Archives for category: fail better

Circa 840, “three noble brothers” of Viking origin – Rurik, Sineus and Truvor, established “what came to be called Kievan Rus”.

“Rus,” which is where the name “Russia” comes from, purportedly derives from an old Nordic word for “men who row.”

882. Oleg the Prophet captures Kyiv and moves the capital of the Viking kingdom from Novgorod to Kyiv.
Thus the Rus becomes Kievan.

1703. Peter the Great of Rus-sia established Sank Petersburg as a bulwark against the Swedish Kingdom.
The city served as Russia’s capital from 1712 to 1918

1941. Hitler breaks the German Soviet Non Aggression Pact and starts a war against the Soviet Union.
Leningrad – the city formerly known as Sankt Petersburg, had been put under siege from September 8, 1941 to January 27, 1944

2022. February 24. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, the present day ruler of Rus-sia, in complete defiance of the Budapest Memorandum, started a “special military operation” meant to achieve the “demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine,”

Kyiv hasn’t been besieged yet but has already been under heavy bombardment.

I’m Romanian.
Romanians don’t have very fond memories of what had happened to their country whenever the Russian soldiers had come by to ‘visit’.
As a teenager I read The 900 Days The Siege of Leningrad, 1968, by Harrison Salisbury

And wept.

Now, an already old man, I check out, on the Internet, what’s going out in Kyiv – the former capital of the Kievan Rus.

And weep.

Homo homini lupus has become a massive understatement.

Quite a lot of people around the Internet are considering that ‘Ukraine is of little interest for the US’.
Even some of the Europeans are considering that isolating Putin’s Russia from ‘SWIFT’ is a too steep price to be paid, by them, for Ukraine’s independence.

I remind them, all of them, of what Martin Niemoeller had to say on this subject.

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me.

Now, that Putin had recognized Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states, I keep hearing that ‘if NATO hadn’t integrated the former socialist states in the Eastern Europe, Russia wouldn’t have occupied Crimea nor encouraged the ‘freedom fighters’ in Luhansk and Donetsk’.

NATO, and UE, are not perfect. Far from it.
Yet the former USSR had been even less perfect.

What drove me to this conclusion?
Well, both NATO and the EU are thriving. People and countries flock to join in. The very present conflict in and around Ukraine had been sparked by Putin’s ‘unhappiness’ with the Ukrainian people insisting in joining both NATO and the EU.
Meanwhile, the USSR is no longer with us. Had collapsed, under its own weight, some 30 years ago.

The second difference between these supranational entities – NATO and the EU on one side and USSR on the other, is the ‘small’ matter of how a member got to join the club.

In NATO’s case – valid also for the EU, a prospective member state has to ask for it first and then wait to be accepted.
The USSR had been organized under the ‘invitation only’ principle. If you were invited, you had to join. Regardless…

CSI, the Community of ‘Independent’ States, is organized under the same principle!


Btw 1.
Did I mention that the USSR had crumbled under its own weight?
By allowing self serving callous political operators to grab too much power?
Too much power for their own selves as well for their country’s well being?

Could we attribute the demise of the USSR on the fact that the bolsheviks were ‘house broken’ into ‘toeing the line’ while here, in the West, some people still dare to speak up their minds?

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., a Trump critic who he is targeting for defeat this fall, responded Tuesday: “Former President Trump’s adulation of Putin today — including calling him a ‘genius’ — aids our enemies. Trump’s interests don’t seem to align with the interests of the United States of America.”

Btw 2.

Twenty years ago I was watching, on TV, the towers being destroyed.

I still remember, vividly, the people falling from the buildings I had visited 6 short years before they been torn down by terrorists.
The buildings which were replaced by a huge gap in the Earth when I took my family to visit New York. The only other place in the world where I would live beside my home town, Bucharest, Romania.

I’m watching now desperate people trying to board a plane in Kabul’s airport as the American troops are pulling back.

This instantly brought back to my memory another famous image.

We can discuss at nauseam about the significance of these pictures.
Because significance is something we attach to things and we impart to events.

I prefer to turn my attention to realities.

Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, in 2018.

The only difference between Afghanistan and Vietnam being that the Viet-Cong were communists.
And the link between them the fact that the American planners have understood nothing from the first debacle.

And yes, parallels are also something which is up to us to notice. Us, who have witnessed the events and who are free to attach significance to each of them.

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The first thing each of us becomes aware of is ‘me’.
Not yet “I”, just “me”.

