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Mountain Gorilla is “the only great ape whose wild population is currently growing“.

Apparently, money brought into the ‘system’ by the (right kind of) tourists have made the difference.

In other places, ‘tourist money’ doesn’t seem to elicit much enthusiasm any more…

What’s going on here? Why money is OK in some places while others shun it?

Simple. Most tourists trekking gorillas in the bush actually get in touch with the visited reality while too many of those involved in mass tourism are herded along some ‘places of interest’ without actually getting the temperature of the places where they spend the money.
The first learn something while the second only feel good. ‘Feel good’ because they have been told that places which they have been herded along were ‘cool destinations’, not because of what they had actually experienced…

An anonymous bidder who agreed to pay $28 million for a seat on the flight has a scheduling conflict and will instead travel on a future trip.

What?!?

No, I’m not censuring anybody for how they spend their money.
I’m just asking myself what does that guy get for that kind of money.

Does he learn something interesting?
Does he have a meaningful interaction with the locals?

After all, what is this space tourism really about?
Experiencing things?
As in becoming ‘high’? There are cheaper alternatives, you know…

For the time being, let’s recap the consequences of different kinds of tourism.

The ‘old fashioned’ one helps local communities preserve their ways of life. And widens the minds of the travelers.
Mass tourism alter the places which had made it possible to such an extent as to change their very nature.
Space tourism burns a lot of fuel to make some very rich people even richer.

Meanwhile, on the same planet,

“You can walk across the street and see a Rolls-Royce, but you can walk down the street and find someone without clothes,” Motsepe said. “What you are seeing is a situation where the disgruntled society finally found an opportunity to express themselves.”

People concerned about the global warming keep talking about ‘sustainable growth’.
On the longer term, they are absolutely right.
If we keep burning fossil fuel – which had been accumulated during hundreds of thousands of years, we’ll turn back the flow of time. We’ll actually recreate the atmosphere which had existed during the Carboniferous Period.

But I’m afraid the circumstances which have given birth to ‘mass tourism’ are far less sustainable than our addiction to burning things.

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As much as I love writing, I do have to eat.
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Earning money takes time.
If you’d like me to write more, and on a more regular basis, hit the button.
Your contribution will be appreciated!

As much as I love writing, I do have to eat.
And to provide for my family.
Earning money takes time.
If you’d like me to write more, and on a more regular basis, hit the button.
Your contribution will be appreciated!

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Avem o biserică vandalizată – cea din parcul IOR, o reacție extrem de ‘intensă’ a ‘proprietarului ultim’, una mult mai ponderată a ctitorului – care este și preotul paroh al acestui lăcaș duhovnicesc, și o încercare de analiză.

Despre cât se poate de evidentul ‘dublul standard’ cu care sunt judecate prea multele dintre spețele aflate la judecata publicului a vorbit Sorin Cucerai.

Că autorul inscripțiilor ‘n-are toți boii acasă’… a recunoscut și Vasile Bănescu.
…expectorează mesaje grotești și, în accese de supremă inteligență, își scrie numele pe toate gardurile.

Că singurii care ar avea ceva de câștigat din toată tărășenia asta ar fi doar cei din AUR… poate pe termen scurt.
Foarte scurt… Oamenii ‘de rând’ sunt mult mai inteligenți decât au impresia foarte mulți dintre ‘analiști’… pot fi ‘stârniți’ – în anumite condiții, dar își revin destul de repede.
Alții care ar putea încerca să tragă oarece spuză pe turta proprie sunt cei din ierarhia BOR. Care au și făcut acest lucru…

În realitate, singurii care au ceva de câștigat – tot pe termen scurt dar ‘ceva’ mai ‘palpabil’, sunt proprietarii trusturilor de presă. Adică rating și atenția publicului. Care sunt două lucruri destul de diferite, dacă stai bine să te gândești…

Și acum, că am ajuns la trusturile de presă, voi începe prin a nota că reacția cât se poate de ponderată a părintelui paroh Adrian Niculcea a fost consemnată de cotidianul sportiv Fanatik. Poate că a apărut și în alte publicații. Cert este că goagăl l-a scos în față pe Alexandru Năstase. Iar goagăl nu minte… la chestii din astea!

