“Our scientific description of nature is always culturally derived. Nature tells us only what our culture predisposes us to hear.”
Robert Pirsig

Lila

Infiltrators or Humans?

n

Israel is in the middle-east and that is one fucked up area of the world. It wreaks havoc with both obvious issues such as human rights and less-obvious issues such as rule-of-law. This story indicates that, regardless of your position, both issues are checked at the door. It is pretentious and I believe ultimately dangerous to pretend otherwise.

 

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How to end Fear of the Dark

n

I have not yet been faced with this situation but I (initially) liked the approach outlined in this post:

For my little girl, darkness was a room-sized problem with no definite form. My strategy was to divide it into smaller problems with definite forms and then address them one at a time.

However by the time I was finished with it I had questions and doubts about it. What if there was a deeper experience the little girl was experiencing? What if “dividing it into smaller problems” killed something that needed to surface? What does this solution express about our relation to fear? What is the little girl learning about fear? It’s great to be able to overcome fear, but shouldn’t we sometimes know how to listen to it? I am tempted to think of alternate routes … but I honestly don’t have any credibility to do that … I’ve never been in that situation.

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Design for Outcomes

n

YES

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What if negative is a good thing?

n

Moody’s has lowered its outlook for the European Union’s AAA credit rating to “negative” and warned that the bloc’s rating could be downgraded.

Charles Eisenstein speaks about the limits of economical growth and the need for negative growth. When articles like this are written and read it is presumption that economic growth is a good thing. However if you are willing to examine that assumption then you may find that these downgrades are actually signaling that economies are trying to move into a healing cycle. If this is the case, how wondeful would it be if we could embrace these signals and the changes they describe. How devastating has it been that we’ve ignored them so far? How dangerous is it to continue ignoring and oppose them?

 

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Efficiency, Consumerism, People

n

Amazon is set to crush offline retail

If Amazon Prime can deliver on same-day delivery, shoppers will grow more accustomed to the “point-click-get” paradigm. Other retailers, online and off, will have no choice but to follow.

I admire the efficieny. I don’t trust the consumerism.

What about people meeting and interacting together?

Where does local fit into the picture?

In a balanced world Amazon is an option (and at times a great option), but once brick-and-mortar option is destroyed haven’t we placed all our eggs in one basket?

If business was less greedy and more appreciative … the push for more and more is going to cause precious resources and facilities to burn out prematurely.

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When Heroes Crash

n

I don’t really have any heroes to come crashing down but have to admit I enjoyed watching Lance Armstrong come crashing down. I’ve never had any vested interest in him or sports but I have witnessed with discomfort the obsession around him. It’s good for a hero to come crashing down back to earth … it places pressure on followers to re-examine their values … the things thay believe make heroes. Heroes present something static and stagnating … falling heroes bring change.

My Yoga teachers were close to heroes in my life … but they are wise people so they never let me place them on any such pedestal. I feel they’ve gifted me with precious glimpses of their own personal lives … in which their own honest human nature is challenged just as mine is. Witnessing them cope with teachings in their own lives and then holding on to them as teachers within that context on in my own life is a unique and rewarding challenge. It is teachings and not teachers that need to be held up … and that is a task that falls on the shoulders of teachers and students together.

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The Hacker Way

n

I recently tried to explain that “hacker” does not necessarily mean someone looking to break in, steal or do damage. This article commentating on a Facebook-shareholder-letter from Mark Zuckberberg, despite my dislike for Facebook, has a great explanation of the creative side of hacker mentality … and is a nice read:

The word “hacker” has an unfairly negative connotation from being portrayed in the media as people who break into computers. In reality, hacking just means building something quickly or testing the boundaries of what can be done.

Like most things, it can be used for good or bad, but the vast majority of hackers I’ve met tend to be idealistic people who want to have a positive impact on the world.

The Hacker Way is an approach to building that involves continuous improvement and iteration. Hackers believe that something can always be better, and that nothing is ever complete. They just have to go fix it — often in the face of people who say it’s impossible or are content with the status quo.

