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Tuesday, 31 January 2017

The 45th President of Executive Orders

More than a decade ago, I got a glimpse inside the mind of a colleague. He told me that the first thing he did in a new role was to scare everyone around him about him. Firing at least one employee on his first day, or within his first week, was his habit. Donald Trump's actions remind me of him. Clearly, he wants to set the tone right away.

Fear management is a management tool used by a certain group of CEO's. "Fear will get some results because it sets boundaries and consequences," says Dr Manfred Kets de Vries, Distinguished Clinical Professor of Leadership Development and Organizational Change at INSEAD in France. "But most people who manage by fear eventually fall because no one is able to tell them anything. They live in a fantasy world." (Forbes)

I recognise that statement. Back then, people even asked me to tell their bad news to my colleague. I do recall that I did feel fear for bosses in my initial jobs. The solution is to see them as human beings with flaws like everyone else. Some bosses may want to behave like demigods but they also go the toilet when they need to. That very thought humanizes them sufficiently.

Donald Trump's fear management may also be a technique to distract people from other - more important - issues. By focusing the attention on him, other people in his Cabinet or family can get certain things done without too much attention. Some, but certainly not many, news articles are also focusing on Donald Trump's distraction techniques: GuardianMother JonesTelegraph.

In line with my earlier expectations, Trump is running his new position as if he were the CEO and majority owner of a private (family) company. Excerpt from my 20 January 2017 blog: "Accountability and Responsibility are very different in private (family) vs public situations (eg, my blog 1, blog 2, blog 3). I doubt that Trump will feel accountable as President and expect that will become his Achilles' heel."

Accountability is an almost insurmountable task for an extreme narcissist like Trump who is in deep denial and uses reverse psychology and projection to cope with daily life. Blaming others is his usual solution when his actions and words are being criticized. The more pressure, the more ferocious is the counter attack.

In order to step up his own controversies, it's now increasingly likely that Donald Trump will indeed appoint a Special Prosecutor responsible for "investigating" and "locking up" Hillary Clinton. By continuing stirring up such controversies, others are free to pursue Trump's genuine (eg, business) interests, without ample media coverage.

Threatening political opponents will, however, finally raise the alarm bells at his opponents within the Republican GOP, and is likely to lead to Trump's Waterloo.

"The chaos, failure and embarrassment of Donald J. Trump's first week in office are only surprising if you are unfamiliar with his business career." Andy Borowitz in a FB posting.

Waterloo (1974) by ABBA - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

My, my, at Waterloo, Napoleon did surrender
Oh yeah, and I have met my destiny in quite a similar way
The history book on the shelf
Is always repeating itself


Monday, 30 January 2017

The 45th President asks: Why didn't you vote??

Donald Trump was widely mocked for a recent Tweet in which he asked: Why didn't these protesters vote?

There are two - alternative - ways to look at this Trump remark. 

Most people focus on the alleged falsehood of his claim. Indeed, it's likely that many of these protesters did vote on 9 November 2016.

But how about the very many people who did/do not vote in General or Presidential elections?? Why don't they vote? What is their responsibility for the outcome of such elections? What is the responsibility of politicians who seem unable to motivate enough voters to cast their ballot? Why do we blame an "illegitimate" elected president rather than the people who didn't bother to vote??

Even I feel uncomfortable raising these questions. I think, feel and believe these questions also question the heart of democracy: do we have a right to vote or a duty to vote? 

In 1970, the Netherlands abolished a voting duty. Voter turnout immediately decreased significantly and has deteriorated ever since. 

National voter turnout (blue) remained relatively stable but municipal (green) and provincial (red) suffered a lot. Source: Sargasso

The real question is: Who profits from a voting rightBased on Brexit and Trump, it's fair to say that populist persons or themes will profit. Hence, Trump has a valid point in asking: Why didn't they vote?

It is too easy to blame others without blaming yourself first. Clinton's claim that she lost due to the FBI director and/or Russian interference is ridiculous, if only because she won the popular vote by 3 million votes. She lost - and even by relatively small margins - because she ignored the rural regions that turned towards Trump. See Cook political report for details.

I think it's safe to say that Brexit and even Donald Trump would not have happened if there would have been a voting duty. The only way we can guarantee our "free" Western societies is by requiring a civic duty to vote for its continuance. Trump is right in asking us: Why didn't you vote??

Vote! (1983) by Steven van Zandt - artist, FB, IMDb, "lyrics", video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


Sunday, 29 January 2017

De oxymoron van de linkse samenwerking

Vlak voor de Tweede Kamerverkiezingen van 15 maart 2107 tekent zich een interessant beeld af. Eerst maakt de VVD duidelijk absoluut niet met de PVV te willen samenwerken. Vervolgens besluiten de linkse partijen eindelijk te willen samenwerken. Het CDA gaat vervolgens ook "over links". De VVD lijkt nu in de kou te staan tussen "links" en Geert Wilders.

Het is belangrijk om hierbij aan te tekenen dat politici nog altijd door stemmers worden gekozen en niet andersom. De echte discussie vindt in de maatschappij plaats, en niet in de Tweede Kamer. De Tweede Kamer doet vooral aan symboolpolitiek met brokkenpiloot Ard van der Steur als meest recente slachtoffer. Tom-Jan Meeus in NRC vraagt zich terecht af: "kan het debat eindelijk eens over méér dan alleen personen gaan?"

