Democratia reala este despre ce se intampla inainte de momentul votului.

Corectitudinea numaratorii depinde doar de cinstea celor din comisiile electorale iar comportamentul alesilor de caracterul cu care au venit de-acasa.
Daca alegatorii coopereaza eficient inainte de momentul votului – adica daca discuta deschis si civilizat,  daca practica o democratie autentica – atunci intreg procesul devine o incercare de a gasi solutii la problemele comunitatii.
Inaintea alegerilor sunt identificate problemele si propuse solutii, in timpul lor sunt selectati unii care par capabili sa duca la bun sfarsit acel set de solutii care pare mai potrivit iar dupa momentul electoral alesii se apuca de treaba, avand ca obiectiv principal indeplinirea programului. Urmand ca electoratul sa le multumeasca reinnoindu-le mandatul, in masura in care programul a fost indeplinit.

Daca suficient de multi dintre alegatori se lasa ‘aburiti’ de pescuitorii in ape tulburi atunci intreg procesul electoral degenereaza intr-un  concurs de manipulare in care se infrunta diversele tabere care se bat intre ele pentru ‘premiul cel mare’.

Accesul la resursele pe care le ofera ‘puterea’.

Iar alegatorii, toti – atat cei aburiti cat si cei care n-au fost in stare sa-i trezeasca pe primii, se vor trezi ca trebuie sa achite nota de plata pentru dezmăț.

 

For John Locke and his followers “what makes a person identical with herself over time is her remembering or being able to remember the events to which she was witness or agent.” (According mostly to the followers. What Locke actually said is something else, to which I’ll come back shortly)
Jesse Prinz has another opinion.

 

In this video Prinz seems to advocate that we maintain the continuity of our selves by sticking to a set of values. But this is only ‘skin deep’.
He didn’t actually say ‘what keeps us ‘together’ over time but ‘what people think that is ‘keeping us together’ as time passes’.
These two are not necessarily the same thing.
The way I see it memories are just the ‘resource’ from which our identity is continuously being built and the ‘values’ we stick to are the ‘blue-prints’ we use/update during the process but that the ‘driver’ behind all this is our self-awareness/free willing soul.
All three are interdependent.
As Locke observed, without our memories we would be like balloons drifting in a cloud of deep fog. We wouldn’t even be able to determine whether we were moving or not.
As Prinz said, without our values we’re like ships which have lost their ‘compass’.  Just imagine a boat sailing during a starless night or in a cloudy day. There are ways that experienced sailors can use to determine whether the ship is moving – relative to the surrounding water – but not even Black Beard nor Magellan would have been able to reach their destinations without ever seeing the Sun, some stars or using a compass.
Not to mention the fact, sorry Jesse, that without our memory we wouldn’t be able to remember today what set of values we had been using yesterday.
Finally, but not lastly, without our self-awareness/free willing soul we would be like perfectly sea-worthy ships which have been abandoned by their crews. Adrift in the middle of the sea, at the mercy of the elements. Elements themselves being not merciless but amoral…
 I’m sure that by now you have already figured out what I mean.
It is “we” that ‘compares’ and ‘considers’ things, that forms “ideas of identity and diversity”, that sees “anything to be in any place in any instant of time”, that is “sure” of anything (or not)… and so on and so forth…
Without this “we” no discussion about memory nor values would have ever been possible
Without memories the “we” would go ‘hungry’. Or nuts.
Without values the “we” would be ‘toothless’. Or antisocial/in jail.
And all these have already been mentioned, albeit in different terms, by both Humberto Maturana and Stephane Lupasco.
PS.
Don’t tell me that none of you have ever thought, however passingly, of the other meaning of ‘stool’.
ganditorul

 

