Archives for category: altruism

How do we vote?
For a candidate/party or against? Usually against the incumbent… Or against what we dislike…

What do we vote for? What do we expect?
Leadership or stewardship?
Do we expect our elected officials to take us by our collective hand and lead us through darkness or just want them to turn on the light?
To make it so that we may lead whatever lives we choose for ourselves ? For as long as we behave in a generally acceptable manner, of course…

Which brings us to ‘what democracy really is’ and ‘how can we make it work for real’?

First of all, let me point out that no democratic ‘arrangement’ had ever failed. For as long as it managed to maintain its democratic nature, of course….
Secondly, no authoritarian regime had survived for long. And most of them had fallen under their own weight rather than under outside pressure.

You see, even the ‘weakest’ democracies are way more adaptable than any authoritarian regime. The fact that anybody can voice their concerns sheds light on each problem, as it arises. The fact that all positions under the despot are filled with yes-sayers actually blinds all authoritarian regimes.
Furthermore, the fact that ‘we, the people’ has peaceful means to ‘fire’ those who do not rise to the occasion makes it possible for the society, as a whole, to survive ‘the event’. Even if the previous ‘decision maker’ could not find a way out. Faced with the same predicament, an authoritarian regime must first pass through a revolutionary transformation…

Then, if democratic regimes have such an evolutionary advantage compared to the authoritarian ones, why are we still confronted by so many dictatorships?

Because democracy demands something which is in short supply.
Mutual respect among all members of a given society!
Furthermore, democracy works only when the questions seeking answers are about the ‘how-s’ of the matter and not about the ‘what-s’.
A democratic society will remain democratic for only as long as its members continue to stick together. To have a common goal. To share a common weltanschauung.

As soon as a society allows itself to be divided into ‘parties’ promoting antagonistic interests its previously democratic arrangement will fade into ‘mob-rule’. Which is the ante-chamber of authoritarianism.

As some of you might already know, two weeks ago my wife tested positive.
Hence we had to spend 14 days in isolation.
During which we had some interaction with the government bureaucracy. Through mail and telephone.

Meanwhile we witnessed, with an even keener than before interest, the public discussion about the whole thing.

Here’s what I learned.

The government bureaucracy, no matter how well intended its members might be – many of them on temporary positions, as expected during an emergency, is very close to the brink.
Meanwhile, the public – at least too many of those sharing their thoughts on FB, is still far from realizing the depth of the crises.

And here’s what I experienced.

Not knowing what’s going to happen to you is the worst thing.
Not knowing what’s going to happen to those you love is even worse.

Because you’re so busy worrying, you’re practically useless.
OK, you know statistics are on your side.
But statistics are not infallible. Hence ‘what if?’!

On top of being worried for your own, and your family’s, fate, comes the ‘political’ incertitude.
That sowed by the ‘naysayers’. And trafficked by the equally worried citizens. Specially by those who find themselves backing the opposition.

Things like ‘the mask is no good’. From ‘the mask cannot protect you’ to ‘the mask is a nuisance’ and ending with ‘the mask is dangerous’.
And besides being ‘no good’, the ‘mandate to wear one in public infringes upon our human rights’!

On top of that, the naysayers attempt to convince us that ‘we’re on our own’! That ‘government will not lift a finger to help us!’.
That its entire attention is focused on serving the ‘special interests’ which control it.

For all it’s worth, here’s my ‘official position’ on the matter.

We’re indeed on our own.
As we’ve always been!
The ‘government’ – all governments, is composed of humans.
Of people, like you and me.
Hence no government will ever be willing to do more for us than we are willing to do for our neighbors!

We are the ones who need to survive.
Because in order to thrive – as we all wish, we need to survive first!
As a fully functional social organism, mind you.
Hence we are the ones who need to start doing things!

And the first thing we need to do is to determine what comes first.
Our right to walk without wearing a ‘muzzle’?
Or our right to protect each other against a disruptive virus!

Se întreabă câte unii pe net:

‘Pentru cine lucrează guvernul ăsta?
De ce închide piețele dar lasă supermarketurile deschise?’

Alții:

‘Guvernul ăsta n-are nici o logică!
Ce rost are să închizi circulația pe timp de noapte?’

Guvernul n-are nici o logică….

Păi de unde să aibe?
Având în vedere că sunt și ei oameni…
Exact ca noi!

Cum ne-au spus unii că dreptul de a nu purta mască e mai important decât dreptul de a nu ne infecta, cum s-au găsit câte unii să dea jos ‘botnița’!
Să facă mișto de cei care continuă să o poarte.

