Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category (feed)

Regarding Chauvinism

It rubs me the wrong way when people say “I’m proud that the XYZ place exists in my country” (e.g. a monument, or a natural place). Why would anyone be “proud” for something they had nothing to do with, is beyond me. For example, why would you be proud if Parthenon, or Santorini is in Greece, for example? You had nothing to do with either the building of the Parthenon, nor the volcano that created the Santorini island.

The correct vocabulary would be “I’m happy to live close by to such a place”. Anything more than that, is chauvinism at worse, or stupidity at best.

You get back what you put out

It’s funny seeing Redditors speaking of revolution in the comments of various political posts, in order to remove the oligarchy and increasing police/surveillance-state totalitarianism around the globe. However not one lifts their finger off their Minecraft distraction. They’re the worst of the sheep bunch: enlightened to the situation, but unable to overcome the system, because of their own personal limitations. They have reduced themselves into whining, or at best, to occasionally donating money to various activist causes (just as long they don’t have to do any heavy lifting).

My opinion is that a “revolution” is a waste of time. The root of the problem is not the evil oligarchy. It’s not even the monetary system, capitalism, banks, the Illuminati and what have you. These are just symptoms of the root cause.

The problem is the people themselves. They allowed to be sucked in into “wanting”, instead of searching for their true needs. They want a car, they want nice clothes, they want a nice, big house they can’t afford, they want this, they want that. They want everything, just like the people who control them from above. They’re mini-mes. They accept ridiculous jobs to achieve all this: lawyers, bankers, CEOs, or lower, donkey jobs for these types of people.

Not to mention the lowest of the lowest job, being a soldier. I have very litle compassion for soldiers who got themselves into killing others and following orders blindly. It’s better to sit your ass down and ask for food in the streets than become an active soldier. Same goes for police officers who are in the game for the control they can exercise when they’re given the opportunity, and not for the protection of their fellow citizens.

Starting revolutions is futile. Look at Egypt: they overthrow one government, only to overthrow the new one again a few months later. This is because it’s the people who can’t find balance in their life. The various government leaders are just a mirror of their people (including non-elected ones, as in the North Korea dire situation).

As a Greek, I’ve been telling my Greek friends the same thing about their situation, but they only resist that idea. It’s always someone else’s fault, isn’t it? It’s so much easier this way. So much more convenient. Let’s create a lie and a bubble around ourselves, just so we appear immaculate, while “the government” gets all the blame.

To change the world, you have to first change yourself.

If the majority was to decide to leave the cities, find a small community in the country and work the land in a sustainable & clean manner, that would be progress (aka permaculture). Don’t buy almost ANYTHING that corporations create. Grow your own organic food, wear second-hand clothes, use second-hand tools, recycle as much as possible, create your own, local, small-scale companies run by the people, stop watching false entertainment. Do business only with business of that type elsewhere. Don’t send your children to become police officers, military, or otherwise a control organ. If 50% of the people were able to do these things, then within 4-5 years there wouldn’t be any government, oligarchy, or corporations. And yet, there would still be a sustainable life, and order, without the need for these forces.

If you aren’t prepared to sacrifice your city life and its luxuries, a city life that entails a consumerist, slave life, built on top of the sweat and tears of other slave workers from the East, then you don’t deserve a better government. You get back, what you put out.

If all you want is “want, want, want”, then you have to give in order to get. And in this case, it’s not money they want, but your obedience and control. The Federal Reserve can print/create out of thin air as much money as it wants, do you think that the oligarchy wants your tax and shopping dollars? It was never about money, it was always about Power. Power, to feed their ego.

The only way to stop feeding their ego, is to lose your own ego. Then, their ego will have no egos left to fight, or control. Their house of cards will fall naturally, without any marching revolution, or much fanfare. It would be seen as a natural evolution of both our societal system, and our collective consciousness.

Now, some people would argue that this Gandhi system would never work, or that the hippie system failed in the ’60s. This plan would only fail if it doesn’t get enough momentum for long-enough. Remember: if most people don’t want it, then they’d get what they deserve — it’s up to them! It’s never about “it works” or “it doesn’t work”, it’s about what people DO. How determined they are for true change, and how much compassion they can show to each other.

The hippie system failed because:
1. It had no plan.
2. It had no elders (which is different from “leaders”).
3. It had no cohesion and inter-connection.

Today, the Internet can fix all these problems. There are elders (philosophers, political scientists etc) who can communicate their advice, and the Internet can keep these communities close and cohesively. The plan is to simply partake only to community-oriented business, love and protect the land that feeds you, grow only organic food and pastured animals, use clean energy, live a peaceful life without violence.

If the Amish can do it with even fewer resources and more self-imposed restrictions, why can’t you?

