Concerning discrimination, the UK Statistics say: “Disabled people are significantly more likely to experience unfair treatment at work than non-disabled people. In 2008, 19% of disabled people experienced unfair treatment at work compared to 13% of non-disabled people. Around a third of disabled people experience difficulties related to their impairment in accessing public, commercial and leisure goods and services. (“Disability facts and figures.”). This is unfortunaly true, because as mentioned above, the society which is encouraged to the highest economical gains will always see those incapable of such efficency as inferior and redundant. I would say that it is very important to start viewing people with disabilities not as inferior, but as different. As mentioned above, handicapped may not be so effective concerning material efficency, but their approach towards life, their naturalness and frankness can be at times much more important for the society than material contributions.

In my essay I tried to illustrate the approach of community institutions (L’Arche and sheltred housing) and also the situation in the UK and in the Czech Republic from my point of view as a social care worker. I showed that people in L’Arche may feel a greater sense of belonging and equality than for example people in sheltered housing, but because of the merging of assistants with disabled people there can arise many difficult situations which may endanger the life in a community – on the other hand, sheltered housing where the line between a worker and a client is very obvious, the client always feels the stigma of being “different” from the worker. I also ofocused on the data provided by the UK government concerning housing, employment and discrimination and tried to compare it to my experince in the Czech Republic. I also mentioned the shift in past 25 years in Czech Republic, the transformation of assylums and the trend in developed countries to transform large instutions into smaller communities. Problem in the Czech Republic is that after so long a spell of communism when assylums was all that was available for people with a handicap, the journey towards no assylum society is much more diffucult than for example in the UK, where there is a longer history of care for people with disabilities. I would also like to emphasize once more that assimiliation of handicapped into “normal” soicety is the most important thing (transformation of assylums that are far from civilisation into sheltered housing and communities within the centres of the cities). Finally it is important to say that the more one sees a “different” group, the more is one capable of accepting them – unfortunately this works also vica versa. In Czech Republic, general public is not used to seeing disabled people and thus they still carry the stigma of inferiorioty in the eyes of the major population. Once again, what should be admired is not the “given” – beauty, strength, inteligence, color etc., but on the opposite – how is one capable of using what one has got – instead of just having it. The same applies to disability – being born with a certain handicap should not be an automatic way to social system and stigmatization. What makes one a human is not what he or she is born, but what one makes of him/herself.

 

Bibliography

“A well deserved honour for Jean Vanier. Editorial. The Montreal gazette, Postmedia Network Inc. 2015. Web. 14 Dec. 2015

“Disability facts and figures. Office for Disability Issues. UK Government 2015. Web. 14 Dec. 2015

“IQ Classifications.” Assessment Psychology Online. n.p. 2015. Web. 14 Dec. 2015

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