Archives for category: Frames of mind

Does it really matter?

Both fascism and communism appear when enough people are fed up. Really fed up.
So fed up that they have become gullible enough to accept the lies promised by those who want to get ‘at the top’, in the given circumstances.
The difference between fascism and communism, the only one, being the exact conditions which had caused the ire of the people.
Communism can, and will presently be, presented as the only possible alternative to those confronted by a ‘black ceiling’.
Fascism, on the other hand, can, and will presently be, presented as the only possible alternative to those confronted by a ‘glass ceiling’.
The always poor who have no chance of improving their lot will accept the lies promised by the communists. They don’t know any better so they believe those lies are possible.
The impoverished who have no chance of returning to their former situation will accept the lies professed by the fascists. They know what they have lost and need to find a culprit to blame for what had happened.

In a sense you can identify fascism with the right and communism with the left.
In reality, fascism and communism are the two ugly faces of the same fake coin.

An embassy is a conduit.
It brings information back and forth between the ‘host’ and the ‘sender’.

A spy ring is (intended to be) a ‘one way pipe’. It gathers information about the ‘host’ and transports it to the sender.

They have in common the fact that the bulk of the information is gathered from ‘open’ sources. From the media, that is. Newspapers, TV, radio, internet…

Imagine now the following situation.
There is this planet. Let’s say ours. Inhabited by us, the human people.
And you have some other people. One or more species capable of interplanetary travel. Who have found out about this planet and want to learn more about us before making contact.
Since they haven’t yet conquered us – as per our knowledge, and since there’s no evidence of any galaxy wide conflict raging on we may presume the aliens are fundamentally peaceful. Either naturally ’empathic’ – hence in no need whatsoever of being governed, or having such a ‘natural’ form of government that they’re very happy with it.
In their attempt to learn about us and to understand our situation before engaging in any way with us, the aliens have sent an ‘undercover’ fact-finding mission on Earth.

Right now!
When a country capable of yielding almost half the (self) destructing power available on Earth ‘happens to be’ at loggerheads with a coalition of countries which controls most of the other half of the destruction power already mentioned above.

The local agent employed by the fact-finding mission compiles two news articles which, in his opinion, summarize perfectly what’s going on on the planet.

“Medvedev alleged that some in the West would like to “take advantage of the military conflict in Ukraine to push our country to a new twist of disintegration, do everything to paralyze Russia’s state institutions and deprive the country of efficient controls, as happened in 1991.” “

Meanwhile, on the other side of the ‘planetary divide’,

Among those in the audience was Melissa Sauder, who drove nearly 350 miles from the small western Nebraska town of Grant with her 13-year-old daughter. After years of combing internet sites, listening to podcasts and reading conservative media reports, Sauder wanted to learn more about what she believes are serious problems with the integrity of U.S. elections.
She can’t shake the belief that voting machines are being manipulated even in her home county, where then-President Donald Trump won 85% of the vote in 2020.
“I just don’t know the truth because it’s not open and apparent, and it’s not transparent to us,” said Sauder, 38. “We are trusting people who are trusting the wrong people.”
It’s a sentiment now shared by millions of people in the United States after relentless attacks on the outcome of the 2020 presidential election by Trump and his allies. Nearly two years after that election, no evidence has emerged to suggest widespread fraud or manipulation while reviews in state after state have upheld the results showing President Joe Biden won.
Even so, the attacks and falsehoods have made an impact: An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll from 2021 found that about two-thirds of Republicans say they do not think Biden was legitimately elected.

So.
Forget, if you can, about the war in Ukraine and about the US mid-term elections.
Let’s pretend you’re the head of the alien fact-finding mission.
What recommendation would you send back to those calling the shots in your organization after reading the two articles I mentioned above?

I’m going to discuss four things in this post.

The difference between a scientific paper and a piece of ‘mere’ literature.
And what can be learned by analyzing a message.

I’ll start with the second.

A message has two layers of meaning.
The ‘prima facie’ and the ‘deeper levels’.

When somebody asks ‘What time is it, please!’, the first thing you do is to check your watch.
Most of the time, it’s the proper way to react in this situation.
But not always! Sometimes, the guy only wants to find out what kind of watch you’re wearing. To determine if it’s worth the effort. To steal it from you!

If looked at from the proper angle, most messages speak volumes.
The first volume is always about what the ‘speaker’ wants to convey to their audience.
The next ones are about the speaker. About their ability to speak, about their manner of thinking… and so on.
When speaking, the speaker wants to convey a limited amount of information. The intended message. When listening, an attentive listener may learn more about the speaker than about the issue at hand!

A scientific paper starts by stating a conclusion.
And continues by listing the arguments.
An ‘ordinary’ piece of literature builds a ‘scaffolding’. Introduces a series of ‘things’ and leads the reader towards a conclusion. Which is more likely suggested rather than imposed.

Should I continue?
About what I learned by reading the Amnesty International report?

The most important issue here – for Amnesty International, being the fact that “Ukrainian fighting tactics endanger civilians”.
As if Ukraine was the big bully. Who had enough resources to carefully select ‘tactics’!

“Attacks launched from populated civilian areas”.
Hello!!! Ukraine itself is a populated country! Mostly by civilians…
This is not a joust. Which may be organized ‘out there’, on an open field. If both sides agree…
This war, like almost all others, is about conquering, and defending, populated areas!

Such violations in no way justify Russia’s indiscriminate attacks, which have killed and injured countless civilians
Finally!

