You jump up and swiftly swipe your hands where you felt it crawl; a tiny, harmless spider moves away, you wonder why this made you scared. This reaction to spiders and snakes is a classic example of a fear we inherited from our ancient forefathers. It can still be helpful if you find yourself wondering in a tropical jungle, but for most humans living today, in cities and urban areas, this fear of harmless spiders and other small insects is not rational.
Evolution theory plays a significant role in why we religiously look for meaning. One of the main principles of evolution theory is the survival of the fittest. Fittest, or sometimes also called strongest, is somewhat of a mistake made by Darwin. For predators, it can be advantageous to be fit and strong, and the same goes for the gazelle, but most gazelles will probably survive because they are skittish. You could say that most animals’ best survival strategy is to run away at the first sign of danger; even the Lyon will be wise to run away once it knows of the threat a man with a gun can be. Darwin should have called his theory: survival of the scariest.
First, something about science: there is often confusion when people read about the “theory” of evolution or the “theory” of gravity; some think it is just an idea of what these scientists have and that it is no problem to disagree with them. This is a common misconception between scientific theories and the theories we all have in our life about mundane subjects. You can have a theory of why milk was spilled on the floor or who was to blame for that car accident, but that is more an opinion you have. A scientist can have opinions, but their theories are tested by others, and till another scientist, using the scientific method1, can prove them wrong, they are treated as the truth.
First, something about anarchy. When most people think of anarchy, they think of lawlessness and political disorder. In the Standford Encyclopedia of philosophy1, you can read in the introduction: Anarchism is a political theory, which is skeptical of the justification of authority and power, especially political power. Anarchism is usually grounded in moral claims about the importance of individual liberty. Anarchists also offer a positive theory of human flourishing, based upon an ideal of non-coercive consensus building. Anarchism has inspired practical efforts at establishing utopian communities, radical and revolutionary political agendas, and various forms of direct action… At this moment, I am not so interested in the political side of anarchism. There are countless forms of anarchism, sometimes also called libertarianism2, and like with all political tastes, they all claim some unique knowledge on how the world should be organized based on their conception of what the world is.
I am still looking for a subject I can put my teeth in and write about. Today I had another idea; it cam while I was making a fancy molding. I do this on a milling machine, for these complicated moldings, you have to use several differently shaped cutters and figure out when and how to use them. It can be challenging which one to use first, and we have almost 100 different cutters, but it is not always clear if we have the one we need. Knowing this, you can do this job in different ways; you can try to figure out precisely which ones to use and in what order and make sure you have all the cutters. This takes a lot of preparation, and the end result is not guaranteed; there are almost always surprises down the road. I usually work by finding one cutter that cuts out one part of the shape I need and then look for the next cutter when I am done with the first. This is committing to a road without knowing where it leads.
I like to listen to podcasts, some tech news, scientific news and interviews, gaming, and formula 1. Most of the podcasts I listen to come from America; this is interesting because it gives you an insight into parts of the American psyche. You get this also through movies and series, but that is more filtered and edited; podcasters, and some YouTubers, don’t play a role; it feels more real.
Yesterday I watched an excellent documentary about the animals you can find in Africa. I love these documentaries; it takes you away for a while. I noticed one thing, and it is not the first time; almost all the animals look approachable like you can touch them. I know the rhino is dangerous, but they don’t look all that dangerous. But if I look at the lions, and then to our cat, I know that the lion is dangerous, unapproachable, you might say. It’s something in his eyes; you know he will eat you alive if he gets the chance. It reminds me of something.
I’ve been raised in the Netherlands, and you might know that it is a flat country. I can’t speak for all Dutch people, but I think that most of us get excited when we see hills and mountains. I still do after living between them for 15 years now here in Norway. Don’t get me wrong; we have a beautiful landscape in Holland too, but for me, hills and mountains are always associated with vacation. So, I still like this flowing landscape end I did it to this morning. At one point, somewhere halfway, I noticed a tiny snail slowly going somewhere. I took out my phone to take some pictures, the one you see at the top is one of them. After I saw this first one, I started to notice more that tried to crawl somewhere; I also saw many that were flattened by the wheels of an occasional car that drives by.
Later I took a picture with two signs telling the speed limit is 60. I wondered how fast you could drive if you didn’t want to hit these tiny snails.
