Who was it that said: “It takes a whole village to raise a child”? Evidently one source states that this saying is in actual fact an old native American (Omaha Indian) proverb and cannot be ascribed to any one modern day person. The interesting thing is that it talks about a “village”. What is a village? According to the encyclopedia, the definition of a village is a clustered human settlement or community, larger than a hamlet but smaller than a town, with a population ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand. Villages are/were normally permanent, with fixed dwellings, which are established fairly close to one another for sociability and defence. The Industrial Revolution attracted people in larger numbers to work in mills and factories and this concentration of people caused many villages to grow into towns and cities. This trend of urbanization continued and villages have evolved into towns and cities with a community, or multiple communities, that can have numbers of people in the hundreds of thousands. Thus towns or cities are just larger villages/communities, or clusters of villages/communities in close proximity to one another.

Why do I ask the question, you ask, and why have I tried to define what a village is? Well in essence, a village, town, or city is a community that everyone talks and raves about as being a part of, but most are too apathetic to really become a part of. A community is a social unit of any size that shares common values. It is a group of people who are connected by durable relations that extend beyond immediate genealogical ties, and who mutually define that relationship as important to their social identity and practice. It is a group of people living near one another who interact socially. What!!! In human communities, intent, belief, resources, preferences, needs and risks are generally shared in common, affecting the identity of the participants, and their degree of cohesiveness. What!!! Are these just other words for: culture, and do we practice it?

In nature, a community is an assemblage of populations of both similar and different species, interacting within themselves and with one another. Groups generally interact in one of three ways: competition – both groups lose in the interaction; predation – one group wins and one group loses; mutualism – both groups cooperate in some way, with both winning. Let us look at some animal communities:

Elephants: form deep family bonds and live in tight matriarchal family groups of females called a herd. The herd is led by the oldest and often largest female in the herd, called a matriarch. Herds consist of 8-100 individuals depending on terrain and family size. When a calf is born, it is raised and protected by the whole matriarchal herd. Males leave the family unit between the ages of 12-15 and may lead solitary lives or live temporarily with other males.

Lions: the very social member of the cat family, lions live in large groups/communities called “prides,” consisting of about 15 to 20 lions. Females and their young make up the majority of the pride. A single male, or sometimes a small group of 2-3 males, will join a pride for an indefinite period, usually for about 3 years or until another group of males takes over. Lions within a pride are often affectionate and, when resting, seem to enjoy good fellowship with lots of touching, head rubbing, licking and purring. The males are territorial, and will roar and use scent markings to establish their domains. Females do almost all of the hunting. They work in teams to stalk and ambush prey. All members of the lion community  assist in bringing up the young; teaching them their needed life skills; and disciplining them; and looking after the old in their later life challenges.

Gray Wolves: Wolves live, travel and hunt in packs of 7 to 12 animals on average. Packs include the mother and father wolves (called the alphas), their pups and older offspring. The alpha female and male are typically the pack leaders that track and hunt prey, choose den sites and establish the pack’s territory. Wolves develop strong social bonds within their packs and all take responsibility for their full community needs and challenges.   

All of the above will fight to the death to preserve their culture, families and communities. Would you?

Are you part of a “community”, or are you just a spectator who uses community selfishly only when there is an advantage to you to do so? When is the last time you said good morning to a complete stranger passing you in the street, or helped an older person, or did some other good, rather than blaming someone else for your woes? A community is much more than that.


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Posted in Survive or Die

What’s The Point?

Why are we here?

Does life have a purpose – and if life has no purpose, can it have meaning? The question applies to all life as we know it and not just to human life. (Who decides what our purpose is? Is it only by having a religion that meaning is given to life?)

Let’s begin by clarifying what’s being asked. The question isn’t whether people can lead purposeful lives. Of course they can, if they are sufficiently fortunate. Anyone who has enough to eat, who lives in a society that tolerates a modicum of personal freedom, who has educational and employment opportunities, who is not condemned to a life of soul-destroying labor, and so on, is in a position to lead a purposeful life.

The question is much deeper than this. It is about whether life itself has a purpose. To answer it, we need to consider the conditions under which anything at all has a purpose, and then determine whether life can satisfy these conditions.

Philosopher David Livingstone Smith Ph.D. asserts that there are only two kinds of purpose in existence. The first purpose is biological. When we say that the purpose of the eye is to see, we are stating its biological purpose. Philosophers have theorized about the nature of biological purposes since the beginning of time, but it was Charles Darwin who asserted that biological purposes are products of evolution.  Put simply, the biological purpose of a thing is whatever things of that kind were naturally selected to do: for example eyes have the biological purpose of seeing because seeing enhanced the reproductive success of animals with eyes, which caused eyes to proliferate down the generations.