Until not so long ago it was possible to buy unlimited coverage against the risks that scared you.
After things became too complicated and fraud a too widespread occurrence even the Lloyd’s gave up and started to introduce caps on insurance policies.
In fact Lloyd’s of London was the only place – that I knew of – where risk was understood, at least in part, in a ‘functionalist’ manner.
Risk is something that can be seen in two ways.
As yet another opportunity for making profit or something that has to be mitigated for the profit of the entire community.
Let me deal with the latter ‘option’ first.
Somehow I don’t buy it that Bismarck was primarily motivated by the well-being of the workers.
But what the German industrial barons of the day needed in order to catch up with the British ones – the Albion was the industrial power house of that time, o tempora…- was more and more people willing to leave the relative safety of the country-side and come to the city to work in the newly built factories.
In order to appreciate the huge difference between these two situations we must remember that in those times families were a lot larger than they are now and that their members used to help each other in times of need. But this could happen only if the members of the same family remained in close vicinity and worked on very flexible schedules – agriculture or family owned shops. You cannot go help your ailing mother if you work in shifts and live two hundred miles away from her.
So, in order to ‘lure’ more and more people out of the fields, and in a very short time, Bismarck had to offer them a ‘safety net’.
OK, let’s accept the idea that, maybe, there are some risks that the society, as a whole, should concern itself with.
But how to fulfill this ‘social need’?
How to identify which risks should be dealt with in a collective manner and which should be left alone. Then how to manage the whole process?
‘State-wide’ or through privately owned/operated initiatives?
Does it really matter?
I don’t think there is a universally valid recipe here.
The Bismarck’s social insurance system worked in Germany.
Lloyd’s has functioned almost seamlessly for 3 centuries. In England.
Both systems, one centered mostly on profit and the other on the safety of those who took part in it, worked because they spread out both the risks and the profits.
Current systems, where only the risks are being mutualized while the benefits tend to become more and more centralized – by ‘design‘, by corruption or both – are no longer functioning properly.
Take ‘Obama Care’, for instance. Most people, including Donald Trump, agree that something has to be done about ‘public health’ but the whole thing isn’t yet working properly.
Instead of fighting among ourselves on whether the state/government should have anything to do with risk management how about considering for a moment where our current infatuation with ‘profit‘ has brought us?

sf_filofteia_w180

Nascuta la inceputul veacului al XIII in Tarnovo – capitala imperiului romano-bulgar condus de fratii Petru si Asan.

Mama sa, despre care se crede ca ar fi fost de origine romana, moare pe vremea cand viitoarea sfanta era copila, dar nu inainte de a o invata pe fiica ei “dragostea de Dumnezeu si de aproa­pele, faptele de milostenie, rugaciunile si postul si alte virtuti care trebuie sa impodobeasca sufletul unui adevarat crestin

Dupa moartea mamei sale, Filofteia continua sa locuiasca in casa tatalui sau – care s-a recasatorit relativ repede – si sa se comporte asa cum a invatat de la mama sa: “traind mai mult pentru Hristos si pentru cei aflati in suferinta.

Comportament care se pare ca a iritat-o pe mama cea vitrega, ba chiar si pe tatal fetei: “acesta a urmarit-o ca sa vada ce face cu mancarea pe care trebuia sa i-o aduca la camp. Incredintandu-se ca o dadea celor lipsiti, s-a infuriat atat de tare, incat a scos securea pe care o purta la brau si a aruncat-o asupra fetei. A ranit-o grav la un picior, incat dupa putina vreme si-a dat sufletul in mana Ziditorului a toata faptura.

Filofteia ajunge sa fie considerata sfanta iar moastele sale, pentru a nu fi profanate de turcii care au ocupat Tarnovo, au fost adapostite la biserica Sf. Nicolae din Curtea de Arges.

In scurt timp Sfanta Filofteia devine “o adevarata ocrotitoare a Tarii Romanesti“.

Daca stai bine sa te gandesti chiar se potriveste.
O sfanta ucisa de chiar tatal ei – si nu de pagani, ca de obicei – din cauza zgarceniei – si nu din motive ‘religioase’, ca de obicei – ajunge sa fie considerata ocrotitoarea unei tari ai carei copii sunt lasati de izbeliste prin orfelinate, parasiti de parintii plecati la munca in strainatate si dispretuiti de guvernanti.

In realitate suntem cu totii vinovati de destinul copiiilor nostri.

NB, astazi este 7 Noiembrie, ziua in care este “pomenita” sfanta Filofteia.
A doua zi dupa Sf. Nicolae.

 

Some people believe that “racial prejudice” is “the natural human inclination … to identity (sic) with members of one’s own tribe, race or ethnic group” and “Post-racial multiculturalism is the exact but equally extreme and insane opposite of Nazi racial ideology“.

