Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘sociology

How Lebanese communities changed in over 140 years? Did they ever?
This is an excerpt from William McClure Thomson in “the Land and the Book”.
Thomson visited Lebanon in 1870, and wrote a book to tell everyone about Lebanon. William M. Thompson’s wrote:
“Lebanon has about 400,000 inhabitants, gathered into more than 600 towns, villages and hamlets…The various religions and sects live together, and practice their conflicting superstitions in close proximity, but the people do not coalesce into one homogeneous community, nor do they regard each other with fraternal feelings.
The Sunnites excommunicate the Shiites – both hate the Druse, and all three detest the Nusairiyeh (currently the Alawit sect of Bashar al Assad).
The Maronites have no particular love for anybody and, in turn, are disliked by all.
The Greek Orthodox cannot endure the Greek Catholics.
And all despise the Jews. …

And the same remarks apply to the minor divisions of this land. There is no common bond of union.
Society has no continuous strata underlying it, which can be opened and worked for the general benefit of all, but an endless number of dislocated fragments, faults, and dikes, by which the masses are tilted up in hopeless confusion, and lie at every conceivable angle of antagonism to each other.
The omnific Spirit that brooded over primeval chaos can alone bring order out of such confusion, and reduce these conflicting elements into peace and concord.
No other country in the world, I presume, has such a multiplicity of antagonistic religions; and herein lies the greatest obstacle to any general and permanent amelioration and improvement of their condition, character, and prospects.
They can never form one united people, never combine for any important religious or political purpose; and will therefore remain weak, incapable of self-government, and exposed to the invasions and oppressions of foreigners.
Thus it has been, is now, and must long continue to be a people divided, meted out, and trodden down.”
Thomson must be describing the communities in Mount Lebanon in 1870, inhabited mainly by Maronites, Druzes, and a few Greek Orthodox. The current State of Lebanon was expanded in 1920 by the French mandated power. The northern region (including the city of Tripoli and Akkar),and all the Bekaa Valley on the east were part of Syria.  The southern region ( bordering Palestine) was also added. The area of the pseudo State of Lebanon increased 3 folds, still tinier than New Jersey, or the smallest of agribusiness in Africa…
Concentration of Sunnis in the north and the Bekaa Valley, as well as concentration of Moslem Shias in the south added to the confusion in allegiances and varieties of religious sects.
The pseudo successive governments since 1943 failed to allocated enough budgets and interest to the expanded regions, and focused on the Capital Beirut and Mount Lebanon.
When Israel was forced to withdraw unilaterally from south Lebanon in 2000, not all the Lebanese felt concerned.
And when Israel was defeated in 2006, after 33 days of constant bombing and shelling of all Lebanon, many religious communities felt this urge to attack the “reckless” resistance of Hezbollah, while the war was raging!
A resistance that brought all the nation leaders and ministers to pay visit to Lebanon.
So far, no occupation forces, small or big, managed to sustain its presence on Lebanese soil for over 3 decades: They all withdrew unilaterally, as if the devil was constantly after their asses.
Note: I got this excerpt from Joanna Choukeir via Rima Majed.

Any differences between behavior priming and brainwashing?

Have you submitted to a scrambled-sentence test? For example, rectify these sentences:

1. him was worried she always

2. from are Florida orange temperature

3. shoes give replace old the…

How quickly do you think you can work out each scrambled sentence? Do you think on any thinking else when being tested? Surely not.

Suppose among the ten scrambled sentences there are words such as worried, Florida, old, lonely, gray, bingo, wrinkle, forgetfull…scattered throughout the sentences…Is there anything common among these words?

Undergraduate students participating in these tests, behaved for a short time as old people do after the test: They invariably walked slowly, back bent…

The unconscious Big Brain was picking up on these common denominator words, behind its locked door…

The unconscious mind got the clues and was telling the body of the test-taker: “We are in an environment that is concerned about old age. We better behave accordingly…”

The unconscious mind is acting as a mental valet, taking care of minor details to act accordingly, so that we can be freed to focus on the main problem at hand…

John Bargh experimented with two groups of undergraduate students. Group One worked scrambled sentences sprinkled with words such as aggressively, bold, rude, bother, disturb, intrude, infringe…

Group Two worked with words like respect, consideration, appreciate, patiently, yield, polite and courteous…

After the test, each student had to walk the corridor to an office to meet with the principal researcher. A confederate researcher was to block the entrance of the door and converse with the main researcher, a long and pretty boring conversation…

Group One subjects ended the conversation and barged into the office within 5 minutes. Group Two subject waited for the conversation to end before getting in. Group Two students could have waited for much longer if the protocol was not set for only 10 minutes of conversation…

