On Minimalism

Reading about minimalism and especially minimalist homes makes me think about typical Japanese traditional homes, Buddhist temples and such. I think what I learned from being in Japan about traditional culture is directly applicable to minimalism. So I know and like most of it, actually. This is a funny feeling of something new being actually quite old and well-known.… -->

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Water – an artificially global problem

You must have heard that the amount of potable water is limited in the world. You must have heard that we all have to save water in the whole world because water is precious. Nearly all of that is nonsense. At least the “global” part of it definitely is.

Yes, water is important, in some parts precious. However, drinkable water is not a global problem. It cannot be. It is a local problem, local to the particular geographic location. Saving water in a place where there is abundance of it does not do anything for other locations where water may be scarce. Problems with water must be solved locally.

This problem was artificially converted into a global problem. It allows increasing prices for water anywhere, requesting that people save water where they cannot be made to pay for it – it is an economically profitable wave of uncertainty created to rip off people.

This is a shameless ripoff because we are made to pay for an abundant resource as if it is scarce. Water is an artificially global scarcity problem.… -->

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Life expectancy

I was reading Plato’s “The Republic” and it is a very worthwhile read. I highly recommend it to everyone, although that’s besides the point now. I want to talk about something else than the functioning of our society and its destination. In the very last chapter he managed to surprise me once again. Plato says:

“…once in a hundred years — such being reckoned to be the length of man’s life…”

And that small part of a sentence spoke mountains to me. I heard already from several sources that the length of human life is diminishing slowly over centuries, quite opposite to what the official science teaches us. But to hear from Plato that in his time (roughly 2400 years ago) the life expectancy was 100 years is stunning.

You see, Plato preaches philosophy as the basis for all human endeavors and he insists that everyone must study mathematics as the beginning of all other science and harmony. So, for him, to say the life expectancy is 100 years if it was not would be unacceptable. He speaks the truth in this case as in all other cases, mentioning it as a simple well-known fact of life.

So in his time to live to a hundred years was the same as now to live to sixty. We are down about one third in just two and a half centuries. This simple fact is hidden from us and we are taught that people live longer and longer while quite the opposite is the truth. People are dying.… -->

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Being polite means you are not afraid…

I was in a place where you had to talk to a receptionist today. And it was not in US. And not even in UK. Or any other English-speaking country. But the people in front of me were American and they made a big show of being cosmopolitan: “she should address me directly and in English!’, screamed the lady at a helpful old man who tried to translate the words of the receptionist to her. Witnessing such scenes always makes me wonder why people from Nowhere In Particular, North Hole, U.S.A. think that people the world all over are obliged to speak their language. All right, but even then, why do they have to be so offensive?

I think they are scared. They feel insecure, that’s what drives them madly shouting at others. And that makes me think now that when people are polite that is a sign of them feeling secure and relaxed. So when someone is impolite, you can safely bet they are afraid.

Don’t be afraid. Be polite.… -->

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A sense of urgency

I have a feeling today that there is something crucial in the sense of urgency. I can feel comfortable and cozy, this feeling being opposite to the sense of urgency. When I feel comfortable, I am stuck in that feeling, I want to keep it and I become inert and unwilling to change anything. A sense of urgency can be entertained in an opposite manner – by withdrawing yourself from the lure of comfort. The sense of urgency is important somehow, it makes me move, it makes me think, it makes me do things that I expect to be beneficial in the long run. It imparts on me this contradiction of now and after. The understanding, the logical thinking of the consequences in the future does not help to start moving, does not help to get you out of your cozy “now” and does not implant a firm boot in your behind. But the sense of urgency, once obtained, does exactly that. It helps to get things moving and without any outright struggle. The struggle is to get the sense of urgency and to keep it.… -->

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A matter of attitude

I came accidentally across an article describing the habits of burglars today. The article was short and interesting with some fair advice on where (not) to hide your cash. Since I usually do not have any cash at home anyhow, that was not so exciting though. But one of the comments on the burglars and burglaries stood out and it deserves to be shared:

I don’t sweat it. I have a 110 lb pit bull and a .357 Magnum among other guns. I got out of the military recently and currently carry a weapon at work. If you want my flat screen or my loose change, come on in…I have 40 acres and a bulldozer. Nobody will miss you.

It is all a matter of attitude all right.… -->

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Plato’s parable of the State

Reading this excellent book called “The Republic” written by Plato reportedly in circa 380 b.c. amuses me to no end. This passage is simply irresistible:

I perceive, I said, that you are vastly amused at having plunged me into such a hopeless discussion; but now hear the parable, and then you will be still more amused at the meagreness of my imagination: for the manner in which the best men are treated in their own States is so grievous that no single thing on earth is comparable to it; and therefore, if I am to plead their cause, I must have recourse to fiction, and put together a figure made up of many things, like the fabulous unions of goats and stags which are found in pictures.  Imagine then a fleet or a ship in which there is a captain who is taller and stronger than any of the crew, but he is a little deaf and has a similar infirmity in sight, and his knowledge of navigation is not much better. The sailors are quarrelling with one another about the steering –every one is of opinion that he has a right to steer, though he has never learned the art of navigation and cannot tell who taught him or when he learned, and will further assert that it cannot be taught, and they are ready to cut in pieces any one who says the contrary. They throng about the captain, begging and praying him to commit the helm to them; and if at any time they do not prevail, but others are preferred to them, they kill the others or throw them overboard, and having first chained up the noble captain’s senses with drink or some narcotic drug, they mutiny and take possession of the ship and make free with the stores; thus, eating and drinking, they proceed on their voyage in such a manner as might be expected of them. Him who is their partisan and cleverly aids them in their plot for getting the ship out of the captain’s hands into their own whether by force or persuasion, they compliment with the name of sailor, pilot, able seaman, and abuse the other sort of man, whom they call a good-for-nothing; but that the true pilot must pay attention to the year and seasons and sky and stars and winds, and whatever else belongs to his art, if he intends to be really qualified for the command of a ship, and that he must and will be the steerer, whether other people like or not-the possibility of this union of authority with the steerer’s art has never seriously entered into their thoughts or been made part

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