Archives for posts with tag: change

Change can either be inflicted upon you or effected by you.

‘Change’ as in ‘something you need to overcome if you are to survive’.

We, humans, are the first to be in this situation. The rest – from the humble sub-atomic particles to our cousins, the great apes, experience change only as being inflicted upon them.

Gravity pulls together a huge cloud of gas and dust until it becomes hot enough for the fusion reaction to transform it into a star.
A supernova becomes so hot that gravity can no longer keep it together. It explodes and releases the heavier elements needed for planet building.
As it cools down, the second generation nebula is again pulled together by gravity.
A smaller star appears, this time ‘entouraged’ by planets.
On one of those planets, conditions are ripe for life to appear.
Wind and frost erode the mountains. Water carries the debris into ravines. Micro-organisms transform the debris into soil.
Vegetation – starting with the blue-green ‘algae’, which are actually cyanobacteria, have transformed the atmosphere into what it is today.
Animals have evolved into their present state by eating plants – at first, and then each-other.
Fungi have added their contribution towards what we witness/enjoy today by digesting whatever they ‘perceive’ as being ‘food’.

All of the above mentioned ‘change’ has been ‘inflicted’ upon those who bore it, by the ‘changing factors’, according to ‘natural laws’ implicit to the nature of the ‘changing factors’.
Gravity pulls because…
The blowing wind and the freezing frost who had broken down mountains did change the face of the Earth because it was in their nature to do what they did.
Plants, animals and fungi, together, have transformed the planet into what it is today as a consequence of each of the species doing what it was natural for it to do in order to survive. None of the species, nor any of the individual members of those species, had ever done anything ‘on purpose’!

Until we, the ‘naked apes’, have become ‘conscious human beings’.

We continue to have a lot of change inflicted upon us, of course.
Inflicted by factors outside our species – the current Covid pandemic, for instance, or by ‘agents’ amongst us. The first example which comes to my mind being the plane high-jacked by Lukashenko – the ‘last European dictator’, because he wanted to arrest a dissident journalist who happened to be inside.

The post continues after this message:

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

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!
Another very efficient way to help would be to share my posts.

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!

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!

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

My point being that we’re the first who effect change. Who do it ‘on purpose’.
Which very ‘purpose’ makes us responsible for the outcomes of our actions.
For no other reason than the fact that it will be us who will suffer the consequences of our own ‘edeavours’!

It’s our consciousness which instills purpose into our actions.
Then our very same consciousness should better become responsible towards the consequences engendered by our purposeful actions.
For no other reason but the simple fact that it’s our own survival at stake here!

Human nature has evolved considerably since we’ve climbed down the proverbial tree/been made in His own image.
Some of our ancestors used to eat their fellow human beings/the first brother had killed his sibling for profit while a sizeable proportion of the present humankind governs itself in a democratic manner.
No individual has ever been able to change, by themself, the human nature. Time and time again, this has been attempted in vain. Plato, Napoleon, Marx, Lenin, Hitler, Stalin…
Yet each of us can change their own persona. This is what Buddha and Jesus have been successfully teaching us.
This is how we’ve figured out that eating our brother might satiate our hunger for the time being but will never solve the problem. Feeding ourselves for the long run demands cooperation. It cannot be achieved through mindless/cut-throat competition.
As long as more and more of us understand this, we’ll have a fighting chance to survive. As a species.

Nietzsche was somewhat right only he went bonkers before he was able to shed some real light on what was going on.
The point is that God didn’t die on his own. We killed him. Twice. And while the first time we were capable to fix the situation now we seem incapable to ‘make the right thing’.

Let me explain myself.

I have no way of knowing if it was God that created us or not. That’s something for others to decide.
For me it’s enough that I see no evidence to support the first hypothesis except for some ‘testimonies’ provided by people with vested interests in the matter. I find those testimonies highly biased. Nor do I find any need for a Deus ex Machina kind of explanation for anything that exists in this Universe. Modern science has done a good enough job in explaining the world to me.
On the other hand the second hypothesis is absolutely impossible to demonstrate. So, why bother?

What I do know, for sure, is that at least one kind of God does exist. The one that has been created by us, people, a social representation whose existence stems directly from our mental relationship with Him – the One who supposedly created us.
The mere existence of this ‘virtual’ God had two very important consequences. It brought us democracy and it provided us with a coherent way of understanding the world – a common Weltanschauung in German terms.