Now, you’re probably thinking: even if this was to work, it could bring my country a century back in terms of technology, since most big corporations would fall. And to this, I reply to you: so what?

When we have crapped all over the place and have nearly destroyed everything around us, it’s beneficial to take a step back. Only when taking a step back we can retrace our steps of what went wrong, and move on with a more solid foundation. Besides, the knowledge won’t be lost. It will be still there, sitting in archives, waiting for us to reclaim it when we’re ready for it again. Additionally, such a new world would be a type of mixed advancements, it won’t be purely pre-industrial — there can still be cars, and a form of internet, for example, because during the course of this change, some old-style corporations will seek to transition to the new style, just so they can survive. Technology won’t go away, it will simply refocus.

But I can sense that this idea scares you even more than having to move to a farm. Don’t be scared. It’s the price to pay for 300 years of constant overindulging in resources, animals, and human lives. Someone has to pay for that, and that’s the human race, since it was the sole perpetrator. Besides, to get sling’ed into the future, you need to stretch back on the catapult for a while. The longer you stretch back, the further you will eventually reach.

The paradigm must shift with all of us. Fighting the existing paradigm will create a new one just like the one before it, since it’s a Hydra system. The game is rigged. The only way to win the game, is to step out of it.

Rebuttal of the Earth/Venus Project

I watched the 2nd and 3rd Zeitgeist movies last night on Netflix. They advocate the abolishment of capitalism and the monetary system, for a “resource-based economy” that is environmentally friendly and equal for all people.

So far, so good. Since I identify as a social-anarchist myself (in truth, I’m a centrist realistically-speaking, with social-anarchism being an ultimate goal for our species), the things mentioned in the documentary hit home with me. They spoke truth about the evils of the modern times.

But at the second part of the two documentaries the “Earth/Venus Projects” were mentioned (full documentary), which is about a technocratic, and rather utopian society (even if the creators of the project hate the word “utopia”). Nobody will have to work, machines will do our jobs, with only 3% of the population needed to maintain the machines (volunteers). It’s a society where there is no market, no State, since everything available is available to all, while more complex machines are time-shared (e.g. cars). Art is free, services are free & mechanized.

“Three Minutes to Nirvana”
My artwork about the journey humanity must take towards ascending into a higher state of being. Full explanation here.

As much as I would love such a society to exist, it can’t happen. It won’t work. Here’s only a two reasons why, out of thousand reasons:

First Point: The failures of community development

This is the biggest point: Machines don’t design themselves. Technology does not invent itself. We are not living in a Singularity, and as such, human engineers are required to design new robots to do specialized jobs. So if nobody is required to work, who the heck is going to design/redesign/fix these machines, or build new ones that are more advanced?

The obvious answer here is “community development”, similar to that found on the various Linux projects (especially since all source code and hardware designs will be free for all to dive into).

As the ex-editor in chief of who dealt with Linux and its surrounding projects on a daily basis for many years, I can tell you this: it’s not possible to maintain such level of complexity with community projects. The Linux ecosystem has shown that this does NOT WORK.

There is nothing as LARGE and cohesive as Android or iOS today, made by community development alone.

GNOME, KDE, Linux itself, is getting the vast majority of code fixes and updates from COMMERCIAL COMPANIES, not from volunteers (for example, GNOME had Red Hat behind it in his heyday before it fell from grace, KDE had SuSE, and Google is now the biggest contributor for the Linux kernel). The volunteers are here to just make half-assed contributions most of the time. There are VERY FEW independent developers who are super-serious in providing daily, serious work to their pet open-source project. The rest, reply to you when you report a bug like this: “look man, I do this in my free time. If you don’t like it, write the code yourself”.

And we all know the kind of quality we get from projects that don’t have a company, or strong leadership behind them: they’re buggy, they’re slow, they’re often difficult to use, incompatible, broken dependencies, don’t follow a standard UI/rules, and very often behind in technology. For example, The GIMP was supposed to have full 16bit editing in 2002, but 11 years later, it’s still in alpha/half-assed mode. Not to mention the slowness this app has compared to Photoshop…

The reason for all this is because community developers DO NOT WANT BOSSES OVER THEIR HEADS. They don’t want to listen to a product manager, and they don’t want to listen to a UI designer, and they don’t want to spend 3 weeks to debug a bug that’s difficult to track down (that’s how long it can take to trace a race condition). They want to add FEATURES. As it has been said many times in the last 10 years, when Linux was trying to make it to the desktop, that there’s no glory in fixing bugs. The glory is in new features. But the person who pays afterwards for the half-assness is the user.