‘OK, un Fanatik cu mintea la cap!
Altceva?’

O întrebare.

Dacă cel în cauză ar fi fost un ‘țăcănit’ normal – un zâmbet pentru oximoron, vă rog, așa după cum sugerează părintele Niculcea – ce să facă și el, atunci poliția l-ar fi găsit în doi timpi și trei mișcări.
Dacă cel în cauză ar fi fost un LGBT – la fel de ‘tâmpit’ precum restul comunității, după cum sugereaza Vasile Pănescu, ce să facă și el, atunci poliția l-ar fi prins într-un timp și cel mult două mișcări.

Având în vedere că nici un suspect nu a fost prezentat publicului … putem începe să speculăm.

Agentul 007!
Agent provocator. Pus de cine știe cine…
Poliția ascunde rezultatele cercetărilor. Din varii motive…

Vă rog să notați că ipotezele astea pot fi valabile și simultan!

‘Păi bine mă!
Ai promis o întrebare și ai turnat o droaie de ipoteze. Care mai de care mai ipotetice!’

Uite și întrebarea.

De ce a fost aleasă tocmai biserica la care slujește părintele Niculcea?
Biserică ctitorită de chiar părintele paroh. Care părinte paroh are o poziție ‘oarecum’ diferită față ce cea expusă, cât se poate de apăsat, de Vasile Bănescu!

Cine e Vasile Bănescu?!?
Purtătorul de cuvânt al Patriarhiei. Al exact acelei Patriarhii care „ar fi bine să-și tempereze declarațiile”!

Zicea cineva ceva despre un protest antimască…
Da’ măștile alea de pe suflet … pe alea când le scoatem?!?

În fața ‘judecătorului suprem’ va fi mult prea târziu… vom fi făcut deja tot răul de care am fost capabili!

“When this nightmare is over, we need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” Reich tweeted. “It would erase Trump’s lies, comfort those who have been harmed by his hatefulness, and name every official, politician, executive, and media mogul whose greed and cowardice enabled this catastrophe.”

Reconciliation Commission, eh?

I’m currently reading Jonathan Haidt’s The Happiness Hypothesis (2006)
It introduces a concept which clearly explains what we’re currently experiencing. In a very acute manner.

“We judge others by their behavior, but we think we have special information about ourselves—we know what we are ‘really like’ inside, so we can easily find ways to explain away our selfish acts and cling to the illusion that we are better than others. . . . Each of us thinks we see the world directly, as it really is. We further believe that the facts as we see them are there for all to see, therefore others should agree with us. If they don’t agree, it follows either that they have not yet been exposed to the relevant facts or else that they are blinded by their interests and ideologies.

What kind of a ‘Reconciliation Commission’ is that whose conclusions have already been reached before the commission itself has even been commissioned?!?

OK, Trump’s lies need to be set straight. Those he had hurt need to be comforted. And so on…

But way more important is for us to understand how ‘Trump’ had become possible in the first place!

That a “guy called Trump” had made ‘good use’ of an already existing set of circumstances and had become President of the USA is already history.
Some people, including Reich, don’t like it.

I’m afraid they’re going to re-live the experience – sooner rather than later.

The true role of the proposed commission is to shame rather than heal.
It’s proposed consequences will further deepen the chasm rather than bridge it.

It is nonsensical to argue, as do Trump and his allies, that government cannot mandate masks or close businesses during a pandemic but can prevent women from having abortions and same-sex couples from marrying.

The quote above also belongs to Robert Reich.
It perfectly describes the current situation.
Some people are OK with the government being able to mandate A and strongly oppose the government being able to mandate B while other people are situated in the exact opposite position.