There are these mental clinical cases called ventromedial pre-frontal cortex,  a part of the brain situated behind the nose.  When this part is damaged, the individual is unable of judgment and making decision. The patient is functional, intelligent and highly rational but lacks judgment. For example, if the patient is asked to choose between two appointment dates, he will analyse and offer all kinds of pros and cons for 30 minutes and still be unable to decide on any date… The mental valet is not working in this case to guide and orient the patient toward more important tasks at hand…

When mentioning a brainwashed mind, you visualize someone robbing a bank or doing violent acts without his full will, or being induced to describe details of his childhood against his will…

Maybe there is a subtle factor or a catalyst that shifts behavioral priming into the qualitative condition of brainwashing

I posit that brainwashing is very much like priming a brain, but done on successive and frequent occasions, verging on a continuous situation where the mental valet is working full-time and barely able to liberate the mind to focus on more important tasks to reflect on…

Think of totalitarian regimes of communism or the Catholic Church dominion in Europe for 9 centuries of the dark Middle Age period. People had to navigate an environment of restrictions and limitation in ideas, opinions, objects, products, hair style, fashion…

You may read about the priming of the thief-program in the link of note 2.

Note 1: Article inspired from a chapter in “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell

Note 2:

Choice decision strategy: Analytic reasoning or split-second instinct decision?

For simple short-term and non-life threatening decision choices, thinking hard on the few variables affecting the decision does generate the best satisfactory choice.

For the longer-term and very important decisions, such as profession to pursue, mate,…anything that would affect you for most of your life…thinking hard on the interactions of the complex varieties of factors is necessary as a first stage, but you need to take a long break before any decision, and let your unconscious mind select for you.  

You have got to trust your unconscious mind to decide for you since the Big Brain knows your real nature, your deeper inner need, and is better than sophisticated analytic methods for important matters that affect you

Ap Dijksterhuis, a psychologist at the Univ. of Amsterdam, conducted controlled experiments and field experiments on choice decisions methods.  For example, shoppers for simple kitchen utensils and appliances, those who considered the choices from different angles and thought hard on all the pros and cons, were very satisfied with their choices weeks later. Those who relied on instinct ended up very dissatisfied.

Shoppers for furniture and remodeling their homes, a complex problem, were most satisfied when they allowed their “instinct” to prevail at the end of the day.

This decision-making system is valid in politics, managerial jobs…It can be generalized to many facet of life decisions.

Another example. Physicians in emergency rooms rely on their “tested” initial instinct for diagnosing patients with chest pains. Statistics have shown that physician instincts were more often than not faulty and not that good after all. What could be the alternative?

How to re-educate the instinct of physicians?

Analyzing reams of data, Lee Goldman used complex computer models to identify a few key factors and symptoms that seemed to be the most significant in the diagnostic  of chest pain.  Once the physicians were re-educated and aware of the new story the data were telling them, the initial instinct decision of physicians were vastly improved.

That is what artificial intelligence programs are meant to provide: Re-educating how we make “split-second decision”, after we understand thoroughly the problem.

Suppose you are a teacher, how would you weight the results of standardized tests and how much do you weight your judgment about the student’s motivation, attitude, and prospects?

Suppose you are a coach for athletes. How much would you weight the performance scores and how much would you let your judgment on the athlete motivation, youth, attitudes, listening skills, learning zeal…retain an athlete?

Every organization, institution, and decision-makers need to have a proper combination of analytic reasoning and data processing skills for models and split-second decision procedures.

Decisions not based first on understanding the trend of real data can be devastating.  And relying solely on data analysis would lead to many erroneous decisions…

Comprehensive knowledge, practice, experience…then allowing instinct to decide is “The power of thinking without thinking

Note 1: Post inspired from a chapter in “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell

Note 2:

Part 2. Why Christian Catholic and Orthodox Churches do not circumcise new-born males?

This second post on circumcision was in reaction to Germany making it illegal to circumcise new-born and non adult males on religious ground

In the first 3 centuries, almost all Christian sects circumcised new-born males: They strictly abide by the Jewish laws for their daily customs, and circumcision was first on the list.

Mind you that there existed scores of Christian sects, each one forming a specific closed community, reading in particular Books that they compiled, and going about according to a particular set of laws, mostly matching the Jewish laws.

This trend continued until the year 325 as the Orthodox Byzantium Church, recognized formally by Emperor Constantine as one of the official religions in the Roman Empire, met in conclave and adopted four Books as valid sources of Jesus story and his message.