So how the heck do the Zeitgeist people expect the community to work as cohesively, as driven, as focused, as a REAL COMPANY would? It can’t! Not when there are no de-facto leadership. Community-driven open source developement has shown that it can’t compete in quality and speed of development with most commercial companies! Again, don’t forget that I’m talking about 100% community development here, not open source projects where big corporations make the most contributions.

And not to mention that when people get pissed off about some code or some feature they don’t like, or because of some asshole in their team, THEY LEAVE and THEY FORK the code (which can create major incompatibilities, something that the Zeitgeist people fight against, since they advocate for full compatibility among the various technologies).

But that’s only half the story.

The other half is that the complexity of the technology advocated by the Zeitgeist guys is just TOO COMPLEX. To create something like Android, Google had to not only skyrocket the number of developers it employed, but they had to stand on the shoulders of OTHER SW and HW COMPANIES that create their own little thing that is part of the whole, and so on. It’s also of no surprise that Apple had to pull developers off Mac OS X and onto iOS. These things are complex! This is NOT 1967, where a CPU can be designed in a garage, by hand. This is an era where the complexity *requires* SPECIALIZATION (something that the documentary also thinks it’s evil).

I highly suggest you read an article by my husband, a Google Android engineer. But before you, Zeitgeist advocates, shut down my and his article just because he happens to work for Google, know this: JBQ is the “community” guy, responsible for the open sourcing of Android. He’s THE guy who has one foot inside Google, and one foot in COMMUNITY development. So he knows the story INSIDE-OUT. He knows how the WHOLE thing works.

This is his article about today’s technological complexity, please read it before continuiing reading this article.

There’s a reason why the LiMO and OpenMOKO failed, there’s a reason that the VERY FEW open source hardware efforts have failed EVEN more than software equivalents. The complexity is so high, that it requires perfect co-ordination with too many other aspects in the whole process! Something that can’t happen on the volunteer-basis, without at least SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY. Picking up another person’s code (if the original coder quit) is NOT EASY either! It can take MONTHS to get up to speed!

The point is, that without STRONG leadership (at multiple levels, for interoperability and building on top of other tech), complex work can not be done. Nature can teach us this same thing too. Think of ants, think of bees. These are among the few animals that create COMPLEX STRUCTURES. Oh, that’s right! These animals live under some extreme hierarchical rules, and they all have specialized JOBS. What does that tell you?

If the Zeitgeist people don’t agree with the above statements, it means that they have never worked in the SW or HW industry, and they simply talk out of their ass.

And after writing all this, we still haven’t mention medicine, and medical research, which is AS complex. Just because there won’t be patents and copyrights in such a utopia, doesn’t mean that NEW science can exist without massive amounts of work from vast amounts of people who work on schedule, and with specialization, and under a grand PLAN.

If this is not addressed, then within one generation, there won’t be people who would know how to operate, maintain or design new machines. Everything will just get old, unmaintained, and people will have fewer things than they had before. The system as described by the Venus/Earth project, will fail by natural decline, IF it worked at all.

Second Point: The jobs that no one wants to do and robots can’t do

In the documentary, we’re shown automated agriculture, veggies grown on skyscrapers and other such stuff. First of all, veggies that don’t touch the ground, just like humans and animals, become un-grounded from Earth’s EMF field, which makes them sick. But that’s just a kinda new point to the whole “health” puzzle.

So let me ask you this instead: Who the heck is going to milk and skin the cows? There’s no way to have pastured-raised cows (as they’re SUPPOSED to be, in an environmental- and animal-friendly society), and have robots chasing them all day long to milk them, or to kill them for food consumption. There are just too many variables in such a situation, that today’s robotic AI is not good-enough for it, because it’s not the same repetitive action they have to do all the time (you never know how a cow would react — these are all things that the AI must address).

Don’t forget that the documentary says that we have the required robotic technology TODAY to create such a utopia (in fact, the creator of the Venus Project was saying on TV in the 1970s that we already had the required technology back then, which is of course even more laughable). And as someone who has worked in the AI field, I’m telling you, that NO, WE DO NOT have the right technology for everything depicted. As demonstrated with the cow example above, our AI today is pretty dumb, and it would not be able to deal with wild cases. Self-driving cars (also shown in the documentary), won’t be ready for years to come either.

Or, are we’re supposed to be vegetarians in that utopian world of yours? Because you will get the meat and fish from me over my dead body. I didn’t spend 10 years being sick as a dog, just so I can eat wheat again, to kill me for good (wheat nearly killed me, EVEN if I’m NOT a celiac. The documentary proudly shows WHEAT in some of its shots!). The thing with wheat is that 95% of people are allergic to it, especially the unfermented US variety. People DO NOT know that they’re allergic to it, just because they’re not celiac. But brand new research in the last 2-3 years shows that wheat is POISON for EVERYBODY. It’s NOT a food we evolved with, it arrived with agriculture only 10,000 years ago. And yet, there we are, in a utopian society where we would have to eat wheat as a staple, and where animals are not even suggested as food (which is the food that we EVOLVED with).

