Archives for category: awareness

Sugar, flour, vegetable oil, gas, toilet paper, soap, pork belly… and also coal, steel, timber, cement…affordable mass produced ‘things’ you expect to be able to buy whenever you need them.

Until something happens and you are no longer able to… either you lost your job or they have disappeared from the market. For whatever reasons.
It is then when you realize that many of your contemporaries consider many of them to be luxuries… And that now it’s your turn to share their experiences…

Then we have the natural ‘commodities’. Things we take for granted but which have not been produced by our fellow humans.
That the sun will rise tomorrow, fresh air, clean water, fertile soil…
Things we take for granted… but, again, quite a lot of people find many of those things to be rather ‘out of reach’!

Finally, but no less important, we have the ‘virtual’ commodities. Man ‘made’, again, but, this time, ‘untouchable’. Love, friendship, respect, trust…

To me, the most important of the ‘commodities’, virtual or otherwise, is trust.

Once we loose trust, we loose everything!

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Studying death as “a way to improve the lives of the living”!

That’s a road well worth traveling to the end! Pun intended, of course.

Here’s my take on the subject:

Evolutionary speaking, death is more important than life.
‘Normal’ organisms – except humans, that is, cannot evolve while alive.
As Darwin put it, we have the evolution of the Species, not that of the individuals.
Hence, for evolution to function – for life to survive change, individual organisms must ‘make space’ for the next generations.
We, humans, are the first who can adapt individually. And how do we use that skill? Attempt to live forever?
“And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”
Let’s assume that would be possible. Who would ‘make’ children anymore? Why? To have someone to serve them?
Who would ‘pass the baton’, willingly, knowing they still have a ‘lifetime’ ahead of them?
I could go on forever…

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not looking forward to breathing in my last gulp of air. I’m afraid of that ‘transition’, and even more so of what may happen in the moments before. But I find the whole thing to be perfectly normal!

https://bigthink.com/life/death
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+3&version=KJV

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Remember this puzzle?

To solve it, you have to break the box your own mind has assumed. The limitations your own mind had imposed, at least initially, over the whole thing.
You have here the psychological intricacies.

But ‘breaking’ the box isn’t enough. You also need to ‘see’ the lines…
Giving yourself enough ‘space’ to solve a problem is an absolutely necessary step but will not necessarily take you there.

There are other approaches.

There’s a guy, very successful, apparently, who advocates rethinking the boxes. You can start exploring his ideas here:

There’s another guy who argues that there is no box. No box at all!
And that what you should do if you really want to ‘boldly go where no one has gone before’ is to “Set your box on fire
Ooops… the guy really needs to make up his mind! Before giving advice to others …
How can you “set your box on fire” before acknowledging its existence?!?

Which brings me to conclusion.

The first step towards solving a problem, any problem, is to determine the box which contains that problem. The limits you have to cross in order to be able to build a solution!

Which solution might not become apparent the moment you have crossed those limits! Or ever….
But which solution would have never crossed your mind had you remained inside the original box.

Inside the box in which you had originally confined yourself!

Stage 1
You are the prisoner of the box you have assigned to the problem you have to solve.

Stage 2
You’re still inside the box but your thinking outside it.
The box had become porous. ‘Inflatable’, even.
You can make it as big, or as small, as you deem necessary.

Stage three.
You have removed yourself from the box.
You are aware of the fact that the problem must still be solved inside of a box.
Inside your knowledge and inside whatever resources may be made available for the task.
But your current relation with the box containing the problem makes it possible for you to understand – and, maybe, solve, the meta-problem.
From the outside it’s easier to figure out that it is you who needs to muster the pertinent knowledge, the necessary resources and the stamina to solve the problem.
If you really want it solved, of course.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckswoboda/2020/08/03/why-thinking-outside-the-box-is-the-wrong-way-to-approach-innovation/
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/inside-the-box/201402/thinking-outside-the-box-misguided-idea
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrQwNFaVaZ8

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We know that smoking is bad for us yet we continue to smoke.

