Computers, Advertisements and Pop-ups – Madness!

I’ve been around computers and digital devices for over 25 years, actively using all kinds of software, writing simple scripts, editing digital video, audio and images; you name it. As many people around the globe have these days.
If you are used to a certain way of dealing with your applications, have got used to a workflow and focus of your own, the one thing most annoying is to be interrupted at will, without your permission.

Imagine someone coming up to your desk and just wilfully blocking your view onto the screen the second you click somewhere important – and worst case scenario might be a crash and hours of work lost.

It drives me mad with anger at many of the latest product designers and advertisers who think popping up little windows and dialogues in your face at any possible moment is a nice way of letting you know about what they think important…

When I use my computer I rarely sit in front of the screen, twiddling my thumbs and waiting for things to happen…
I have an agenda, if I sit in front of my screen.
If I need to be entertained by ‘moving images’, I go to the cinema, or my TV/video-playback device.

If there’s anyone of the responsible personnel out there reading this, from the bottom of my heart, I implore all of you advertisers, web designers and software engineers, think it over:
perhaps that little window or dialogue could be made to appear somewhere noticeable without interrupting my workflow?

I’m sure you can think of something….

Stereotypes – Images – Mistaken Judgement

In literature and philosophy one of the things you learn at an early stage is, to look beyond the obvious.
Or that which is apparently obvious.
The great works of art, especially in poetry, often have layers of meaning to them. And not just one or two layers. But several, in many cases.

In life, this kind of knowledge can be crucial: that the surface, the apparently obvious, the first impression, the things you hear and see with the ‘naked eye or ear’ can be completely misleading.
This fact is made use of in marketing: use images and ideas that are easy to grasp, are part of common knowledge and that way, sell – chocolate, cars, or clothes.

That’s why advertisements are often full of stereotypes, such as the wonderful housewife and mother. The cool and always superior father, the cute kids, who never complain, except when chocolate is becoming scarce… and so on, and on…

Why is this misleading, though? Aren’t there cute kids around? Aren’t there wonderful housewives and mothers? Or the superior father – not to say passionate lovers?
Of course there are!
But they are not always the only thing to know about or the most important aspect of a person.

Stereotypes exist everywhere and are almost countless.

A particularly impressive because very colourful one, connected with heaps of imagery and at the same time so easily dismantled is that of the passion of Spanish natives as opposed to that of the average European, supposed to be far more sedate in outlook:
bluntly put, unfortunately, that’s just complete bullshit.

Why, again?
What the emblematic image conjures up in the mind is the Flamenco dancer, clapping, stomping, scowling, accompanied by apparently fierce musicians strumming the guitar and the sad, sometimes fierce songs of, among other sources, the gypsies in Spain. They had been chased and abused for centuries and Flamenco, so the legend has it, expresses their fight for life.

The Flamenco as well as other dances considered to be passionate, such as the Tango or the Rumba, has seen for decades now a new appreciation and recognition in countries such as Switzerland or Germany.
Where people are considered to be less passionate, than in other regions of the world.
How is it possible then that among the famous and even in Spain recognized Flamenco dancers, there is a Swiss woman?

Because people take preconceptions and stereotypes for granted. They do not look beyond the image, the impressions, eye and ear seem to convey apparently.

But the truth is: we only understand and recognize what we know.
If our knowledge is marked by stereotypes, stereotypes is what we will see and find.

And that is a great pity!
The above example about apparently passionate as opposed to less passionate human beings is a striking one to make the point:
if we believe in it, the really passionate nature in ourselves, wherever we’ve been raised – and other more subtle aspects of people around us, may completely escape us!

So, go beyond stereotypes! Find the truth, not just the image!

 

Love – Life – Marriage – Passion

Love is not an adventure – but a journey.
Passion is not a function – but a person.
Marriage is not a commitment as in: prison – it’s a decision.
Romance is not a fleeting idea from fairy stories – but heart and mind of a person.
Life is not a sandbox and games – but responsible behaviour – and a ‘Yes’.

Numbers, Business – Everywhere: Love?

People for quite some time, even more so since WW II and the global ‘advent’ of an apparently global culture – have embraced the idea that business is good. More business is better. Which basically means: the higher the numbers, the better.