The documentary talks about the psychology of today’s people, and how mentally ill they are because of how society runs. This is true. What is also true is that wheat is a huge factor on making people mentally sick. People who have gone to try the gluten-free Paleo-ketogenic diet (that includes offal, game, pastured-raised meat, greens, bone broth, animal fats, wild fish/shellfish, fewer carbs), had not only their auto-immune, inflammatory conditions reversed, but also their mental issues. So in a utopia where people are supposed to be healthy, the kind of foods we evolved with must be available. This is nowhere mentioned in the documentary, instead they take the WRONG approach of “whole grains”.

So, if the Venus/Earth Project is going to push such kinds of foods as grains, or vegetarianism, I can tell you right away: you can shove these projects in your ass. I prefer to live under today’s fascism, than eat wheat. Because even after living under fascism, I have BETTER CHANCES of living a healthy life, than in a utoprian society where I have to eat wheat and no WILD or PASTURED meat/fish (no farmed fish please). The 10 years of terrible health and pain I had before I went all-natural and hunter&gatherer-style diet are still too strong in my mind.

And not to mention that we would need hunters. The kind of meat available today in the US is laughable. It’s just cows, chicken and pork. Where’s horse? Where’s deer? Where’s antelope, wild sheep and wild goats? Where’s actual, real game and wild birds? These are foods that we EVOLVED with, so they should be part of the normal diet in a utopian world! These foods ARE utopia for me. So who the hell is going to go HUNT for everybody else (since everyone is supposed to have an equal share)? Or are you going to unleash robots for that too? Good luck with that.

So anyway, to go back to the point of robots chasing cows/hens in the field: we will need humans for these types of jobs. Until we reach singularity, there’s no way this kind of job can be done without humans. And I fail to see how someone would donate his/her time to get into dirt, and milk cows, and get farted upon by them. They won’t. Nobody would want to do such a job without some form of payment. Everyone would prefer to just “do art”, or maybe write some code, in the confy of their room.

A suggestion

In closing, I believe that maybe one day we will be close to such a system, but there will still be jobs and bosses. They have to. But instead of money, maybe the incentive should be “reputation points”. Instead of having pop-stars, in such a society, people who contribute the most become “star citizens”. Points would be equal for a cow-herder, and a doctor or scientist, as long as people who offer what it’s expected of them. So in my opinion, what is required is equality of job “payment”, not “no jobs” at all.

There is an ancient Greek saying: “Many people hated money, but no one hated glory“.

Maybe that’s the incentive required to have people do the needed work, almost daily, and under a somewhat strict management. Not money necessarily, but honor among peers.

Regarding Rampage Shootings

I wasn’t going to write why I believe these atrocities like the school shooting today happen all the time, *primarily* in the USA, but after some friends asked me to go ahead, and after seeing this thread on Reddit, I realized that my opinion might be shared with others too, and not be so outlandish after all. So in danger of alienating some of my readers, here is my theory.

First off, it’s not guns to blame. Guns are simply a tool in such cases. Making guns illegal would be useless to combat the causes, because the people who would want to use guns, they’ll find ways to acquire them. With the huge gun industry in the USA, incriminating or controlling gun ownership would be like trying to cut people off corn and corn fields. Good luck with that. Sure, regulating them will help, but it won’t treat the cause.

In my opinion, there are two driving reasons why these individuals jump the shark and start killing others en mass:

1. Artificial Societal Rules and Capitalism

The Western world (and especially the ultra-capitalistic USA) is living a lie. We are not meant to live the kind of lives we do today. As this very nice documentary put it, we’re running modern software on 50,000 year old hardware designs (our bodies). We haven’t evolved yet to be living in these conditions. So both the pressure to succeed as an individual in things that don’t truly matter (e.g. “becoming a successful professional and make money”), and the constant bullying and critique from the surrounding society for those who don’t play with the rules, is taking its toll. Most of us are burrying these feelings, others become bullies, and others just go on rampage, shooting people to get back to the society at large. It’s not random that most of the time they go and kill randomly.

