The Magician’s last trick

For the first trick he’ll concieve,
first one Adam, then one Eve;
He’s the father they believe


Building with divine precission,
temples, statues, edifices,
made of sweat, blood and sacrifices;
To summon sheep into submision,
in the name of gods and their religion;


He controls, through lies and terror,
in the name of the cross bearer,
or some other holly master….
He’s the pastor of disaster;


Fear of what we are, of what we do,
has got me scared too…


We created a machine,
which swallows everything that’s green,
And dig deep wholes into the earth,
to take riches that are not worth,
not even the dirt that we unearth;


Oh the vanity,
we wear it with pride, such insanity,
We celebrate profanity,
and condemn humanity,
to die young of self-made calamity


But there’s one last trick up his sleeve,
we do not see, we’re so naive,
so easy to deceive…
The last act which he’ll concieve,
he’ll take the riches and then he’ll leave,
leaving us empty and in grieve.

 

 

Originality

Originality doesn’t really exist. Every piece of original work is a derivative of something else. Art, design, engineering, most of the products we love today are a novel reinterpretation of something that was already made. If everything would be recorded you could always trace it back to source.

It’s in our nature to copy. Babies mimic their parents and as they grow they find role models and learn by copying them. We copy what we admire. 

But there’s always a stigma around plagiarism and copying others. We like to point the finger at copycats. We’re always striving to be original until we realise we’re not.

Steve and Bill were inspired by the operating system developed by Xerox which had a graphical user interface. They went on and built improved versions of it adding their personal touch. Some people to this day still think that Bill stole Steve’s idea.

The first modern tablet was running Windows. Later Apple developed a better version which became a huge success. Some people think that Apple invented the tablet, others give Microsoft credit for it. In reality, the first tablet ever made was the Styalator which was released in the ’50s. Technology just needed time to catch up. It doesn’t always pay off to be the first, timing is essential. Same thing is true for the smartphone.

If we reflect on this we can argue that originality is about taking credit for a body of work. People want to reap the benefits. That’s why we have copyright laws and intellectual property is being licensed. This cognitive breakthrough empowers the original creator at the cost of restraining other derivative works.

In many cases, there’s a thin line separating a copy or a derivative work from the original. But every now and then, a copy slips as original when plagiarism remains undetected.

On good craftsmanship and engineering

The other day I was chatting with a friend who just upgraded his phone. I’ve asked him why did he buy a new phone if the other was still good enough. He said that the new one has a better camera, but he just wanted to have the newest model. I hear that a lot, from friends, acquaintances or just people in my network.

The increase in offering of electronic products has converted most consumers in superficial buyers. Most people don’t understand the technical specs of the products they buy, but somehow seem compelled to keep with the lates technologies. There’s a lot of marketing black magic going on which is very effective in bewitching people to think they need a faster CPU, but I feel people lost their sense of pragmatism. What was once essential for survival has now become the most docile of the senses.

I also feel that most of this superficial consumerism if fuelled by a declining appreciation for craftsmanship and engineering. People seem to think that all products are made by a machine and assembled automatically with the press of a button. As such they are more careless with their belongings, when they can always get a new one around the corner. 

Just because automation exists doesn’t mean that there is less passion and work invested in building a product. Even if it’s built by machines, there are armies of very intelligent people who put together everything from building the assembly robots, to sourcing the right materials, to building the components, to coming up with the best designs, …. (go for a walk) …. to writing the software running on it, just so we can do something as trivial as reading the news or watching funny cat videos on the toilet seat in the morning.

While most products are built with planned obsolesce in mind, I think giving more appreciation to the work invested in building your laptop or phone etc. would extend the lifespan of electronics by a significant margin. Taking a moment to perceive the different levels of work put into your devices would make your experience with it even more meaningful.

We used to take pride in quality products which can last a lifetime. What happened to that? Now it seems that some of us feel ashamed if our phone is one or two releases behind.

The most sustainable product is the one you already own.

P.S.: I’m writing this article on a 2013 MacBook Pro. I even use it for coding, and guess what? It works just fine. Getting a newer model won’t make me a better blogger or developer. 

Melancholy of a space traveler

With the progression of years I sometimes find myself in melancholic reflection of the good old days. The irony being that I never knew I was living the good old days until many suns have set upon them. 

Isn’t this the irony of the human condition? Always stuck in the past, endlessly thinking of a better future. What about now? Plenty of things going on at the moment. Maybe it’s too much and we want to escape, or maybe we think it’s not enough and we want more. Finding balance feels like an illusion. There is no balance. There is no gravity. We’re just floating in space. Dark. Cold. Silent. Void. 

But even floating in space can be a thing to live for. A source of joy, a source of life. The important thing is that we don’t stand still. Where there is movement there is life, any experienced space traveler knows that. That’s rule number one. Rule number two, never travel alone.

After some reflection, I steady myself as I’m drifting along and set a course for the next star I shall conquer. I can only hope that in a few years I’ll find myself longing for this period of my life as much as I do now for the good old days.

