Doar pentru că așa sună o „vorbă din bătrâni”?

Religia, fiecare dintre ele și toate împreună, poate fi definită în multe feluri.
Iată două variante. Atât de diferite încât par a nu avea mare lucru în comun.

Un set de credințe, promovat de elită și acceptat de mase, care oferă maselor de credincioși un oarecare confort spiritual și elitei posibilitatea de a duce masele acolo unde vor ele.

Acolo unde vor elitele, bineînțeles….

Sau

‘Religia este ceva care oferă oamenilor capacitatea de a face, împreună, lucruri imposibil de făcut de unul singur’.

David Sloan Wilson, Darwin’s Cathedral, 2002

Dacă ne îndepărtăm un pic – cu ochii minții, distanța dintre cele doua definiții e doar în capul nostru. Amândouă sunt la fel de valabile, în același timp.
Singurul lucru care contează cu adevărat este direcția în care încearcă elitele să îndrepte masele… sau, în termenii celei de a doua definiții, ce se apucă oamenii să facă împreună.

NB, elitele sunt trecătoare – chiar dacă niciodată n-au fost conștiente de chestia asta, iar însăși supraviețuirea oamenilor este influențată decisiv de ceea ce fac. Sau îngăduie să fie făcut.

Hai să discutăm și ceva practic.
„Împreună” are și o dimensiune temporală.
Ar fi de-a dreptul imposibil să ne descurcăm în prezent fără să folosim moștenirea primită de la predecesorii noștri. Și nu mă refer doar la cea materială… Cum ar fi dacă ar trebui să reinventăm, fiecare generație, roata? Sau apa caldă?

Le avem deja?
Și le prețuim atât de mult încât au devenit banale? Pentru unii dintre noi….

Se pare că la fel de banale au devenit, printre altele, Cazinoul din Constanța

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și Cetatea Brașovului.
Pentru cei care nu sunt la curent, Cetatea Brașovului este închisă de vreo trei ani.

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Iar cei care au mai intrat susțin că cetatea e în mare suferință.

Până acum a fost vorba despre ‘moștenirea materială’.
„3.892 de şcoli şi grădiniţe NU au autorizaţie privind securitatea la incendiu” și „la nivel naţional, aproximativ 4.000 de unităţi de învăţământ nu au avize sanitare, ceea ce „înseamnă că sute de mii de elevi vor începe anul şcolar într-o clădire fără apă curentă sau potabilă, fără toalete – aproximativ 2.300 de şcoli au toalete în curte -, cu risc crescut la cutremure, cu mobilier vechi sau neadecvat actului de studiu sau chiar fără gard”

Ca să nu fie discriminare… dacă tot ne batem joc de moștenirea materială… cine s-o mai prețuiască pe cea spirituală?
Cine să-și mai aducă aminte de conceptul că noua generație trebuie pregătită pentru a prelua ștafeta? Dacă vrem măcar ca lucrurile să rămână la același nivel…

Pe de altă parte, BOR se pregătește ca pe 27 Noiembrie să sfințească Catedrala Mântuirii Neamului.
Foarte bine. În sfârșit, un proiect național dus la bun sfârșit. Ar trebui să ne mândrim cu chestia asta.
Pai da, numai că BOR – beneficiarul direct, a pus jos doar 20% din cele 102 milioane de euro cheltuite până acum pe acest proiect. Restul au venit din bugete publice. Al statului, al Bucureștiului, al sectorului 1. Și mai urmează… încă cel puțin 24 de milioane, tot de euro. Tot din bugetul public.
Adică exact din bugetul ala care ar fi trebuit să aibe grijă de ‘moștenirea materială și spirituală a țării’. De monumentele care stau să cadă și de copiii care învață în condiții insalubre.

Și uite-așa, circular, ne întoarcem la ce spuneau bătrânii…
„Să stam strâmb ca să judecăm drept!”

Adică ‘Dacă vrem să înțelegem ce e în capul unora, trebuie să ne punem în poziția lor.’
Chiar dacă e strâmbă!
Ne-ndreptăm noi după aia. Dac-om mai fi în stare, bineînțeles…

Dar, până la urmă, chiar ne interesează ce e în capul lor?
Care sunt motivele care îi mână?