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-09-02

n
  • @TheBabarazzi I couldn't follow the logic (or anthng else 4that matter) … however I am concerned … I felt u is a woman not a man 🙂 #
  • @DominicMiller1 if he did dope … wouldn't it be like lip-syncing to playback instead of actually performing live music? #
  • @tanyadavismusic out here the moonlight is has lit up everything … so bright … like a delicate version of day #
  • who would have thought …me looking for a project name in Romanian … life is what happened to me when I stopped making plans #
  • crazy long (much longer then planned) visit to the city … very efficient … dead tired … city sucks energy out of me #
  • "Mountains should be climbed with as little effort as possible & without desire. The reality of ur own nature should determine the speed." #

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Invisible Bike Helmet

n

Brilliant … and brought to you by women 🙂

compliments of Raymond Pirouz

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You Cannot Eat Press Releases

n

I don’t know who this guy but its comforting to hear a person of business recognize the critical situation and opportunity around food. Despite the highlight on food and agriculture which drew me to the interview I was intrigued by what he said about India “they don’t like people making money”.  I have to admit that I look forward to a world where people like him cannot “buy in” to anything, especially not to farming and food production. I believe I understand (at least superficially) his reasoning and yet I find almost all of it morally bankrupt – another example of highly evolved intellect devoid of purpose?

This came to me through Raymond Pirouz

 

 

 

 

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-08-26

n

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-08-26

n

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A Professional Politician

n

Great stuff … so relieving to know there are politicians willing and able to speak their mind and defend with TRUE political correctness their position:


Also worth listening to the entire exchange

Thank you Dominic Miller

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The cause of our current social crises

n

I am playing a game (similar but different from what I did with his 2nd book Lila – An Inquiry into Morals) with Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. When I read this quote within the context of our times I felt chills running down my spine and thought it deserved this separate mention. As you read it please take into consideration that this book was written in the late 60’s and early 70’s and its ideas developed much before that:

“The cause of our social crises … is a genetic defect within the nature of reason itself. And until this genetic defect is cleared, the crises will continue. Our current modes of rationality are not moving society forward into a better world. They are taking it further and further from that better world. Since the Renaissance these modes have worked. As long as the need for food, clothing and shelter is dominant they will continue to work. But now that for huge masses of people these needs no longer overwhelm everything else, the whole structure of reason, handed down to us from ancient times, is no longer adequate. It begins to be seen for what it really is – emotionally hollow, esthetically meaningless and spiritually empty. That today is where it is at, and will continue to be at for a long time to come.”

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Settling on Corruption

n

When thinking about issues or writing posts like the one I wrote this morning I find myself choosing between corruption and idiocy as root causes.

It is difficult for me to think of people as idiots – I really don’t think that is the case. I think we are fortunate to be living in times where information and knowledge is available like never before in human history. I do think that education can be misguided and that there is idiocy out there but for the most part I think that we live in super-informed time and that human nature leans towards Quality.

So, by deduction I am left with corruption … and it makes sense to me. I have personally been through an unrelenting (still ongoing) process of re-evaluating and re-framing my life values. I look back at the world, systems and values I was born into and brought up in and I view them as corrupted … as deviant. I wasn’t born into questioning, I, like everyone else, was born into existing values which were supposed to work for me. Questioning appeared when I realized that not only were they not working for me but they were working against me.

Corruption exists on a plane separate from information and knowledge … you can be an absolute genius and still be corrupt. Corruption is a malfunction of intrinsic motivation. The potential for corruption is built into human nature. I believe corruption to be misinterpretation and misuse of information and knowledge. Which means that it is only natural that in this hyper-information age we are witnessing an increase of corruption.

So I am sticking with corruption.

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The Hoody, Really?

n

Disclaimer: This post is a response to a supposedly-professional journalistic article. I am taking into consideration that mainstream journalism is potentially as morally compromised as the subjects of their works. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed writing this post.

I am really enjoying watching the Facebook financial-boat sinking. I don’t know if it will go under completely, one can hope, but it’s current failures in the financial markets are preciously revealing. Not so much about Facebook which really hasn’t changed that much before or after its IPO, but more about the workings of the financial markets. This article, with its whimsy title, is filled with gems about the dynamics of the financial markets:

  1. ” … things are happening so quickly …” The only thing that is happening so quickly is that the share price of Facebook is crashing while Facebook, as a company, continues to be Facebook. Financial experts parasites are so narrow-minded (and vested) that they are scrambling for an explanation and will look everywhere except the meeting between Facebook and the financial system … where they may actually be able to learn something.
  2. “Trading volume was abnormally heavy, a sign of the fury with which some of the company’s earliest investors ran for the exits as soon as they could.” Even that does not say much about Facebook. It does confirm that financial experts parasites who were on-board solely for making money are now re-evaluating their investment detaching from their host. Though it aches me to say it … Good for Facebook!
  3. “This was the most anticipated IPO in many years and it was like an exploding cigar,” You know you are talking to a financial expert parasite when he (for feminist readers: take comfort that it is most likely a he and not a she) uses a practical joke to demonstrate his highly thought out theories unfounded lame theories.
  4. “Still, restless investors blame Zuckerberg for several missteps, such as pricing the IPO at a stratospheric $100-billion valuation.” What are they going to do, blame themselves for buying-in anyways 🙂
  5. “The moves were seen as siphoning extra profit for the company and big shareholders at the expense of subsequent investors.”. “Was seen”? Sheesh … how about “is designed” for siphoning extra money (the word profit really feels awkard here). Isn’t that what an IPO is has become?
  6. ” … he wore sneakers and his trademark hoodie for Facebook’s first big investor meeting – is viewed as disrespectful of the corporate world he needs to win over.” This is as honest a depiction of the problem as could be. The sneakers and hoodie ARE disrespectful in the corporate world, the exaggerated valuations ARE respectful. Thas it to say, if Mark would simply put on a tie then the Facebook financials would be OK. However, since he isn’t willing to wear a tie we should replace him with someone who does … wear a tie. There it is, social patterns in play where intellect should have been dominant.
  7. “He’s trying to appeal to his audience instead of being responsible to his investors.” Is it just me or does this seem to imply that there are no Facebook users who wear ties? These financial experts backwards-idiot-parasites simply don’t get that he isn’t trying to appeal to anyone except himself. I don’t know if he wears it because it’s comfortable, or because he is used to it or because he is trying to appeal to others like him … but whatever the reason it’s about him and not about anyone else. Sorry everyone else – it isn’t and never was about you … that goes true for all the Facebook users out there.
  8. “Even Apple Inc.co-founder Steve Jobs, who was known for favoring turtlenecks and jeans, donned a suit in his early days when he was touting his upstart.” You see? That’s research for you … and research shows that it is possible and profitable to do so. Argument closed.
  9. “The stock has fallen because investors have realized that Facebook’s growth potential isn’t as great as they had thought, analysts said.” Amen. Short-term greedy folks realized they got fucked and … please pardon my crudeness … but if you are not gay then, hoody or no hoody, you probably want that cock out of your ass NOW!
  10. “Facebook freed up about 271 million shares … and a whopping 1.2 billion shares in mid-November. Many investors are hesitant to buy Facebook shares until that cloud is lifted.” If this is true then investment banking is a social behavior amongst the rich. They may wear ties to give off an image of maturity, intellect, authority and responsibility but they behave with no more intelligence then that of a typical shopper. Ties don’t come laden with intelligence.

If nothing else then maybe Mark Zuckerberg will contribute to the unveiling of superficial social patterns. Mark’s Facebook (yes, I am implying a “good facebook” is possible) is a bad thing. Mark’s hoody defeating ties is a good thing.

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Money and My Life

n

Money & Life

This post has been brewing for a few days and it seemed to me like it was going to be one of those posts that wouldn’t mature and reach publication. I had pretty much given up on it. That was until last night I recieved an email that breathed life back into it. This post is respectfully dedicated to David.

Continuing my discovery of Charles Eisenstein I came across a Kickstarter project called Money & Life. I have never contributed to a Kickstarter project and I have been critical of much of what goes on there … and despite it all, here I am partaking in it.

I have made a(n extremely rare on my part) financial contribution to it but I also felt compelled to write about why I did this.

A Suicidal Budget

One of my dominant teen-memories is my father’s budget-planning spreadsheet. It started as a huge paper sheet and eventually became a computerized spreadsheet. My father used it to plan and monitor the family monthly budget. It was very detailed … to the resolution of an individual haircut. It had expected numbers that were updated as actual expenses took place.

My father was a relatively highly-paid professional (at least as I perceived it = way more then the average salary but never at the top level of disassociated management levels). Yet despite his hard work and despite his careful financial planning the end-result seemed to be that he could just barely make ends meet. As I write these words I feel the need to emphasize the word “seemed” because (a) my persepective and understanding has since evolved and (b) because what it “seemed” to me at the time is what really mattered.