For as long as each of these two parties will continue to defend their positions without paying real attention to the arguments presented by the other side the situation will remain more or less the same. It will oscillate around an equilibrium point but will not actually move.
The ‘problem’ will continue to fester, unsolved.

The real questions being:
– ‘why would anybody need a government to tell them to put a face-mask on during an airborne pandemic?!?’
– ‘why would anybody accept/mandate a government to determine who may marry whom?’ After certain conditions had been met, of course.
– ‘why would anybody accept/mandate a government to tell us what we may or may not do with/to our own bodies?’ After certain conditions had been met, of course!

And, above all, what happened with ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people‘?!?

This nightmare, like all others, is of our own making.

Smart enough to brag about it when attempting to become the next President of the United States…. at least according to Donald Trump… and to those who had voted for him – numerous enough for him to achieve his goal.

Smart enough or smart, period?

Let me put it differently.
You have no car. Yet you need to go to work and to shop for groceries. Hence you use public transport. Do you pay for it?
What would happen if a sizeable portion of those who use it would find a way to stop paying while still using the service? Those who continue to pay would have to pay more to keep the service going? Or the community at large would have to subsidize it?

You don’t care for my example because you do have a car… Then you need roads to drive on… hence you have to pay local taxes. And federal ones for the interstate highways…
You’d like them all to be privatized? Then you’ll pay gladly?
And how much will that be?
At this point I must remind you of Ma Bell. The telephone company which had to be dismantled, by the government, to make room for the present ‘data revolution’. If prices to move information from one place to another would have remained in the same range as in Ma Bell’s time you wouldn’t have had access to internet today. Unless you were a millionaire…

Taxes, local and federal, are ‘access fees’. If you want to operate – as a corporation or as an individual, out of a civilized place – safe and all, then you incorporate your business/set up residence in a civilized country. And pay the taxes collected by the administrators – read governments, to run those places.

Taxes are too high and or ill spent?!?
That’s a completely different subject!

Most civilized places are run as democracies.
You don’t like the way your money is spent? Or how much of it is collected to run the place?
Then what’s keeping you from voicing your concern? From holding accountable those who misspend your taxes? From doing whatever you see fit? After you pay your taxes, of course…

You feel ‘crushed’ by the majority? Whom you despise, by the way?
Then you don’t live in an actually democracy.
That’s either a ‘mob rule’ – a.k.a. populist regime, or the population is so divided that no real conversation is taking place between the various social segments. And democracy without honest conversation is nothing more than make believe.
I had chosen very carefully the word ‘population’. When something like this occurs, ‘nation’ is no longer appropriate.

Still unwilling to pay your dues?
Still convinced it’s a good thing to turn your back to what’s going on in your front yard?

Still convinced that remaining ‘sane’ is more important than finding out what’s really going on?

Further reading:

“Why arrogance is dangerously contagious”.

This used to be the motto of the French Legion Etrangere.
A bunch of guys who had no other way out of their predicaments than to enroll into a notoriously hard mercenary army. But one which offered its recruits a clean slate. So marche ou creve – move ‘forward’ or ‘out of the way’, it was.

Fast forward to our day.
“Le bonheur c’est pas le but mais le moyen”. “Happiness is not the goal but the mean” (of knowing you’re on the right track).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtCPWFo6MAE

Now, what is it which makes the French so adept at pointing the finger to the really important things?

Me not being able to figure out the answer doesn’t mean much.

Marche ou creve! For as long as you’ll be moving, you’ll conserve you’re chance at being happy!

But keep in mind that ‘marche ou creve’ has been coined by people living in community with each other. No soldier will ever survive on his own.

Nu sunt credincios.
N-am lucrat vreodată în ‘aparatul central de stat’.
N-am încercat vreodată să fac ‘revoluție’.

