Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category (feed)

The Ban of Religious & Political Symbols in Europe

I’m personally against the recent European ban on wearing religious or political symbols at work (or in public). To truly be a well-functioning multi-cultural race, we must accept other people’s freedom to dress as they like. What this law is doing, is simply trying to equalize people by saying that “in work, or in public, you’re just one, bland, neutral culture”. But that’s wishful thinking, an illusion.

This is bound to create resentment, and in my view, it’s simply evil. As long as the job is not required to have very specific requirements (e.g. teachers having eye-contact, or special uniforms in chem labs etc), then people should be free to wear anything they want, at any time. Or wear nothing at all. Anything else, is tyranny, and not worthy of a progressive ideology.

True progressiveness gives freedom to the people to express themselves any way they like and at all times, not in time slots of 9-5, Mon-Fri. If anything, the enlightenment and individualism wave dictates as much! True progressives don’t hide behind the lame and hypocritical “your religion is a fairy tale, so I don’t want to be reminded of it”. Either you’re a true progressive on this, or you’re a closeted conservative.

What’s next? If there were aliens from another planet landing, that happened to be “spiritual” in some definition, to dictate to them what to wear and how to behave just so you can feel “European”? You know very well that the answer to that would be “no”. So why treat humans differently?

Star Trek: The Next Generation would be ashamed of you.

Hypocrisy of the progressives

All these anti-Trump posts are laughable. Your fellow citizens VOTED for him because they felt desperate: racism is stronger when there are financial problems in the middle & lower class. You should have knocked THEIR door and ask them if they needed help BEFORE the election. Yes, it is your fault liberals. It is your FAILURE to be a truly progressive person in your daily life that drove everyone else towards Trump.

When was the last time you gave half of your earnings to a family down the street that’s out of work for months? When was the last time you actively decided to not buy something created in the slums of Asia? When was the last time you decided not to eat an animal that had lived a terrible life and had never seen the sun or ever walked? When was the last time you actively decided to buy an electric car instead? When was the last time you decided to not join the military, and not be in the business of killing? When was the last time you invited a homeless person in your home, even with the risk that entails? When was the last time you decided to not work for that oil firm, even if it’d make *you* homeless?

Oh, all that stuff are too drastic for you? Don’t say! Sorry, but that’s the price of humanity. That’s the price of love. That’s what needs to be done for things to CHANGE. It’s not a matter of a president, it’s a matter of EVERYONE changing. Without showing love, you get an opposite reaction. And this time around, it manifested like a Trump presidency. Now, go and march on, idiots. Trump doesn’t give a rat’s ass about you, he’ll still do what he wants. You did this. Look at the mirror, before you start pointing fingers to others. Your marches and your posts are nothing but hypocrisy.

I’m sick and tired of your blindness. You fail to understand that your life experience is utterly democratic. You create your reality with your everyday actions. If all citizens are all about themselves and no one else, they will create that shared reality, even if some of you paint yourself a “progressive” or not. You’re only progressive in theory! In action, you’re just as ineffective or close-minded as these “alt-right” [complete] idiots. And so you get what you deserve too, along everyone else.


The evolution of things

Libertarians want a small government, where corporations have almost unlimited powers to do their business. Business and economic growth is the name of the game, and in fact, the only game in town. Unfortunately, along with that, they support reducing personal freedoms: the right to marry the same sex, abortion, privacy, surveillance etc.

On the other hand, the liberal lefties believe the opposite: they want more personal freedoms, and fewer corporate freedom.

Which one is the more “correct” or “best”?

Well, here’s the thing. Not one size fits all. It all depends on the level of consciousness found in the society at the moment. If this was still the old days, where people needed to build a new world and escape the medieval times, then libertarian conservatism makes more sense.

