Monday, September 15, 2008

Beyond A Narrow View Of Reality

In the middle of moving away from Honolulu -- probably no time for any substantial article this week so thought to post this home video from South Africa.

There were several videos from this trip, and this was one that friends seemed to have a strong response towards upon my return home.

You may find this to be off-putting, however on the positive side, South Africa has made incredible progress as a nation in recent years. It is really a beautiful and amazing country.

If you're interested in learning more I recommend Nelson Mandela's book "Long Road To Freedom" and visiting the country in person to have your experience reading come to life. I am personally planning on a cross-continent excursion from Cape Town to Cairo within the next two years.

My personal passion in Africa is it's amazing culture and natural environment. I also believe that as I take on more responsibility in future years, travelling will allow me to learn more about the patterns, trends, and historical context of the world in which we live.

There was an interview between Roger Ebert and President Bill Clinton posted on RSDN recently -- which touched on the movie "Fight Club".

RE: I got an email from somebody who said, "Well, my generation," this is an amazing email, "my generation has been denied the opportunity your generation had to fight a war like Vietnam. We don't have any way to test ourselves so we have to go to movies like "Fight Club."" And I'm thinking, "That's not what wars are for." His reasoning seemed to be so screwed up.

WJC: Well, the young people they don't have to deal with Vietnam, but I think if they had they would find it was way overrated. You know, losing 58,000 people and a whole other generation of people who were alienated from it and the traumas that so many people went through and there's not a person who went through it who's still not marked by it in some way.

Or even more importantly, the civil rights movement, you know that was a very positive thing, but for the people who suffered under the oppression of segregation or who like Congressman John Lewis had their lives threatened because they stood up for civil rights. You know, I wouldn't wish that on the young people of this generation. There's still a lot of problems in this world.

You know, if they really want to throw themselves into something they could figure out what to do about the AIDS epidemic, threatening Africa and increasingly Indians in Asia. They could figure out what to do to save a lot of these kids that are still being lost in our own country. There's still mountains to climb out there. There are things outside yourself to throw yourself into. You don't have to get beat up by somebody you know.

In my mind Bill Clinton is a clear voice of reason right here.

Chuck Palaniuk's book is an expose of a generation that lacks purpose and masculine intent -- a generation that feels empty.

However as we have become an abundance based society -- and as an individual that could be abundance in your dating, personal, and professional life -- let's not forget that there are many mountains left to climb.

It's perhaps not a lack of challenge, but a lack of focus on any higher purpose in our modern "me" based culture, that makes people feel something missing in their lives.



Caligula said...

Hey man, that is a very powerful video. I look forward to seeing more of them.

Safe travels.


Red Leader said...

mate, very inspiring

I think a lot of guys will actually benefit from that video with how you stopped the driver from going off as well.

you just earnt some points in my book.

Tricky said...

This video really struck a chord with me having witnessed similar stuff in Cambodia a few years back.

One thing I realised at the time was just how much opportunity I (and us in the West) truly have compared to people in poor countries.

Its cheap for me to travel around countries like Cambodia. Out there, they think I'm a king.

I can go anywhere I want in the world. But the people in these countries are stuck there. That is their reality and have they have no other choice. They can't just get on a plane and go somewhere else.

I can eat all the food I want. If I wanted to I could go out tonight and eat lobster and drink champagne. Getting food is not something I have to give much though to. I mean, sure, I have to make a shopping list and go to the supermarket....there are times when I catch myself moaning about going to the supermarket. It takes videos like this one to remind us be humble again.

When you think about we owe it to these people to make the most of the opportunities we have. They don't have a choice, we do.

BlackJack said...

A very powerful article. I loved your comment "Chuck Palaniuk's book is an expose of a generation that lacks purpose and masculine intent -- a generation that feels empty."

There are many mountains left to climb- but only if we step outside of our limited view of reality. I plan on doing a lot more travel partially for this reason.

Suspect said...

