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Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “human nature”

The biggest lie we tell ourselves

http://www.trueactivist.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/photo_2016-11-28_02-10-26.jpgSociety, they say, is a reflection of its people. Of their mentality, their habits, their behaviour. Similarly, rulers, or rather the ruling elite, the leaders on top, ideally represent the people they ‘serve’. Regardless if they eventually convert to serving and satisfying their own needs at the expense of the populace.

Carl Thomas, an American journalist, had said: “in a free society, government reflects the soul of its people. If people want change at the top, they will have to live in different ways. Our major social problems are not the cause of our decadence. They are a reflection of it”.

People are seen as naïve; no matter how educated they want to believe they are. Because in the end we all prefer to believe comforting lies than inconvenient truths. And in the case of the populace, history has proven that they will support the person who gives them the biggest lie. Because it covers up more of their life’s dissatisfaction.

Between history and politics, the latter has also proven to be the strongest. Because it manages to repeat itself. And we seem to be unable to learn from history. We allow ourselves to keep falling in the same traps, even if we know how things turn out – how the post is more important than the knowledge or skills; how clientelism rages everywhere; how civil administration does not work for the people but for those in charge of it; how rulers everywhere seek to primarily further their own aims and then their county’s – if at all. Yet, we prove wanting in many ways and incapable of changing anything for the better. Because improving things takes work. And no one is willing to do it.

We’d rather engage in big talk and criticism rather than act.  And that is our greatest weakness.

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Pretending to be

http://www.mitchvane.com/site/assets/files/1191/age-virtual_life-1.480x0.jpegIn a line from the 2014 Australian theatre production of George Orwell’s best-selling novel 1984, one of the characters that works for the Government, otherwise known as Big Brother, says: “The people will not revolt. They will not look up from their screens long enough to notice what’s happening”. Seventy years after the novel was written, this is more relevant and true than ever.

We are so busy trying to appear to be busy – constantly posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and all other social networks that we are not aware of what is happening in the world around us. We are so caught up in exhibiting a virtual life that we miss out on actually living one.

It is as if Orwell predicted the future, way ahead of his time. But in reality, all he did was truly comprehend human nature and its weakness – the fact that it is overwhelmed by apathy, selfishness and greed.

Orwell’s 1984 (1984 (written in 1948) is described as “one of the greatest dystopian novels every written”. “It looks at a future where people are controlled into what to think, how to act and how to live by the Government, known as Big Brother. It uses telescreens, fearmongering, media control and corruption to control the masses”. The main protagonist, however, is an initially apathetic person named Winston who “craves something more than the controlled world he inhabits”.

Crawling out of apathy has actually become a challenge.

In our current world, we are so determined to show that “we are not afraid” that we have allowed our data to be accessible almost everywhere by everyone. We cannot travel without being documented in more than one way, everything we do is entered on databases that are interlinked and our entire existence is available on a screen. You are reading this very text on one such screen.

The point is to get off it. Go out and do something. Create a life rather than pretend to have one. Read, think and live.

The misappreciation of things

http://www.businesscoachmichaeldill.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/value-of-english.jpgThere is a saying that you don’t really appreciate what you have until you have it no more. In a post-apocalyptic world we will begin to understand how lucky we are nowadays to be able to do so many things with so little effort – from house chores to work to travel. Yet, we have forgotten the value of everything that truly matters: family, relationships, education.

We don’t have time – we say – to read books. To feed our minds with something of essence, that may change the way we think and the way we view things around us. Ironically, however, we spend the major part of our days skim reading on a screen pointless articles and posts on social media.

We claim we don’t have time – or energy – to visit a museum or an exhibition, something that would increase our value as people, that would give us some cultural education, that would help us realise where we come from so we can improve where we’re going. Yet, we have the time to waste by taking tens of shots in search of the perfect selfie to post on social networks in demonstration of our idyllic lives.

We know nothing yet act as if we know everything.

We stubbornly refuse to learn and, even more, be taught by elders.

We have become a generation of people who want everything and value nothing.

And it is a shame. Because we are the future of this world. And it is not looking too bright.

