the-sleep-of-reason
People have started to freak out after realizing the full scale of what has just happened.
Some see him as a just retribution for our past sins – and they are probably right about this – while others look at the whole situation as if it was a sort of a Rorschach test.
How about Trump as an opportunity?
The inverse of a Rorschach test since that is about the shrink trying to learn something while an opportunity is about the subject bearing the responsibility for the consequences …
An opportunity, and a prod, for the silent majority to remember that ‘The sleep of reason produces monsters‘?
The way I see it Clinton would have done everything in her power to lull us back into our erstwhile stupor while Trump, willingly and/or unwittingly, is already making enough noise… Even the Sleeping Beauty must have already heard something…
So, test or opportunity, now it’s up to us to find a way out of the current mess. Which, I have to repeat this, is our exclusive responsibility.
The problem being that for those inside, the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ can be the actual exit or the head-light of a train engine barreling down towards them.
‘Lady Luck’ is a tough bitch and that’s why one should be really careful with these things.
PS. The ‘shrink’ already has a huge ‘blot’ to muse about. Some people never learn.
Emily Linroth being a spokeswoman for the National Park Service, the organization which has cleaned up “the National Mall following the inauguration and the Women’s March on Washington Saturday.

history-written-by-the-victors

Quite a lot of people, most of them after misreading Machiavelli, have convinced themselves that ‘history is written by the victors’.

Even Winston Churchill, once a victor himself, had fallen into this trap.

Lately, more and more have started to doubt this assertion.

History is written by the writers.
Steve Theodore, professional game developer, amateur know-it-all

Ouch!

OK, let me dig deeper.

In reality, being able to write is not enough.

In order to be able to write about something, you have to survive it first.

And something else. Merely writing it would not necessarily preserve that information for further referral. For us to be able to read it. And be influenced by it.

So, the history that we are aware of today has been written by those who have survived the events, were smart enough to write and to understand the real importance of what they have just done. And to preserve the results of their effort.

But there’s more to it.
Basically there are at least two manners in which someone can describe something.
As close to what they honestly remember or in such a way as to bring as many benefits to the writer as possible.

I’m sure that you’ve already figured out what I’m hinting at.
Yes, the first manner of writing produces ‘true’ history while the second yields mere ‘propaganda’.

Which can be, indeed, useful.

On the shortest of times and only as long as the writer itself does not start to believe in his own writings!

Otherwise they’ll join the fate of the likes of Goebbels and …

goebbels-children

You know, Hitler’s very efficient ‘spin doctor‘ (“Think of the press as a great keyboard
on which the government can play.”) who, at the end of WWII and with the help of his wife Magda, had “murdered their six children and killed themselves as Soviet forces closed in on the bunker.” Would you call that a ‘victory’?
But we have to give him what was really his. He was a ‘man of his word’.
If the day should ever come when we must go, if some day we are compelled to leave the scene of history, we will slam the door so hard that the universe will shake and mankind will stand back in stupefaction..

So.
For some people to write history and for that history to remain as they have written it, the writers had to survive ‘it’, learn from what had happened to them that they were the in possession of very important information and decide to pass on that information, as truthfully as possible, to the next generations.
To help them survive if/when confronted with a similar ordeal.
And this very fact, that the history they had written taught someone how to survive, transforms the writer into the real winner.

In fact ‘history’ will be passed from one generation to another only as long as the next generation replaces peacefully the older one. Only as long as the older one helps the new generation to ascend into the future.

Otherwise, if the ‘children’ have to fight their ‘parents’ – as in ‘contradict what they had been taught by their teachers’ – in order to remain alive, they will also re-write the ‘history’ they had to fight against while struggling to survive.

starea-natiei

Postarea asta descrie foarte bine ‘starea natiei’.
Un betivan se impiedica si cade.
O baba se sperie si incepe sa ii dea cu poseta in cap in loc sa verifice daca nu cumva si-a rupt gatul.
Niste ‘oameni de bine’ filmeaza incidentul si il pun pe net. (Sper totusi ca dupa ce au terminat de filmat s-au dus macar sa-l scoale de jos pe ‘actorul’ lor ‘principal’.)
Alti ‘oameni de bine’, care pana acum pareau a se ocupa cu lucruri mai serioase, se apuca sa refoloseasca clipul ca pe un ‘purtator de mesaj’ – cu toate ca se potriveste doar pe jumatate, Dragnea nu e deloc beat si stie foarte bine ce face.
 
