Categories for World

Wealth

How much money is there in the world all together? There are many different answers to this question. One is to simply state how much paper and coin money there is in the world. The answer is simple: $5 trillion. Considering the source of this number, i assume this means 5 million million, $5.000.000.000.000. With another definition you could take the world’s easily accessible money: $28.6 trillion, $28.600.000.000.000. This includes all the world’s paper and coin money and deposites available in banks. In the CIA Factobook it is stated the total value of the world’s money is $80.9 trillion, $80.900.000.000.000. This includes all the paper and coin money, saving, checking and time deposits. The global debt is $199 trillion. And then there are derivatives. A low-end estimate of the size and scope of global derivative markets is $630 trillion. What is a derivative? It is a contract between two or more parties that derives its value from the performance of an underlying asset, index or entity. No one really knows the exact size of this market.

What is money? I am copying this text from the Wikipedia entry about money.

Most modern textbooks now list only three functions, that of medium of exchange, unit of account, and store of value, not considering a standard of deferred payment as it is a distinguished function, but rather subsuming it in the others.

The money itself is not as important as what you can do with it, in our current world. In most situations, money can buy you anything. Any house, any car, any food, anything you want you can buy with money. If, of course, someone else is willing to part with it and exchange it with you for money.

If it is something which you can exchange. Some things you can not. For me, a good example is this website. A blog. A simple theme. WordPress. All pretty basic stuff. But the content is different. Some days i walk and make photos. Some days i work in a garden and talk about that. Many times with photos. Some days i stay inside and meditate. Not so much i admit! Or i make something with animations. Or tell a story. Or sing a song. Sometimes i make a clip. Not so much. It is a lot of work. Inspiration doesn’t always hit me. I need music for a clip, which is not easy to find. I actually need a better camera. And a faster computer. That is money business. Something i don’t have right now.

Anyway, enough talking about this website.

Wealth.

I don’t think wealth is something negative. Wealth means your life is prosperous, your actions pay off. To me, wealth is a very positive way of being in your life. I can imagine all the things i could do once i receive enough money. Helping the people working in the gardens. Buying the land for the gardens as well. Plenty of temporary gardens need to stop once the property developers have the will to start building on their land. So buying the land seems to me a good thing. Getting school gardens ready, with people working on them, helping the kids to learn about plants and animals. Getting more local vegetable gardens in cities. All things which to me are important.

Paul Graham : A surprising number of people retain from childhood the idea that there is a fixed amount of wealth in the world. There is, in any normal family, a fixed amount of money at any moment. But that’s not the same thing.

When wealth is talked about in this context, it is often described as a pie. “You can’t make the pie larger,” say politicians…

What leads people astray here is the abstraction of money. Money is not wealth. It’s just something we use to move wealth around. So although there may be, in certain specific moments (like your family, this month) a fixed amount of money available to trade with other people for things you want, there is not a fixed amount of wealth in the world. You can make more wealth. Wealth has been getting created and destroyed (but on balance, created) for all of human history.

Source: How to make wealth – Paul Graham

I am reading this book now, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, written by Thomas Piketty. I’m only at the second part, the dynamics of the relation capital/income. I do enjoy reading it. I’m not an experienced economics reader, i’m struggling a bit through some parts. Still, it is not a technical and mathematically written book. I would like to finish it. In between all the young adult books i am reading now as well. 😉

We are driven creatures. While our lust for status, money, power and sex can be harnessed towards creative ends, it is more likely to block any spark we might have had. Our consumer culture is happy to cater to these drives. We lose decades of our lives chasing money to buy luxury goods and climbing through artificial hierarchies in the workplace. We struggle with the health problems caused by high-calorie, high-fat diets. We become caught in webs of addiction, trying to distract our minds from the emptiness left by our lost creativity.

Source: Sparks will fly

I know i am pushing things to a boundary. I am not going where it seems to me we are all drive towards. I am making a decision. Money, to me right now, is not the most important thing in the world. However much there is of it. It is not. It is my own creativity, my own thoughts, my own work in the garden, my work on this website which matter to me right now. I know it can not last the way it is going. It is hard. But i do have trust in myself. And also trust in the world. Trust in people. In a way. Not terribly much, no. But still, a bit.

I am still here. Talking to you. My listener. My reader.

Hey 🙂

Every single day, I get emails from aspiring writers asking my advice about how to become a writer, and here is the only advice I can give: Don’t make stuff because you want to make money — it will never make you enough money. And don’t make stuff because you want to get famous — because you will never feel famous enough. Make gifts for people — and work hard on making those gifts in the hope that those people will notice and like the gifts.