Keep calm

https://www.mindful.org/wp-content/uploads/Calm.jpgCalmness is the cradle of power” (Josiah Gilbert Holland), that is why being calm – having a clear mind and a patient heart – is nowadays considered something like a superpower.

Never before did mankind need so many motivational resources on how to be calm, find calm, calm down, and all the likes. Earlier generations considered being calm and having time to relax a given. But in this one, when everything moves so rapidly, when you’re away from a screen for an hour or less and new developments have already taken the course, people don’t have time to relax or slow down. Or so they say. In essence, we refuse to do so out of fear that we may miss out on something. That is mainly why youth are so attached to their mobile phones, checking social networks every so often. It is the very fear of missing out that stops us from actually living our own lives. Of doing something memorable that you don’t need to post on the web because it would lose its significance that way. Not every moment we experience needs to be demonstrated on line. We don’t cease to exist when no one is watching.

That anguish we have of what the world does or sees is also what keeps us so much on edge. Why we can’t stop even if we try. Why we sit on a couch at the end of the day to watch something irrelevant on TV and still find ourselves thinking about a million other things or be skim reading on our tablet or phone. It is also why when we do manage to switch our brains off, we instantly fall asleep. It is an accumulation of prolonged tiredness.

There are a series of “inspirational mottos” about pretty much everything. They begin “Keep calm and…”. Because we need to be reminded and prompted to calm down.

Apple has even created an app for that too. It was named App of the Year for 2017 and it is called “Calm”, offering “Meditation techniques for Sleep and Stress Reduction”.

Isn’t it ironic how we need an application to remind us to “breathe” or “do nothing for 15 seconds”?

Maybe we all do need some “mindfulness”, that “basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us”.

All we really need is to live fully, deeply and constantly and let our mind wander whenever it can. But in the world we live in, being calm and relaxed has become some kind of superpower.

The paradox of human nature

https://img00.deviantart.net/ed60/i/2009/035/0/d/greed_by_liol.jpgHumans have an innate and incurable weakness. That of being extremely selfish and greedy. Nothing is ever enough. And more is always what everyone seeks. Because what humans only really care about is appearing to be better, cleverer, richer than everyone else. They want to be talked about – because not being talked about is worse.

They listen, not to understand, but to react. Mostly to things they interpret in their own way. And things they later state they heard differently. Some don’t even listen at all. And most people simply hear what is to their benefit. Everything else passes by unnoticed.

Humans are the creatures in this world that have the power to change things but knowingly decide not to. They are insensitive by will and narcissistic by conviction. Instead of looking for ways to make our living environment better for those to come, we make it worse for those who manage to stay.

We use technology not to improve our survival, but to demonstrate how self-centred we are, feeling the urge to advertise every moment of our lives on social networks instead of caring for those around us and actually living those moments. We create posts instead of memories and feed on “likes” and heart-shaped thumbs-up approvals from digital “friends” we don’t even really know.

We pretend to live but hardly even survive.

And then we spend hours on self-help books and motivational speeches, seminars and tutorials searching for ways to acquire mental health and psychological stability.

We become irritated by everyone else’s attitude and behaviour, yet stubbornly refuse to change our own because we consider ourselves above all others and thus there is no need to alter anything in our own character.

We expect the world to change to fit to our own needs but do nothing to compromise or accommodate ourselves for the world around us.

We are the ones bringing our own demise and downfall. Yet we are experts in always finding someone else to blame. Because it is much easier to give fault to someone else than to be a decent human being and assume responsibility.

Perfectionist Problems

https://image.shutterstock.com/image-vector/perfectionism-perfectionist-removes-nonideal-berry-260nw-337563263.jpgThe greatest problem with being a perfectionist is that you are never at peace. And the main reason you can never find tranquillity is because you are never satisfied. You always believe there is more, you can do better, you can achieve greater things, you can aim higher. There is no limit, no ceiling, never anything enough.

And that is a problem.

When others are satisfied with the bare necessities, you are always seeking for more. Something more extravagant, more original, something different. Ordinary is boring. You comprehend that fully.

