Archives for category: skin in the game

Universal healthcare is anathema to many people.
‘The government has no business to spend my tax money subsidizing other people’s health!’
Hence hose who cannot afford a doctor should either die peacefully or accept charity….

And when a private company sponsors a health care effort that company is perceived, by the same ‘many people’, as having ‘ulterior’ motives…

That’s what I consider to be a ‘perfect’ conundrum.

A self made trap!

On the other hand, let’s face it, this is a very rational attitude!
Given some private companies’ past behavior…

See what I mean?
‘Ulterior motives’ are wide-spread enough to having become normalized.
‘Greed is good’ sits high on the social pedestal.
People can no longer imagine any of their peers being driven by other motives but the immediate profit.
But the immediate financial profit!

Mind you, I’m not pretending Pfizer has suddenly morphed into a virgin knight riding a white horse and sacrificing itself on our behalf.

All I’m saying is we’re in a dire and immediate need to reevaluate our priorities!

The self made trap is 3D, you know…

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The difference between us and the rest is that we can choose.
People – humans, that is, are capable of deciding things while the rest of the animals use simpler mechanisms of determining the way forward.

The ability to decide has consequences.
The most important being ‘responsibility’.
The most common being ‘blame’.

When confronted with ‘uncomfortable’ consequences of the decision making process, people get to choose between blame and responsibility.
Between apportioning blame – and feeling better, and determining responsibility.

I’ve long ago given up ‘blame’.
Because blame is driven by emotion. Hence blinds the blamers. Prevents them from checking all the angles. Prevents them from getting as close to the reality as possible.

Let’s go back to the current pandemic.
A large number of people have not yet been immunized against Covid -19, despite the vaccine being widely available. In certain ‘jurisdictions’…

Because each of the yet unvaccinated has chosen to pass the opportunity?
Or because so much ‘dubious’ information has been floated around that it has almost drowned the sensible voices?

Should we blame the as yet unconvinced or should we ask ourselves what’s going on in the heads of the ‘gaslighters’?

Facts are clear.

WSJ is a highly reputable source, the information is old enough – if ‘fake’ it would have already been ‘debugged’,…
Then why isn’t this being hammered down our throats? Constantly?

The vaccine which had been used was Chinese?

Let’s make the same experiment using one of ours!
It has been already done?
Let’s hear about it!

We are in the middle of a pandemic.
Which will continue until we’ll build ‘herd immunity’. Which can be achieved through vaccination or by surviving the disease. Surviving the disease takes longer and costs way more than the vaccine. Lives lost, money spent for health care and money lost because of business interruptions.
And if we don’t build herd immunity fast enough, the virus might mutate into a new one. And we’ll be back to the square one.

The only section of the society which has anything to gain from our reticence to get the vaccine is BigPharma.
They are the ones who will eventually come up with a vaccine for the new strain of virus.
They are the ones providing the treatment given to the infected patients. They are the ones providing the tests.

Want to give the finger to BigPharma?

Go out there and get the jab!

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“To boldly go where no man had gone before!”

None of us had been asked for their ‘informed consent’.
Yet all of us are cramped together on Space-ship Earth towards the place where ‘no man had ever gone before’.

Now that this very suggestive image has been published, what is our voyage going to morph into?

Hell on Earth, as so many apocalyptic movies/novels have advertised?

Or are we going to heed to the present ‘wake-up call’? As we already did so many times before?

We have managed to eradicate, through vaccination, the smallpox. Polio, measles, diphtheria, rabies and so many other diseases are no longer a real danger. For those of us who had been vaccinated or have access to the relevant vaccines.

Yet faced with the current challenge, COVID 19, we have ‘doubts’…

Some of us have doubts about getting the vaccine, others about making the vaccine available to the entire ‘crew’.

What’s going on in that collective brain of ours?

What’s the rationale behind making the polio vaccine available for everybody, practically for free, while that for COVID is still out of reach for most of those who need it? Given our current industrial prowess…
Why is it so hard to understand that given enough time SARS Cov 2 will certainly mutate far enough from the original version to evade the current vaccine?

