Cică își duce unu’ calul la oborul de vite.
Destul de repede, potențialii clienți se prind că amărâtul – calul, nu vânzătorul, era orb, surd și nici nu prea mai mai avea dinți în gură.
‘De ce l-ai mai adus în târg? Cine crezi că-l mai cumpără?’
‘Păi nu vreau să-l vând. Doar să-mi bat joc de el!’

Oare mi-or spăla și mie geamurile anul ăsta?
Ce vrea sa facă Spiru Haret cu sulul ăla de hârtie igienică?
Și de ce are cârpa aia-ntre picioare?
După cine se uită lung Mihai?
Și de ce stă Gheorghe Lazăr cu spatele la el?
‘Asta e… ce poți să mai spui…
Dacă așa ne-ați făcut, așa ne aveți!’
Ion Heliade Rădulescu

My previous post was about the parallel fate endured by those who had experienced nazism/fascism and/or communism.

My point being that nazism/fascism had been powered by the feelings of those attempting to regain their previous, higher, status while communism had been powered by the feelings of those not allowed to ‘move forward’ by the social constraints paralyzing their societies.

Currently, people are ‘confused’.
Some say communism had been better than nazism – for various reasons.
Others find various excuses for the way both regimes had treated the general population and, mainly, the ‘dissidents’. Or, specially for the nazi, the ‘differents’.
There is, though, a convergence point. Nominally, at least. All sides declaratively abhor the violence employed by both regimes.

To add to the confusion, after the 2007 financial meltdown, more and more ‘concerned individuals’ have fingered capitalism as the main culprit for all the tragedies experienced by humankind in the last century and a half.

For me, this is the straw which will break the camel’s back.

So.
Nazism/fascism – which is nothing but a ‘condensed’ form of corporatism, is bad.
Communism – a similarly centralized manner of social decision making, only differently sold to differently feeling masses, is also bad.
Capitalism – a decentralized manner of resource allocation, is considered to be more or less equivalent to both nazism/fascism and communism. All three of them have been declared equally criminal…

Then what?
What are we to do next? Hang ourselves in despair?
Reheat either fascism or communism?

Or look forward than our own noses?

Both those who had followed Hitler and Lenin/Stalin were feeling desperate. Desperation drives you to do stupid things. And there are plenty of unscrupulous people willing to profit from this kind of situations.

Do we really want to prevent ‘unpleasant’ experiences?
Then we need to go beyond blaming the likes of Hitler and Lenin/Stalin.
They should be dealt what’s rightfully theirs, no doubt about that.
But we also need to make sure that the ‘run of the mill’, the ordinary people who make things work in this world, no longer feel desperate.

How to do that?
Taking into account that contemporary capitalism seems to be faltering?

What was the common thing between nazism/fascism and communism?
The fact that decision making was concentrated in a very small number of hands? Which had led to both regimes ending up in abysmal failure?

What is the apparently unstoppable trend in our contemporary societies?
The apparently unstoppable wealth polarization?

Then let’s tax ourselves out … America worked fine during the ’50s and ’60, when the highest marginal tax was 91%…
Yeah, only those years had been followed by stagflation.
And let me remind you that communism can also be interpreted as ‘100% tax followed by a comprehensive redistribution’. And it also failed.

Then how about ‘libertarianism’? No taxes, no government…

But how about less extremism? Of any kind?

How about remembering that liberal capitalism has made possible all that we have today? Liberal as in free-market capitalism, of course.

Free market as in competition working both ways.
Entrepreneurs competing among themselves for clients AND resources. The workforce being, of course, a resource.
The ‘compensated’ workforce representing the bulk of the clients…

What we seem to have forgotten today is that the circle must be round. If we want the ‘show to go on’, of course.

If some of us concentrate too much control over the rest of us – either way, the circle becomes lopsided. And everybody has everything to loose.

No matter whether this happens as a consequence of nazism/fascism, communism or even capitalism.

At least, capitalism has proved to be manageable.
Let’s make it work, again.

Until we discover something better, of course.

People may find themselves in three situations.
‘Coasting’, trying to climb back up to their former position or hitting a glass ceiling.