Because too many of us are convinced that each of us, in particular, will be fine.
That things are not that bad. Well, maybe for those who had bad luck. Or something…

You see, I’ve reached the conclusion that individual conscience is more preoccupied with it’s own survival than with the ‘well being’ of it’s “host”.

“What?!?”

Do you have a better explanation for why so many of us continue to smoke? To do drugs? To drink/eat too much? To… – feel free to fill in your favorite aberration!

Please don’t quote any study about how powerful addictions are. For each of those there are many studies proving how powerful our minds are when they become determined enough.

How fast things happen after our knowledge about something becomes a belief. A belief in something…

Let me put it the other way around.

Did you get the anti-Covid jab? Why?
You haven’t made up your mind yet? Because you are not yet convinced?
You’re not going to? No matter what? Because you don’t believe in vaccines?

See what I mean?

The world is awash in information. All of us are exposed to more or less the same knowledge.
All of us know that a considerable number of people – the vast majority, actually, are convinced about the roundness of the Earth. Yet there still is a very vocal group of Flat-Earthers. Of people acting as if they actually believe that the Earth is Flat.
All of us have been told that smoking can cause cancer. And other diseases. Yet some of us continue to act as if they actually believe that nothing of that sort might happen to them.

Mind you, there is nothing inherently bad in this! On the contrary.
If people would have believed everything they had ever been told… at one time… the Earth would have remained flat, all witches would have been burned – or drowned, all ‘Jews’ would have been killed – many centuries ago…

The point of this post is to underscore the importance of self.
The huge responsibility placed upon our individual shoulders by the fact that we are the ones called to choose what to believe.

Yes, we are indeed inundated with ‘data’. From the day we are born to the day when our conscience goes dark.
Yes, some minds are sharper than others. Some of us are better at spinning thoughts than the rest of us. Some of us at indeed better at making sense of the information which happens to cross their paths.
And some of us are better at influencing others. At shining ‘light’ on ‘things’ in a manner which makes the message they want to convey more palatable for their intended targets.

Yet all this ‘trivia’ doesn’t change the reality.
We are the ones who make decisions. We are the ones who choose what to believe. We are the ones who shape our fate.

By choosing our faith!
By convincing ourselves that some things are worth doing and that some should be left undone.

https://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/pub/hvf/papers/maturana05selfconsciousness.html

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There’s no more love lost among your people.
Anything has become enough reason to fight for.
Which has transformed them into a dysfunctional collection of mobs.
Too many people make themselves available to the highest bidders and too few of them ever lend a helping hand to a neighbor in distress.

I know. Things are, indeed, very bad!

And what you going to do about it?
After all, you’re in charge now… Do I need to come back? Take things into my own hands?

The treatment is already under way. And I’m sure you’re aware of it!

It might be. But your cure seems to be making things worse … The old and feeble die alone, the commoners distrust their leaders, the leaders no longer care about those they are supposed to lead, the con-artists command more respect than those committed to the ‘things well done’, ‘fake’ is widely admired while ‘true’ is left behind… where are they headed?!?
I’m afraid some drastic measures are called for!

During the last 2000 years I’ve been thinking hard about the past. About what you had done when confronted with similar situations.
Your measures had been efficient indeed. Harsh but very efficient.
It’s not the harshness of your methods which have prevented me from following in your footsteps.
It’s the short memory of my people. Of our people… they haven’t changed that much, you know…
They forget quickly. A short ‘episode’ leaves a short memory… and the more ‘intense’ the episode, the quicker they ‘clean’ it from their ‘comfort zone’. ‘Something like this cannot happen again!’
So instead of an all cleansing flood or a pestilence which would have decimated them I had chosen a milder cure. A disease they will not be able to tame until they will learn, again, to cooperate.
In earnest! And across every barrier they have erected among themselves!
Until they make a habit of helping each-other instead of running each-other into the ground.

OK, Son, let’s give your method a try.
After all, it was you who to love them to love each-other… It’s your teaching they no longer obey!

There’s something else, Father! Something I wanted to ask you for a while now but didn’t find the proper occasion.
What were you thinking when you gave them freedom of will?
Without teaching them first how to learn?

