Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘optimism

“The Joke” by Milan Kundera (Book review, Written in March 22, 2007, before I started my blog)

Posted on October 21, 2008

Kundera was responsible for the incarceration of a citizen in the 1945 when he was a staunch communist.

He was young and his position might have changed and evolved, but it is a sign of his character and his writings do express a few of his apologies.

Ludvic Jahn was a bright student and played clarinet in Moravian folk bands. His is a staunch member of the communist party that came to power in Czechoslovakia after WWII and was attending university with prospect for higher responsibilities. 

He wrote a joke on a postcard for his girlfriend Marketa who was enjoying a “healthy atmosphere” at a training camp that says:

Optimism is the opium of the people! A healthy atmosphere stinks of stupidity! Long live Trotsky!”

Ludvic was expelled from both the university and the Party by his student colleagues; he had to do his two years military service as the enemy of the people in a brigade wearing black insignia.

He worked in the mines but was paid for his work unlike the patriots doing military service.

This brigade worked seven days a week with a one day pass every two weeks if the commander was pleased with their production and obedience. He met Lucie and fell in love with her.

Lucie left town without giving notice after she refused to have intercourse and without explaining her reluctance.

We learn later on that Lucie was with a gang in her hometown and that the gang chain-raped her, but kept hanging out with it until the police rounded up the gang for thievery.

Ludvic lived 15 years as a marginal with bitter needs for revenge on his friends who abandoned him, especially Zemaneck whom he thought would defend his case but turned out to be the most virulent opponent.

Ludvic returns to his hometown in order to meet Helena, the wife of Zemaneck, who was falling in love with him and didn’t know that her husband knew Ludvic or the schemes of the latter.

Ludvic wanted revenge on Zemaneck through his wife, but Zemaneck would not care less because he had another young girlfriend and going with the flow of the new generation who didn’t care of what happened during the early communist take over of power.

It dawned on Ludvic that it was too late to physically hit Zemanek: he should have done it when he was castrated from the Party instead of wasting 15 years in bitterness and failing to take care of the present.

The 3 harrowing days that Ludvic spent in his hometown opened his soul to new facts and new realities.

Ludvic has been rationalizing his behavior toward Lucie as “a function of his own situation” when he needed understanding and tenderness in his military service stint and, as adolescent behavior wearing masks to overcome their shyness and uncertainty, he failed to ask questions with the purpose of understanding the real Lucie and her predicaments.

Lucie used to gather flowers and roses from the cemetery to offer them to Ludvic when he was on leave; she used to stand outside the fence of the camp waiting for her Ludvic to steal a few minutes and talk with her.

Communism had the spirit of the great religious movements: it had religious gestures and feelings but remained empty and godless within.

Communism tried to supplant religious faith by adopting the same rites camouflaged in secular mass ceremonies and practiced excommunication extensively in the name of “the historical optimism of the victorious working class” and delivered by the youth instead of professional, matured, and responsible people.

The Marxist teachings were secular in origin, but the significance assigned them was similar to the significance of the Gospel and religious commandments. 

They have created a range of ideas that are practically untouchable, thus sacred.

For example, is the case of young Alexej who was banished to the black insignia brigade because his father stood trial as enemy of the people. He still thought and acted as a communist because “we are responsible for everything that goes in the camp” and he felt free enough to act like a communist by sending letters to the higher-ups condemning the camp commander’s behaviors as counterrevolutionary.

Alexej was twenty, an adolescent and his destiny hung on him like a giant’s clothes on a tiny body, and Alexej committed suicide by swallowing an overdose of medicines.  

Although communism was a cruel religion, it was better than the new era of mockery, skepticism, and the mob of youth, coarse, cynical, and nasty, without enthusiasm or ideals.

This mob of incomplete youth is compelled to play-act as fully grown, adopting forms, patterns, models that please and enact them; the more the youth is aware of his boyish appearance, the more fanatical his devotion to the role of superman and the more forced is his performance.

Kundera views youth as terrible and that history often was the playground for the immature Bonaparte, Nero, and the likes whose simulated passion and simplistic poses metamorphose into a catastrophic real reality.

