Tag Archives: man

A Spark in the Middle East

A wildfire has spread across the Middle East and Northern Africa. The flames of protest have raged on and now engulf over 15 countries. The smoke rising from the cities of Benghazi and Tripoli saturate the diplomatic airwaves. Two governments have been overthrown. And a third one is tittering on the brink of collapse.

But we all know this. We have seen the news reporters babbling non-stop in their usual fashion. What few of us know though is… how did the massive protests start? Literally, what spark ignited this whole conflict?

The spark of a Bic Lighter.

That´s right. All it took for these protests to erupt was a lighter, two cans of paint thinner and a man with nothing to lose. A single man, Mohamed Bouazizi, who set himself on fire and inspired millions to rebel.


Through out history, man has often fought for freedom.
But are we, modern Westerners, willing to die for it?

—- Here is a scenario —-

Imagine you were Mohamed Bouazizi. Now suppose an angel came forth to you Bible-style and told you ¨Set yourself on fire, and your whole country shall be free¨. Would you be willing set yourself on fire, and like Mohamed Bouazizi, suffer the most painful death imaginable?

We, Westerners often label muslims as ¨radicals¨.
While we, on the other hand, are ¨rational¨.

Well. Here is what a rational Mohamed Bouazizi would have done: He would have appealed the confiscation of his property to a corrupt government, only to be ignored. Facing amounting debts, he would have fallen into a depression. Tired of living, and thinking life is pointless, Mohamed would have OD´ed himself on Aspirins. No massive protests in Tunisia and elsewhere. End of story.

Morale of the story: one can´t always be rational when facing injustice, corruption or tyranny. When something isn´t right, it´s the citizens job to change it. To take action. The Founding Fathers were viewed as radicals by the British Empire. The First French Republic was viewed as radical by the rest of the European countries.

Black - Revolution ------ Green/Tan - Major Protests

It is this radical ¨muslim¨ spirit, steaming from necessity and lack of freedom, which has overthrown both the Egyptian and Tunisian governments.

We in first-world countries on the other hand:

  • have food on our tables
  • have a decent amount of freedom
  • and thus, no need for radical spirit

The radical spirit in US and European citizens has been dormant since the end of WWII. Instead of radical, we act more “rationally”. This rational spirit is good for government stability, but taken to the extreme can lead to a conformist society.
And a conformist society is bad. Conformity stalls economic development, limits professional creativity and helps incompetent politicians (GWB) rise to power.

We, as free people, have to make sure we never lose our radical spirit. We must retain our ability to stand up and march radically against any threat to our basic human rights. We must defend our freedom of speech. And to those who say “one man can’t make a difference”.

Tell that to Ghandi.
Tell that to Martin Luther King.
Tell that to Mohamed Bouazizi.

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Possibly the Biggest Hoax in History

Again – possibly.

Personally, I believe most conspiracy theories are just that: theories. As such, I would like to approach this theory using only common sense. No forged images, scientific language or crazy talk. Just good old English.

I believe Man has not landed on the Moon.

If you are pondering wheter to finish reading this article or not: that’s good. That’s means your brain is  still in action and you are not close-minded.

Warning: this image has been tampered with

That being said, here is the foremost reason I believe this theory:

– In 38 years, Man has not returned to the Moon.

Apollo 17, the sixth and last moon landing mission, took place December 1972. Since then, no other space program has landed men on the Moon. The are several official explanations for this. For example: the “space fever” has passed and no country is interested in going to the Moon since  NASA already did.

I ask you this: if your neighbor went to the Super Bowl and later tells you he had a blast, wouldn’t you be interested in going to experience the Super Bowl yourself?

Another explanation: going to the moon is too costly.

  • Tell that to the Chinese goverment.
  • China spent more than $25 billion in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
  • Taking inflation into account, NASA spent $4.5 billion per space mission. (A total of $ 146 billion for 32 space mission of Apollo Program)

If I was the Chinese Prime Minister, $4.5 billion for putting China on the Moon would be a kick-ass deal. (A moral stimulant for the Chinese population would be reason enough, not to mention elevating a nation’s pride and glory)

The only way to truly debunk the theory: make another moon landing. Solo let’s analize the next moonlanding mission on NASA’s schedule.

