Welcome to Weekend Philosopher

I stay busy with a day job and active family. This is my second personal blog, because I found my first one skewing to political and business issues, and I wished to reserve a place for short stories and essays on religion, family, and small town life. I hope you'll enjoy what you find here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Practicing peace through empathy, compassion

My friends at the Entrepreneurs Organization have posted a great write-up recalling some of the amazing things they were able to do with Muslim entrepreneurs as part of President Barack Obama's outreach effort to the Muslim world announced in Cairo and reiterated at a gathering in New York City.

EO partnered with Business for Diplomatic Action, a group founded after the devastating attacks of 9/11 to foster understanding across cultures through the common language of business in hosting about 30 entrepreneurs from countries with large Muslim populations. Essentially, what the EO folks did was what they're very good at; they showed their guests extraordinary hospitality in Washington, Phoenix, San Francisco, and New York, and at the same time put those guests and each other through a set of intense exercises in entrepreneurialism.

Here's a quick excerpt from the post written by Josh Frey, president of On Sales Promos LLC and chapter president of the Washington, D.C. EO chapter:

I was in no way the only EO member who walked away from this Forum experience amazed. All of us who participated did. I received e-mails and calls from the other Forum hosts (we had four companies hosting and moderating) who shared similar stories of amazement. Backgrounds and diversity aside, we are all entrepreneurs, all working toward our personal and professional goals. We all have issues with work/life balance, social dilemmas, time management, cash flow, employees … and the list goes on. Still, we’re united as entrepreneurs, and this event reminded me of such.  

I'll have more to speak of on this event, either here or at Portfolio.com, but wanted to call attention to it because it goes directly to an overarching thought I have regarding religion, culture and humanity. What Josh is talking about isn't just confined to the entrepreneurial experience--though that is an especially intense calling. It goes directly to the idea that we are all, whatever religion we practice or culture we call home, human, with common human experiences, and that recognizing that humanity in others is the first step to peace--both inner peace and peace between peoples.

It goes, in other words, to that idea of all the great religions that arose in the Axial Age--Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity and Islam's direct ancestor, Judaism--of compassion. See yourself in the other. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That golden rule is the religious and humanitarian lesson, the way to personal and interpersonal peace. But no one has ever said truly living it is easy.

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