We are tired of this blindness

Modern capitalism has ignored the lessons of history in the ignorant and short-sighted pursuit of individual wealth. See for example the article Economics for the People by economic historian Dirk Philipsen in Aeon magazine, from which I quote at length, due to its eloquence: In preindustrial societies, cooperation represented naked necessity for survival. Yet the […]

We are tired of this blindness

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.

Ibn Khaldun and the Crisis of Modernity

Ibn Khaldun was a fourteenth century historiographer, sociologist, economist, and philosopher. Born in a turbulent time when the remnants of the Umayyad Caliphate in Iberia and North Africa were either collapsing or under extensive pressure internally and externally (corruption and European invasion and crusades), Ibn Khaldun set out to chronicle a sociology of the rise […]

Ibn Khaldun and the Crisis of Modernity

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.

 

Parasite. The movie

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It’s the endless story of the battle of the poor; but this time not against the rich. It’s the mentality of being a parasite, living off others’ goods.

This movie shuts down many clichés we know: rich are bad, poor are good. By the end of it, one can’t tell who is bad and who is good. These values as depicted in the movie depend on situations. Life throws all characters in situations where each one has to choose the least evil. That being said, it is realistic and so is the description of the ways of being and thingking of both the rich and the poor.

Alongside the smooth storytelling, interrupted by surprising elements, and the filming itself, this movie deserves all the awards it got. It is the story of the less than ordinary brought to amplifications for the best and the worst.

It is a very good movie, but not for the faint at hearts.

I am a Xennial and multitasking is my game

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photo by retrojunk.com

I am a Xennial and below are the characteristics of Xennials found a bit everywhere on the net. Somehow true, they don’t tell the real difference between Xennials and the other generations.

Xennials  are the micro-generation of people on the cusp of the Generation X and Millennial demographic cohorts, typically born between 1977 and 1985. Xennials are described as having had an analog childhood and a digital adulthood.

Childhood in the 80s was internet free, playing outside and eating sugary food. Back then, an old person playing with kids was not referred to as a pedophile. Back then, we looked cool with our Walkmans.

Adolescence in the 90s was about CDs (played sometimes backwards to listen to satanic messages? funny!) Internet came out few years laters and addiction to chatting in chatrooms for hours! Cell phones were invented but calling friends on landlines.

That was long before social media, sexting, Facebook, massive communication and shame viral bullying.

The transition to social media and the digital era was smooth.

Anna Garvey in her article The Oregon Trail Generation: Life before and after Mainstream Tech. (Social Media Week) has described these individuals as having “both a healthy portion of Gen X grunge cynicism, and a dash of the unbridled optimism of Millennials”.

These descriptions are all secondary.

What is essential about Xennials is their ambition and their multitasking abilities. This is the fundamental personality trait of Xennials.

 

The concept of free

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image by vecteezy.com

It is not about the concept of freedom but the concept of free. A capitalistic world is a capitalistic collective and individual consciousness. Where all is about financial profit, then the concepts of saving and getting free products are related. It goes from free trials, free e-books, free giveaway etc… to ingredients free types of food.

While all this seems to be profitable and legitimate, where the awareness stands?

The idea of free is not bad in itself. People have the right to try a free sample before deciding on buying it or not. Same goes for a free trial, a free class, a free article etc., or even a “buy 1 get 1 for free”. The issue lies in the frantic thinking of getting the maximum of free stuff possible for two main reasons:

  • Trying something for free before choosing to pay can lead in some cases to be enticed. Not all businesses are made the same way. Sometimes the free stuff is way better than the bought ones.
  • Choosing quantity over quality. This is the bigger issue where people think the more the better, ending with unneeded many free stuff. Again, blame it on the consumerist attitude and behavior.

It is trickier when it comes to food. Sugarfree is the taste of sugar without having sugar. Fat free, is also the same taste minus the fat. Gluten free: does anyone understand the gluten issue? Put aside allergies and food intolerances, why would anyone want to eat sugar without sugar if it is widely known that is bad? It is lying to ourselves without taking any responsibility for this matter. It is accepting to eat crap and fooling ourselves that it is a healthier option while deeply being convinced that it is poisonous. Mythomania!

It is revolting because paying for something is paying for quality and it is an exchange. Perhaps some things shouldn’t be free and some others shouldn’t be paid for. You choose which is which. Should a party be free? I don’t think so, again for the idea of exchanging intentions and experiences. Art was never free, although it shouldn’t cost a fortune. Creativity must be paid for.

So, where the awareness stands?

It is low, stepping behind a compulsive behavior and a self-cheating mentality. Instead of looking for quality, some people (if not most of them) rely on bingeing bad food, bad quality and bad music. All this is followed by medication afterward. Then we ask ourselves: why are we so unhappy and stressed? How did rational and critical thinking disappear?

The paradox of the mythomaniac sincerity 2020..

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Francis Picabia: The open mask

The word “sincere” comes from the Latin sin cirus meaning without beeswax as referred to pure honey. Later, this word was used for a person who speaks their mind, who doesn’t fool others.

One can be sincere without telling the truth only if they are unconsciously wrong at the start. In comparison, a liar doesn’t believe their own lie, unless repeated all the time, a perversion called mythomania.

Generally speaking, orators are not sincere: they speak to provoke a certain reaction and not to communicate their thoughts. Therefore, sincerity’s requirements are mostly transparency and sometimes authenticity. For sociability causes, one tends to wear a mask for protection or for manipulation; society often tells us to be less sincere to fit in.

Are we all mythomania?

Mythomania is an abnormal or pathological tendency to exaggerate or tell lies.

If we take this classical definition, can it be adapted to our virtual social behavior on social media? Is an airbrushed photo or a well enhanced profile considered as mythomania? Let’s face it, most people won’t admit they used Photoshop for their photos, not they would admit that they lied about their profiles. Obviously, there is a worse example like identity theft. Is the thief a mythomaniac or aren’t we all?

The paradox is we have all been raised for higher moral values such as sincerity and authenticity. We all went on retouching innocently our photos and marketing ourselves on a larger identity. Maybe the question worse asking here is: are we all, not mythomaniac, but schizophrenic? What if the latters are both social disorders? Are certain types of societies the creator of those disorders, better known as psychological issues?

The easiest way to answer would be to say they are psychosocial. Let’s go further and say they are epigenetic, genetically wired by our culture to be mythomaniac. Epigenetic studies the impact of culture (social behavior and nutrition) on our genes. Would it be an option to explain collective disorders?