Compare this to “Religion, which should foster sisterhood and brotherhood, which should encourage tolerance, respect, compassion, peace, reconciliation, caring and sharing, has far too frequently — perversely — done the opposite. Religion has fueled alienation and conflict and has exacerbated intolerance and injustice and oppression. Some of the ghastliest atrocities have happened and are happening in the name of religion. It need not be so if we can learn the obvious: that no religion can hope to have a monopoly on God, on goodness and virtue and truth“.

What’s going on here?

Where does all this ‘confusion’ come from?

Let me start from the ‘bottom’ of it.

“No religion can hope to have a monopoly on God, on goodness and virtue and truth”.

While I fully agree with Desmond Tutu on the gist of his words I must contradict him on something very important.

Religions cannot hope at all. About anything. Anyway you look at them. No matter which definition you use, religion – all of them – is something that people do together. A common effort.
It is the individuals who are the actual doers. Who love and hate. Or hope, in this case.
Who pretend that their religion is the only true one. Or understand, as Desmond Tutu did, that each religion is yet another manifestation of God.

“Religion has fueled alienation and conflict and has exacerbated intolerance and injustice and oppression.”

Again, it was individual ‘religious’ people who have done all of those things, not religion per se.
All sacred texts have been written by human people. I can even accept that the first manuscript of each religion was directly inspired by God. Only each of them have been copied a thousand times over. And heavily editated.
Then came the individual human people who have read those texts, interpreted them, passed them on and acted upon those interpretations. Upon their convictions, actually.

And this is how “Some of the ghastliest atrocities have happened and are happening in the name of religion”. Not because of ‘religion’ but ‘in the name of religion’.
Simply as a consequence of how certain people have chosen to interpret/use religious teachings.

And not only ‘religious’ teachings.

People are able to interpret – and use in their own (perceived) advantage, every bit of information that comes their way. And now, that we have started to understand more and more about how our brain is working, the manners in which we use that information have become more and more ‘convoluted’.

“Post-racial multiculturalism … began as an understandable overreaction to Nazi racial ideology…before being consolidated by academics into an instrument of socio-political intimidation, rewards, punishments, manipulation and control, a modern, secular replacement for the power-political role of medieval church ideology.”

So.
It was the academics/priests who have done the damage. Not their religion nor the information they had at their disposal.

But why?
How come people whose religions – all of them do this – are adamant about ‘respect your neighbor’ become involved in wars?  Sometimes even in ‘religious’ wars ….
How come academics, whose very job are to teach their students to think autonomously, use their ‘rank’ in order to subdue ‘their’ file?

Could the religious warriors have something in common with the intransigent academics?

How them sharing the unbreakable conviction that they own the truth?
Forged inside the ‘echo-chambers’ where they have grouped themselves according to their specific beliefs? (No matter whether those beliefs are of a religious or ‘rational’ nature…)

Only after I had reached this point in my discourse I was able to fully appreciate Desmond Tutu’s words: ‘Religion … should encourage tolerance, respect, compassion, peace, reconciliation, caring and sharing’.

He doesn’t say anything about giving up on your own kind.
Or about leaving your roots behind.

All he actually says is ‘Be very careful. If all of you will accept to see only the same side of things you will become a herd. And while there is indeed ‘safety in numbers’ all herd members are ultimately headed for the abattoir’.

Diversity isn’t something to be forcefully, hence falsely, celebrated. Or imposed on others.

What we need to preserve, and celebrate, is our ability to ‘walk around’ the things that we encounter. To entertain, and discuss among ourselves, different – even conflictingly different – versions of what we see around us. This ability would only enhance our chances to solve the problems we’ll certainly be faced with.

‘Culture’ is nothing but layer upon layer of place-specific information which have accumulated in time while ‘religion’ is how a certain group of people have learned, again in time, to cooperate in a certain environment.
It doesn’t matter whether that ‘environment’ has been created by a God, has evolved according to Darwin’s theory or both.
What really matters is how we react – conditioned by our cultures and by our religious upbringing – to what is happening to us. Both individually and collectively.

In this sense, each culture we manage to preserve will only add to our chances of long term survival. As long as we’ll learn to sincerely respect each-other, of course.
Again, both individually and collectively.