All societies – past, present and future, were, are and will forever be composed of various mixtures of ‘coasters’, ‘back climbers’ and ‘glass ceiling hitters’.

Please note that I’m dealing in self-referentials here. This is about how individual people describe themselves when speaking to themselves.
The coasters enjoy the life they had designed/expected for themselves.
The ‘back-climbers’ attempt to regain the position/status they believe it was rightfully theirs but had been robbed of in circumstances outside their control.
The ‘glass ceiling hitters’ are… busy hitting the famous glass ceiling.

If a society is composed of a ‘healthy’ number of coasters combined with a manageable number of ‘back-climbers’/’glass ceiling hitters’ then the frustration felt by the latter – which tends to tear apart the social fabric, can be compensated by the sheer mass/inertia of the joy experienced by the former. Hence the society can be described as being ‘stable’.

Whenever the ‘back climbers’ or the ‘glass ceiling hitters’ get the upper hand, things start to unravel. Or to fall apart…

To understand what I’m driving at, please consider the pre-revolutionary Russia and the German society after WWI.

Russia was an extremely hierarchical social organism. The birth-place was ‘definitive’. And most of them led to very unpleasant lives. The vast majority of the population, from muzhiks to intelligentsia, could not break through the glass ceilings allocated to each of them, at birth.

The defeated German population had found itself in a very unpleasant situation. After having been told they had been instrumental in preserving order in Europe – as the back bone of the army who had defeated Napoleon Bonaparte and kept in check Napoleon III, they found themselves at the receiving end of history… After their fathers had witnessed the Parisians eating their zoo animals during the 1870 siege, the Germans were reduced to hunting food scraps themselves.

A horse being butchered on a Munich sidewalk in 1918 or 1919.

Hence the difference between communism and nazism. Both equally authoritarian in nature, each of them springs from completely different social circumstances.
Which explains why ‘progressives’ have such a high tolerance for communism…

While the ‘back climbers’ attempt only to reinstate the order they were accustomed to – order which has already been proven dysfunctional by what had happened, the ‘glass ceiling breakers’ are always attempting to open new roads. Very enticing from the ‘progressive’ point of view…

Fact is that both communism and nazism/fascism are artificial.
Figments of frustrated intellectual imagination.
Both ideologies have been put together by thinkers and only followed by ordinary, desperate people.

Let’s face it. The homeless are ‘survivors’ who don’t pull their weight as members of the community. They live ‘off the land’ – but the land they use to live off is us, and they don’t give anything back in return. Except for the garbage they leave behind…

Hence we have a problem.
Which we might choose to ignore. Or to solve.

I’ll presume we want to solve it.
First step to solving any problem is, of course, to understand its nature.

So, what is bothering us?

The garbage they leave behind?
The sore sight they offer each time we see them?
The danger they represent for public safety?
The fact that they occupy public property? And prevent the rest of us from using it?
The fact that they don’t contribute?
The loss of their creative potential?
The bad example for our children?
They are a reminder of what could have happened to any of us?

Second step, the ‘how’ of the matter.

What caused such a number of able bodied people to live in the streets?
Why do so many of them use drugs? And alcohol?
Why do so many of them refuse to be helped? By the institutions which care for them?

I don’t have a real answers for any of these.
The first category of questions depends on each of us while the second on each of the homeless.

Nevertheless, I would like to point out a few things.

Very few of the homeless have been born on the street.
Most of them have been educated into the values of the society to which each of them belongs. Very few are recently arrived immigrants, at least in the US.
“we found that the longer that immigrants had lived in the United States, the greater their risk for homelessness. This is a unique finding that has not been reported before and suggests that immigrants are more likely to shed previous practices and attitudes from their origin countries over time as they live in the United States, which can put them at increased susceptibility to mental illness, substance abuse, and other factors that can increase homeless risk.This idea would be consistent with the literature finding that the health immigrant effect declines for immigrants in the United States as they acculturate and develop habits and practices similar to native residents”. J. Tsai, X.Gu, Homelessness among immigrants in the US

Why do I bother? Specially if I don’t have any answer?

