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.
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.
Everything looks crooked in this picture.
If I stare at it I get dizzy.
The president of the united states of America is not known for his wise words but he knows how to grab attention. In the beginning I sometimes compared him with Hitler, but I would not say that anymore. Hitler was also a disturbed man, but he had a few strong ideals that guided him and Trump has no idea. So, luckily there is no Hitler, or the kind of followers he had, in today’s society. For the people that are interested in it you can find many books on how he rose from humble scum to a powerful one. Hitler has written about his success and how he got there, he is quite honest about it to and if you read the following quotes you might wonder why his followers were not offended.
–How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think.
-Strength lies not in defense but in attack.
-The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force.
-The art of leadership… consists in consolidating the attention of the people against a single adversary and taking care that nothing will split up that attention.
-In the first quote he tells you that the people you govern don’t think. It all depends what you include in the thinking process. Most people vote for what their “thinking”, there gut, tells them, if that is mostly self interest than you can debate if that is real thinking. Maybe thinking must include the consequences of your vote beyond your own and immediate self-interest. If Hitler means that that looking beyond yourself is missing than he is right. People that only think about themselves are easier to manipulate. But overall it is a generalization that superficially seems to be true.
-The second quote sound like it comes directly from a movie script and a lot of people praise the person who doesn’t role over but attacks. But you can also see it as coming from insecurity, a fear of immanent failure where the attack is the only way out. Attacking is most of the time the easiest route to follow because it is mostly fueled my ancient urges and instincts. A defense on the other hand is more a cerebral exercise and needs more time to get in motion. That Hitler associates it with strength is probably because it comes naturally to him, he is famous for hating intellectuals (with their sound arguments).
-The third quote goes together with my conclusion of the first, that selfish people are easier to manipulate, and the second that most people attack instead of defend when attacked. Rhetoric is the art of juggling with words till the people are in awe of you. It doesn’t matter so mush what the words are you use, what matter is the emotions it generates in the masses. As I told you before I think that most people vote for what is immediate in their own interest, but if it comes to choosing we are all insecure and then it will help if you are in a group, one of the masses. It’s easier to go right if everybody goes right, you have to be strong if you want to go the opposite way, group pressure is a well-known psychological mechanism.
-The fourth quote is more of a rhetorical trick and everybody that was part of a group knows how this goes.
Hitler was not a stupid man, but I doubt that he came up with these observations himself. There have always been rulers that used their skills of rhetoric and manipulation to gain power and some of them were probably aware of what they did and how they did it. But as I am happy that we have no Hitler today, but we have a nice example in our modern politics in the form of Trump, who probably would claim that Hitler stole these quotes from him. And to be clear, Trump is maybe like Hitler, but he fortunately misses one key aspect and that is an ideology, as long as he doesn’t start a nuclear war it is all just hot air and forgotten in a couple of years. If I am wrong than we are in trouble because Trump has way more power than Hitler ever had.
One who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived. Niccolo Machiavelli
When somebody challenges you, fight back. Be brutal, be tough. Donald Trump
After the elections in America in 2016 I was upset to say the least so to vent some of my anger I started making Photoshopped pictures with a message. By coincident we had just visited family in America that summer, so I had a lot of pictures to work with. With some of the pictures it is pretty clear what the message is with others you have to look a little closer. I’m curious if you find the messages that are hidden.
As long as I remember, around Reagan’s appearance in Spitting Image, I found American politics way more interesting than our own. In the Netherlands there is also happening a lot but on the world stage the impact is like a mosquito bite compared to America’s elephant foot on a to. Reagan became president when I was around 8 and we only had two Dutch speaking TV-channel, every week they had Spitting Image on and my young mind was confronted with those crazy characters. My mother made us also aware at that young age that if those crazy characters, American and the Soviet Union started shooting atomic bombs at each other and us that we would go to the biggest city, so we would die instantly instead of slowly, heavy stuff for a 10 yer old boy.