PS.
A comment on my FB wall, “True religion is God entering history and the lives of humans and revealing Himself. All other religions are man’s attempt to explain the world around him in terms of god or attempts to control lots of other people in the name of some god“, helped me to understand that “There is ‘religion’ – the shared attitude that helps us to cooperate, and there are religions – specific ways that individual communities have traveled in order to attain that attitude.
And something else. What if ‘God entering history’ and enough of us reaching the shared understanding that it is far better to cooperate amongst us – love thy neighbor – than to fight each-other are the same thing?
How to put this understanding into practice? In the various, and continuously changing, circumstances we have to face?

How about this being the very reason for us having so many religions/cultures?

People are very passionate when discussing about their future and their rights.
As they should be.

Children are a very strong ‘avatar’ for our future while the rights to live and to freely dispose of our bodies two of the most important rights.

And this is where things get really complicated.

Some people advocate mandatory vaccination against the most dangerous diseases.
Some people advocate women’s absolute freedom to have an abortion – a few of them extending this right up to the last moment of the pregnancy.

Other people believe that vaccines are mostly benefiting the big pharma and choose not to immunize their children.
Other people believe in the absolute right of the fetus to live – so much so that some of them would even ban all contraceptive methods.

The ‘interesting’ thing here is how this four categories of people intersect each-other.

A lot of the people who advocate women’s right to have abortions also advocate the mandatory vaccination of children while a lot of people who consider abortion a mortal sin also consider vaccination to be inspired by the devil.

Now let me get this straight.
You have the right to ‘kill’ your baby inside the womb but you should not be allowed to let them die of a preventable infectious disease?
You are to defend a fetus, at all costs and against all consequences for the mother, as long as they inhabit the womb only to let them catch whatever preventable infectious disease might come across their path?

Consistency is over-rated?

We really need to restart using our common sense?

gambit noun [C] (CLEVER ACTION)

– a clever action in a game or other situation that is intended to achieve an advantage and usually involves taking a risk:

 – specialized games a way of beginning a game of chess, in which you intentionally lose a pawn (= game piece) in order to win some other form of advantage later

I borrowed this definition from Cambridge Dictionary, the on-line version.
You have already noticed, I’m sure, the accent on cleverness, the ‘intent to achieve an advantage’ and the relative downplay of the risk that is only ‘usually’ involved.

A more nuanced definition of the concept would mention that the person who uses this tactical maneuver has to get out of their psychological  comfort zone in order to perform it properly.
The whole thing involves offering a valuable bait which, once taken, might produce consequences favorable to the party that is ‘spending’ it.
Since the favorable consequences are not sure – otherwise it would have been a bribe, not a gambit – but the expenditure is certain the guy who initiates this has to thread very carefully. Hence the need for the bait to be really valuable. Valuable enough for the taker to take it and valuable enough so the giver would be really careful when performing the maneuver.

We have witnessed three gambits in close succession.

Britain’s David Cameron promised a Brexit referendum in an attempt to win the 2015 general election. He won the election but lost the referendum.

Quite a large number of Americans, fed up with what has been going on in their country, have pinched their noses and elected Trump into the Oval Office. The deal is not going exactly as they have planned it – Clinton is not going to be charged, the ‘swamp’ is more likely being repopulated rather than drained in earnest – but the jury is still out on this one.

Italy’s Matteo Renzi tried to cash in on his popularity and stream-line the constitution – a move which would have given more powers to the central administration. He has just lost the referendum, is about to resign – as promised and his losing the gambit has opened a wide venue for the opposition 5 Stars Movement led by a comedian – Beppe Grillo.

Need a moral to this?
Gambit works fine when playing chess. That’s a special kind of game where all the pertinent information is out there on the table and the sole variable is the opponent’s mind/will.

Real life, a.k.a. politics, is a completely different game. There are lots of stakeholders, instead of the two chess players, while most of the pertinent information is jealously guarded by each of the stake-holders – along with most of their real intentions.

If we add here the ‘detachment’ of the players – Trump and Cameron are both independently wealthy while Renzi is rather inexperienced – we’ll soon arrive at the conclusion that we’d be better off with some unadventurous, bland even, politicians.