Si, dupa ce clipul face ocolul internetului romanesc, aceiasi ‘oameni de bine’ se scarpina in cap intrebandu-se:
‘Cum dracu am ajuns aici?
De ce nu ne mai crede nimeni?
De ce nu mai iese lumea la vot?
De ce reactioneza din ce in ce mai multi exact la fel ca baba aia isterica?’
Vi se pare ca exagerez?
In situatia in care un vicepresedinte de partid parlamentar se adreseaza potentialilor sai alegatorilor cu:
In ziua in care cea mai democratica tara din lume il inaugureza pe Trump ca presedinte?

I was planning a post and going to use this title, but without the quotation marks.

I wasn’t aware of the book that begins with the very same words.

Before starting to write – the original post was meant to be about the relationship between us, people, and the laws that govern our lives – I checked on Google whether somebody else had already used the same title and where they had went from there.

Since G‑d is the ultimate perfection and is free of all limitations and definitions, it is self-evident that, in the words of the Alter Rebbe, “The fact that He creates universes does not express what G‑d is.” At the same time He is, as Maimonides writes in his Laws of the Fundamentals of Torah, “the one who brings every existence into being; all existences exist only as derivatives of His ultimate existence” and the one upon whom “all existences are utterly dependent.” It is also obvious that just as no creature can comprehend the nature of G‑d’s creation of reality ex nihilo, so too no creature can comprehend the nature of G‑d, even the nature of G‑d as the creator of the world and the source of every existence.

In the words of the great Jewish philosophers: “If I knew Him, I would be Him.”

So, though a person realizes and understands that no thing can create itself, and that one must therefore conclude that the created reality has a source that generates its existence, this is proof only of the existence of the Creator, not an understanding of what He is, even as “Creator.”

Now, after reading Rabbi Schneerson’s (the Lubavitcher Rebbe) words, I cannot stop wondering what drives certain people to pretend that they have fully understood God’s will and therefore their actions/words are not only ‘correct’ but also above any doubt.

Not to mention their insistence that we, the rest of the (not divinely blessed with such a deep understanding) people, must follow their directions or suffer the consequences?
Here on Earth, at ‘their’ hands…

On the other hand, the same principle has been affirmed – time and time again – by various scientists.
For example, by Werner Heisenberg.
The depth of the uncertainty principle is realized when we ask the question; is our knowledge of reality unlimited? The answer is no, because the uncertainty principle states that there is a built-in uncertainty, indeterminacy, unpredictability to Nature.

 

For more than a year now I was struggling to understand the circumstances that have produced the current political mess in America.

I finally figured it out.

Confusion and dissatisfaction!

If you have enough people that are both confused and malcontent then all kind of ‘strange’ things will happen.

Only one of them won’t be enough to explain the whole gamut of what’s going on and that’s why I wasn’t satisfied by any of the many articles that pointed out one reason or another for the ‘popular discontent that brought the Donald to the White House’.
In fact no amount of ‘unhappiness’ can explain how two mature parties can nominate such lousy candidates. Neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump fit, not even loosely, the profile of a decent President. That’s why the voter turn-out was the lowest in the last 80 years or so.

But if you add ‘confusion’… things begin to clear out.

And no, I’m not speaking here about the regular people being confused as a result of the ‘politicos’ having misbehaved horribly.
I’m afraid things are way deeper than this.
Even those who believe themselves to be educated in these matters seem to be swimming in a sea of thicker and thicker fog.

Take, for instance, the current debate about the differences between ‘republic’ and ‘democracy’.

A republic is a representative type of government, and its goal is to simultaneously control the majority while protecting the minority. For example, in the republic of the United States, the government is limited constitutionally, and power is divided between the three branches of government.

A democracy is a type of government that grants eligible citizens the right to equal participation. This right is provided directly through the creation and development of laws or through elected representatives. The interest of the majority is the most important aspect in a democracy.

A republic is a representative form of democracy. A republic has an elected head of state, such as a president, that serves for a specific period of time. In a republic, the interest of the majority rules through its elected representatives. However, a republic has a constitution that protects the minority from being entirely overruled or unrepresented.

See what I mean? Adding insult to injury this definitions were published by a site which calls itself ‘reference.com‘ …

I’m not going to pick truth from fiction in that quote, that would only add to the already too thick confusion.