I’ll make a short break here to elaborate a little. The common lore is that ‘God made us in his image’. This means that, basically, we are equals among ourselves – we’ve been all cast in the same mould, right? – and that each of us has a spark of divinity in him. Quite a heavy responsibility – being of a Godly nature – don’t you think? Hence the ‘do not kill/judge’ commandment. Who are we to play God towards other Gods?
Also partaking in the same Weltanschauung was what offered us the possibility to act as a community, to help each other. For a while at least but it was good while it lasted. After all none of us could have done much by himself.
In fact none of us is able to survive for long by himself, let alone thrive solitarily. Not even today, with all the modern technology that we now take for granted.

We gave birth to our first generation of Gods, made exactly into our image, good and bad together, during the Antiquity. The Greek, Roman and German Gods were our look alike-s and shared our unruly behavior. Some of them even occasionally shared our beds. Then, at some point, we got cocky and abandoned them. Our philosophers thought they knew better than that and that they could come up with comprehensive solutions all by themselves. That’s how absolute authoritarianism ended up having official blessing from the Academia while the adoration of Gods was left for the unsuspecting masses.
All hell broke loose from that moment. For some 6 centuries after Plato had wrote his Republic the Mediterranean Sea had been a string of empires toppling one another.

Until we came up with a different kind of God. One that first and foremost told us to stop quarreling – for we were all brothers – and start living in communion. Until we killed him also.

Not that we haven’t been forewarned. Pascal, the French mathematician, told us that it is completely irrational to reject the existence of God. If, in reality, God doesn’t exist the believer looses nothing and the non believer gains nothing – except for the lame satisfaction to be able to brag ‘I told you so’ after death. Conversely, if God does exist, then the believers are going to inherit the world while the non believers have dealt themselves the worst hand ever. Meanwhile, by living in a world structured by the presumed existence of God both believers and non believers enjoyed the two consequences I mentioned above – equality among people, even if only in theory, and the ability of doing things in concert, a lot more efficiently.

Now, that we’ve killed God for a second time – the murder described by Nietzsche – we’ve lost it again. Only this time we didn’t lose just the hypothetical after-life, we’re gradually transforming this one – the only life we have for sure – into a bloody nightmare.

And if you don’t believe me do as Lesek Kolakowski suggests.
“Let us simply compare the godless world of Diderot, Helvétius, and Feuerbach with that of Kafka, Camus, and Sartre. The collapse of Christianity that was so joyfully awaited by the Enlightenment took place almost simultaneously with the collapse of the Enlightenment itself. The new, shining order of anthropocentrism that was built up in place of the fallen God never came. What happened? Why was the fate of atheism in such a strange way tied to that of Christianity, so that the two enemies accompanied one another in their misfortune and in their insecurity?” (God in a godless time, 2003)

Now why can’t we make the small effort to understand what Pascal told us? Why is it so hard to understand that we are spoiling the beautiful life we might have if only we kept pretending that God existed and behaved accordingly?

Why is it so hard at least to fake some respect for those who happen to share the planet with us?
Fake respect is not as good as the genuine one, of course, but is a lot better than the huge amount of scorn that is publicly traded these days.
Even more important is that if we won’t have to use so much energy in maintaining a force field to protect us from being drenched in scorn we’ll may be able to imagine a better world than the one we currently have to deal with.
And, who knows, maybe we’ll have time to discover how beautiful we really are, inside our armors.

A new (representation of) God would be born this way.

god-is-dead

Lesek Kolakowski, God in a godless time, 2003, http://www.firstthings.com/article/2003/06/visions-of-eternity-7

People glimpse fragments from the surrounding reality and then use their newly found understanding to gradually change it.
They do this in three, successive, steps.
The first has a lot to do with happenstance – the right man at the right place, the second involves a lot of ‘due diligence’ and the third depends very much on how those who end up in command of the new understating relate to the rest of the people.
Sometimes some of the people who ‘happen’ to ‘stumble’ on new information/experience something really new feel the urge to communicate to others what has happened to them.
Usually the information gleaned/sentiments experienced during this first step are so new that there are no socially sanctioned symbols that can represent them faithfully so the individual trying to communicate the entire experience has to find a novel way to make it understandable for those around him. This is art.
The second step has less to do with actual discovery and is more about systematization of information already at our disposal. Something like charting a newly discovered territory. Even if we have to adapt our existing tools to the new task – some of them had been discovered during the first step but that means they are already here when we start the second one, here the job to be done is more about reason than inspiration. This is science.
And now, that new information is available – even before it was widely disseminated – people start to use it. Some of it is used straight away/as it is/honestly while some other is used to keep ‘the others’ in the dark or to alter their perceptions in order to fit the goals of the ‘user’/’entrepreneur’/spin doctor.
Usually this last way of using newly found understanding has perverse consequences. The ‘user’ becomes arrogant and starts to believe he has somehow become a (demi)God while the people kept in the dark/unwittingly exploited sooner or later become aware of what is going on – and sometimes express that in artistic ways.
At some point the equilibrium is regained, either through  a  a series of oscillations that ’embrace’ it – a revolution – or through small steps in the right direction – evolution.
(Usually, as the distance between a given state of facts and the perceived point of equilibrium becomes wider then people gradually loose hope in evolution and start to consider more revolutionary methods.)