In fact, St.Paul had to fight the valiant fight against all the disciples huddled in Jerusalem in order not to impose circumcision on non-Jewish baptized Christians. Citizens  in the Roman Empire were not circumcised: a special tax was levied on circumcised adults in order to maintain the Temple in Jerusalem. And as the Temple was destroyed by Titus, the tax reverted to the Emperor treasury…

The disciples in Jerusalem were living comfortably, abiding more strictly to the Jewish Laws than any Jewish sects, and they were protected by the Roman Empire civil laws.

As St. Paul started establishing Christian communities every where he traveled, he was lenient on the circumcision law. Learning about this lax behavior of Paul, the disciples got on the road, on the steps of Paul, visiting newly established communities, just to rescind Paul’s circumcision position on the non-Jews, and forcing the new Christians to be circumcised…

By the early 4th century, as the Christians acquired formal recognition as an official religious status, the Orthodox Church started to emulate the Roman laws, customs, and traditions in order to fit better among the overwhelming pagan communities

Circumcision was abolished among the Orthodox Christians and they had no longer to pay the tax on being circumcised….

December 25 was adopted as the birth date of Jesus since Emperor Aurelian decreed as the date of the God-Sun, 260 years before.

Bishops donned purple garments and the pagan glamorous attire (as the Roman aristocracy) and pomp in order to show-off their new higher status among the classes…

The higher the Orthodox Church rose to the status of being considered the main religion in the Byzantium Empire, the faster they emulated the customs and tradition of the Empire and the harsher they persecuted the various Christian sects that refused to follow suit

Those “heretic” Christian sects, called the Churches of the Orient, had to flee eastward to the Persian Empire, east of the Euphrates River and beyond.

The heretic sects disseminated their message along the caravans of Silk Road and reached China and translated their Books to Chinese and to the languages along the road…

By the 6th century, the Church of Rome became the main power broker and imposed its theology as the Church of the West. The Catholic Church particularly targeted the Jewish religion as the nemesis of Christians and being responsible for crucifying the Christ and…

The uncircumcised youth, mostly the peasants and lower classes, were very convenient: They refrained forcibly from engaging in sexual activities (very sensitive penis) and even indulging in masturbation and were practically chaste until they got wed…

The new-born of the aristocratic families that were allied to the current King or Emperor, and supported by the Church, were incited to be circumcised. Why?

Circumcised youth are far more active sexually: the penis is far less sensible to the intercourse act.  These aristocrats were to show their superiority and manhood and were given free rein into raping all the girls they liked and procreating out-of-wedlock better races…

As political situations changed and newer aristocratic families came to power (associated with “usurping Kings”…) the former families were persecuted. All that was needed to recognize the male members of the enemies was to check the penis.  Those who fled to other cities, far from their original locations, they could be sentenced as Jews who were baptized for all kinds of reasons except the valid reason…

Religious Circumcision is currently illegal in Germany: Until further notice…

The court in the city of Cologne (Germany) banned “automatic” religious-based custom of circumcision on new-born and non adult people on the ground that “circumcision is a corporal wound punishable in justice when done on religious basis…”  

This new ruling is bringing forth religion, hygiene, sex, and taxation to the forefront of discussions.

In many periods in the Roman Empire, circumcised people had to pay additional taxes for being circumcised. First, the tax was to maintain the Temple in Jerusalem, and as the temple was destroyed by Titus, and the tax collected  was reverted to the central treasury. Emperor Domitian didn’t forbid or stigmatize circumcision: It was simply taxed, an identity indicator.

The trend is to taxing circumcision, as legal consumption of marijuana is being taxed…

Circumcision has nothing to do with a religious belief system: It is an inherited custom that was practiced during the pharaoh of Egypt. Circumcision is not mentioned in the Koran: It is a pre-islamic custom that historian would like us to believe that it was practiced for reason of hygiene. How that?

1. Lack of water in a desert climate does not encourage frequent washing of almost anything, let alone the penis or your behind.

2.  Have you tried to clean your penis with a handful of dirt or sand? Do you think an uncircumcised penis will be a rather more painful activity in such cleaning procedure?

In many parts of the world children are circumcised, regardless of religion.  In the US, 70% of the people are circumcised for hygiene reasons (as they claim) such as reducing the risk of AIDS, sexual transmission of disease, and the prevalence of infection…As if these hygiene notions were known centuries ago…

I am not in the mood of considering the religious reasons for circumcision.