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For reasons outside the scope of this post, some Japanese whiskys command ‘impressive’ sums of money.
This is a fact.

Another fact is that “Federal employees are not allowed to keep gifts from foreign governments as souvenirs or for their own personal use, unless their value is under $415. When foreign gifts exceed that threshold, staffers can accept them if their refusal “would likely cause offense or embarrassment or otherwise adversely affect the foreign relations of the United States,” but they’re considered the property of the federal government unless the State Department allows them to be sold, according to federal law.

Then why on Earth would anybody make such a gift to a ‘federal employee’?
Oh, to give something ‘trivial’ to such an ‘honorable character’ would diminish the stature of the giver…
Not to mention another fact! That it’s the receiver’s job to obey ‘their’ rules… the giver has nothing to do with what happens after the gift has changed hands…

And what else might become lost in the American bureaucratic maze?

Why do I waste my time with things like these?
Why do I waste your time with things like these?
Why does the US State Department waste its time reporting on things like these?

As former President Donald Trump wades into contested primaries across the country, he’s trying to exact revenge and remake the Republican Party in his image. In doing so, he has endorsed a series of candidates involved in allegations of wrongdoing, especially concerning their treatment of women.

That’s contributing to anxiety among some Republicans who worry that Trump is lending his powerful political backing only to those who flatter his ego. Such candidates may be able to win GOP primaries in which the party’s Trump-supporting base dominates, only to struggle in the general election.

And with control of Congress hinging on just a few seats, such missteps could be costly.

“There is no vetting process — at least not on policy and electability,” said Dan Eberhart, a GOP donor and Trump supporter who said the concerns extend to many corners of the party. “The endorsement process comes down to how much a candidate supports the former president and is willing to have the Trump machine run their campaign and fundraising. … Whether they are the most viable candidate in a given race is secondary.”

What are some of the Republicans concerned about? Whether the candidates backed by Trump will be elected?!?

Is anybody concerned whether they will be able to do something, anything, for the United States?
As a whole?

Whether they, any of them, will be a true asset?
Rather than make expensive bottles of alien whisky ‘disappear’?

https://www.gearpatrol.com/food/drinks/a33806261/yamazaki-55-year-old-most-expensive-japanese-whisky-auction/
https://www.forbes.com/sites/joewalsh/2021/08/04/missing-5800-bottle-of-japanese-whiskey-given-to-trump-administration-has-state-dept-on-the-rocks/
https://apnews.com/article/donald-trump-entertainment-congress-senate-elections-general-elections-ea0839430fc28a6b08227223c0b4e045

Until recently – historically speaking, people had two ideologies to choose from.

Conservative and liberal.

The conservatives used to posit ‘law’ as a ‘cage’ which didn’t allow any transgression while the liberals understood ‘law’ as an agreed upon environment which allowed people an individual but orderly pursuit of happiness.

The advent of Marx’s communism had changed everything. His promotion of ‘class warfare’ as a legitimate political instrument had effectively muddled that which had previously been considered a clear choice.

After communism had been proven an abject failure, the naifs have forgotten about Marx.
Flying under the ideological radar, ‘class warfare’ has metastasized.

Nowadays, Regular Joe is confronted with three ideologies. And to make things worse, their names – attributed and/or assumed, are misleading.

We have a line of thought which uses (natural) ‘law’ as a line of defense against any kind of change. And as a means of bringing back the ‘better yesterday’.

Another line of thought which sees (man made) ‘law’ as an instrument to implement – forcefully, if needed, ‘equality’.

And the ‘classical’ liberals who are squeezed between the previous two.

The state/government – whose job is to keep ‘the playing field’ level and functional, is paralyzed by the first two factions fighting to control it.
The ‘conservatives’ want to use the state/government as a ‘preserving agent’ for what they consider to be their (natural) ‘rights’.
The ‘progressives’ want to use the state/government as an instrument of (forceful, if needed) change towards what they consider to be ‘the common good’.