Enough for me to say that ‘republic’ is indeed a manner in which societies are organized (a.k.a. ‘governed’) while ‘democracy’ is a manner in which societies decide for themselves. Yes, these two things have a lot in common but we should not confuse them.

There are republics which only pretend to be democratic – like the ancient Soviet Union or the current Democratic Republic of Korea, some which are democratic in a rather strange way – Iran for example, or which are slowly ‘loosing’ democracy behind – like Orban’s Hungary or Putin’s Russia. History has also a few examples of republics which had given up democracy all together. Hitler’s Germany, for instance

On the other hand there are monarchies (OK, constitutional monarchies) which are perfectly democratic. The British Commonwealth, Sweden, Norway, Holland, Belgium…

What can explain the current confusion? ‘The interest of the majority is the most important aspect in a democracy’?!?
A major lack of understanding about what democracy really means?

A terrible confusion between the formal aspects of democracy – freedom to vote for what ever candidate accompanied by a fair account of the ballots – and the really important tenets of democratic behavior – honest, open and mutually respectful exchange of ideas about the current state of affairs between the interested members of the society?
My point being that true democracy is about the opportunity to rationally convince those around you/making yourself available to be convinced by rational arguments, not about the majority imposing its view on the minority. That is nothing but mob rule, a horrid perversion of what democracy is meant to be.

Basically, what happens – under all forms of social arrangements/forms of government: republic, constitutional or absolute monarchy – in a society is that people need to know where that society is headed to. Authoritarian societies are run by the ruler – and the people, willingly, unwillingly or with mixed spirits, agree for the time being – while the democratic societies entertain a certain ‘effervescence of ideas’ which bring forward the important problems that need to be resolved and what would be the socially acceptable manners for those problems to be fixed.

But in order for that ‘effervescence of ideas’ to be efficient, the ordinary people have to contribute in earnest to the exchange and the politicians need to pay close attention and to cooperate among themselves and with the rest of the society towards solving those problems.

That’s why I’d like you to remember when was the last time that people on the different sides of the political divide have actually talked together?
Why do we have a ‘political divide’ in the first place?

Aren’t we supposed to be ‘all together’ in our respective countries?

What’s gotten into us that made us fight each-other so bitterly?

Why do we succumb so easily to ‘divide and conquer’?

Why are there still so many politicos who keep using this method, despite the ample proof that has been provided to us, through out the history, that ‘divide and conquer‘ inevitably ends up in disaster?

when does chemistry become more than the sum of its parts?”

This evening I’ve read, in rather close succession, two very interesting lines.

The second was the one I just quoted above.  It comes from a BBC article titled: “There are over 100 definitions for life and all are wrong!

A little earlier I had come across Confucius’ “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.

I could not resist the temptation to put these two together.

Rather than defining ‘life’ I’ll try to see what obviously (?!?) differentiates ‘living creatures’ from ‘chemically driven’ systems.

Inside/outside.

Life is about individuals. Huge, small, whatever. But each of them are individual beings.
Each of them, including the viruses, have a ‘membrane’ which separates ‘inside’ from outside and the survival of each individual depends on this membrane being able to do it’s job.

Chemical systems also have separations that ‘contain’ them into an ‘inside’ only those separations are not, in any way, controlled by the system itself as it happens with the membranes that separate the living individuals from their environment.

Lineage

While life is about individuals, it’s also about ‘species’.
If you remember, Darwin’s seminal book was entitled “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life“.

Species are nothing but ‘lineages’ of slightly different individuals who somehow manage to pass from one generation to another enough ‘structural’ (genetic) information so that the species remains ‘consistent’ but, simultaneously, the ‘replication process’ is flexible enough to allow for enough ‘mutations’ – which constitute the engine of evolution. The process is very well explained here: “What Evolution is” by Ernst Mayr.
Moreover the information that is, somehow, passed from one generation to another is contained inside each individual and ‘entrusted’ individually and ‘personally’ – not by an outside agent, as it maybe the case for the chemical systems we use in our labs or industries.

According to these ‘criteria’ viruses would be alive while computer programs ‘not yet’. Not until they’ll learn to replicate themselves in a manner flexible enough to be called ‘evolutive’.

 

Vorbeam alaltaieri despre diferenta dintre zapada socialista, cea care astepta ‘indicatii de la centru’ inainte de a se lasa lopatata si cea liberala, care este curatata de fiecare dintre noi – in mod firesc si liber. Nu haotic, dar asta este alta discutie.