I know a few physical and emotional consequences for circumcision:

1. The circumcised penis is less sensitive and the intercourse may last longer, especially in the pre-intercource phases. Mind you that sexual activities are generated mainly in the mind, with or without circumcision and it is the training of the mind that counts for satisfactory sex engagement…

2. People with uncircumcised penises do not experience masturbation early in their upbringing: The penis is over sensitive to indulge in these exercises. The need to train the extra skin to be retracted several times a day is not taught by anyone, and thus, with lack of training or ignorance the penis does not get used to be fully functional, including masturbation exercises early on…

3. I bet circumcised youth are more prone to engage in raping activities far more frequently than the uncircumcised one and behave more as bullies…

4. Circumcision was introduced as mankind political system shifted to patriarchal structure, simply because circumcised males feel readier to lord it over the females: They don’t have to beg the female partners to go gentle on them and help them introduce the penis as painlessly as possible…Circumcision was thus mainly practised to create rough males ready to cow down females. And tribal laws absolved the males of all kinds of bad behaviors related to their fresh instrument and blamed the women for the consequences…

You may say “Ships are safe in the harbors, but ships are not made for that purpose…” But again, who would hire a reckless Captain?

5. I bet that in matriarchal societies, males were punished to be circumcised when they failed to deliver as manly as expected in bed….

Religion main purpose is to codify customs in sacred rituals to satisfy the orders of the power-to-be on how society should  be run, before the clerics take over and rule effectively…

I laud the German court ruling: Time for a bold position that curtail the overwhelming power of religion on the body and mind, for the free spirit to regain their individualities, and to reduce the nasty privileges extended to clerics…

I tried for this piece to be as clear and as loud as it should be

“How Israel could be that stupid to alienate Turkey?” by Yossi Belin

In the daily “Israel Today”, former minister Yossi Belin wrote: “How could Israel easily alienate Turkey, a huge State of 76 million and the second fastest economy (after China?), and so close to our border, and having democratic institution? Israel government is resuming its stupid laments in statements such as “Turkey started first…” and “Turkey is demanding unfair apologies (for the killing of 9 Turkish peace activists in the taking over of the “peace ships” heading to Gaza) …”

Erdogan (Turkey’s PM) was the mediator between Syria and Israel for a peace settlement in return for the occupied Golan Heights, but former Israel Olmert PM opted instead to lauch war against Gaza instead in 2008 and dropping thousand tons of phosphorous bombs… 

Currently, Israel is in deep troubles.  Israel lost Iran (the former Shah in 1979), and now it lost Turkey (the steadiest supporter and NATO member) and has lost Egypt, and is facing turmoil on its southern borders (Sinai and the frequent blowing of oil pipelines) and northern borders (the Syrian rebels and Hezbollah…). 

And yet, Israel seems not to be able to flex its muscles except on the tiny Gaza Strip:  Over 20 Palestinians have been killed and scores of civilian injured in the last week frequent shelling and bombing of Gaza…The international community is still heavily focused on Syria, as if the famished Palestinians in the bankrupt enclave of Gaza are non entities…

Erdogan is very ill of terminal cancer and might not finish his term.  Turkey one party hegemony will suffer seriously from current instability due to accumulated unresolved difficulties with the Kurds (20% of population), the Alawit Shia sect (15% of population), its reckless haste of supporting the Moslem Brotherhood faction in Syria uprising, the coming of new faces in the next parliament since no deputy is to stay more than three successive terms…And Russia decided that Turkey will not be the main middleman in the Middle-East for any trade deals…

There are no “reliable” dictator regimes around Israel to deal with, and the people in the Middle-East have learned not to be afraid of mighty military powers.  Hezbollah has checked Israel military power for 33 days in June 2006, and practically won the war…

Most probably Israel will withdraw unilaterally from the Golan Heights (as it did from south Lebanon in 2000) since the multiple negotiations didn’t result in any serious consideration by Israel.  The people guerilla tactics in south Syria will convince Israel to cut its cost and let go of an occupation demanded by the UN since 1967.

What is “Human Ecology”? An anthropological dilemma? Maintaining and sustaining human dignity

Do you have an idea what anthropological tendency means? I am coining the term “Human Ecology” to refer to anthropological sustenance of human dignity.

Mankind is at the top of the food chain.

Lately, a new breed or species has displaced mankind at the top of the food chain:  This species or class of “people” has nothing related to humanity but the external look.

If you ever meet one member of this exclusive tribe, you might not know that he is one of the 1% richest class in every single country.

You might not know that he is a member of the 1% richest in the G20 States, but they can reach for their greedy needs thousands of miles away, without even stepping their feet there, ever in their lifetime.

The entire earth, all its resources, mineral, fowl, animal, food, and people are part of their backyard scenery.

All products and services converge toward the destinations they decide should arrive to.  The 1% richest classes in the food chain do not see our planet as overpopulated.  Simply because: the more numerous the poorest species, the cheaper the labor, and the more abundant the production…Sweat shop factories, coal miners in China…

The 1% richest classes are on the “toppest” of the food chain and they need to make only 1% profit on whatever they trade and still remain the 1% richest.