Tallow = “the white nearly tasteless solid rendered fat of cattle and sheep used chiefly in soap, candles, and lubricants“.

bite-the-bullet

The mutiny (India, 1857) broke out in the Bengal army because it was only in the military sphere that Indians were organized. The pretext for revolt was the introduction of the new Enfield rifle. To load it, the sepoys had to bite off the ends of lubricated cartridges. A rumour spread among the sepoys that the grease used to lubricate the cartridges was a mixture of pigs’ and cows’ lard; thus, to have oral contact with it was an insult to both Muslims and Hindus. There is no conclusive evidence that either of these materials was actually used on any of the cartridges in question. However, the perception that the cartridges were tainted added to the larger suspicion that the British were trying to undermine Indian traditional society. For their part, the British did not pay enough attention to the growing level of sepoy discontent.

tallowed-five-pounder

The new £5 notes contain tallow, a substance made from animal fat Credit: AP

“…a trace of tallow in the polymer pellets used in the base substrate of the polymer…”
“As the tweet was shared, social media users expressed their disgust at the news.
“New £5 note isn’t vegan. Was everyone’s 2016 New Year’s resolution to do ridiculously insane stuff like adding meat to money?” “

What are we to learn from these two (separate ?!?) incidents?

That we have not yet learned how, or when, to use tallow?

Or that we have reached, again, such a level of generalized discontent that people might use whatever plausible pretext in order to vent their accumulated grievances?

Acuma, dupa ce ‘Cumintenia Pamantului‘ s-a dus pe apa Sambetei, aveam nevoie de alte subiecte pentru a ne certa intre noi.

monument-monstru-din-bucuresti-body-image-1470818106-size_1000

Cam așa ar putea să arate monumentul din Piața Alba Iulia din București. Captură foto de site-ul sculptorului Ioan Bolborea.

 

Teoria si practica democratiei prevad, la unison, un schimb constant de informatie intre membrii comunitatii care practica acesta metoda de gestiune a treburilor publice.

in mod absolut normal, calitatea deciziilor adoptate, dmocratic, depinde in mod esential de onestitatea cu care sunt puse ‘pe piata’ informatiile care stau la baza acestor decizii.

Putem aborda subiectul in cheie ‘umoristica’:
“Poate ai văzut zilele astea pe Facebook că a circulat un filmuleț cu o nouă construcție care ar trebui făcută în Piața Alba Iulia din Capitală și care se cheamă „Monumentul Marii Uniri”. De fapt, va fi o sferă, mai exact o semisferă înaltă de 18 metri, ornată de sus până jos cu omuleți din bronz care țin mâinile întinse și se ating ca într-un fel de horă țărănească.
N-ai înțeles genialitatea ideii și mesajul pentru posteritate al viitorului monument? E clar: ești „zero la cultură”, ca și mine de altfel, după cum mi-a spus maestrul Ioan Bolborea, autorul operei.
Și, atenție, eu nici măcar nu am îndrăznit să-i spun că nu-mi place, ci doar că, deocamdată, nu am nicio părere. Hai să-ți explic acum ce este cu Monumentul Marii Uniri și ce șanse sunt chiar să se materializeze, fix în buricul Bucureștiului. (“Tot ce trebuie să știi despre sfera-monstru de 18 metri care poate ajunge în centrul Capitalei“)

“Pro-festivista”:
“Monumentul „Marea Unire” a trecut prin diverse transformări, artistul Ioan Bolborea căutând mereu perfecţiunea. După opt ani, din momentul în care  câştigat concursul organizat la nivel naţional, de la o lucrare în linii drepte, dure, monumentul „Marea Unire” s-a transformat într-o sferă, simbolul perfecţiunii şi, acum, al uniunii.” (“Monumentul Marii Uniri, de la Bucureşti, o lucrare de care România are nevoie“)

Sau chiar “Negationist-fundamentalista”:
“Brâncuşiul de serviciu de astăzi pare a fi domnul Ioan Bolborea. Iar propagandistul asiduu al său ar fi domnul Pavel Şuşară.
În Piaţa Alba Iulia a Bucureştilor, după monstruozităţile din faţa Teatrului Naţional, se pregăteşte o altă belea.
Care se pare că-i şi gata. Doar s-o pună acolo. O să fie sacrificată şi parcarea aceea generoasă de-acolo, când se va băga acolo meteoritul ăsta în formă de cozonac, garnisit cu serii de omuleţi, veniţi parcă dintr-o invazie cosmică?” (“Brancusiul de Serviciu“)

