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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.

The Genetics of Design

screen shot 2019-01-22 at 9.48.36 pmWhat connects us to other people? One commonality: we share an evolutionary path with similar internal templates. That’s what the ‘House Experiment’ demonstrates so well. Asked to “draw a house as if they’re five years old,” people draw almost identical images, without looking at anyone else’s work, no matter where they come from. The drawings above are by eight people, born and/or raised in eight different countries in three continents.

screen shot 2019-01-24 at 5.40.08 pmCultural preferences sometimes creep in, such as in the house above, by someone from Morocco, Northern Africa – but, most often they do not. In fact, it’s astonishing to see two people, at different events, coming from opposite sides of the planet, draw nearly identical houses, as below:

screen shot 2019-01-24 at 5.42.09 pm

It just goes to show, no matter our background, we are more the same than we realize and what we most like to see, what most grabs our attention – is pre-set…

View original post 70 more words

https://i.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/001/178/733/780.jpg

Last time I checked, for a rebellion to make sense, it had to be against some precise thing. Otherwise…

On the other hand, there are only two kinds of freedom.
‘Against all others’ – which starts as anarchy and very soon becomes atrocious dictatorship. Where the dictator is free to rule and the oppressed are free do obey. Or to attempt to climb into the dictator’s shoes…
Or ‘with all others’. Also known as ‘democracy’. The real thing, of course, not the ‘mob rule’ variety which is currently creeping upon us.

Hence the only sensible rebellion would be the one against any form of dictatorship and ‘executed’ in concert with the rest of the oppressed.

There is a technical reason. And some subjective ones. Acting in a synergic manner.

Trump had bean the darling of the high ratings/low expectations media for most of his adult life. During this period he had learned how to use it towards his own goal – an ever increasing notoriety, and those involved in the media had learned to love him back for the amount of publicity they had been able to sell on his back.

Now for the subjective ones.
First of all, he is a very ‘penetrant’ person. Like him or not, but you can’t ignore him.
Secondly, he happens to be the most powerful individual on Earth. Simply because he had been elected the President of the United States of America. Which is not only the most potent/civilized/democratic/you name it country, but also the leader of the free world. Meaning that the rest of the planet, democratic or not, sets it’s time after America’s clock. Willingly or unwillingly.
So the rest of world is watching anxiously everything that is going on in Washington. Wondering whether ‘Trump-ism’ will spread around. Or will remain yet another measure of American exceptionalism.

Thirdly, but maybe the most important reason, Trump can be analyzed as a symptom rather than as a cause.
In fact, there are a lot of Trumps scattered around the world.
Basically, there is very little difference between Trump and Putin. Trump and Erdogan. Trump and Bolsonaro. Trump and Dragnea – the most powerful politician in today’s Romania, my country. Even between Trump and Modi. Only none of these countries is similar to the US of A. None of them has such a distinguished democratic tradition.
And this is why so many people try to understand what’s going on.
Is Trump nothing more than an unhappy accident? Or the visible symptom of democracy becoming decrepit?

PS.
Even Abe is showing signs of contagion.
Post WWII Japan had survived by feeding whales to its people.
Now it is going to resume commercial whaling. In spite of all other previously whaling nations asking him to reconsider.
Really Abe? You need whale meat to survive?

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