Can you make fire from ice?

bd19a58a23bd0c312225dc15dadfe071.jpg

What we imagine, is a tiny glimpse of possibility. Sometimes, we imagine something which we want to see, or see something which is not really there. Just a figment of imagination. Sometimes, our minds take us places which our bodies might never get to experience. Other times, our bodies experience what our minds cannot comprehend. How does one reconcile? How can you make someting which you think, become?

Since the first generations of wise apes (Homo Sapiens – animal belonging to the genus called Homo; sapiens = latin for wise) one fundamentally important characteristic made us stand out from all other animals. Our ability to imagine. The ability of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before seen or perceived in reality. This is our absolute advantage which brought us dominium over this planet. Sure, the ability to use tools or to communicate are also important fundamentals. But these traits are not unique to us. Many other species use tools, like apes or birds. Same goes for basic communication. Leaving aside body language, different combinations of sounds make up for basic communication for some apes for example. However, what complemented these abilities and took them to the next level was our ability to imagine.

There are many interesting theories (or hypothesis) of how we might have struck this evolutionary jackpot. One of my personal favorites is the stoned ape theoryHowever, in reality no one really knows for sure. Imagination is responsible for remarkable evolutionary advantages. It complemented our ability to make tools, to form spoken language, to plan and of course later on to invent writing etcetera etcetera. As evolutionary building blocks go, one complements the other and in order to grow tall you have to stack up these magical abilities which I believe derive from one another.

To become the amazing civilization which we are today, another key fundamental is cooperation. Sure, many species cooperate. But they always fail at scaling up. Animals are usually organized in small packs, bands or groups. They come together and from intimate relations which help them thrive. Their cooperation can help overcome many survival obstacles. In the end everyone follows their own personal interest. Although some animals are social, they do that as means of survival. The basic ingredient for this organised cooperation is mutual trust. In the animal reign trust is gained by forming intimate relations with all the members in a particular band. Studies have shown that there are clear limitations to the size of a particular band. Sapiens groups larger than 150 individuals cannot form intimate relationships with each member of the group.

Belief took imagination and cooperation to the next level. Imagination gave birth to myths which were shared by members of a particular tribe. If a story is particularly good and compelling it has the power to transcend and break barriers. From small tribes to great civilizations, all find root in myths wich are shared in the collective imagination of the individuals. Belief is the glue which keeps it all together. Religion is the most basic example of something imagined which brings mass collective cooperation which can prove to be productive or destructive. Money is another important invention of the mind. One must be naive to really believe that the colourful paper bills or the more recent digital bits on a server (which account for the money in your bank account) are an actual manifestation of value. The value is stored in our collective imagination. Money represents just a mere token of value which has changed and continues to change over time. It has evolved from material tokens such as grains, salt, coins, bills to even more abstract elements such as numbers on a ledger which was physical in the old days and digital today. Only (approx.) 10% of the total amount of money in the world are physical, all the rest are just numbers on a server.

Can you make something, out of nothing? 

Can you make fire, from ice?

Imagination, cooperation and belief (or similar, trust) are the magical ingredients of alchemy. As above so below. Both on a macro level, building great pyramids or empires as well as on a micro level, a friendship or an everlasting marriage, we must combine these elements to succeed. The feelings and emotions which sprout from these mental faculties make the fire which causes us to burn with desire and motivation. If the stories we tell each other are powerful enough and are matched by our devoted belief we can make something out of nothing. We can make fire from ice.

kimberry cake

Fotolia_143965600

IX-VI-MMXVIII

i will make a cake, it’s imaginary

temporary, as my thoughts may be

my recipee, is visionary

chery, berry and a bit of raspberry

add some crushed crampberry

a little strawberry and mix them gently,

no sugar, it’s not necessary

trust me, it will be extraordinary

I’m and artist of the culinary

X-VI-MMXVIII

one taste turns your senses primary

second makes you drunk and your vision blurry

heaven, hell and purgatory

every state is transitory

but this high is not momentary

in your heart my love, you’ll carry

you’ll feel out of the ordinary

as my love is legendary

every day a romance story

will be written in your memory

 

Today you smile

267836-13052021555172

Today you took a feather form your hair,

from your book an empty page,

and wrapped them together with care.

Today you gave me a stage,

so I can sing for you when I’m not there,

so I can show how much I care.

Today I’ll wite a ballad,

written with my blood,

to heal your heart malade.

Today you’ll listen to the words I sing,

wrapped together on a string,

around your fingers in a ring.

Today you’ll smile,

with tears your eyes will flood,

and from your sorrow mud,

you’ll sprout a white lotus bud.

 

 

The gratitude of spoiled kids

CTaGGCNU8AAZ7nm

For the past month or so I’ve been having some money troubles. I got here as a result of overspending on things I wanted, but did not actually need. It finally got to me and sooner rather than later I had too much month at the end of my salary. It’s nothing serious, nothing wich deserves too much thought or worry.

