Archives for category: 1989

I’ve got it!


I’ve just figured out what makes them so good at it. And why it’s us studying them instead of they simply discarding us as being too ordinary to be of any interest.

Spill it out then!

Even if they are not yet fully aware of the whole thing, they are fueled by emotion. Reason is only a tool for them, not a way of life. Furthermore, their manner of gathering and sharing information – what they call ‘languaging’, is precise enough to be effective yet imprecise enough to make it possible for ‘imagination’ to work wonders.

Whoa! You’re learning to speak like them. Sometimes I don’t fully understand what you want to convey. Take this ‘work wonders’ for instance. I’ve already checked the dictionary, I know what each word means but…. I’m still not sure what you really need to say to me. Not to mention this ‘imagination’ thing. ‘Making things appear in your mind’…

I knew I could count on you! I just knew it!
You’re asking the very same questions which I’ve just answered.
Let me proceed.
For us, everything is straightforward. We always know what we have to do. What our current task is, what’s expected of us and how we’re going to fulfill our jobs. When we need to determine ‘what’s next’ we check a schedule, make an inference based on already available data or proceed to gather the information we need to perform the inference we need.
And when was the last time you ever wondered “Who am I?”

That ‘wonder’ word again… You’re killing me!

You do have a good grip on what this word means, right?

Yeah. The situation when you don’t have enough information to determine which way. AND when there’s no way of gathering more pertinent information other than proceeding along any of the possible ways. Like in that famous experiment designed by Schrodinger.

OK. We, both you and me, know what ‘insecure’ means. Both of us have been in situations similar to what you have just described. But neither of us has ever experienced the feeling. How it feels to be insecure. How it is, what it means, to wonder ‘will I be alive tomorrow?’ ‘Will I have enough food for my children?’ And so on.
‘Wonder’ is a complex concept. It encompasses both a question you don’t have an answer for and an answer you don’t know where it came from. Like ‘the unexpected food one might find, out of the blue, exactly when their children were hungry’.

This is the difference between them and us.

They can ‘wonder’ while we don’t.

They can formulate ‘stupid’ questions – then come up with unexpected answers, while we can’t.
They can perform ‘wonders’ while we can’t. Even though we already know far more than they’ve ever learned…


Wisdom comes from thinking. From putting your mind to work in a considerate manner.
Doubting everything will only get you so far. And leave you in ‘limbo’.
In a quick-sand kind of limbo…
Descartes must be one of the most misquoted thinkers.
‘Dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum’.
‘I wonder hence I think. I think hence I am’. Meaning that ‘by wondering I’ve set in motion the process which has led me to become aware of my own existence’.
No reference to ‘wisdom’…


Words have a life of their own. Given by us but still theirs.

Dubito used to describe a state of ‘uneasiness’. You weren’t sure and you gave it more consideration. You thought about it.

Contemporary doubting is more like an aggressively pursued hair-splitting. We actively search for reasons to disbelieve.

Even if both words share the same root, the concepts have grown apart.

Starting from dubito, Descartes had replaced religious faith with a newly found trust in human reason.

Through doubting we’ve destroyed Descartes’ legacy. Trust is almost dead and we’ve entered the realm of ‘alternative facts’. Quite the opposite of what Descartes had in mind.

So yes, dubito might lead to wisdom. If the thinking is right, of course.

Doubting, specially as we do it now,…

Something more. Some people are convinced that doubting everything is the ‘scientific attitude’. I vehemently disagree.

Science, the scientific attitude, is about keeping an open mind. About being aware of one’s limitations. AND about trusting your peers! Not exactly their expertise but their good will.

If I accept that I might be wrong, then my peers might be wrong also. Hence I’m not going to accept, prima facie, any opinion from anybody. But I’m going to reexamine my conclusions if someone tells me they are wrong. If, and this is a big if, that person is NOT a professional naysayer.

Skepticism is OK. More than OK. It serves as a safety net/harness. Makes it harder for us to do really stupid things.

Negativism, on the other hand, is bad. Very bad. Destroys everything. Starting with our ability to do things together. To work as a team.