De Europese immigranten en vluchtelingen problematiek zit allang niet meer in een slachtofferrol. Sommige extreme politici proberen hen in een daderrol te krijgen. Een groeiend deel van de bevolking lijkt in die daderrol te willen geloven. De linkse partijen blijven de slachtofferrol van immigranten en vluchtelingen benadrukken. De waarheid ligt zoals gewoonlijk in het midden.

De opiniepeilers verwachten in heel Europa een dramatische uitslag voor linkse partijen. Daarvoor zijn twee redenen die nauw met elkaar verbonden zijn. Allereerst heeft de Europese immigranten en vluchtelingen problematiek een angst onder de lokale bevolkingen gecreëerd m.b.t. banen, huizen, inkomens, en sociale voorzieningen. De welvaart moet met veel meer mensen worden gedeeld die niet (kunnen/mogen/willen) werken.

Diezelfde angst onder de Europese bevolking heeft een politieke kanteling veroorzaakt van Links-Rechts naar Nationaal-Internationaal. Het meeste succes hebben vooralsnog de nationalistische partijen die tegen immigranten en vluchtelingen zijn. De internationaal georiënteerde partijen pogen - met wisselend succes - de kiezers duidelijk te maken dat alleen globalisering een handhaving van de welvaart biedt, zelfs bij toestroom van immigranten en vluchtelingen. 

De Europese linkse partijen zijn blind voor bovenstaande ontwikkeling. Ze houden krampachtig vast aan de oude Links-Rechts indeling van de politiek zonder te willen begrijpen waar hun gebrek aan electoraal succes aan te wijten is. De strijd zal dus uitgevochten worden door PVV (nationalistisch) en VVD (internationaal). Dit is zeker geen strijd tussen Rechts en extreem Rechts, zoals linkse partijen ons willen doen geloven. 

Na de verkiezingen van 15 maart 2017 zal de balans worden opgemaakt. Het meest waarschijnlijke scenario is dat de schuld eerst bij anderen gezocht zal gaan worden. Het in de kou zetten van de VVD zal (kunnen) leiden tot een PVV minderheidskabinet met wisselende gedoogsteun naar gelang van de sociaal-economische onderwerpen (o.a., SP, VVD). Dat kabinet zal ten val worden gebracht zodra de kiezers er genoeg van hebben. Iets soortgelijks verwacht ik bij Donald Trump. 

Soms moet je gewoon door een zure appel heen bijten om te weten wat je (nooit meer) wilt.

Angst is mar veur eben, spiet is veur altied (2008) - Daniël Lohues
artiest, tekst, videoWiki


I'm not in love


I'm not in love

I'm not in love
So don't forget it
It's just a silly phase I'm going through
And just because
I call you up
Don't get me wrong, don't think you've got it made
I'm not in love, no no, it's because

I like to see you
But then again
That doesn't mean you mean that much to me
So if I call you
Don't make a fuss
Don't tell your friends about the two of us
I'm not in love, no no, it's because

I keep your picture
Upon the wall
It hides a nasty stain that's lying there
So don't you ask me
To give it back
I know you know it doesn't mean that much to me
I'm not in love, no no, it's because

Ooh you'll wait a long time for me
Ooh you'll wait a long time
Ooh you'll wait a long time for me
Ooh you'll wait a long time

I'm not in love
So don't forget it
It's just a silly phase I'm going through
And just because I call you up
Don't get me wrong, don't think you've got it made
I'm not in love
I'm not in love

I'm not in love (1975) by 10cc - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


Saturday, 28 January 2017

The Sumerian civilization (8) and the prophet Muhammad

Last Sunday, Belgian public TV broadcasted episode 3 of the BBC program Around the world in 80 Faiths. This time the focus was on Africa, including Ethiopian Islam and Ethiopian orthodox Christianity. Peter Owen-Jones made a casual remark that the Prophet Muhammad fled to Ethiopia to escape "from the persecution of the ruling Quraysh tribe of Mecca" (eg, Wiki). 

The map to the left looks awfully close to the map of the Kingdom of Kush, which is no coincidence as it's the same region: East Africa, the birthplace of mankind (eg, BBCNatGeo).

Peter Owen-Jones' remark triggered a question inside me: Is it possible that Muhammad was also of black Sumerian descent, similar to Noah, Shem, Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon and Jesus? The answer appears to be a simple YES

Wiki: Aminah bint Wahb was the mother of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. She was a member of the Banu Zuhrah clan in the tribe of Quraysh who claimed descent from Ibrahim (Abraham) through his son Ismail (Ishmael). Also see this source.

This implies that all Jewish, Christian and Muslim prophets were black-headed Sumerians and most likely black African Nubians, who lived in present day Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan. Others have arrived at a similar conclusion.

The deep historic links between black-headed Sumerians might be an explanation for the following. Quora: "The Prophet said: Let the Abyssinians ("Ethiopians") alone as long as they let you alone, and let the Turks alone as long as they leave you alone." The link with Turkey might relate to Jafar's recital to the Christian King of Aksum on Maryam (Mary), mother of Isa (Jesus). Mary's house is a Catholic and Muslim shrine near Ephesus, Turkey.

