Lucrurile tind sa aibe o cauză ‘de suprafață’ și o alta ‘de profunzime’.
De foarte multe ori, cauza ‘de profunzime’ este manipulată de unii și/sau de alții. În situația asta, manipularea devine cauză aparentă.
Indiferent de părerile fiecaruia dintre noi despre PSD, este prea multă sărăcie în România.
Sărăcie care are multe cauze și care poate fi folosită în multe feluri.
Problema este ce facem în continuare.
Dăm vina unii pe alții pentru existența ei?
Facem mișto de cei care se află în această situație?
Creem condiții reale pentru ca cine vrea să poată ieși din sărăcie?
Sau îi lasam pe ‘maeștri’ să-și construiască în continuare capital politic pe spatele săracilor de care facem noi mișto?
Eliminarea saraciei
„Stau într-un hotel din ăla aparent modernizat si renovat, dar în care poți să simți parfumul anilor de comunism ieșind de sub fiecare placă de gresie postdecembristă. Cobor la micul dejun. Nu mi-e foame, dar aș ucide pentru o cafea.
E frig. Azi s-a făcut răcoare. Pe terasă e un grup mare de copii veniți în tabără. Probabil sunt de pe undeva dintr-un orăsel mic de provincie, dar mai mult ca sigur sunt săraci. Mă uit la ei cum se bucură mâncând crenvuști din ăia trași în folie de plastic și cum chicotesc fericiți când își întind pe pâine un maglavais maro care seamănă a nutella. Doar seamănă. Nu le pasă, sunt fericiți.
Profesorii care au grijă de ei sunt la fel de săraci, dar asta nu mai e o noutate în România zilelor noastre. Nu-mi cereți să vă spun de unde știu că-s săraci, sărăcia se simte din cele mai mărunte gesturi, din șlapii de plastic ordinar, păstrați special pentru „la mare”, din bluzele de trening ponosite, din tot.
Din boxe se aude tare despacito. Îmi beau cafeaua și mă gândesc trist că asta-i România reală. Săracă și sărăcită, cu oameni care abia-și mai duc zilele și copii care se bucură la niște crenvurști de plastic.
Iar imbecilul ăla le-a cerut scuze pușcăriașilor.
Mihai Vasilescu
lucrul bine facut
Și pentru că domnul de la Transavia ne sugerează că dormim în cizme, să ne aducem aminte că ne-am mai trezit odată.
Doar pe jumătate… L-am lăsat să continue… De trei ori…. După ce o luase razna pe arătură….
romania trezestete
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“All power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely” Lord Acton.

“If the benevolent ruler stays in power long enough, he eventually concludes that power and wisdom are the same thing. And as he possesses power, he must also possess wisdom. He becomes converted to the seductive thesis that election to public office endows the official with both power and wisdom. At this point, he begins to lose his ability to distinguish between what is morally right and what is politically expedient.”

Ben Moreell, Power Corrupts, 2010

“All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible.”

Frank Herbert, Chapterhouse: Dune

According to Lord Acton, given enough time, even the most benevolent ruler will, if his opinions go unchallenged, ‘loose his bearings’.
According to Herbert, we’re in an even worse situation. Chances are very slim for a benevolent ruler to even become powerful enough to make a difference… before being overwhelmed by corruption…

Then how come we survived for so long? For so much time?

First of all, until recently, no ruler – regardless of how corrupt/inept or even how powerful, had no means to inflict more than a passing wound to ‘humanhood’. During the last five centuries, things have changed a bit… And no, this is not exclusively about the nuclear button. Cortez, Pizzaro, the African slave traders, Hitler, Stalin and those who had produced the 2008 financial melt down hadn’t used very sophisticated tools…
Secondly, I’m not sure there are nearly enough really bad characters to explain all the man made evil in the world.

Then how could we explain what’s going on?

“If the benevolent ruler stays in power long enough, he eventually concludes that power and wisdom are the same thing. And as he possesses power, he must also possess wisdom.”

Ups!
But does this happen?
The ruler slowly convinces himself or the whole thing is a consequence of the contemporary mantra?
That being elected to office means having beaten your opponents! As if politics were a sort of generalized fighting, not a cooperative effort of the entire community…
Which would, indeed, lead any rational agent to the conclusion that the longer somebody survives in a powerful position, the more ‘right’ he must be…

Then what would be easier to change?
The rational conclusion of those who survive in powerful positions or our current misapprehension about what politics should be?

