Categories for World

Everyone is alone

First i wanted to make a post titled True Love. I had already written this post though. So no. I have also written a post called Alone. Way way back. But this subject stuck with me during the day. So i settled for this one, Everyone is Alone. True.

You can battle this aloneness. Make friends with whom you can go out, go see a movie, have dinner with. Chat with, shop with. Have sex with. Have a significant other. Have children.

All things to battle being alone with. As do i. The dinner party of last Sunday is a prime example. My friends, from the garden, from the harvest market. All people i have met over the past three and a half years.

But we all are still alone. Each and everyone. Something we all need to deal with. Preferably. It is not something we think about each minute of each day. But it is always there, lurking behind the leaves, behind the buildings, behind all the other people surrounding us. Alone.

I can only talk for myself here. I don’t know how other people deal with this. I know of myself a bit. I used to drink a lot more than i do now. In order to forget. To spend my time not thinking. I still have many issues, but i am dealing with most of them. I am reasonably happy. I enjoy saying good morning or afternoon or day to people i pass on the street. Some reply, some don’t. It doesn’t matter. I try to keep my calm. I try to look outwards as much as possible. I try to think about everything i feel. Everything that happens to me. Too many things really to feel completely alone. That does help me.

I don’t feel bad at all. I do cry at times. This morning i did. But it passes. And then i feel good again.

I hope you will have a good weekend. Salute!

Published on January 17, 2020 at 6:00 by

Greta Thunberg

I do follow Greta Thunberg on twitter for half a year or more. I admire her dedication and single mindedness. She is so right. The last day i saw her speech at the Climate Action Summit 2019 in the USA. It brought tears to my eyes. Salute!

My message is that we’ll be watching you.

This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school, on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you? You have stolen my dreams, and my childhood, with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones.

People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money, and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you?

For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away, and come here saying that you’re doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight? You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that. Because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And that I refuse to believe.

The popular idea of cutting our emissions in half in 10 years only gives us a 50 per cent chance of staying below 1.5 degrees (Celsius) and the risk of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control.

Fifty per cent may be acceptable to you. But those numbers do not include tipping points, most feedback loops, additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution, or the aspects of equity and climate justice. They also rely on my generation sucking hundreds of billions of tons of your CO2 out of the air with technologies that barely exist.

So a 50 per cent risk is simply not acceptable to us — we who have to live with the consequences. To have a 67 per cent chance of staying below a 1.5 degree global temperature rise — the best odds given by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) — the world had 420 gigatons of CO2 left to emit back on January 1, 2018. Today that figure is already down to less than 350 gigatons.

How dare you pretend that this can be solved with just “business as usual” and some technical solutions? With today’s emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budget will be entirely gone within less than eight and a half years.

There will not be any solutions or plans presented in line with these figures here today, because these numbers are too uncomfortable. And you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is.

You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you. We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not. Thank you.

Published on September 25, 2019 at 6:00 by

Decisions

I am not a scientist. I can only speak for myself. What i think is worthwhile to do and to strive for. Most of these things have to do with minimizing my ecological footprint. Difficult because i live in western Europe in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. I am surrounded by a neo-liberalist world. It is hard to find a good starting point from where to think.

As i said, i am not a scientist. But i can think and read and talk about things. About our world. So i will in the next few weeks.

Not right now though. Writing takes time and thought. It is hard work. For now i’m happy i have decided this is one of the areas i will dive into more.

Have a good weekend. Salute!

Published on August 2, 2019 at 6:00 by

Losing Earth

Stunning.

Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change

That we came so close, as a civilization, to breaking our suicide pact with fossil fuels can be credited to the efforts of a handful of people, among them a hyperkinetic lobbyist and a guileless atmospheric physicist who, at great personal cost, tried to warn humanity of what was coming. They risked their careers in a painful, escalating campaign to solve the problem, first in scientific reports, later through conventional avenues of political persuasion and finally with a strategy of public shaming. Their efforts were shrewd, passionate, robust. And they failed. What follows is their story, and ours.

Everyone knew — and we all still know. We know that the transformations of our planet, which will come gradually and suddenly, will reconfigure the political world order. We know that if we don’t act to reduce emissions, we risk the collapse of civilization. We also know that, without a gargantuan intervention, whatever happens will be worse for our children, worse yet for their children and even worse still for their children’s children, whose lives, our actions have demonstrated, mean nothing to us.

Published on August 15, 2018 at 6:00 by

Blood Moon

Today, 27 July 2018, there will be the longest total lunar eclipse visible in Australia, Asia, Africa and Europe. The totality will last 103 minutes, making it the longest in the 21st century. The moon will take on a reddish-orange glow during the eclipse. The name Blood Moon is usually used for this view on the moon.

Here in Rotterdam the advice is to look for an area with a clear view. At 21:30 the moon will rise in the east. It will be partly covered by the earth’s shadow by that time. The full eclipse starts at 21:30 and will end at 23:13. You do not need any special eye equipment to watch the moon.

Mars will be very close to the moon on this day and will be easy to see with naked eyes.

I will try and make some photographs of the moon. Hopefully there will be a clear sky here in Rotterdam. If i succeed i will add the photographs to this post over the weekend.

Published on July 27, 2018 at 6:00 by

Modernity

Modernity, a topic in the humanities and social sciences, is both a historical period (the modern era), as well as the ensemble of particular socio-cultural norms, attitudes and practices that arose in the wake of Renaissance, in the “Age of Reason” of 17th-century thought and the 18th-century “Enlightenment”.

While it includes a wide range of interrelated historical processes and cultural phenomena (from fashion to modern warfare), it can also refer to the subjective or existential experience of the conditions they produce, and their ongoing impact on human culture, institutions, and politics (Berman 2010, 15–36).

