Blooming Society Sunday

Every Sunday I share a bloom – a small idea of how to improve our world.
Tend the garden of humanity with me by blogging with your own idea on any Sunday.
If you do, feel free to pingback here so we can keep the conversation going. 


Welcome to the second-ever Blooming Society Sunday! Let’s get down to it, shall we?

This Week’s Bloom: Read Beyond Borders

Reading from the perspective of authors in other places and cultures can radically alter our own view of the world. A lot of us don’t have excess time to spend finding sources to add to our list of things to read, much less time to read them. The good news is there are a lot of ways to gain a global perspective without altering any habits.

Fiction: Next time you pick up a book, consider an author with a recent immigrant background to see your home through fresh eyes. Translations of best-sellers from other countries can pluck you from your home and take you straight into the hearts and minds of people thousands of miles away. Thankfully, such translations are easier than ever to find. I’m more than happy to offer suggestions from my own bookshelves, but perhaps you’d rather hear from Ann Morgan. She has read at least one book from every nation on the planet. You can find her list here.

News: There are hundreds of thousands of places to get your news – morning, afternoon, evening, plus every moment in between. Use the internet to bring a variety of viewpoints directly to the screen nearest you. Follow international news outlets on Facebook. Use Twitter to follow independent reporters and organizations on the ground around the world. Add a foreign newspaper or magazine to your subscription or RSS service. In the Internet Age, there is simply no reason to limit your understanding of international events to the viewpoints of individuals in one country. 

Blogs: Discovering bloggers from elsewhere is a great way to escape the echo chamber of one’s country and make connections to people wherever internet access is available. (Which, for the record, isn’t everywhere.) The next time you’re exploring WordPress tags, see if you can find something in common with someone halfway around the world.

Where do you find your global perspective?


39 thoughts on “Blooming Society Sunday

  1. Madalyn,

    I really like this Sunday theme! “Tending the Garden of Humanity.” Well done my Lady!

    Ann Morgan is brilliant! One book from every nation! Novel. Outstanding Ann! Your other suggestions Madalyn are fantastic! “Echo chamber.” What a great description!

    A few months back I began getting one of my world-news venues from Al Jazeera America for exactly your reasons. For me, if I were a true American supporting our Constitution, (in its more pure implicit and explicit forms), Bill of Rights, etc, and I was one member of a 12-member jury in a civil rights case, I absolutely want to hear ALL EVIDENCE, ALL witnesses, no matter how slanted they might appear. The reasons should be obvious, right? Duh. It’s also why I am one of 12 members: to level my & other jurors’ possible biasness. Another example of the concept is a story, or legend, or myth that has been passed down thru the ages from one generation, one culture, one empire, i.e. the gospels of Yeshua, or better known in the West as Jesus. Most mainstream Christ-followers in America do not have a clue that in their canonical bible Yeshua’s story is HEAVILY told from a Greco-Roman perspective, then theologized primarily from Saul of Tarsus (Paul). Only by examining over 45 other “gospels” of Yeshua does one grasp the bigger picture, a much more accurate portrayal of Yeshua. Believe me, when looking at and reading about the legend, you can’t help but come away with a vastly different ending than Roman Emperor Constantine’s close bishops — the early church Fathers (men) who created the canonical bibles — who by the way heavily favored Saul of Tarsus, Peter, and other Greco-Roman apostles who disliked those apostles from Jerusalem, in particular James, the brother of Jesus, and those apostles known as the Judeo-Christians, i.e. the ones who knew Yeshua intimately.

    Sorry for the length Madalyn. I wanted to give another perspective of your theme here. 😉

    1. Professor that is very interesting. America is a big place with many cultures within it, so there’s still much to learn in my own country, but it’s definitely been interesting to move back to Mississippi and view it through the eyes of an unbeliever. Last night, my mom and I were watching the news on TV. It was a discussion about ISIS and the article posted in the Atlantic about understanding what ISIS wants. I mentioned to my mother that what ISIS wants and has done isn’t much different that what Yahweh wanted, condoned and did as recorded in the Bible. She said to me “who is Yahweh?” LOL

      This is a woman who was raised in a religious environment and sent me to church and Catholic schools to be “properly” educated about the Christian god and she didn’t even know the name of her god. She didn’t believe me about the leaders of ISIS and Yahweh being similar, so I got out a bible and read several passages, i.e., Numbers 31. I thought she was going to throw up. She literally got sick to her stomach. She was stunned. I told here “Mom, that’s Jesus’ daddy”. She said “close the book, I don’t want to hear anymore.” 😉

      1. Victoria, what an opportune time for your expertise! YOU SO SLAM-DUNKED THAT! As a fellow-minded friend, WELL DONE Ma’am!!! 😀 ❤

        I’ve been in similar situations & subsequent conversations, most recently with my daughter over Xmas holiday. 😮

        Great comment/feedback!

        1. Thanks Professor. Trust me when I say that I tread lightly when it comes to talking about religion/belief when I’m around my family. But bringing up Yahweh was an opportune time due to my mother’s reactions from the program. Hope your Sunday is going great. xx

          1. HAH! Says the wise-one to the Bohemian Humanist! 😉

            Yep, I expect that once my son is older, say 19-27 years old, he’ll follow in his Mom’s and sister’s footsteps in desparately trying to evangelize me & guide me to the ‘one and only salvation available and true to all of humanity!‘ Treading lightly with that sort of family I have become an improving Master! LOL

            Ditto on your Sunday Ms. Wonderful!!!

