International marriage and living abroad

An interesting article from a lady living in an international marriage has prompted me thinking about her ideas and advice but I quickly realized that she is making false assumptions and leads us to wrong conclusions in general. So I will jot down my ideas here lest I forget them.

You see, her starting point seems to be that we need to discuss where to live and how to organize our life together if we are from different countries and cultures. On the surface, it seems like a really reasonable idea and then all the other things follow naturally: pick a safe country, make sure you get enough money to afford a good living standard, bla-bla-bla.

No. This is all wrong because it places us, men, squarely on the playing ground of women. Those are their values, their interests: comfort, safety, sufficient supplies to grow children and so on. All of those things do not matter if I come to ask the question that matters: I am a man and I have a purpose in life, would I sell my soul for more money, better climate or safer environment? Quite often, nowadays, men tend to answer “yes” to that question and in doing so they seize to be men proper and become surrogate women. And this is wrong.

A man, a proper grown up man, usually has ideas that are bigger than the minutiae of the current situation and living conditions. The man wants to conquer the world, create something monumental, change something grandiose in its momentum. The scale may be different depending on the man and his environment, but the ideas are always such that they surpass all this trivia of “where do we live and what will we eat tomorrow”.

Over the years, I myself have moved several times quite monumentally, changing countries and continents, disposing of everything I had collected and built. It was never to move where “the grass is greener” but always is to where my work and my interests take me. And I am sure that any man worth his salt will certainly want to do the same. Perhaps not all will act on it, but want they will.

So, the only thing I can tell to all of you girls out there who consider a marriage in general and an international marriage in particular: if you find a real man, your man will go wherever his passion takes him. You, sweet creations, will have to follow your men. Whether it is to the better or to the worse, you must be prepared to follow him and make the best out of whatever conditions you… -->

continue reading →

What would you do if you were God?

I know what I would do: exactly what I am doing now!

You see, if I was God, I could do anything, so I would try to live my life in different ways to see which way would be most exciting, interesting, pleasurable, whatever… Then I would likely come to the point where I would also like to live completely different lives. Quickly, I would discover that I can live several lives in parallel and compare… From there, it is a quick step to actually living every life around and enjoying all of them! Of course, I would actually have to make sure that while I am living the life I would not know that it’s all me, because it would quickly lose any sense otherwise, would it not? All of me would pretend to not know anything about Me and get on with life to only get reconciled eventually after living the life.

So, yes, if I was God, I would be living all these lives simultaneously, in all this huge universe, and enjoying it all in all its diversity. I guess, I am doing it already. Cool, eh?

-->

continue reading →

George Carlin. I’m a modern man…

I’m a modern man, a man for the millennium. Digital and smoke free. A diversified multi-cultural, post-modern deconstruction that is anatomically and ecologically incorrect. I’ve been up linked and downloaded, I’ve been inputted and outsourced, I know the upside of downsizing, I know the downside of upgrading. I’m a high-tech low-life. A cutting edge, state-of-the-art bi-coastal multi-tasker and I can give you a gigabyte in a nanosecond!
I’m new wave, but I’m old school and my inner child is outward bound. I’m a hot-wired, heat seeking, warm-hearted cool customer, voice activated and bio-degradable. I interface with my database, my database is in cyberspace, so I’m interactive, I’m hyperactive and from time to time I’m radioactive.

Behind the eight ball, ahead of the curve, ridin the wave, dodgin the bullet and pushin the envelope. I’m on-point, on-task, on-message and off drugs. I’ve got no need for coke and speed. I’ve got no urge to binge and purge. I’m in-the-moment, on-the-edge, over-the-top and under-the-radar. A high-concept, low-profile, medium-range ballistic missionary. A street-wise smart bomb. A top-gun bottom feeder. I wear power ties, I tell power lies, I take power naps and run victory laps. I’m a totally ongoing big-foot, slam-dunk, rainmaker with a pro-active outreach. A raging workaholic. A working rageaholic. Out of rehab and in denial!

I’ve got a personal trainer, a personal shopper, a personal assistant and a personal agenda. You can’t shut me up. You can’t dumb me down because I’m tireless and I’m wireless, I’m an alpha male on beta-blockers.

I’m a non-believer and an over-achiever, laid-back but fashion-forward. Up-front, down-home, low-rent, high-maintenance. Super-sized, long-lasting, high-definition, fast-acting, oven-ready and built-to-last! I’m a hands-on, foot-loose, knee-jerk head case pretty maturely post-traumatic and I’ve got a love-child that sends me hate mail.

But, I’m feeling, I’m caring, I’m healing, I’m sharing– a supportive, bonding, nurturing primary care-giver. My output is down, but my income is up. I took a short position on the long bond and my revenue stream has its own cash-flow. I read junk mail, I eat junk food, I buy junk bonds and I watch trash sports! I’m gender specific, capital intensive, user-friendly… -->

continue reading →

You are the sum of your experiences…

The psychiatrist treating Dr. House in the sixth season of “House, MD” quite suddenly revealed the fundamental truth about human personality. He said literally:

“You are the sum of all of your experiences…”

This truth is apparently known, it is not even hidden in any way. Any psychiatrist can tell you what your person is, literally. Why is it so difficult to make the connection and think about myself in these terms?

I am the sum of all of my experiences. My personality is just that – a bunch of interactions with other people that left an imprint on me. I am simply a piece of clay on which thousands of footprints are left by people passing me by daily. There isn’t really anything else. There is no “real me” in the sense that most people, religions and secret teachings talk about. The psychology has figured it all out already, it seems. We just fail to appreciate and apply this knowledge.