2. Inhuman Nutrition and Mental Illness

This second point is the one that most people do not consider as a real point, but in my opinion it’s almost as important as the first point. Research in the ’80s shown that tribes of hunter & gatherers had very little schizophrenia or other mental illnesses (I highly suggest you check out this book too, by distinguished schizophrenia researcher E. Fuller Torrey). In contrast, half the Western world (especially in the US) is in med drugs. Kids these days are starting getting prescription drugs at the age of 6. We are NOT stable, normal people. We do NOT function properly — almost none of us in the Western civilization is! Except the societal pressure as outlined above, the second aspect is the kind of food we’re eating. The Western diet is a POISON diet, that’s why we have so many “diseases of civilization” that don’t appear in hunter & gatherer communities. The diet in the US is the most industrialized in the world, hence the various incidents mostly happening there. Poison your body, and you will poison your brain. After cutting down all grains when I went Paleo 15 months ago (and especially after going Paleo-ketogenic for a few months), I saw a huge change in my mental psyche: no anxiety anymore, situational depression was lifted, ADD lifted. I became less argumentative, less “difficult”. Even my sexual behavior changed, to the better (and this proves that this was a deep change). My creativity found new heights (I could never put my brain together before to do the kind of collage I do today). I would highly suggest you read the articles on this blog, by psychiatrist Emily Deans, and possibly do a search about various mental illnesses (and how these were lifted by cutting down the poison that is all grains, excessive sugars, vegetable oils, and legumes) at Nutrition plays a way bigger role to mental illness than you think it is. We all think of mental illnesses as “bad luck” or “bad genes”, or “just craziness”, but it’s more closely related to Neolithic nutrition (that we haven’t evolved with) than we thought it ever was. Especially if you’re missing enough D3, and omega-3 in your diet (ratio to Omega-6 should be 1:2 or 1:3), expect mental havoc. Add on top of that environmental toxins and urbanization, and boom! With enough mental instability, some jump the shark and go shoot people.

As long as AT LEAST #2 is not fixed somehow (#1 can only be fixed via societal maturation and rapid, natural or not, evolution — which will take a few more thousand years), expect more such rampage killings in the future. So don’t sound so surprised the next time it happens and you start tweeting “Oh, my God, blah blah blah”. It’s very sad indeed, it’s a truly terrible thing. But it IS going to happen. Again, and again, and again.

Why modern philosophy fails today

So I was reading a bit of philosophy recently (a bit of Alain Badiou and Sartre). Since I’m not a native English speaker it was hard to read, but I think I pulled through for most of it. Regardless, the “language” and altered definitions these modern philosophers use is unnecessarily complex in my opinion. It’s like linguistic masturbation, showing off to other philosophers who would read their books.

And then it occurred to me.

See, I’m Greek. I’m used to the idea of Socrates walking down to the Athenian Agora and starting talking to strangers. Presenting them with questions, with riddles, with thoughts they never thought possible. Diogenes was always my favorite philosopher because he was a no-shit guy. He had some ideas, and he lived by them, and showed others how to live a good life too.

To me, that’s the real worth of a philosopher. A philosopher for me is not different than what one would consider a “holy man” who talks to, and freely advises strangers in the streets or other settings. But in this case, instead of spreading religion, he spreads knowledge, opens minds, and instigates progress. He’s the Initiator.

Instead, what we have today is these academic types who speak a language that no one understands. The public doesn’t understand them, plain and simple. This is a crime in my opinion. It’s a major disservice to 2700 years of philosophy. So what kind of philosophy is this today? Only for those who pay to learn about it in these private colleges of ours? It’s like their language is so complex on purpose. When was the last time that Badiou hosted a FREE summer camp for example? He’s a communist after all, but I’ve never heard of him do anything for the “community”.

And let me go a step further. When was the last time that a philosopher walked down the mall, sat down with a sign saying that he’s available for any type of conversation, and awaited people to come to him? I’ve never seen any philosopher doing this neither I heard of anyone doing this, and yet this is the DEFAULT behavior I’d expect from a philosopher. A philosopher doesn’t have to become a missionary man or join a humanitarian cause in order to do “good”. Or write books that are more difficult to decipher than Chinese knots. The philosopher can do good by changing his society directly around him by opening their minds. When this happens, the “good” will automatically propagate like wildfire.

I would honestly sit down with such a person to discuss stuff, from ethics to art, to whatever. And in fact, I’ve done something similar once. In 2000, when I was still living in the UK, there was a (Catholic, I believe) monk in the High Street of Guildford (the town I was living at the time). He was sitting in the middle of the closed-down and busy-by-shoppers street, having a second chair next to him, with a sign saying that he’s available to talk. The time was 4 PM, it was almost night (November) and he was ready to pack and leave. I sat down with him and we talked. He did indeed help me (loneliness was my problem at the time), even if I wasn’t particular religious. He was a really smart guy! At the end, I asked him how many others sat with him that day. His reply: “you were the only one”.

Update: Translated to Greek.