The concept of Abrahamic religions (ie, modern Judaism, Christianity and Islam) gets a total new meaning to me. Mahatma Gandhi's conclusion was right: "God has no religion." A conclusion that "God hates Religion" is even warranted by Amos 5:21 (see Book of Amos from the Old Testament and Hebrew Bible).

The bitter irony of the above is that Arabs and Whites have been fighting and killing each other for centuries over a long and royal dynasty of black African prophets who were all related to each other: Noah, Shem, Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, Jesus and Muhammad.

Albert Einstein once said: "The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know." This is paraphrase of an ancient saying by Aristotle: "The more you know, the more you know you don't know". These were my opening lines in part 1 of my blogs on the Sumerian civilization.

One of Us (1995) by Joan Osborne - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


Friday, 27 January 2017

The 45th President of alternative facts

As a writer, I shouldn't complain about Donald J. Trump because he is an ample source of inspiration. On NBC News, his counsellor Kellyanne Conway referred to "alternative facts" regarding the claims of Donald J. Trump and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer that the inauguration of the 45th President was "the largest ever".

Almost simultaneously, Dutch newspaper NRC published an article that a growing number of physicists believes that Information is the fundamental building block of the Universe, and also of Time and Gravity. Information can be detected and measured after defining its concept. Nobody really knows what Information is. Even the categorization of Information is complex.

My Information types diagram represents the various scenarios following the axis of (1) human perception and (2) human intention.

The nameless upwards and downwards arrows in the middle of the diagram represent important historical exceptions.

Shortly before his death in 1543, Nicolaus Copernicus stated that the Earth rotates around the sun, a then widely disputed fact.

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was controversial for championing the theory of Copernican heliocentrism. In 1615, Galileo's writings were submitted to the Roman Inquisition following a claim that Galileo and his followers were attempting to reinterpret the Bible.

Back in the 16th century people trusted their senses and concluded that everything must rotate around the Earth. They were unable - and some perhaps also unwilling - to view from a different perspective. Nothing much has changed since.

Our perception still follows our human senses (eg, balance, hearing, sight, smell, taste, touch) drives our own beliefs and also "the truth" we tell to others. The intention behind our words can make our words a deliberate lie.

There is one exceptional category: lies that appear deliberate but are actually the result of an extreme belief in the Truth. In plain English: Sean Spicer's "alternative facts" were just plain lies. Donald J. Trump is an extreme believer in his own Truth. Most people can feel the difference.

Would I lie to you (2016) by David Guetta - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


Thursday, 26 January 2017

The 45th President and Captain America

Rapid technology changes and the prospects of mass unemployment are perfect ingredients for stirring up human fears about job loss and poverty. Politicians are masters in unleashing these sleeping fears for their own benefit.

DW: "In an interview published Sunday, Pope Francis cautioned Europeans against the lure of populism, saying they should avoid repeating the same mistakes made in the 1930s to solve economic and political crises, which led to World War II." Indeed, it's tempting to compare the present situation with WW2 (1939-1945) but in the absence of mass unemployment a comparison with WW1 (1914-1918) makes much more sense.

WW1 (1914-1918) had a different picture: a combination of shifting geopolitical alliances and a race for (military / technological) supremacy (Power). There is an uncomfortable similarity to the 2017 situation with Trump boosting military expenditure and changing existing military and political alliances. Adding mass unemployment to this could cause a disaster.

Given the zero-sum game theory, the "America first" strategy of Donald Trump will cause losses for other countries, in particular job losses. Many American jobs have been "exported" to China and cheap Chinese imports boosted American wealth. Insourcing Chinese jobs back into the USA by penalizing China (eg, import tariffs), will further hurt the sluggish Chinese economy.

The Russian economy has been hurt badly by the fall of the oil price. Given the global transformation from fossil fuels to renewable energy, this impact is lasting. We may be witnessing the final years of the Russian Empire. However, Trump is now reaching out to this dying global competitor. 

Boosting US military expenditure while backstabbing one global competitor and similarly reaching out to another dying global competitor raises questions. 

Similar to a retainer agreement / fee in business, Trump will expect Russia to commit to him and to refrain from an alliance with China. This idea might work. 

The outcome of the 2017 European elections (ie, 15 March (NL)23 April (F)24 September (Ger) is important for Donald Trump. Apart from Russian secretive interference, we may also see public American interference (eg, Breitbart News Europe) in European general elections. 

It's tempting to see the "America first" strategy as a 21st century quest for global economic, military and technological supremacy. Hence, Captain America is back!

America First (2005) by Merle Haggard - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Why don't we liberate these United States,
We're the ones that need it worst.
Let the rest of the world help us for a change,
And let's rebuild America first.

Our highways an' bridges are fallin' apart:
Who's blessed an' who has been cursed?
There's things to be done all over the world,
But let's rebuild America first.

Who's on the Hill and who's watchin' the valley?
An' who's in charge of it all?
God bless the army an' God bless our liberty,
And dadgum the rest of it all.