Maybe they will notice how hard you worked, and maybe they won’t — and if they don’t notice, I know it’s frustrating. But, ultimately, that doesn’t change anything — because your responsibility is not to the people you’re making the gift for, but to the gift itself.

Source: John Green’s Superb Advice to Aspiring Writers and Creators in the Digital Age

Money is a way of measuring wealth but is not wealth in itself. A chest of gold coins or a fat wallet of bills is of no use whatsoever to a wrecked sailor alone on a raft. He needs real wealth, in the form of a fishing rod, a compass, an outboard motor with gas, and a female companion. But this ingrained and archaic confusion of money with wealth is now the main reason we are not going ahead full tilt with the development of our technological genius for the production of more than adequate food, clothing, housing, and utilities for every person on earth.

Source: Alan Watts on Money vs. Wealth

Published on September 15, 2017 at 6:00 by

Living

A week ago on Facebook i came along an article on decorrespondent.nl about an article posted in 1970, Wat een krantenartikel uit 1970 ons kan leren over de milieuproblemen van vandaag (What a newspaper article from 1970 can teach us about present day environmental problems).

The start of this article from 1970, called Als we voorzichtig zijn kan de aarde ons voeden (If we are careful the earth can feed us).

De aarde heeft op het ogenblik nog ruim voldoende capaciteit om ons allemaal en ons zeer talrijke nageslacht in leven te houden. Maar als we die capaciteit niet aanzienlijk zorgvuldiger gebruiken dan we tot nu toe hebben gedaan, dan is het einde in zicht.

De biosfeer, het dunne laagje aarde, water en gas om onze planeet waarin zich alle leven afspeelt, is een uiterst fragiel ding. Plaatselijk hebben we daar al zo in huisgehouden, dat er onherstelbare schade is aangericht, met o.a. als gevolg dat er hele menselijke culturen zijn ondergegaan. Daarvoor kan nog de verontschuldiging worden aangevoerd van onwetendheid. Als we nu hetzelfde doen is dat onvergeeflijk.

The earth still has enough capacity to keep us all and our very abundant offspring alive. But if we do not use this capacity more carefully than we did up until now, the end is near.

The biosphere, the thin layer of earth, water and gas around our planet where all live is, is a very fragile thing. Locally we have carried on in such a matter that irreparable damage is done, with the consequence that whole human cultures have been ruined. For that the excuse of ignorance can be brought up. If we do the same thing now, that is unforgivable.

Richard Heinberg says the following:

Our core ecological problem is not climate change. It is overshoot, of which global warming is a symptom.’

‘We must restrain ourselves, like an alcoholic foreswearing booze. That requires honesty and soul-searching.’

The average Dutch person uses and pollutes like there are 3.6 earths available. A large part of the damage we cause we do not see.

1970. That is 47 years ago. Forty seven years. I turned six years old in 1970.

I don’t care what we should call the movements which caused this devastating affect on our planet. Neoliberalism, capitalism, consumerism. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that we are here, in 2017, and we are still fighting against this. What matters is the damage we put on the earth ourselves. Half of the wildlife is lost over the past 40 years. Great Barrier Reef Coral Growth Rate Falls by 40% in 40 Years ‘Due to Ocean Acidification’. An estimated 13 million hectares of forests were lost each year between 2000 and 2010 due to deforestation. There is a strong, credible body of evidence, based on multiple lines of research, documenting that climate is changing and that these changes are in large part caused by human activities.

We are not taking good care of this earth. The reasons for this behaviour are not difficult. We want to have an easy life. We want to eat good tasting food with minimal effort. We want to make money, lots of money. We want to be happy. We want it all. Yes, all.

It is extremely difficult for us, humans, to think on a global scale. We are not used to that. In earlier times this wasn’t necessary. What we did only affected the smaller section of the planet we were living on. Yes, the Romans had a large empire, but it still contained only the Mediterranean, parts of Europe and the Middle-East. But after several hundreds of years of technological and scientific advances, decisions we make now can affect larger areas of the world. Especially the energy we use, the fossil fuels we burn each day, each hour, each minute.

What can we do to lessen our impact on our planet:

  • Household solutions
    • Turning heating down by a few degrees
    • Turning off televisions and similar equipment instead of leaving them in ‘standby
    • Composting vegetable waste
    • Buying locally grown food to save on transporting it
    • Using energy-efficient lighting
    • Insulating homes properly
    • Using a gas cooker instead of an electric one
  • Driving more fuel-efficient cars
  • Using more public transportation
  • Tripling the world’s nuclear power
  • Scaling up renewable energy, such as solar and wind power
  • Pumping back emissions to below the sea bed

It is strange, even for me, to think of these examples of rules, think of my life and the things i love doing and match them.