The state of being calm and not easily worried or excited.

Many human beings praise themselves for being able to ignore emotion when trying to make decisions. And the more important a decision is, the harder they try to ignore their own feelings about the matter.

People with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) can be witty, charming, and fun to be around — but they also lie and exploit others. ASPD makes people uncaring. Someone with the disorder may act rashly, destructively, and unsafely without feeling guilty when their actions hurt other people.

Modern diagnostic systems consider ASPD to include two related but not identical conditions: A “psychopath” is someone whose hurtful actions toward others tend to reflect calculation, manipulation and cunning; they also tend not to feel emotion and mimic (rather than experience) empathy for others. They can be deceptively charismatic and charming. By contrast, “sociopaths” are somewhat more able to form attachments to others but still disregard social rules; they tend to be more impulsive, haphazard, and easily agitated than people with psychopathy. ASPD is uncommon, affecting just 0.6% of the population.

Am I the only one here baffled by how little free space is left between these two definitions? By how little leeway we have between the constant pressure to ‘act rationally’ and becoming a ASPD patient?

On a more practical level – now that I’ve noticed this, I’m even more baffled by our duplicity. As a species, I mean.
‘Concerned Citizens’ insist that ‘conflict of interests’ should be avoided at ‘all costs’ – lest it generates even higher ones, while some ‘thinkers’ consider that it is possible for humans to actually put aside their personal feelings.

Daniel Kahneman, among others, has done a brilliant job in describing many of the intricate ways of our thinking processes. Which are nothing but continuous tugs of war between emotional pulsions more or less kept in check by rational processes.
Basically, most of those concerned with human decision making have reached the conclusion that we’re not rational thinkers but rationalizing agents.

Hence my ‘nagging question’:

What keeps a cool-headed rationalizing agent from becoming a ASPD patient?
Specially given the constant social pressure towards ‘coolheadedness’…

OK, some people are better at rationalizing than others… but that would tend to help them at remaining undetected rather than not becoming affected…
Frans de Waals – again, among others, posits that, ‘statistically’,  altruism/empathy is an inbred feature of many animals, all primates included. Given this concept, ASPD would be rather simply explained as an ‘organic’ deficiency. Due to a ‘wiring error’, those affected by ASPD display less ‘phenotypically’ expressed altruism/empathy than the ‘average’ members of the society.

Bingo!

phenotype. (fē′nə-tīp′) n. The observable physical or biochemical characteristics of an organism, as determined by both genetic makeup and environmental influences. The expression of a specific trait, such as stature or blood type, based on genetic and environmental influences.

It seems that ‘what you get’ is not solely determined by the genetic information inherited from the parents but also by the specific environment in which the given genetic information gets to express itself.

For the rest of the living realm, things are relatively simple. Lady Luck is the sole ‘director’ in these matters. A really lucky organism gets to spend its life in a more suited environment than a less lucky one.

For humans… things are a tad more complicated.
Besides the fact that each of us enjoys a relative autonomy – some call it freedom of will, we also contribute enormously to the environment in which we get to live. And no, I don’t want to talk about pollution or man-made global heating.

The thing I have in mind right now is usually called ‘culture’.

Daniel Kahneman, Thinking Fast and Slow, 2013
Frans de Waal, The Bonobo and the Atheist, 2014

 

What do we want?

Money.

When do we want it?

Now.

How do we get it?

By being efficient.
‘Give as little as you possibly can while taking as much as you can possibly grab.’

And who’s going to get the job done?

Huh?!?

Capisci?

Huh?!?

thinking

We’re not the only ones able to use tools to solve problems.
We’re not the only ones capable of self-awareness. Otherwise said, to recognize ourselves in a mirror.
We’re not even the only ones able to use language to dampen our feelings for long enough so that the frontal cortex might take over from the amygdala.

So?

But what does it mean to be human?

What if being human means being able to do all those three things, simultaneously?

Well, I’m not so sure I’d be comfortable with that…

‘Dampen our feelings for long enough so that the frontal cortex might take over from the amygdala’.

A key difference between a psychopath and a sociopath is whether he has a conscience, the little voice inside that lets us know when we’re doing something wrong, says L. Michael Tompkins, EdD. He’s a psychologist at the Sacramento County Mental Health Treatment Center.