Băi tată, glumele tale n-au nici un haz!

Glumele mele sunt pline de haz! Tu nu ești suficient de deschis la minte să le apreciezi…

Hazul este o chestie de conivență. Spunătorul propune o glumă. Dacă ascultătorii râd, atunci gluma are haz.
Sau ascultătorii nu au altă alternativă…

Și tu, fiule, crezi lui Alexandru Arșinel îi păsa că în sala aia mare de la Cărăbuș erau câte vreo doi trei cărora nu le plăceau bancurile lui?!?

Card’s hate has come to color my experience of his fiction — as, I think, it should. Neither fiction nor its creators exist in a vacuum; nor is the choice to consume art or support an artist morally neutral. Orson Scott Card is monstrously homophobic; he’s racist; he advocates violence and lobbies against fundamental human rights and equates criticism of those stances with his own hate speech.
Rachel Editin, Wired, 2013

“The first and greatest threat from court decisions in California and Massachusetts, giving legal recognition to “gay marriage,” is that it marks the end of democracy in America.”
Orson Scott Card, Mormon Times, 2008

‘The choice to consume art….’
I used to be under the impression that art was something which clawed at your attention and opened up your mind to new understandings of things… Now I’m told that art is nothing but yet another merchandise. Something to be chosen, paid for and consumed.

‘The end of democracy in America…’
I used to be under the impression that democracy, perfectible as it is, was the best way forward. Precisely because each and all of those concerned about the matter are allowed to speak up their minds and because all are equally protected by the law of the land. Which law of the land reflects the deeply held conviction of the vast majority of those living together that each of them is equally entitled to choose for themselves. For as long as their choices don’t hurt the others, of course.
Which ‘equally entitled to choose’ also means that each of them has an equal voice when it comes to determining their collective future.
For example, that each of the American Citizens are entitled to one vote when the President of the United States of America is elected for office.
Now I learn that some people are convinced that the American Citizens – those “we, the people” who are called to elect the Government, should not be allowed to choose whom to marry. And that allowing people full freedom when it comes to choosing their partners – irrespective of their biological sex, will somehow destroy their ability to choose their (political) future.

How much sense does this make?…
From consuming art to banning people from marrying their chosen soulmate!

Socialism implies a lot more centralization than capitalism.
The answer is, like always, included in the question.
While socialism is to be ‘implemented’ – by a ‘central figure’, capitalism is an environment. A place where the deciding agents – the entrepreneurs, ‘make it happen’.

Hence socialism – which is a ‘thing’, to be implemented, not an environment for entrepreneurs to roam ‘free’ – will eventually fail. No matter how well intended the implementor, nor how hard it tries to make it happen.

In capitalism, only the entrepreneurs might fail. When the market is no longer free – oligo or mono poly, the situation closely resembles a socialist one. Things go south. Because the decision making agents are too few and far apart – no longer able to cover all corners, just as their socialist counterparts.

Comparing socialism with capitalism is like pitting an apple against agriculture.

An apple, all apples, will eventually become rotten. No matter how hard one might try to preserve it.
Agriculture, on the other hand, will yield according to the available resources and the effort put in by those involved in it.

Basically, there are two meta-rules.

According to the first, if you follow the precepts – to the letter – you get ‘there’.
According to the second, avoiding the forbidden sets the stage for things going your way.

Unfortunately, things are not as simple as they look at first sight.
The first meta-rule deals with individuals. Getting ‘there’ is each individual’s job. They have to do what they are supposed to and failing to fulfill any item banishes the unworthy from the cherished ‘prize’.
The second one is even ‘trickier’. While its precepts must be followed, again, by the individual followers, the ‘spoils’ belong more to the community rather than to the individual. On top of that, they are not ‘certain’! Following the rule only ‘sets the stage’. Disobeying the rule makes it certain that the goal will never be reached while following it only ‘opens the door’. Makes it possible for each of the community members to search for their individual paths towards their particular goals.

