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.
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.
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.
This is the interview i talked about in my previous post, it’s interesting, remember that he’s almost 90.
Avram Noam Chomsky, born December 7, 1928) is an American linguist, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic, and political activist. Sometimes described as “the father of modern linguistics,” Chomsky is also one of the founders of the field of cognitive science. He is the author of over 100 books on topics such as linguistics, war, politics, and mass media. Ideologically, he aligns with anarcho-syndicalism and libertarian socialism. He holds a joint appointment as Institute Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and laureate professor at the University of Arizona..
Born to middle-class Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants in Philadelphia, Chomsky developed an early interest in anarchism from alternative bookstores in New York City. At the age of 16 he began studies at the University of Pennsylvania, taking courses in linguistics, mathematics, and philosophy. From 1951 to 1955 he was appointed to Harvard University’s Society of Fellows, where he developed the theory of transformational grammar for which he was awarded his doctorate in 1955. That year he began teaching at MIT, in 1957 emerging as a significant figure in the field of linguistics for his landmark work Syntactic Structures, which remodeled the scientific study of language, while from 1958 to 1959 he was a National Science Foundation fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study. He is credited as the creator or co-creator of the universal grammar theory, the generative grammar theory, the Chomsky hierarchy, and the minimalist program. Chomsky also played a pivotal role in the decline of behaviorism, being particularly critical of the work of B. F. Skinner.
An outspoken opponent of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, which he saw as an act of American imperialism, in 1967 Chomsky attracted widespread public attention for his anti-war essay “The Responsibility of Intellectuals”. Associated with the New Left, he was arrested multiple times for his activism and placed on President Richard Nixon’s Enemies List. While expanding his work in linguistics over subsequent decades, he also became involved in the Linguistics Wars. In collaboration with Edward S. Herman, Chomsky later co-wrote an analysis articulating the propaganda model of media criticism, and worked to expose the Indonesian occupation of East Timor. Additionally, his defense of unconditional freedom of speech – including for Holocaust deniers – generated significant controversy in the Faurisson affair of the early 1980s. Following his retirement from active teaching, he has continued his vocal political activism, including opposing the War on Terror and supporting the Occupy movement.
One of the most cited scholars in history, Chomsky has influenced a broad array of academic fields. He is widely recognized as a paradigm shifter who helped spark a major revolution in the human sciences, contributing to the development of a new cognitivistic framework for the study of language and the mind. In addition to his continued scholarly research, he remains a leading critic of U.S. foreign policy, neoliberalism and contemporary state capitalism, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, and mainstream news media. His ideas have proved highly significant within the anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist movements, but have also drawn criticism, with some accusing Chomsky of anti-Americanism.
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.
It is always nice to visit your home country. I had my reasons to leave the Netherlands and moved to Norway but some things I miss. Walking in Amsterdam with my colleagues from Norway and seeing their reactions to red lights and funny smells reminded me how used I am to the Dutch way of dealing with drugs and prostitution. I think that my colleagues are seen as progressives in Norway, but their reaction genuinely surprised me. They were opposed to it and telling stories how bad drugs is and how prostitutes are all forced in doing their work. We discussed it and how I think that their view is influenced by the propaganda the Norwegian government is spewing, something the Dutch government does to off course, but then the other way. I learned that Drugs and prostitution can be found in any society and that it’s stupid to bury the problem like they do, for instance, in Norway. For us it’s legal to buy soft drugs to prevent kids from coming in contact with hard drugs and some prostitutes might still do their work against there wishes but most of them don’t and can leave their job mush easier and work safer. I know it’s a culture clash, but more and more countries are going this rational way, so I think it is the right way. But Norway is in many ways a paternalistic country, or as they say in America: they have a nanny state. Alcohol is also strongly regulated here, you can’t buy a beer after a certain time and all the other kinds of alcohol are only for sale in stores controlled by the government. Thankfully I am detached enough from Norwegian society that it doesn’t border me that much, but if I think about it, it can annoy me that they don’t give me the freedom to do what I want with my own body, these colleagues literally say that they don’t mind taking away my freedom to buy beer at 20:05 or smoke a harmless joint. On of there arguments is that they have to pay for the damage I do to society when I get sick or addicted. But what about the people that do dangerous sports, don’t sport, eat fat, work to hard or do whatever life choice they make that is dangerous and unhealthy, do you forbid those activities? I see no reason why someone could withhold you from doing potentially stupid things to yourself, as long as you don’t endanger others it’s fine for me.
Related to this story and how hypocritical people are is this story from today in the Guardian: Link It’s about the legal and synthetic version of heroin: OxyContin. Hundreds of thousands of people have died from these legal drugs that are as addictive as the illegal versions.
“But few know their wealth comes from Purdue Pharma, a private Connecticut company the family developed and wholly owns. In 1995, the company revolutionized the prescription painkiller market with the invention of OxyContin, a drug that is a legal, concentrated, chemical version of morphine or heroin. It was designed to be safe; when it first came to market, its slow-release formula was unique. After winning government approval it was hailed as a medical breakthrough, which Goldin now refers to as “magical thinking”.