This leads to the rather sad realization that many people also treat love that way: they may not know better, but they act as if numbers are at the bottom of it. Love the most beautiful, the richest, the most handsome, the loudest, funniest or something else …est.

And the surface too often is taken for the real stuff: whatever someone says is taken at its face value, it seems as long as the image is ‘fitting’ the mainstream, the fashion, the – numbers, all’s well.

Particularly irritating at times is the behaviour of grown-ups, who seem to have no sense of their individual value, who think that having fun can have one connotation only – and that it is also fine to listen to what the majority apparently has to ‘say’ about these matters.

Who are constantly testing their market value by flirtatious behaviour or coy looks and moves – and seem to overlook completely, that they are transformed into a product, on ‘the market’… Almost seize to be human, and loose all individual character in the process, because they try so hard to be ‘part of the crowd’, the majority. Fulfil general ideas, instead of being a person.

So, what people believe, seems to amount to this:

  • The majority, it is taken for granted, is always right.
  • Fashion or what people take for it, the mainstream, is the best thing to have – or be. Or at least be part of.
  • The majority states that having fun means, more of everything is better – even in love. Or what they take for it.
  • If one conquers ever so many more and new people every other day, not only will certain others look up to them – it will make life so much more interesting and – fun…

All these assumptions are based on  the idea of numbers: and since human beings are not ‘working’ by numbers alone or even mainly – these ideas will never result in what many people are looking for.
Instead, the boredom and the uneasiness continue – and become more. More people, more exciting moments become necessary to fill the void, scare away fear or anger –  and less and less insights into their own soul, true needs or sorrows are possible.

What will be impossible to find, are fulfilment and the inner calm of ‘having arrived’.  The ultimate contentment.
These things can be found only inside, not out.

Pluralism – Tolerance – Life or: Why It is Difficult at Times to Accept the Other

For quite some time now, research about peace and how to keep it has been going on, at least since WW II, one of the most dreadful catastrophes mankind has seen.

Among the most important aspects are these two, which actually are two sides of a coin:
pluralism and tolerance.
They seem easy in theory, but everyday practice shows they are not. Why?

Because it is human to be afraid or at least intimidated by what is different from ourselves. To judge – and more importantly – feel judged by the ‘other’. The concept, idea, shape or, simply, behaviour that is different from what we are used to.

In ancient times so research seems to confirm, this point of view was a lifesaver: trust only what is the same, difference can be dangerous. Apparently animals still act that way: any smell, colour and shape different from their own seems a danger.

Yet, there are details that can make all the difference: animals that are smaller, insignificant, or have a smell that is considered neutral, may be ignored altogether.

This points to something that makes the whole idea even more poignant:
The other is only made an issue of, if it is not just different – but when it appears to be dangerous!

Unfortunately, this is true for human behaviour too:
Most of the times human beings start fighting, on smaller or larger scales, they do so because they feel endangered.

Xenophobia is the ancient Greek term for the behaviour that is at the root of these situations: the fear of the stranger, the other, the dangerous one.

Peaceful coexistence, if aimed at, needs these few ideas:

  • Remember that with self-esteem and the realization of being human and thus imperfect comes more security by feeling adequate.
  • Start getting to know yourself better to help self-esteem along.
  • Stop thinking that feeling insecure or inadequate is something bad – or very singular. It’s human to feel afraid sometimes, to feel inadequate or insecure. Deal with it.
  • Do not try to feel more secure by making others smaller, in deed, or in words.
  • Most importantly: try to cross the boundaries, get to know the ‘other’ on safe grounds – and start relishing what plurality has to give.

This is the high road to peace – and more respect, for yourself and for others.

One of Those Questions – Love in Triples?

It seems that in long-term relationships for all kinds of reasons people can forget about passion and how it might work…
Sometimes it’s not so much the ‘forgetfulness’, but reasons outside of their strictly personal ideas have made them come together, especially: marry.

For thousands of years mankind has been wondering and does every day, if passion must not fade, naturally, after some time.
I am not sure if I am the right person to answer this definitively, but in my opinion: ‘no’.
I am a romantic and I believe that with patience and knowledge and the right setting more things are possible, than “are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio”, as Shakespeare has Hamlet say in the famous play.

A lot of people seem to feel that the solution lies in the triple: have the long-term partner to share life with – and the second ‘love’ to share passion with. Little vignettes may swim to imagination’s surface, painting the life that way in rosy, passionate and separate colours…
Interestingly, almost no one takes the time to think this through… Man (and woman) is not a machine, a function, but always a unique being, a whole of mind, soul and body.