The way I see it, each society is a social organism.

This image had been labeled ‘misleading’ by the Reddit users who cared enough about the subject. And rightly so. “This data is incredibly unreliable. It spans from 2009 to 2015 in different countries and has different criteria for defining homelessness.”
More about how this kind of data is been gathered and why it becomes misleading can be found in the OECD report on the subject. Click here for the 2019 one.

And what might we learn from this? Leaving aside the ‘vagaries’?
That New Zealand has way more homeless people than Japan?
And why nobody knows anything about the New Zealand homeless – or about those in the Czech Republic, but all concerned netizens are horrified by the manner in which the US are treating their homeless?

“”Where are we going to go now?” Denver closes park near Capitol, clears homeless camp citing rats, health hazards.”

For starters, and given the relative size of the US population, there are way more homeless in the US than in the rest of the OECD. Roughly counting, of course.
Secondly, the US is the wealthiest country in the world. And the one which used to describe itself as being the place where all dreams could be fulfilled.

Then, and this is only a hunch, there is the ‘small’ problem of the ‘native citizens’. Oops… not a mere hunch anymore. “In 2013, 12,754 Māori were homeless, comprising 32% of the homeless population compared to comprising just 14.9% of the total population” Same considerations may be taken into account when evaluating the situation in Australia and Canada while Europe has a rather consistent Roma population. Many of whom continue to live in a ‘traditional’ manner.

So, after all, is there anything to be learned here?

Actually, yes.

That luck does play a huge role. It makes a hell of a difference being born a Maori in New Zealand or a billionaire’s child in California.
And that becoming acculturated in the US actually increases your chances of becoming homeless.

What?!?

Have you already forgotten? 😦
“we found that the longer that immigrants had lived in the United States, the greater their risk for homelessness. This is a unique finding that has not been reported before and suggests that immigrants are more likely to shed previous practices and attitudes from their origin countries over time as they live in the United States, which can put them at increased susceptibility to mental illness, substance abuse, and other factors that can increase homeless risk.This idea would be consistent with the literature finding that the health immigrant effect declines for immigrants in the United States as they acculturate and develop habits and practices similar to native residents”.” J. Tsai, X.Gu, Homelessness among immigrants in the US

The way I understand all this is that there must be a link between homelessness and the intensity, and character, of the social interaction prevalent among the members of any given society.

People in the West, and specially in the US, see personal success as paramount. And personal failure as … well… something to be shunned. Simply because it reminds us of what may happen to any of us.
Specially when taking on the risks we must assume if we want to really succeed. As we are pressured from early childhood.
The risks the immigrants grow accustomed to the longer they live in the US.

I’m afraid I was that close of forgetting a point I planned to make.
Why so many of the homeless use drugs and have an alcohol problem.

“The new study, led by NIDA’s Dr. Marco Venniro, required rats to choose between social interaction with another rat or access to a drug (heroin or methamphetamine). The animals consistently chose social interaction when given the choice, and this was true when they were first given access to the drug or when they were experienced drug takers.”

“Please” is an attempt to maximize your chances to get something.
“Thank you” is an attempt to maximize your chances at ‘second helpings’.
“I’m sorry” is an attempt to ‘reconnect’ after committing a ‘blunder’.

All of them, simultaneously, serve the individual uttering them and knit the community.

But there’s something which sets one of them apart.
While “please” and “thank you’ are ‘upfront’, “I’m sorry” has a more ‘hidden’ nature. And is a lot less used…

Both “please” and “thank you” have a very clear message. “I want/am grateful for something’ and ‘I acknowledge the fact that I cannot function/exist by myself’.

“I’m sorry” is far more complex and a lot less upfront.
‘I acknowledge not only that something went wrong but also that I have anything to do with the occurrence’. And ‘please do not banish me for what I have done’!

If we dig deeper, we’ll find some more ‘intricacies’.

“Please” and “Thank you” are ‘face to face’. You know what you want/are grateful for and by uttering them you transmit that information to your audience. Those who might fulfill your wishes or have already done that.

