Day 7 BEGINNING OR END?

I’ve been checking lots of blogs, new and not so new – this blog enterprise has at least this positive effect.
I have to decide what is the direction the blog is taking, may it be a definitive halt. If this goes on, I might just focus on different subjects for various periods of time – like food, politics, health, music, philosophy and who knows what else.

There are many things to be said and understood on the subject of my Day 5 post – corruption.
For now, I have to mention someone, an important ally of the fight against corruption – not just the one affecting individuals but the corruption/decay inevitable in human institutions – with a focus on the American Congress and on Corporations. I haven’t read any of his writings except parts of his blog. I’m talking about Larry Lessig, eminent law Professor at Harvard whose life was deeply changed by the life and death of Aaron Swartz – internet freedom fighter and brilliant mind. Lessig believes that representative democracy is decayed but can still be saved through reform. He had the courage to march and campaign for Presidency as a Democrat. He has recently withdrawn, although to my eyes it seems that the system has detected him as a menace and changed some code in order to reject him – he would politely call it “change of rules”.
Here’s a long story short in his own words:

I will regret forever not having a real chance at the debates to press the one real issue that is before us as a democracy, and that the other candidates just are not addressing: At the core of our democracy there is a hole where the Framers meant there to be a Congress. That crippled and corrupted institution will block progress until it is fixed. We desperately need a politics that can talk about that, and begin to talk about how it could be fixed. That is not just “campaign finance reform.” That is not just about “getting money out of politics.” It is an agenda for reforming a failed institution, by building on the cross-partisan recognition there is that this critical part of our democracy is broken.

lessig

Aaron_Swartz_at_Boston_Wikipedia_Meetup,_2009-08-18

Day 6

ELEVATOR PITCH
I have a regular job people are unfamiliar with and another life on the internet.
Before I even had a job I was already a person. What I do is to

remind people of who they were before they were told who they are.

To help them change the filter through which they see the world, shake them up, frighten them, make them laugh and set them free in the process.

And also to bore them to death with my opinions.

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Day 5 -SHOCKING CONNECTION BETWEEN TERRORIST ATTACKS IN PARIS AND DEADLY FIRE IN BUCHAREST REVEALED

The writing prompt du jour is: What is the thing you are most proud of?
I’ll only say that I’m most proud of the accomplishments of the people I love and I have to make sure they know it.
Today, I will try to write an article I can be proud of.

SHOCKING CONNECTION BETWEEN TERRORIST ATTACKS IN PARIS AND DEADLY FIRE IN BUCHAREST REVEALED

First, we need to talk about corruption.

Basic Google search shows:
cor·rup·tion/kəˈrəpSH(ə)n/
noun
dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery.

But what does this mean exactly?
Let me give you some examples:
– need a passport? give the lady behind the desk 50 bucks and a pack of ground coffee and you can have it ready in 2 days instead of 3 weeks; and add a few bucks and she’ll ignore you didn’t bring proof of residence to include in the file
– need a driver’s licence or a dentist degree without opening a book? – find here an interesting blog post in The Economist.
– need to open a nightclub but find that dealing with security issues is useless? buy a permit (more on this in a moment)
– need an IT contract with the government? give the right amount of money and it’s yours – find here a very informative article on such a case
– need to sell expensive electricity that you buy cheaply in Russia? find a corrupt government and become a billionaire in no time
– need to sell your guns to the army?
and many more

Who are the people who benefit from corruption?
Not the middle class young woman striving to become a good surgeon but has no money to buy the right to operate on patients from the head surgeon. Not the local or national IT firm, even with an excellent software or service.

What does corruption look like in the eyes of the young generations?
What are the values at its core?
The big winners of a corrupt state are uneducated, money loving people, disrespectful of any law, not afraid to commit crimes, with a strong conviction that the world is theirs and that law-abiding citizens are a bunch of wimps that deserve their misery.
For our children,these people are either role models or their primary source of misery, preventing them from becoming who they are meant to be, reaching their full potential in our society.

That being said, what about the fire in Bucharest?