It was aggressively marketed to doctors – many of whom were taken on lavish junkets, given misleading information and paid to give talks on the drug – while patients were wrongly told the pills were a reliable long-term solution to chronic pain, and in some cases offered coupons for a month’s free sample.”
I always like to look at today’s society from the future, let’s say 300 years from now. I think that they would describe a drugs problem around the end of the 20th century but the biggest criminals are not the small fry like Joaquin Guz or Pablo Escobar but the large pharmaceutical companies followed closely by their supportive governments.
This picture is taken in a beautiful part of America and the sign tells a story of that place. Look at all the marks that the foreigners left as a sign of their appreciation, to show the world that they traveled all the way to this great place. I chose this picture and changed it to use it as a commentary on our society that is heading more and more towards a “me” focused world instead of a world where the other (you) also counts. People say more and more: “I don’t want refugees because I don’t trust them” instead of YOU come from a country destroyed by a war and YOU have it much worse than I have so YOU can come here.
The internet brought the world and its people closer together compared to 20, 50 or a 100 years ago but this technical marvel has not brought our hearts closer together. Twitter brought us the Arab spring and a fifth of the world is connected on Facebook and you would think that we would be more understanding of each other. Instead we see more and more people and governments closing their doors and longing back to the day’s where everything was neat in a box and labeled for clarity. Our modern need to take selfies is a vivid reminder of this, we like to share with the world a picture of ourselves, look at me.
I was this week for work in Amsterdam and there I saw the famous selfie sticks in use and I paid some attention. To be fair, the people were taking photos of all the sites, but they stuck their head in front of it and the camera every time. Imagine these people showing their pictures back home to some family members: here is a picture of me, and me, and me and my friend, and me etc. They showed the world where they have been instead of what that other world looks like. But maybe I’m not fair, 20 years ago it was not possible to easily make selfies with the film camera’s we had back then and it was a lot of work to send a couple of hundred friends a copy of your pictures. Maybe the modern technique has only awoken a slumbering need in us humans. Maybe there was never a Youtah and always a Metah
I made this picture in Photoshop at the end of December 2016. I think it was after reading an article about Syria and the lack of compassion we westerners have with those people. I imagined how someone is watching tv and see destroyed houses and dead people on the street and that they casually lean over to get some chips, maybe change the channel to watch a cartoon as if nothing happened. Or you can compare it with watching a beautiful landscape, you mumble something to your spouse, and you turn around and walk on to the next place…”Ooh yea, more bombs, what can you do”
The frustration is off course also pointed at myself, I still remember when ISIS blow up some historical monuments, I was more chocked by that the than by the constant news of dead children washed ashore. Maybe that’s why I make these pictures and write about it, I don’t want it to be normal, I don’t want to be jaded, see that kind of needless suffering as another landscape I have seen before.
The picture below is the original i made at the Grand Canyon, the background are two picture from the net and are from a city in Syria. I hope it catches our western distance to that war and our voyeurism.
It is really popular In our modern culture to say that someone should “make up their own mind”. That you should trust your own feelings and don’t listen to what others say. If you understand that advice as just another platitude than there is not so much harm in it but if you take them literally than there is a big problem. The problem is that you assume that we can make up our own mind but the best we can do is to stick with an internal narrative that is for the most part plagiarized. Or do you think that every thought out of your mind comes from an internal well filled with virgin thoughts? Off course not! Think about your own upbringing, what if you were born in a totally different culture. Would that culture not have influenced you as the culture does that you are living in now? Are most of your thoughts and ideas not in line with most of the people around you? Think about your ideas about democracy, gay and woman rights and religion. Don’t you think that the people that grew up in America, Afghanistan, the Netherlands, or North-Korea al have different ideas about these topics. What people think of these topics is heavily influenced by the group of people they live with. In your mind you might have good reasons for why you believe in certain things, and it might feel that you thought of it yourself but that is of course only partly true. Look at the words you use to order your thoughts, those are not made up letters and words. You learned those by listening to your parents and other people around you just like you learned your first ideas about the world around you. Se that person on the tv? That is a good person. See those people there? Those are bad. And this goes on your whole life and out of this pool of impressions you make up your own ideas and sometimes you might be lucky and give birth to a unique perspective. But even that unique thought could not have been made without the underlying layer of shared knowledge. So, if people say, “that you have to follow your own mind” they actually say that you have to cling to that what you have and “feels” the best. And why is this important you might ask, because we have to much ego in the world and we all think we are the source of truth and are willing to fight for it. And what is the value of these words of mine? Well, there definitely not unique and come from all the (dead) people around (mostly books) me. I cannot even pretend to add something unique to it. It’s been mentioned by a lot of big names in philosophy and religion like Buddha, Confucius, Socrates, Spinoza, Nietzsche and many more. It is kind of pointless for me to write it down because even these big names are no longer read and taken seriously, but this is my exercise and good deed.