Într-un cuvânt, n-am avut treabă pe dealul Patriarhiei. Până nu demult…

Clădirea din stânga este încă actuala Catedrală Patriarhală iar în dreapta, în zare, sunt turla noii Catedrale ‘a Neamului’ și Palatul Parlamentului.

Ieri, a doua zi de Craciun, am ieșit să-mi dezmortesc picioarele. M-am gândit că de pe Dealul Patriarhiei s-ar putea sa se vadă bine în jos, spre oraș. Așa că…

Și am înțeles cum a ales Ceaușescu locul pentru Palatul care urma să simbolizeze Victoria Socialismului împotriva Poporului.

N-am de unde să știu pe unde-l duceau pe Ceașcă la lucrarile Marii Adunări Naționale. Palatul unde se întrunea are, firește, mai multe intrări. S-ar putea să n-o fi preferat pe cea de lângă Patriarhie…
Dar n-avea cum să uite de ea!

Tot ce știu este că vulturul care o străjuiește apărea pe ecranul televizorului de fiecare dată când la Telejurnal se făcea vorbire despre legile care fuseseră votate. Spre „propășirea” poporului muncitor, bine-nțeles!

Așă că noul palat trebuia construit cel puțin la fel de ‘sus’ ca cele ridicate de orânduirile care împilaseră poporul. Catedrala unde se distribuia „opiu” către populație și Camera unde politicienii retrograzi puneau la cale oprimarea.
Noul palat trebuia construit cel puțin la aceiași înălțime deasupra oamenilor muncii.

Să ne mai mirăm că și mai noua catedrală trebuia construită cel puțin la fel de sus?

Să ne mai mirăm că n-au mai rămas bani pentru educația noii generații?

Ar trebui totuși să aducem aminte de avertismentul lui Coșbuc!

„Când foamea ne va răscula…

1916, 7 noiembrie. Mihai Șora vedea, pentru prima dată, lumina zilei.
2019, 6 octombrie. Astăzi, la aproape 103 ani de la fericitul eveniment, aude înjurături.

Emag, un magazin online, s-a gândit să-și facă un pic de reclamă. Așa, înainte de sărbători…
Și pentru că subiectul zilei este ‘libertatea’ – noi ne luăm ‘rația de libertate‘ tocmai atunci când restul Europei taie porcul, Robert Tiderle – Papaya Advertising, a pus la cale un clip in care Mihai Șora citește un text despre cât de liberi am fost cu toții între 1948 și 1989.
Concluzia lui Șora fiind „În anul în care România împlinește 30 de ani de libertate, am învățat că ea nu trebuie doar câștigată. Ea trebuie păstrată. Și cum altfel o putem păstra, dacă nu bucurându-ne de ea în fiecare zi?”
Și pentru că nimic nu este gratis, emag ne aduce aminte că „ Ai libertatea să comanzi ce vrei, de unde vrei și să alegi ce-ți place din milioane de produse din mii de categorii. etc., etc., etc., …

Ei da, numai că…
Noi ne pregătim și de schimbat guvernul!
Iar unii dintre noi au nevoie, ca de aer, de ‘rating’.

Așa că pune-te, frate române, pe comentat.

Am să fac o pauză și, pentru cei care nu știu despre ce e vorba, voi puncta câteva repere din biografia lui Șora.
– 1938. Primește o bursă de la Institul Francez din Bucuresti și pleacă în Franța, la doctorat.
– În timpul războiului, intră în Rezistența Franceză și aderă la partidul comunist francez.
– 1948. Se intoarce în Romania in. Și rămâne aici. De voie, de nevoie… în funcție de sursa de informație găsită de pe net.
– 1948 – 1989. Îndeplinește diverse funcții. La ministerul de externe condus de Ana Pauker, la Editura de Stat pentru Literatură și Artă, la Editura Enciclopedică.
– 1990. Este numit ministru al învățământului în primul guvern Roman. Își dă demisia după mineriada din 13-15 Iunie.
– 1990 – 2019 Contribuie la fondarea Grupului pentru Dialog Social și ia poziții tranșante pentru promovarea democrației.