Yeah, men in position are backin' away:
Freedom is stuck in reverse.
Let's get out of Iraq an' get back on the track,
And let's rebuild America first.

Why don't we liberate these United States,
We're the ones who need it the most.
You think I'm blowin smoke? Boys it ain't no joke.
I make twenty trips a year from coast to coast.


Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Mrs May's Machiavellian Moves (2)

On Tuesday 17 January 2016, the UK PM gave her long awaited Brexit speech in which she put the UK's cards on the table (eg, Guardian, NYT). The speech caused a lot of attention in British media. On the other side of the Channel, it was business as usual. I have been wondering about this.

Apart from Scottish whiskey, I wouldn't know any other UK product that we buy on the European Continent,  This reminded me of President Obama's remark in December 2016: Russia “doesn’t produce anything that anybody wants to buy except oil and gas and arms. They don’t innovate.”

The Top 10 UK exports confirms the above. All UK exports are all in the Business-to-Business (B2B) rather than the Business-to-Consumer segment (B2C). This will seriously handicap British negotiations to get a fair deal as it appears that Europe does not even need the UK. Politicians represent voters. Voters are consumers. Consumers only care about products that they like. To paraphrase President Obama: the UK "doesn’t produce anything that anybody wants to buy".

The fall of Pound Sterling compared to the Euro (10Y chart) and US$ (10Y chart) should facilitate a boost in UK exports and will make imports from Europe more expensive. However, "Britain’s service industry [] accounts for almost 80% of the economy" (eg, FT, UK Gov). The Brexit impact on Britain’s service industry will be decisive for the future of the UK.

A deteriorating European export to the UK will further complicate negotiations. The UK will claim that it's the result of a strong Euro (or: weak PST). Europe will claim that the decline is politically motivated. In such case, it will be extremely unlikely that Continental Europe will have any urge for facilitating a tax sheltering UK services economy (eg, FTIndependent).

Dutch finance minister Dijsselbloem: "I also have trouble understanding what the prime minister envisages for the financial sector. The City serves us all of Europe so there’s a great joint interest but continental Europe can’t accept that the city has different rules over time." He added that proposals to turn the UK into a low-tax centre after leaving the EU are “unproductive and damaging” (FT)

Dijsselbloem predicted a gloomy outcome for the UK. He expects Mrs May’s Brexit plans to lead to “massive unemployment” by 2037. “Let’s speak to each other again in 20 years, and then England will be back to where it was in the seventies,” he said. “Totally outdated, massive unemployment, totally impoverished.” (eg, FT, NRC). 

I am still convinced that Theresa May's Brexit plan is a well-crafted example of reverse psychology. The only way to convince Brexiteers to stop Brexit is by executing a hard Brexit and by allowing UK Parliament to vote it down. By then both sides will ferociously blame each other for either requesting or executing a Brexit

I'm impressed by Mrs May's Machiavellian Moves. It might just be wishful thinking but I trust my gut feeling. I think, feel and believe that she's much smarter than people give her credit for. 

Superwoman (2008) by Alicia Keys - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Aan Mark Rutte

Ik heb uw advertentie en oproep van maandag 23 januari 2017 gelezen. De tekst is zonder meer slim en moeilijk inhoudelijk af te wijzen zonder zelf in uw doelgroep te vallen. De meeste reacties zullen daarom dus gaan zeuren en zeiken over de toon van uw boodschap. In 2005 had ik geen moeite met soortgelijke woorden van Jan Peter Balkenende en nu ook niet.

Zeuren en zeiken is echter een onlosmakelijk onderdeel van de Nederlandse cultuur. Je zou daarom kunnen stellen dat juist diegenen uitstekend geïntegreerd zijn. Ik heb meer moeite van de cultuur van alleen maar rechten en geen verplichtingen, wel de lusten en niet de lasten, van "cherry picking". In VPRO's Zomergasten van 4 september 2016 zei u nog dat "onze vrije democratie geen cafetariamodel is waaruit immigranten de welgevallige dingen bij elkaar kunnen winkelen" (Trouw). 

De eerste 3 paragrafen gaan in principe over alle Nederlanders, inclusief Geert Wilders. Vanaf paragraaf 4 gaat het plotseling alleen nog over immigranten: "... terwijl ze juist naar ons land zijn gekomen voor de vrijheid." Geert Wilders is geen immigrant en is ook bezig om de Nederlandse rechtsstaat van binnen aan te vallen, net zoals de (Nederlandse) pleitbezorgers van referenda. 

Uw boodschap zal het grote publiek ongetwijfeld aanspreken. Het is knap geschreven, pakkend en zelfs wervend. Ik kan alleen maar hopen dat u niet in dezelfde fout als Geert Wilders vervalt: veel slogans en behalve schijnoplossingen geen echte oplossingen. Het zou u sieren als u ook een visie schetst hoe we voorkomen dat Nederland een cafetariamodel wordt.

De immigratieproblematiek valt niet te stoppen zonder de aanzuigende werking van ons sociale stelsel ter discussie te stellen. Je kunt immigranten moeilijk kwalijk nemen dat ze naar Europa komen om gratis geld (lees: bijstandsuitkering) in ontvangst te nemen. Dat ze daar niet van kunnen leven blijkt naderhand pas. Gebrek aan taalvaardigheid, relevante ervaring en scholing doen de rest.