Perspective isn't always refreshing. Sometimes it's just the wake up call we need.

insideasd said...

Thanks Tyler. You have said what I wanted to say by posting that article.

The last bit about focus was what I wanted to say. If we feel empty in the presence of Ikea furniture,and affluent bank accounts then we really are not aware and appreciative of the world around us.

A lot of people in western countries live in a paradise like world but then complain about not finding joy in material wealth and basic life necessities so easily available to them.Now that ain't right!

Gary said...

Great stuff, tyler, I can really relate to this, I live in South America, the levels of 'poorness' are somewhat similar, I have everything set up for me even tho I live here, Im in a high-mid class family, Ive been to Canada and the US, in contrast in my own country theres kids juggling in traffic lights for money, then I DARE to complain how talkign to a girl is "scary". Reading you quote about bill clinton really made me realize, THIS is the big war of our generation, I work as a volunteer for this charity organization that takes those kids in your video (the venezuelan version of them at least) and we get them health, shoes all kinds of stuff, its the great picture Im giving without expecting anythign in return, yet Im gettign in return so much from dealign with these kids, hope you take a full southamerican tour like this, from mexico to argentina stopping in venezuela of course (dont worry chavez isnt as scary as he seems)

- JC

Anonymous said...

It's time to start climbing those mountains.

Anonymous said...

chick chick chua chick chick chua

that was totally cool of you owen,
i never thought of you in that way
very cool.

NeilYo said...

Well as people like Jim Rogers, Peter Schiff and Marc Faber have been warning for a decade, a storm is about to hit the US and I have a feeling the young people in the western world will have their great battle.

Fullcrum said...


I've been feeling empty the last few weeks. Now I know what. Thanks for that!

Aaron said...

Really cool video man, puts things into perspective.

Danny said...

That was a really moving video. I hate being in a situation like that where you really want to help somebody but can't. Very nice of the other travellors to help you out.

Enlight said...

Simply watching that clip was a stretch for my reality. It's easy to get caught up in "the search for me".

Man, I need to go traveling to other cultures.

CraC said...

that was so cool i showed it to my mom.

Anonymous said...

Hey thanks for the vid. This stuff always brings a much wider perspective of our standing in the world: good food for thought.

I was really (gladly)surprised that they didnt fight over the food or money you gave them since this is common even in rich countries.

So, LA or Florianopolis?

Spirit Prince said...


Cody said...

n 1974, Henry Kissinger submits report to National security counsil warning that the greatest threat to future of Americans is overpopulation in third world countries. We need the minerals and natural resources of Africa. Those banana republics will fall apart as its thier populations rise to high? The only way America can protect its prosperity and political stability will be to depopulate the Third World?

By a coincidence Aids virus shows up in 1975. First explosion of Aids infection in Africa started in missionary health where Christian volunteers reused the same needles to vaccinate local kids against smallpox and diphtheria. From 1976 to 1980, the infection curve rose from 0.7% to 40% in some parts of West Africa. If you understand now how Free vaccination isn't free but paid for something. SOmehow former European colonies with rich natural resources of Gold and Diamonds like Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe were most hardhit by Aids epidemics. Somehow with in same Era concept of BLOOD DIAMOND managed to come into the light.

Have you ever heard of the Emergency Health Power Act? It was put in place after september 11 fiasco. Did you know that act allows the govt. to brand any one in as public- health menace, then lock them up for rest of thier life. There won't be any trial because this sector isn't considered to be part of crime sector. It is public safety.You won't be put in the jail but you will still be alone in some camp.

Adam+ said...

thanks for that man, awesome post.

I have family who live in Malawi and Zimbabwe, i visited them about 6 years ago when i was 16. IT totally opened my eyes to the world and made me ask the harder, bigger questions. That trip was a catalyst for change for me. I honestly believe visiting africa or a third world country is a fantastic experience for anyone.

I hope this blog inspires others as much as it does to me.
thanks again.

Revolver Ocelot said...

Thank You.