Dan Andronic descrie foarte pertinent perioada 1948-1989 din viața lui Mihai Șora:

„În primul rând vreau să spun că nu susțin nici un moment că Mihai Șora a fost vreun torționar comunist.
Dar nici nu trebuie văzut ca un dizident.”

Și-atunci?
De ce i se scoate pe nas ‘trecutul comunist’ de câte ori îndrăznește să deschidă gura?
Lui Rațiu i s-a reproșat că ‘n-a mâncat salam cu soia’. Șora e cam pe aceiași parte a baricadei cu Rațiu. El a mâncat salam cu soia. Și tot nu e bine…

„Starea Libertății”

Pentru cei care nu sunt foarte la curent – scuze pentru exprimarea bolovănoasă, face parte din culoarea locală, „Starea libertății” e un fel de vlog transmis la o televiziune. Nu mai știu care și, sincer să fiu, nici nu mă interesează.
‘Apăsați’ linkul de mai sus și ‘delectați-vă’. Dragoș Pătraru predă o adevărată lecție. Despre cum poți da, ‘imparțial’ – vorba lui Caragiale, în toți și din toate direcțiile. Și despre cum, de dragul ratingului, te poți transforma în ‘persoană ușoară’. Adică în curvă media. Spunând, cât se poate de convingător – urmăriți frazarea și gestica, nimic. Absolut nimic. Adică ceva ce poate fi interpretat de fiecare așa cum vrea. De fiecare dintre cei care are răbdare să se uite la așa ceva…

Subiectul putea fi tratat în fel și chip.
‘Tragedia intelectualului prins între război și dictatura comunistă.’
‘Iată de ce a supraviețuit comunismul atât de mult. Au fost prea puțini intelectualii care au avut curaj să i se opună cu adevărat.’
Și câte și mai câte…

Dar nu. Noi – Pătraru nu e singur iar cei ca el au suficient de multă audiență încât să-i dea înainte, preferăm să transformăm totul în derizoriu. În miștocăreală de prost gust.

Până la urmă, care e deosebirea dintre Șora și Iliescu?
Amândoi cu școală. Chiar dacă făcută în locuri diferite…
Nici unul nu a dus-o foarte rău în comunism. Chiar dacă unul mult mai bine decât celălalt…
Amândoi au ocupat funcții înalte după revoluție. Chiar daca unul nu s-a lasat dus în ispită iar celalalt nu s-a lasat dus de-acolo…

Iliescu a fost consecvent iar Șora a cotit-o la un moment dat?
Putem să spunem și așa…

Șora a învățat din greșeli? Și a avut curajul să-și afirme public noua credință?

Fiecare înțelege ce poate. Și ce vrea, bineînțeles.

Somebody asked, on his wall, ‘what do you like/dislike most about how people behave on Facebook?

Here’s my answer.

“Facebook presents us with huge opportunities.
For getting in touch with great ideas/very interesting people.
For con-artists to bamboozle other people’s minds.
What I like most? When people contribute. Ideas, feelings, whatever.
What I dislike? When people allow themselves to be taken advantage of.
You see, I could have said ‘I dislike people taking advantage of other people’. That goes without saying. Only telling a con-artist to clean up their act would be akin to asking a lion to stop feeding itself. That’s not gonna happen.
But we could train our minds to avoid being fooled so easily…”

Medicine and transportation are roughly of the same age.
As soon as people had realized there was a difference between their bodies and the rest of the natural realm, they had started to take care of those bodies and to carry along various things – food, clothes, various implements, etc.

At some point, our ancestors had become ‘industrious’. And actively searched for ‘cures’ and for more efficient manners of transport.