The tragedy that is “The City”

I’ve lived in 5 countries so far in my life, and in a variety of places (tiny villages, towns, bigger towns, cities, bigger cities, mega-cities). The places I liked it best at were villages, towns, and small cities (up to ~25k people).

I have a problem with big or mega-cities. A big city stops being a home, and instead it becomes a storage unit for human beings. Floor after floor, crammed in a dusty apartment with no yard, and only a few (over-crowded on weekends) parks to call “nature”. Life in a big city is by definition a routine: wake up, get the bus or drive to work, come back, watch TV, sleep, repeat. Everything looks artificial: the billboard ads, the sky with no stars at night, the countless cars on the street. Most humans resemble flocks of ants waiting for a green light to play Frog, while the rest live on the streets hoping for some change. This situation has a detrimental effect overtime in the human condition. People lose track of what’s important, and they become apathetic shadows of themselves. Violence then erupts at every corner. People still evolve, but they lose authenticity.

Sure, a big City provides big shops, exhibitions & events, entertainment. It all sounds exciting, no doubt, but in reality it’s more an addiction than anything else. Running on a puppy field with a kite, or having a picnic near the water, is more appealing to me than shopping. Storming a local art shop is also more interesting to me than a big art exhibition, because I’m always on the look out of new, revolutionary points of view though art, rather than admiring 100 year old points of view that someone else labelled them “classics”. Art is supposed to look forward, and it can equally happen in a small town, or a big city. It’s just that the art industry today doesn’t look there for talents.

New York Times Square at Night” by Werner Kunz. Licensed under the CC BY-SA-NC 2.0.

Having lived at my dad’s mountainous village for a few years (400 inhabitants in the 1960s, but only 150 left when I lived there in the ’80s, about 50 today), I got a good idea of what community really means. Sharing your milk, yogurt, eggs, vegetables with your neighbors. Knowing absolutely everyone there, and helping out when they are in need. Even on a town (like the one my family currently lives in Greece), the same feeling of community remains, albeit reduced in intensity. At the village I was among care-free, happy people, bosses of themselves. Even the ones who left for other cities or countries, still go back there as often as possible, and keep in touch with “home” via the village’s newspaper. Interestingly, the village was self-governed in many respects, nearly free of external state influences. Finally, houses are built far apart, as they all have land around them, but they’re still close enough: just 1-2 minutes of walk. The perfect ratio to both feel you’re with others, but also have the space you need to breath.

As with everything, there are some negative points living in such a commune, the biggest one being the unending gossip (everyone about everyone), and the lack of intellectuals. However, it doesn’t have to be this way anymore. When I lived there in the ’80s, most people only had 6 years of schooling on their belt at the time. But today this is not the case. In fact, I would expect the truly smart people to immigrate to such a place. Tele-commuting is a possibility these days for example, for many professions. And robots should soon free up the rest of the professions.

Mountain life” by John and Melanie Kotsopoulos. Licensed under the CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Unfortunately, today’s people try to connect with one another by getting physically closer to as many people as possible, by moving to a big city, but that’s a misguided approach. True connection only happens when people are free of multiple fake identity layers, and this can only happen in a relaxed and pure environment where humanity thrives.

Social norms begone

I’m not very complicit with most social norms. If you see me be, then I’m probably faking it. For one, I always speak my mind with bone-breaking honesty, and this usually puts me in trouble. But that’s the most conventional example of what’s going on in my head.

Consider that I find that clothes are a waste of time when the weather is hot. No, I do not subscribe to the “nudist” ideology because that has an organized, political connotation behind it. Instead, I just find clothes impractical during summer. Why do I have to wear something when the sun is so hot? I guess I don’t find the human nude body gross, and people who do, are probably too far removed from their own nature. But that’s their problem, not mine. Why do I have to live with their golden standard of appearance?

Also, having to dress up in fashion in order to fit in is a major turn off. Well, I don’t really fit in, and I kind of like it this way. I also never use make-up (apart maybe some lip-gloss every blue moon). I’m not into clownship.

Another problem I have is with greetings. I don’t mind saying “hi”, I think that’s a very good conversation starter. But I have a problem with “happy new year”, “merry Christmas”, “happy birthday” etc. I mean, really, do we ever wish “have a bad new year” to our fellow man? Not really. So I don’t understand why we have to keep affirming such wishes separately to all we know. It feels like a renewal of a contract to me, for something so human that shouldn’t require a contract in the first place. It should be the default.

Other things that I hate: weddings. I wrote more in depth about it here, and what I consider a good alternative to them.

Table manners are not always genuine either. I prefer to enjoy food with the kind of people whose their fingers are full of oil while munching on a bone, rather than to have to dress up and try to figure out which utensil is for which purpose, while some imposter human next to me is trying to use a knife and a fork with a fucking quail.

