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.

Voi folosi conceptul introdus de Maslow pentru a încerca să intuiesc la ce ‘etaj’ se află România. Ca dezvoltare socială…

Avem niște nevoi.
Pe care le știe toata lumea. N-are nici un rost să le înșir aici.

Avem o ‘organizare socială’. Populație, antreprenori și politicieni. Care interacționează într-un spațiu politic definit de legi democratice și își asigură subzistența pe o piață liberă care funcționează pe principii capitaliste.

Conform fișei postului, politicienii sunt aceia care ar trebui sa identifice și ierarhizeze prioritățile. Problemele care trebuie rezolvate. Apoi să propună societății diverse căi de urmat. Fiecare grupare politică în funcție de interesele pe care le reprezintă și de ideologia cu ajutorul căreia judecă lucrurile.
Restul populației este chemată – la date fixe precum și ocazional, să aleaga prin vot între variantele propuse de diversele grupări politice.

În afară de alegerile la nivel național, regional și local, democrația mai presupune și niște alegeri ‘interne’. Adică în interiorul partidelor. În timpul campaniilor electorale ‘interne’, partidele au ocazia să-și (re)definească și caracterul, nu doar să-și aleagă liderii.

Discutând această poziționare, unii se întreabă ‘Ce-o fi în capul lui Orban’? Având în vedere că acum 3 ani doar 21% din alegătorii de pe listele electorale au ieșit să voteze….

Înainte de a intra ‘pe fond’, aș vrea să mai adaug o imagine.

Ce înțeleg eu din toată chestia asta?

Că piramida nevoilor s-a transformat într-un aisberg.

La bază, avem nevoile Romaniei. Ca țară.
Deasupra lor, avem nevoile politicienilor. Nevoile indivizilor intrați în politică și nevoile partidelor, ca organizații.

Aceste două niveluri se află ‘sub apă’. Toată lumea știe că sunt acolo. Pentru că fiecare dintre noi vede vârful aisbergului! Dar nimeni nu știe cu adevărat până unde se întinde fiecare dintre aceste două straturi. Ce forma are fiecare dintre ele…
Asta pentru că nimeni dintre cei care ar trebui să o facă nu discută – „cinstit și lăutarește”, pe aceste teme. În afară de niște ONG-uri – care se străduie dar nu sunt băgate în seamă.

Se vede, în schimb, ce se întâmplă la suprafață.
Pe scena politică, pe ecranul televizoarelor si pe monitoarele device-urilor multi-media…
Se vede cum acționeaza politicienii noștri.
Ce fac și ce spun. Cum votează atunci când au ocazia și ce spun în diverse ocazii…

Cum am spus la început, treaba noastră – adică datoria civică – este să evaluăm prestația si propunerile politicienilor.
Să determinăm cu ce se ocupă aceștia.

Cu rezolvarea problemelor obștii sau cu rezolvarea problemelor lor?

Și mai e o chestie. Din modul cum acționează politicienii putem determina și ce părere au despre noi.
Mai bine spus, ce cred ei că vom face noi.

Să revenim puțin la cel mai precis sondaj de opinie făcut vreodată în România.
Referendumul pentru Familia Tradițională…

Optimiștii s-au bucurat că n-a trecut.
Pesimiștii s-au întristat că România alunecă pe o panta periculoasă.
Iar eu sunt încă îngrozit de-a dreptul!

21.10% la suta dintre cei înscriși pe liste au ieșit la vot, iar 91.56% dintre ei au votat DA!
Referendumul a fost anulat pentru ca prezența la vot a fost mai mică de 30%.

Cu alte cuvinte, avem în țară trei milioane și jumătate de votanți extrem de disciplinați. Cărora li s-a spus să facă ceva iar ei au dus sarcina la îndeplinire.
Ce s-ar fi întâmplat dacă cei care au organizat referendumul ar fi ‘periat’ listele electorale?
N-au făcut-o pentru că nu era în interesul lor?

Nu era în interesul lor ATUNCI…

Având în vedere noile poziționări ale unora dintre politicieni și modul în care se fac și se desfac alianțele de facto dintre taberele politice…

UDMR nu este de acord cu alegerea primarilor în două tururi de scrutin.
PNL voteaza o moțiune introdusă de tabăra social democrată din Parlamentul European pentru a face în ciudă USR-Plus iar PSD se abține de la acel vot.

Aproape 1 000 000 de romani au făcut cerere de rezidență în UK. Or mai fi încă trei milioane în restul UE.