Meanwhile, the classical liberals – berated by both of the above, have a hard time explaining to a shrinking audience that the state/government is an extremely dangerous instrument if allowed to fall into the hands of ‘single-minded’ operators. That as soon as the freedom of the markets (the economic and, way more importantly, the ideatic ones) is curtailed, everything starts to go south. Fast!

Democracy and the free market have brought us so far.
The freedom of thought/expression and the freedom to act as an honest entrepreneur have been instrumental in us reaching the present state. With the goods and the bads in it.

Each instance in which the state/government had fallen prisoner in the hands of ‘men of state’ with ‘focused vision’, history had run backwards.
No matter whether that ‘limited vision’ had been focused in the past or on “a” future.

Each time this subject comes about I remember about Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History.
About how concentrated he was on the future he had seen as forthcoming.
About how his ‘hard focus’ had prevented him from noticing the sunken part of the iceberg.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/oct/10/texas-abortion-law-jonathan-f-mitchell-profile
https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/download/pdf/Manifesto.pdf

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Let me put this another way.

Nobody can survive alone.
Not for a considerable amount of time, anyway.

“It takes nothing to join the crowd”.
To join, maybe… but if you choose to remain, you must ‘follow the rules’.

So yes, it takes everything to stand alone… Your very life!
And the ‘membership price’ is your ‘absolute’ freedom…

Hard to make up your mind, eh?
Then let me raise up a few points.

I started this argument by mentioning that nobody can live alone. Not for long and not very comfortably. No matter how hard you may prepare yourself.
Don’t kid yourself. All those hermits and preppers you hear about – on ‘social media’!, are able to do that because of modern technology. Which technology has been developed by somebody else…
On the other hand, most individuals are able to survive, alone or in small groups, while jumping from ‘one boat to another’. Think emigration, for instance. Or ‘acculturation’.

But no crowd will ever survive its members leaving in droves!

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More than ten years ago I was preparing my thesis.
To get a ‘title’ – BA in sociology, in my case, each Romanian student must submit a paper to a commission. To help them, students are allowed to chose a Professor.
My choice had been Petre Anghel.
We had many interesting ‘exchanges’. Before, during and after preparing my thesis.
One of the most interesting ones had been about education.

Education is, maybe, the most ‘conservative’ things known to man.
The transfer of knowledge from one generation to the next one is the single thing which allows a society to survive.
And to thrive, if each successive generation diligently improves
what has been bestowed upon it!

Petre Anghel

Fast forward to right now.

The US is the current ‘top dog’.

According to my Teacher, for a nation to reach this ‘stage’ it needs a smooth flow of knowledge from one generation to the next one. And a strenuous effort to improve that knowledge made by each successive generation.

Nowadays, both current generations – the one trying to pass over its knowledge and the one at the receiving end of the process, are dissatisfied with the current ‘education system’.
Many belonging to the ‘mature’ generation are obsessing about ‘who runs the system and towards which end’ while the ‘learning generation’ is buckling under the costs incurred during the process.

Do I need to remind you that it’s the conservatives the world over who are whining about this?

OK, I understand the whiners living in failed states. Afghanistan, Somalia…
But those enjoying the perks of living in the ‘civilized’ world?
What are they complaining about?
Weren’t they in charge while the current education system had been put in place?
Aren’t they the parents, and educators, of the current student generation?

What’s going on here?!?
Why are the American Conservatives, living in the most advanced country of the world – no doubt here!, the most vocal critics of their own education system?

What, and why, went wrong?

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I argued earlier that truth is a convention.
And that the Truth exists but will never be known. Not in its entirety, anyway.

Then what are we left with?
How can any of us decide what is true and what is not?

First of all, any convention needs three things. The two convening parts and the object of their convention.

‘So, you want us to believe that truth is a make-believe?!?’

That it can be, yes!

And the further from the real truth – from reality itself, that convened about truth is, the worse the fate the believers will eventually have to face.

The first example which jumps to my mind is the fate of Bernie Madoff and ‘his’ investors.
Bernie and each of the investors had convened a truth. That his investment fund was sound.
Consider what happened to each of them. To each of the investors and to Bernie Madoff himself.

I’ll come back.