A psychopath doesn’t have a conscience. If he lies to you so he can steal your money, he won’t feel any moral qualms, though he may pretend to. He may observe others and then act the way they do so he’s not “found out,” Tompkins says.

A sociopath typically has a conscience, but it’s weak. He may know that taking your money is wrong, and he might feel some guilt or remorse, but that won’t stop his behavior.

Both lack empathy, the ability to stand in someone else’s shoes and understand how they feel. But a psychopath has less regard for others, says Aaron Kipnis, PhD, author of The Midas Complex. Someone with this personality type sees others as objects he can use for his own benefit.

Oops!

So one of the very things which make us human might also explain why some of us become psycho/sociopaths?

No, not only one. All three of them.

For a psycho/sociopath to become manifest, one has to behave like one. To act like one. To make the difference between their own persona and the rest – self-awareness, and then to use tools to defend/enhance what makes their own persona so special. Regardless of whatever consequences those actions might impose upon any second or third party.

Then how come we have survived for so long?
As a species?

According to Ernst Mayr – ‘evolution is not about ‘survival of the best’ but about the demise of the unfit’, whatever psycho/sociopathy has plagued us wasn’t enough to kill us.
What kept it in check?
We might have a natural propensity for doing the right thing but… bad things still happen… the mechanism which ‘tames’ us has to be a dynamic one… Does the job in an at least satisfactory manner – we’re still here, it has successfully adapted to whatever historical changes had fallen upon our head – again, we’re still here, but is not fail proof. From time to time, evil explodes into the world.

We’ve somehow coped with these ‘explosions’. For now, at least.

Basically, any future strategy for survival might imply one of the next two scenarios.

Put our faith in God. Who had created us. And who’ll lead us out of whatever predicament we might get in. Even if/when we do it to ourselves. Simply because he is our loving father.

Remember that when we had really pissed him off, he had preferred to cleanse the entire (known) world with water. And learn to reign in our own ability to do the wrong thing.

And, maybe, our distance nephews will consider that being human means being able to innovate AND to knowingly keep that ability in check.

For those who have managed to conserve enough naivety, politics is a team job.

For them, ‘political power struggle’ is an oxymoron. A figure of speech.

Unfortunately, those who have lost their political naivety (innocence?, virginity?) have given up all table manners and have introduced the concept of ‘RealPolitik’.
At first in the international arena and then, using the back door, on the domestic stage.

To what consequences?

When Bismark had coined the concept of RealPolitik, the major players in the international arena were following an already ancient mantra. Divide et Impera.

If ‘naive’ politicians attempt to convince their partners, the ‘real ones’ have only one goal in mind. Theirs.
While the ‘naive’ start any interaction by listening to what the others have to say, in an attempt to learn before starting to build a solution – one designed to fulfill the widest possible array of expectations, the ‘realists’ will use every trick up their sleeves to impose ‘their’ solution. The one which best fits ‘their’ interests and which has been devised without/before any proper consultation with the rest of those who will bear the consequences of that solution being implemented.

Some of the politicians whose naivety has been chipped during constant contact with the social reality eventually ‘wise’ up and reach the point where they accept manipulation as a ‘valid’ political tool. They start to hid part of the truth, to promise a tad more than what would be realistically possible… but at least they continue to pay lip service to the notion of ‘liberal democracy’.
The hard core ‘realists’ are way more ‘straightforward’. They burn bridges and give up any pretense of ‘window dressing’. ‘Struggle’ is no longer understood as a figure of speech.

Political struggle descends into the ring. Or, more exactly, the entire Agora becomes a battle field. The whole ‘arrangement’ devolves into a ‘dog eats dog’ situation.

To the glee of the ‘realists’ outside the border. Who can hardly wait for those ‘inside’ to start fighting in earnest. So that the outsiders might, yet again, put ‘divide et impera’ to work.

Pentru cei care au reusit sa-si conserve suficienta naivitate, politica este o activitate care trebuie facuta ‘in echipa’.

In conditiile astea, ‘lupta politica’ ar trebui sa fie un oximoron…  adica o figura de stil.

Din pacate, cei care si-au pierdut naivitatea (virginitatatea?) politica au renuntat la ‘fineturile de salon’ si au introdus conceptul de ‘Real Politik’.
Initial in relatiile internationale.
Mai apoi, pe usa din dos, si in politica interna.

Cu ce consecinte?

