On a nice evening with a friend in Málaga this October, we developed this idea for political street art. (We were kinda oversugared from the best icecream in town … it explains something, doesn’t it? 😀 ) Initially we wanted to cut our own “Espere Revolución” signs and install them over the city’s normal push-button boxes for pedestrian traffic lights. But for now, it’s a mockup.

Political street art: Espere Revolución (small excerpt size 1024×768)

Political street art: Espere Revolución (large size 2048×1365)

The pedestrian traffic lights sign in the image reads: “Touch the button”. Then you push it, and it says then: “Expect revolution.” (It’s normally “Espere Verde” – expect green light. Plus a standing person with both hands down.)

Licence: Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 2.0

Credits: The original image was created by flickr.com user david buedo and published as flickr image 6949945397 under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 2.0 licence. Thank you!

Modifiable version: Just tell me in the comments if somebody wants the GIMP .xcf.bz2 file of this, with layers for easy modification to make other signs as well.

So now that we’ve grown up, and started to work for money, we finally start to ask ourselves: Wherefore should we live then? We see most people choose to live for children, and some choose to live for themselves instead. The former have children and no money, the latter have money to spend and no children.

Now, these both ways to live life could not stop the deterioration of Western societies, which started in (say) the mid 1990’s and is in good full swing as of 2011. It’s not the technichal challenges of more scarce resources that we face, or the dangers of unregulated greed (in the financial markets and at home). The real, real problem is that in a land of Cockaigne like this, parents can never succeed to transfer their builder mindset (of postponed consumption, investment, hope, betterment) to their children and grandchildren. These will find out that near everything can be had without work, and will get too comfortable to even be interested, to desire to learn, and to be creative. It’s bad with the children and worse with the grandchildren. Call it decadence.

Now what? Let’s doubt that taking part in decadence is never a life lived for what’s adequate, whether you have children more decadent than you, or no children, being decadent yourself. Instead, there has to be a life to be lived against decadence. Successfully. What do we need for that?

The new, new frontier. The US could only start to become decadent where the frontier for settlement had passed, leaving civilization, but without vision and without tasks. Of course, people found something to improve and to do during some of the following generations, but finally even that faded. There was something like a last try to remedy this by calling the race for the moon the “new frontier”. Nice try, but itself influenced by decadence: Is space travelling really the first thing that comes to mind when you think of “task” and “vision”?

What we need is the new, new frontiere. And then the new, new, new one. And so on. We need eternal pioneering. Look around and see that the world is in nearly no place as it should be. Sahara is a desert, the Congo struck by malaria, all of Africa by Aids, and much of the world by wrong belief systems. Just for the start. And we Westerners dare to say we see no tasks at hand, when questioning ourselves how to recreate vision and zeal in our society, or when questioning ourselves what to do with the >20% jobless in southern Europe? And then people dare to get on the idea that adding another child or two or three to already 7 000 000 000 people on Earth is a proper reason to live for, even though its more-than-apparent that even more people will even intensify the problems and resource conflicts on this planet?

Let’s get practical: we know how to do military operations, with respect to human resources. People get “deployed” in groups of several hundreds to some battlefield overseas, for some 6-8 months maybe. Then they are exchanged by a new group, and themselves go back to their home country to refresh and prepare again for their next deployment in another 6-8 months. Let’s take this over to all kinds of development aid. Because this is attributing the right role to civilization and homes: a place of refreshment and preparation for your “mission”.

Specifically, I propose to create settlements of ca. 4000 people, who travel to overseas development assistance deployments in groups of 1000. As this is no military operation, this can and should include the whole families (children can get schooled underway). The people at home would work to support them, from logistics to medical care etc.. As in military deployments, there will have to be like 4-5 (minimum) immediate support people behind everybody on a mission, and even more so working for money for these missions. But in any case, everybody’s goal should be to go on deployment (and if only for 6 in 36 months), being the reward for year-long support work.

Some ideas for specific missions:

  • Re-afforest the whole of Sahara. Yea, we had that above. Just plant the trees, it’s good for the planet 🙂
  • Build some big islands, or enlarge others. Having more land in nice climate is always a good thing. Why, for heaven’s sake, would people want to live in Siberia while there’s an island waiting for them?
  • Eradicate AIDS.
  • Eradicate malaria.
  • Eradicate hemorrhagic fevers. And all those other infection sicknesses.
  • We want the rain forest back where it was!
  • We want whales back, and the Indian elephant in big numbers, and all these other lovely creatures. Isn’t it somewhat … heavily self-conceited, that we allow 7 billion humans on Earth and reduced many of the other  creatures to just some thousands per species?
  • Yea and finally, once we repaired and tidied up the Earth, there are other planets to travel to. Yet, first things first!

