New life

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The grownups of this world decided to go to war again, people still hate each other and don’t understand that we only have this life, and that we shouldn’t discard it so easily.  The people in power are as ignorant as we all are the only difference is that they are in power. The air of knowledge and certainty hanging around them is a mirage originating from our own mind. What can we do? Not much. I read books to learn and think about it, write about it. But that’s about it, or not? Walking outside you don’t realize that the human world is a rotten place, it’s quite nice and the little lambs are walking around already, would the warmonger feel something when they see something like this? Natures clock is just ticking on regardless it’s children that don’t see its beauty.

Day 747, The end of winter and Facebook.

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Spring is finally here; the temperature is a few degrees above zero during the day now and is saw the first buds waking up from their winter sleep.  Living closer to nature makes me more aware of the different seasons and the winter season last a good 5 months here so its nice that the light is coming back and that it is all green again pretty soon.

I did also some spring cleaning and not only in my house. I left Facebook a couple of weeks ago after many years. I guess all the commotion surrounding Facebook the last few weeks was the final straw, I just don’t trust them anymore. I am not so afraid that they misuse my data, I mostly posted for work and almost never look at the feed let alone fill out stupid quizzes or liked stuff. The only reason why I didn’t move away from it earlier is because Facebook is like a shortcut to a lot of old friends and I had some nice group with my buddies from the Marines for instance. Those things I will miss but I don’t like it that Facebook has more or less a monopoly and therefore it can do what it wants. Read this article and you understand my doubts about this young guy in charge of a company that has the power to change people’s minds and elections.

If it was up to me than I would make Facebook into a phone book where the contacts that you already have are available for other apps to use. The big problem for a new social platform is that your friends are not on there. If all my friends were also visible on a new Opensource Facebook alternative for instance I could interact with them with the rule-set of my app and not that of Facebook.

Facebook is not invented to bring you and your friends together, Facebook is invented to make money, and you know what that does with people.

Day 699, Dumb rules.

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I was listening to a lecture from “the Great Courses” called History’s greatest voyages of exploration. There was one part where the lecturer mentioned the big Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan that were destroyed by the Taliban. I remember that vividly because I was so upset about it and also ashamed that I cared more about those statues than for the people that get killed in wars on a daily basis. I rationalized it than and today by saying to myself that my brain is numbed by all these killings and the news about it, the news has not the effect it had the first few times, whenever that was. But today I got angry again, when listening to this lecture, by the senseless destruction of our heritage. I almost compared the fanatic Taliban, who follow those stupid rules and commandments with those second amenders in America but that is not fair to the Taliban. What is it with these people that are so ignorant that they cannot have a consciousness. That they have to recite some rule books that guide there lives and thinking, quoting some chapter that tells them it is ok what they do without seeing what it does to society.  I think the world would be a better place if we took away all those rule books like the Bible, Koran or every constitution or book of law that is older than 10 years. Rules and laws should be a living thing adjusted by the times we live in. One of my firs contributions to this new book of laws would be: you don’t break really old stuff and there should not be any machine guns…in the world…period. What would be one of your rules?

Day 695, No power and compassion.

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Yesterday around five we had a power outage till eleven, so I couldn’t post my daily picture, first time in almost 700 days. It was kind of fun to live by candle light and a stove to keep us warm, fun because this happens every now and then and we know it will come back eventually. We also cooked our dinner on the wood stove…well cooked…I made some soup from a package, but it worked. Because we are addicted to flickering lights we watched some old vacation videos on our laptop while eating our soup, something you never take the time for but was actually fun to watch and I read a book after dinner of course and called it a night early to catch up at some overdue sleep.

Now it’s morning and while doing this I watch some YouTube about the Florida shooting, I feel sorry for those students and parents and get angry at all those gun nuts that can’t let go of there precious. If America supposed to be a modern country it looks really like a backwater, how dumb can you be to let everybody buy assault rifles! But don’t forget, you people that cry over this, the American military wrecks many families in other countries almost every day with their drone strikes, those civilians that get killed are made of the same flesh and blood as the people in Florida and with our wealth we could save thousands of children from dying of hunger every day. Compassion is not something we can handle on a daily basis, just in small amounts.

Day 693, Authoritarian.

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This time of the year we have beautiful sunrises and sunsets round the time we drive to work and back. The pictures from the last few days are made from the car with my phone, with some tinkering you can make something nice out of these phone pictures.