The fact that the authors above are working the equity angle speaks volumes.
Equity is, indeed, very important.
Only it relates more to ‘metaphysics’ than to the immediate reality.

Equity has to do with the perceived reality while people die in the immediate one.
The perceived reality will end up haunting us, indeed, only we have to survive the current situation in order to get to that stage.

The real problem with the lopsided access to the Covid vaccines being that while we ‘race to secure doses’ the virus has the opportunity to mutate out of our ‘control’.
Our concern with ‘equity’ somehow blinds us to the fact that ‘cutthroat’ is no longer a metaphor.
The longer it takes for us to understand that the entire crew of the space-ship Earth must be immunized the longer it will take for us to get ‘out of the woods’.

Why had our parents been able to eradicate small pox and almost do the same thing to polio?
While we’re still dragging our asses? And not exclusively about COVID… When we have so much information about everything?

What made the anti-vaxxers of those times less powerful than the current ones?

What makes me so sure the erstwhile anti-vaxxers had been less powerful?
Small pox had been eradicated, right?
I had measles. Before the vaccine had been made available. Never heard about anybody having measles until very recently.

A weakness in herd immunity contributed to the recent measles outbreak in the Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn, New York. The level of vaccination in that community was down to about 70 to 80 percent, well below the critical level of herd immunity, which was due to the spread of misinformation about the safety of the MMR vaccine among other causes. A child who had visited relatives abroad brought measles back into his neighborhood in Brooklyn, causing one of the worst measles outbreaks that New York City has seen in decades. A total of 654 individuals were infected, causing the city to issue a mandatory vaccination in people living in the four Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Let me wrap up with this.

Whoa!
What’s going on here?
Israel, the country, had made a huge effort to save its people from the misery caused by Covid!
Why would the Ultra-Orthodox community need any extra-effort to let itself be immunized?

Why was Israel’s manner of thinking closer to that of our fathers’ than to ours?
What makes us so similar, in this respect, to the Ultra-Orthodox?

Well, our fathers had to fight for their rights. And Israel for its place on the map.
We, and the Ultra-Orthodox, had our rights granted to us.

Our fathers had to cooperate among themselves in order to get through.
Israel had survived, and thrived, as the consequence of a coordinated effort.

We are cocooned in our bubbles.
We have become spoiled brats. One way or another.

We really need to start thinking outside our respective comfort zones.

For no other reason that mutinies tend to make matters worse.
It so happened that during the last 80 years no major conflict had disturbed the peace on our ship.
No thanks to us. We haven’t done anything special. Being aware that a conflict between the major powers would have ended in MAD doesn’t count as ‘doing anything special’.
During the last two generations we sorta lost our bearings.

Hopefully we’ll wake up to the fact that the next disturbance will no longer be a ‘top down’ event.
Think about it. Ever since the French Revolution – the last bottoms up upheaval, all other ‘disturbances’ had been the consequence of somebody planning for them. Initiating them.

30 years ago, the socialist lager had crumbled. Under its own weight.
Nobody had planned that event. Nobody had planned for that event!
The democratic world had been stunned by the speed with which things had unfolded.

The socialist lager had crumbled for the simple reason that the people living there had become pissed of.
Pissed of by the growing distance which separated them from those living in the ‘capitalist’ world.

Some of that distance has survived to this day. But it’s shrinking! Fast!

Unlike the distance between the ‘civilized’ world and the ‘developing nations’.

This ‘cutthroat race (among nations) to secure doses’ while so many ‘civilized’ people share-antivaxxer propaganda only adds insult to the injury felt by those who don’t have access to vaccines.
And demonstrates how far off we have distanced ourselves from the ‘hard core’ reality.

The native speakers among you don’t need to be reminded of what ‘bounty’ means.
How ironic is it?
People manning ‘the Bounty’ had had enough and chosen mutiny in place of a continuation of what they already had.
Captain Bligh, on the other hand, had learned nothing of his first experience… “Bligh, who eventually would fall prey to a total of three mutinies in his career, was an oppressive commander and insulted those under him.”