Să îndemne, practic, la ‘nesupunere civică’!
În numele Libertății și a Drepturilor Omului…

Iar vinovat pentru toate astea este… cine altul?!? … Guvernul….

NU!
NOI suntem vinovații!

Noi n-am purtat masca.
Noi nu ne-am spălat pe mâini!
Noi tragem acum…

În clasele 1-4 am avut o Învățătoare. Doamna Codescu.
Nu țin minte să-i fi spus cineva, vreodată, ‘tovarășa’.
În clasă, bineînțeles. N-am de unde să știu ce se întâmpla în cancelarie.
Copii fiind, de multe ori foloseam scuza ‘păi așa mi-a spus….’
Doamna Codescu zâmbea și, învariabil, punea întrebarea:

Păi dacă-ți spunea … să te arunci în fântână, te aruncai?!?

Tu de ce nu porți mască?
Având în vedere că virusache se transmite ‘pe calea aerului’?

Tot guvernul e de vină că suntem noi proști?
Și ‘punem botu” precum niște copii de școală primară?

“Vaccin antigripal nu se gaseste nici in Canada – tocmai am vorbit cu un prieten aseara, la telefon. Suntem de moda veche… de fiecare data ne intrebam unul pe altul daca avem Whattsapp – da, amandoi, si data viitoare vorbim tot la telefon.

In ce priveste votul…

Daca e vorba de o situatie ‘bipolara’ – cum era pana nu demult, si nu-ti place nici o varianta, cea mai buna metoda este sa te duci si sa-ti anulezi votul. Strigi in gura mare ca iti pasa!

Daca sunt mai multe variante, cat de cat credibile, te duci si ii votezi pe cei care n-au fost inca. Chiar daca nu ajung la putere, macar le stau celorlalti ca un ghimpe-n coasta. Si ii forteaza sa faca ceva. Sau macar recurgi la prima metoda.

Daca nu te duci deloc… e echivalent cu a spune intregii lumi – atat politicienilor cat si celorlalti, ca tu esti atat de demoralizat incat ai de gand sa accepti tot ce ti va intampla.

Si atunci?

De ce sa mai faca cineva ceva pentru ‘tine’? Isi vor aranja ploile intre ei si… Iar ceilalti ‘demoralizati’ vor crede ca sunt singuri. Ca nu mai e nimeni in situatia lor. Revoltati de ceea ce se intampla!

Abia mult mai tarziu – adica atunci cand va ‘exploda’ din nou mamaliga, isi vor da seama, atat unii cat si ceilalti, ca ceea ce au interpretat ei ca fiind ‘demoralizare’ era, de fapt, scarba!

Dar va fi mult prea tarziu… atat pentru ei cat si pentru noi!”

Textul asta a vazut ‘lumina internetului’ mai intai ca raspuns.
Sau, mai degraba, ca indemn.
Adresat unor doi oameni cat se poate de rezonabili. Si cat se poate de ‘scarbiti’!
Abia dupa ce l-am ‘sent’ mi-am dat seama ca cei doi nu sunt singurii aflati in situatia asta.

Ca NU sunt SINGURI!

You live in a house.
And need a gardener.
You find one.
Because you don’t know him, you hire him for only a year, with the option to renew.
When the contract is due to renewal, you attempt to make up your mind.
The guy wasn’t that bad – for the garden, all things considered, but you’ve learned that he doesn’t brush his teeth and he occasionally beats his wife.
‘What the hell!. I seldom see the guy and I don’t know his wife! Why bother finding another?’

You live in a walled in community. Which is operated as a condominium.
The community needs a gardener.
In the area, there are only two agencies which provide gardeners. Each of them sends somebody. One of the guys is selected.
After one year, the community organizes a meeting to decide whether to extend the contract or to hire another guy. The garden is, more or less, OK only the guy is rude. So much so that he had alienated some of the owners as well as some of the neighboring walled-in communities.
The caveat being that the guy available from the other agency is deemed unreliable by those who would like to continue with the current one.
The owners are so divided that some of them no longer pay their dues while some of the opposition picket the entrance gate.

You live in a village.
You need a mayor…

According to Alan Hayek – the guy who claims the copyright for the relevant entry into the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the wager doesn’t make any sense unless you consider that God is, however remotely, possible.

Now, that I grabbed your attention, let me point it to the subject du jour.

The face mask!

