War of the dummies

Day 240-1I grow up with a mother that brought us to large demonstrations against American and Russian aggression. There were posters with peace signs on the wall and I remember that she told us, when we were young and in the early eighties, that if “the bomb” would fall we would go to the big city, so we would die quickly. There was a real scare that time for an atomic war and all because of that dumb actor and his war loving buddies in America that thought it was smart to taunt a dying bear. So, it’s clear that I didn’t grew up in a militaristic family, but me and my brother still choose to join the military. I was drafted, and I could have refused but I wasn’t sure why I was against war.

Being against war is like saying that you are against earthquakes, we live in a world where there is always a war going on, it feels like nature at work. Most people probably prefer a world without wars, but this is the world we created.  We as “homo sapiens bellum” prefer a system where we let a few people with the biggest stick steer the boat of civilization.  We all still have monkey brains with a lizard spine, the only thing we have over the monkeys is that we can imagine, for instance, a world without wars. We have imagination but what have we used it primarily for? We started in a cave with a stick to beat each other over the head, used our imagination, and a 100.000 years later we made our first nuclear weapons. Some cave dweller was probably fiddling with his stick and a piece of robe while watching cave-tv and ta da there was the first bow and arrow. It’s a random mutation that made that person smarter than his fellow cave dwellers and gave that person the change to add something to an already existing tool or object. That invention inspires yet another person, some years later, who is a little bit smarter than the others and makes some more improvements. If you wait long enough you end up with our modern weapons and mobile phones. Humanity stumbled through history to our modern times and identifies itself with the few that mattered. The exceptions have made our world, but how smart were they?

We humans have not chosen smart, if we had we would have tamed our inner monkey by now. There is more incentive to invent a better stick, a better weapon, than to develop our mind. With a better stick it’s easier to get a result and most people can use the new stick immediately. It’s much harder to “sell” a concept or idea, especially if that idea only results in success in the long run. How many iPhone’s were sold last year compared to Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason? We are more adjusted to grasp things with our hands than to grasp them with our brain. If, in the last 100.000 years, we had put the same effort in ideas to better our societies instead of inventing ways to kill and envy each other. We would have skipped all the different weapons and went straight to the technological advancements that would improve our society. We would possibly have landed on the moon in 1609.

But we are a long way from that. The mightiest country in the world just put a baboon -literally- on the throne that doesn’t know what kind of devastation an atomic bomb creates. I’m not so scared of a single stupid man or woman but there are millions of people all over the world that approve of monkey’s like it.  Most of these people have access to the internet, and can find some revealing answers. If their conspiratorial mindset takes over they can always go to their grandmother’s encyclopedia collection and find some answers that contradict all of these liars. But most of those people’s eyes are probably glossed over from reading Critique of Pure Reason and have no time for that.

Elvis

elvispresley759

I finished a book about Elvis Presley today and that was interesting. I off course new about him. I’ve even been to Graceland, but that’s because our flight got diverted during a storm and we had to spend a day in Memphis. I knew a little bit about him, his singing, acting, singing career, his popularity with the ladies and the pills that killed him at the end.

But he had quite a life, a real American life. His religion for instance, something I didn’t know so much about. Like a typical Christian he did a lot of things that Jesus probably didn’t do himself. He slept with a lot of woman even when he was seeing someone.  And his addiction to so called prescription drugs. I thought he did that at the end of his life, but he got more or less a care package from his mother when he turned 18. But he was proud that he never did drugs or alcohol and he even went to Nixon for a badge from an anti-drug agency. That kind of hypocrisy is still going strong, especially in America where prescription drugs kill thousands of people a year, mush more than die from illegal drugs. He also let money control his life. I am pretty sure that he didn’t start singing to get rich. If that was his plan than the downside was that the songs and acting he had to do brought him little joy, but it made him rich. He made so many movies and sung hundreds of songs he disliked, and he did it because he was made to believe that that’s what you do if you want to get rich, you work hard and do what makes the most money. But he sold his soul and didn’t do the things he wanted to do. He had such a good start, I wish he had taken more time and had chosen quality over quantity.

It’s interesting for me to see how such a famous person with all his success and who is loved by millions can have such a horrible life at the end. That is at least what I take away from reading this biography. But maybe it’s a struggle we all have to face, his is just shining so much brighter and that’s why he probably is a star.