Are we going to make anything of our present predicament?

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Pigs have orgasms.
What?!?
And why does it even matter?

Orgasm consumes a lot of energy.
By itself, not what it takes to reach it!
And it somewhat incapacitates the individual experiencing it.

Try evading an aggressor while having one…

Then how could they have survived?
The orgasmic pigs… experiencing orgasm must produce an evolutionary advantage to compensate the costs incurred, right?

The way I see it, orgasm – as well as all other ‘pleasures’, is the reward for a job well done.
For having sex, for eating, for doing the right thing…

Or used to be!

Those which/who naturally/naively experience pleasure are quite different from those who, and some ‘which’, experience pleasure for it’s own sake.

With an entire gamut of consequences…

Having a drink with friends versus drowning your sorrows in booze.
Experience a gourmet dinner versus ‘digging your grave with your own teeth’ out of sheer boredom.
Feeling high after successfully climbing a mountain versus just feeling ‘high’.

Why are we doing this?
Why do we put the cart before the horses?

Out of ‘boredom’, as Calhoun’s experiment strongly suggests?

I’m afraid that for us, humans, boredom is only the circumstance. The circumstance in which we happen to choose.
‘Cause ultimately it’s us who do the choosing.

Yes, we are under an immense pressure.
To conform.
To obey the rule.
To do what is expected of us.

But is it right?
Is it really good?
And, above all, is it sustainable? At any level…

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We start by being borne.

After a while, we are delivered. To the world. Born, that is.

That is when we open up our eyes.
When we start learning.
When the world starts teaching us.

Slowly, we develop a conscience.
We start adding meaning to what we see.
Which meaning is heavily influenced by what we had learned up to that moment.

Our conscience depends heavily on memory.
The place where we deposit both what we have learned and how we felt each time when we learned something.
How we felt actually ‘fuels’ our conclusions. The stronger the feelings, the more acute the memories.
Stronger feelings give birth to longer lasting memories.

But there’s a small problem here.
Each time we learn something new, everything we already know is reinterpreted in the light of the understanding we’ve just developed. Our memories are actually rewritten. As in ‘born again’.
Exactly the same – only stronger, if what we’ve just learned reinforces what we already knew.
Slightly to completely different if what we’ve just learned contradicts everything we’ve been previously taught.

Now, how many times did that happen?
How many times did any of us ‘turn around’?

Rarely? Seldom?
Because the meaning we attach to what we see is “heavily influenced by what we had learned up to that moment”?
Because changing our mind implies contradicting ourselves? Implies admitting that we’d been wrong up to that moment? Which makes us feel bad?

That being the reason for us tending to forget everything which contradicts our ‘biases’.
Not only we do not see it in the first place…
We might see it – some things we cannot unsee, no matter how hard we try. It’s there but we don’t remember it. We just act as if it wasn’t there.
Until so many unseen things pile up that we’re no longer able to hold them back…

And we are forced to open up our eyes!
Only those things are no longer there…
We’d already changed them. To fit our previously held convictions!

What do we do?
We close back our eyes? In the name of consistency?
Or we go to Canossa to learn how to make amends?

How much time do we still have?

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Bill Cosby was released from prison Wednesday after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his 2018 conviction for sexual assault,

Let’s recap the events, as described in the NY Times article.

2004 – Ms Constand was raped by Mr. Cosby.
According to the 2018 sentence!
Please note that the Pennsylvania High Court didn’t say the 2018 jurors had ‘seen things”. Only that the trial shouldn’t have taken place!

2005 – The district attorney prosecuting the case “announced in a news release at the time that after an investigation he had found “insufficient” evidence. He later testified that he had given Mr. Cosby the assurance to encourage him to testify in a subsequent civil case brought by Ms. Constand. (A civil suit she filed against Mr. Cosby was settled in 2006 for $3.38 million.)”
As he was convinced he didn’t have enough evidence to make a penal case against Mr. Cosby, the prosecutor promised the defendant he will not be further prosecuted if he testified (a.k.a. ‘told the truth’) in the civil suit.
“In that testimony, Mr. Cosby acknowledged giving quaaludes to women he was pursuing for sex.”

