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.
For some reason I find old pictures interesting. You can see people, street views and landscapes on paintings but you never know what the artist changed, with photography you know it’s a replica of the real world. Pictures can be altered also off course but, I at least, don’t assume that when I look at a portrait for instance. With modern pictures it’s different off course, were Photoshop makes it really easy to change a picture to your liking.
This is probably one of the first pictures where you can see people, because of the exposure of several minutes most moving vehicles and people are not visible but down, in the left corner, you can see a person like shape. This picture is made by Louis Daguerre in 1838 and is called “Boulevard du Temple”. If you think about the past, especially if you go back more than a 150 years (before there were pictures), I always have trouble imagining how those people lived. You can see paintings from the rich and maybe the poor and you can read description of life in the different classes, but it is always difficult for me to interpret these stories. If I look at this picture I see houses, with windows like we have, I see a street for traffic and a footpath and what looks like a row of shop’s. This all doesn’t seem so different from what we have today, but it is 10 years before the revolutions in 1948, 32 years before the Franco-Prussian war and almost 80 years before the Russian revolution.
This is a self-portrait that Rober Cornelius took of himself in 1839. They assume it is the first selfie ever made with a camera in the world, it looks just like a modern selfie with a cool filter on top of it. But all the kidding aside, I think he looks like a cool guy I like to meet, he was one of the front-runners in photography and probably a nerd to and he would fit right in our modern society I think, something you don’t expect from a men who died 5 years before America went to war with Spain.
Short history of photography
The history of photography has roots in remote antiquity with the discovery of two critical principles, that of the camera obscura image projection and the fact that some substances are visibly altered by exposure to light, as discovered by observation. Apart from a very uncertain process used on the Turin Shroud there are no artifacts or descriptions that indicate that anyone even imagined capturing images with light sensitive materials before the 18th century. Around 1717 Johann Heinrich Schulze captured cut-out letters on a bottle of a light-sensitive slurry, but he apparently never thought of making the results durable. Around 1800 Thomas Wedgwood made the first reliably documented, although unsuccessful attempt at capturing camera images in permanent form. His experiments did produce detailed photograms, but Wedgwood and his associateHumphry Davyfound no way to fix these images. In the mid-1820s, Nicéphore Niépce first managed to fix an image that was captured with a camera, but at least eight hours or even several days of exposure in the camera were required and the earliest results were very crude. Niépce’s associate Louis Daguerrewent on to develop the daguerreotype process, the first publicly announced and commercially viable photographic process. The daguerreotype required only minutes of exposure in the camera, and produced clear, finely detailed results. The details were introduced as a gift to the world in 1839, a date generally accepted as the birth year of practical photography The metal-based daguerreotype process soon had some competition from the paper based calotype negative and salt print processes invented by William Henry Fox T albot. Subsequent innovations made photography easier and more versatile. New materials reduced the required camera exposure time from minutes to seconds, and eventually to a small fraction of a second; new photographic media were more economical, sensitive or convenient, including roll films for casual use by amateurs. In the mid-20th century, developments made it possible for amateurs to take pictures innatural color as well as inblack-and-white. The commercial introduction of computer-based electronic digital cameras in the 1990s soon revolutionized photography. During the first decade of the 21st century, traditional film-based photochemical methods were increasingly marginalized as the practical advantages of the new technology became widely appreciated and the image quality of moderately priced digital cameras was continually improved. Especially since cameras became a standard feature on smartphones, taking pictures (and instantly publishing them online) has become an ubiquitous everyday practice around the world.
I wanted to no more about civilian casualties of war, or Collateral damage. While doing research on the internet I came upon this site from the Watson Institute. The article goes about civilian casualties in wars that America started. They did research that shows that “The wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan have taken a tremendous human toll on those countries. As of March 2015, approximately 210,000 civilians have died violent deaths as a result of the wars.” There are other numbers to, if you search for Casualties of the Iraq War you will find among others this wiki page that reads: “Official estimates of Iraq War casualties range from 110,000 to 460,000. Other estimates, such as the 2006 Lancet study, and the 2007 Opinion Research Business survey, put the numbers as high as 650,000 and 1.2 million respectively”. If even big institutes and universities can’t make up their mind with all their available resources than I, sitting behind my computer, will of course never find out the truth. But if you assume it is the lowest number, and only for the war that America started in Iraq in 2003, than 110,000-civilian’s casualties are still a lot.