Dacă pe listele electorale ar fi fost doar 14 milioane – in loc 18, acei trei milioane și jumătate de ‘disciplinați’ ar fi fost suficienți pentru a modifica Constituția. Și să nu uităm că Senatul – în calitate de cameră decizională, a adoptat propunerea de modificare a Constituției cu 107 voturi pentru (PSD, ALDE si PNL), 13 împotrivă și 7 abțineri.

Vom trăi și vom vedea ce se va întâmpla în continuare.
Se vor apuca politicienii să rezolve problemele noastre, ale tuturor?
Sau vor continua să le rezolve pe ale lor, profitând de ‘bezmeticeala’ noastră? Și de ‘disponibilitatea’ manifestată de 21% dintre noi?

Iar întrebarea de 1000 de puncte este:

Politicienii ca politicienii.
Ce facem noi? Noi aștia care ne dăm rotunzi… Care credem că le știm pe toate…
Dăm vina pe ‘disciplinați’? Pe politicieni?

Sau ne trezim și noi odată?
Încercăm să înțelegem ce se întâmplă în sufletele ‘disciplinaților’? Ce-i face să fie o pradă ușoară în față politicienilor fără scrupule?

Dacă reușim să le luăm ‘apa de la moară’, toți ‘fățarnicii’ se ‘usucă’ repede… Nici unul nu e ‘de cursă lungă’.
La noi e robinetul… Noi suntem cei care trebuie să ne hotărâm odată!

I’ll start by stating that nothing becomes fact before somebody calling it so!

Doesn’t make any sense?
It’s not enough?
OK…

So ‘blue’ had become a fact only after people had invented a word for it…
It had existed before hand but we hadn’t noticed it – hadn’t spoken about it, more exactly, until we had a word for it. Until we had learned how to ‘measure’ it…

But what is a ‘fact’?
Something which is ‘real’?
And how do you determine if something is ‘real’ or not?
It either has ‘measurable consequences’ or your experience about it has been confirmed by somebody else.
A coffee table becomes a fact in the dark after you hit it with your shin and a meteorite ceases being a illusion the moment your hubby confirms he has also seen it.
No so complicated, was it?

‘But what about a propaganda movie? It that real? Can you consider it to be a fact?’

Excellent question, Watson!

The movie itself is real alright! A fact, indeed.
The fact that not everything it pretends to be real is true… is also a fact!
Savvy?

In fact, there are more facts waiting to be discovered than actual ‘happenings’.

Take the propaganda movie.
It has consequences.
Some people believe in its message. And act accordingly. Each of those actions becoming facts on their own.
Other people smell the rat hiding behind the screen. And act accordingly. Each of those actions being facts on their own.
The fact that those exposed to the same message more often than not chose to respond differently is a strong suggestion that facts – and reality itself, are not so straightforward as we’d like them to be.
As straightforward as most spin doctors pretend them to be…

‘You’ve been jabbering for sometime now but you haven’t yet come forward. What was the meaning of that ‘elusive’ title of yours?’

Liberty.
What is it?
A fact? A natural fact? Something which was given to us? Our natural status? Something others want to steal from us?
Something we’ve built/discovered together?
Or an ideal we’ll never be able to fulfill?

How about all three at the same time?

‘Are you nuts?’

A ball – a foot-ball, for example, has a certain degree of freedom. Put it on a table and it may roll in any direction it may choose. But will ‘never’ be able to fall through the table nor start to fly. ‘On it’s own’…
A helium balloon has another kind of freedom. If it’s tied down with a string it has the freedom to oscillate. If it’s ‘free’ it has the freedom to go up. For as long as it manages to hold on on enough helium, but that’s another thing. Another fact, if you will…

A society is free only if its members respect and defend, collectively, their freedoms. Their individual freedom and their collective freedom. For instance, Russia is a free country but its citizens are not as free as their neighbors, the Fins.
The moment Hong Kong went back to China, the city was no longer as free as it used to be as a British dominion. Yet its citizens have continued to be far freer than the rest of the Chinese citizens. For a while…..

Somethings – freedom, for instance, cannot be anything more than people think about them.

Others can.
Until people had invented X-rays, nobody could know how big were the roots of any given tooth.
Until Robert K. Merton had put together a more detailed analysis of it, the law of the unintended consequences was something people intuitively knew it was ‘real’ but nobody was fully aware of its real depth. Now, most of us agree that that depth is unfathomable. Yet some people still behave as if things were under control… Under their control…

Freedom, and all other rights we have enjoyed for sometime now, is only as wide – and only as deep, as we make it to be. As we agree among ourselves to make it.
For all of us!