Think about it like this, as in an example: You just freed a Siberian village of some random mining slaves (ie the peasants of the medieval times). Do you just give them unlimited personal freedoms but not enough business-growth freedoms, or do you let them grow out of their slavery, in a way that they can prove to themselves that they can be free citizens that can contribute to the whole? In this case, the latter is a better option when taking into account the intellectual growth of these people *in the long term*. Newly freed people still need something to lean to in order to properly function until they grow out of it. This is the role of religion and nationalism that has played, and why restricted personal freedoms are still best for undeveloped intellects (and I’m metaphorically talking about the whole human race here).

In other words, the human race required this type of capitalistic right-leaning individualistic growth in the past, in order to prove to itself that it is a creator race that can stand on its own legs.

So there comes a time, where continuous business growth has its negative effects, to both society (e.g. shallow consumerism), and the environment. At the same time, the strictness of character found among conservatives, would need to be challenged in order to optimize and heal what we already built (and destroyed) in the last 200 years. Coming out of that phase is a sort of graduating.

That’s when social-democratic leftism (that is not communism or pure socialism, but rather left-leaning capitalism) can help.

The newly gained personal freedoms that liberalism/progressiveness calls for will create a new kind of more responsible citizen. One that does not require to “belong” in order to have an identity (as in the case of religion, or nationalism). While this personal transformation towards more personal freedom takes place, corporations would have to be restricted of absolute power simply because the humans that run them haven’t developed that sense of responsibility yet (they need to work for it first on personal level).

After another 200 years of leftism, and when personal responsibility has been tackled, a new kind of philosophy would be born yet again, to replace this type of social democracy. One with a smaller government, freer citizens AND freer corporations (that at the time might evolve themselves into “projects”, rather than plain business). Interestingly, that new order of things would be closer to left anarchism, than right wing libertanianism.

Basically, what I’m trying to say here is that everything evolves, and at each level of evolution, we have a set capacity of collective consciousness that reflects our economic and political system. So what I described above is simply one of the possible natural ways of society evolving away.

Change is inevitable. Flow with it, and you’ll be alright. Fear not fear.

The Fall of the Bronze Age and Us

I was watching the Director’s Cut of “Troy” last night, so I soon got interested in reading about the Late Bronze Age.

Right about 1100 BC, all hell broke loose in the Mediterranean: there was massive depopulation & famine, ALL cities were destroyed and burned (not one was left unscathed, and some were burned up to 7 times!), and civilization almost disappeared (we have only small villages with very simple geometric art, while people forgot how to write). So basically, we’re talking about Greece, Asia Minor and Hittites, Israel area and Egypt, all but destroyed. That era is called the “Greek Dark Ages” or “First Dark Ages”, and archaeologists consider these 300 years as much more “dark” than the Dark Ages that followed the fall of the Roman Empire 1500 years later.

Historians give a number of reasons why this happened: raids from the north and from the “sea peoples” (people of different origins got together to pirate), drought and other natural disasters.

Honestly, I think historians got the causes wrong here. Yes, these things happened, but they were not the root of the problem. I believe what happened is rather obvious after a bit of digging among geologists’ information instead: the mines in the Mediterranean ran out of tin!

Tin is a rather rare metal, and without it, they couldn’t forge bronze. Without being able to create bronze, in the Bronze Age, well, you have no Bronze Age anymore. You see, the whole high civilization starting in 3000 BC in the greater area was basing itself on bronze. When that went bust, their trades and economy collapsed. When economy collapsed, massive famine arrived. The ones who survived were trying to kill everybody else to get their hands to a little bit of tin that some might had left.

I base this opinion on the following:

1. There is absolutely no reason to completely burn all cities and kill so many people when you’re simply trying to conquer them. You only burn the cities if you don’t care about the cities, and you only care about what these people had control over that was of little availability: tin.

2. People from completely different nations coming together to pirate (“sea peoples”), only happens when the economy has collapsed. Humans of different origins don’t band together and choose violence, unless there’s no other way. Humanity 101.