 Therefore, could life itself have a biological purpose?


Why not?

Because biological purposes are products of evolution. So, for life to have a biological purpose, it would have to be a product of evolution. But life isn’t a product of evolution. For evolution to occur, life has to be on the scene already. Evolution presupposes life, and that’s why it can’t be the case that life has a biological purpose.

Livingstone Smith’s second kind of purpose is instrumental. When we say that hammers have the purpose of driving in nails, we are talking about their instrumental purpose. This sort of purpose comes from the intentions of a thing’s creator. The purpose of a hammer is to drive in nails because that’s what the hammer’s creator had in mind when he or she designed it.

Could it then be said that the purpose of life is thus instrumental? More explicitly, could it be that life had a creator, and the purpose of life is what the creator had in mind when the creator created it?

This position has obvious attractions for the religiously-minded. However, it’s easy for atheists to become impatient with this approach, and to claim that God doesn’t exist and thus life is devoid of purpose.  However, this would invite the retort that God in actual fact does exist, and result in a well-worn sequence of assertions and counter-assertions concerning God’s existence. So, let’s start from a different position—a position that theists can wholeheartedly accept. Let us suppose, for the sake of the argument, that God does in fact exist, and that he imbued his creations with purpose. Now, if this is the case, does it make sense to claim that the purpose of life is whatever God had in mind when he created it?

So if life does not have a biological purpose, and if it does not have an instrumental purpose, and if these are the only two options considered, is there another purpose that we are missing here, or is life purposeless?

So the purpose of life is? – survival of the species – even if it means wiping out every other living organism (as we are doing now) to guarantee it. Mother Nature probably knows the answer.

What do you think?




Posted in Survive or Die, Uncategorized

Race For Survival – Do You Care?

Cheetahs once ranged across the entire African continent, except for the Congo Basin, and into Asia from the Arabian Peninsula to eastern India. Today, cheetahs are found in only 23% of their historic African range and are extinct in their Asian range except for a small population in Iran of about 100 individuals.

As with all other species fighting extinction, the problem facing the cheetah is complex and multifaceted. However, most of the reasons for the cheetah’s endangerment can be grouped into three overarching categories:

  1. Habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation (HUMANS/GLOBAL WARMING)
  2. Human-wildlife conflict (HUMANS)
  3. Illegal wildlife trade (HUMANS)

Habit Loss, Fragmentation, and Degradation

Cheetahs require vast expanses of land with suitable prey, water, and other resources to survive. As wild lands are destroyed and fragmented by the human expansion occurring all over the world, the cheetah’s available habitat is also destroyed, fragmented, and degraded thus reducing the land’s carrying capacity (number of animals an area can support) of cheetahs and their prey. Numerous landscapes across Africa that could once support thousands of cheetahs now struggle to support just a handful.

Human-Wildlife Conflict

In protected areas like national parks and wildlife reserves, cheetahs do not fare well as these areas normally contain high densities of other larger predators like the lion, leopard, and hyena, all of which compete with cheetahs for prey and will kill cheetahs given the opportunity. In such areas, the cheetah cub mortality can be as high as 90%. Therefore, roughly 90% of cheetahs in Africa live outside of protected lands on private farmlands and thus come into conflict with people.

When a predator cheetah threatens a farmer’s livestock, it also threaten the farmer’s livelihood. The farmer of course acts to protect his resources, often trapping or shooting the cheetah. Because cheetahs hunt more during the day, people see them more often than the nocturnal predators and are therefore blamed for livestock kills they are not responsible for. This, coupled with the fact that the majority of cheetahs live on private farmlands, results in a high rate of persecution on the cheetah, making human-wildlife conflict one of the leading causes of the cheetah’s endangerment.

Illegal Wildlife Trade

For thousands of years, the ancient world’s rich and royal kept cheetahs in captivity. The pharaohs of Ancient Egypt kept cheetahs as close companions. Italian nobles, Russian princes, and Indian royalty used cheetahs for hunting and as a status symbol for their wealth and nobility. Because cheetahs do not breed well in captivity, they had to be caught from the wild to support this exorbitant demand, which wreaked havoc on cheetah populations, especially in Asia, and is likely the leading reason that the Asiatic cheetah is extinct throughout the majority of Asia.

Today, there is still a high demand for cheetahs as pets. To supply this demand, cheetahs have to be illegally captured from the wild and then smuggled to the different parts of the world they are desired. Out of all the cheetah cubs smuggled, only one of in six survives the journey, therefore requiring even more cubs be captured from the wild to meet the demand. The illegal trade in cheetahs is therefore a significant contributor to the cheetah’s population decline and endangerment.