So here I was eating out with a good friend of mine, confessing and complaining about how broke I am. She’s one of my best friends and as all good friends do, she called me on my bullshit. She argued that if I buy $300 headphones, I should not complain. And there it was, my reality check moment.

Some of us have it so good that sometimes we forget how it is to live in the real world. More often than not we secretly decide to close our eyes, as empathy makes us feel guilty. And of course, we don’t want to feel guilty, we want to feel good and special. We blindly indulge in mindless materialistic desires which have an ever declining satisfaction span. Every time we buy something new we devalue the other things we previously bought, eventually rendering them as meaningless. Like any junkie we want more. There’s never enough. There’s always something better arround the corner. New shiny, must buy.

Basic commodities like clean water, food, shelter, comfort are taken for granted. We don’t even conceive that some day we might lack these. We all secretly know that in some places these are recurring struggles of every day life. But we’re special.

Coincidentally, I came across this website. It’s called Dollar Street and is a collection of pictures from different families of different incomes across the globe. Ranging from monthly incomes of $27 dollars to $15k you can see how life is for others. What surprised me the most was the fact that I thought I would be somewhere in the middle of the scale. It turns out, I am actually in the wealthy side of the scale and browsing through pictures, I realize that my home looks actually a lot better even that homes in my own range. I suddenly stopped feeling broke and begun feeling… like such a douche.

Life isn’t fair sometimes. Some of us start with so little that they have no clue even what a good life means in other parts of the world. Others are dealt better cards in life and because they have it so good, not being able to afford the new iPhone makes them sad.

But let’s be grateful for a moment. We balloted this reality into manifestation. Innocently showing our compassion to gain social gratification, while secretly indulging in our materialistic sins. Unnecessary high-end electronics every few months, low-cost luxury vacations in underdeveloped countries, some guy’s name on our clothes, dozen pair of snickers, pre-cut, pre-cooked, pre-packaged foods, cheaper products, cheaper labor, faster delivery, more screen time, less human interaction, ever connected to the online but increasingly disconnected from humanity. If it’s shiny and others like it, we don’t care what it takes to own it.

FUCK SOCIETY said the spoiled kid as he was closing off his article, written from his MacBook for which he didn’t pay for.

The hypocrite

cartoon-eggs-egg-broken-uncooked-cracked-raw.png

Yesterday I saw a guy riding his bike while sipping from a soda. At one point during his trajectory I see him emptying the liquid in the bottle, doing like a pendulum movement with his hand. His bike had a grocery basked attached in front so I figured “Oh such a nice guy, he’s emptying the bottle so he can save it in his basked for recycling or whatever”. While I was thinking that, he does another pendulum movement with his hand, this time with more intensity and smashes the bottle to the ground. At which point I thought “What a piece of shit… what a fucking piece of shit”. I literally thought that. What a piece of shit that guy must be, for smashing that bottle to the ground.

While judging this guy, a weird memory comes to surface. When I was in my teens, I used to visit my cousins from the countryside. One of our friend’s father owned a small egg incubation facility. People in the village who grew chickens could bring their eggs for incubation in a controlled environment. Here the rate of succesful hatching is higher than in natural conditions, especially during the cold season.

Although the rate of hatching is higher, that doesn’t mean all eggs hatch. As you can imagine a lot of eggs need to be thrown away. So, our friend tells us that he has to do this nasty thing his father made him do. He was supposed to take all the rotten eggs to the village landfill. All the eggs were loaded in a carriage, pulled by his father’s horse. We never saw so many eggs in one place in our life. The carriage was completely full. It was one of those childhood awe moments. And we were in charge of the whole opperation.

We jump into the carriage and we are on our way. We’re not rolling fast, we’re rolling steady, as we are carrying a full load of stinky eggs on a country road. At some point along the way, as I get bored I get the idea of egging houses. Of course my friends thought it was a pretty sweet idea too, so we egged all the houses in our path. We egged them with rotten stinky eggs. We trew so many eggs. Oh man, it was so disgusting. Now that I look back, I still think it’s a funny story… but not as funny as before.

Everyone got grounded like forever and had to do a million chores, except me. I got to go home the next day and my parents only found out after the initial tension was gone. I didn’t tell them. Although I was just a kid at that time and even if I don’t exhibit this type of behaviour anymore, because I know a bit better, what a hypocrite was I to judge that guy… What a hypocrite, what a fucking hypocrite.

But still, I think this comes to show that while some people change incredibly after a certain age, others only double or triple-down on what they already were. As long as they receive ample social reinforcement for the role they are playing in society, they will continue to spiral down. Sometimes a “smack on the head” is what it takes for people to wake up and “man up” and be responsible. Other times it comes naturally, enforced by one’s environment and social situation.

People need a call for adventure to grow up, they need responsibility in their lives. To be “in charge” of something. Even if it’s as small as ensuring their own decent living. Some don’t even manage that. Responsibility brings meaning to our lives. In contrast many people seem to avoid responsibility, they just want to “be in charge” because they feel entitled.

Anyway, it’s just a rant.