What i have done in the past years:

  • i don’t have a driver’s license, never will get one, so that is easy
  • i do walk most of the time, my life is within two kilometers of my house
  • since i started to work in the garden, i do compost my vegetable waste
  • for years i threw away my paper and glass waste seperately, now i added plastics to that as well
  • a week ago i closed my television subscription, my television is off the whole time now

I thought of the title for this post a few months ago. I have a vivid imagination. I imagine myself sitting in some television show and being asked questions. One of the questions: Will you bring love and peace? To which i say: NO! No love and peace from me. No pretty little things, no starry nights and blossoming fields. WAR! We need to stand up and fight! You are either with us or against us. No in between business!

I didn’t realize i had a previous post with the title WAR! already. Well, i did add two exclamation marks to this new one. There is a difference.

Hmm, i will change the title of this post. War!!! doesn’t sound good to me. Not anymore. Not while i am writing this. My life? No, living. Yeah, that sounds good. Living.

Yes, i do believe in what i am thinking here. We do need to lessen our impact. Lessen our desires, lessen our consuming patterns. We can not eat the amount of meat we do today. Buy all the things we buy. All the useless stuff we surround ourselves with.

No, this will not be pretty. It will not be a party time. This is a serious work we need to do, with serious conversations with people who think differently.I’m not simply talking about Trump here. I’m also talking about so many European politicians with their mouths full of promises to forget about these once they have gotten any power.

I simply do not see any other option available to us.

And yes, i actually think i’m late with this. I have been working so many years, buying my food in the supermarket, watching television to get my mind of thinking about things that were making me unhappy. I have spend many years being alone, losing all courage and hopes for a better future.

These past years i have been working hard on this website. I have been working hard in the garden. I have been thinking and dreaming and wishing for something better. A better life.

So no, i am not going to try to find work just to pay my bills.

I still want to live in this world, with my eyes open.

Trying to do the best i can. Fight!

Published on September 1, 2017 at 6:00 by

Language

The beginning of April this year 2017 i made a draft for this post, Language. Today, Thursday 10 August 2017, i opened it once again. There was more text than i remembered. The whole lyrics of the I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke song. The video.

I’d like to buy the world a home
And furnish it with love
Grow apple trees and honey bees
And snow white turtle doves

I’d like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I’d like to buy the world a Coke
And keep it company
That’s the real thing

This song is from “the world’s most famous ad”, released in 1971.

This post is about the use of language in our world today. The old examples i use are to make clear my idea of our current misuse. It seems to me things are getting worse over the past hundred years. Or two hundred years. Or more.

Political language
George Orwell wrote an essay with the title “Politics and the English Language” in 1945. This essay focuses on political language, which, according to Orwell, “is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”

This essay was the second result in my search for political language. Orwell gives five passages which lighten up then current ways of writing. Five negatives in 53 words, mixed metaphors, meaninglessness, an accumulation of stale phrases and a passage in which words and meaning have no relation with each other.

I am not, indeed, sure whether it is not true to say that the Milton who once seemed not unlike a seventeenth-century Shelley had not become, out of an experience ever more bitter in each year, more alien [sic] to the founder of that Jesuit sect which nothing could induce him to tolerate.

Professor Harold Laski (Essay in Freedom of Expression)

I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Ecclesiastes

This translated into modern English gives:

Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.

The last sentence is unreadable. I have read it two three even four times, it still is vague to me.

Orwell gives the following rules for using language clearly.

  1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

This essay is written 71 years ago. It still sounds right. To me, it seems even more applicable to current political language uses than ever before.

I’m not a fan of Trump. He is a easy target. I’d rather speak about Dutch politicians and their language. But this article published in the New York Times called Trump’s Degradation of the Language is too fitting to this post to leave behind.

“The super-short sentences emphasize certainty and determination, build up layer upon layer, like bricks in a wall themselves, toward a conclusion and an emotional climax. It’s a style that students of rhetoric call parataxis. This is the way generals and dictators have always spoken to distinguish themselves from the caviling civilians they mean to sweep aside.”

Trumps use of twitter is exemplary.

This tweet is amazing.

Everyone knows i am right. This is untrue. Not everyone, a few might agree, but surely not everyone. Robert Pattinson should dump Kristen Stewart. Not sure where this comes from. In 2012 Robert and Kristen were a hot couple. I don’t know where Trump’s feelings about this relationship came from. Talking just for me, i was sort of aware of Kristen’s mingle with a director on a parking place. To me it seems obvious with young people in their early twenties relationships will not last forever.