Maybe I am crazy, but I immediately see in front of me a dull meeting room. In this room there is some bad lightning, lukewarm coffee and numbers scribbled on a board. There are a couple of people sitting at a big table, It looks like all middle-aged white man. They discuss the tolerated number of casualties of the war they are about to start. They sit there all smug. Probably thinking in themselves: “look at me, sitting here at the big table, making big decision, I am so serious, I am so important…wonder what’s for dinner tonight”. But it’s true, there was a table like that, in a room like that, with just a few old, probably fat and white, guys deciding over the willful killing of thousands of civilians, and every war kills civilians. They might claim it’s the state that goes to war, and they are just the tools that do it, but…
Picture this: try to see everybody naked in a big field. Naked we are all the same, without all the bells and whistles you will never know if that person is a hairdresser, a plumber or a congressman. We are all the same in that imaginary naked world but for some reason these fat white men started pointing at some people by a tree with a comfortable couch. The fat men give the order to kill them, they want the couch. These followers do that and… some bystanders get also killed. If you take away all the bells and whistles you end up with this picture. Collateral damage is what they call it, but at the end that is not what it is, It’s just a bunch of people that wanted something no matter the cost they, don’t care that some bystanders might die. Observing a group of naked people doing this ritual would surely make you wonder, put them some cloth on and call them president and general and it suddenly makes more sense…sadly, now it fits in a whole familiar narrative.
Every person that died in such an unjust war is murdered.
I’m not against war, if in the imaginary field full of naked people someone start beating his neighbor to death and you send your strongest friend there to stop him, first with words off course, and he accidentally hit the murderers younger brother that was standing to close. You might cal it collateral damage where an innocent bystander got hit, but there was a good cause. (I know, where do you draw the line, but morals without a line are no morals, passivism is no solution) It is generally agreed on that the Iraq war was not necessary and if there was a stronger power than America we would have seen some self-righteous American statesmen on the stand in Den Haag. Every person that died in such an unjust war is murdered. Nietzsche has this idea that morals get their value from the powerful, and he is right in that, America is not punished for the murder of more than 100,000 innocent bystanders because they are the most powerful country and can make the rules. Most Americans still go to bed without thinking about that, they just don’t seem to care. Would you stay in a country that murdered 100,000 man, woman and children?
If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged. Noam Chomsky
I struggle with these things, I like America, my fiancé is from America, I’ve been there several times, I wouldn’t mind living there for a while, I like going to the zoo. Its a beautiful country. Hollywood has softened my critical mind. The “idea of America” is almost always influenced by the media at large. Movies, comedy shows, news and so on. They all paint a picture, positive or negative, but they paint it. America is a big country, friendly people, racism, hamburgers, religious, funny presidents, ridiculous wealthy people, red
necks, new Yorker’s, guns, American dream, poverty, and off course their wars. And If you slightly lift the Hollywood vail in front of your critical mind, you also see that Americans are not really interested in the rest of the world, I see this fake “Hollywood America” that is as narcissistic, nihilistic and schizophrenic as can be, but also has an air of innocence and naivete over itself. That’s how I see America, and that is a different picture than I have of a Hitler-Germany, a Stalin-USSR or a Mao-China, but they have something in common. They all rationalize their murderers rule over there subjects. And yes, I think we are all, the whole world, subjects of America. They have by far the most powerful military and culture in the world. They can pollute what they want, bully other countries, and start wars when they see fit. That kind of power corrupts and they are masters in rationalizing it. In 500 years, when their power and culture is no longer dominant, they will write about America in the 21st century in a similar way as we now write about Genghis Khan or the Conquistadors. We write about these murderer’s figures and groups, there adventures and complement it with some hard facts about them, including a list of there wars and casualties. That’s it, in 500 years America will be reduced to some anecdotes in a corner of a history book, and a list next to it of all the peoples it murdered.
I know (of) a lot of good Americans but I don’t think it matters when the current is so strong against them, they will also be judged by time an get lost…maybe we all are.
“What I relate is the history of the next two centuries. I describe what is coming, what can no longer come differently: the advent of nihilism. . . . For some time now our whole European culture has been moving as toward a catastrophe, with a tortured tension that is growing from decade to decade: restlessly, violently, headlong, like a river that wants to reach the end. . . .” Friedrich Nietzsche
“Nihilism is a natural consequence of a culture (or civilization) ruled and regulated by categories that mask manipulation, mastery and domination of peoples and nature.” Cornel West
I have made some drawings in the past and they all came alive because of overflowing thoughts and philosophies and the urge to visualize them. The lack of words, and listeners, to express myself put my fantasy at work and I started these drawings. I have no talent for drawing or ambition in that direction. I only judge my work, and deem it finished, in so far as it pleases my eye and sense of proportion. I will now try to describe some of these drawings and tell something about the thoughts behind it. Bear in mind that some drawings are almost 20 years old and that my thoughts about them now compared to my intentions then can differ now, but I hope only in details and nuances and not in the core meaning.
We see here a checkerboard floating through space. This checkerboard resembles your life and is part of an underlying construction. On the checkerboard stands a depiction of you. The mechanical cross stands for religion and/or a constructed governing force that holds the checkerboard in place and can tilt it, so to slide you to one side unknowingly. In the background you see a similar contraption where the other person, like you, is consuming parts of other people’s lives or at least the places where you could go. Underneath the main checkerboard hangs a large construct that you don’t see at the other one. This constrict works like a counterweight, and is made of knowledge, and dampens the effect of the steering crosses. I made it with a pen you couldn’t erase, to simulate life, when I made a little mistake I turned it in a flower as a sign of hope.