And the most damning argument:

3. Iron was known as a metal that could be used by 3200 BC already (pretty much the same time that Bronze was becoming popular). But because it required a special furnace and smelting technique, iron was used very little by blacksmiths. The Bronze Age happened before the Iron Age simply because Bronze was simpler to deal with, not because they didn’t know what iron was.

So, there was no reason for people to switch to iron (especially because we would have to wait many more centuries afterwards to invent steel). And yet, we see a gradual turn from bronze to iron during the Late Bronze Age, despite the practical problems iron had. This to me makes it clear that the people simply ran out of tin, and they were FORCED to *slowly* turn to iron. In the meantime, until they got iron right, the Dark Ages were upon them!

Now, there’s a reason why I’m writing such a post here today.

Think about it for a moment: we have major civilizations that they based their successes on a single metal. When that metal went bust, so did their civilizations. The few who survived, resorted into extreme violence.

Always use History to decode the present and to get a good glimpse of the future.

So, does the above situation remind you of anything? Could this what will happen to us in as few as 50-75 years from now, when our fossil fuels go bust?

We’re in a similar boat, you know: our fossil fuels are going away rapidly, and our solar panel technology is not nearly as effective (the best ones only have 25% efficiency compared to fossil fuels, just like iron was difficult to forge compared to bronze).

Unless Lockheed Martin comes through big time with their announced fusion reactor, we should expect nothing but a similar result: the collapse of our economy, wars over the little bit of oil (and water) that’s left, and a rather Mad Max-like world.

So, I hope I’m gone by that time, and not be re-incarnated for quite a while. 😛

A possible solution for Greece

An open letter to the Greek government:

It’s obvious to me that more preparations should have been done to switch currencies. It’s obvious that the European situation had no remedy, no matter the amount of negotiations that would take place. I believe that the way out of this tomb is to innovate. You can’t use old methods to fix old errors. You need new methods. And technology can provide those.

I know that printing a new currency would be difficult, and even more difficult would be to build trust. I’d suggest this: No actual printing of new currency. Make everything electronic. I’m NOT talking about bitcoin (which isn’t modernized in principle, as Mr Varoufakis has pointed out). I’m talking about people paying with credit cards (for large amounts) and smartphones using NFC (Near Field Communication) for up to 20 drachma (I’m assuming a parity with the Euro, at least in the beginning). Regarding notes, these can be in euros (since they’re already out there circulating anyway).

People WILL trust this new form of paying because of the same reason people in the States prefer to use credit cards: they don’t see the money, so they feel that they didn’t pay much for the goods. It’s a psychological trick. In fact, the NFC trick, where you simply touch your phone to pay a micro-payment up to 20 drachma/euro, is even more painless. People will use that, even if for convenience. Most people already have Android smartphones in Greece, and one can buy such a phone for 100 Euros today (Archos brand). Within a few months, people will be using this new system, and they will even like it. They won’t even realize that there was a change in currency. Overtime, all the euros will end up in banks, especially if you offer them a sweet buy-back program.

Now, regarding corruption in Greece: Since all businesses and micropayments in shops would have to happen via NFC/cards, it would be very unlikely that people will be able to not pay their taxes. In fact, the taxes could be calculated automatically in such a system. Who needs an accountant (that most people can’t even afford), when the system takes care of that for you?

And regarding the rest kind of corruption (e.g. fakellaki, rousfetia etc), since everyone would now have these smartphones, they should be fully supported by law to RECORD every chat they have with civil servants, taxi drivers, doctors, police etc etc. And I don’t mean just audio recording, but full video recording. Who ever doesn’t accept the new kind of currency, or wants “extra”, they should be admitted to court, given the video proof. Russia does the same with the dash cams for car insurance purposes. It works.

I would like to re-iterate: you have an old Europe in new lipstick, and an old style financial problem (debt). The problems Greece has are not novel, they are in fact the status quo throughout history. So in order to go around these problems, you need the tools of today, not old tactics of the yesteryear (be it diplomacy, negotiations, politics). It needs swift action, and mobilization of technology.

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.

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.