MARCH 2011

 

 

Bonnie Welch – Austin / Texas / USA

 

How do you define altruism, and do you believe everyone can be altruistic?


Altruism, or the unselfish regard for the welfare of all, is a profound desire living in every one of us, and is apparent in all levels; whether it be on the cellular level where certain cells sacrifice themselves for the well-functioning of the body, or at higher levels such as when people adopt underprivileged children to ensure a better future for them. All of us are intuitively aware that a world free of suffering is a possibility, and so, altruism is merely the discovery and application of this intuitive awareness. You discover this when you become sensitive to and aware of the authenticity in all living things, and then you apply this through unselfish acts of kindness and generosity. Therefore, altruism is latent in everyone and comes to light through deeds of pure generosity. In fact, we can be inspired and motivated by people who act altruistically throughout the world; people who are aware that we are all a big family, who feel their unity with a larger essence, and who try to reinforce this connection with themselves and others.

 


 

Natalia Koniuszewska – Warsaw / Poland

 

You use the word “sensitivity” regularly; what do you mean by it?


I use this term to refer to a person’s essence, by which I mean all their habits and behavioral tendencies as a result. Our sensitivity is the sum of all our physical and emotional aptitudes, and also of all our aspirations and moral values.  All these aptitudes help determine our preferences, specific tendencies, and the manner in which we react to external circumstances.



 

Ilse van Donkelaar – Nijmegen / The Netherlands

 

What is the difference between the terms “multicultural” and “intercultural”?

 

Both “multiculturalism” and “interculturalism” are frequently confused with one another, and yet there is a big difference between them. A multicultural society is one where people from different cultures, nationalities, ethnic and religious groups live in the same area, but are not necessarily in contact with one another. What we see in multicultural societies is that the mutual differences are often the basis for discrimination, where minorities may be tolerated, but are seldom fully accepted or valued. Even the law isn’t applied equally to everyone, despite the fact that legal rights exist to counteract these practices. The concept of an intercultural society is the next step in human evolution that will eventually lead to universalism. Interculturalism occurs in a society where people from different cultures, nationalities, ethnic and religious groups live in the same area and keep an open and impartial relationship with one another. Within an intercultural society, people recognize each other's way of life and accept these differences with respect and appreciation, and live together in order to actively encourage a healthy balance of interest, tolerance and self–achievement. This is a process that makes it possible for all members of the society to be treated equally and fairly.

 


 

Linda Wolf – Bay Rolling / Washington / USA

 

I am pleasantly surprised by your literary trajectory and the many volunteers it brings together. What do you desire to accomplish?

 

I don’t have a clearly defined plan, and so this gives me a lot of freedom. For many years I have been writing diligently and, in fact, I consider my only task to be open–minded enough to receive the right kind of inspiration. I try to offer valuable alternatives to the limitations of our insight, and against the extreme selfishness shown by many people in the world. The themes that I discuss can be divided into three categories: a just mode of life in which respect is shown for all people and all cultures worldwide; responsible behaviour that goes against the powers of ravenous industrialization; and a harmonious walk of life that is able to lead to worldwide spiritual awareness.