De structurele oplossing voor het immigratieprobleem is het opzeggen van het Vluchtelingenverdrag. Beschouw iedereen die binnen wil komen als een economisch migrant. Geef alle immigranten onmiddellijk het recht om te werken en zich te huisvesten. Schaf tegelijk alle uitkeringen, subsidies, en andere tegemoetkomingen af. Introduceer een basisinkomen voor elke Nederlander. Beperk tevens het recht op Nederlanderschap. Ontneem het Nederlanderschap bij dubbele nationaliteiten. Ontneem het basisinkomen bij een fundamentele inbreuk op de samenleving.

Naar mijn stellige overtuiging verdient het basisinkomen zichzelf terug door een enorme afslanking van het overheidsapparaat. Het basisinkomen wordt fiscaal belast tegen een nieuw 100% IB tarief en is tegelijkertijd gelijk aan de zgn. belastingvrije voet. Langdurig werkloze ZZP'ers zijn waarschijnlijk de enigen die er beter van worden. Vrijwel elke andere Nederlander "krijgt" al geld.

Dit idee kan tevens de basis zijn voor een "grote coalitie" om 76 of meer zetels bij elkaar te sprokkelen in een toenemend versplinterd politiek Nederland. Ik vertrouw op u. Succes.

Haarlem, 24 januari 2017
Léon Oudejans


Everything follows Why (2)

Recently, Belgian public TV broadcasted episode 2 of the BBC program Around the world in 80 Faiths. This time the focus was on Asian faiths (eg, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism) and their focus on Chaos and Order. So far, all faiths are focused on Creation (eg, creation "myths").

This leads me to reconsider my diagram in my 3 August 2016 blog on Symmetry and Balance.

Creation is the purpose of everything (eg, Multiverse, Universe, Nature, Life) and most likely also a fundamental force.

Essentially, Creation has 2 possible emerging and alternative forces: Chaos and Order.

Chaos and Order are two complementary and opposing forces. They cannot exist without each other. This is also the essence of Taoism and its Yin and Yang symbol.

The eternal struggle between Chaos and Order is causing Change. Change creates temporary and multiple states of Equilibrium. The Equilibrium is what we perceive and cherish as humans. Change is what we dislike or even hate.

The Universe itself is a beautiful example of Creation: something out of nothing (eg, the Big Bang theory). Scientists still speculate what - if anything - predates the Big Bang of 13.8 billion years ago. Some scientists argue that our Universe is a creation within a Multiverse. Nevertheless, everything is geared towards Creation.

The dualism that follows Creation can be seen everywhere: Universe (stars and planets), Nature (dark and light, fire and water, earth and air/sky), Life (male and female), and also in other concepts like open and closed, yes and no, Time & Space.

Humans often associate certain characteristics with Chaos and Order:
- Chaos: bad, dark, devil, fear, ghost/spirit, hate.
- Order: good, light, God, hope, soul, love.

It seems to me that these dualistic characteristics around Chaos and Order have subsequently been codified into religions through so called creation "myths" (Wiki's list of creation myths). Faith is something entirely else. Faith is the belief that Creation is not random but a divine choice. Man-made religions use - and sometimes even abuse - our Faith in the Creator for its own purpose.

The Creator has a Master Plan (1969) by Leon Thomas - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki


Monday, 23 January 2017

(Self) destruction vs (self) preservation

Self destruction and self preservation have an intriguing relationship, at least to me. I noticed several articles on this topic (eg, Forbes, Good Therapy) and even a scientific study.

In order to define this topic, I made a diagram. This diagram outlines 4 possible scenarios for (self) destruction and (self) preservation.

According to Good Therapy, self destruction and self preservation indeed go together: "Self-destructive behavior is not necessarily intended to be self-destructive; ordinarily, people engage in such behaviors in an effort to help, protect, or heal themselves.

Unfortunately, the same methods intended for benefit can also cause harm."

The 1st box has a link with the 7 Belief systems. The Greater Good (or Utilitarianism) is an extreme philosophy that it's okay to sacrifice some/many people in order to save an even greater number of people (eg, the deliberate downing of a passenger airplane before it can destroy a city).

The 2nd box gives an uncanny list of applicants. The best example of this 2nd box is the TV series House of Cards (IMDb 2013, IMDb 1990).

The 3rd box appears to have very different examples (ie, hero, martyr, suicide). The name that we give to this person is entirely in the eye of the beholder.

The 4th box may even suggest that a burn-out or depression is not a sickness but an involuntary therapy invoked by the body, mind and soul. This perspective is brand new to me. The more I think of this perspective, the more it rings "true" to me.

When I approach my 18 month burn-out / depression from the left angle (ie, destruction) then I remain afraid of it. Sometimes it came close to the 3rd box. It still feels like a cloud following me. When I approach my burn-out/depression from the top angle (ie, preservation) then it's one of the best things that happened to me. A new and better me has emerged from my ashes.

This blog reaches out to people in a similar situation. Self-destruction and self-preservation are like Fear and Hope. As François de la Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) once said: "Hope and fear are inseparable. There is no hope without fear, nor any fear without hope. We promise according to our hopes and perform according to our fears." Save yourself. There is always Hope.