I also finished another book yesterday, how democracies die – what history tells us about our future from Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt. It is a n interesting book that gives a short overview of different political systems but mainly focuses on democracy and how it can slide into an authoritarian system or even become a dictatorship. The reason for this thorough introduction is the Trump government and where it fits on this gliding scale towards a more repressive regime. The authors claim that Trump shows all the signs of a wane be authoritarian ruler. Some of these signs are disrespecting your opponent and former rulers, something that can be expected during a campaign but not from a president in office. The same goes for harsh critique on the press or calling election result illegitimate.

coverI don’t have to be convinced that Trump is a terrible president and as far as I know also a lousy human being, but this book gives a lot of examples from history where similar people came to power and slowly transformed the government into a more authoritarian regime like what happened in Russia and a lot of South American countries in the 70th and 80th. The conclusions they draw out of their research are for the most part somber because it is not only Trump that worries them but also the two parties that are getting more and more entrenched. Read the book, it’s worth it if you are interested in political history and would like to put the current regime in its rightful place in history.

Day 686, The death penalty and Nietzsche.

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70 Execution. – How is it that every execution offends us more than a murder? It is the coldness of the judges, the scrupulous preparation, the insight that here a human being is being used as a means of deterring others. For it is not the guilt that is being punished, even when it exists: this lies in educators, parents, environment, in Is, not in the murderer – I mean the circumstances that caused him to become one.

This is an aphorism from Friedrich Nietzsche from his book Human all too human. I agree with him, executing someone is wrong, I see it like playing god, or pretending to know what we are and judge others according to your believe. As far as I know we are all clueless on why we are here. If you accept that than it should be obvious that you cannot decide to remove someone from this life. I know that the people that are condemned to be executed have often taken lives and should be restrained from doing that again, but it speaks for a society that condemns executions, that they admit that we are all in it together and that life is secret. Most countries that still have a death penalty are religious or have a strong ideological government like in China. These countries follow strict written rules that define the world like the rules you find in the bible or Koran or within a rigid ideology like communism. For people that follow these rules (maybe because their society tells them to) it’s much easier to ignore their guilty conscious and point at the specific chapter in their rule-books for confirmation, they can hide behind there believe without taking personal responsibility for their moral choices. Having a believe on a personal level might not be a choice, but a society can steer away from archaic believe systems.

But more important than Nietzsche opposition to the death penalty is his questioning of a personal responsibility for our actions. That is of course a topic he writes about in many places and this aphorism is just a little prick, to let the reader no what is important to him. Simply set: do we have an independent soul that is responsible for our actions or are we just a complicated machine that gives different outcomes depending on what you put in to it. Is the character you have at birth, your upbringing, environment, schooling, and other experiences define you in such a way that you don’t have much of a choice in what you become?

You can come up with all kinds of scenarios where people get chances or not, are born at the wrong time, at the wrong place, you can make it as complicated as you want but my best guess is that there is only a small part of you that is so unique (because of all the specific circumstances in your life) that you can call it you. But this you is like a person on a rudderless oil tanker drifting at sea and the only thing you can steer this 300ft ship with is an paddle.

Day 685, Ideals.

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I have a pile of books on my nightstand, I have a short attention span. There are some sailing books, books about Nietzsche, the autobiography of Krushev, a Nazi encyclopedia, a book about climbing the mount Everest and a good book by Sabastian Haffner called Germany 1939 Jekyll & Hyde about German society in the year the war started. I just started the biography of Willem Vos, a well-known Dutch ship builder who made a replica of the Batavia. I learned my trade working on that project and I met him, but did not work with him, he was already retired. The book I put away for now is Fire and fury, the Trump book. Besides my short attention span when it comes to reading books I get kind of tired of this whole Trump thing. The good thing about trumps is, that it puts a magnifying glass on the American political system and it is kind of disgusting what you see. I wrote in an earlier post about the time I turned eighteen and that I thought that I would finally enter the land of the rational people and leave the children that surrounded me at school behind me. How wrong was I, we are not rational, we just climbed out of the tree and barely learned not to bash each other’s heads in when we feel the urge, but we still like to throw feces at each other. I only voted ones in my life, I don’t like compromises when it comes to my ideals and from the beginning I realized that people, including politicians, never tell the truth if they try to sell you something. The party I voted for was more of a protest party, they were called the “idealistic party” (I think) and they had some idealistic ideas on how to organize a country, knowing that it would never happen. What I see now in America, and it probably happens everywhere, is a bunch of snake oil salesman selling promises while there are qualified people standing on the sideline trying to show the real medicine. How stupid do you have to be if one scientist tells you that there is no global warming and you believe him and not the 99 other scientist that warn you that there might be a problem. Democracy has brought us westerners some good and to get on the right track as a society it is important that there is a vote on its trajectory. But the ultimate outcome of each society should be a one-party rule because everybody will eventually realize what is good for everybody. Look at economics, first there were no rules, then they came up with different ones, they fine tune them, learn from mistakes and one day their will be a consensus on what the rules of economics are. If those rules are widely accepted, you don’t need to fight over them in a multiple party system. If we follow this logic we would eventually end up with consensus on all topics. Call it the Star Trek system, or the idealistic system.