As Ray Bradbury said in his novel Fahrenheit 451: “Those who don’t build must burn; it’s as old as history and juvenile delinquents.”

Note: Finished reading the book on Tuesday October 21, 2008

They are complementary with advantages: Optimists and pessimists

If I were in a position of power, I’ll surround myself with optimistic consultants, counsels and close assistants.

If I were in a position of power, I’ll appoint the executive and operators from the kinds of pessimists.

Many think that I got it wrong and not matching any logic or scientific research outcomes.

Power is assessed and evaluated by the number and quality of decisions.

Decisions considered almost impossible to undertake and eventually taken are highly ranked in your favor.

And these decisions require a climate of optimistic surrounding.

Pessimistic executives and operational personnel will achieve what has to be done and do the job most effectively: They are paid for a job well done. And they are better than optimists in considering the dangerous risks in health, safety and hasty execution in any project.

Pessimists may take longer to finish the job, but the job saves you many fold the delays from repairs, lousy maintenance tasks, accidents and near accidents.

The correct term is Effectiveness in the longer-term.

The Not so realist neural mechanism in the Hippocampi, amygdala, and anterior cortex Cingular are the center or source of optimistic activities. Otherwise, from our successive experiences, mankind tend to be at least slightly depressed as they observe the world as is.

Until we manage to communicate with various animal species, the conjecture is that pessimism is a typical mankind survival addition.

The magical thinking that reinforce our confidence allows us to adapt to contingencies contrary to our plans.

There are people with rooted pessimism tendencies. Prosper Merimee wrote in 1873:

Get rid of your optimism and start figuring out that we are in this world to fight one another

In general, people who survive calamities, particularly man-made catastrophic phenomena and genocide are mostly of the pessimist kinds. Once they decide on a line of actions, they don’t look back.

The active pessimist live side by side with the will-powered optimists.

Sane optimist needs the well-founded pessimistic arguments in order for his rational thinking to be useful and works for encouraging cooperation among individuals: The much needed guidance to getting out of the planetary obstacles.

What we need are the pessimists who circumvented their natural tendencies in order look optimistically into the future: What we can observe today that could guide us into a better future.

 

Dreaming: The Leveler, the Optimist (January 26, 2009)

How is it that, no matter how we are different than another person, in gender, in social class, in maturity, in knowledge, in traditions, in geographic locations, and in climatic zones, we feel we belong to the same human race. And that deep within us, we know we are no different fundamentally? 

We know that it is not books, or “Holy Books” or communication with the “other” that gave us this basic sense that we are the same in wants, wishes, thrives, and human qualities and attributes. 

Individuals who are totally isolated from the common people have acquired these fundamental truths.  Whether it is good or evil you may confidently blame it on our ability to dream in our sleep.

You hear people say that they have no time to sleep, that they barely need a couple of hours of sleep per day, that after death they will have plenty of time to sleep for a long time.   

It is not just a matter of physical effectiveness and maintenance that we need sleeping, but mainly the opportunity to have dreams flooding our sub consciousness; dreams in color, in sounds, in tastes, in touch that feel more real than reality, dreams of stories, novels, fantasia, other characters that we think or are sure we never met or have seen; and yet, too real to know that we are basically the same as human kinds.

It is through dreams (mainly in sleep) that humanity constitutes a united bloc, against all odds.

The judge feels that he comprehends the assassin and his motives, the wise in the fool, the administrator in the musician, and the rich man in the free and unattached homeless…

All these various comprehension of others are not the fruit of serious observations, but because we all can dream. 

It is because we can dream that amoral models of everyday life, which we have not been exposed to in reality, seem natural to us since our tender age.

In my dreams, I have been flying in air and toured countries, mountains, and oceans. 

Lately, I have been taking off by flapping my arms, but the ride is difficult and not that smooth; maybe with age the harsh reality sinks in and make the dreaming prowess not up to standards. 

Still, the pictures that I have seen in Gaza (the preemptive war of Israel in 2009) and in direct didn’t insinuate into my dreams yet. 

I guess that the Palestinian babies who survived the horrors have more efficient rewinding abilities that are haunting their sleep. 

Those who launched the war on Gaza must have pre-historic minds dotted with the latest technology of mass destruction.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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