Another amazing tweet. Trump does put himself in the middle of this world. Why should Apple be upset? Trump hounding them?

These tweets say more about Trump and his world view. It is tempting to go along with this. It gives an amount of certainty. Here is somebody who knows what the world looks like. Knows his place in it. Knows what he is thinking. Knows what is right and what is wrong.

He is wrong though. He does claim a certainty which he simply states himself. But he sees the world only from his own standpoint. Not the standpoint of all the other billions of people.

I still don’t get why people actually voted for Trump. Not that the alternative, Hilary Clinton, is that much better.

Science language
The use of English on Dutch universities, in the humanities and sciences. A Dutch philosopher and writer Maarten Doorman says the following:

‘Tegenwoordig wordt tekst in het Nederlands als minder wetenschappelijk beschouwd dan dezelfde tekst in het Engels. Dat is vreemd. De geesteswetenschappen worden elitair en marginaal wanneer Nederlandstalige artikelen en boeken niet meer mee mogen tellen. Omdat onderzoek steeds meer in een Engelstalige zogenaamde open competitie gefinancierd wordt, is het conformeren aan netwerken belangrijker geworden dan oorspronkelijke ideeën. Die worden gewantrouwd.’

These days a Dutch text is seen as less scientific than the same text in English. That is strange. The humanities are becoming elitist and marginal when Dutch articles and books no longer count. Because research is financed in an English so called open competition, conforming to networks is more important than original ideas. These are distrusted.

This summer there was a scientific program on Dutch television, the mind of the universe. Thirty scientists working in different areas were interviewed. The interviews were connected by Robbert Dijkgraaf. I did enjoy the program. With a critical eye, i have to add. In one episode Pascale Fung working on robotics was interviewed. She is working on emphatic robotic systems. I was surprised. I can see a bit of help there, yes. But i can not see the people themselves being very happy with such a helping hand.

Another article i came across is The empty brain published 18 May 2016 on aeon.co.

Whereas computers do store exact copies of data – copies that can persist unchanged for long periods of time, even if the power has been turned off – the brain maintains our intellect only as long as it remains alive. There is no on-off switch. Either the brain keeps functioning, or we disappear.

This article tracks the metaphors used for working of our human mind. The latest one is the computer. With its hardware and software it is a tempting description of the working of our mind.

But there are many failings in this. We humans, we sleep. We rest our bodies and our minds. We wake up. We watch the world outside us. We look around. We look left and right when we want to cross the street. We move our body. We talk. We smile. We become angry.

Computers do not do this. Computers are on or off. Computer have RAM. Computers use software.

Using the metaphor of a computer actually hinders development.

The $1.3 billion Human Brain Project launched by the European Union in 2013. Convinced by the charismatic Henry Markram that he could create a simulation of the entire human brain on a supercomputer by the year 2023, and that such a model would revolutionise the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders, EU officials funded his project with virtually no restrictions. Less than two years into it, the project turned into a ‘brain wreck’, and Markram was asked to step down.

Advertorial language
April 2017 there was upheaval about a Pepsi ad with Kendall Jenner.

The dystopian read on where brand communication is going is the awful current reality of a post-truth world, where we lie, we create alternate facts, we try to hoodwink the public with artifice, we sidle up to a couple of celebrities, and we hope that 51% of the population like it.

We are so used to the language of big company brands.

“Listerine fights bad breath.”
“Leaves dishes virtually spotless.”
“Supergloss does it with more color, more shine, more sizzle, more!”
“Ford LTD–700% quieter.”
“There’s no other mascara like it.”
“Rheingold, the natural beer.”
“Strong enough for a man but made for a woman.”
“Lips have never looked so luscious.”
“Winston tastes good like a cigarette should.”
“Special Morning–33% more nutrition.”
“The lady has taste.”
“Touch of Sweden: could your hands use a small miracle?”

These quotes show the unfinished half truths and untruths of advertising.

I’d like to buy the world a home
And furnish it with love
Grow apple trees and honey bees
And snow white turtle doves

I’d like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I’d like to buy the world a Coke
And keep it company
That’s the real thing

I’d like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I’d like to buy the world a Coke
And keep it company
That’s the real thing

I’d like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I’d like to buy the world a Coke
And keep it company
That’s the real thing

I’d like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I’d like to buy the world a Coke
And keep it company
That’s the real thing

What the world wants today
Is the real thing

What the world wants today
Is the real thing

A start
The idea for this post came in April 2017. That is when i made the draft for this post. Then i knew i wasn’t ready to write. Not yet. The past week the idea for this post did get more shape.