          2. “Ms. Wonderful” — you are way too generous with your words. 😉 As far as the other comments go, we probably should take them to V-chat so that Madalyn’s superb post can remain on topic. See you there or be square. cough Besides, I have a video I want to share with you there. 😈

    2. Thanks, Professor!
      You make a great point. Reading widely, especially on subjects of belief, should be required from a young age. A lot of emphasis is placed on history in schools, but rarely the history of ideas. If it was required to look at how our culture and belief systems were distilled through previous generations and places, well, I think the world would be a much different place. For now, it is up to the individual (or perhaps a well-read professor 😉 ).
      I’m a fan of the lengthy comments. Keep ’em coming!

  2. Madalyn, where did this week go?

    “Where do you find your global perspective?”

    I get them from various sources — independent news sources as oppose to the MSM, as well as reading blogs from people all over the world. I think that’s a great idea about reading a book from each country. I suppose I have done that in a sense (not every country) by reading blogs (hundreds) from people who live in other parts of the world. I find it fascinating to see my own culture and “values” through their eyes which affords me a reality check from time to time. Also, expanding my horizons has shown me how much our cultures affect the wiring of our brain, thus our perception of reality. However, I think the greatest ‘revelation’ I’ve gained is that we are all pretty much have more in common than not.

    Excellent post, my friend. 🙂

    1. However, I think the greatest ‘revelation’ I’ve gained is that we are all pretty much have more in common than not.

      The remarkable advances of modern genetic research & findings, and DNA advances & findings, have continually pointed to ONE conclusion: all humans are over 99% alike. Period. 😀

      If I may humbly further elaborate on this subject (and my blog):

      As always Victoria, excellent feedback!!!

      1. Professor, that was a fantastic and informative read. I watched a program about two years ago where they took swabs from the inside of the mouths of hundreds of people in NYC and the results were — they all had the same ancestors (from Africa), as does everyone on the planet.

        1. Humble thanks V. Yes, I caught that special as well. I remember one of the black men being completely baam-boozled by his origins: European rather than African! LOL 😉

          Ahh, the human-eye dictates SO MUCH (too much?) onto the brain and logical process. THANK THE COLLECTIVE CONSCIOUSNESS for science!!! 🙂

        2. Apologies, the “black” man’s origins were for a specific time-frame, i.e. as far back as HIS DNA testing could take him. He was shocked, however, that such a large swath of that heritage was European, not African. My mistake there in not explaining well. (note to self: think long before you click!) LOL

    2. Heck if I know! There’s a reason I scheduled this post. 😉
      I get the impression that you read a lot more blogs than I. Any suggestions? I loved the one you messaged me.
      I agree with your revelation. While I have learned a lot about my own presuppositions and lack of knowledge about the various people of the world, finding relatable individuals has never been difficult.
      Thank you, V. 🙂

      1. “I agree with your revelation. While I have learned a lot about my own presuppositions and lack of knowledge about the various people of the world, finding relatable individuals has never been difficult.”

        I couldn’t agree more, but I first had to overcome my fear of “the other”, which was, unfortunately, instilled by my immediate (conservative) culture. Robert Sapolsky, PhD, stated in his eye-opening article “Peace Among Primates” that people may be hardwired to get edgy around the “Other” but who falls into that category is decidedly malleable. Opening myself up to other cultures (via the Internet) had a profoundly positive effect on me, and I believe played a major role in decreasing gray matter volume in my right amygdala (fear of different) and an increasing of connections (more gray matter volume) in the anterior cingulate cortex, which I’m certain (as the research shows) played a role in me being more accepting of people who were different than me, and leaving me less likely to activate my amydgala. When I say “more accepting of people who are different” that does not mean I’m accepting of people who cause harm to others, although I do seek to understand why they do.

        I do read a lot of blogs and the comments that follow. I tend to lurk more than get actively involved in blog posts. I’ve learned a lot about myself and others via blogs and comments.

        Sorry for the technical stuff but I share because it was through understanding the brain and the impact that the environment (including culture) has on it that I was able to step outside of my own perception of reality and see the world through the eyes of others.

  3. That is an awesome list, says the guy who works in a library with an excellent interlibrary loan system. I see great potential here!

    I am all about the music. I still have a fairly extensive collection of stuff from Argentina (Fito Paez, Enanitos Verdes, Soda Stereo, etc.), and I’ve begun trying to collect more from around the world. I don’t necessarily understand it all, language-wise, but I find it amazing that the same rhythms move us all, no matter where we’re from.

    BTW, TIWITA. (Come to detente…)

    1. Indeed, listen beyond borders! We are all moving to our heart’s beat. It only makes sense for our music to sway similarly. I’ll check out those bands you’ve mentioned.

      Okay, I give up. Google has failed me. What in the world does TIWITA mean?
      Are any tickets to detentes come in the form of Skype invitations? hehe

    1. The more I find out about India, the more intrigued I am by its culture and history. I live in an area with a lot of first and second generation Indian immigrants, which has heightened my interest even more.

      1. Fascinating place, but just so many people. It can be overwhelming. Indian intellectuals, though, are a breed onto themselves. Hyper-intelligent, if that makes sense?

  4. I studied abroad in Northern Ireland. One of my all-time favorite books is Oranges from Spain, set in the background of the Troubles of N. Ireland. It’s just a collection of stories, but it gave me so much perspective about the city I lived in and the people I loved there—and it meant a lot to them that I cared to know their stories. I’ve read it at least 4 times since then, and it still moves me. I should really read it again now that my perspective on religion has changed. One of my goals is to never visit a country without reading their stories. Also to read what is important to the people I love—there is so much diversity even in my own local circle that I have yet to tap into.

    1. Another for my to read list. Huzzah!

      I love your idea of reading where you visit and especially reading what those you love love. It gives a special insight into someone to know what books speak to them. Disscussing them can lead to some powerful conversations.

  5. i watch news on twitter and listen to the BBC every once in a while.
    I am not a fan of TV.
    I read fiction as an interlude between reading philosophy and doing nothing
    Great post MMJ

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