Ei bine, astazi este deja a doua zi in care am putut sa-mi reiau obiceiul de a-mi transporta iubita nevata catre locul de munca. Aceasta excursie include si un tur al Tribunalului Mare. Fac la dreapta de pe cheiul garlei, sotia coboara la prima intersectie iar eu fac doua curbe la stanga si apoi dreapta inapoi pe cheiul Dambovitei.

Dupa cum banuiti, locurile de parcare din zona sunt la mare cautare iar ‘parcangii’ unii dintre cei mai agresivi din Bucuresti.
Parcarile sunt de trei feluri.
Cateva locuri rezervate de catre tribunal – de care nu se atinge, evident, nimeni. Mai ales ca sunt foarte clar ‘evidentiate’ cu lant si lacat.
O parcare organizata de municipalitate.
Alte cateva locuri gestionate de ‘parcangii particulari’. Unele pe trotuar, altele ‘refolosite’ pe perioada cat locuitorii din zona – care le-au inchiriat de la primarie – pleaca si ei la munca.

Probabil ca n-o sa va vina a crede ca zona este una dintre cele mai greu accesibile din oras. Din cauza zapezii, evident.
Dupa ce au trecut pe acolo lamele ‘de la centru’ – banuiesc ca s-a intamplat si chestia asta, sunt ceva urme extrem de vagi, interesele ‘profesiilor liberale’ care stapanesc locul s-au manifestat din plin. Din nevoia de a elibera cat mai multe locuri parcangii au inceput sa mute zapada de colo colo. Si cum nu-i controleaza nimeni au ajuns la concluzia, fireasca pentru ei, ca cel mai bun loc pentru a depozita zapada care ii incurca este… ati ghicit, exact ‘suprafata carosabila’ proapat eliberata de lamele trimise de la centru.

O sa ma intrebati acum de ce nu trimite centrul ala si vreo doua trei ‘organe de ordine’….

Si de ce, ma rog, ar trebui sa trimita centrul niste alte ‘organe’?. Cele care au in sarcina mentinerea ordinii din jurul Tribunalului ce pazesc?

 

Growing in a communist country, Romania, I was ‘exposed’, naturally, to all sorts of communist propaganda. ‘Embedded’ in almost everything.
One ‘sugar coating’ that was very popular among the apparatchiks of the day was ‘crime novels’. ‘James Bond’-like  ‘literature’ which was supposed to educate us, ordinary citizens  who could almost never get an exit visa to go to a ‘capitalist’ country,  about the perils ‘our’ trading agents/diplomatic personnel had to ‘negotiate’ when sent abroad to ‘serve the country’.
The most publicized ‘peril’ being the ‘prostitute trap’. Supposedly the ‘pure’ communist was trapped by a skillful prostitute into believing she was heavily enamoured  of him and then lured to an apartment were the couple would be filmed while ‘consummating’  their new found passion. Later, of course, the recording would have been used to exert pressure in order to influence the hapless fool into betraying his country.

The recent articles regarding ‘the art of kompromat’ tend to suggest that those ‘novels’ were nothing but yet another example of a wolf crying wolf… but who knows…

Fast forward to our times.

Is there anything clear in all this?

And no, I’m not wondering whether there is an actual tape of Trump ‘frolicking in bed’ with anybody. Even if it exists, it is well guarded. After all, such a tape is way more valuable as long as it is hidden away than when out in the open. The threat to reveal it works only as long as nobody else but the black-mailer and the victim know about its existence.

Then why all this brouhaha?

A preemptive strike meant to dull the effect of Putin actually publishing such a tape?
Putin trying to ‘soften up’ his intended target?
But what is Putin’s goal? He cannot dream of ‘controlling’ the President of the United States. Even when that position is fulfilled by someone like Trump… The actions of any POTUS are so public that any influence would very soon become apparent, on one side, and Trump, himself, is a very ‘unreliable’ person to start with.

But what if Putin has another, and way more insidious, goal?

What if he wants to compromise the very concept of democratic elections?
To ‘demonstrate’ to us that ‘the public’ is (has become?) incapable of electing a good man to lead it to the future?