But that means you are also disappointed when others don’t see as far as you do. When they don’t take risks, don’t try harder, don’t exit their comfort zones.

The problem with being a perfectionist is above all that you are different and have trouble fitting it with the crowd.

That is also your strength though. And it should be your greatest asset.

Deceptive Looks

Appearances are often deceivingWhen you see a beautiful rose for the first time, you are so overwhelmed by its appearance that you pay no attention to the thorns it hides. Looks are deceiving. We only see what others choose to show. Therein the deception lies. That we believe what we see, we choose to understand only that which we see before us without questioning whatever lies beneath. And that is how misunderstandings arise. Because we see the innocent flower and not the serpent lying under it. We are fooled into believing that things are as they seem. But they are not.

As children, we are constantly prompted to not trust everything that we see. For even salt seems like sugar. And if you’ve mistaken this for your tea you certainly understand the consequences of deceptive looks. Plus, not everything that glitters is gold.

A Scottish proverb says “do not judge by appearances; a rich heart may be under a poor coat”.

As humans, as rational beings, we need to believe that what we see is true. But in a world dominate but so much deception, pretention and falsity, hardly anything we see nowadays reflects reality.

In the end, all we can really do is trust our instinct. And judge according to actions. For it is those who run to you when they sense your need who really care, not the ones who flaunt their presence when everything is fine.

 

“The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions” – Leonardo Da Vinci

Not knowing what we’re after

https://thumbs.dreamstime.com/b/crossroads-confusing-directional-arrow-sign-25350749.jpgWhy is it that when we sit still for a moment, allowing ourselves the luxury of doing nothing, our mind wanders into another realm? Why do we dream so often even with eyes wide open? What is it we so long to escape from? There is a famous quote that urges us to “create a life you don’t need a holiday from”. But that may not be as easy as it may seem. And that is not only because perfection is an illusion.

It is mostly because we are used to moaning and complaining about something, whatever that may be. So much, that sometimes we ourselves create the reasons to bemoan about how things are not going our way or how life is unfair. Unfair compared to what exactly? Isn’t it, therefore, true that we create the life we want? And if the reality is not what we were after, then we have the freedom to change it.

We trip ourselves up by raising hurdles where there are none. We are so used to something being “wrong” or contrary to what we want, that we even become suspicious when something goes right. We argue that it is too good to be true and anxiously wait for when things will turn over badly and we’ll be able to complain again that we knew it would happen.

Humans are strange. We are a kind that is never satisfied with anything, let alone the simple and minute pleasures of life. We’ll dig into the details simply to find something that will reveal how fake something seemingly perfect is. But we don’t try instead to lift ourselves up, to make us seem almost perfect, regardless of everything and everyone else.

If it is true that change comes from within, the human race still has a very long way to go.

The incomprehensible female nature

https://cdn.davidwolfe.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/overthinking_by_kijadoll-d6e39ct-e1444741767208.jpg“There is a girl at school that is picking on me,” barked Harriet as she entered the kitchen, throwing her bag on the floor.

She sat down at the kitchen table, silent.

Her young mother turned at looked at her. The little girl’s expression was caught between fighting a rage and restraining the tears.

“We’ve all been there, sweetie,” the older woman said soothingly. “And not just at school. It doesn’t really change much as age increases”.

“But these people only have the value you grant them. Try not to pay so much attention and you’ll see she’ll eventually stop. The more she sees she is getting to you, the more she’ll carry on like this. Just remember, we’re jealous and mostly envious of the people we think are better than us. So you have nothing to worry about. Don’t scoop to her level. Show her she is right to be jealous of you. And be the brave and strong little girl I know I have. I know it’s hard, but don’t stick to such issues for so long. We women have a curious way of overthinking and over-analysing everything. I think we spend over half our day doing that. And it is only women who have such issues with one another, pretending hypocritically that they love each other while they stab one another in the back. Just don’t get caught in the trap”.

“I’ll second that,” said the little girl’s father as he walked into the kitchen, warmly kissed his wife, and wrapped his arms around his daughter.