Save Me (1976) by Joan Armatrading - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Sinking 
Caught up in a whirling motion 
Such a strange sensation 
The currents uncertain 
Like sails of a mill 
I spin 
Like wheels I move in a circle 
While you stand on the bank 
Immune or evasive 
Throw me a lifeline 
Save me...


For a friend who should reach out to me but is (still) unwilling

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Human


Human

(I'm only human
I'm only, I'm only
I'm only human, human)

Maybe I'm foolish, maybe I'm blind
Thinking I can see through this and see what's behind
Got no way to prove it so maybe I'm blind

But I'm only human after all, I'm only human after all
Don't put your blame on me
Don't put your blame on me

Take a look in the mirror and what do you see
Do you see it clearer or are you deceived in what you believe

Cause I'm only human after all, you're only human after all
Don't put the blame on me
Don't put your blame on me

Some people got the real problems
Some people out of luck
Some people think I can solve them
Lord heavens above
I'm only human after all, I'm only human after all
Don't put the blame on me
Don't put the blame on me

Don't ask my opinion, don't ask me to lie
Then beg for forgiveness for making you cry, making you cry

Cause I'm only human after all, I'm only human after all
Don't put your blame on me, don't put the blame on me

Some people got the real problems
Some people out of luck
Some people think I can solve them
Lord heavens above
I'm only human after all, I'm only human after all
Don't put the blame on me
Don't put the blame on me
I'm only human I make mistakes
I'm only human that's all it takes to put the blame on me
Don't put the blame on me

'Cause I'm no prophet or messiah
You should go looking somewhere higher

I'm only human after all, I'm only human after all
Don't put the blame on me, don't put the blame on me
I'm only human, I do what I can
I'm just a man, I do what I can
Don't put the blame on me
Don't put your blame on me

Human (2016) by Rag'n'Bone Man - artistlyricsvideoWiki-1Wiki-2



Saturday, 21 January 2017

Sumerian civilization (7): the Kingdom of Kush

In part 6 of my blogs on the Sumerian civilization, I finally acknowledged the most obvious: the "black headed" Sumerian civilization must have been black Africans. Nevertheless, this conclusion still did not answer the big question: Where did the Sumerian people originate from??

The Kingdom of Kush is a (very) likely candidate. It could even explain the almost parallel rise of the advanced Egyptian and Sumerian civilization at about 3,500 BC.

The Great Flood from 11,000 BC - 4,000 BC created the Red Sea (see mid of picture) which was probably a mere river before the global sea levels rose 120 meters until 4,000 BC.

The Red Sea may have splitted an ancient Empire of Kush (well before 4,000 BC) in 2 parts: the new Kingdom of Kush in Africa and the Kingdom of Sheba in Arabia. Historical evidence may once be found in the Red Sea. Also see my Pangea blog.

Apart from these geological aspects, there are other supporting facts. The Kingdom of Kush was an ancient Nubian kingdom situated on the confluences of the Blue NileWhite Nile and River Atbara in what is now the Republic of Sudan (Wiki). The name Nubians is Egyptian for ‘gold’, due to the abundance of this precious metal in their lands (Ancient Origins). The vast wealth of both the Nubian kingdoms and the Sumerian civilization suggests an overlap.

The Kingdom of Kush is not well understood: "The success of Kush as a regional power, however, is a puzzle that continues to baffle archaeologists. Without the conventional features of complex societies – a writing system, an extensive bureaucracy and major urban centers, the Kingdom of Kush’s success in controlling Upper Egypt seems to be an anomaly" (Ancient Origins).

Ancient: "Meroe was a wealthy metropolis of the ancient kingdom of Kush in what is today the Republic of Sudan. [] As no one yet has been able to decipher the Meroitic script, very little can be said for certain on how Meroe grew to become the wonderous city written about by Herodotus in circa 430 BCE, but it is known that the city was so famous for its wealth in ancient times that the Persian King Cambyses mounted an expedition to capture it []. The city was also known as the Island of Meroe as the waters flowing around it made it appear so."

The above is difficult to imagine as we only see the Sahara desert now. By "coincidence", Google notifies me of a scientific study of 17 January 2017 by the University of Arizona about a “Green Sahara” from 5,000 to 11,000 years ago. "Archaeological evidence shows that humans occupied much of the Sahara during the wet period, but gradually withdrew some 8,000 years ago" because of an abrupt climate (precessionshift and change. “It looks like this thousand-year dry period caused people to leave,” Tierney said. (eg, Ancient Code, Science Advances, UA News)

Ancient Code: "Based on [rainwater] erosion marks, several researchers and geologists have suggested that the Great Sphinx was built thousands of years earlier than the official story suggests." This 2017 Green Sahara study supports that scientific minority view.

Africa (1982) by Toto - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


Friday, 20 January 2017

The 45th President of Naming & Shaming

On 20 July 2016, several news media reported that Donald Trump Jr offered several Republicans the most powerful Vice President job ever, by being in charge of domestic and foreign affairs. Donald Trump Sr would then focus on "making America great again" (eg, MJ, NYT). We now know what that implies: naming and shaming people and corporations on Twitter and in other media who do not listen to Donald J. Trump.