Well… the problem with ‘kompromat’ is that it has to be tailored to its intended victim.
Just imagine what effect would have had a tape depicting Obama in bed with someone else but Michelle. Who would have believed such a thing?
But Obama was, to a degree at least – as Trump had very astutely estimated, vulnerable to a campaign focused on his birth certificate. We all know what kind of ‘passion’ the birthers have managed to instill into some of the die-hard conservatives.
And we should not forget that Trump had started his political life as a friend of the Clintons. His words, “that Hillary Clinton ‘had no choice’ but come to his third wedding“, are now world famous…

Now, bearing all these in mind, shouldn’t we ask ourselves how farfetched is Putin’s project of destroying our faith in democracy? Using ourselves as minions?

After all, Trump was elected democratically!

And do you remember those discussions about the US being intended as a Republic by the forefathers, and not as a Democracy? Or Orban’s – Hungary’s authoritarian prime minister, one of Putin’s close political friends, concept of ‘illiberal democracy‘?

“I voted for Trump because I think his illiberal tendencies are actually a feature rather than a bug. When he undermines rule of law, I see not a danger, but someone who is undermining a system that has become a game for elites with access to armies of lawyers. When he browbeats Congress, I don’t worry about “checks and balances” which have become a recipe for dysfunction, but rather see him as a man taking on useless political prostitutes servicing everyone who can write a sufficiently large campaign check. When he strong-arms multinational companies like Carrier, I see someone standing up to the worst aspects of globalization.”

Who built the world as it is right now? The one where the young adult who wrote the words quoted above, had grown up into and was modeled by?

We did it? With both its good-s and its bad-s?

It is us who kompromised it?
Then it is us who’ll have to fix it!
Or we’ll have to endure the yoke the likes of Putin and/or Trump will undoubtedly try to put on our shoulders.

 

 

Ieri Bucurestiul a fost aproape blocat.
De zapada, de masini…

Astazi, ca prin minune, la prima ora de varf – atunci cand toata lumea merge la slujba – strazile erau destul de bine curatate de zapada. Si GOALE. Mai goale chiar decat vara, atunci cand toata lumea e plecata in concediu.

Am avut nevoie de vreo cinci minute sa imi dau seama ce se intampla.

Pentru mine e simplu, imi duc nevasta la munca dar nu am nevoie sa parchez in centrul orasului. Marea majoritate a celor cu care ne intalnim in fiecare dimineata nu se bucura de luxul acesta. Au nevoie de locuri de parcare. Si cum acestea sunt acoperite de zapada… au fost siliti sa isi lase masinile acasa.
Au putut face acest lucru si pentru ca nu au fost nevoiti, ca de obicei, sa isi duca copiii la scoala – acestea fiind ‘inchise pe caz de iarna’.

Ce intelegem de aici?
Ca ar trebui curatate locurile de parcare din centru?

Pe termen scurt, da.

Pe termen lung ar trebui sa pricepem o data ca mare parte din aglomeratia din Bucuresti e produsa de faptul ca multi oameni isi duc copii, cu masinile, la scoli/gradinite/crese relativ departe de casa. Si ca alti multi oameni merg cu masinile la serviciu pentru ca transportul in comun nu este suficient de comod.
Cu alte cuvinte, daca vrem sa scapam de aglomeratie ar trebui sa facem in asa fel incat sa avem scoli, gradinite si crese BUNE in toate cartierele si un transport in comun cu adevarat civilizat.

Banalitati?
Si daca sunt ‘banalitati’ atunci de ce nu le intalnim pe toate drumurile?!?

E o mare diferenta intre zapada socialista si cea liberala.
Degeaba sunt oamenii suparati pe Vranceanu-Firea. Nu este ea de vina pentru ce se intampla acum pe strazile din Bucuresti.
Socialismul, prin firea lucrurilor, este mult mai ‘centralist’ decat liberalismul.
De aceea este si votat de cei care prefera sa fie indrumati de la centru in loc sa isi asume responsabilitatea pentru soarta lor.
Exact asta este si diferenta majora intre cele doua feluri de zapada.
Atunci cand cade zapada liberala fiecare isi ia lopata din dotare si incepe de bunavoie sa o foloseasca.
Daca zapada este de tip socialist atunci oamenii asteapta sa li se spuna de la centru cand sa se apuce de treaba, unde sa faca curat si ce sa faca cu zapada.
Si cum oameni sunt multi dar centrul este numai unu… dureaza mai mult …

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Mai multe ‘amanunte’ aici:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/96491037@N07/albums/72157675333482393

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