So, shortly put: triples do not work in love.

Be that as it may, this little clip from one of my favourite movies gives a nice answer to that question, that is not definitive, on the surface – but makes you wonder in a good way…

Age, Business, Numbers, Money – and the Age Myth

How do we love? By numbers: the best, the highest, the most… something – or another.
How do we judge? By the average, the mainstream, the numbers, again: if the majority agrees it must be right.
Right? Wrong.
The majority is sure that after a certain age people do not find jobs easily because their age makes them less fit for it – the biggest myth: it’s again the numbers, the numbers of profit creating opinion, nothing else.

Majority. Hm.
In ancient Rome the majority agreed that having gladiator fights, and fights between predatory animals and humans in an arena were good.
In ancient Rome the majority agreed that Christians were ‘of the devil’ and should not only die – but be tortured in the arena, for the majority’s amusement.

These days, we agree that this is inhuman and against the laws of nature.

But still, we seem to think in numbers:
the highest, the most, the majority.
Right?
Wrong.

Business in these days is at the bottom of such ideas. What is most profitable, is the most agreeable. But not just profitable for someone – or many.
But profitable for those that have the most money, and want more.

Who determine the profit by paying less and less wages, by making ‘global’ pressure responsible for less and less human conditions.

I am lucky, in the middle of Europe. I not only have a job, but I am paid according to very humane laws and ideas.
I like my work – and I am also lucky in other ways, pertaining to my surroundings.

But the ideas that go around about age being a problem in workplaces – and that people after a certain age are less likely to find new jobs due to their age, create this strange myth about age being the underlying problem, as in, unfitness.

In actual fact, the problem is altogether different: age makes people experienced, and, even more importantly, they are not as easily fooled into tasks and ideas they know about more with – age.
They have acquired more and more skills over the years and thus they might cost more wages – which is against the law of profit.

So, actually, the numbers, business and the law of profit determine ideas of the majority.

As someone also called it aptly a few years ago:
“It’s not public opinion – it’s published opinion.”

And even if people are repeating it over and over again, have for decades now, that makes it not any more true.
Age is not the problem, numbers are.

Religious Books, Truth, Knowledge – and the Fellow Being!

Religious books these days are taken as basis to judge people. As if people following Islamic traditions were equal to what is found in the Koran.
As if every Christian you can meet would be exactly the way the bible states.

A more stupid approach cannot be imagined: people who study religion for a living, who are either university fellows or academics in the field of one religion or even religions as a subject, will tell you how contradictory the bible can be in only ‘one book’.
Take the old and the new testament and place them side by side and find out what values are purported there:
you will be amazed.

Compare Versions and Ages

Take the Koran and study its Suras and find out how many of them are really applicable to modern life.
How much of it was dependent on living conditions and then recent changes ~1400 years ago!

There have been researchers who found that society before it was not only matriarchal – which basically means, women were considered to be the most important members of society and the ones who were free to choose their ‘mate’ when and how they thought fit.
It is said they would suspend a little bouquet of herbs in a certain place at their house’s front door to indicate to the current partner that he was free to leave because they had found someone else.

These researches are still in dispute among the traditional scientists of these fields. Some people would perhaps refute them just because they cannot bear the idea that things could have been so much more in favour of women.

Be that as it may: matriarchy and matrilinear societies and religions exist to this day. Matriarchy as the earliest form of society has been established!

To this day, in Jewish religion, the religious membership of a newborn is determined by the membership of the mother: is the mother a Jew, the newborn will be too.

Findings

What I am driving at with all this:
Religious books or scrolls are just that: books, with a partly very long established tradition of reading and interpreting them in the respective religious body.
Historians and social scientists were among the first who dared looking for the truth behind it.

And if you do only for a few minutes around Europe with the bible, as I suggested above, and afterwards go into the ‘streets’ of your home town and try and find people that are like that… I’ll hand it to you!

So, stop comparing the Koran with people living in the Islamic tradition. And stop trying to make out that the bible was always the only truthful basis for the human rights act – in other words:
know them by their deeds!

Remember Cuba? Remember the Nazis? Iran, the US, War, Pride – Make Peace!