Actually, they can afford to earn one dollar profit on one thousand dollars in prices, as long as the turn over is high (supermarket example…)

The 1% richest classes think that a billion men may vanish in a single year without destabilizing their system of production: A region is devastated and immigrants can simply be shipped there to survive precariously: They won’t lack a night sleep…

As if when one billion deaths in mankind is not a symptom that mankind is on the verge of disappearance!

Did you realize that even the least politicized individual is able to communicate on the ecological disasters facing earth and are educated enough to expound on varieties of ecological resolutions and alternatives?

However, the most educated and engaged people on the “Green” issues are basically sort of ignorant on how mankind can survive in a deteriorating environment, much less on the importance of maintaining and sustaining human dignity, not just to survive but to be an effective living being…

Liberal capitalist systems, and the worst kind of neo-liberal species, represented by financial multinationals, have reached a state of “having no meaning of why money is accumulated: the goal is to expand and enslave more people…”

No short-term projects can save humanity or improve standard of living in a decent normal life…

It is being revealed that the mentality of consumerism can be taught to be transformed, and many people have been working on learning to live with what is basic and rejecting the superfluous…

The main problem is:  “Can capitalism be transformed by reforming the production mentality of abusing and treating human beings as chattel on the production chains?  Can workers and employees enjoy a level of dignity in this machinery of human production?...”

How many have discussed the state of affair of the survival of mankind, even if ecological natural problems are resolved to the bare standards of a livable planet to mankind?

You must Know that insects and smaller animals can easily survive mankind for many centuries after man has vanished from earth…

Can mankind continue to suffer famine, indignities, and humiliation with the advent of Internet and fast communication means?

Do you think that when the poorest on earth see visuals on how other human species live in developed countries that they will submit to their lot?

We have been witnessing a new awareness of what “reclaiming human dignity” means:

Dignity is no longer an abstract notion

Dignity has acquired flesh and blood and determination…

The question is: “has a newborn, anywhere on earth, the same rights to survive to be a normal human being?

The irony of liberal capitalism is disseminating the hubris that there are no alternatives for progress and development without their brand of capitalism…

Before people revolted lately, the current ideology was a classless society without history and dominated by “One rich class, in one global market, one model of financial transactions…One Nazi Reich for the 21st century

Note: Post inspired by the piece published in the French monthly Le Monde Diplomatic (November).  Lucien Seve wrote under the title “Save human kind: Not only planet earth

Reply to the epic story of “Gilgamesh, King of Uruk”

You may refer to the link “Gilgamesh, King of Uruk” in note 1.

My comments on the replies are inserted between parenthesis.

There is this comment: “Lovely article, so many myths we subscribe to, all in an effort to provide humankind with some sort of moral guidance”

Other comments go as follow:

One: This sounds like an interesting book but you should really make it clearer that this is a novel, loosely based on the Epic of Gilgamesh, not the ancient story itself. You seem to be basing your historical analysis on the inventions of Mielke, rather than on the original text. (True, it is a story.  Do you know many who would read an epic story if not written in a novel form, describing emotions and feelings?  Homer and the later epic storytellers realized what it takes to get famous and well read.  Many religions are based on epic stories, and the religious celebrations are elaborated theaters, chanting, and dancing. )

Two:  The earliest versions of the epic date to around 4000 years ago – not 7000.  (4000 years before BC or 6000 years
since then? Still, the oldest so far, and by many millennial).

Three: The story about the bird, infant, and gardener is a later myth. There is nothing in the original story about the incident with the soldiers, the conversation with the temple girl, although in the epic there is a temple prostitute, the origin of the Sumerians who are widely credited by historians as being the most advanced ancient civilization, good people going to The Island of the Eternals after death: In Gilgamesh humans cannot escape death and all go to the underworld, or Gilgamesh seeking meditative detachment.

Four: There is no description of building activity in the epic, no mention of mercenaries, and Gilgamesh does not kill his friend Enkidu or “Ankido”.

Fifth:  There are definitely echoes of the Epic of Gilgamesh in Homer, and some stories in the book of Genesis, such as the flood myth and the story of Adam and Eve, seem to be based around earlier versions found in the epic of Gilgamesh.

Six: Dating the Tanakh (or the “Old Testament”) to 200 BCE is unjustified. It is likely to have achieved something very close to its final form during the period of the Babylonian exile or the subsequent Persian period (600 to 300 BCE). Older literary strata within the Tanakh may date back to around the tenth century BCE.  (These comments are part of the religious myths.  Hebrew was a verbal language, a slang of Aramaic, as the various “Arab” verbal languages, particular to large tribes.  Hebrew was transformed into a written language as Jews settled in Egypt, three centuries BC).