To shorten a very long history, I’ll get directly to the point I’m trying to make.
There are two links between medicine and transportation. Two synergistic links, actually.
Both of them simultaneously increase the autonomy of the individual human being and the social ties between the members of the society. It is very hard to take care of your body when you are on your own and ‘transport’ might come handy when traveling alone but is way more useful in a social context.

Vaccines and automobiles are relative pinnacles in their specific domains.
Vaccines have eradicated or, at least, alleviated some very dangerous diseases. Small pox, rabies, polio, measles… Nowadays even some cancers have become susceptible to be treated with vaccine like treatments.
Automobiles… do I really need to tell you what automobiles did for us? How they have expanded our scope? Our ability to go places, taking with us almost everything we fancy?
And, like the rest of medicine and transport, vaccines and automobiles have not only increased our freedom – from disease and distance, but also the ties between us. Medicine has become even more social – most vaccines need a certain threshold in order to reach their full potential, and the transport infrastructure has become more complex. Thanks to both of them, each of us can go almost everywhere on the planet. For almost any place where a road can be found, there is a cocktail of vaccines to make that place safe for most of us.

Yet we don’t treat vaccines and automobiles in a similar manner.

We ask that all drivers pass certain exams and behave according to certain rules but some of us would like that parents who don’t want their children to be vaccinated to be able to ‘excuse’ them.

And all this just because a … (feel free to use your own words) ‘scientist’ had published a ‘study’ which purportedly established a link between autism and vaccines. Which study had long ago been refuted by the scientific establishment. For being fraudulent.

Furthermore, a few years ago it had become apparent that a major automobile producer had been blatantly and consistently lying  about the exhaust gases emitted by their Diesel engines. In a short time, we learned that many other automobile producers had been doing the same thing…

Then what drives most us to continue to trust those who lied about how ‘dirty’ their cars were  while some – but very vocal, of us continue to distrust those who produce life saving vaccines? Only because some drug producers have ‘inflated’ their prices?

Why do so many of us consider some lies as being worse/better than others?

 

I’ve been asked this – who wasn’t?, for so many times that I’ve lost count…
Only the last instance was different.

The context was a lot more serious than usual. We were discussing ideas!
Individual, social, freedom… and we were doing it in English – my ‘second’ language. Hence I was a tad more alert than when chatting away in Romanian.

Have you noticed that in English ‘you’ has three meanings?
A singular ‘you’, a plural ‘you’ and a formal ‘You’ which covers both singular and plural.
In French we have ‘tu’ for singular and ‘vous’/’Vous’ for both plural and formal.
In German ‘du’, ‘inhen’ and ‘Sie’. Only ‘sie’ – starting with small s, as opposed to capital S, means ‘they’…
In Romanian, ‘tu’, ‘voi’ and ‘Dumneavoastra’/’Domniile Voastre’. Literally, ‘Your Lordship’/’Your Lordships’.

I’m not going to delve into Humboldt’s linguistic relativity hypothesis at this point. It would be very interesting but I have something else in my mind.
I’m going to answer the question ‘personally’. Influenced, indeed, by Maturana’s opinion that human consciousness (self awareness) has blossomed at the intersection between our brain power, our ability to communicate verbally with each other and our emotionally driven memory.

So, who am I?
Just one of you…

Neither of us could have existed independently.
None of us could have given birth to themselves… obviously. But also none of us would have been what we are today without having been raised by and educated in our respective communities. By the ‘you’-s to which each of us belong.

On the other hand, none of these communities would have ever existed without the individuals who compose them AND without those individuals being self aware enough to notice their existence. ‘Their existence’ meaning both the existence of the individual personalities which compose the communities and that of the communities themselves.

To simplify matters a little bit, we – as individuals, depend on the well being of the communities to which we belong while we – as communities, depend on the self-awareness of the individuals who animate each of the communities.

If we add the piled up consequences of all the decisions we – as a species, have ever made we end up with ‘culture’ and the present state of the environment which surrounds us – also known as ‘civilization’.
I’ll leave these for another time.