The Trial and Execution of a True Moralist and Philosopher – Socrates

…I say that in fact this is the greatest good for a man, to talk every day about virtue and other things you hear me converse about when I examine both myself and others, and that the unexamined life is not worth living for a man… Socrates, The Apology of Socrates by Plato Socrates was […]

The Trial and Execution of a True Moralist and Philosopher – Socrates

The philosophy of the doormat

It is peculiar to put the words philosophy and doormat in one sentence. But the truth of a doormat goes deeper to what meets the eye.

A doormat is a mat placed in a doorway, on which people can wipe their shoes on entering a building. They wipe their shoes from dust, mud and bacteria or viruses brought back from the outside. A doormat is then a cleaning mat; that’s the superficial way to understand what it is. However, a doormat is way beyond its wiping function.

A doormat is the separation between the inside and the outside, the private and the public. At the start, the public meant nature where people used to work or spend their days. If we praise nature now, it was not the case longtime ago. Back then and still to this day, nature was synonymous to dirt, dust and dangerous creatures. Residents in houses with gardens know exactly that definition, a doormat in every doorway, daily swiping the floor from sand and dead leaves, tracking insects and spraying pesticides. The same goes for all the daily hygiene because the idea of nature is dirt. Deodorant smells better than natural body odor.

Humans built culture as opposed to nature. They built a world that stands between nature and them, a world that is a mirror to humans. A doormat separates culture from nature.

Breaking traditions and breaking free

Traditions, what are they for?

Traditions are an endless repetition of an event, a behaviour, an action or just a way of being based on a cultural idea brought to light by society over generations. Repeating is cementing an identity, a cultural heritage and an ideology. Christmas tree, white wedding dress, Sunday family lunch for example and much more are Christian traditions and collective consciousness (to pick this concept from Marx0 perpetuated even by non Christians. It does tell then how religions in general shaped up and influenced our daily life until this present day.

Are traditions bad? Some are and some aren’t. However what is bad about traditions in general is limiting individual freedom. Identity goes deeper and wider than its social characteristics (nationality, race, religion etc.) and it is linked to individual freedom. Not only a background defines a person but this person does, what lessons they learned from their experiences, what they have been through and so on. Therefore, identity and freedom are beyond traditions and repetitions. They are endlessly evolving.

This is why, breaking free and “becoming who you are” to rephrase Nietzsche is to break free from traditions or at least to make the latter work for you and not the other way around.

On minimalistic sketches

Minimalism is everywhere on social media. Suddenly, people realized that abundance is somehow a burden especially in times of lockdown. How many pairs of shoes does one need? It all goes back to the need and desire dilemma. A world based on marketing, desire and compulsion is indeed marketing abundance.

In this perspective, without being completely for minimalism nor against it, I try to draw minimalistic sketches.

It takes such a short time to be done with one uninterrupted line. I loved the exercise. It takes precision, practice and a sharp observation.

Same is required for minimalism in general. It takes precision, experience, practice and a sharp observation in order to look put together.

The quest for impossible love affairs

Love, probably the most debated concept, is easy (it should be, right?) But complicated (for sure). The most natural feeling that ties people together has never been less than difficult, up to impossible sometimes.

Following a certain pattern of impossible loves, going from one impossible affair into another, is not a pure coincidence. Digging deeper, this pattern hides a subconscious (or unconscious) reason.

Falling for impossible loves more than once says a fear of commitment. Worse, it reveals a guilt feeling of betraying parents or closed loved ones. An impossible love doesn’t lead to commitment; so one is safe from commitment, guilt and betrayal.

Always falling for the “wrong” person is not a lack of chance. It is an unconscious choice. It is repeating the same experience over and over again. This repeated pattern of a person lies between the myth of Sisyphus and the Stockholm syndrome.

Emancipating oneself from the chain of the absurdity of this repeated heartbreaks requires a mind reset. And this is a long sinuous road of self discovery.