“I’m sorry” identifies you as the ‘culprit’. Or, even worse, tells the ‘victim’ that something nasty is going to happen.

It is here that things become really interesting.
Conscience is a function. A feature which helps the individual. To survive and to thrive. In order to do that, conscience must – first and foremost, to take care of itself. To protect and cherish itself. More about how it does that in my next posts. The point of the present one being that is far easier for ‘conscience’ to ‘please’ and ‘thank’ rather than to ‘apologize’.

First of all, ‘gratification’.
1.0 versus 2.0.
Getting what you want/need versus avoiding punishment.
Which is never as direct.

The ‘buried head’ fallacy.
‘What if/maybe they never find out’?
‘Who did it’ or even that it had happened at all …

The ‘I cannot afford to appear weak’ fallacy.
Or the ‘I cannot afford to accept having been wrong’ situation.

That’s why it is far easier to say ‘I’m sorry’ after stepping on somebody’s toe than to leave a sorry note on somebody’s windshield after denting their fender in an unsupervised parking lot.
That’s why it is far easier to apologize to a a coworker than to admit guilt, as a CEO, in a shareholders meeting.
That is why it is almost inconceivable for a dictator to publicly admit an error which had been committed under their watch.

Imi trebuia colorimetru.

O drăcărie care ajută la făcut poze. Îți reglezi monitorul în așa fel încât să redea culorile în modul ‘standard’. Sună ca dracu dar e destul de important.

Când am fost la New York – în 2005, am intrat la B&H Photo Video. Un fel de F64 din București, doar că un pic mai mare. Am și cumpărat câte ceva – de la un vânzător pe care îl chema tot Sarchis, așa că am rămas în baza lor de date.
Și îmi tot trimit mailuri…

Mare ofertă mare de sărbători! Aveau și colorimetru. Hai mă să iau și eu unul.
Prețul era OK. Cu tot cu transport și TVA tot era semnificativ mai ieftin decât la F64.

Lansez comanda, o achit și mă anunță că vine coletul pe 3. Aproximativ…

Pe 3 primesc un mail de la DHL – care a primit deja banii pe transport, că pot sa-mi facă ei vămuirea. Pe alți bani. Adică încă 100 de lei. Tot e bine, îmi mai rămâne și mie ceva.
Da, dar nu e chiar atât de simplu….
În mailul ăla zicea că eu trebuie să le trimit, printate, semnate și scanate la loc,
– o declarație pe proprie răspundere – că ce e înăuntru, la ce îl folosesc, că n-o să-l vând și că n-o să fac bani cu el.
– o împuternicire să acționeze în numele meu în vamă,
– o dovadă a plății și
– factura tradusă.

Primul impuls a fost să trimit coletul înapoi. Ăștia-s nebuni și cu nebunii nu te pui.
P-ormă m-am gândit să le dau un telefon.

„Unde să mă duc cu factura la tradus?!? Sâmbătă pe 4 Ianuarie? Că voi vreți și 29 de lei pe zi magazinaj… zi calendaristică, nu lucrătoare…
A, nu-i nevoie să o traduceți. Scrieți doar dumneavoastră cu pixul cât ați dat pe ele. Vin tot felul de trimiteri din China, cu valori foarte mici, și trebuie să confruntăm valoarea din factură cu dovada plății”

Adică DHL-ul face pe detectivul în vamă… în locul vameșilor…

Mă rog!

Când să printez alea, descopăr că s-a terminat tonerul. De tot!

Bine că am fost prevăzător. Acu vreo săptămână, trecând pe lângă un MediaGalaxy, mi-am adus aminte. Ia să iau eu niște toner…
Și am cerut. Toner pentru HP seria 2130… Vânzătorul îmi arată o imprimantă pe monitor – bucățică ruptă, și zice 302. OK. Am luat un 302 negru și unul color. Le-am aruncat în sertar.