Din fericire, si spre disperarea ‘spin-doctorilor‘ care se dau peste cap incercand sa ne abureasca, calitatea acelor decizii – care determina in mod esential calitatea vietii noastre – depinde si de grija cu care noi, cei chemati sa adoptam, prin vot, acele decizii, analizam toate aceste mesaje – aruncate ca niste petarde in spatiul public de catre ‘specialistii in comunicare’ (a.k.a spin doctors) angajati de fiecare dintre taberele ‘concurente’.

Ca spin-doctorii nu prea isi dau seama ca atunci cand ne pacalesc pe noi isi taie si ei crengile de sub picioare… e treaba lor.
Ca noi ne uitam de parca am fi hipnotizati la toate circariile astea… e treaba noastra!

Tocmai mi-am adus aminte de un banc de pe vremea cealalta.

Cica Stalin se duce in vizita la un colhoz.
Se organizeza mare adunare populara in piata satului.
Stalin le vorbeste oamenilor despre greutatile pe care trebuie sa le rabde in timpul constuctiei socialismului pentru a se putea bucura mai apoi de binefacerile viitoare a comunismului.
Lumea aplauda frenetic.
Adunarea se incheie, Stalin – inconjurat de oameni, se indreapta spre masina.
Cand tocmai se pregatea sa se urce, o babushka din multime il roaga:
‘Iosif Visarionovici, eu sunt o baba proasta. N-am prea inteles care e deosebirea intre socialism si comunism. Mai explica-ne o data, sa putem pricepe si noi, taranii!”Uite bab-o. Capitalismul e ca praful asta de pe ulita iar comunismul e precum masina asta confortabila in care urmeaza sa ma urc eu acum. Iar socialismul e cum sunt eu acum, cu un picior in praf si altul in masina. Ai priceput?’
‘Acum am priceput maica, cum sa nu pricep daca ne-ai explicat atat de limpede.
Da’ mai am o intrebare. Mult o sa mai stam noi craciti asa?’

Cam asta ma intreb si eu.

Ne mai uitam mult in gurile astora sau incepem sa ne vedem si noi de treburile noastre?

NB.
Asta nu inseamna ca ar trebui sa nu mai citim nimic sau sa nu ne mai uitam la televizor.
Ar insemna sa ne orbim singuri. Tot ce trebuie sa facem este sa fim cu adevarat atenti atunci cand ne uitam la ceva.
Si, mai ales, sa gandim cu capetele noastre. Daca mai inghitim mult, si pe nemestecate, ce tot incearca astia sa ne bage pe gat, o sa ne ‘trezim’ abia la taiere. Precum gastele indopate.

turkey-taleb

Pentru sociologi, ‘religia’ este modul in care se aglutineaza ‘instinctul social’.
Sau, altfel spus, modul in care se manifesta ‘gravitatia’ care ii tine impreuna pe locuitorii unui anumit teritoriu – cunoscut de catre acestia sub numele de ‘tara’.

Din punct de vedere practic ritualurile prin care se manifesta fiecare dintre aceste ‘religii’ au importanta doar pentru cei care le savarsesc. Pentru sociologii despre care vorbeam la inceput, este mult mai important daca respectiva religie isi indeplineste menirea sau nu.

Cu alte cuvinte masura in care locuitorii unei tari se comporta ca niste ‘compatrioti’ sau ca niste oameni aflati intamplator intr-un acelasi tren.
Acolo unde trebuie sa se suporte unul pe altul o anumita perioada.
Cateva ore atunci cand vorbim despre un tren ‘clasic’ sau o viata intreaga…. Prea putin conteaza durata !

Singurul lucru important cu adevarat este modul in care ne comportam unul cu celalalt.
Si, in functie de asta, ce fel de viata ne facem unul altuia.

PS. Tocmai am terminat de citit un articol despre “Colectiv”.

Ziua in care mi s-a acrit de religia voastra!” de Ciprian Pardau.

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