Depending on the field, “modernity” may refer to different time periods or qualities. In historiography, the 17th to 18th century are usually described as early modern, while the long 19th century corresponds to “modern history” proper.

As an analytical concept and normative ideal, modernity is closely linked to the ethos of philosophical and aesthetic modernism; political and intellectual currents that intersect with the Enlightenment; and subsequent developments such as existentialism, modern art, the formal establishment of social science, and contemporaneous antithetical developments such as Marxism. It also encompasses the social relations associated with the rise of capitalism, and shifts in attitudes associated with secularisation and post-industrial life (Berman 2010, 15–36).

In the view of Michel Foucault (1975) (classified as a proponent of postmodernism though he himself rejected the “postmodernism” label, considering his work as a “a critical history of modernity”—see, e.g., Call 2002, 65), “modernity” as a historical category is marked by developments such as a questioning or rejection of tradition; the prioritization of individualism, freedom and formal equality; faith in inevitable social, scientific and technological progress, rationalization and professionalization, a movement from feudalism (or agrarianism) toward capitalism and the market economy, industrialization, urbanization and secularization, the development of the nation-state, representative democracy, public education (etc) (Foucault 1977, 170–77).

Modernity has been associated with cultural and intellectual movements of 1436–1789 and extending to the 1970s or later (Toulmin 1992, 3–5).

According to Marshall Berman (1982, 16–17), modernity is periodized into three conventional phases (dubbed “Early,” “Classical,” and “Late,” respectively, by Peter Osborne (1992, 25)):

  • Early modernity: 1500–1789 (or 1453–1789 in traditional historiography)
  • Classical modernity: 1789–1900 (corresponding to the long 19th century (1789–1914) in Hobsbawm’s scheme)
  • Late modernity: 1900–1989

In the second phase Berman draws upon the growth of modern technologies such as the newspaper, telegraph and other forms of mass media. There was a great shift into modernization in the name of industrial capitalism. Finally in the third phase, modernist arts and individual creativity marked the beginning of a new modernist age as it combats oppressive politics, economics as well as other social forces including mass media.

If the practice of labour shapes capitalism’s ecology, its indispensable machine is the mechanical clock. The clock – not money – emerged as the key technology for measuring the value of work. This distinction is crucial because it’s easy to think that working for wages is capitalism’s signature. It’s not: in 13th-century England only a third of the economically active population depended on wages for survival. That wages have become a decisive way of structuring life, space and nature owes everything to a new model of time.

By the early 14th century, the new temporal model was shaping industrial activity. In textile-manufacturing towns like Ypres, in what is now Belgium, workers found themselves regulated not by the flow of activity or the seasons but by a new kind of time – abstract, linear, repetitive. In Ypres, that work time was measured by the town’s bells, which rang at the beginning and end of each work shift. By the 16th century, time was measured in steady ticks of minutes and seconds. This abstract time came to shape everything – work and play, sleep and waking, credit and money, agriculture and industry, even prayer. By the end of the 16th century, most of England’s parishes had mechanical clocks.

Spain’s conquest of the Americas involved inculcating in their residents a new notion of time as well as of space. Wherever European empires penetrated, there appeared the image of the “lazy” native, ignorant of the imperatives of Christ and the clock. Policing time was central to capitalism’s ecology. As early as 1553, the Spanish crown began installing “at least one public clock” in its major colonial cities. Other civilisations had their own sophisticated temporal rules, but the new regimes of work displaced indigenous tempos and relationships with the natural world. The Mayan calendar is a complex hierarchy of times and readings from the heavens, offering a rich set of arrangements of humans within the universe. Spanish invaders respected it only to this extent: they synchronised their colonial assaults to sacred moments in the calendar.

As social historian EP Thompson observes in his seminal study Time, Work-Discipline and Industrial Capitalism, the governance of time follows a particular logic: “In mature capitalist society all time must be consumed, marketed, put to use; it is offensive for the labour force merely to ‘pass the time’.” The connection of specific activities to larger productive goals didn’t allow for time theft, and the discipline of the clock was enforced by violence across the planet.

Source: How the chicken nugget became the true symbol of our era

Published on May 10, 2018 at 6:00 by

Talks

There were intensive talks in the gardens the past weeks. Last Friday i had a talk with Ronald about capitalism. He came along with a friend of him, Carl. And a piece of speculaas. We talked about how long capitalism exists. Since the late middle ages according to Ronald. The week before i said that i was a genius. Ho ho! Such a brazen expression. Hollow. Not that i’m not intelligent, but i still need to learn so many things about so many different areas. Today we talked about the bitcoin economy. It is becoming a bit clearer to me, but i still need to read more about it. I did bring up the war against the current leaders of our financial industrial economy. The banks. The investors. People making money from money. I am learning that discussions have their own momentum and direction. I am learning to adapt to that and not trying to pull into another direction.

I love all the many more talks we have in the garden, varying from the fun and frivolous to deeply serious. I can not contribute to every talk. I don’t know enough about every single subject, i’m afraid to say. But that is not the most important thing. I love this aspect of our garden. I love the brightness and interest and passion from each person participating. I don’t agree with everybody. Of course not. I remember the talks about Mars and terraforming it and the plans of Elon Musk to get people to go to Mars, a plan ludricous to me. We talk. And thoroughly enjoy it.

As for me, my situation. I am selling my house. And i plan to do something with the money i will get. The quite large amount of overvalue in my house. To make it work. The next two years will be important to me. As were the the past three years. And well, to be honest, the past fifty three years of my life. Which i love so much.

Salute!

Published on December 6, 2017 at 6:00 by