2006 – The civil case was settled for $3.38 million. As in Bill Cosby agreed to pay that amount of money for something the prosecution wasn’t sure that it was able to convince a jury that he had actually done it.

2015 – The next district attorney reopened the case. And got a conviction. Despite the fact that the ‘main’ evidence had been provided by the defendant himself. Given after he was promised he wasn’t incriminating himself in a penal way.

2018 – Mr. Cosby is convicted for something he had done 14 years ago.

2021 – The Pennsylvania Supreme Court decides that Mr. Cosby had been practically duped into incriminating himself, found this to be unacceptable and released the former prisoner.

What are we, ordinary citizens, to make out of all these?

Be glad that our individual rights have been upheld?
It makes a lot of sense!
After all, upholding individual rights is what makes the difference between a free society and an authoritarian one.
Between people being free and finding themselves at the whims of the government.

Ask ourselves ‘what about the individual rights of the victim’?
That also makes sense.
But my experience of living under a dictatorship strongly suggests that letting some guilty people walk free is a small price to pay for making resonably sure that a government – any government, doesn’t accrue too much power over the individuals making up the people.

Ask ourselves ‘what happened to us’?
What drives so many of to use constitutional rights as loopholes?
Is this OK?

No legislation will ever be perfect!
That’s why verdicts are given by ‘peers’, judges are given so much ‘leeway’ and why, in general, the law is administered by highly trained responsible people and not by ‘machines’.

After all, how we use whatever we have at our disposal – legislation included, speaks more about ourselves than about the things we use and the circumstances in which we make our choices.

Having started with a rhetorical question, I might as well continue by offering you some ‘trivia’.

Lytton, BC, is a 249 people strong village, situated just a tad North of the 50th parallel. Which puts it almost 300 miles/450 kms closer to the North Pole…
Its inhabitants had had to flee a fire during the hottest weather ever encountered in that area. In modern times, anyway…

During the last 300 years, we’ve been ‘releasing’ – ‘repurposed’? – huge amounts of energy. Solar energy ‘captured’ by plants and stored in the belly of the Earth as ‘fossil fuel’. By releasing that energy we’ve actually changed the composition of the atmosphere.

A third more of something which constitutes only 0.042 of the Earth’s atmosphere doesn’t amount for much, does it?

Well, considering the fact that a certain Arrhenius was calculating all the way back in 1896 the ‘global warming potential of CO2′ as a green house gas…

As already stated, this blog is about how people think.
About how we, conscious people, relate to what happens around us through the use of our ‘brain’.

So here we have it.
We’ve been doing something for the last 300 years.
‘Naively’ at first and in an increasingly scientific soon after the whole thing had gathered momentum.
From a certain point on, an increasing number of the same people who had brain-powered the process – individuals currently known as ‘scientists’, have warned the rest of us about the potential consequences of what we were doing.

And now, that those consequences have started to manifest themselves, so many of us are still in denial.
How is it possible for so many to be convinced that it’s possible to back-pedal Earth’s geological clock without having to face any consequences?!?

‘But is anything we can do to change this?’

In the late 1970-ies, we – ‘our’ scientists, to be more precise – have noticed that there was a problem with the ozone layer.
The ‘thing’ which shields life on Earth from being ‘burned’ out by the UV radiation coming from the Sun.

After a short while, people from the scientific community have determined that there was something that we could do about it. Stop using ‘Chlorofluorocarbon’ substances. Old style ‘Freon’. It wasn’t easy – we had to find substitutes and retool factories, but we did it! The ozone layer is in far better shape now!

While repairing the ozone layer had been a collective effort, eroded land must be ‘patched up’ patch by patch.

‘OK, maybe there is something that we could do about ‘it’.
What would that be?’

I told you already. This is a blog about how we think!
Not, in any way shape or form, about what we should be thinking!

Do your own research.
See what other people say about this.

And ask yourselves one thing.