There was that kind of fear in the beginning of the eighties and my mother was no communist, but she was also no fan of Reagan, who according to most leftists started bumping his chest and provoking the Soviet Union after the relative peaceful 70s. Luckily the Soviet Union imploded under its own weight and failure, so America could unload their frustrations somewhere else and disturb central America instead of kids in Holland. After Reagan you had Bush the first who I don’t remember besides the war with Iraq over Kuwait, I guess he left no impression and maybe that’s for the best and why he only stayed for one turn. Then there was flashy boy Clinton who also accomplished nothing beside showing what Americans are good in and that his hypocrisy. But for the rest I don’t know, for Europeans these so-called democrats are like what we call the right wing. The economy was booming but there was no improvement of (economic) justice. But when Bush the second stole the presidency I started paying attention. I remember Bush as a comedic figure and a puppet that, in mine opinion, should be locked up for mass murder together with his cronies. For me, America was becoming this big fat general that for some reason thinks it can bully the world. Imagine if Russia or Germany had military basis all over the world like America has, it’s crazy. I don’t mind America as a big power but with a little bit more intelligence please. Well, after comedic Bush and the decapitation of the economy we got Obama. Obama seems to me a genuine decent guy that was somewhat naïve in thinking he could do anything good in a country that still has one foot in the wild west. Because of his stalemate with congress his presidency was pretty disappointing to me. The thing that sticks in my memory is the killing with remote controlled drones, something a decent person would see as the first step in desensitizing warfare*. After Obama I thought that Clinton the second would win, and America would go on standing still like it is doing since the seventies. Bernie Sanders was off course in my eyes a good guy that was more genuine than all the other suits you see shuffling around in American politics, but I have my doubt if America is willing to change… And off course they won’t, they elected Trump. I don’t want to offend my American Family and friends any more, but I really start to doubt the general level of basic education in that country, it’s like you need lots of money to get a somewhat decent education over there. Americans are proud, like children of their new drawing, of their country and like to say that they live in the “land of the free”, or in other words: I don’t give a fuck about others. Bush might be a war criminal, but he could make fun of himself and that quality shows that he knows that we are all stupid and ignorant and trying. The Trump as president has nothing genuine or humble about him and that is the greatest crime you could do as a human being.
No one on earth has a user manual for living on planet earth. We are all figuring it out, and it’s ok if you think what that button does but that doesn’t say you know what that button does.
Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance. Confucius
Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance. George Bernard Shaw
The greatest enemy of progress is the illusion of knowledge. John Young
*After Vietnam, the people back home complained about the more than 50 000 deaths and that let to the first gulf war where mush more was accomplished with less cost. The problem is that the millions of Vietnamese that died will never be an argument for not going to war. Look at the second gulf war where there were also relative view casualties on the American side but several hundred thousand casualties among Iraqi civilians. If you have drones that fight for you, and you have only the cost of bullets that stops you from going to war, the chance is that there will be more wars.
I translated a Dutch song, for some reason I wanted to share it today. Like the stairs in this picture, the conflict described in this song is also seemingly going nowhere.
Fresku – Omgekeerde wereld (upside down world)
I hear you say, you are a citizen of the world
Why are you closing your eyes now?
Just won “Best Artist” Frisse
Better keep your eyes closed now.
What would I be worth as a famous rapper?
Even though I just do not offer any resistance?
How can people call this a war?
Gaza does not even have an army man.
How can a man take the life of a child?
How can I continue to entertain you in the meantime?
Imagine that you live in those regions.
What would you do if you wanted to live?
If we, the West, do not offer the Palestinians an army,
tell me this, how should Hamas choose for peace now?
Politics is dirty, I see how many lie
no principles, is this a war or genocide?
War or genocide, would this be the choices?
Would this be the choices, would this be my choice?
Looking forward? Dear brother, I feel helpless.
Oh dear sister, forgive me that I chickened out.
I am buried in my own fears.
Fears that you dream to ever have.
The oppressor makes your home a cage.
Which he then throws flat with his rockets.
I saw a father crying for his baby.
And his baby was not even a year.
Is that how warfare is going today?
Bombing? innocent people live there.
The British took land and lives from the Indians
Now these people call themselves Americans
Now they support Israel to do this too?
in 2012? Obama should be ashamed of himself.
Now there are deaths from both sides.
Countries watch how bodies fall.
Misled by all the lies, we become more confused.
Most of them barely understand how it is and chose to close their eyes,
because they are going crazy, as Palestinians succumb to the stress.
and are now willing to kill because of lack of hope
and to die for, with the hope to create new hope again
Open the hell and pay them back with a bunch of rockets
in the name of God. Kill people in the name of God
until hatred makes me what I hate and I break your state.
Israel, you took everything away from me.
My food, shelter, my sons just shot down
Sorry that I chose to talk like that
Words that I do not support
but I can not choose, to choose nothing, while people die
Or do you prefer that I make jokes in the meantime?
I do not want to entertain you.
Speak to you as a father
If I close my eyes to this,
consider me as a perpetrator
Of course we are hoping that things will get better
and we want peace there, everyone is against hatred
Easy talking for us, we are not at risk
meanwhile, Palestine is turning into a reservation.
They want peace but do not believe in it
and I understand that, I also value my home and family
To call civilians terrorists so you can pick them up
to then put Israeli in their homes
Believe that you count inspiration is a means
Believe that you count inspiration is a means
Believe that you count inspiration is a means
For all my people in the opposite world.