I'm certainly not in your shoes, but I hope to follow a path like yours.

Hope Lives

Revolver Ocelot

Midwest Masters

Mayson said...

wow man ..

Tyler you REALLY should make a documentary of this trip you are REALLY an inspiration reaching out the way you are.

Anonymous said...

And then we wonder why they risk their lifes trying to emigrate. Inspiring to read here theese projects of good people wanting to expand their reality.

Anonymous said...

Cool stuff.

Africa is a continent, not a country. ;)

Erika said...

Thanks for sharing this and for inspiring us to see a world beyond our little selves.

Someone far wiser than me said it this way:

"As a man thinketh, so does he perceive. Therefore, seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world. Perception is a result and not a cause."

I believe that it is not our world that is polluted, but our minds, and that collectively we can clean them up.

"The overlooking of the battleground is now your purpose. Be lifted up, and from a higher place look down upon it. From there will your perspective be quite different."

When we remove our own ego goals and judgments from a situation and enter into it with our full Presence, we usually know exactly what to say or do to transform the situation from conflict to peace.

Stuart said...

Cool video and post man...

I think we need to examine our own role in all of this. For example, we have governments that are able to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on wars every year but spare only a few billion dollars (only - but its relative) on helping people in Africa (an entire continent). The US government gives more money to Israel in defence aid than to africa in humanitarian aid. Imagine if we sunk 20 times the finance into Africa and did not spend all of this money on imperialistic wars.

But wait, a cynic might argue that it is actually in the interests of big business in our countries to keep Africa weak. I think Tony Robbins summed it up best when he said that it will take a change of consciousness in the people to summon real change and improvement for the masses in the third world. And even then, we need to stop messing in the affairs of countries in the third world just because they have resources or because their lands exist in an area of strategic interest (maybe an oil pipeline etc).

I know this going beyond the scope of the blog, but I would personally love to see a post where you connect the dots between our consumption driven culture, the power of our corporations and the stranglehold placed on countries in the third world via trade tariffs and quotas, installation and support of oppresssive puppet regimes (via arms sold to them by our respective countries and corporations) or aggressive wars launched with the sole purpose of securing more resources.

Sorry to hijack the comments thread to say that - but I think it is impossible to discuss these vital world issues (such as aids and poverty in Africa) without touching on the wider perspectives involved in creating and supporting the problems.

Keep up the awesome blog Owen ;)

robotlove said...

love it. i think we can all learn a lot from how you made sure you didn't straight up give those kids ANYTHING without making them do something back first... i'm gonna see if the girls in the club know the 4 min long version of the CHICK CHA CHUA dance next time when they ask me for a cigarette.
have a feeling that one's gonna get me laid EVERYTIME!
thanks td
you're the greatest

Anonymous said...

awesome stuff. As always, an inspiration.


Anonymous said...

Owen, you're an inspiration to everyone. It's an incredible blog this.


Anonymous said...

Check out these Echart Tolle tshirt

Ice said...

Very touching and admireable so good to see a normal side to someone involved in the pickup community, but hey man your abundance based society is on the verge of collapse, you will get your depresson pretty soon, its on its as I write.

Frank Stein said...

That's cool man. Did you give them some Cheetos?

Reg said...

I found this very moving.


improvingame said...



Anonymous said...

Tyler this is great stuff. I liked how we saw you stopping the driver from going off and giving money to those kids even while you didn't have any money on you.

I think we could benefit a ton if you could do more videos like this where we just get to see the real you.

Gives us a broader perspective in to who you are instead of who we know you as.

- Hughesy

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I guess it must be pretty "eye opening" and a "fascinating" experience to visit these shithole 3rd world countries.

Try living in one (esp Africa) and you'll soon realise exactly why its such a cesspool of filth. Especially when it used to be a 1st world country. It makes you think exactly how the hell is it possible to screw up an entire nation in a matter of a few years.

Blah. I hate to be the bearer of negativity around here but there are just some things outsiders will NEVER understand.