Constellation Programme, put into action by the Bush administration in 2003, proposed to put Man back on the Moon by 2020. That’s 17 years of preparation to re-do something that took only 9 years back in the 60’s.

Shouldn’t  technological advances and 38 more years of experience, reduce the time it takes NASA to execute a moon landing?

Taking twice as long to re-do a moonlanding doesn’t make sense. Unless of course, the original moonlandings never took place. Oh, and by the way, the Constellation Progamme was put on hold by the Obama Administration back in February 2010. So sadly, we are not going to see Man back on the moon for quite some time. The reasons behind the cancelation of the space program:

I quote from BBC article: Obama cancels Moon return proyect

  • Critics claimed the programme was never properly funded, and when it ran into technical difficulties its time schedule also began to slip.
  • In addition to the $9bn spent on the programme to date, Nasa will have to spend a further $2.5bn to close it completely.

Lack of funds, alright. But technical difficulties? If our grandfathers had the technology to land on the Moon, we should too. Not only should we have the same technology, but NASA should have perfected it by now.

So there. No rigged pictures, scientific language or crazy talk. Just facts and an common sense. Just to be clear, I am not saying the US goverment and NASA rigged the whole operation. All I am saying is that it’s a reasonable possibility.

Maybe Man did land on the Moon. Maybe he didn´t. I´ll let you decide.

————

In any case, you won’t want to miss next week’s “The 25 Billion dollar Hoax“, the WHAT-IF story about how the US goverment and NASA fabricated the six Apollo moon landings.

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Meaning of Life in the XXI Century

Exisitencialism, emptyness, constant boredom… all signs of the XXI century man struggling to find a meaning to his life. A struggle for meaning that only seems to be getting harder decade after decade, generation after generation. Capitalism tells us its money, Goverment tells us its work, Religion tells us its God, Hollywood tells us its pleasure… the list of meanings goes on and on… and so does the number of people that feel their existence is meaningless, that they have no control over their lives.

But what if there was a a way to find meaning to our lives… what if the reason we are not finding that meaning is because we are not looking in the right places. Here is where Viktor Frankl’s theory of logotherapy comes in. Frankl was a jew with a loving family, a prominent career as psicologist/neurologist, a pregnant wife and unpublished book. Then came 1942. His family was put on a train. His dad died in his arms. His mother was sent to the gas chambers. His wife was forced to abortion and sent to another camp.  His unpublished book was ripped to shreds. Everything he loved… gone in the blink of an eye.

So there he was standing in front of Auschwitz’s electric fence. With every right to want jump… end his life… escape the suffering. But right then, another prisoner touched his shoulder and said “Don’t, wait till to tomorrow”. And thus he waited. Waited 3 years in 3 different concentration camps before finally being liberated in 1945. What keep him alive? His willingness to reunite with his wife and rewrite his lost book.

His experiences in the camps taught him a lot about the human being. It showed him that even in the most miserable, inhuman conditions where a people were reduced to numbers: humans retained the ability to choose. Even in Auschwitz, prisoners could still to retain some dignity. “The pigs were unmasked. And so were the saints. Hunger revealed them” It’s this experience and his own professional formation that motivated Frankl to elaborate his theory of logotherapy.

Don't stop looking...

Logotherapy  focuses on the meaning of life and man´s search for that meaning. Not an abstract/universal meaning that applies for all, but rather, a concrete personal meaning that life holds for everyone. Instead of dwelling in the past, logotherapy encourages us to look at the future. A personal meaning that has to found in the world outside, not inside.

According to Frankl there a 3 different ways of discovering/carrying out the meaning of life:

1. Meaning of  action: having a goal, a mission in life. Wanting to write, create or achieve something that one can later look at and be genuinely proud of.

2. Meaning of love: being able to accept and love that which sorrounds you. Being able to enjoy nature, art, company, friends and family.

3. Meaning of suffering: when one faces an inescapable destiny (terminal disease, death), life offers one the opportunity of carrying out a supreme value: accepting the suffering. Valor resides not in the suffering itself, but in the attitude in which one faces that suffering. By accepting the challenge of suffering, life maintains its meaning to the last instant, all the way to the very end.

Frankl admits that the our meaning of life can change with the passing of time, but the important thing its that never ceases to exist. In summary, what his experience in the concentration camp taught him was this: “The human being is not just an object among’st objects; things determine other things, but men, at the last instance, determines himself.”