Pe vremea cand Bismark se apucase sa ‘cizeleze’ conceptul de Real Politik, mantra relatiilor internationale era ‘divide et impera’. ‘Cauta orice fisura in pozitia adversarului, insinueaza-te si fa tot ce este necesar pentru a ajunge in pozitia dominanta’.

Daca politica ‘naiva’ se bazeaza pe convingerea partenerilor de discutie, politica ‘reala’ este doar despre atingerea rezultatului dorit.
Politicienii ‘naivi’ se aseaza la masa pentru a incerca sa afle parerea partenerilor de discutie inainte de a negocia o eventuala solutie. Una cat mai larg acceptabila.
Politicienii ‘realisti’ utilizeaza orice mijloace pentru a-si indeplini in cat mai mare masura obiectivul. Stabilit deja, inainte de orice consultare cu ceilalti membri ai comunitatii care urmeaza sa sufere consecintele atingerii respectivului obiectiv.

Unii dintre politicienii a caror ‘naivitate’ a fost ‘stirbita’ de contactul repetat cu realitatea sociala ajung sa fie dispusi a utiliza manipularea ca unealta politica. Mai ascund o parte din adevar, promit un pic mai mult decat stiu ca pot duce la indeplinire… dar pastreaza macar aparentele.

‘Realistii’ puri si duri sunt mult mai directi. Ard puntile. Darama fatadele. Aici nu mai poate fi vorba despre manipulare. Cuvantul ‘lupta’ nu mai este privit ca o figura de stil.

‘Lupta politica’ coboara in ring. Sau, mai bine spus, agora intreaga devine un ring.
Iar situatia devine ‘care pe care’.

Spre desfatarea ‘realistilor’ de dincolo de granite. Care abia asteapta ca cei cei ‘dinauntru’ sa se ia cu adevarat la bataie pentru a aplica, din-afara, principiul de la care a inceput totul.

Divide et impera.

prosperitate nu securitate

O coalitie aflata la putere organizeaza un miting impotriva abuzurilor facute de ‘unele dintre organe’. Pe care le grupeaza sub apelativul de ‘stat paralel’.

‘Mascota’ fostei guvernari, Elena Udrea, posteaza si ea pe FB.

“Acest miting trebuia facut de mult timp si Romania nu ar fi fost azi tara cu asa zis sistem democratic si stat de drept, in care se petrec cele mai mari abuzuri in justitie. Majoritatea tacuta avea nevoie sa arate ca este impotriva incalcarilor grosolane ale legii si ale drepturilor minime ale cetatenilor facute de securisti si slugile lor. Dar nu s-a gasit cine sa o organizeze.
In Piata nu sunt doar psd-isti. Nici pe departe. Cunosc zeci de oameni care au votat si voteaza cu partidele din opozitie si care sunt acolo cu tot entuziasmul si convingerea.
Din pacate, l-a organizat Dragnea… Uite asa a reusit Sistemul, inca o data, sa distruga dreapta politica romaneasca si sa ii faca faca mari pe PSD si pe Dragnea…”

Pentru a avea o imagine cat de cat ‘rotunda’ asupra situatiei, trebuie sa mentionam ca:

– Presedintele Camerei Deputatilor are o condamnare, cu suspendare, pentru o infractiune savarsita in legatura cu un proces electoral si este judecat pentru o instigare la abuz in serviciu.
– Presedintele Senatului tocmai ce a fost achitat pentru ‘marturie mincinoasa si favorizarea infractorului’.
– ‘Mascota’ a fost condamnata, definitiv, pentru luare de mita si abuz in serviciu.

Mai trebuie remarcat si ‘amanuntul’ ca sistemul de justitie a fost reformat tocmai pe vremea ‘fostei guvernari’. Adica exact acea guvernare din care a facut parte Elena Udrea.

Ce rezulta din toata tarasenia asta?

Ca sistemul de justitie incearca sa-si croiasca o anumita independenta? Care deranjeaza pe multa lume? Inclusiv pe o parte dintre cei care au ‘pus la cale’ actuala configuratie a justitiei?

Ca dupa 30 de ani de post-comunism s-au adancit si mai tare fracturile din societate?
Fracturi care au condus la aparitia unei mase de manevra extrem de ‘agitata’?