Seven:  I would also disagree that all of these stories and myths share the same perspective. For example, the tale of the civilization of primitive Enkidu by Shamhat in the epic of Gilgamesh is turned into a story about sin and loss in Genesis. This makes sense if we remember that Israel was conquered and taken into captivity by the civilization described in the epic. The historical situation of exile may also explain why the flood is sent in Genesis to punish wickedness and “violence”, whereas in the older Mesopotamian myth it is because the noise of their human slaves disturbs the peace of the gods. I would submit that a situation of oppression and forced exile had a major influence on the final shape and message of the Tanakh.  Such a situation and perhaps even the messages of hope and condemnation that arose from it are not irrelevant to the situation of the region today. (Lovely you made the connections of the reasons for differences in Epic stories:  There are particular interests in writing epic stories, and not necessarily regurgitating standard community behaviors of all times)

At the start of the Arabic/Islamic Empire, as the Capital was relocated to Damascus (Syria), the “Arabs” or more accurately the inhabitants of Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine (the current Levant or Near-East States) translated the Greek manuscripts before venturing on writing and disseminating their own culture and civilization.  If it were not for Syria, and the “Arabs”, the Greek culture would have vanished into oblivion.

I am wondering, why the western civilization insist on considering the Greek culture or civilization as the original source for their civilization?  The Greek plagiarized the antecedent cultures and civilizations (Aramaic and Persian), and refused to even translate the manuscripts of former militarily dominated civilizations.  The Greek Empire lasted for over seven centuries, and this Empire failed to translate anything!


Are you a hacker? A “Do-It-Yourself”? You are rightly politically motivated

Who really hold the power in our new world?  The tool or the master?  The creator of the numerical tool or the “sophisticated” tool as it goes into production?  Does the designer or team of designers of the numerical complex tools possess the means of production in order to be held liable for dangerous consequences in health and safety?

Why do you think hackers and talented “Do-It-Yourself” people are heroes to the youth generation?  Why most talented people would like to try their hands on hacking stupid systems and break down systems and machines in order to rebuilding them according to their desires?

The new generation realized that their behavior and opinions are being controlled, channeled, and diverted in other directions that do not match their wants and desires.  In this world of numerical systems, programs are running your daily behavior.  You have program designed by amoral designers, and funded by big money, big government, big financial institutions, and multinational companies…to alter healthy tendencies for greater alternatives in choices, freedom of expressions, of redesigning what cannot deliver according to their own standards and wishes…

We want to rebel against these insensitive machines, but don’t have the appropriate “open sources”, and the requisite skills and transparencies for the real purposes of the ultimate designers, of machine programing our life and how we perceive the universe. We want to rebel against these enclosed areas in airports, train stations, government facilities…where you are trapped for the duration, once you are admitted in the designated areas…

An occasional user of subways might be mauled by powerful automatically closing door, or the toddler refusing to hurry up…  Is it the mistake of the machine?  Who designed and programmed the door to close at such strength and for the timing?  Does the conductor has the means to control the doors…? Who wants to make more profit by shortening the duration of the door “open-close”?

John Maeda claimed that no one can claim to be “grand master of Photoshop”, unless he knows how to tamper with the program and redesign it according to his desires and wants. You are as good a master as you advanced in knowing the capabilities and limitations of the Photoshop program

How could we let go of steam, if the interlocutor is but a programmed robot, even a human programmed to memorize particular questions and answers, adapted to many business cases and job requirements?

You have employees, someplace around the world, trained to handle specific queries, but have no idea about your idiosyncrasies, your life-style, your culture, you country, your particular problem…and they tell you: “We are doing our best to resolve your problem…”.  But this “remote employee” has no supervisor who knows any better of your problem to consult… The entire scheme is not to resolving your problems, but to preempt the problem from reaching the “authorized” responsible…

For example, you have the case of official standard picture to be affixed on all kinds of IDs:  No smiling, mouth closed, eyes riveted to the camera…The saddest and most fidgeted picture you can get:  The standard picture is meant for the biometric program to recognize you (not any human) and to efficiently detecting “who you are”

Do we need a Paradigm Shift for Political and Human Development? (see link in note 1)

So far, the development of mankind was focused on using Man in order to create machines, and lately, thinking machines, and then self-autonomous machines.  I have the feeling that, for about a decade ago, we have reached the crest of the curve that permits machines to better our lives.  Life has stopped to improve based on the previous paradigm; even our generation is a stranger to the fast paced automated machine world, of a mostly virtual world.