It's tempting to judge Donald Trump by his words and in particular his many falsehoods (or: lies). However, that approach is often useless for someone who is in (deep) denial and makes ample use of reverse psychology and projection as a coping mechanism for daily life. In my concept of the 7 Belief systems, Donald Trump is an extreme believer in the Truth, his Truth.

Trump's advisers have been warning people not to take Trump's words literally. That is probably a wise advice. In case of emotional outbursts, it's probably better to read the opposite of what Trump says or Tweets. Unfortunately, for someone in (deep) denial, who uses reverse psychology and projection to cope with life, consistent behaviour is an illusion.

It's better to judge someone in (deep) denial on his actions, his deeds. These will soon become clear. Apart from his emotional outbursts, his actions still seem geared to preventing further outsourcing of jobs and getting jobs back into America. His attack on the pricing of drugs by pharmaceuticals and his wish for medical insurance coverage for all Americans should be applauded.

Actually, it's hard to like anything about Donald J. Trump. Our aversion towards his sometimes despicable behaviour, makes it almost impossible to be open minded on his agenda. We tend to judge someone on their behaviour as it's almost impossible for us to believe that a "bad" person does "good" things. Our thinking usually is simple: bad = bad, good = good. So, Donald J. Trump is a "bad" person who therefore must do "bad" things. Unless you believe in him.

The only way to survive the vast aversion against his person, Trump must continue claiming swift successes, whether real or false. Delegating domestic and foreign affairs to his VP is a brilliant move as a VP is expendable, similar to Trump's Cabinet positions. The important people are appointed in non-political roles without parliamentary scrutiny (eg, Bannon, Kushner).

I am not sure if Donald J. Trump will survive his many opponents, including an ever-increasing number of enemies. His business history suggests he can. So far, Trump's actions suggest that he intends to run the USA as a private (family) company. Accountability and Responsibility are very different in private (family) vs public situations (eg, my blog 1, blog 2, blog 3). I doubt that Trump will feel accountable as President and expect that will become his Achilles' heel.

While writing this, I receive a WP News Alert: "Trump will take the oath of office as the least-popular president in at least four decades, according to a Post-ABC poll". I think, feel and believe that people are overrating the very likeable Barack Obama and underrating the very unlikeable Donald J. Trump. I suppose we are human after all.

Human (2016) by Rag'n'Bone Man - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

But I'm only human after all, I'm only human after all
Don't put your blame on me
Don't put your blame on me



Thursday, 19 January 2017

Why do we believe?

A recent Guardian article (Why do people persist in beliefs that are wrong – and even harmful?) triggered a question in me: Why do humans believe? Essentially, believing is perceiving things different than they appear to be following our senses (eg, hearing, sight, smell, taste). Or in the words of the Guardian: "Apparent irrationality, argue the Gormans, can be a survival mechanism."

While making a mindmap, previous blog topics appeared: knowledge, assumptions, expectations, beliefs, and goals. While writing down my concept of Needs-Wants-Beliefs, I suddenly stopped at Wants. What if beliefs provide the necessary (evolutionary) link between Needs and Wants??

As noted in my 23 November 2016 blog, all Life on this planet is in the Needs stage (eg, food, shelter). Only Life using tools is in the Wants stage (eg, birds, humans, monkeys). Using tools is a fundamental step in the history of Life. Wiki: "Originally thought to be a skill only possessed by humans, some tool use requires a sophisticated level of cognition". Developing and using tools is a consequence of consciousness (eg, assumptions, expectations).

Consciousness and self-awareness are prerequisites for two other concepts: Temptation and Goals. As stated in my 3 December 2016 blog Faith, Beliefs & Willpower, Temptation and Goals are connected through Willpower. In my 13 December 2016 blog Faith, Beliefs & Willpower (2), I explained that Willpower requires faith/beliefs in order to continue after initial failure. In other words, faith/beliefs connects Needs (aka Goals) and Wants (aka Temptation).

As mentioned in my 30 April 2016 blog, the 2 fundamental human emotions are Love and Fear. These emotions translate into the most fundamental type of beliefs: good versus bad/evil. Latter is not universal as different cultures have different values (eg, NYT, Science Direct). This confirms that "good vs bad" is a belief rather than a (universal) principle.

This most fundamental type of beliefs (good versus bad/evil) appears to have been subsequently translated into religious beliefs: Go(o)d versus (d)evil. It's rather easy to see how Love and Fear have been incorporated in Faith and Religion: from loving gods versus fearful gods (polytheism) towards a loving God versus a fearful devil (monotheism).

The evolutionary success of these early beliefs has brought only one species (humans) to go to the final stage of Needs-Wants-Beliefs. The 7 (extreme) Belief systems consist of Love, Money, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Science and the Truth. It seems likely that Faith / Religion was the very 1st Belief system. Until today, scientists have not found any culture on this planet without evidence of a religious belief system.

The power and weakness of beliefs - and Belief systems - is that they unite (Love) and divide (Fear). This essence can also be seen in a famous quote by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: "Divide and rule, the politician cries; unite and lead, is watchword of the wise." 