For the eco-friendly multi-millionaire. (NanoFlowcell)

OK, this is not a technology blog.
And yet. As an engineer I have a ‘natural knack’ for this kind of things.

Where most people see a really beautiful car I see a huge breakthrough in energy storage.

These guys at NanoFlowcell AG have invented a technology that stores electric energy in two tanks filled with a ‘salty’ solution. The way I see it very soon, as soon as prices will make sense, each of us will have a solar panel mounted on the roof and a device in our basement that will store the electricity produced during the day into those two liquids developed by NanoFlowcell AG so that we’ll be able to light up the house (and refill the car) when we come home in the evening.

Nice job guys!

 

 

So, what’s it gonna be?

Pursue your dreams no matter what?
Give up completely and join the ranks indiscriminately?

Use discretion and common sense, join your fellows in their efforts to bring about changes that will help the entire community, do your best to ‘make yourself a better human being’?

Image

 

“The public school system: Usually a twelve year sentence of mind control. Crushing creativity, smashing individualism, encouraging collectivism and compromise, destroying the exercise of intellectual inquiry, twisting it instead into meek subservience to authority.” —Walter Karp

I remember discussing this topic with one of my favorite teachers, Petre Anghel. He once said:
– After all teaching is one of the most ‘conservative’ human endeavors. Not only that it endows the young with a wealth of information but it also means teaching them useful time proven survival strategies.
– ?!?
– Traditions, my son (I was 45 at that time), are nothing but time proven survival strategies. Yet at the same time we, teachers, have an immense responsibility. Besides passing over traditions and the ability to take orders we need to teach you how to adapt those traditions if life demands it. And this is where the real conservatism is. How to determine that a change is really necessary and how to implement it with minimum side effects needs a hefty dose of humility. Implementing wholesale discretionary change and then ‘training’ everybody into submission is not that hard, even Lenin and Stalin were able to pull this stunt, but what does this mean to the society, in the long run?

On the other hand the institutionalized education system, be it public or private, is an immensely powerful tool in the hands of the current generation. When using it “this” generation should be aware that power implies responsibility. The psychological conviction that ‘my way is the best way’ is understandable. After all if it weren’t good enough we wouldn’t have been here to pester the new generation with our advice: ‘this is how things should be done!’. Yet we should always remember how it was when we were growing up and how we rebelled against our parents. The mere fact that we have less children than our parents did and hence it’s easier for us to dominate them by sheer numbers doesn’t mean anything has changed, each generation defines itself ‘against’ the old one.
If the old one is wise enough to understand that, to let go, to encourage the next generation to experiment – just as the eagles encourage their young to fly away from the nest – after a while the ‘hatchlings’ will come back to the nesting ground for further instructions, to take care of their old and eventually to build their own nest and to continue the tradition. But while gone away they would have learned new skills and discovered new things so they’ll be able to adapt that tradition if needed.

 

If the old generation insists in keeping a tight leash the rambunctious will leave anyway, but never to return, and the old nesting ground will be left with the frightful and the meek to try to continue their parents work. It’s up to us to decide which way we want it to be.

It’s our children’s future at stake here, and ours too, so we’d better take care.

Image

Please read first Mr. Binswanger’s article by clicking on the picture and only then proceed to my humble comments.

Even though I’ve been disappointed by Obama I don’t think yours is the right way out the current mess.
While you are right when claiming that the regulatory/welfare state is part of the problem I strongly oppose your solution: wholesale dismantlement.
The point of contention between us is the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890.
You are right when you say that ultimately the free market will take care of everything – eventually even the ‘too big to fail’ will ‘eat the dust’, no matter what – my only problem is why allow them to grow so big as to put all of us in jeopardy when they fail/fall?
So how about putting the Sherman Antitrust Law to its intended use, to protect the freedom of the market from any entity, public or private, gaining any degree of control over the economic agents? (Here is a lot to be discussed, what I mean is that the state should only be able to restrict economic agents from acts that would harm the others – including from getting control over a market – and not to tell any of them what to do)
How about putting the entire state back to its intended use, a regulatory tool for making sure that the table stays level?
Right now it is anything but that but, I repeat, dismantling it altogether would not bring in freedom. It will bring very shortly a long period of dictatorship punctured by brief but very intense episodes of anarchy. Some like to call them revolutions …
In fact there is no difference between a state run monopoly and a private one, both fail eventually. And this is what Sherman had in mind, back in 1890.