Remember what the Lord God said after the deluge: spread and multiply and fill the Earth. But Josephus says, the people wanted to stay together in one location, building Babylon and its towever as their central collection point. Yet God wanted them to go and colonize the Earth, he wanted them to pioneer – maybe because of the danger of rapid decadence, should they stay together in all their civilization? So he had to mix up their language …

Pioneering never ends. It must not end, as it’s a crucial ingredient for human mental health.

The old testament law said: Thou shalt love thy neighbor just as yourself. Which establishes a balance: do not harm your neighbor for your profit, but also, do not harm yourself, or allow yourself to be harmed, for the profit of an (obviously greedy) neighbor. This law promotes a 50/50 distribution of resources to your personal well-being and that of your neighbor(s).

This equal distribution means, you are allowed to prevent being harmed yourself. No need to suffer in order to provide a better life four your neighbor than you have. See also Paul, who says that donations should be given “according to the principle of nivellation”.

So God’s law does not call for the full-fledged give-based society, which would be something like, give all to others, and live from what they give you. But I assume that God likes that even better than the 50/50 distribution. The reason for not commanding this is probably that God knows it would not come to pass because of the corrupt human nature, and without happening on society scale this model is not maintainable. Even the 50/50 model does not come to pass in our society (as we experience every day), but having “wasted” 50% of all personal resources for the good of others still leaves you 50% to survive. You might also waste 60% and survive on 40%, but I think God chose the 50/50 rule for simplicity. The exact numbers do not matter.

So after all, I expect that we will have a full give-based society in heaven.

Now I think I found a revealing formulation for different approaches towards a happy life and happy world.

What the different approaches have in common is the persuasion that the right human mindset is the key ingredient for both a happy life and a happy world. The right mindset for this would be (roughly), more optimism, hope that transcends death, and interpretations that can attribute deeper meaning to daily activities and to extraordinary events like affliction and disease. Such a mindset makes people happy, and also enables them and motivates them to go and fix the world.

Now the difference between the approaches is how to shape the mind. Let’s enumerate a little:

  • Psychotherapy.
  • Social therapy.
  • Meditation techniques.
  • Religious beliefs.

All these above approach have in common that they seek to shape the mind “directly”, by exchanging mind content, which could be considered as “software”.  While we don’t know exactly which or which combination of these approaches is the most effective one, it seems clear that they all are too weak, as no approach was able to permanently and effectively change the mindset of any large group of people to anything “near perfect”. From time to time, there are great individuals with an absolutely astonishing character, but all approaches failed on society scale.

Now why is this? Here is my opinion. What seems to be stronger than all these approaches seems to be the power of the “mind-eroding” objective circumstances. Which includes many things from bad example, to bad societal values, to natural catastropies, crime, physical frailty and much more. Shielding people might be done to a degree while changing their mindset, but after they are released to fix the world, they are again prone to erosion, and erosion will win over time. And I think the key reason for this is because the mind is hard-wired to try to find a representation of reality and to adapt to it. With a logic like: I see that objective reality does not justify that hope, so having hope in spite of this would make happier for a time but badly hurt when being disappointed in the end, which means we should better avoid it.

If this is correct, reality itself is the most powerful programmer of the mind. But this also gives a glimpse of hope: If objective reality is good at the bottom, and if we can find out that and experience it long and powerfully enough, then this will shape our mind more than the bad aspects of reality around us.

If you know what I’m up to, you know what this argument will lead to. Namely: If we could only experience that God is there, loves us, wants to saves us and even proves that by doing miracles in this world – then this could change our minds permanently because it both justifies and inspires hope. I hope to find these experiences in expeditions of the coming years.

There’s a lot of bad jokes about blondes being stupid. And sometimes I wonder if there could be some substance to it. But in a more general sense: is there any reverse correlation between intelligence and outward attractiveness? Or more precisely, between intelligence and ones subjective impression about ones own outward attractiveness? (Also note that correlation means just, some statistically significant interdependence, while there can be lots of exceptions, like pretty and  intelligent folks.)