In this post i do go by on several articles and posts. They touched me.

I am not done yet.

Still, i feel happy. It is a start.

Published on August 11, 2017 at 6:00 by

Dark Enlightenment

A couple of months ago i came across the term Dark Enlightenment for the first time on the Dutch website decorrespondent.nl. I was intrigued. The post, in Dutch, is a short introduction to this movement. Another term for this movement is neoreaction or NRx. It is an antidemocratic and reactionary movement.

There are two main marks for this movement.

  • the West is in decline and democracy is a farce
  • the ‘cathedral’ of media and science needs to be broken down

Wikipedia provides a short page about the term.

Nick Land ‘s name drops often. The name Dark Enlightenment he drops in the essay The Dark Enlightenment.

To my surprise the name Richard Dawkins is mentioned in this essay. I read his book The God Delusion a couple of weeks ago. I got this book from the heritage of my deceased stepfather. Truly, i didn’t enjoy this book that much. It felt to me to be very angry, extremely argumentative in its tone. Not that i disagree with everything he writes. But, i don’t agree with everything either.

Peter Thiel said in the article The Education of a Libertarian the following:

I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.

Truthfully, i don’t reach a conclusion here. I am born in a left wing family. I still feel like that. But my curiosity is peaked. Still, there are many sides to this movement which i don’t like at all. I don’t have a fully formed theory on our world in its current state. I still need to read the articles i linked to in this post.

This post is a link to what i have found so far. As much a reading list for myself as for you.

Published on August 4, 2017 at 6:00 by

The Uninhabitable Earth

Yesterday i came across this article The Uninhabitable Earth published in New York Magazine on July 9, 2017. There is also an annotated version, with more background information in the sideline.

Yesterday i went through the article quickly and linked it on facebook. Today i read it more thoroughly and decided to post it for today.

The article is written by David Wallace-Wells.

The article went viral from the first day of publishing. Many other scientists and publicists expressed criticism on the extreme tone of the article. Many said many points in the article are not right. I am not informed enough to form an opinion either way.

What follows is not a series of predictions of what will happen — that will be determined in large part by the much-less-certain science of human response. Instead, it is a portrait of our best understanding of where the planet is heading absent aggressive action. It is unlikely that all of these warming scenarios will be fully realized, largely because the devastation along the way will shake our complacency. But those scenarios, and not the present climate, are the baseline. In fact, they are our schedule.

What Wallace-Wells expresses is that the article is not a prediction. The Uninhabitable Earth talks about what will happen if we do nothing, continue on our current action and let it all happen. A worst case scenario.

We do not know if we will act like this.

The article discusses several topics.

  1. ‘Doomsday’
    Peering beyond scientific reticence.
  2. Heat Death
    The bahraining of New York.
  3. The End of Food
    Praying for cornfields in the tundra.
  4. Climate Plagues
    What happens when the bubonic ice melts?
  5. Unbreathable Air
    A rolling death smog that suffocates millions.
  6. Perpetual War
    The violence baked into heat.
  7. Permanent Economic Collapse
    Dismal capitalism in a half-poorer world.
  8. Poisoned Oceans
    Sulfide burps off the skeleton coast.
  9. The Great Filter
    Our present eeriness cannot last.

The end of the article is, contrary to expectations, not entirely negative.

But when we do truly see the world we’ve made, they say, we will also find a way to make it livable. For them, the alternative is simply unimaginable.

I do hope you have already read this article or will read it soon.

As for me, i am intrigued. I do need to read it again carefully. I also want to do a deeper search for other articles about this one, expressing concerns about possible outcomes expressed. I will not take this article as a given fact, but as Wallace-Wells said himself, as a possible scenario.

It’s one of the world’s best-kept secrets that scientists either low-ball their research or risk job/grant loss! That lamentable fact has been publicly admitted by some of the world’s top climate scientists […]. It is a scandalous disservice to the public, to life, to the ecosystem.

Source: Uninhabitable Earth?

The above quote does trouble me. Scientists who lose their job because they speak openly about things they have found? Low-balling their research? I have never worked in science research myself, so i have no experience with this. I can only take this on and look for other people writing about this.

For more reading, there is also The 10-Book ‘Uninhabitable Earth’ Reading List.

Published on July 26, 2017 at 6:00 by

Timothy Morton

Timothy Bloxam Morton (born 19 June 1968) is Professor and Rita Shea Guffey Chair in English at Rice University. A member of the object-oriented philosophy movement, Morton’s work explores the intersection of object-oriented thought and ecological studies.