Biografie: Being Elvis A Lonely Life

Old news

brink of war 2

There were times that I read a lot of background stories on the news, long newspaper articles, opinion magazines etc. I really was interested in those stories and opinions but for many years now my only source of the news is an app on my phone that shows me the highlights. The phone has made this easy, before that you had a computer and before that teletext on tv if you wanted just the highlights. But for me the ease of the mobile phone it is not the only reason I am only looking for the highlights, I am tired of the news and all the opinions around it.

I like to organize and put the things around me in boxes. If I study a 19th century philosopher I watch also documentaries about that time and read about the Prussians and trains. If I build a computer I watch all the YouTube Tech channels about the newest tech and read test about the products I buy. I like it when the things in my life have some correlation with each other so that the (limited) time I have is well spent.

Reading a newspaper, long stories on news sites or blogs are a waste of time to me if they are not related to something I am studying at that time. The stories about all the wars that are going on, terrorist, elections, catastrophes what do they teach you? Is it not just head filler with no specific box to put in to?

How objective can you be if you are absorbing all the current news. You stuff yourself full of all the terrible thing that are going on. What do you do with this information, is this helping you to form an opinion. Do you need to have an opinion over why that faction of that militant group is bombing that town in that land? If you have nothing to do with that specific news item, why would you than read a long article about it on some website explaining it to you or even worse giving you their opinion.

As I wrote before, I like to be organized but I also like to learn. Specifically, I like to learn why there are splinters of terrorist groups bombing people in other countries. But I’m not interested in the specific reason why, on this specific date some induvial does it. I want to know what, as a human being and as a society we can let it go so far. And these kinds of bombings are not new, they happened throughout history, and the difference in time and place are important but time has also given us the opportunity to reflect on what happened back than and that will present us with a much clearer picture looking back from the future.

You can buy hundreds of books about what is happening now in Syria, they all have reasons on why, if a book is 2,4  or 7 years old it’s already out of date and consensus is hard to find. In a hundred year you can probably buy 5 books with different views but also a bigger overlap in their conclusions. It is easier for a layperson in 2117 to form a valid opinion about Syria in the beginning of the 21st century than for a university professor specialized in the middle east today.

If you want to learn about (the why of) today, study yesterday.

PS, the journalist that write those stories are doing important work, maybe not for us now, but for future historians.

 

Man in the mirror

Day 253-1

Göring: Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

Parts of an interview with Herman Göring after the war. Göring was one of the smarter Nazi’s but that didn’t withhold him from initiating the “endlösung”, the systematic killing of Jews, gipsy’s gay’s and others deemed unwanted. It is a complicated figure and I’m not finished trying to figure him out.

Studying the politics of the second world war is important because everything was so amplified in thet period.  You only have to look at the holocaust where the Germans held a matriculate record of everything, nothing secret or muddled away but clear to see for everyone. The English and Americans have also killed hundreds of thousands of civilians in their bombings and you don’t here so much about that anymore. It would have been another thing if they had lined up a million German citizens and shot them one by one. Casualties of war are forgotten.

It is clear that the Nazi’s were wrong, it’s recorded, and it is clear that neo-Nazi’s have no legitimacy anymore. I can go on and on about what is happening now in the world and specifically in America but… it’s late now and it makes me really sad. it’s to stupid.

Let me finish with the music that is now playing in my room:

A willow deeply scarred, somebody’s broken heart
And a washed-out dream
They follow the pattern on the wind, ya’ see
’Cause they got no place to be
That’s why I’m starting with me
I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change

Man in the mirror

Michael Jackson

 

 

 

 

Is the world burning up?

Day 567-1

If you study our history you will realize that the world was a much harsher place not so long ago.

I was just watching a documentary about Wilhelm the second and how they lived. The luxury and freedom they had while most of the people in Europe where mainly occupied with surviving, working long days, living unhealthy and hardly no chances to get anywhere. You think it’s unfair, you start reading Marx, getting upset… Til i looked around, a carpenter, in a warm house. I can get up now and go wherever i want, I can use my last money and be in Italy tomorrow. I changed careers, been to several schools, I can steer my life in large parts where I want it to go… I live better then royalty in the 19th century. I realize that there are enough people around the world that still live in the 19th century but there is no reason to believe that they will live like royalty to one day.

So I don’t think the world is burning up. We have taken several steps forward, and often one back. I get sad if i see the competence of some leaders, the lack of compassion, the step back towards thoughts we’ve dealt with in the 1940th, the lack of historical knowledge, but we still live better than ever before and if you don’t believe me…Study history.

“The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

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