Le scot din sertar, le bag în imprimantă – unde se potrivesc perfect, dar nu merge. Ce dracu are?!?
Le scot și mă uit la contactele electrice. Se potriveau și alea perfect.
Abia atunci m-am uitat la numere. Alea pe care le-am scos erau 652, astea pe care le cumparasem erau 302.
Adică eu cumpărasem cartușe pentru imprimanta HP 2130 dar ar fi trebuit să cumpăr pentru HP 2136. Dacă vă interesează, aveți aici toate explicațiile de la HP. Imprimantele sunt absolut identice iar cartușe 652 se găsesc, pe loc, doar la AUCHAN. Sau pe net. Vin în câteva zile….

Cu alte cuvinte, care e scopul nostru?
Ca specie, vorbesc.

Să ne facem, unul altuia, viața cât mai simplă?
Ca să ne bucurăm de ea, nu de alta!
Sau să ne punem unul altuia piedică?
Ca nu cumva să ne-o ia cineva înainte?

Și, preocupați fiind noi să ne ținem unul pe celălalt în frâu, nici n-am observat că cei care s-au prins cum devine treaba sunt deja dincolo de orizont….

So young… and yet so satisfied with himself… he must have had a strong set of beliefs on which to build such a strong self-esteem!

Let me put it another way.

Each of us needs to believe.
Something!
Would you have enough courage to go to bed at night if you weren’t absolutely convinced that the sun will come up next morning?
Furthermore, for things to work as we expect them to, enough of us must share a certain number of beliefs. For instance, would you go to work/accept payment if you weren’t more or less convinced that the money you’d get will enable you to fulfill at least some of your wishes?

Hence belief being based on a deep seated need to believe is a truism. Uttered only as a lame excuse for ‘you can’t convince a believer of anything’.

Which isn’t exactly a lie… only a half truth. A ‘fake news’, if you will!

First of all, a believer is already convinced.
Hence somebody had been able to convince him/her, at some point, of something.

Somebody had somehow convinced the aforementioned believer that the object of what was going to become belief was obvious enough to become ‘evidence’.

Complicated?

Let me rephrase.

‘I haven’t been able to convince a believer of what I was trying to convey to him/her. Hence it must be his/her fault.
Not mine!
Otherwise I would have to admit that what I was presenting as evidence was false, I wasn’t presenting my evidence in a believable manner or, lo and behold, both at the same time. Totally unacceptable!
Now I need to come up with a good enough reason for his/her inability to see the light!
His/her ‘need to believe’ must be the only explanation. Otherwise he/she would have accepted my evidence as being obvious….’

On the other hand, the rest of Sagan’s work cannot be dismissed.
Which proves that self-esteem is a good base on which to build a career.

The need to believe being yet another thing which cannot be dismissed!

A symbol is a very powerful thing. Because it can ‘hide’ a lot of meaning. As much meaning as we can store/recognize inside it.

And the stronger the symbol, the more we can hide/store/recognize behind it.

“Why do you insist the universe is not a conscious intelligence, when it gives birth to conscious intelligences?”

This quote is attributed by Robert Lanza to Cicero. A Roman who used to think, and write, some 2000 years ago.
I have no idea who Robert Lanza is yet I’m sure most of you have already heard about Cicero.
But we now have Internet. And Google search…

Going back to Cicero’s Universe, I, for one, have never said the universe wasn’t conscious. For all I know, it may very well be.
But I’m sure it isn’t fully conscious. As God is supposed to be. Omniscient and Omnipotent.
Precisely because of the kind of ‘conscious intelligences’ it has given birth to.
Or is being born by?

Let’s assume the Universe is conscious. As in aware of its own awareness – the only kind of consciousness we’re aware of.

As far as we know – ‘know’ as opposed to ‘presume’, consciousness cannot ‘arise’ on its own. Each of our individual consciousnesses have been groomed by those around us. Children who happen to grow up outside ‘normal’ human intercourse never morph into ‘fully’ conscious human beings.
Hence Cato’s Universe might have become conscious only along one of the following paths:

As a member of the Multi Verse club.
As an AI designed by some entity residing outside the Universe. This situation being the mother of all Oxymorons…
As a meta-consciousness. A web of individual consciousnesses who had evolved/coalesced into a wider, and ‘deeper’, range of awareness. Still limited, of course, but of a somehow different nature than that of the individual awarenesses composing it.