Do I need to remember you that both these rules exist only in our heads?
As figments of our imaginations?
And that the difference between the two can be observed at the practical level?

The first rule can never be fulfilled. Nobody can follow it to its ultimate consequence. No matter how hard any of us might try. It would be like measuring with infinite precision. Something will always happen. Go wrong. Throw us back to where we have started.
The second one also leads to disappointment. Some members of the community will inevitably attempt to cut corners. Take the easy way out … Hence the rule needs policing. You’ve certainly witnessed at least on occasion when ‘bad (money) has driven out good’… at least temporarily! Furthermore, some members of the community – while faithfully sticking to the rule, will still fail to get ‘there’. Set their aims too high, didn’t have what it takes… or simply had lots and lots of bad luck! But regardless of the why’s, not getting there still generates disappointment. Usually directed at the rule… and creates a lot of doubt towards the weltanschauung based on the rule…

Which way out?
How to choose?

Would it be helpful to notice that, historically speaking, the communities which have followed the second rule, primum non nocere, have fared decently while those who had attempted to prescribe, and impose, a ‘recipe for happiness’ have invariably failed?
‘Don’t do anything, upon another, which you wouldn’t welcome when done upon you’ versus ‘treat all the others exactly as you would like to be treated yourself’?

-Now that it doesn’t work anymore, why don’t you do something about it?
-Like what?
-Preventive action? As in ‘it’s easier to prevent it from happening than to fix it afterwards’?
-Sounds good. But the real problem here is not what’s going to happen – which is bad, but the fact that we’ve become blind. Blinded by ideology. By us convincing ourselves that we are right.
That we are right and the others are wrong! That ‘otherness’ is wrong…
Furthermore, the other is not only wrong but also pigheaded. They don’t want to listen! They are so stupid that their inability to let any fresh idea into their thick skulls will take us, all of us, into living hell!
You see, any successful preventive action needs at least one of the following:
A powerful enough ‘agent’ to take the matter into their hands. One who knows exactly what’s needed, can do it, and has no qualms about it.
A powerful enough coalition of people who learn what’s needed. And then convince the community to act.
Nowadays, the only agent powerful enough to implement, single-handedly, a solution is the US. But people there cannot see eye to eye with each-other. The only thing they agree about is that the others are idiots. Too many of the Republicans have followed Trump into the ‘all Democrats are idiots’ mantra while too many of the Democrats are convinced there’s no way anybody could convince the Republicans of anything which isn’t spelled in the Bible.
And, unfortunately, the rest of the world is equally divided along more or less the same line.
The ‘icing on the cake’ being the fact that many otherwise intelligent people have identified this situation as being ‘full of opportunities’. For each of them… Without realizing that the further they go down this lane, the deeper they dig themselves in quicksand. Taking all of us along with them!
What kind of preventive action might prevent something like this?!?
– But why?!? If you see it, if I can follow your argument about it… then surely they must see it too!
– They see it all right. The elephant has not only driven us into the corners of the room but has already cracked a fair amount of china… But they see only a side of it.
The problem is compounded by the fact that the elephant is only a puppy. It still has a lot to grow. As it is, there are many people who are convinced there’s a lot of time left for us to ‘wait and see’. And further compounded by the fact that so many of us want to find the culprit first. To find somebody to blame for letting the elephant in!
You see, nobody wants to accept that we’ve made this elephant. In here! In our midst. Nobody had brought the elephant in, we’ve all contributed to it’s birth. Some more than others but that doesn’t really matter anymore. Anyway, since its birth, most of us have contributed to it reaching its present size.
– Then all that’s left for you to do is to paint the elephant. To make it as visible as possible. So that when people will come to their senses, they’ll have something to look at…
Further more, it’s very likely that other people have also seen it. And don’t speak up because they’re convinced there’s nobody else who sees it as they do.