Witnessing my father just barely balance our family budget made me despair. I don’t know if it was the dominant contributing element but it definitely was a core contributor to my dire outlook on life at the time. If my succesfful father couldn’t make it in the world, what chance would I have? That dire outlook led me into a long and difficult struggle with depression that led me to the edge of suicide.

That struggle caused me to shut down and move into a cocoon. Fortunately for me it was a strong cocoon that provided me with an isolation and insulation I needed from life. In retrospect I believe I was gifted with an opportunity to “reset” myself and have another go at life. I came out of it crude, arrogant … but forceful and willing to give life another, skeptical and sarcastic, try.

Making a Living

A combination of skill and luck enabled me to launch fairly quickly into a successful career. It began with an eye-opening abuse. I was hired by one of my father’s former work colleagues who operated a small consulting firm. After about a year I realized he was charging clients absurd amounts of money for my services and paying me something like minimum wage. Fortunately that didn’t last long and I left him behind and moved on into a fruitful and diverse career that lasted ~15 years.

I catapulted into a fairly high income-level. It fluctuated due to transitions that were usually forced on me. But for the most part it stayed failry high and allowed me to live fairly comfortably. I lived a fairly simple lifestyle with a few indulgences. Over the years those few indulgences diminished because the basic cost of living continued to rise and my financial-advancement did not match it. I was gravitating back towards the reality I had witnessed my father document in my teens. Reaching financial stability and independence (rent was a constant and growing expense over the years) seemed impossible.

There was no hope for anything beyond a monthly break-even cycle (with some savings for retirement). This realization helped me end my career. I wasn’t enjoying work much and the work did not provide me with financial resources that would allow me to seek enjoyment elsewhere. I refused to consider having children because (a) I had no intention of bringing them up in the same mindset I was brought up in and (b) I raised the bar beyond financial stability – I wanted to be happy and to provide my kids with happiness. I didn’t see the point of living without happiness, let alone bringing children into an unhappy existence.

Tasting Happiness

My career ended rather abruptly and it left a void. I didn’t know at the time that voids were precious, that they made it possible for other things to appear in my life. Within a week of ending my career I stumbled into a magical creative journey stumbled into me. I experienced for the first time in my life raw joy … an event that resonated in my body and safely beyond my mind (though it was scary getting there). I consciously surrendered to this journey and … it’s details are not pertinent to this post.

What is pertinent is that this marked the beginning of a period where, though I still had some occassional income from consulting work, for the most part we lived off savings that were left behind from my career. The creative path was also taxing – not only did creating not bring in money, it brough with it additional expenses. It was never a comfortable mode of existence for me … but I did find what I was looking for. I experienced happiness through creativity. My gamble worked … but it wasn’t sustainable.

Fading

With more money running out then coming in I was concerned. I knew that this couldn’t go on forever and that without a substantial change hunger would appear. Yet, at the time, it was unclear what that change would be. So we began to cut living costs. Rent being the most substantial expense (with most other expenses aligned with it … where rent is high so is cost of living) we started by moving away from the city (to say “we started” implies initiative, but actually we were driven out by skyrocketing rent prices). Initially we moved to a relatively peripheral town … but rent prices caught up there too. So we retreated to a remote village. Prices were much lower and more stable.

The distance reduced our expenses, but it also brought my creative journey to a stop. It involved interaction with other people and I was too far (without incurring more expenses) to be with other people.

Our life was cheaper and we were fading … inside and out … and still we were not able to change the unsustainable paradigm … life cost money, money was flowing out and was not flowing in. We faded.

It is with some irony that I realize, just as I write these words, that as we were running out of money so came what I considerd to be a peak achievement of my career – a last consulting project that symbolized a mature fruition of my values.

Breaking Away

We were heading into a new void. It was different from the post-career void. This one grew slowly, we saw it coming, we met it with open eyes and it required conscious and continuous effort (the previous void appeared very suddenly). This void did not seem to come with a surprising enlightening core. It came with darkness.

And yet, out of the darkness came a very strange option … even now I hesitate to call it light (though it ultimately was). We had been speaking about it for some time, but it suddently morphed from something surreal into something real. We decided to leave Israel and move to village life in Romania … to make an attempt at creating a truly more sustainable life for ourselves.