Bucharest is the capital of Romania. The end of World War II marked the debut of a communist regime that lasted for 50 years. 1989 was the year of a Revolution overthrowing the well-known dictator Ceausescu. Romania has been struggling with corruption and subsequent poverty ever since, their “democratic” government being controlled by ex-communist elites.
On 30 October 2015, the Colectiv nightclub fire killed 58 people and injured 153 according to Wikipedia. On 3 November, more than 15,000 people protested to demand the resignations of the Prime Minister and of the Mayor, who was criticized for giving an operating license to the club without a permit from the fire department.
On the morning of November 4, the PM, the government and the Mayor resigned. Protests ceased rapidly.

You might say the PM was not responsible for the fire. He was nevertheless the country’s first sitting premier to stand trial for corruption at that time (for forgery, complicity to tax evasion and money laundering). He was the living proof that corruption was rampant at all levels of the administration. By being the head of a corrupt government, he was responsible for the illegal licence that allowed the club to function and eventually the deaths of the young people that night. And the Romanian people in the streets understood that.

Next, let’s go to Paris.

The coordinated attacks that took place in Paris November 13 (A Friday, for the superstitious) were and are still largely covered by the media. The West has once more been attacked in the heart of it: France – symbol of past European glory, enlightenment, elegance – has been targeted by godless barbarians, in spite of what they pretend to be. There’s no argue about that.
The Islamic State has clearly become the n°1 enemy of the West. But who are the people willing to die in the name of ISIS? Common sense tells us that most probably ISIS recruits among the endless mass of ignorant and poor muslim peasants, willing to sell their children in exchange for food. Haroon Ullah, a professor at Georgetown University, seems to have a different take on this.

Why Do People Become Islamic Extremists?

What makes someone become an Islamic extremist? Is it poverty? Lack of education? A search for meaning? Haroon Ullah, a senior State Department advisor and a foreign policy professor at Georgetown University, shares what he discovered while living in Pakistan.

Posted by PragerU on Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Now, that’s a shock.

So, two apparently unrelated events like an accidental fire in a nightclub and a suicide attack have a common starting point: corruption.
Corruption is appealing at first – you can have anything you want with the right amount of money. You might think it will make your life easier.
But in the end corruption is a plague that cuts the grass under the feet of young generations which desperately react in unsuspected ways – march the streets and dream of another Revolution like the Romanians or hope that religious extremists can bring justice for all and end up, in a twisted spiral of death half way across the globe, shooting other Middle class French youngsters enjoying a concert or a pint of beer.

One hell of a butterfly effect.

There are many other countries besides Pakistan and Romania where corruption is apparent; the people at the top feel so invincible they do not bother to hide their actions anymore.
Other countries, like France and the USA, have such well-oiled, seamless corruption machineries that the common citizen is convinced the country is corruption free.

The good news? all these people try to find a solution to end corruption and the injustice that comes with it. They are no longer passive. They sometimes make very unfortunate choices. And the men at the top won’t go away without a fight.
So what we can say for sure is there will be more blood.
Ok, that’s not good news.

Some questions to you:

Are we going to simply replace the corrupt ones by new people?
Are we going to change the system so we can prevent corruption?
If corruption is inevitable, can we build a system that does not fight it but acknowledges it and controls it?

Day 4

Source http://i1.wp.com/counterinception.com/sites/default/files/pictures/MatrixBluePillRedPill.jpg?w=660

Today, I am supposed to talk about people that thank me and why; if I discover that people thank me a lot for opening doors for them I probably should organize my career and new business around opening doors. Literally and not so literally…

People thank me for things they learn from me – life choices, health related decisions that I’ve made and make – and help improve their lives. A lot of them are about food and raising children, my two main concerns of the moment, but not only.
For example, one friend’s infant had an ongoing skin condition related to allergies (she’s a doctor). She started to give baths and showers to her child once a week. She started using only olive oil as a moisturizer. In no time the skin condition amended. This was a result of a talk we had where I explained to her that we tend to over-clean our kids (in France the standard advice given to moms is every two days starting from birth), that water and cleaning products, although labelled “kid friendly”, contain aggressive ingredients. To make it short, I told her that limiting what comes in contact with the skin will eventually let the skin heal.

Giving advice is not at all easy and comfortable for me:
– First of all, my advice can be bad and bad advice is worse than no advice at all.
– Second, the things that I explore and apply to my life and family appear strange and even threatening in other people’s eyes, even if they are close friends of mine.