“Ceausescu a cazut de la putere tocmai pentru ca prea multi dintre cetatenii acestei tari ramasesera in urma. In urma vecinilor europeni, in urma celor cu pile la partid…
Mitingul acesta a putut fi organizat tocmai pentru ca in ultimii 30 de ani am pierdut vremea. Unii dintre noi am luat-o inainte fara sa ne uitam in urma. Fara sa tinem cont de invataturile istoriei.
Iar acum, istoria se razbuna.
Sa nu ne miram ca aceasta multime de oameni nemultumiti este folosita ca masa de manevra. Indivizi fara scrupule exista si vor exista intotdeauna. Care indivizi vor incerca sa se ‘strecoare’ pe oriunde vad o ‘oportunitate’. Iar orice masa de manevra reprezinta o oportunitate imensa pentru astfel de indivizi.
Solutia? Sa ne aducem aminte ca si cei ‘ramasi in urma’ sunt oameni. Si sa-i tratam firesc, cu respect. Ca oameni ce suntem cu totii.
‘Altuia nu-i face ce tie nu-ti place’.
Cu cat ii vom plati mai prost si vom face mai mult misto de ei, cu atat ii vom arunca mai abitir in bratele celor care ii transforma in masa de manevra.
Cu cat vom face in asa fel incat copiii lor sa poata invata o meserie – ca tot e criza de forta de munca, cu atat o vom duce cu totii mai bine.

Am sa inchei cu o alta intrebare.
Cum se poate bucura cineva de o eventuala prosperitate in conditiile in care oricine, oricand, i-ar putea lua mancarea din farfurie si haina de pe spinare?

Si sa nu uitam avertismentul strabunilor nostri.
‘Fiat justitia, ruat caelum’ poate fi tradus si prin ‘aveti grija ce fel de justitie faceti ca s-ar putea sa va cada cerul in cap’!

 

Natural‘, ‘Artificial‘ and ‘Synthetic‘.

In my last post, I was arguing that rules are made by us, humans.
In an attempt to make some sense of the seemingly chaotic environment in and of which we’ve become aware at some point in our evolution.

So.

The ‘natural‘ rules are those which have only been ‘identified’ by us.

‘Two swords don’t fit, simultaneously, in the same scabbard’.
‘Light travels in a straight line’.
‘There’s no smoke without a fire’.
‘Magnets either attract or reject other magnets’.
‘For as long as the temperature of a gas contained in an enclosure remains constant, the product obtained by multiplying the volume of the gas by the pressure exercised by that gas on the walls of the enclosure does not change’ – Boyle’s Law.
‘Things fall down, unless…’
‘Two objects attract each-other with a force directly proportional with the added masses of the two objects and inversely proportional with the distance between the geometric centers of the same objects’. Newton.
‘The principle of mass conservation’.
‘E=M*C2’
I’ll come back later.
For the moment, I’ll just observe that ‘natural’ laws are, simply put, an enumeration of what we consider to have understood of what’s going on around us. Our take on the natural world.

Artificial‘ rules are decisions we had to make in order to improve our chances of survival. Decisions we had been forced to make at one point and which made so much sense that they had been perpetuated. Habits we’ve somehow acquired and which had proven themselves so useful that we impose them on our beloved children.
‘Drive on one side only’.
‘Wash your hands before dinner’.
‘Thou shalt not kill…’

Synthetic‘ rules are those we’ve made ‘out of the blue’.
How to play backgammon, for instance.
How to evaluate a moving picture… or an evening dress.

 

 

 

Things interact according to their nature.
Mass generates gravitational pull, electric charge produces electrostatic forces, a moving electric charge gives birth to a magnetic field… hydrogen is ‘infatuated’ with chlorine, white phosphorus is so keen to combine itself with oxygen that it actually behaves indecently if not ‘modestly’ hidden in water… sex is the driving force which sets the animal world in motion… while survival instinct, however powerful, is, sometimes, overcome by altruism.

Meanwhile rules are just a figment of human awareness interacting with observable interaction between things.

And no, the ‘simple’ ability to learn is not sufficient, by itself, to generate rules. The rats in Rat Park were quick to figure out how to get a ‘fix’ of morphine but that didn’t mean they had ‘discovered’ any rule…
For that to happen, the ‘ruler’ needs to be able to watch from ‘above’. From ‘outside’ the interaction.

And this is why we find it easier to study other persons. Preferably strangers. ‘The doctor who treats himself has a fool for a patient’. Simply because our ability to watch ourselves from outside – and to compartmentalize knowledge, is real but severely limited.

Yet, limited as it is, it’s powerful enough to help us generate rules.

 

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