Yet we had no money left. We began to work towards liquidating the pensions savings that had built up during my career. It was very hard to do and we were penalized for doing so (there is a 35% tax on pre-emptive withdrawals of pensions funds in Israel). That took abotu a year to achieve. The transition itself (we left the country less then two months after deciding on it) was made possible by a gift of money from my parents … who had to dig deep into their wells of care and faith to be able to support what appeared to them be a crazy venture.

We have been in Romania 20 months, 14 of those living in a village where we are the (owners?) stewards of 9 hectares of land … and we are slowly disassembling sustainability, getting a better understanding of it and striving towards something better … constantly better. We are no longer aiming for survival … we can taste, feel, see and be grateful that we are heading towards abundance.

What About Money?

After an overhelming wave of large expenses we have arrived at a life that is drastically less dependent on money. We are continuously working to reduce that dependency. However the expenses are not over, there are still infrastructures we want and need to put in place and that includes things that cost money. We are currently running in a low-gear, limiting our expenses until we manage to create some kind of income to support our efforts.

After a long period of fading we are now faced with numerous potential income streams. Some income has already begun to flow in from Andreea realizing her ambition as a birth-keeper supporting women in and around birth. Other income may appear in the future as our research efforts mature and we can share ourdiscoveries with others.

But the most fascinating income stream that has come from a social endeavour. Though in some western countries it may be taken for granted, we have launched a CSA-like (community supported agriculture) project where we bring together peasant-families as food producers and city-dwellers as food consumers. The project “Cutia Taranului” is currently seeing 5 families delivering ~140 boxes of food every week in two cities. It is overflowing with many expressions of happiness and abundance. It involves so much more then an exchange of food and money – there is a magical shift in mentality, awareness and behavior of everyone involved.

We ask for a 5% revenue share which peasants are happy to pay. The first payment we received was just a few weeks ago – it was for ~40 euros. It isn’t much in absolute financial terms but for us it signifies a huge shift of energy. We have finally arrived at a place where we can both make a contribution to and find support in our community.

While financial concepts around the world seem to be crumbling and challenged, it is here in Romania, a primitive Eastern European country, amongst the “poor” peasant population that we are finding a healthy and promising relationship with, amongst other more valuable things, money!

The History of Money

While we were still living in Israel I did quite a bit of thinking about my relationship and opinions of money and the vast zoo of social constructs associated with it. That led to lengthy research (mostly Wikipedia) into the roots of money … to abudantly fertile soils and first sacks of extra grain. I began to write about it but that writing process did not mature. Much later I did publish a post covering a small subset of those ideas.

My inquiry led me to some fascinating revelations … there seemed to be a dance between constructive growth (money-related inventions opening paths to new futures) and gross abuse. I believed (and still do) that it is important to both respect the constructive functions of money and be super-critical of its dysfuctional aspects … so that we can work towards making it better.

“Money & Life” seems to be connected to the same thread I was looking into. I am happy that someone is doing this work with a quality and thoroughness I am happy to support. It is BECAUSE money is not yet a balanced quality in our lives that I choose to make this monetary contribution. I want to see this movie and I want it to be seen.

Posted in AltEco, Business, outside | Tagged | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-08-19

n
  • @tanyadavismusic that is assuming all men know how to hug … something to look forward to 🙂 #
  • just tasted a few glimpses of olympic closing ceremony … saw mostly arrogance & superficiality and messed up values #
  • so much glittering and so little shimmering #
  • found a sick-looking chick, put him in a blanket with a hot water bottle for the night … hope his natural healing kicks in #
  • if you haven't already seen it then this is for you – a Beautiful Truth http://t.co/3IyDiYgf #
  • just realized that here at http://t.co/IgVpcDb3 the ambient sound of night is much louder then that of day #
  • within 48 hours my woman should be back in my arms #

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-08-19

n
  • @tanyadavismusic that is assuming all men know how to hug … something to look forward to 🙂 #
  • just tasted a few glimpses of olympic closing ceremony … saw mostly arrogance & superficiality and messed up values #
  • so much glittering and so little shimmering #
  • found a sick-looking chick, put him in a blanket with a hot water bottle for the night … hope his natural healing kicks in #
  • if you haven't already seen it then this is for you – a Beautiful Truth http://t.co/3IyDiYgf #
  • just realized that here at http://t.co/IgVpcDb3 the ambient sound of night is much louder then that of day #
  • within 48 hours my woman should be back in my arms #

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A Beautiful Truth

n

I have so much to say around this movie that I prefer to just be quiet.

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