Fear is actually the most common and normal reaction to novelty, to things that threaten habits, myths and values.

I have found that you can try to explain in the clearest of manners something to someone, that person will not SEE the point, the reality of the matter until they are READY, until they come to a point where

their mind and conscience and soul, all these things align like planets and create the perfect configuration so that they truly understand.

Try re-reading this last phrase while listening to Radiohead’s song Jigsaw Falling Into Place. Brilliant!

So, here it comes: I believe that my purpose in life is to OBSERVE AND UNDERSTAND, make sense of all that is out there and inside every one of us. My job is also based on this. But I think I can bring more to the world than what I bring in my job.

I can only help people who want to be helped. Open-minded people, hungry people in search of another kind of “food”. But I can only promise a dark journey, for the more you understand the less you fit in the world we created.

How many people are still ready to take the blue pill?
Would it be honest to earn money from this?

This is clearly not a blog for the masses. I guess I won’t be a billionaire 😉

Talking of blue pill…
https://gifs.com/gif/vZ8BgV

 

 

Day 3

I was inspired by a blog I discovered today by Matthew Henkler on the subject of beginnings and how hard it is to start doing something and improving, not giving up…

He mentions the Expert problem – once you are very good at something you’d expect it to be easier to become good at other things too, but it’s not.

My view on this is that all children learn primarily from their mistakes and enjoy to fail. And then school comes in and rewards only when you don’t suck. And actually punishes every mistake you make, until you learn how to AVOID the situations at risk; so we become preconditioned adults, trying to take as little risks as possible, hiding our errors “in the backyard” and building a social image of ourselves based only on our glamorous moments.

This is quite disturbing.

I don’t know who my father was quoting some time ago, but he told me some people define an Expert as a person that has made all possible mistakes in a particular field. Well, school certainly does not help people become Experts, does it? Years after the end of school, it still haunts you, because you know “sucking sucks”…

Now if we consider this definition of an expert from another angle, a true expert has made so many errors in the process of becoming one that actually he may have undone the fear of error and he may even ENJOY making mistakes. It just might be easier for an expert to start learning something new…

The importance of making mistakes, or putting yourself in a position where mistakes can be made, their link with creative thinking, are better explained in one of the most viewed TED talk of all times by Ken Robinson.

All in all, in my job I cannot afford to make mistakes (I can make more mistakes than an airline pilot though). Nevertheless:
– mistakes are inherent to the human action and
– errors make me be better at what I do.
So I just deal with the contradiction.

It’s like something that is impossible but still exists – an image borrowed from Oriental philosophy – but more on that on a different occasion.

Oh yeah, one more thing – maybe next time I will write something on what I call the Myth of the Expert – a very deeply rooted myth in our modern society, meant to prevent people from feeling empowered to take action…

Mental note: writing late at night does not help my writing get clearer 🙂

Day 2

To be frank, I was eager to write again here but I find myself with nothing to say.
Paris smells vaguely like death and the lack of daylight, the rain and the endless pavement add to the feeling of doom.
In the middle of it all, I try to remember life, especially giving life, or to be more accurate, giving birth.
I remember having this insight during labour – I was getting acquainted to that implacable rhythm of growing pain/perfect bliss/pain/bliss and thought that even the slightest difference in it would have been fatal to mankind. It was exactly what I was able to bear and most certainly what all women were able to bear since the beginning, but if that perfect bliss would have been less perfect between contractions I know for sure all women would have totally refused to go through it again, at any cost. We wouldn’t have been billions thriving on the planet and far too many writing blogs and hoping to make some sense.
For the reason explained above, labour was for me another outstanding proof of the clockwork universe we live in, which comes with a reassuring feeling. Although most of it is beyond our understanding, the world will turn the way it is supposed to, with breathtaking elegance.

Day 1

first of all, it took me a whole lot more than 10 minutes to start this…I wish I could tell you this Scott Dinsmore…although I hope not to meet you anytime soon. Not yet!

second, I am quite ambivalent about this enterprise : I hope I will never be read by anyone but maybe get in touch with like-minded people, say, John Lennon?

third, and last for the moment, this is probably not the best moment to start a blog: in the aftermath of terror attacks taking place near my home, the mood is grim and the future is low….or maybe the other way around – I don’t know anymore.