 

Day 673, How to get depressed.

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To prevent complacency and happiness I took my weekly dose of depressive literature today. The book I chose and started listening to today is from Noam Chomsky and is called: Who rules the world Chomsky is a thinker I can recommend if you want your opinion of the world to get lowered by a mile. I really like his work and I get a lot of inspiration from him, but it is depressive to read his view of the world. In short, he sees America and their friends as a cause of much suffering in the world, a returning theme is the hypocrisy of these states when they call out terrorism done to them and the ease they dismiss there meddling in the world as being seen as terrorism by the receiving end of their meddling. I have no time or the capability to check all the cases Chomsky so easily sums up, I rely on others to do that kind of work and I can safely say that I agree with him after reading a lot of other books about the specific cases.  There is a lot going on in the world and if you only consume one side of the story you will miss a lot.

Everybody’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s a really easy way: stop participating in it. Noam Chomsky

Reading the specific American or western side is for us westerners not necessary, our cultures is drenched with messages on how to see certain world events. Most of what we consume, through film, tv, media, books, or the internet; even if it is against America and their allies, is for the most part seen through our western eyes and not from the other side.  A good example is the recent missile alarm in Hawaii. For 38 minutes those people were afraid that their life was going to end. It was all over the news how terrible that experience was. I happen to watch Democracy now on YouTube that day, I like their critical view. Someone compared it to people in Pakistan and Afghanistan that hear drones flying invisible in the sky, over their heads. For those people it’s like a missile alarm almost every day, they don’t know when the next bomb is coming down, but they know it will, they live in terror on a daily basis like those Americans did for 38 minutes. Which story did you here the most? You probably never realized that those people live under that kind of pressure, and we admire Obama who in this case terrorized those people for years. Obama is the terrorist in the eyes of the victims of a missile hitting the wrong house.

There are very few people who are going to look into the mirror and say, ‘That person I see is a savage monster;’ instead, they make up some construction that justifies what they do. Noam Chomsky

 

While doing my picture today I had some Chomsky on, on YouTube. It was a google interview with him. One thing I liked was the story of the workers and artisan’s a hundred years ago who would hire a young boy, if they could afford it, to read books to them while they work. Something I don’t have the money for but thank god for the audio-books. But the point of his story was that the working class in those day was often better informed than the other classes, something that is no longer true. And I agree with him on this, knowledge is so important. People are no longer interested to learn more about the world, it’s easy to pick a side by reading some headlines and following the people you like. On social media an amateurish poem or story about my work gets always more reaction’s than some depressive message about the world. Most people just don’t want to know that stuff, they tell me. But if you want a better world you have to start educating yourself, it’s like the plastic bag they offer you in the store, what does it matter for the environment if you take that one bag, it’s already made… you tell yourself.

Day 671, Einstein and the lift.

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Think about it…we live here, all 7 billion on a planet in a vast universe. Those 7 billion people have all an opinion about this life but…is there anyone who actually knows what’s going on? Imagine this: we are all stuck in an elevator, all 7 billion of us, and the button to call for help is missing, we all been in situations like that, its uncomfortable, you start looking at each other for answers, your mind start racing and you try to stick to some thought that calms you down. I think we are in that situation here on earth and there are a lot of people shouting what is going on, but that doesn’t help you one bit in figuring out what really is going on. We just don’t know what’s going on outside the lift.

I thought about this when someone on YouTube quoted Einstein in saying something like: “the universe is not stranger than we do imagine, it’s stranger than we can imagine”. Einstein, is in this “locked in a lift scenario” the lift repairmen locked in with us. What he say’s has some weight and if he point’s out that we could not imagine a solution to the “why is the lift stuck” problem, who can? There is no one at this planet that can say with certainty what’s going on, even the president of America, the best specimen earth has to offer, doesn’t know that, and he’s is the one that opens the door when the Martians knock on it and ask: “why are you stuck here?”. (Did I just prove Einstein wrong?)

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