There are some reasons that stand aside to explain such a correlation, should it exist:

  • The non-attractive people are those who have other interests than being attractive. Yes, I do think that everybody is “potentially attractive”, just some people do not take the time to reveal it by developing and maintaining a personal style. That is totally ok, people have different interests after all. Those folks might instead deal with a topic in depth, and thus reveal their potential technological / emotional / social or whatever intelligence to a fuller extend. They might also deal with other stuff, like success in entrepeneurship, but we’re after a correlation with intelligence only here. Note that intelligence is commonly thought to depend both on genetic disposition and education, which means much can be done by education independently of ones genetic disposition.
  • Likewise, those interested in making themselves attractive by styling might find that they lack the time to really pursue interests in other topics  like science, technology, society, arts, medicine or whatever.
  • People who are naturally attractive because of their genes (meaning, also if they don’t care about styling) will often find that they do not need to be anything else except attractive. Especially women can get all the advantages in life by being attractive – ok and sociable, but they need not be intelligent and learned in math, science, technology, music, art or whatever demanding discipline there might be. So why should they bother mastering these difficult matters?
  • Likewise, the not naturally attractive people might feel that they need some other content in life to feel worthy and some content to get accepted and maybe praised by others. So they might develop interests in other special areas, like science and technology.

As always, these is experimental thinking. And where I did include observations, I do not endorse them as to be right, legitimate or morally good.

Hipster or Hobo?
(Can you tell – Hipster or Hobo? Anyway, it’s not me, and not in Frankfurt. Source: Failblog, see there for more.)

Last Wednesday, I have been to Klassikstadt Frankfurt, in a mobile.de car seller seminar. Well, kind of. It turned out to be more of a sales promotion event for a new type of seller account. But I have been to this Klassikstadt thing anyway – which is a highly stylish blend of an old, red brick manufacturing building, oldtimer cars, oldtimer workshops and companies, catering and event and conference room options for diverse customers.For example, Deutsche Telekom had a little conference or meeting in one of these rooms.

Snacks were served in small white porcelain and glas dishes. Inner walls were unplastered red bricks. Most things looked trendy. Some people looked like nerds in a suit, wearing a stylish edition of hornrims. They had also hired pretty girls to wear the microphones and hand out the name tag. An in-crowd gathering: the whole setting, and many of the people there, contributed to a yuppie atmosphere.

So what is a yuppi, anyway? That’s what I’m talking about, as this event inspired a simple definition in me. A yuppi is a geek with money. Or a nerd with money, does not matter here. These people make their work fun, ideally by choosing what they want to work for (entrepeneurship), and / or by enjoying their work by spending money for a luxury and trendy setting. And, more importantly: while a geek or nerd is laughed at because of his or her strange passions and ideas, yuppies are admired for that. The difference between awkward and trendy is often just the resources available for investing into it. Without money, your individualistic or creative project makes you a nerd, geek, freak or (at best) a poor artist. With money, spent for polishing the project’s outward appearance and outsourcing the actual work, it makes you a trendy person. For example, oldtimers: the poor hobby mechanic who loves his oldtimer but lacks the money to get it into shape is a freak; but the suit-clothed entrepeneur who just buys a car that others worked for, and spends ~180 EUR a month just to store and showcase his car in one of the Klassikstadt glas garages, he is considered trendy. Why?

Now I don’t have something against the yuppies: I like that there are truly individualistic people and passionate people among them. But I dislike our (the society’s) short-sighted judgment over people. Having or not having money is mostly a matter of luck and chance, so should not be allowed to transform a  freak into a yuppie, or vice versa.

Note: Image above was taken with permission from our source. Permission is given by the fact that they offer code for embedding this into an own website.

Democracy is surely not a system that allows government by the people, because in (nearly) all current implementations, government is a very small part of the people and thus separate from it. So what makes democracy “better” than other systems, if anything? The fact that it allows the people to at least choose their government (normally, from a limited amount of options, however).

A regime change in states with dictatorship or similar authoritarian systems is called a revolution (latest example: Tunisia). But not so in democracy. Why not? In my understanding, democracy is a system of permanent revolution1. Just, that these revolutions are formalized, scheduled and intentionally peaceful. Then of course, I would even better like to see democracy as a system of government by the people, concretely, Internet-mediated direct democracy in a network of agile micro-societies that together form one whole nation-state society.

Interesting side note: Karl Popper wrote something about the kind of society in which such “permanent revolution” is possible: in his two-volume book “The Open Society and Its Enemies”, he defines an “open society” as one which ensures that political leaders can be overthrown without the need for bloodshed.” [source]

1 Note: Permanent revolution is a term first coined by Marx, then extended by Leon Trotsky and applied by Mao Zedong. I use this word in a new, democratic sense and claim to have re-conquered it.