That single phrase set off a chain reaction in my head. I realized that while I was hooked on watching “House, M.D.” for the last year or so, I automatically took up Greg House as a role model and started copying him. I crippled myself to the point where it became really painful to walk, took up drinking and became extremely cynical in my speech. My personality is absorbing accessible traits from the personality I watch on the screen. Unfortunately, it cannot absorb the ability to play piano, the beautiful apartment or the cool job of the role model, so I end up worse than I was.

This process is completely automatic. My personality is just that – a machine that copies anything it sees. All my thoughts are a copy of thoughts of others. All my ideas are ideas of others. My behavior is a mashed up heap of traits of others. There is nothing else. Not at this level.… -->

continue reading →

Robert M. Pirsig, “Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. An Inquiry into Values.”

“The real cycle you’re working on is a cycle called yourself.”

One more completely misrepresented book in our world. This book is typically described as a “travel book”, meaning that it contains a travel description, which it is anything but. This is, au contraire, a philosophical treatise explaining the intellectual path to the enlightenment and the state of human “grown-up”. And as the first quote rightly sums it up, the book is about working on yourself and not about motorcycles.

Pirsig claims that he took the name Phaedrus accidentally, meaning to take the Greek word for “wolf” but ending with “bright” by accident. With all due respect, I don’t believe in accidents. “Phaedrus” stands for “enlightened” and that is who he is. The book contains interesting allegories that explain well how the human awareness comes to existence, how we perceive the world, and how we do it all wrong.

We take a handful of sand from the endless landscape of awareness around us and call that handful of sand the world.

The book has a lot in common with other philosophical and mystical books in that it also describes the path to the enlightenment that a person must take. The path that results in discarding of ego, discarding the very idea of who you are and unlearning everything you learned to start understanding the world.

He wanted to free himself from his own image. He wanted to destroy it because the ghost was what he was and he wanted to be free from the bondage of his own identity. In a strange way, this freedom was achived.

And all of the wisdom is described in a very natural (for our culture) “scientific” language that rings true to the ears of the modern man. The examples are everyday things that one can easily relate to and analogies have true meaning for the man of today. This scores a lot of points when compared to somewhat cryptic Eastern books or works of Carlos Castaneda.

One of the important things that the book mentions is a clear distinction between the glorified self-interest and the true growing-up, the true desire of enlightenment. That self-glorification is the disaster of the today’s world.

Any effort that has self-glorification as its final endpoint is bound to end in a disaster. […] When you try to climb a mountain to prove how big you

--> continue reading →

Jed McKenna – “Spiritual Enlightenment, The Damnedest Thing”

You know how this famous saying in oriental spiritual philosophy goes, that when a student is ready, the teacher arrives? I think that this saying is entirely true. When the student is ready, the teacher always arrives. Just don’t be literal about it, the teacher does not have to arrive in the shape of a wise old man with a white beard. What arrives really is the knowledge that you are ready for. And it may arrive as a conversation on a plane, a movie, a new acquaintance, or a book.

This book is great. I feel like reading my own thoughts but well organized and neatly put together. It’s a great book and gives this necessary kick to face the reality. Only I would not recommend it. And I don’t. Usually, when I read a great book, I run around advising everyone and their dog to read it. Not this time, though. Even trying to discuss the ideas in this book with people who read it proves difficult, not to mention trying to impose it on someone who is not interested in serious business of demolishing self. So, I do not recommend it. You will find it when you are ready for it. Or you will find something else. It does not matter. This book is not entertainment, it has to be taken literally, just like the books of Castaneda are. So, don’t. Unless you are fed up with the world as it is and want to look for the truth.

If you do, then this book helps a lot to organize your own thoughts and it tells you what you needed to hear all along: forget about external knowledge, you have work to do, work on yourself, so go and do it.… -->

continue reading →

Got “social contract”?

I have heard the words “social contract” one too many times lately. My idea of freedom starts with the freedom of thought and I do not like fuzzy concepts that cloud judgement. I decided to find out what “social contract” actually means. Did you know that the concept itself is centuries old?

At its very basic, we are told that the social contract is an implied contract that one enters into by being a member of society. The contract offers the citizen certain protections while requiring that the citizen will be justly punished for breaking the laws of that society. The concept was first fleshed out by Socrates although he himself refuted the concept as the source of justice later arguing that the justice is inherent to men and cannot originate externally.

This contradiction and inconsistency is carried through the later works of Thomas Hobbes that form the ground for nearly all social contract theorists. The inconsistency, presented by Hobbes, could only be resolved again by admitting that the relationship between the society and the individual does not form the ground for morality. On the contrary, the natural morality of men makes the ground for the forming of the society and its rules.

People do not have an inherent desire to kill, rob and rape. Quite the contrary, if the society norms and laws were lifted today, we would likely go ahead just as we did before, cheerfully helping each other and being nice to strangers. People do not steal, rape and murder not because of some ephemeral social contract but because they are not inclined to. However, we do notice that some people have a tendency for misbehaving, right?

On the one hand, we have to admit that people who have the tendency to steal, murder and rape do so whether the society has mechanisms for punishing the said behaviours or not. On the other hand, we notice that these behaviours are tightly coupled to the possession of property. Unsurprisingly, Locke based his concept of social contract on the idea that men only have disputes when property is involved. The relationships within families are pre-social, they are moral agreements entered to and carried out willingly. As soon as people start having property, claims to property and property disputes, the relationships deteriorate and the necessity to protect oneself and one’s property arises.

Recognizing the problem, … -->

continue reading →

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.… -->

continue reading →

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.… -->

continue reading →

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.… -->

continue reading →