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Faraji Toure

Founder and Principal, The Zen Guerrilla Foundation

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what are the drawbacks of being a reactive community instead of a proactive one?

i would like to discuss the effects of the "wait and see mentality" has had on our society opposed to the "get out and make a difference" mentally of past generations? and why we are complacent as a community until something extreme happens that moves us to act.

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  • Jul 28 2013: People die needlessly.

    This is one of those issues that I consider amazingly, absurdly, stupid.

    In most communities in the USA, it is government policy that people have to get hurt before they will put up a stop sign or a traffic light. Before traffic can be regulated, it is REQUIRED that a certain number of accidents occur at the specific location. In the twenty first century there surely must be a better way to make this simple decision. Many people get hurt and even die because of this policy, How anyone can consider this policy sane is beyond my ability to reason.

    It is not just traffic regulation. If you look, you will find many other examples of how we allow people to get hurt and killed when the hazards were obvious. One example is the safety regulations for building automobiles. After fifty years of no regulations, it took the determined efforts of Ralph Nader to force our government to address the issue.

    In case you think we are getting smarter about these matters, consider the regulation of genetic modifications. We are following the same hazardous path that we have followed with other dangerous technologies. People will die needlessly, and people who like to think of themselves as responsible adults will repeat the same stupid excuses.

    We now have a long history of developing new technologies, and the lessons of the past are clear. There is no excuse for developing new hazardous technologies without appropriate regulation.
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      Jul 28 2013: Great example barry thank you! you make a very valid point here.
  • Jul 27 2013: A proactive community is prepared, but may waste time preparing for things that do not happen.

    A reactive community does not waste money but may be dependent on others for help when the situation exceeds normal circumstances.

    People in a proactive community generally guide their lives by planning and long range goals being met by achieving short-term goals.

    People in a reactive community generally do what seems right at the time and appears most lucrative or attractive.

    People in a proactive community help determine the future. People in a reactive community just enjoy life until the future arrives.

    People in a proactive community think through scenarios, option possibilities, and what is needed to make things happen. Sometimes these people get so caught up in a plan that they lose the opportunity for course corrections, flexibility, or situational awareness influences in favor of executing a plan.

    People in a reactive community do what seems best at the time and change directions quickly and easily to match present situations.

    Proactive communities tend to be conservative, reactive communities tend to be liberal.

    Proactive communities tend to get mired in structure and process. Reactive communities tend to over correct and focus to heavily on short-term problems at the expense of long-term problems.

    Proactive communities would rather be liimited by available resources, time and energy.

    Reactive communities would rather not do something that wastes anything.

    I think we are complacent about proactive behaviors because they involve work and some risk. People today seem to think that someone else will do the work for them and they wil just manage or critique the work of others, before they have learned how to work themselves.

    Society has also placed such a stigma on doing something wrong that people are paralyzed by this fear and justify doing nothing at all by the risk associated with potentially doing something wrong. Not trying often has less risk.
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      Jul 28 2013: thanks for your feedback robert, you make some very good points.
  • Aug 1 2013: circular thinking, fear of not " being right" (fear of failure), inability to think outside the box, not knowing how to do the right things for the right reasons, inability to prioritze, educational systems that are not student center ie., don't allow people to learn by making mistakes, by not showing people to know themselves, and therefore, allowing charismatic leaders to dummy the populace down in their own greed, mis-information and/or need for power. Not having an educational system that allows people to make ask good question like the one offered up here. (What a delight to be given the change to respond. Thank You, Faraji Toure. .
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      Aug 1 2013: Wow there is no response needed here i agree completely 1000%. thank you Linda!
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      Jul 28 2013: i appreciate that explanation and will look into it. thanks again.
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      Jul 28 2013: greetings Deepak,
      you make some very good points here. can you please expand on the differences between passive and passive knowledge? iver never heard that analogy before. thanks for your feedback.
  • Jul 28 2013: People have tendency to live quitely, not doing or receiving harm. They are afraid of being leader because it takes more risk than being reactive. If community remains reactive, there are more likely to be invaded their rights and benefits. Rights can be obtained by one depsperately wants. It is so silly that citizens study each other face. They need to be the first man who seeks their own better lives!
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      Jul 28 2013: Hi Sophia,
      i got the first part of your statement but couldn't understand the last part, but i agree with you. being proactive means you have to stay involved and aware with the current conditions of your community as a whole. and i feel many of us in our community are distracted by our daily struggle to live comfortably and quiet that we don't pay attention as well as wait for someone else to step up and do it for us when an issue arises. thanks for the feedback
      • Jul 28 2013: Which part that you didn't understand? I mean community should be proactive to achieve their goal and protect their rights. If my comment cause you to be confused, sorry for that and thank you for your reply (^^). I have same idea with you that our community focus on their daily lives. And it is true for all of us(including me..everyday, I think of my study, relationships with others and family.) Since we are human beings that put priority themselves first. But if we, community, have a common goals, then all should be proactive. It is not an option but a duty as citizens!
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    Jul 27 2013: i think it's somewhat natural to be reactive rather than pro-active as it takes less energy and decisiveness. But what is your evidence that this generation is any more so than past generations?
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      Jul 28 2013: Hi Greg,
      the "evidence" is basically a personal viewpoint from what i'm seeing on a day to day basis where people are generally not concerned with local state, federal laws and politics until after the fact. i'm referencing the current situation in north carolina. i began seeing a lot of comments about the voters rights bill. i asked where these people were when it was time to vote, for or against it the decision. i feel that no one can not complain after the fact when you stood idly by and did nothing to stop it.
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        Jul 28 2013: well, they do say a smaller percentage of people vote. I don't know why that is. Do you have any idea, Faraji?

        But I wouldn't use how many people vote as the only indicator of how active or passive a community is.
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          Jul 28 2013: i agree, maybe i should have been more specific in my description of how i've come to that conclusion. but i believe its a loss of faith in the system (government) the people that i've spoken to seem to agree that no matter the governing party (dem,rep, ind, etc) the system does not suite the people it governs to a great extent.
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        Jul 28 2013: if it's true that people are more passive, possibly it's because the world becomes more complex with each generation. Perhaps people feel overwhelmed by all the technological changes, for example, even though if you ask them they might tell you they like great modern technology maybe deep down they feel overwhelmed?
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          Jul 28 2013: thats one of many possible answers. its more definitive. everyone would have a different answer im sure. when i vote i try to choose the lesser of two evils. i don't expect any one politician to cater to my needs when representing me. i used to in my adolescent ignorance but always came up disappointed.
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        Jul 29 2013: Faraji, the article in Wikipedia on voter turnout also suggested some interesting answers for your question. For example, it mentioned that perhaps people have less free time, or perceive that they have less. Here is the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voter_turnout