Living in a communist society (Romania, 1961 to 1989) I was ‘educated’ – like everybody else, into becoming a ‘good member of the working class’.
The indoctrination process included becoming familiar with ‘the classics’ and this was how I ended up reading some of Lenin’s ‘works’.
One concept stuck to my mind. At some point he was explaining that ideas are like axes: very sharp, able to do a lot of things but powerless without a handle to leverage the force with which they are wielded. With axes it is simple, just attach them to a wooden handle and you’re in business.

With ideas things are a little trickier. If you want them to take hold among the targeted section of the population you need to ‘seduce’/convince credible but gullible members of that group that those ideas are “good”. For the society at large and for them in particular.
In theory this should be difficult since people are (supposedly) rational.
In practice it’s not that hard. Even ‘sophisticated’ intellectuals have allowed themselves to act as ‘ax handles’. And no, I’m not going to mention a long list of prestigious people who praised communism, fascism and other aberrations.

I’ll just make good use of my memories.
In 1983, while studying Mechanical Engineering at the Bucharest Polytechnic a Mathematics Professor tried to convince me that wearing a beard will be detrimental to my career. At least he was seemingly speaking in good faith and in the end he let me be.
I know that this idea is hard to understand nowadays. But in those days the communists were so intent in micromanaging every aspect of our lives that even our hair was the object of their ‘recommendations’. Men were supposed to be clean shaven and to have their hair cropped short. There was no formal law on this subject but the recommendation was followed by most people. Specially by those who needed to ‘blend in’.
Next year, 1984, I wasn’t so lucky. I had to shave, just for one day, because another Professor (?!?) stated, point blank, that he wasn’t going to allow me to take the exam if wearing a beard. I showed him my IDs. In all of them I was sporting a lot of ‘facial hair’, including in the one identifying me as a army reserve officer. Military service was compulsory at that time and was almost the norm for college educated people to rise to the rank of officers. He wasn’t the least impressed.

Now it doesn’t make the slightest difference that one of them was sincere in the conviction that his advice was sound while the other was a plain rascal (and a communist party mid level boss), both of them were efficient ‘ax handles’ who helped transforming young people into obedient sheep. One would have expected differently. They were “Professors”! 

Let me finish by mentioning the fact that at the beginning we were 6 students sporting more ‘facial hair’ than a simple mustache. At the end of our studies, the five years needed to get the equivalent of a Msc in Mechanical Engineering, I was the lonely bird still hanging on to my beard.

Fast forward to 2021.

I just came across this.

It made my blood boil.

It was not a single famine which had proved how evil communism was.
Every communist regime which had ever existed had imploded under its own weight. Exactly because the subjects were famished enough to get to the streets. And topple the regime.
Even execute the former dictator, as it had happened in Romania.

Capitalism only provided the resources for British, and others, imperialism. That the British had chosen to use those resources in that manner… is something else.

Yes, resources generated by the capitalist free market can be put to bad uses. But not necessarily! Check what’s going on in Scandinavia, for example.
Communism, in contrast, actually wastes the societies it controls.

The British Empire, like all others before, had crumbled because its imperialistic nature, not because it used to ‘sport’ capitalism.
Communism had also crumbled because its imperialistic, dictatorial, nature.
The difference between these two imperialisms being the fact that communism is mainly focused to its ‘inside’ while the ‘classic’ imperialism is focused on its ‘outside’.
The British (capitalist) imperialists have brought ‘in’ a lot of wealth – and civilized, to a degree, its colonies. The Bolshevik Communists have continued the Tsarist imperialistic tradition. In doing so they have wasted the resources of a huge continent and the talents of a marvelous people while keeping the rest of the communist lager decades behind their European neighbors!

While capitalism provides ample resources, and allows people to show whatever side of their souls they choose to bring forth, communism stifles everybody in its embrace.

Please be careful which ideas you choose to promote!

A FB friend of mine shared this picture on her wall:

Image

I tend to agree but not entirely.
The last sentence is based, subliminally, on the assumption that there is a more or less proportional link between pain and someone’s willingness to effect/accept change.
In reality that link is not at all linear, oftentimes the effects are contrary to those expected by the ‘pain dispensers’ or even the connection fails altogether.
And the explanation is simple. We are humans. ‘Pain’ is, or better said should be, treated as a signal that has to be interpreted before acted upon and not as cue – as it happens in the animal world.

Besides that change happens regardless of whether any of us, individually, want it, are prepared for it or scorn it. All we can do is make the best of it.

%d bloggers like this: