What do you believe?
Nelson George is a novelist, cultural critic, and filmmaker. After receiving his degree from St. John's University in 1982, George first worked for New York's Amsterdam News, later becoming an editor at Billboard and a columnist for the Village Voice. Many of his books -- both fiction and non-fiction -- have focused on black popular culture. George is the author of Hip Hop America and The Death of Rhythm and Blues, both studies of black urban music, as well as the novels Night Work and Urban Romance. George co-wrote the films Strictly Business (1991) and CB4 (1993); he also directed To Be a Black Man, a short based on a piece he wrote for the Voice that starred Samuel L. Jackson.
Question: Do you have a personal philosophy?
Nelson George: I believe that most people wanna do good, but together people do bad. That’s what I believe, and I . . . My philosophy is hope for the best and prepare for the worst. I was brought up, raised a Baptist, and I have a healthy respect for all people who believe in religion and faith, and believe in a higher power. Because what religion does it connect people to their best . . . hopefully to their best values. That is under the guise of loving your fellow man . . . And the Ten Commandments is a great . . . If you can do those 10 things in the Ten Commandments, you’d be a pretty good person. That said, I don’t think organized religion is about that. I think organized religion is about power, and about behavior control. And I think that’s manifested everywhere in the world everywhere religion is practiced. So I have a profound faith that people will reach out for a higher sense of self. People really want to be engaged in a level of life beyond what they see. And whether they do that through Christianity, Buddhism, or Islam, as long as they’re searching and committed to that search for goodness, and a search for the higher self, I think they’re on the right path. But I do think as a practical matter religion is used as a tool to separate people. It’s used as a way of sort of behavior control. And you know I’m not . . . You know religious leaders are just leaders. They’re just dudes, mostly, who have read a lot of books and are often charismatic, or at the very least very powerful believers in dogma. And they get together with other people who believe in dogma very powerfully, and they give people a way to organize their lives. So religion allows you to see the world through a certain prism that allows you to get through your day. But it also becomes . . . But that same ease that believing in religion allows you to have with your day makes you privy . . . It makes you susceptible to intolerance. Because once you believe that these principles are the way the world should be, the intolerance of other ways of being is humongous. And that intolerance to other ways of being is the biggest problem in the world today. People don’t wanna let anyone else be who doesn’t believe in what they believe in.
Most people want to do good, but end up doing bad, says George.
These modern-day hermits can sometimes spend decades without ever leaving their apartments.
- A hikikomori is a type of person in Japan who locks themselves away in their bedrooms, sometimes for years.
- This is a relatively new phenomenon in Japan, likely due to rigid social customs and high expectations for academic and business success.
- Many believe hikikomori to be a result of how Japan interprets and handles mental health issues.
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While the demise of the dinosaurs gets more attention as far as mass extinctions go, an even more disastrous event called "the Great Dying” or the “End-Permian Extinction” happened on Earth prior to that. Now scientists discovered how this cataclysm, which took place about 250 million years ago, managed to kill off more than 90 percent of all life on the planet.
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