A few weeks ago i came across this article in the Guardian: A reckoning for our species’: the philosopher prophet of the Anthropocene. I made a draft then, with the title Anthropocene. Today i changed that title to Timothy Morton. And made another draft for Anthropocene, to work on later. Let’s be clear. I was interested.

I’m nowhere near done with reading about Morton. I haven’t even touched any of his books. I will start with watching videos on youtube. The fastest way.

A couple of hours later, i did watch some youtube clips. I will watch the longer ones later tonight. I also reread the Guardian article. Too fast, i’m afraid. But still. This post is me pointing to someone and telling you he has something interesting and confusing to say.

Advances in science are now underscoring how “enmeshed” we are with other beings – from the microbes that account for roughly half the cells in our bodies, to our reliance for survival on the Earth’s electromagnetic heat shield. At the same time, hyperobjects, in their unwieldy enormity, alert us to the absolute boundaries of science, and therefore the limits of human mastery. Science can only take us so far. This means changing our relationship with the other entities in the universe – whether animal, vegetable or mineral – from one of exploitation through science to one of solidarity in ignorance. If we fail to do this, we will continue to wreak havoc on the planet, threatening the ways of life we hold dear, and even our very existence. In contrast to utopian fantasies that we will be saved by the rise of artificial intelligence or some other new technology, the Anthropocene teaches us that we can’t transcend our limitations or our reliance on other beings. We can only live with them.

Published on July 4, 2017 at 6:00 by

The truth

The truth. These words mean so many different things to all different people. Here, i can only write about the one truth i’m familiar with. My truth.

The truth of my life. My life as i have been leading it for the past fifty three years. I have made many mistakes. I have learned from most of them. Some because i was told i had done a wrong thing. Others because i experienced doing something not quite right. I have also done some things right. I have been careful. I am sensitive, easily hurt, taken away by a thought. So yes, i have been careful. I will rather be alone then with people i feel uncomfortable with. I like to be on my own. Listening to music. Reading a book. Sitting at my balcony and stare up to the sky. Watch some television. I enjoy that.

I do like to think about the world. I don’t follow all the news, but i do like to keep up. There are many other things besides the news which tells you something about the state of the world. I am an optimistic person. But i do understand why some people fail to see the good side of the world.

I do think there is something wrong in the world. It is the people getting used to lies, untruths, deception. People becoming used to not trusting others. People saying something and meaning something else. Not even because they want to lie, it is because they don’t feel the difference. They assume this is how the world works. Saying something because it is your job, for instance. Saying something because you want other people to believe you. To get something back. Money. Power. Status.

In this Western Europe, in the Netherlands, this country i live in, i am falling through. I try to catch something to stop my fall, something to hold me up. I have only a few weeks left over. Not that i’m anticipating the worst then. I still have the value of my house, which i bought twenty two years ago. I can monetize that, of course. But it is not the way i want to go.

Yes.

I still want it. I still want to get famous. I still think i can keep up with the pressure put on you in that situation. Yes, i need friends. Most importantly, i need a boy friend. To keep me sane. To cuddle with. To love.

People around me, people who i have talked with, about this subject, tell me i’m crazy. It will never happen. Never. Two people have said that. Of the people who only think that and don’t tell me, i don’t know how many of those there are.

Everybody leads its own life. The life they know, they grew up in. The experiences they had, which shaped their world. I tried to fit in. For years. Desperately. Until i stopped.

So i have given up working. Or at least, given up looking for it. I won’t say no if somebody asks me to do something. But hardly anyone asks. I have said it last week, in the About post, this website, maintaining it, writing the posts for it, that is my work. Honestly. Five days a week. With at the most five weeks of holiday a year. I do need to find a way to make money with it, of course. I don’t want ads. I don’t have enough visitors for that anyway. So becoming famous would be a way.

I enjoy the conversations i have with the people in the garden. They are feisty. Most of the time people don’t agree with me. But it is fun. Enjoyable. And i do learn about things i don’t know enough about. Taxes. Anarchy. Weeds. Compost. Flowers. Worms. And so on. I love that.

But i want to stick to my story. The story of my life. Which isn’t finished yet. I have only been working in the garden for a year and two months. I do feel i need to bring something out in fruition. Something in me.

So this post is a part of that feeling. Me trying to bring something out. Not for someone else, but for me. Because i feel my life will not be complete without it.

The truth of my life. Simple words. As i am sitting here, listening to the sounds of neighbours, the noises of cars and trams on the streets, this truth does escape me often.