This is not only the story of the cheetah, but is the story of every wild creature on the planet. It is the classic example of man’s inhumanity to man , and man’s inhumanity to non-man, that will lead to the eventual extinction of every living creature on the planet. So will be the legacy that we will be giving future generations. The reason for the doom and gloom scenario is in our arrogance in overpopulating the planet and our  greed and selfishness that goes with it. We are lost!

Say your piece.

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Posted in Survive or Die

Food for Thought

Do you have an opinion? About what? Are you passionate about something/anything? – (definition of passion below). What is it? Does it have an effect on your life, or your/our future in either a positive or negative way? If it does, what have you done about it? Are you going to do something about it? Do you care, or are you apathetic about it? – (definition of apathy below) Are you someone who thinks that “someone” (or “they”) should do something about it? Are you not possibly that “someone”?

In the real world, do you care about the threat of ISIS to the world? Do your care about the rollercoaster ride of extinctions of the animal kingdom? Do you care about global warming and what we are not trying to do anything about (can we?)? Do you care about overpopulation of the planet, and the misery it brings? Do you care about fighting crime and whether crime should actually be allowed? Do you care about the uncertain future that we are giving to our children and grandchildren? Does it matter?

As you can see I am passionate about asking about your passions and whether you are sitting on a fence. If you do sit on the fence, eventually you will fall off, so choose as soon as possible which side you will fall onto. Please have an opinion about everything that affects you. I don’t care what that opinion may be, so long as you have it and are not scared to give it when asked to. Forget about perhaps hurting someone’s feelings when important issues are at stake. Talk the truth.

I offer the following quotes in support of my questions:

  1. Whatever you do may seem insignificant to you, but it is important that you do it – Mahatma Gandhi
  2. The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing – J F Kennedy
  3. When bad men combine, the good must associate: else they will fall one by one – Edmund Burke

Passion (from a Greek verb meaning to suffer) is a very strong feeling about a person or thing. Passion is an intense emotion, a compelling enthusiasm or desire for something. Passion may be a friendly or eager interest in or admiration for a cause, discovery, or activity – a feeling of unusual excitement, enthusiasm or compelling emotion, a positive or negative affinity, towards a subject. The guiding principles of passion can be broken down into four major categories:

  1. Pleasures and pains of the senses
  2. Pleasures of the mind or of the imagination
  3. Our perfection or our imperfection of virtues or vices
  4. Pleasures and pains in the happiness or misfortunes of others

Apathy is a lack of feeling, emotion, interest, and concern. Apathy is a state of indifference, or the suppression of emotions such as concern, excitement, motivation and/or passion. An apathetic individual has an absence of interest in or concern about emotional, social, spiritual, philosophical and/or physical life and the world.


These are Ivan’s musings, please feel free to share your opinions with me – you won’t hurt my feelings.


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Posted in Uncategorized

The Population Bomb

It has been estimated that the human population of 6000 BC was about five million people, taking perhaps one million years to get there from two and a half million. The world population did not reach 500 million until almost 8,000 years later ~ about AD 1650. This means it doubled roughly once every thousand years or so. It reached a billion (or 1,000 million) people around 1850, thus doubling in some 200 years. It took only 80 years or so for the next doubling, as the population reached two billion around 1927. We completed the next doubling to four billion in 1974 (47 years) and are expecting the next doubling to 8 billion by about 2025 (51 years), with the next doubling to 16 billion by 2075? (50 years?) if it carries on going at the same rate. SIXTEEN BILLION people! – 9 billion more than we have now! If you think we are harming the earth now, how much harm do you think they will be doing to the world then. Even if the rate increase tapers off and it takes 100 years to get there (or if it doesn’t get there but only gets to say twelve billion people), that is still an unbelievable amount of people. There are still areas in the world where custom demands that they have as many children as possible for the “good” of the family. What future “good” do we think that those eleventh and twelfth children will have on this totally overpopulated and emaciated planet?

Our only hope is in reducing world population (how do we do this, and to what number?) and maintaining the reduction until we can evolve a new economics model not based on a constant growth rate of gross national product. Man as a species is capable of joyous flowering, but until population is in control, the species as a whole is going to be continuously degraded. We are using the planet’s finite resources prodigally and asking more from its rehabilitative power than its somewhat debilitated condition can provide.

– The Population Bomb by Dr. Paul R Erlich



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Posted in Survive or Die

Why write a/the book – Survive or Die?

Firstly, I want to answer the question that gets invariably raised when I give presentations of the book as to what was my original motivation for even thinking about writing a silly thing such as a book at all. Well, I would like to defer to the preface of my book: Survive or Die – Business Transformational Lessons Given by the Animal Kingdom. Here it is:
“Ivan, take this course!”