I don’t always use my hands to eat, but when I do, it’s because I just roasted a goat!

Regarding workplace norms, I hate them equally. The dry professionalism in office and store jobs that feels like you’re talking to robots, or the office politics. Recently I read that a hospital banned its staff from wearing vibrams, and that’s just sad. In my opinion, as long as certain clothes don’t get in the way of performing the work, then staff should be free to wear anything they want. Or nothing at all.

I guess the thing that pisses me off the most is the wall people have built around them. They try to make a good impression to others by hiding their true self, just so they don’t get misunderstood and become outcasts. At the end, it’s the “lies” we perform to others daily that makes our society inhumane. No one has a clear idea who’s who, and when there’s this natural mistrust brewing, then paranoia is running the game, and when that happens, humanity is nothing but lost.

Social media, texting, and Chomsky

I really like Noam Chomsky. He’s a very kind and understanding man, full of humanity (we had a brief conversation via email recently). His opinions, and the way he tackles problems make sense to me. Well, most of the time.

He recently went ahead to say that Twitter, SMS and other forms of social media are shallow forms of communication. He has a good point when he says that complex, mega-thoughts can’t be expressed through these means of communication. I’m sure that he feels that we say too much via these mediums, but without saying anything of importance at all. But I believe that he only sees half of the picture, not because he’s too old to understand the Internet, but because he’s too entangled in his own profession where big thoughts and ideas are the bread & butter of his whole existence. He sees the big picture about everything, but not the casual details of the picture, because he’s looking from 10,000 ft high.

The kind of communication Chomsky advocates for (books, essays, possibly art) is the right medium for big ideas. But we don’t always want to philosophize all day long. Sometimes we just want to vent out or say we’re happy, or share some quick knowledge, experience, or fact. In our daily lives, outside the web, we mostly have this kind of small-talk rather than discussing Kant or Foucault (well, most of us at least). In our lives there’s usually time designated for philosophy or science or religion or whatever else, and there’s time designated for small-talk. So why shouldn’t we be able to move part of this very-human communication online and share with more people?

Sure, tweeting that your “carrot cake came out delicious and everyone at home enjoyed it” is not a big idea, and it can be perceived as “shallow”. But it also expresses the little happy things in life, offering a window into people’s lives. When I read a random book I don’t know if the author is happy or not, I don’t know if he’s happily married or not, or if he has mortgage to pay. Most of the time I don’t need to know. But for people I feel closest to, I do want to know more. It doesn’t make me visit my friends less just because I got their update online and I know they’re doing good, it just gives me a piece of mind instead that they’re ok. It makes communication feel two-way, rather than the one-way kind we get from books. Not everything in life has to be about science, philosophy, or math.

More over, Twitter has been a major micro-blog to co-ordinate political movements and report on big ideas too. It gives a voice to people who can’t always use complex words or write books. It’s the democratization of communication, and from all these 6 billion people out there, at least some of them have something interesting to say or report on, even if it has to be squeezed at 140 characters.

There is of course the other side of the coin, where we have kids texting 100 SMS per day, which is of course not only excessive, but also indeed damaging, and a waste of time and money. But then again there are trash books too out there (like these stupid romantic novels with vampires in them, ugh). So we should not get too disappointed about new technologies, it’s how we use them, they’re not inherently good or bad. I can’t wait for the time we would be able to transmit thoughts or feelings to others! Hopefully at more than 140 bytes of thought per message! ;-)

I personally don’t use SMS (I may be sending about 5 SMS texts per year overall), I do very few phone calls (which is why I’m still on pay-as-you-go), but I do use Twitter and my personal blog extensively. I don’t have the hots for Facebook, MySpace, or Google Plus though, I find them too cluttered & messy — I like direct simplicity, which is why Twitter won me over. I’ve written in the past that I use my blog as a therapeutic method, it’s kind of my shrink (which is why I also write a lot of very personal things here). It has worked wonders for me, so this new world order about communication can’t be all that bad.

My political compass

After several years, I re-took the political compass test. Back then I was classified as a centrist, but now, I’m almost off the chart. I thought that I was just a socialist-democrat nowadays, but this chart claims that I’m closer to left-anarchism instead (anarcho-socialism) — even if I don’t believe that pure anarchism can work. Thank George Bush for all this. Without him, I’d never be interested in politics. He’s a real motivator.

Regarding “The Coming Insurrection”

A lot of the Greek mobilization last year against the state was spearheaded by anarchists who hold the “The Coming Insurrection” text as their Bible. For those who don’t know about this text, it’s written by a bunch of intellectual French a few years ago, but its positions have been adopted by many in Greece, Spain, the revolutions in the Arab world, and of course, the Anonymous.