We are able to ‘fly’ – by boarding a plane, of course – because ‘modern’ scientists have proven that the old ones had been wrong.
But do we – as in me and you – really know how a plane works? Yet we happily board them in droves in each holiday season.
We live way longer than we used to. Because scientists have told us how to build sewage and waste management systems, what pills to take when falling ill and what vaccines to use in order to prevent infectious illnesses from taking hold.
We lead easier lives. Because scientists have built machines which work for us.

We’ve done all this as a collective effort.
We used to trust what they were teaching us and they trusted us to support them in their endeavors.

What happened to all this?
What made us so ‘alert’?

Where did all that trust vanish? Why?
What will the consequences be?

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Well, all knowledge is, ultimately, false. Or, at least, incomplete.

Bearing this in mind, we understand there is no such thing as false knowledge.
Only people unwilling to adapt their understanding of things to the newly discovered facts…
In this sense, it’s not the false knowledge which is dangerous, it’s those who worship ‘self made idols’!
Those who are so convinced that what they know is enough.
That their understanding of the world is so right and so complete that it has reached ‘perfection’.
That their Weltanschauung is, hence, ‘sacred’. ‘Worship-able’, if you’ll allow this word.

“Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God.”

How about this ‘interpretation’ of Shaw’s words?

Further reading:
Do not love your neighbor as yourself. If you are on good terms with yourself it is an impertinence: if on bad, an injury.

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One of my FB friends shared this meme and created the ‘opportunity’ for an interesting conversation.

“Say the same about the antics of parading gay pride activists…if you dare.”

I couldn’t resist:
“Gay activists parading peacefully are no threat for anybody. ‘Activists’ who actually whip other ‘activists’ during a parade… Same thing here. You really want/need to make your point? OK, take your 9mm Beretta for a walk. But an AR-15?!? Common…”

I have the ‘bad’ habit of proofreading my comments before hitting enter…

That was when it hit me!

‘Is this for real?
Was the guy actually ‘open carrying’?
Was it staged?
Could it be that the guy just bought it? Had it repaired? Or any other situation, but trying to make a fool of himself?’

OK, open carrying a gun in a public setting is… an exaggeration. For me, at least.
But this is besides the point.

The point being that we’ve reached the stage where appearance is more important than substance.
The point from which we no longer carry guns for protection but to make a point.
The bigger the ‘gun’, the more important, for us, the point we’re trying to make.

The more preposterous the meme, the more convincing we feel ourselves to be…

I’m afraid FB got us where it needs us to be!

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The above phrase makes a lot of sense.
Every beating which had become ‘public knowledge’ does make life ‘easier’ to those men who are known to be ‘peaceful’. In a sense…

On the other hand, every beating which becomes public knowledge but the beater isn’t chastised for his actions makes life harder for everybody.
For women. The beaten ones are discouraged from making their plight public. Those not beaten yet are taught that being beaten isn’t such a big deal.
For men. Those who already do it, feel no compulsion to stop. Those who would do it feel encouraged to ‘experiment’. Those who would like to do it but cannot – for whatever reasons, feel frustrated. Those who abhor it feel ashamed for belonging to the same gender. And discouraged from doing anything about it.
For the entire species. Violence become normalized. Socially accepted. Expected, even… Mothers and fathers don’t teach their sons that this is an unacceptable behavior while teaching their daughters to not be ‘surprised’ if it happens. All the more so when children witness their mother being abused while nobody does anything about it. Not even the abused mother… Not even when the abusive husband abuses the children along with the mother…

So what ‘awards’ are we talking about here? What’s the real meaning of “All men benefit from the actions of violent men”?
Or the real meaning of the phrase is that there is no such thing as a really good man?

Another logical ‘extension’ would be ‘All people benefit from the actions of thieves. This is why locks are being built and the police is being paid’. For humans are, by definition, nothing but sinners… right?

How about doing something about the whole situation instead of peddling in double edged memes?
Because the only explanation for women – along with children and peaceful men, being abused is the lack of social reaction whenever a beating – or any other form of abuse, becomes public knowledge.