We need a political paradigm shift that re-uses the invented machines to creating responsible mankind; a Man who is in total control of machines and thinking machines.  It is not humanly acceptable to allowing fast trains to be navigated automatically without human operators; though they were successfully implemented.  Airplanes could also be navigated autonomously; and I am pretty sure, for a drastic price cut, customers would valiantly board them.

All these automation are designed to save expenses for training responsible operators, like paying them adequate wages, under the false guise of reducing errors and accidents. We know that most of these inventions were financed by the military for acquiring supreme power and not for the betterment of mankind. We are no longer better off, and the environment is screaming, howling, battering our seashores, burning continents and burying whole cities.

The goal of this paradigm shift in politics is to reintegrate Man in the work cycle, create jobs for responsible people to control, monitor and design machines for the purpose of reinserting man in the life cycle, in the design cycle and in the development cycle. The old concept of effective rate on return, of increase in production with minimal financial cost, is decimating the availability of jobs opportunities and creating two distinct worlds:  a virtual so-called developed Northern Hemisphere and the real Southern Hemisphere, which is still struggling to be in touch with itself, its neighbors, nature and its surroundings.

This paradigm shift in political organization is a natural extension to the fact of the existence of two distinct Worlds:  One world is trying to recreate the wheel in social and political organization, supported by complex democratic systems, which are quickly reverting to the old oligarchic system on the whim of National Security pre-requisites; the other world is trying helplessly to ward off imported political systems that it cannot comprehend or is unable to implement.

This political paradigm shift is to revert the consequence of a world controlled by the very few and the rest relegated as walking zombies, disgruntled by their monotonous and under-valued jobs, jobs that can be snatched away anytime, relocated anyplace, for cheaper work force.  The rest of us lost any respect for “a job well done”:  Deep inside us, we are certain that these jobs can easily be replaced by machines no matter how educated we are.  The rest of us feel too stupid, dumb, and worthless throughout a lifetime, and yet are asked to be responsible citizens abiding by inhuman laws dictating untenable order.  The rest of us who have no self-respect to raise a responsible new generation, just scratching a living, and losing touch with life essence of dignity and compassion.

We are in a world controlled by a very few, not on their intrinsic merit, but on their cowardice and willingness to selling their soul for the benefit of the capitalists or the power to be.  It is no longer the struggle between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, but the battle of regaining dignity in the human spirit:  A wretched mankind is the source of all discrimination festering at a lighting speed in all communities; a wretched mankind devoid of control over their destiny.

There can be no bright future for man if control over his life is removed as a viable alternative.  Developing a responsible and compassionate man means providing jobs that are respected, valued, remunerated commensurate to his investment in energy and time for acquiring knowledge and expertise, and quality time reserved to him as his due.  Mankind has to stop being viewed as a commodity as anything else in the exploitation process.

There was a time when mankind could claim: “It is always too early to rely completely on our Creator”; now even adolescents believe in fate.  That is the ravage of desperation in human spirit and lack of correct direction.

Note 1:

Note 2:  The first part of this article was inspired by a piece written by Jean-Noel Lafargue “Hostile Machines” in the French monthly “Le Monde Diplomatique” #688

Note 3: The Northern Hemisphere has created self-administered bureaucratic institutions,  political organizations for constituents who don’t comprehend the mechanism and processes, who do not care to understand, and barely participate in elections.  The European Union has written a voluminous Constitution that nobody cared to read and even if they cared could not finish reading it on time for the referendum dates; no wonder that it failed in fracas.

All the media coverage of the European Constitution, translation in different languages and the frantic support by the Presidents could not transfer its contents to the constituents who are already wary of these brusque movements that are not taking account of the human limitations and emotional saturation for the quick political pace being forced upon them.

The Southern Hemisphere had political organizations that constituents understood, could control, monitor and did fully participate in electing their local and national leaders but have been pressured relentlessly to comply with political systems that they are not ready to assimilate.

Criminal Conditions: What Quality of network of friends?

Do you have a close listening ear?

Someone read an old article of mine on Criminal Conditions published in Feb. 16, 2009. I felt the need for a fresh perspective on the Quality of network of friends.

In critical situations of death (suicide or killing others) two main conditions have to exist.  The first basic condition is a physical material one (health problems, safety problems, or financial miseries, or all of them).  The second complementary condition is an idealistic spiritual motivator (revenge, dignity, freedom, and so forth).

As the bad material condition persists or worsen,  the spiritual factor develop into focus, in target, and in planning.  Committing a crime is not easy at all:  You need a network of supporting elements; you need the arm, the close friends’ network, the social and cultural environments, and you need the conscious target to be frequently available.  Even those we always label as “crazies” need a support system to carry out their crime.