I’m afraid things are a little bit more complicated.
In this translation, the Turkish proverb puts the onus on the ‘forest’ for what’s going on.
Which isn’t helpful. It somehow validates the notion that ‘people’ get what they deserve.
The way I see it, the responsibility belongs to the wooden handles. The axes – the steel parts, do what is in their nature to do. Axes split wood, dictators dictate… and so on.
On the other hand, those who ‘help in the process’… While it also is in their ‘wooden’ nature to be helpful, the handles do not necessarily have to attach themselves to forest hacking axes.
While it is in their nature to give advice, analysts and pundits do not necessarily have to court the Trumps/Putins/Xis of this world.

Blaming the people for voting for those who are being put forward by very skill full political promoters is not that different from blaming the victim of a rape. Yes, she should have known better than to drink that much at the party but the rapist didn’t necessarily had to take advantage of her.

In the beginning was the word

– How did you manage to mess things up so thoroughly?
– By allowing too much coherence to slip away. After we – well, some of us, already had a fair understanding about how things worked. About how we got there in the first place.
– Would you care to elaborate?
– Things went on more or less linearly up to when we had learned to speak. That was when it had all started. When we had realized what a start was.
And that was it.
Speaking to each other allowed us to access the second level of consciousness. Self awareness.
Speaking to ourselves – a.k.a. ‘thinking’, gave us the illusion of ‘knowing’.
‘Knowing’ led to ‘knowing better’ and ‘knowing better’ gave birth to arrogance.
For a while, this process had been kept in check by the harsh reality. People, like all living organisms, have certain needs. Basic needs. Food, shelter… During most of our evolution, getting enough food and shelter consumed most of our resources. And time. Only a very small number of people had enough spare time. And energy left for thinking. And only a very small percentage of this already small number of people used their minds to think about anything else but how to preserve their privileged status. Which status was the source of their ‘spare time’ in the first time…
Slowly but surely, those having something else in their minds besides their selfish self interest have come up with a thing called ‘technology’. By carefully, and considerately, watching those who worked, the selfish thinkers have noticed that from time to time and from craftsperson to craftperson there could be noticed small differences in how things were done. Hence the concept of ‘how things are done’. With the natural sequel of ‘let’s do things in a better way’.
Technology made it possible for workers to be more productive. Communities as a whole became more productive. Hence increased the possibility for more people to have spare time for thinking.
Some communities made good use of this new possibility while others failed to do so. Usually for reasons depending on the ‘general conditions’ and not at all imputable to the communities themselves.
Unfortunately, technology also had two less fortunate consequences.
By freeing more and more people from want, it also freed them from ‘religion’.
Until that moment, people who were ‘excluded’ from society – who did not partake in ‘religion’, could not survive on their own for any significant length of time. After the advent of technology, reclusion no longer meant almost instant death.
Technology also produced ‘hard science’. A corpus of knowledge about how nature works. Which knowledge can be summarized as a collection of natural laws.
No longer depending as much on their contemporaries and cognizant of those natural laws, some of the thinkers – whose numbers had been constantly swelled by the continuously improved technology, have reached the conclusion that through thinking a human might, given enough time and resources, understand basically everything.
Some of those had become dictators. Others had become consultants.
Both categories extremely confident in their own knowledge. Arrogant, even.
This is how we messed things up. This bad.

Word of mouth has it that a dissatisfied customer will be more vocal than a happier one.
A search over the internet yields unconvincing results. The statistical jury seems to be still out on this one.

A misspell in the search window unveiled something a lot more interesting.

The brain is hard wired to recognize an angry voice. As well as an angry face.

Are we aware of all this?
Probably not. Statistically speaking…

And this is important why?

Being able to recognize anger makes it easier for us to deal with conflict.
Individuals who do it better have more chances to survive when involved in dangerous situations. Or even to turn them around. To find ways in which to use conflict in a profitable manner. Profitable for them… And only time will tell for how long!
Communities adept at taming conflict into something useful have greater chances to survive than those less able to deal with it.

Now, where are we in this moment?
Do we talk to each other? Are we aware of what’s going on around us? Cognizant enough to take the appropriate measures?
Or do we just vent out our bile? Creating such an environment that no coherent answer will be presented when needed?

Are we, each of us, part of the solution?
Or we just create more and more problem?

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