If we get born, we are “thrown” into a specific situation. You are born in a specific country, class, religion, age, political system and so on. All these situations play a great role in your life if you want it to or not. If you are born in China in 1968 you cannot pretend to be only influenced by Brazilian culture when your 4 years old. What happens around you has a strong influence on you and how you will become when you grow up. You can go along with your culture and or rebel against it, but in both cases, you react to the situation you were “thrown” in at your birth. The checkerboard represents the life you are in and all the possibilities available to you in that life. You have a limited choice in where you stand but it all depends on where you grew up. The construction where the checkerboard rest on represents the constructed nature of most of the things and situations that influence us. Your are born in a specific family, there are many different forms of family life through the ages and in all the different cultures. You can have a typical 21st century western family with a mom and dad and two kids or, a family from 300 years ago in another part of the world where you live in a big building with 10 brothers and sister, uncles, aunts, grandmother, grandfather, and your parents. Both are constructed ways of living together, life, culture and history made these groups the way they are, nature has not so much to do with it. It is not hard to imagine what an effect these two different groups would have on you when you grow up in either one of them. You as a person have no choice in that, you are formed by your circumstances. “Everyone is the other and no one is himself.” Martin Heidegger
The iron crosses.
The iron cross represents the mechanism that has a more steering role after you start making “your own” choices in where to stand on the “checkerboard” that is given to you by your birth. Let’s say you are born in a religious family, then there are only a few places on your checkerboard where you can go to, to become an atheist. If you remain in a country that is heavily controlled by religious rulers than this “iron cross” represent these rulers and will tilt you on the checkerboard to a place where you will stay religious. Let’s say that you now move to a secular country, you will still be bound by the checkerboard or possibilities given to you by birth but now the “iron cross” or authorities will not steer you away from the little secular squares you have, but steer you towards it. Another way of reaching the few secular squares you have, in this example, is by studying and gaining knowledge. This knowledge might work as a counterweight to the forces in your religious country have on the direction of your life, and thus might steer you to the secular spaces on your checkerboard. This is most likely not a conscious move on your part, if you by coincidence start reading the “wrong” books this so-called counterweight might form without you knowing it. This iron cross is not only representing religion but all man-made constructs that steer your life, like the form of government or social structures you live under. All of these, steer your life towards their wishes. Remember that these constructs are not controlled by humans, they might be invented by them, but they live a life of their own and steer you as well as the so called rulers that are proclaiming and defending that system.
The others, or other people in your life, take away pieces of your checkerboard or life. We do the same thing when we are in the vicinity of others. Let’s take the religious person from before as an example. If I, an atheist, would become a friend with a religious person and we start talking and discussing life I will slowly eat away from their religious side of their checkerboard till I potentially consume, enough religious parts that they have no choice and land on a secular square despite the pull of the “cross” or system they live under. They will also feast on my secular squares and it depends on their quality and the pull of the system where I live under to see if and when in the end I will give.
You are born in specific circumstances that will give you a limited amount of choices. Society will guide your future choices, by the way of social pressure or laws but self-education can make you more independent. Other people will take away choices like someone telling you, while growing up, what you can’t do, and this will make it harder and harder to reach that goal that you desire.
Where is the free will?
I think that our free will is encapsulated in an imaginary tiny box. In that box we have free will but just outside that the box is everything we do in the world and determent by the world. Free will is something we think, but we act deterministic. We think we made a choice, and that is the limit of our freedom, we can think.
Let’s say you agree with me that we are thrown into the world and that YOU have had no choice in that. You had no choice in the circumstances you grew up in, it is determent for you. So, you might think that you choose that school later in life, but that choice was already made by the time and place you were born. You can choose from different schools, that all belonged to that specific time and place, you were born. That you choose the technical school was probably because of an example or someone talked you into it and don’t forget your genetic makeup. It is impossible to prove that there was a single point in your life where you decided to go to that school without influences from outside. Even if you stubbornly choose the opposite of all that surrounds you it still just the opposite of what was already determined. Like I said, it feels like a choice, but it isn’t. There are all kinds of forces steering us forward. This doesn’t mean that you than give up. If you know that life is like that you can use that little freedom in your head to prepare yourself for the movements of life. I can give you an example of that: in my training as a Marine we learned certain fighting skills whereby you use the force of your opponent to defeat him. A little guy could, by accepting the forces around him, the powerful swing going towards his face, and stepping aside and lightly guide the powerful blow in a direction where the opened my stumble by means of his own forward momentum, and thus using these forces to beat a towering hulk. Your freedom rest in excepting the forces around you and not get overwhelmed by it. Your freedom lies, encapsulated, in that little box in your mind, and only there you can be free as long as you are not overwhelmed by the forces around you.
I 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.