To wear or not to wear one…

Strangely enough, many of those who believe in God are adamantly refusing to wear a mask.
They don’t actually see God yet they find the world as THE argument for His existence.
And, at the same time, they refuse to acknowledge the seriousness of the Covid 19 pandemic. Which had already killed, or hastened the death of, more than 1.2 million people worldwide.

OK, almost no mask – specially the ones worn by us, civilians, is 100% fool-proof.
But wearing one is far better than none at all…
OK, most of us would weather the infection with relative ease.
But some would die!
Then why spread it around?

For that, if you didn’t already know, is more than half of what the masks do!
They make it harder for those of us who already have it – but don’t know it yet, to spread it around.

Help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by protecting yourself and others. Keep in mind that you may have the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.

You still consider it to be a muzzle?

Why? Only because it is mandated by the government?
And you don’t trust your own government? While living in a democratic country?

But since when do you rely on your government to tell you which is the sensible thing to do?

Monotheists insist there’s only one.

I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me.”

– And why would this be of any interest?
– All current civilizations are off-springs of an Weltanschauung built on ‘monotheism’, aren’t they?
– Really?!? How about India? China? The Buddhist countries?
– Have you noticed the scare quotes? In my book, Hinduism, Confucianism and Buddhism are all forms of monotheism. Atheism also qualifies as such.
– ?!?
– I’ll make that point a little later.

Then, if monotheists insist there’s only one God, which one of them is the ‘real McCoy’?

“The real McCoy” was the inventor Elijah McCoy, born in Canada in 1844. He had many different inventions including an ironing board and a lawn sprinkler. Other companies copied his devices, but these never worked as well as Elijah’s so people would say, “I want a… , and make sure it’s a real McCoy.”

When humans had first became conscious, as in aware of their own frailty, they needed a way to assuage their new acquired scares:
‘What would happen if the Sun will not come up tomorrow morning? If spring will never come back? If Mother Deer will not allow me to hunt another of her children?’Mother
So they started to raise prayers towards the Sun God. And towards other various agents held responsible with diverse aspects of human existence. Nowadays known as ‘totemic figures’.
Please note that each totemic figure was simultaneously responsible for one aspect of the human existence and the ‘founding father’ of a certain group of people.

After the advent of agriculture had transformed everything – including human social arrangements, things dully changed.
Agriculture gave birth to private property. Individuals needed to know which was their land and who owned the harvest. Otherwise, why bother?
Private property needs to be protected. Which demands a certain social structure. A hierarchy of social roles.

Around the Mediterranean Sea – due to geographic conditions, the ‘top brass’ were never that far removed from the ‘bottom’ as to make them ‘impervious’ to the social reality. Hence the hierarchy of Gods. Belonging to successive generations. Very similar to the succession of the dynasties which ruled the ‘land under the sky’.
At the opposite end of the Euro-Asian continent, were the emperor was further removed from the vulgus, things took a different path. Since no communication was any longer possible – between the ordinary people and the rulers/gods, gods and rulers were melted into one. Confucianism mandated that people cherish their ‘elders’.
Meanwhile Buddhism made away altogether with gods. And rulers.
The most interesting situation had evolved in India. Due to the high density of population – coupled with the diversity of languages/subcultures, the local leaders continued to be in touch with the general population while the highers up were equally insulated as their Chinese equivalents. Hence the survival of the plethora of Indian gods coupled with the advent of karma. The concept of individual responsibility for ones own fate.

The individuals’ responsibility for their own fates…
This being the common place between all ‘monotheistic’ religions. The way I see it, anyway. All three ‘sisters’ relying on the Holy Book, Hinduism, Confucianism, Buddhism… Atheism…

So, then again, how many Gods are out there?

Or, more likely, how many images of the same God – a.k.a. ‘reality’, have we, humans, carved out? Out of the before mentioned reality?
How many faces of the single reality available have we been able to identify? According to the prevalent local circumstances?

And how much more time do we need? To understand that we live under the same umbrella? According to the same set of broad rules?
Which makes us all members of the same family?
Children of the same God?

“For a proposition to be true, it is not enough for it to be logically correct. It also needs to make epistemological sense.” Oscar Hoffman

Ricky Gervais is right, right?
There’s no logical connection between being offended and being right…
There’s no doubt about this!

Only Gervais is wrong.
Wrong in saying it, not in what he said.

Yes, there are people who declare themselves to be offended in an attempt to get something. Sympathy, some slack… or even the others to accept their version of things. That ‘they’ are ‘right’.