Even Nietzsche, a devout existencialist, once said: “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how”. The trick is in finding that “why”.

Quoting the last words of  Viktor Frankl’s short book Man’s Search for Meaning (which I highly recommend)

“We have come to know man as he really is. After all, man is that being who invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who entered those gas chambers upright, with the Lord’s prayer or the Shema Yisreal on his lips”

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Filed under Books, Culture, Inspiration

They should have known better…

Instinct, Adrenaline, Boxing. In order of appearance these all befell upon him… befell upon him as he found himself facing a group of 8 goons…. eight goons who messed with the wrong ¨he¨

If the red layer isn´t there, you ain´t a real man I swear

How did he get in this situation? That´s interesting… well for one it all started around 10:30 pm, when a group of buddies convinced him to go out partying.

While hesitant at first, after drinking one beer he cheered up and decided to make the most out of the night. They went disco. He drank a couple beers. He was having a good time talking to two women at the bar. He starts dancing. Until suddenly there came a Little man.  A Little man with a tiny hand. The Little man decided to walk while sticking an elbow to HIS throat. HE didn´t think that was right so he smacked a punch into the Little Man´s face… naaa, he didn´t smack the Little Man… well not till later.

Back with him. He decides that elbow in throat is not cool, that stuff won´t fly… So he turns around and tells the Little Man to lower his shoulder. The Little man gets upset and decides to make a ¨show¨ of it. From now on, the Small fellow wouldn´t speak a word to him. Even then, he decides to try to settle a deal. All he wants to do is party, he ain’t looking for a bad time. But the Little man doesn´t listen. After thirty seconds of talking, the Little Man gets backed up by Tall guy, guy #3, and guy #4 . He looks around an can at least count 8 goons surrounding him… Then out of nowhere Tall guy slaps he in the face pretty strong. He is taking bullshit no more.

Instinct kicks in. His mental state lowers itself to almost primitive levels: he have just been physically aggressed. He does not believe in violence, but there are certain boundaries and this Tall guy had just crossed the top one.

Turn. His right punch is already ripping through the air… its desired destination coming dead on close. The Tall guy hasn´t stopped smiling by the time the knuckles make contact with the nose. Tall guy recoils backwards in pain. He then turns and jabs the Little Man in the face, and follows up with a straight punch at guy #3´s chin.

The adreline spikes up. He steps back and is punched in the elbow and the cheek by guy #4. He doesn´t feel any… any pain that is. The fourth guy then slumbers forward and tries to wrestle with him. But he is already twisting his torso. That twist allows him to break away quickly and punch the fourth guy straight in the brow. The adrenaline rush still active, he looks around to see there are still four more college kids around him…

Then finally there comes the boxing, he zig zags his way across the dance floor and then manages to land a punch in guy # 5 face. He then pivots to quickly power punch guy # 6 in the nose. All of this is just a dance, a reaction, a trained instinct. For by the time guy # 7 has stepped in front of him, a left fist is already striking cheekbone. He has no time to lose. By the time he gets down from the scaffolding, he has already smacked seven different faces while only taking two hits in return. He makes his way to the bouncers as seven humiliated faces give chase, two of them recently iniated members of the Black-eyed Peas.

Who is he?

¨He¨ could be you, he could be me, he could be a friend, he could be anybody….
Only one thing is for certain: he wasn´t a coward. He knew his own limits, how far he was willing to allow other people to disrespect him. Words are just words…. and physical aggression, physical aggression. The second he felt the palm make contact with his ear and forehead, he stung back.

You see, he does not believe in violence. he is civilized man, but he also knows that deep down we are all still in touch with our instinct. And when our instinct cries with outrage due to injustice: he doesn´t think too much, he reacts. He reacts to protect his honor, he reacts to protect his family name, but more importantly he reacts because he is ¨right¨.

I guess the moral of the story is that one should avoid fighting as much as possible, but when fighting comes banging at your doorstep: don´t be afraid to knock back. Cause if you don´t, prepare to have your doorstep trashed everyday for the rest of your life.

Shakespeare: Brave men only die once…
Cowards die many times before their death…

By the way… what ever happened to guy #8? Guess he will never know.

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