No, this is not the right time. Not yet. I don’t feel a thought in myself coming up. But i am still happy, thinking, feeling where i am.

Have a good weekend. Salute!

Published on June 23, 2017 at 6:00 by

Solstice

Today it is a solstice on our earth. 21 June 2017, 4:24 UT, 6:24 CET. The Sun reached its most northerly position. Today, in our northern hemisphere, this June solstice is the time that the Sun almost stands still. It will start its movement to the southern hemisphere.

UT date and time of
equinoxes and solstices on Earth
event equinox solstice equinox solstice
month March June September December
year
day time day time day time day time
2010 20 17:32 21 11:28 23 03:09 21 23:38
2011 20 23:21 21 17:16 23 09:04 22 05:30
2012 20 05:14 20 23:09 22 14:49 21 11:12
2013 20 11:02 21 05:04 22 20:44 21 17:11
2014 20 16:57 21 10:51 23 02:29 21 23:03
2015 20 22:45 21 16:38 23 08:21 22 04:48
2016 20 04:30 20 22:34 22 14:21 21 10:44
2017 20 10:28 21 04:24 22 20:02 21 16:28
2018 20 16:15 21 10:07 23 01:54 21 22:23
2019 20 21:58 21 15:54 23 07:50 22 04:19
2020 20 03:50 20 21:44 22 13:31 21 10:02

Copied from the wikipedia page Solstice.

The earth takes a year to turn around the sun. Since the earth is on an axis, we experience the seasons on earth. In June the sun comes at its highest point. It is the start of summer. This date differs from the meteorological date, which in the north encompasses the months June, July and August. Since the heat takes time to spread through the ocean and seas, the warmest months are after the solstice.

For me, this year, this day means a lot to me. I’m happy to say i’ve reached this point while i still live in my house.

I struggling within me on how to continue. I do hope it will turn out good for me. I’m almost sure of it. Almost. I have got to get that to a full 100%! And yes, i’m working on it.

But this day is a day of celebration. Hopefully this evening i will be in the gardening, with friends, something to eat and something to drink.

Celebrate!

Published on June 21, 2017 at 6:00 by

Elon Musk

Today, Tuesday 30 May, i worked in the fruit garden. The temperature had dropped, but it still felt warm and a bit moist. We worked on making a strawberry bed around the cherry trees. I wasn’t much help. But i did do some odd jobs. Getting all the grass cuttings on the compost heap. Getting everybody water. And talking!

I got into a conversation with Daniël about Mars. Me, i don’t buy into it. I know there is a project, but i think it is ludicrous. There is no oxygen on Mars. There is no way to come back to earth. I think it is insane. Daniël thinks different about it. Then the name Elon Musk dropped. I said i didn’t like his reason to set up his project to go to Mars. He seems to have given up on earth and wants to colonize Mars. As a plan B. Because he has given up on earth. Daniël didn’t know anything about that. Than i said i would look things up about this. I do know i have read this. I would make a post about it. So here it goes!

He is the founder, CEO, and CTO of SpaceX; co-founder, CEO, and product architect of Tesla Inc.; co-chairman of OpenAI; founder and CEO of Neuralink. He was previously co-founder and chairman of SolarCity; co-founder of Zip2; and founder of X.com, which merged with Confinity and took the name PayPal. As of May 2017, he has an estimated net worth of $15.2 billion, making him the 80th-wealthiest person in the world. In December 2016, Musk was ranked 21st on Forbes list of The World’s Most Powerful People.

Musk has stated that the goals of SolarCity, Tesla, and SpaceX revolve around his vision to change the world and humanity. His goals include reducing global warming through sustainable energy production and consumption, and reducing the “risk of human extinction” by “making life multiplanetary” by establishing a human colony on Mars.

In addition to his primary business pursuits, he has also envisioned a high-speed transportation system known as the Hyperloop, and has proposed a VTOL supersonic jet aircraft with electric fan propulsion, known as the Musk electric jet.

I do appreciate Musk, i do admit. He is an intelligent man who works hard and thinks hard. It is his desire to establish a human colony on Mars which cast doubt.

… reducing the “risk of human extinction” by “making life multiplanetary” by establishing a human colony on Mars.

Or as it also says on his wikipedia page:

An asteroid or a super volcano could destroy us, and we face risks the dinosaurs never saw: an engineered virus, inadvertent creation of a micro black hole, catastrophic global warming or some as-yet-unknown technology could spell the end of us. Humankind evolved over millions of years, but in the last sixty years atomic weaponry created the potential to extinguish ourselves. Sooner or later, we must expand life beyond this green and blue ball—or go extinct.