If truth is a woman, does that then mean that truth is just beautiful or difficult, fleetingly or any other prejudice a slightly misogynistic man has about woman. If truth is a woman, does it give birth to new truths and untruths? If truth is a woman, does truth then hit that glass ceiling and never reach her full potential. If truth is a woman, do you expect her to fall for you because you treat her as equal, or do you attempt to lure her with your strength, your good looks, your brain, or your money.
Vorausgesetzt, daß die Wahrheit ein Weib ist — , wie? (Friedrich Nietzsche, 1885)
This is the first sentence of the book Beyond good and evil by Friedrich Nietzsche. I want to use this short text to illustrate how difficult it is to interpret what a philosopher wants to say. Like always, I looked up the different translations to English, and you can see for yourself that even the translators can’t agree what these few words suppose to say when translated to English.
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
Underneath, you can read a quote from Nietzsche about morals. He was an atheist and as such. Nietzsche didn’t believe that the moral rules we should follow came from a God-like figure. Nietzsche almost always approaches his subject from different directions, making it difficult for the casual reader to understand where he is going. Whenever I read Nietzsche in English, I will read one of the more modern translations, but if I quote him a lot, I will fall back on the earlier translations because they are copyright-free. It is always fun to see what the different translater make of the original text. I cannot be the arbiter because my German is not that good, especially compared to scholars that have studied German and philosophy.
I have set myself a goal to find out what I know about certain subjects after 49 years on this rock, I did that with the question: what is gender? I have given it my best shot a few days ago so today I was searching for a book related to that question, I did that on one of those book sites, and before I knew it, I saw all kinds of recommendations in the corner of my eye, and one of them was “delusion of gender” by Cordelia Fine. I realized what I already knew: I would like…to read many of these books and question my presumptions.
Yesterday I wrote that I don’t necessarily look for proof when writing something in one of these blog posts. I want to elaborate on that a little bit; I don’t look for proof when it comes to my ideas, the ideas that come to me when I start writing. As I wrote yesterday, I want to see what kind of thoughts are in me, and those thoughts need no proof. Only when they hit the real world can they be judged, but not by me the moment I write them down. I do, of course, check arbitrary things like quotes, dates, specific historical facts, and so on.
That I don’t judge my thoughts so harshly is something I started to do not so long ago. Doubt about what we can know (Epistemology) has been strong with me. Part of my character has very little doubt; I have no problem saying yes to tasks I know little about. This more practical fearlessness has been in me as long as I know, but it got stronger over the years. Getting face to face with death and hitting rock bottom a few times has put a lot of things in perspective. In the world outside my head, I downplay my bravado and be the stubborn, nice guy I am, but in my head, I have a “fear” to say what I think out loud.
Yesterday I wrote some of my thoughts down about what it is to feel like a man or a woman or even none of those. I have no scientific training, and I have not done any extensive research in this specific matter. The way I write on this blog is: I pick a subject, or it pics me, and I begin writing what I know about it without a plan where I want to end; I use what is still there from 49 years on this earth and a 25-year interest in science, philosophy, and psychology. I enjoy writing like this because while I write, thoughts start flowing, and often things float by that I haven’t seen in years; I can even surprise myself where I end, usually after around 1000 words.
In the last few years, there has been a lot of talk about gender and why we live in a world where the genders are clear and divided in most cultures. I do not have a big problem with the imagined separation between the genders, but I also don’t mind if someone doesn’t follow the “rules”.
But what is gender? We all have our thoughts, but it is pretty apparent in the western culture where I come from. When you walk in the mall or meet people, we all know from when we were young who is a girl and who is not. It is hard to deny this, and the times that you were in doubt are sparse. Everything screams man or woman, and if you take away the clothing, it becomes even more apparent. I can’t speak for the modern wave of gender confusion, but I don’t think that someone who calls themselves non-binary means that there are no differences.
The last two day I talked about looking at art and how I think we “decide” what we like. I also make some sort of art, I like to take pictures and you see them here everyday. Like with all types of art with photography you can go from a snapshot on your phone just to document a moment to elaborate productions to make the ultimate art picture. But a snapshot on a phone combined with a story or a massage can easily become art and elaborate photoshoot are most of the time only used for commercial use and that is not really art. What art is or not that is another discussion but if you make something like a photo, sculpture or painting with the intend for it to be pleasing to the senses you have to make certain discissions, the colours you use, the framing or size. It doesn’t matter if you do this professionally or as a hobby or with the intent to make art, you want a result that pleases you or maybe better said: it comes close to what feels good with you.