Where many parents have to bury their children
to callout their names and call for mercy for far too long
where small children are the product of hatred and anger
praying that the perpetrators pay and seek revenge with stone
however sacred your land may be, children are more holy
I am a terrorist? you are trying to hurt my child
can it still be more hypocritical? Take a good look at how I live
my population is shrinking by the day, yours is still growing
I do not want to say stupid things
but I can not live longer and bottle this up
My mind must predominate
because if I want to resist, than it is better to do something
for people with fewer rights, rather than resist me
against the perpetrators then conferm your prejudice
So you can say: “Fresku you are an angry Muslim.”
and I distract, no, I avoid that useless collision.
I prefer to turn this pain into compassion
I come into action, lovingly and chose my role tactically
all fighters, keep up hope and love, is my advice
and if that hatred can comes to you, do not go in reaction
But make a step-by-step plan
unite and make a step-by-step plan
I also doubt but hope that it is possible
be a leader for your supporters
But victims have no patience
because they always call for help
And the people who can help them have no idea
they say: “Why should I help, hell will also breaks out here.
Where two fight, two are to blame. ”
But if two dogs fight for one bone
then the third dog goes with it
Assad kills his own people and we focus on Palestine
Is there someone who now sympathizes with Syria?
And I do not want to ask anyone to have a side
but no one can lose their children and land
No one. And that is why I am on the side of love.
Because love is the only thing that destroys hatred and fear.
Destroyed. And love transcends religion.
And you can not transcend anything without love in your vision
Love transcends religion.
You can not transcend anything without love in your vision.
But make a step-by-step plan
unite and make a step-by-step plan
I also doubt but hope that it is possible
being a leader for your supporters is my train of thought
I tried today to find out why I think that Donald Trump is such a joke and why others seem to like his childish charm. I can understand that you dislike all the political correctness that you see so much, I don’t like that kind of weaseling around either. But if I look at the way he communicates, something his supporters can not brush away or say it’s fake news, you start to wonder. What if my doctor would talk to me like that, would I still take him seriously. Imagine telling what’s wrong with you and you see the doctor’s eyes slowly roll and loosing interest. It is so embarrassing for America, I feel it when I ask Americans about it, it’s like asking a friend how it goes with his child molesting father, you don’t want to bring it up. On the other hand, there are still close to a hundred million Americans who support Trump and recognize some qualities in him. I have never met the guy, I know him from the news and I read 3 books about him. My gut never aloud me to watch his tv show because of the disgust his persona brought up in me, something my feminist mother taught my gut when I grew up. I guess he could be more charming if he made some fun of his own strange habits, some self-reflection is always a good quality in my book. But I guess that is too much to ask, his base likes him for his discrimination, male chauvinism, and money and not for his intellect. It is strange that a lot of people dislike intellectuals and at the same time praise their freedom, their rights and democracy, all products of intellectuals.
This is a picture of a rusty pipe. With some adjustments it looks cool, if I may say so. Like colorful lava floating around, breaking away…Yesterday I wrote about America and the innocent lives that got destroyed because of an unnecessary war. I wondered, in that story, how people could live in a country like that. Someone asked me what I would do…Well, I live In Norway, I moved here from the Netherlands about 10 years ago. There are several reasons why I chose for Norway and to move away from Holland, but the reason that I left is complicated. It all started (well most of it) when I came back from Cambodia, where I worked as a Dutch* Marine. Working in a country where the people had nothing besides a bamboo hut and a hole in the ground to cook on, and then coming back to a country where even the poorest have all the basics checked, and hear everybody complain, and complain… And it was not a money thing, poor vs rich or injustice. It was the lack of perspective. The problems we have in a rich country like Holland are not real problems. If everybody in the world has a meal, a school education and something to live for, then we “can sweat the small stuff”. It is difficult to describe what I felt but its like that naked king story and no one says something about it. I didn’t understand how we could live our lives knowing that the world was broken. I didn’t understand why not everybody was talking about that. And I studied it, and started to learn why it is, but knowing reasons for it didn’t take away the unrest I had. I didn’t belong there any more, there was a black hole in front of me where there should be a future. I sometimes jokingly say that I am a political refugee, and if you extend the fear of bodily harm to mental harm that society inflicts on you because of your ideas, then there is some truth in that joke. I moved to Norway because that was something I talked about for years. I restore wooden boats, my nearest neighbor lives 2 kilometers away and the best thing is that I am a guest here, and if you are someone’s guest you don’t complain about their way’s, well not too much, I’m still Dutch.
*I am Dutch, and I live in the Netherlands or Holland, but historically Holland is the name of the two provinces in the western part: Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland. As a Dutch-man we mix those two but officially it is: I live in the Netherlands. As a Dutch-man we can also say: Ik spreek Nederlands (I speak Netherlands), or ik spreek Hollands (I speak Hollands), but a foreigner can only say: I speak Dutch. To make it more complicated: if you speak Dutch you can also say that you speak Belgium, or Flemish, that’s what the people in Belgium do when they get asked what languish they speak, some might even say that they speak Dutch. I don’t know why it is so complicated, if you know an other country that is similar I would like to know.