Sau ne dăm odată seama că am ajuns deja pe căstăi? Adică în bălării?

Și ne apucăm, cu toții – adică „împreună”, să readucem căruța pe drumul ei firesc?

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At any given moment, things are the intersection between ‘what could have been’ and ‘what we wanted out of that situation’.

It’s obvious, for even the most careless observer, that something must be possible before our wishes might start shaping that something.

My point being that we are not necessary for nature to exist but we do bear the responsibility for what has happened since we started to wish.

Let’s consider a hydroelectric dam, for example.
For us to be able to build one, we first need a river. A big enough one, flowing through a certain configuration of terrain… but nevertheless, we need a river. Before everything else.
Yet it’s not the presence of the river which is responsible for the existence of the dam. We, the builders, have built it. We are responsible for it.

And this is valid for other things too, not only for the ‘material’ ones.

Democracy, for example.

War taught us that destruction is not inevitable. Wars have to be started before destruction begins.
After killing each-other for long enough we’ve learned that we’re not so different.
We bleed the same kind of blood and our mothers weep the same tears.
Eventually, we replaced war with sport.

History taught us that democracy works better, in the longer run, than authoritarianism.
That observing the world from multiple perspectives – and pooling the data, leads to way better results than meekly following orders.

Both war and sports are ample demonstrations that winning is temporary and surviving trumps everything else.
And, contrary to our ‘immediate urges’, that fair play goes a lot further towards survival than ‘winning at all costs’.

Similarly, both surviving and decaying/crumbled down democracies are compelling proof that democracy is based on mutual respect between the members of the democratically self governed community.
And that when ever that mutual respect starts to vanish, democracy – the real thing, starts to fade. Usually into ‘mob rule‘. And further, if the process is allowed to continue.

So.
What’s gonna be?
Are we going to allow our craving for ‘success’ to return sport to blood sport? A.k.a war?
And to demote functional democracy, oriented towards the survival of the community as a whole, to mob rule?
Declaratively geared – by the interested party, towards the putative survival of the ‘establishment’? Never, as yet, achieved even on the medium term… let alone the long one

Au început cu homosexualii.
Am tăcut din gură. Pentru că nu eram homosexual.

Apoi le-au luat pe femei.
Nici femeie nu eram, așa ca am continuat să tac.

Apoi au venit după noi.
După toți ceilalți care eram diferiți de ei.

Nu mai era nimeni care să mai spună ceva.

Adaptare dupa Martin Niemoeller.

Cine sunt ei?

Sunt doi ei.
Nu-s chiar atât de diferiți, cu toate că unii sunt mulți iar ceilalți, puținii, se cred mult mai deștepți decât primii… Las-că și cei mulți se uită-n gura celor din a doua categorie de parcă s-ar aștepta să iasă de-acolo doar porumbei de-ai păcii…

Îi unește credința în puterea turmei. Cei mulți cred că dacă stau cuminți în țarc vor fi feriți de lupul cel rău iar cei puțini cred că, prin înțărcuire, mulțimea poate fi convinsă să credă orice și să asculte orbește.

Îi mai unește și o anumită ignoranță. Istorică!
Nici una dintre tabere nu reușește să-și aducă aminte că toate turmele ajung, inevitabil, la abator și că cel care taie găina cu oua de aur sfârșește prin a-și baga unghia-n gât.

Pentru a nu stiu câta oară, am găsit o mașină parcată în fața garajului.
Stau lângă o grădiniță… dimineața și spre seară n-ai unde să parchezi o bicicletă … pănă la urmă nici nu poți să te superi prea tare pe ei… mai ales că nu stă nimeni mai mult de 10 minute… se grăbesc la slujbă sau să-și ducă copiii acasă.
Muncitorii care lucrează în curtea de alături mi-au spus ca mașina era acolo de cel puțin o oră. Și că o mai văzuseră lăsată în același loc.

Peste alte 30 de minute, m-am dus la chioșcul din colț să cumpăr niște ouă.
Când m-am întors, cineva tocmai descuia ușa din dreptul șoferului.