We must expand life beyond this green and blue ball – or go extinct.

The absence of any noticeable life may be an argument in favour of us being in a simulation…. Like when you’re playing an adventure game, and you can see the stars in the background, but you can’t ever get there. If it’s not a simulation, then maybe we’re in a lab and there’s some advanced alien civilization that’s just watching how we develop, out of curiosity, like mould in a petri dish…. If you look at our current technology level, something strange has to happen to civilizations, and I mean strange in a bad way. … And it could be that there are a whole lot of dead, one-planet civilizations.

With this i completely disagree. I do think our earth is a miracle place. A treasure in the universe. With the billions of other galaxies in this universe, it does seem likely there is life on other planets. But the structure of this universe, expanding right now, means the distance between planets with life possibilities can be beyond our traveling capacity. Thousands of light-years away from each other. I do think it is our planet is rare, at this distance from its moderate sun, with its large companion by its side, the moon, which protects this earth from asteroids, makes a high- and low-tide possible with the daily movement so important for life on this earth.

I’m not saying terraforming Mars is a hopeless case.

Terraforming Mars would entail three major interlaced changes: building up the magnetosphere, building up the atmosphere, and raising the temperature.

I would never send humans to Mars though. Of course, there are always people willing to go. Excited by the adventure, willing to make a final move to the edge of their imagination. But it is a death trap, right now. Maybe someday somewhere way back in the past, there was a situation on Mars in which bacteria could grow and start changing the atmosphere. But it didn’t happen. We’ve seen The Martian, we can imagine living in a dessert type environment and going out with protection clothing only and working on a vegetable garden inside, sure. But Mars is not a dessert as we know it. Mars has only 0.145% oxygen in its environment. If we want to terraform Mars, we need to prepare it with robots and ammonia and hydrocarbons and whatever technical help we can find. It will take hundred of years, i think. And it seems to me a project in which this whole world, all the countries on it, needs to work together. And really, we do have other pressing issues right now. Right here on this planet we call earth. Home.

This thought of ourselves living in a simulation, in a sort of matrix, can lead to thoughts it doesn’t matter what we do. If we are watched by others, if we live our lives in this make believe world, it doesn’t matter what we do. But we don’t. This is the magic of our lives, on this planet, in this universe. It rolls on with time continuously. We make up stories of the past. Some are truish. Others are false. We make up gods, we make up stories about lands and families and money. But we all live now, in this world. We do not live in the past. Or in the future. Now. The most special time there is. The time so difficult to grasp, so hard to be in. Now. And we can let our lives be ruled by past stories, or we can move on and try something new. We have complete freedom in the way we set out our life. Which is so hard to see, so difficult to feel. Now.

We are subject to risk, everywhere on this planet, anytime in this world. An asteroid could hit our planet. Ride through the cover of the moon and hit us hard and make life extremely difficult. Of course. It has happened before. Millions of years ago. But we can not make a life with this risk in our hearts. We simply need to make the best of our lives as it is right now. Start to build a better world. A greener world. A world in which all the people born on it can make a life for themselves. For some it will be more difficult than for others, but that is the chance of being born here on this planet. Your life here is a chance to build something, to work on something worthwhile, to love people around you, to have a family, to maybe have children. To make the future a better place to be. To make this world cleaner. To make this world a better place for our children and all the children after that.

I believe this is the essence of our life.

All the people trying to make us move in the way they want to, all the people making money over our backs, all the people making us work so hard and earn so little, all the people hiding behind the curtains and not being visible.

All these people i don’t believe.

I work in the garden. Three days a week now. I love it.

It is a small thing to do. I’m a small person on this planet.

This website, with its five posts a week, is a place in which i can channel my thoughts, make them grow. A place in which i can think. With all the liberty i can feel in me. Right now.

I’m not saying i have all the answers. I’m saying i want to talk with you. About many things. About supercouples. About making walks. About working in a garden. About music. About food. About your personal life. About movies, books and television. About terraforming Mars. About our planetary system. About the universe.

There are many things you will know better than me. And some things i know better than you.

I’m afraid Elon Musk had to step aside for a bit. This post may be about him, about some of his thoughts. I’d love to talk with him about them. Even though i will be really nervous if this would ever happen.

In the end though, this post is about me. Why i maintain this website. I have so many thoughts in my mind. They do keep me awake at night. And yes, some of them are about me, about wishes i have for myself, dreams i would love to come true. Others are about this world, about our lives, about my sadness, about my friends. About this stupid and miracle world we live in. The world we destroy because we can.

Stop!

Published on May 31, 2017 at 6:00 by