“Ivan, attend that seminar!”
“All right, Ivan, now that you have all that education in you, go back to what you were doing before and forget it all! Nothing will ever change! We’re OK as is.”
How many times have you heard statements like these? Being talked to this way is equivalent to opening the door so that you can see out, but putting up a locked security gate so that you cannot get out. Eventually, you get sick and tired of these training schemes, so you start looking to join another organization that is more aligned with your career goal of survival.
Or do you?
I was in corporate America for many years, and I became incredibly frustrated about being trained in “how to do” but then not actually being allowed “to do.” Why put vice presidents, managers, and others in charge if the plan is to micromanage them and not let them get on with what they are being paid the big bucks to do?
I eventually got out of corporate life. Then, after having my own business for some years, I began to wonder if there were any business-management lessons to be learned from nature’s world and whether these could be incorporated into human business models. Since my heritage is African, I put this business book together using various African animal species that are to be viewed as “businesses” in their own right and by using the “markets,” “threats,” and “strategies” they face as illustrations that I hope will help us understand the basics of business again. I am sure animals the world over face similar challenges of survival to those that humans face.
Each story’s challenges and strategies can be analyzed on their own, and parallels to the human business world can be drawn and discussed.
The fables at the beginning of each chapter show that similar survival challenges have been on the minds of animals and people since the fables were written in about 600 BC. The animals in my stories identify their problems and then implement their carefully thought-out solutions to these problems.
It has been fascinating to investigate what animals do to ensure their survival in an extremely hostile environment. Business today is very similar. You have no friends out there—it is a dog-eat-dog, cat-eat-cat, leopard-eat-baboon, company-eat-company
Survival is paramount. Lives are at stake. The animals know.
I guess the objective in writing a non-fiction book (even in a fiction way) is because you feel that there is something of value within you that you would like to share with others. I don’t think this is arrogance per se, but I think as you approach your mortality, you realize that there has been an incredible experiential investment made in you that you could give to others in some way shape or form if you desired to. In view of the fact that science has not yet reached the stage of being able to electronically download this from your brain (and I am sure it will come), the only way to do it now is from the oral to the written word.
So that is why I wrote the book. The animals know why also.

IMS (15 Nov 2015)

Posted in Articles, Survive or Die

New book published: Survive or Die

survive_or_die_baobabSurvive or Die by Ivan Michael Scott is now available on Also on in paperback or Kindle.

Thanks to everyone who has purchased early copies of the book and given feedback to me personally. I hope you will go to Amazon and submit a review!

Posted in Survive or Die

Start Your Customized Business Course This Summer

Spots are open for August 2015. Find out more about what WCS can do for you here.  Contact us to start your course!

Posted in Business Career Coaching, WCS Courses

PERFECT by Ivan Scott

The first turtle emerges from the blue
Takes a breath of flawless air
Lays her eggs in an un-spoilt, pristine beach
Forty babies will emerge and return to Atlantis
Nature is perfect

The forty millionth turtle emerges from the brown
Takes a breath of smog-ridden air
Lays her eggs in an oil polluted, dirty beach
Thirty-nine babies will not emerge, and die
Humans are not, nature is perfect

The first rhinoceros walks the plain
Takes her steps on virgin ground
Meets with the second rhinoceros
Produces a baby in Eden, safely
Nature is perfect

The one millionth rhinoceros walks the not so plain
Takes her steps on polluted ground
Cannot find the next rhinoceros
Shot and killed for a horn of hair
Humans are not, nature is perfect

The first dodo wanders in a tropical wonder
Feeds herself without a care in the world
One egg per year is the norm
A chick emerges to a normal dodo civilization
Nature is perfect

The last dodo walks the island
She welcomes the intruders
They kill and eat her
No more dodos
Humans are not, nature is perfect

The first cheetah emerges on the veld
A beautiful, majestic animal
It kills for food and survival
It is in balance
Nature is perfect

The second-to-last cheetah ever is born
Soon to be killed for its pelt
Humans only care for money
No more cheetahs
Humans are not, nature is perfect

Too many humans
Humans are not, nature is perfect

Ivan Scott – 2011

Posted in Articles

Unacceptable by Ivan Scott

Day breaks
Another day in paradise
Even paradise has its problems
These problems are unacceptable

Shot fired
A mother shot and killed
Killer caught, not killed – presumed innocent
This presumed is unacceptable

Car crash
Crash caused by drunkenness
Drunkenness results in innocent death
This death is unacceptable

Drug sale
Profitable sale leads to overdose
Overdose results in innocent death
This death is unacceptable

Home invasion
Invasion results in beating
Beating causes innocent maiming
This maiming is unacceptable

Day breaks
Another day in paradise
Even paradise has its problems
These problems are unacceptable

How unacceptable is unacceptable?
What are you going to do about unacceptable?

Ivan Scott – 2011

Posted in Articles

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Survive or Die by Ivan Michael Scott