– Nu vă supărați, dumneavoastră ce-ați face dacă v-ați găsi garajul blocat?
– Imi cer scuze, nu mi-am dat seama!

Pe ușă – din tablă albastră și decupată din zid,  e un semn mare, cu roșu:

„Nu Parcați, Garaj!”

– Nu v-ați dat seama că ăsta e garaj?!?
– Nu! Nu mi-am dat seama că am întârziat!!!!

Nici măcar nu era blondă…. și nici n-avea vre-un copil cu ea!

Things consist of what makes them what they are.
These very constituents impose upon things their definitive limits.

Take life, for instance. It’s exactly that which makes the difference between a collection of inanimate chemical substances and a living organism which leads to its eventual demise.

Or our skeletons. And all our organs. They make us what we are and, simultaneously, set the limits of our existence.
Each of us can grow only that high, eat and drink only that much, sprint only that fast and live only that long.

Take our brains.
That’s what we think with. And we make errors with.
That we remember and forget with.
That we love and hate with.
That makes us aware of some things and leave so many others out of our knowledge.

That is capable to understand the nature of our limits and, too often, chooses to ignore that opportunity.

Present owes just as much to Reaction, if not more, as it does to Revolution
Ilie Badescu, PhD.

Newton had noticed  that everything, no matter how ‘inanimate’, reacts whenever ‘prodded’. And, maybe even more importantly, that the reaction is exactly balances the ‘prodding’.
Provided that the ‘prodding’ doesn’t actually ‘destroy’ the ‘target’, of course. But even then, some ‘reaction’ is always exerted against the ‘intruder’.
Walking, for instance. Whenever we walk on tarmac, our weight is fully supported by the pavement. When walking on dry, fine sand, our feet leave an impression. Our weight is eventually counterbalanced but not before some local ‘readjustments’ have been made. Finally, when walking in knee deep water, our feet completely ‘destroy’ the layer of liquid before reaching the ‘terra firma’ below. But not without having been met by some hydrodynamic resistance – which is far greater than the aerodynamic one we constantly overcome when walking on dry land.

Darwin had noticed that species either evolve – and survive, or ‘go under’ whenever something changes in the environment they had been accustomed to.
It’s a no brainer to remark that here the reaction is no longer as instantaneous nor as ‘equally opposed’ as in the first case.

Since Berger and Luckman’s The Social Construction of Reality it is tacitly accepted that our fate is heavily influenced by our actions.
Some of those inclined to entertain religious beliefs will now add that it is our actions which take us to hell or to heaven but since there have always been some ‘misunderstandings’ between the various currents …
Anyway.
My point is that in this third case, each specific ‘reaction’ is actively shaped by the individual ‘reactionary’. According to their own projections of the future, to the prevailing, socially adopted and individually internalized, rules and to the individual understanding of the until then discovered ‘natural laws’.

And that our future, as a species/civilization, is being shaped now.
By us.
Using whatever cultural heritage our ancestors have left us and, maybe more important, according to our limited understanding of the world.
And according to our wishes, of course.

It will be our children who will bear the brunt of our current decisions.

I just finished reading an excellent article about AI.

And it hit me.

We are simultaneously capable of noticing our limits and utterly incapable of dealing with them.

Well… if you think of it, this is the very definition of a ‘limit’.
Something which cannot be overcome…

We have a limited understanding of the world, we know this and yet we’re arrogant enough to embark on building  autonomous mechanisms to help us react to something we haven’t yet fully understood ourselves…

Archimedes was famous for “give me a place to stand, and a lever long enough, and I’ll move the Earth”.
Robert K Merton warned us about the ‘Law of the unintended consequences’.
The last financial melt down was yet another proof of what happens when highly leveraged instruments are used without any shred of ‘modesty’.
All major religions warn us about the consequences of building our own idols.

Despite all this, we barrel on.
Regardless.

Trump vehemently denies any collusion with Putin’s troll-farms.

And almost all people, implicitly and/or explicitly, accept that the troll-farms had, or at least attempted to have, a certain influence over the American electoral process in 2016.