“Men have a different type of bond between them. One that women can’t understand. For better or worse we are simpler creatures. You women, though…” he sighed, “no matter how much time we spend with you, we’ll never be able to truly understand you!” He looked at his wife. “But regardless of the nagging and your incomprehensible nature, we wouldn’t know what to do without you, and we love you more than you know”. His wife smiled her blush away as her face illuminated.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Symbiosis

A politician can be an idiot

Since the time of Socrates politicians have not been thought of highly. They are considered dishonest, selfish, arrogant, and immoral. Socrates, himself had said that “I was really too honest a man to be a politician and live”. Charlie Chaplin saw himself as a clown, but even that, according to him, placed him
on a far higher plane than any politician”.

Politicians haven’t gained a bad name for no reason.  History has shown that true politicians were remarkably few.  And those who actually care about their people and work to improve their lives can be counted on one hand. “A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar” (H. L. Mencken) and with corruption scandals and embezzlement of public funds being revealed every day, politicians have become perhaps the most hated profession of the modern era. On a daily basis they are insulted by the people who consider them more and more a disgrace, as they no longer see in them their representatives. Politicians are now scorned, despised and slated by the very people who elected them to their posts, for they do not adhere to their mandate, or to any of the electoral promises they ever made, for that matter.

Someone once argued that no politician is an idiot. Because by definition a politician is someone interested in the polis – the city-state and not in his/her own interests, the idiot – the self. It is someone who is involved in influencing public policy and decision-making and puts the good of the people before his own benefits. However, modern definitions of a politician have converted into “a seeker or holder of public office, who is more concerned about winning favour or retaining power than about maintaining principles”. It turns out, after all, that politicians are indeed idiots.

In our contemporary times, politicians appear literally everywhere, at any conference, event, gala, opening, simply to gain exposure and better their image. They either think that this will help them appear as though they are interested in public affairs, or they simply want more than Andy Warhol’s fifteen minutes of fame. It actually appears to be both. Politicians, being the idiots they are, only care about heightening their own image and appearing as though they care, whilst at the same time serving their own selfish purpose.

Press conferences and debates are held sometimes even twice a day, while negotiations and discussions are on-going for days, even months with the sole reason of appearing as though action is being taken and something is actually being done by those in power, when in reality it is all about pleasing their own desire for exposure and publicity.

Statements are made continuously by politicians eager to talk, while hundreds of reports on various policies are published. They all do the same. They outline what needs to be done and when. But no-one ever realistically explains how they propose this to be done. And it turns out it is all about wishful thinking. In the EU, for example, months of discussions pass before the budget is approved and decisions are made as to how much money will be spent for various regions, projects and issues. They never, however, take into account the selfish and greedy nature of human beings. And years after the funds have been disbursed but the projects never happened the European Commission begins investigations on misuse of funds and embezzlement. As if it is surprising that idiots would do exactly what they are by definition known for – serving their own interests at the expense of the public good. And all this selfishness will in the end result in the demise of the polis and the common good. And as Paulo Coelho had described in a short story, the only way for the polis/town/state to survive was to let it drown in its own corruption and then build it anew.

Indeed, the problem with the world today is that so much talk is based on idealised situations. As if corruption and selfishness do not exist. Politicians are so versed in how to paint out exactly what they would like things to be. But they provide solutions to problems that are not realistic or at times even feasible. Instead, politicians are characterised by all talk and no action. They all know all too well how to draw attention to themselves, how to speak without actually saying anything, how to make empty promises, that people seem to forget that nothing substantial is ever occurring. And that is also one of the reasons why it is often argued that people who study politics are so repelled by what they learn that they never want to go into politics. Politics is indeed a dirty game. But what everyone seems to forget is that this very “game” concerns the lives of people who depend on those ruling to secure a better living for them – for the people, not the rulers.

Bertrand Russell had said that “the trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt”. Thing is, it is the cocksure idiots that rise up in the world and end up presiding over the unsure.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Viral – The New York Times is going to feature your blog on its home page, and you’ve been asked to publish a new post — it’ll be the first thing tens of thousands of new readers see. Write it.

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