The cold war is behind us, so it seems, which was a stage laid out for two ‘super-powers’ in finance as well as weapons.
What is now going on is the same song and dance as it was and has been before, not only for the decades since WW II – but for time almost immemorial: finance and thus money and more money, deals, power over resources and thus wealth – and also: pride.

I have posted here already that in my opinion wounded pride has caused more rifts, arguments and wars than anything else in this world.

When the Nazi dictator was still a young man in his twenties, he tried to be admitted to the academy of arts in Munich, Germany, to become an artist – and study painting. They refused him.
So, he joined the ‘party’ and one might say that most of the rest of his life was dedicated to make up for the ultimate private humiliation by becoming famous some other way – and prove to the world…

In history, we may find things repeat themselves, true to Job’s age old adage in the bible, that ‘there was nothing new under the sun’.

Well, yes, technology has progressed. We, basically, can prove now there’s no ‘man in the moon’.
But otherwise, as Erich Kästner has it in one of his poems, too: ‘Einst haben die Kerls in den Bäumen gehockt…’ which translates into:
‘in ancient times they sat in trees….’ – ‘they still are the same’, only the surroundings are different.
At Kästner’s time, mail was sent via tubes in large cities between offices – these days it’s email.

But if someone’s pride is hurt he or she may react in all kinds of (predictable) ways. President Trump may be one of the candidates.
Although he is in fact part of the small group of extremely rich, who may even want more, then they could ever need, just to prove to their family, parents, the world, themselves that they are worth at least as much money in their accounts…

Ultimately, payback may well be at the root of the most striking actions he as president of the US has set in motion.
If you follow his biography more closely, it seems that his mind was made up to run for president when he had been publicly (felt) humiliated by the then holder of the office.

But whatever the cause, whatever the effect – is it really worth it, to endanger millions of innocent lives – for a payback?
Just revoking all the good that has been done – just so it’s being revoked?
Is not that what is done in sandbox games?
‘If you kick my castle, I will kick yours.’

Dignity can be important – but our own individual reactions always determine what manner and amount of dignity we retain.

At the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis in the fall of 1962, negotiations were upheld to the culminating point, to the last possible moment, in order to prevent war.

And that should now be moot? Not true? Another ‘disgruntled’ person feeling small and blowing himself up in the face of the world, when anyone smart enough sees through that at a glance?

Why not do the really magnanimous thing? Retain dignity?
Refrain from payback!

Because the bible has that too, in so many words, quoted from memory:
‘and God speaks: what you have done to the least of my (millions of) brothers, you have done to me.’

Trump, War, Weapons … Money

Although one might not think it right away: Trump all through his presidency has acted true to character. Driven by the need to make more and more money and prove himself to be the tough guy who will not – apparently – consider anyone else’s ideas or pleasure:

He really is the greedy creature he’s always been. A few corrections in his behaviour when cameras are around; some travels around the globe so he can create the image of the diplomatic and reliable person he should have been from day one, as an added ‘polish to the image’ – they cannot fool anyone who’s followed his ‘career’ just a little more closely:

With him and his ‘train’, who are rather the puppet masters in the background, it is not about anything, but gaining money, by hook or by crook, if necessary, by both.
A shame actually to think that such a pitiful excuse for a man who often is downright ridiculous, should get so much attention. But of course, with people such as him, that is the second weakness: the craving for attention. Any kind.

I still wonder how it was possible that North Korea so comparatively easily changed tune in such a short time… what funds were transferred from where to whom…

I hope and even pray that Iran for all it’s worth will keep it’s diplomatic cool and not be drawn into any of the antics Trump so far has used with other countries and which amount to what is again common in global politics:
bribery and extortion.

Hoping that Iran in politics will one day turn out to be a country where something like the Declaration and International Bill of Human Rights will be political principal inside as well as out, in accordance as well with age old traditions; I still do not believe for a moment in the rights the US have claimed at least since WWII around the world: do anything they can, literally any thing, to keep or expand their power over natural resources in any shape or form.

Do not let them fool you! Media, the best especially, are crucial for knowing about what is being said in front of cameras. But to know people and politics, look for the underlying principle and beware. Behind the cameras, a lot goes on that sometimes is only found out decades or even centuries later.

Know them by their deeds. Resist war and manipulation with all peaceful, nonviolent might.
Make peace, not war!