Does Putin actually control Trump? Did Putin ever imagined that he could control Trump while in office?
That would have been extremely naive… Trump may be influenced – like all other people, but he is a lot harder to control than most of us. Even by himself…
On the other hand, the ‘checks and balances’ are still in place and makes it almost impossible for a foreign agent to exert a sizable influence over the US Government.

Directly, that is…

The particular configuration of the American political spectrum in 2016 had been a huge opportunity for Putin.
He needs to convince those who support him, both inside and outside Russia, that he is a ‘shrewd operator’ and that Russia still belongs to the big boys table.
Meddling into the 2016 presidential campaign accomplished both Putin’s goals.

Maybe another investigation but Mueller’s is in order.
What possessed both major US political parties to nominate such candidates?
Which had so many skeletons in their closets for ‘shrewd operators’ to unearth?

“Capitalism has generated massive wealth for some, but it’s devastated the planet and has failed to improve human well-being at scale.”

Drew Hansen, Unless It Changes, Capitalism Will Starve Humanity by 2050,
Forbes, feb. 9, 2016.

I’m afraid we are dealing with a huge confusion.
Capitalism hasn’t generated anything and hasn’t starved, nor fed, anybody.
People did!

Capitalism is nothing more, nor less, than a particular manner in which we, ‘the people’, relate to property while ‘the free market’ is one of the manners in which economies are run.

And here’s the place where things become ‘murky’.

‘Oekonomia’ is Greek for ‘making ends meet’.

“The annual labour of every nation is the fund which originally supplies it with all the necessaries and conveniencies of life which it annually consumes, and which consist always either in the immediate produce of that labour, or in what is purchased with that produce from other nations.

According therefore, as this produce, or what is purchased with it, bears a greater or smaller proportion to the number of those who are to consume it, the nation will be better or worse supplied with all the necessaries and conveniencies for which it has occasion.

Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, 1776

The way I read it, Smith sees ‘wealth’ as people’s/nation’s ability to supply for their ‘necessaries and conveniencies’.
In other words, ‘to make ends meet’.

How we define our needs, the manner in which we choose to fulfill them and what we are disposed to ‘spend’ in the process… is our responsibility.

So.
What is it that we need/want?
A healthy planet? Clean air/water/soil and a fair opportunity for each of us to earn their keep?

Or a dog eats dog type of contest for ‘who has the biggest pile of money’?

Capitalism can encompass both.

Unfortunately, the second scenario has nothing to do with ‘making ends meet’.
On the contrary!

In Nature, ‘evil’ is suicidal.

‘Evolution is not about the survival of the fittest but about the demise of the unfit’.

Ernst Mayr, What Evolution Is, 1964.

In ‘social’, a sub-domain of Nature, Evil has to be weeded out. By us.
For no other reason than here it is us who determine what is evil or not. By honestly assessing how detrimental that thing is to our own well being.

And we need to act diligently yet sparingly.
Diligently, lest we become engulfed by ‘weeds’.
And sparingly, lest we become evil ourselves.

“One of the main arguments for Durkheim’s theory is that since crime is found in all societies, it must be performing necessary functions otherwise it would disappear in an advanced society. (Hamlin, 2009). One of these necessary functions is social change. Crime is one of the most effective sources of social change in any society. When crime goes against social norms, eventually a society’s collective belief will transform thus bringing about social change. A prime example is the Anti-miscegenation laws in the United States that promoted racial segregation. As society progressed many people began violating the laws at the time until society reached a point where it was considered a norm for inter-racial relationships in society. Eventually racial segregation was abolished and in today’s society would violate social norms.One of the main arguments for Durkheim’s theory is that since crime is found in all societies, it must be performing necessary functions otherwise it would disappear in an advanced society. (Hamlin, 2009). One of these necessary functions is social change. Crime is one of the most effective sources of social change in any society. When crime goes against social norms, eventually a society’s collective belief will transform thus bringing about social change. A prime example is the Anti-miscegenation laws in the United States that promoted racial segregation. As society progressed many people began violating the laws at the time until society reached a point where it was considered a norm for inter-racial relationships in society. Eventually racial segregation was abolished and in today’s society would violate social norms.”

Mike Larsen, Durkheim: Crime serves a Social Function, 2012

 

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