The Power of Love (1984) by Frankie Goes To Hollywood


The power of love
A force from above
Cleaning my soul
Flame on burn desire
Love with tongues of fire
Purge the soul
Make love your goal


Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Sumerian civilization (6): black curse and whitewashing

The more I'm reading about the "black headed" Sumerian civilization, the more I think, feel and believe that the Sumerians were black Africans. Apart from the casual reference to "black headed" people, the black Sumerian civilization appears to have been whitewashed in history.

The Old Testament, the Quran and Sumerian records tell that the Sumerian royalty (eg, Abraham, Terah, King Nimrod) descends from Noah and his son Shem. The extremely wealthy Queen of Sheba, ruler of Egypt and Ethiopia, and the Israeli King Solomon both also descend from Noah.

The black Sumerians unleashed the wrath of the Gods (the Anunnaki) after building the Tower of Babel (eg, Ancient). It seems likely that these highly skilled Sumerians subsequently relocated to other regions (eg, Egypt) and blended into existing societies. Abraham escaped their fate and relocated to the (Israeli) land of Canaan. Being black, he wasn't really welcomed by the Israelites. Given the Sumerian wealth, he bought an expensive piece of land for him and his family.

When Abraham arrived, the Israelites still worshipped their Golden Calf, an example of the then widespread sacred Bull culture. The Bull culture may have been the successor of the even more ancient religious Mother Earth culture. After several generations, Abraham's family ruled Israel through his great grandsons King David and David's son King Solomon.

The royal Sumerian lineage of the "black headed" Noah, Shem, Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon and ultimately Jesus, explains why they are referred to as the "chosen ones".  Clearly, these "black-headed" people were neither Israelite nor Arab. This is likely the reason why they are recognised as either the founder or prophets of the main 3 Abrahamic religions (ie, modern Judaism, Christianity, Islam). There is just one tiny little detail. The Sumerians were black, not white.

Suddenly the black Ethiopian Jews in Israel make perfect sense. They are likely descendents of the black Sumerian civilization and/or Queen Sheba who ruled Egypt and Ethiopia. Perhaps these Ethiopian Jews once migrated back to Africa from either Canaan or Sumer, after first having changed their former Sumerian faith to the new Abrahamic faith.

The ancient stories are codified in the Sumerian clay tablets and later the Old Testament and Quran. The later history has been codified by Titus Flavius Josephus (37-100 CE) in his works The Jewish War (c. 75) and Antiquities of the Jews (c. 94). Based on the above, it makes perfect sense that Jesus' birth was widely seen as a royal (Sumerian) birth, including a visit of the Three Kings. Jesus was certainly no pauper in paradise, as is often suggested.

In 2015, the Economist published an article: Towers of Babel - Is there such a thing as a skyscraper curse? The Economist: "In 1999 Andrew Lawrence, then of Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, an investment bank, identified what came to be known as the “skyscraper curse”. Mr Lawrence noticed a curious correlation between the construction of the world’s tallest buildings and economic crises."

It's tempting to link the fate of the African continent to that ancient, divine "black curse".

Abraham, Martin & John (1968) by Marvin Gaye - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Pangea

Pangea's name is derived from the Greek pangaia, meaning “all the Earth". Pangea’s existence was first proposed in 1912 by German meteorologist Alfred Wegener as a part of his theory of continental drift. When you look at any world map, it's hard to miss that the continents appear to fit like a puzzle. (eg, Britannica, Live Science, Wiki)

The supercontinent of Pangea existed some 300 million years ago. It broke up around 180 million years ago, again at 140 million years ago (Africa's separation from South America), and the final split occurred about 80 million years ago (North America separated from Europe, and Australia from Antarctica). Some 50 million years ago, India collided with Eurasia, forming the Himalayas.

Within the next 250 million years, Africa and the Americas will merge with Eurasia to form a supercontinent that approaches Pangean proportions. (Britannica) In my view, we should thus differentiate climate change from climate shift. Climate shift is one of the many explanations of climate change (eg, BGS).

Today, we live in an interglacial period following the Last Glacial Maximum (? - 24,500 BCE) of the Quaternary Ice Age (2.58 million years ago-onwards). The period of deglaciation (aka global warming) started some 22,000 years ago and is still ongoing. The global melting of ice caused an extreme sea level rise (aka the Great Flood) of some 120-140 meters between 17,000 BCE to 5,000 BCE. Its global destruction must have been beyond imagination (my 31 December 2016 blog).

Until 22,000 years ago, there was some kind of a mini Pangea between Africa, Arabia and Asia as the Persian Gulf (avg. depth 50m; max. 90m) and the Mandeb Strait (avg. depth 186m) at Djibouti did not exist.

On average the global sea levels were some 120m or 400 feet lower which would turn seas into rivers at most.

An exodus from East Africa to the Iran-Iraq border (eg, Babylon, Sumer) did not require boats. The black-headed Sumerians may just have travelled from Africa by foot.

The Supercontinent cycle (a.k.a. Wegenerian cycle) is driven by Earth's plate tectonics and lasts some 500 million years. It must thus have happened several times in the past 4.5 billion years. Given such timeframes, it's hard to blame humans for living in the Now. The Now is the only constant in a sea of Change. 

Cool Change (1979) by Little River Band - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2