The spiritual motivator always comes in second in the chronology of a crime, but it quickly takes a life of its own and over shadow the fundamental source of the germinating idea.  There is this special case where the criminal is dirty rich and yet commit crimes; but we always forget to dig a little in his past, before he became rich and how he started his trip to riches, and how he built his support system.

There are ways to deflect the soaring spiritual emotion.  First, the material condition is altered temporarily, and then the intensity of the spiritual factor is slowed down on its track, because it failed to gel in focus and target.  Second, the material base is not changed but the spiritual motivator is redirected to financial crimes.  Third, the supporting environment and elements are altered in recognition of the danger and a heightened climate of vigilance may deter a criminal plan.

It really takes a little to change the material condition to deflect the whole process.  The potential criminal can be encouraged to ask or “knock on doors” and is shown the techniques for demanding the basic necessities for physical survival, mainly finding a decent and feasible job. The potential criminal can be treated for his recurring health problems that are not fictitious; though many of these health problems could be a fiction of the imagination for lack of a yearly thorough general examination, caused by a deficient preventive health system to all the citizens.

It really takes a little to change the supporting environmental/social conditions to deflect a crime in the planning stage.  Removing one of the numerous elements or tools in the supporting network can deviate a criminal act.  Benevolent or charitable support groups can play the catalyst for behavioral change.  A community in a town or district can shoulder many responsibilities when decently funded for social activities.

It really takes a lot to “unfocus” a planned criminal act, once it gelled in specific targets and means.  They say human is forgetful and that is why he manages to survive all kinds of traumas. The fact is, even when the far advanced “spiritual factor” has been tamed, it only takes a simple cue in this tumultuous life to re-activate a plan that has matured in previous situations.

Police inspectors and investigators in criminal acts have mapped a coherent taxonomy for “individual crimes”. Social and human sciences lack coherent taxonomies for social crimes that reporters and media businesses need to know and learn in their coverage of their “bad news”.

It is up to the audio-visual reporters in the front line to taking seriously their jobs in order for society to be exposed to the fundamentals of criminal behaviors and the many facets and conditions of criminal activities.

There is this “Theory of crime epidemic and the dispositional” explanation for events”

Question:  Of the two explanations that  predict having a predisposition to criminal behavior, and actually committing a crime, which alternative is the most plausible?

First explanation: The group of adolescents living in a clean and stable neighborhood, in an active and sensible community, but whose family environment is violent and crude.  Do you think this group is more predictive that it will eventually commit a higher rate of criminal activities than other situations and conditions?

Second alternative: The group of adolescents is living in family environment that practice standard moral values and exhibit strong moral support, but surrounded with violent and crude neighborhood. Do you think this group would actually exhibit a higher rate of criminal acts than the first alternative?

It is of no use following the conventional argument that family is the cornerstone of real behavioral actions: A family provides a strong defensive nature against criminal behavior in the first few years of upbringing, but it is the daily environment and peer pressures that offer the catalytic situations for committing an actual criminal act.

Countless experiments with adoptive children versus regular families have shown that, besides genetic inheritance, it is the peer influence in the immediate surroundings that form the adolescent characters for actions, as is the case for smoking or addictive behavior…

Note 1: I might have been describing individual cases, but it easily extends to genocide of whole peoples like the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, the Lebanese, the Iraqis, the Afghanistanis, and all the people who have been subjugated to miseries and apartheid policies.  This is a reminder that the West should not be surprised for revenge activities for a long time, activities that would be labeled “terrorists”.

Note 2: We process information in a global manner by reaching for a “dispositional” explanation for event (which means interpreting other people’s behavior by overestimating the importance of fundamental character traits) as opposed to a contextual explanation.  If we are told that the gym is dimly lighted and the basketball player is not expected to shoot well, we still favor the player in the well lighted gym who did slightly better, even if he is actually far less talented than the other player.  This general tendency is called the Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE).

The human brain has to rely on a “reducing valve” to creating and maintaining the perception of continuity, because if we have to evaluate every event according to its specific situation, we are overwhelmed and become too confused to attend to our myriad of activities and train of thoughts.

For example, a person is in many instances hostile, fiercely independent, passive, dependent, aggressive, warm or gentle depending on who he is with, when, and how, but we tend to reduce his character by stating that the person is either hostile with a façade of passivity or he is warm and passive with a surface defense of aggressiveness.

Thus, we tend to underestimate the minor criminal acts in the specific situations within the environment we are surrounded with, such as overcrowding graffiti views, fare-breaking, window cleaning harassments on intersections, or panhandling in our tendency to believing that lawlessness is the rule.  The frequency of minor criminal acts is predictive to potential serious crimes.  You resolve the minor crimes and you are saved of the calamitous crimes.




March 2023

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