But shouldn’t this be the ‘main course’ of the Amnesty International report?!?
After all, it was Putin who had ordered the Russian army to invade Ukraine…
It had been his orders which had started this mayhem!

I will wrap up this post by introducing the third concept.
The phrase useful idiot designates a naive or credulous person who can be manipulated or exploited to advance a cause or political agenda.

Instead of any conclusions, I’ll be asking you a question.
What is the real importance of studying ‘humanities’?

Formally, availability of education for children has increased around the world over the last decades. However, despite having a successful formal education career, adults can become functional illiterates. Functional illiteracy means that a person cannot use reading, writing, and calculation skills for his/her own and the community’s development. Functional illiteracy has considerable negative effects not only on personal development, but also in economic and social terms.

I’m getting old. Old enough, as a good friend of mine had noticed, to have a way closer relation with sex than ever before.

I am a sexagenarian!

Which gives me certain bragging rights.
You see, everything around us has been made – or started – during my watch. Or earlier…

There is a small catch, though.
Not everything around us is good. In working order. Sustainable!
Some 50 years ago, humankind had developed the means to destroy itself. Remember MAD?
We – our fathers, actually, took a step back. And took the necessary steps. In the end, nothing happened. We’re still here, in spite of having the possibility to spoil everything.
Nowadays, we’ve reached another inflection point. And no, I’m not speaking about ‘global warming’. Not exclusively, anyway.

Global warming is only one of the many things which may go wrong.
One of the many ways in which we may fuck everything up!

My point being that it’s not the first time in history that we are able to fuck everything up.
It’s the first time in history that we are fully aware of the many ways in which things might go totally wrong and we’re practically doing nothing!

Why?!?
Because we have grown old!

When I grew up, there were relatively few old people around.
A lot more than when my parents had grown up but a lot less than now.

When apes had become human – when humanoids learned to speak – old people were precious assets.
Having lived a lot – and being able to share their experience, in detail – they had become depositories of knowledge. The go-to place for when you wanted to learn about something. When you needed a certain piece of information.
Hence the old-timers had, gradually, accrued a lot of respect. As a category.
Add the fact that in order to grow old – to survive for long enough, it helps to make ‘the right calls’. OK, you also need to be lucky… but being smart does come in handy…

Are you done yet? Adding these two? Being looked up to because you are old with thinking good about yourself?

Did you get ‘confirmation bias‘?

In the ‘good old days’, people who had reached my age had their ‘confirmation bias’ tempered by ‘impotence’.
No, not only sexual impotence…
In those days, individuals were a lot more aware than we are today of how much we depend on each other. Of the fact that individually we are impotent! The old ones knew they were going to starve if the young ones would cease providing for them while the young ones were aware of how useful the old ones could be.
Nowadays… We, the oldies, continue to believe we know everything – we survived, didn’t we? – while the young bucks believe they can find out whatever they might need from the internet…
Meanwhile, we – the oldies – no longer need the youngsters to provide for us.

We are wealthier than ever before, we have pension plans and we vote as a team… the world is ours, as it should be!
And since we don’t have so much more to live…

But how sustainable is this situation?
For the shortest of the imaginable time-frames…

“Faced with reckless U.S. disregard of China’s repeated and serious representations, any countermeasures taken by the Chinese side will be justified and necessary, which is also the right of any independent and sovereign country,” foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a daily briefing in Beijing.

‘Repeated and serious representations…’

‘I told you how I see things.
Hence if you do what I warned you not to, I’ll be free to punch you in the nose!’

Is this the epitome of ‘bullying’?

Or, rather, of pushing yourself into a corner?!?

Now, if Pelosi actually lands in Taiwan, how far will Xi go in order to ‘save face‘?
Let it go… he would lose too much of it. Too much ‘face’. Any threat he would utter from then on, would be met by deaf ears.

Do anything foolish…

On the other hand, China is the world’s biggest importer of food! And energy…

Who is telling the mind? Am I not my mind?”

“Your mind is only a part of you. Like the driver is only a part of a car. Irreplaceable but…

Most of us believe it’s the driver who tells the car where to go…

Well, the driver has to follow the road, obey the rules, interact with the other drivers, take care of their own needs… fuel and maintain the car… only then they are ‘free’ to ‘pursue’ the destination.
Which destination is, more often than we care to admit, chosen by the heart rather than with the help of the mind.

So yes, it’s the mind who should tell itself what to believe. Only it needs to reach a certain serenity in order to make a proper decision.
To be able to choose by itself instead of accepting, indiscriminately, ‘suggestions’!”

Interesting enough.

And yes, what you think about me is more about you than about the real me.

Nevertheless, the point of this post is:

For me,

You are what I think you are!

What happened:

And what various people make of it:

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.

you will steal an ox tomorrow.

Or at least this is how people in Haiti see it…

And maybe the same kind of thinking had motivated this ‘concerned citizen’…

An almost empty beach. Half past five in the evening.
One person – some sources maintain it was a woman, other refrain from specifying this, notices a woman ‘pleasuring’ herself.
That person ‘duly’ records the incident using her phone and then reports it to the police.
The ‘trespasser’ is identified – she didn’t even try to hide, admits to the ‘offense’ and is eventually “booked for indecent exposure and disorderly conduct”.

Remember that only one person had noticed what was going on.
And was hurt in their feelings.
So hurt that they had to alert the authorities.


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