But this is not always the case!
Some (other) people are so offended by the manner in which things are unfolding that they actually need to express their feelings.
To send the warning ‘don’t continue in this manner or you’ll loose my attention/will to cooperate’.

In this sense, Gervais is actually wrong.
His saying had been used by numerous meme builders to create a bubble inside which callousness is actively encouraged.
‘Go on disregarding other people’s sentiments. They’re nothing but pussies.
It’s just words, not sticks nor stones.’

Here’s a more detailed analysis:

So fucking what?!?
Somebody just told you they are not going to stop paying any real attention to what you are trying to say to them and you don’t care?
Why did you start communicating in the first place? Or ‘performing’ the ‘offensive’ thing in public?
Was the ‘offense’ premeditated? For a reason or just for fun? Then it’s not ‘so fucking what’ anymore…
Or you just hadn’t thought about it beforehand? And you’re looking for an easy way out?

No, you don’t have to pretend to like people when you don’t.
But, in the longer time frame, it pays to honestly respect those you get in contact with. All of them.

Your life will get a lot better!

Let me start by attempting to answer this question in a logical manner.

Theoretically, individuals have the right to defend their lives. And properties. In some jurisdictions, the defender might even shoot the trespasser.
On the other hand, it is a lot harder to identify an example where property might end up purposefully damaged in a lawful manner while life is being defended. ‘Purposefully’ as in property being targeted in an attempt to fulfill the goal of defending life.
When groups of people are involved, things are even more complicated.
Is a community entitled – using the police force, a “well regulated militia” or even ‘spontaneously’, to inflict bodily harm to a group of people who randomly destroys property? What becomes different when the destruction occurs during a protest ‘gone wrong’?
The way I see it, things are more complicated at the social level because of the number of people involved. At the individual level, things are simple. The guy who trespasses is the one who gets hurt. The defender is the only person who might inflict injury and the one who will answer for the act. When there are more people involved…. Some protest peacefully, others do the damage… and who knows who gets clobbered – or shot, by the police?!? Same thing looking from the ‘other’ side. The owner of a property might have decided to protect it in a different manner than the police … or even not at all…
To wrap it up, there’s no single answer for this question. On the individual level, the actors/agents must decide on the spot. Considering the specifics of each incident. While being ready to accept the consequences. On the social level, neither murder nor property damage are acceptable and must be dealt with in a very thoughtful, but firm, manner.

As usual, logic can take us only this far. Far from the essence…

What are we doing here?
How can we even attempt to compare life with property?
Do they belong to the same category?
Can we sell a human being? Do houses have souls?
What’s happening to us?

„Pleacă, copile chiar dacă mă doare!
Aici nu sunt speranțe de a trai normalitatea promisă!
Nu-ți irosi viața, sperantele, energia pentru cauze pierdute!
In fond, cea mai ușoară cale de a-ți trăi viața este să-ți urmezi visul!”

Încă o confirmare a tezei care ne învață că realitatea este un construct social.
Care ne spune că ne-o facem cu mâna noastră!

Întâi am pierdut vremea. Ca nație. Vreo douăj-de ani.

După care, în loc să ne apucăm de recuperat timpul pierdut, am început să ne sfătuim copiii să plece. De tot!

Una e să-i impingem de la spate să se ducă afară să învețe. Și să se întoarcă. Iar noi, între timp, să facem oarece ordine pe aici, prin bătătura. Astfel încât, odată întorși, să ne putem apuca cu toții de treabă.
Aici, unde sunt atâtea de făcut. Unde totul este la început. Unde jocurile nu sunt, încă, atât de făcute ca afară.

Și cu totul altceva este să-i învățăm, de mici, cu gândul că ‘aici nu mai e nimic de făcut’. Să-i împingem, efectiv, afară. Să-i obișnuim cu gândul plecării. Pe și pe noi, laolaltă.
Adică să ne demobilizăm singuri. Să ne aruncăm, de bună voie, în brațele celor care ‘ne vor proști’.

Scriind chestia asta mi-am adus aminte de cuci.


Adică de păsările alea care își depun ouăle în cuiburile altor păsări. Din care ouă ies niște pui suficient de zdraveni încât să arunce din cuib odraslele perechii gazdă.
Noi facem invers. Ne alungăm singuri puii.
Făcând loc, în felul ăsta, copiilor ‘lor’…. care nu sunt atăt de ‘zdraveni’ ca ai noștri! Că altfel s-ar duce ei să învețe ‘afară’….

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