Collective freedom as a fact.
In the sense that the freer communities have had a consistently bigger survivability rate than the more authoritarian regimes.
Ancient Athens had been able to navigate through more ‘dire straights’ than its arch-enemy, Sparta.
The Roman Empire has been established as a democracy, thrived as one for a while then failed abysmally as an autocracy.
Yes, the Egyptian empire did survive for millennia… only it had been ruled, succeedingly, by 33 dynasties. Practically, there had been 33 regimes, not one… And since there had been some 3100 years between its unification and it being incorporated into the Roman Empire… an average of 100 years per political regime cannot be branded as a real success… Specially in the early years, when the competition was…

A quick jump to the XX-th century will suggest the very same thing. All major wars – WWI, WWII and the Cold one, had been won by the freer societies.

So collective freedom, or lack thereof, has consequences. Is a fact.

On the other hand, freedom – the real version, the one that works, cannot be had/enjoyed but in a social context.
Nobody can be free on their own.
The emperors of yore – and the dictators of today, have been under the impression – illusion, more likely, that they could do whatever they pleased. That they were free. So free that they never hesitated to trample the freedom of their subjects. Only that freedom never lasted for long… it was soon replaced by the liberty of somebody else… And all these successive liberties have been exerted at the expense of those of everybody else.

Hence liberty, individual as well as collective, is not only a fact. It’s also a social construct.

What about the ‘elusive ideal’?

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Oops!
The only reasonable way to read this is ‘if you want to be free, you need to think straight’.
To find out what’s keeping you down and how to free yourself in a sustainable way.
How to free yourself in a manner which will add to the freedom of all others!

Cause if your increased freedom means the debasement of your erstwhile peers… things don’t look right…

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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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The standing girl does it for what she considers to be right.
The ones taking a knee, do it for what they consider to be right.
Then all play, side by side, as a team.

We, the ‘spectators’, take sides. And tear the society apart in the process.

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Blame is something which is attributed while responsibility is something which is assumed.

Let’s return to rape.
The recurring question here being:

As stated by the Chinese proverb above, victim blaming will get us nowhere. For as long as we’ll ‘blame first, ask questions later’ we’ll never understand what’s going on. Remain stuck in ‘status quo’.
Where some of the victims will feel entitled to say:

Can you blame them?
Should we blame them? After all, the broadness of the accusation ultimately reduces it to a shot in the foot…
But haven’t we agreed earlier that blame will not move us forward? No matter how we feel about the whole thing?

How about ‘manning’ up?
How about each of us, men and women, assuming responsibility? Each their own!

Why?!?
Simply because it is us who have to deal with the consequences!
We, the women who get raped.
We, the fathers, brothers, partners, sons, friends, etc. of the raped women.
And we, the mothers of the raped women.

We, all of us, have ‘condoned’ a society where male children are taught to be assertive. Chivalrous, maybe, but, certainly, assertive.
And, simultaneously, a society where female children are taught to behave nicely and to refrain from becoming a ‘nuisance’.
These are, roughly, the gender roles our society – read ‘we, the parents’, continue to imprint upon the young generation. The Dolce and Gabbana advertisement above being only one of the myriad examples which illustrates this fact.

What next?

In the name of ‘playing it safe’ are we going to presume that each male (?!?) is a potential rapist?
And take the ‘necessary’ precautions?


Ooops!
How is a potential victim going to protect herself against a (close) acquaintance?
What kind of clothing are they supposed to wear and what kind of a behavior should they adopt in order to avoid being raped by a “current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend (?!?)”

OK, let’s consider we’re done with the ‘blame-game’.
Let’s play ‘responsibly’ now. Who should assume it?

We! As in ‘All of us’.
For the simple reason that it will always be us who will ‘foot the bill’. Have to deal with the consequences!

From having to overcome the experience of being raped to helping towards healing the wounds to actually bearing the costs – not only the financial ones, of so many people being hurt.

We, the parents, need to educate our children in such a way as to understand that rape – in any shape, way or form, is unacceptable.
We, both men and women, need to educate ourselves about what to do when in ‘dire straits’. How to avoid ‘dangerous situations’ – from not going to ‘sleazy’ bars to not taking our dates to ‘unsafe’ places.
We, all of us, need to educate ourselves towards openness. Towards coming forward when something like this happens. Towards helping those who suffer it. As in being an ‘active’ participant instead of pretending nothing happened.
And, last but not least, we – all of us, need to learn how to overcome this.
And how to help the victims to overcome their tragic experiences.

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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.