The text basically goes something like this: “our capitalistic/social-norms world sucks, it will only get worse, let’s all revolt now!“. The text is reminiscent of French Continental philosopher and Marxist politician Alain Badiou in many ways.

Personally, I am not a supporter of this text (or Badiou for that matter). While I agree with many of the points that are made in the text, and I wholeheartedly agree that our situation today sucks a$$, and that there’s major need for Change, I don’t believe in a Revolution or Civil War as the bearer of such Change.

A Revolution usually entails violence and loss of life, because even if it’s a Revolution of the Mind, not everyone gets the bug at the same time — leading to confrontation and social unrest. When that happens, it entails the destruction of anything that was “good” in the previous status quo, not just what was “bad”. It’s that close relationship between Destruction and Revolution/War that I have a problem with the whole concept. It’s such an uncomfortable thought, not because I don’t embrace change (I do), but because such extreme measures are so unpredictable.

Today, as I’ve written in the past, I see myself as a middle-of-the-pack politically- and economically-speaking. Not a capitalo-Libertarian, and not a Communist, not a full-on Anarchist and not a Conservative Capitalist, but more of a progressive Socialist with Technocratic and Anarcho-Socialist leanings. I have this faith that Science and Technology can provide solutions for some things that have tormented philosophers and politicians for thousands of years striving to find a good solution for. For the rest of the elements that Science doesn’t help us with, it’s up to the society to mature through the ages and “perfect” every aspect of its being. It might take 10,000 years to do so, I don’t claim that this can happen by next year, but this Utopia that is dreamed by all of us (including the Anarchists), can only happen via universal maturity.

Every major event in our history that tried to change the status quo overnight has been cataclysmically negative, or at least traumatic. From the rise of the Nazis, to Trotsky and Stalin, all the way to the recent Egyptian revolution which a year later still has the Egyptians protesting in the streets, apparently unhappy for their new rulers! The French Revolution was the only major Revolution that bore some good fruits in the long-term, but it didn’t happen without massive blood loss, and without having the country on its knees for over 30 years after it happened.

Oh, I’m a dreamer too. I would be a liar if I didn’t admit that I haven’t been dreaming of Utopia myself. And when I’m saying that I’ve been dreaming of it, I’m not saying that in a form of trying to think of all its technical details of how such a Utopia can become and sustain its stature, but how it actually feels like to live in it. For me, it’s an island in the Pacific, with the perfect climate. A beacon of civilization and art compared to the rest of the world. I close my eyes and I think of how the houses look like, how the streets look like, the parks, the trains and electric cars, the art. How relaxed the few laws are. How clean and beautiful everything looks like everywhere. How good the diet of the citizens is (pastured and wild animals, sustainable green agriculture), prompting to minimal healthcare needs, while everyone lives above 100 years old. How it’s a culture who strive for progress, and not towards owning more “stuff”. How simple and comfortable their attire is. How thousands of citizens get together in the shore during sunset to practice Zen. How there’s no crime, because the people are mature enough to know right from wrong. How special their educational tools are, driving everyone’s IQ off the roof. How citizens volunteer for public works for some of their free time. How the citizens self-censor and self-limit themselves in ways that protect the environment and wild animals. And everyone is just in bliss…

Basically, the whole thing in my mind doesn’t feel much different than the mythical island of Atlantis.

As much as this dream will remain a dream for centuries, if not thousands of years, I’m positive that one day such a Utopia will arrive (should we manage to not annihilate ourselves in the process). But such a Utopia can not arrive via a Revolution. These two concepts are diametrically antithetic. A Utopia, or should I say a “large-scale societal nirvana” (or some could even call it “Applied Marxism”), can only happen via a slow maturation in both the individual, the society, and the political landscape — and goes hand-in-hand with advancements in science, because science could potentially help us overcome some of the problems arising from human nature. As for our Capitalistic world today, it’s just a phase. It’ll come to pass, naturally. But it’s important to go through it and learn from it.

I don’t disagree that in some extreme cases measures must be taken against an abusive State, and I certainly believe that citizens must be active politically and fight for what’s fair, but unfortunately, this type of Marxism that the Leftists dream of doesn’t work today because its principles go against the human psyche. We have to either twist its principles (which is what the Eastern Block did), or we have to use science to change the human nature and remove the specific limitations that holds us back from our Utopia. Some times this might just be a way of producing more food or cheap labor via robots, and some times it might be a vaccine which changes people’s behavior towards a specific goal (as inhuman this might sound, transhumanism/posthumanism is an open possibility).

No matter what, see you again in 100 years or so.