I (?!?) feel myself as somehow separated from the rest.
I have the feelings hence it’s “me” rather than “I”.
I am cared for by those around me so, again, it’s “me” rather than “I”.

And this goes on for quite a while.
That while used to be shorter. I’m not going to tell you how many children worked in coal mines… I’m just going to remind you that in more traditional cultures, the older children are expected to participate in the raising of the smaller ones. Hence become faster more responsible than we had been in our times.
Taking care of somebody else teaches each of us a lot. The most important thing being the fact that not all the world spins around you. As each of us had been led to believe in the first months of our lives. During the time each of us had become “me”.

Taking care of others makes each of us aware of the care we have received.
Teaches us that ‘give’ is just as important as ‘being given’.
Teaches us about ‘give and take’.

Teaches us that ‘you’ are just as important as “me” is.

Having understood that is the only thing which qualifies each of us as “I”.

Behaving as active members of a culture which successfully teaches “I” to its members transforms a collection of “me”-s into “us”.

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As much as I love writing, I do have to eat.
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Resources, Time, Evolution.

Information, Learning, Revelation.

Opportunities, Experience, Self-Improvement.

Things, Structure, Understanding.

Limits, Interactions, Outgrowth.

Smells like The Dow Theory?
Because that was my starting point….

But we should not forget Abraham Maslow.
If you think of it, Maslow’s stages are nothing but the three thrusts up which define a bull market.
For an individual to be able to master the ‘self actualization’ phase, they need to have mustered enough resources, have had enough relevant social experience and to have ‘properly digested’ the information accumulated during the process.


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As much as I love writing, I do have to eat.
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Well… Money doesn’t get spoiled as easily as bananas do…

On further consideration, money can be understood as a tool with many uses.
Hoarding, for instance. Bananas, among other things …

And, as with all other tools, the responsibility for its use falls squarely on the user, not on on the tool itself.
Tinkering with the tool won’t change that, ever.

My point being that monkeys would also hoard bananas if bananas were hoard-able.
There’s nothing wrong with that. For as long as the hoard is meant to feed the hoarder till the next crop, of course.

Hoarding is bad only when done for its own sake.

And this is something for philosophers to study, not for scientists.
The teachings of the Chicago School of Economics had been very scientific yet following them was what brought us where we are now. Into a very uncomfortable cul-de-sac…

Blindly following them… mislead precisely because of their scientific nature!

‘From virus? What?!? And from which one?’

From none in particular.
From all of them, since all viruses are nothing but information!

‘Huh???’

Most biologists consider viruses to be something ‘in between’. Not exactly ‘life’, since they cannot replicate themselves, but something more than mere matter.

Only this approach sets very straight limits to how we understand life itself.
Or should I rather use ‘narrow’ instead of ‘straight’?
‘Narrow’ as in ‘not wide enough’ minded?

“Information which perpetuates itself”.

Does this sound right for you?

We. humans, are individual human beings. ‘Social’, indeed, but, nevertheless, individual. It’s our individual-ness which sets us apart from our nearest cousins. Chimps and bonobos.
It’s our individual-ness which sets the parameters of our world-view. That being the reason for our attempt to define life as a characteristic of the individual organisms which happen to be alive.

This being the moment when I feel the urge to direct your attention upon a seminal book.

Hmmm… the Origin of Species…

If evolution is about ‘Species’, then what about life itself being more about species than about individuals?

What about life being more about the process through which information is passed along from one generation to another than about an individual organism being alive or not?

In this sense, ‘virus’ would belong to the realm of the living, right?

40 years ago, the car manual was about how to adjust the carburetor.
Nowadays it starts with a stark warning. “Don’t drink the cooling liquid!”
Then it teaches us how to use the infotainment system and how to adjust the electric seats…

In those times, most of us – regardless of what country we lived in, had nothing fancier than a washing machine. And a TV set capable of receiving no more than 12 channels. But we had a lot of time to spend with our friends and relatives.
Nowadays, our houses are choke full of appliances designed to make our lives easier… So we break our backs working to pay for this paraphernalia! And we get so tired in the process that when we finally get back home, late at night, we’re so exhausted that we cannot do anything else but watch one of the 200+ channels our cable feeds into the huge TV which dwarfs everything else in the living room.

Meaning that we wrap up most of our days watching yet another mind numbing news-bulletin… which informs us about how bad tomorrow will be… unless we follow whatever advice that channel is determined to ‘sell’ to us!

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?

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