Creativity’s backup

Self-expression is one click away. Anyone can show up to their beliefs, ideas and crafts.

Talents are overpraised and overrated.

There’s no such thing as a talent. There is potential to be cultivated.

Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. However the beholder doesn’t see the backstage tremendous effort.

A great result requires a great work!

It’s not about finding a passion then starting to work on it. It’s about doing everything (or almost everything) passionately. It’s about showing up every single day.

Procrastination is the fear of failing.

Only hard work is the creativity’s backup.

The US riots: a mirror of the world

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What’s currently happening in the US happened in other big cities in the world in 2019. From Beirut to Tehran, to Paris and Alger,  to Catalonia and Latin America and so on, protesters screamed the same words:

All lives matter and dignity to people!

Better known as the Global Protest Wave of 2019 that continued through 2020, the US riots are a mirror of the world: same claims, same suffering, same hunger, same poverty, same injustice. Above all, governments are not trustworthy anymore. Most of world leaders are the 20th century product and mentality and we are in the 21st century, with different struggles and problems. The change needs to take place.

Economical injustice, poverty, weaken medical system (shown since the outbreak Covid19), climate change, corruption, cybernetics and the endless politicization of races and religions. Don’t expect the same leaders and traditional political parties to bring solutions. They are the ones responsible of the state of the world today.

Systems don’t last forever. Even the biggest empires in history ended up dismantled. Riots are, as the french philosopher Gilles Deleuze call it, “lines of flight” cracking the system’s wall from the inside. The reason behind it is that energy can’t be contained for too long. It will turn to anger and violence. Instead of facing the problems, most leaders are in denial, explaining these movements with interpretations and conspiracy theories showing their paranoid personality.

Despite unfortunate events in 2020 and thousands of deaths, maybe 2020 is the year to wake up and act. Maybe it is the year where we must know that we are all in this and that we need to back each others up. Maybe it is the year where we must see racial, gender and cultural differences as party outfits and deep inside we are all the same, humans. Maybe it is the year we must consider humanism and respect as the biggest values.

Fear leads to racism and fanaticism.

Fanaticism and racism lead to violence.

Violence leads to tragedy.

Maybe 2020 is the year to break this hateful cycle.

 

The new normal

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photo by livescience.com

 

This new concept is everywhere now, underpinning new behaviours, new reflexes, new apprehensions and a new way of life. The so called “new normal’ is a normal reaction to an aftermath.

Knowing this fact, why to hate the new reality?

Reality is a complex concept. The etymology is Latin, res, which means “thing” (for example, the word republic comes from res publica, public thing. A dictatorship calling itself a republic is a contradiction of words). Therefore, reality is the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic notion of them.

Zooming in, it is clear that reality is made of different layers: social reality, political reality, public reality, personal reality, environmental reality, individual reality and so on. A repetitive collective action defines the norm or what is normal or abnormal. Wearing a mask has become a new normal as a planetary and an individual repetitive action due to the birth of a new layer: the pandemics.

This powerful new layer threatens all the other ones. Consequentially, new behaviours and ways of thinking and living have already taken place.

Is our life better or worse now? 

So far, we hate it. Humans are creatures of habits and rituals and the latter played a major role in cultural and social cohesion as well as in cultural differentiation throughout history of mankind. It goes for our safety, our sanity and our survival. Even our cells are units of habits. What is a disease other than a disruptive phenomenon in the genetically programmed organism?

The problem is, humans are not their cells. They are their own minds, emotions and desires. Only a human mind can be in denial of an actual threat while an organism can’t be so.

Modern philosophy defined humans as rational beings but we are not or at least not all the time.

We seek pleasure and we fear pain. We function by reward and punishment. If we were only rational, we wouldn’t be depressed facing the new normal.

If ever the pandemics would disappear forever, its consequences on the different layers of the world reality will remain. The new normal will eventually become the normal.