Which brings us back to the symbol I started with.
The Universe digesting itself repeatedly as a continuous attempt to reach its own essence.
Humankind reconsidering recurrent ideas until they actually make sense…

‘Hey, you forgot about two of your own hypotheses … the first and the second…!’

Thanks for the observation.
They slipped off my mind because both are particular cases of the third.
A Multi Verse is nothing but a bigger Universe.
And a combination between an Universe and an Outside Agent is nothing but a Duo Verse. A ‘smaller’ Multi Verse.

Tada!

Nu sunt credincios.
N-am lucrat vreodată în ‘aparatul central de stat’.
N-am încercat vreodată să fac ‘revoluție’.

Într-un cuvânt, n-am avut treabă pe dealul Patriarhiei. Până nu demult…

Clădirea din stânga este încă actuala Catedrală Patriarhală iar în dreapta, în zare, sunt turla noii Catedrale ‘a Neamului’ și Palatul Parlamentului.

Ieri, a doua zi de Craciun, am ieșit să-mi dezmortesc picioarele. M-am gândit că de pe Dealul Patriarhiei s-ar putea sa se vadă bine în jos, spre oraș. Așa că…

Și am înțeles cum a ales Ceaușescu locul pentru Palatul care urma să simbolizeze Victoria Socialismului împotriva Poporului.

N-am de unde să știu pe unde-l duceau pe Ceașcă la lucrarile Marii Adunări Naționale. Palatul unde se întrunea are, firește, mai multe intrări. S-ar putea să n-o fi preferat pe cea de lângă Patriarhie…
Dar n-avea cum să uite de ea!

Tot ce știu este că vulturul care o străjuiește apărea pe ecranul televizorului de fiecare dată când la Telejurnal se făcea vorbire despre legile care fuseseră votate. Spre „propășirea” poporului muncitor, bine-nțeles!

Așă că noul palat trebuia construit cel puțin la fel de ‘sus’ ca cele ridicate de orânduirile care împilaseră poporul. Catedrala unde se distribuia „opiu” către populație și Camera unde politicienii retrograzi puneau la cale oprimarea.
Noul palat trebuia construit cel puțin la aceiași înălțime deasupra oamenilor muncii.

Să ne mai mirăm că și mai noua catedrală trebuia construită cel puțin la fel de sus?

Să ne mai mirăm că n-au mai rămas bani pentru educația noii generații?

Ar trebui totuși să aducem aminte de avertismentul lui Coșbuc!

„Când foamea ne va răscula…

Unii spun că ‘ce nu te omoară, te face mai puternic’.
Poate. Amintirea momentului constituie întotdeauna un sprijin. Un precedent care îți aduce aminte de ceea ce ai fost în stare să faci. Peste ce ai fost capabil să treci…

Sprijinul devine mult mai puternic atunci când supraviețuitorul înțelege ceva din experiența trăită. Dacă nu atunci, măcar mai târziu…

Cert este că cele trăite lasă urme. Suficient de adânci încât să le pierdem din vedere.

Seria documentară „1989 – Decembrie roşu”, la TVR 1 | VIDEO

Abia aseară, la treizeci de ani după, mi-am dat seama cât de nepotrivită este alăturarea dintre „rație” și „libertate”.
Mi-au trebuit 30 de ani, mai mult de jumătate din viață, să realizez cât de adânc îmi intrase în suflet conceptul de „limită”. Zahărul era cu porția, carnea era cu porția, uleiul era cu porția, pâinea era cu porția… așa că atunci când am rupt băierile, chiar și libertatea ne-am luat-o cu porția.

Doar cât am considerat noi. Că ne-ajunge.
O rație…

Destul de liberi?!?

Se vede că cicatricile supraviețuirii sunt suficient de adânci încât să ne urmeze și dincolo.
Sunt curios dacă trec și peste generații.

Ce părere or avea copiii ‘lor’ despre toată chestia asta?
Cum o fi să te simți „destul de liber”?!?

Cu spatele la zid….

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