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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Women


They come in various shapes, sizes and colours. They differ in sound, style and character. Fate has it that I'm one as well. I know it's not always a 50-50 chance, but I think in my family it was.

At times I run into a soul mate. A smile, a joke and immediately I know there's a sameness in spirit.
But other times.... I may sit next to a woman who makes me feel awkward. As if I'm excelling in boorishness, in unrefinement. Totally lacking in graces... These negative feelings about myself make it hard for me to like my neighbour. It's not fair, I know. These women, fellows of my gender, may not think so badly of me. It's just that I've been impressed in the late sixties -by those who raised or educated me- with what I ought to be like, not having been born a boy. This hampers me at moments that self esteem runs low....

Yes the opposite at times happens too. There are ways of being a woman that lie outside the range of my 'ambition' so to speak.

At my better moments, if I see  a woman smile to her youngster, play, laugh at a child's prank as old as life... give advise or just frown, mutter, jank or maybe even scold ... I know she went through those same last stages of pregnancy and labor like I did. Or maybe through the trials and tensions that make adoptions not easier and definitely no less loving than when nature has granted you the ability to have a child that is genetically related. I know this woman went through teething and the tantrums of the terrible two's, wondering whether puberty would really be worse than that...
Then I realize that deep down we are not so different, that we are resilient and creative creatures, curious and caring.

When I see anyone of us with a partner who is just not treating her -us- in a way I can call respectful, my toes curl in my shoes. Will she open her eyes, I question myself, and end up with someone else who gives her the respect she deserves -and needs- . Or better yet, will she be able to hang in and manage to uncover the gold she somehow feels must be residing in her counterpart ?
Because, despite of our difference in looks, manners and style, we are all valuable creatures.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Puberty and Peers

My 13 year old son is not 'pubering' in full swing yet, he agrees with me too often.   
[note: the dutch have turned puberty into a verb]                                                                      

His Royal Highness taking a nap
But the Persian prince definitely has reached puberty. He refuses to let [grand]father Joost groom his fur, so now his beautiful coat is becoming more ragged every day. The prince that looks like a pauper.... Time for me to take over from Joost.
The prince, his name is Diego but his owners call him Jake, is spending a lot of time downstairs with Mario, the cat with bi-coloured eyes, the cat that likes to fight with poor old Joost. The cat with the drinking problem. 
It is obvious to me that Jake takes Mario as his peer. Jake is now kicking the water bowl the same way as Mario does. And I'm sure Jake doesn't have Mario's fear of sticking his nose in too far. He just copies his friend's behaviour.
The Halloween Cat
  






I guess I live in a house full of weirdo's anyway.  My rabbit is very fond of cats for company, she tries to come close to them and sleep with them. She allows them to sleep in her cage.  Except for Jake. She doesn't see him as a cat... 
For birds she has zero tolerance. I've seen Plurkis chasing out magpies and caught her dashing out from the bushes, jumping on two pigeons.
So several times a week I fill a small bowl with cat cookies and put it in the garden, to attract some more friends for my rabbit.  But what did I notice from the corner of my eye last week?  A little blackbird standing at the bowl, swallowing the cat cookies... Plurkis didn't mind. Anyone who eats cat food is welcome!


video

Apologies for the quality of the clip. It was my very first production.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Feeling

What is that?   OK, for the pragmatical and the scientist who is in need of calculable matter, it's a bunch of hormones. But whát is it ?
It is definitely a physical thing too, it can be felt in our organs... like a weird sea sick sense in the stomach, changes in our heartbeats, or a throat tightening up. I am not talking about the adaptive reactions in fight or flight situations, that conserve energy and help us focus our strength on the only thing of vital importance: running or punching.

No, I'm talking about emotions like feeling so lonely and lost it makes you feel as if your chest cavity is being scratched empty with a paint scraper.  Feeling so awkward and ashamed that you don't want to attract any attention... and then you blush.  Grieving so hard it comes to tears ...  deep silent joy given away by more tears. 
And what ís the use, in terms of natural selection, of tears and upset mucous membranes? A bride blowing her nose behind her veil is not a pretty sight. And if she manages to imitate a fog horn, she's not a pretty sound either. It might set the groom running -while the 'curtain' is still down-. I don't see the evolutionary advantage in that...
Maybe we need tear filled eyes to stop us from looking at what is either too ugly to witness or too beautiful to behold ?

Could we experience feelings if there was no physical component in it ? Could I feel down if my body was still joyously taking in all stimuli form the surrounding world ? Could I.. no wrong example, I was about to say 'smile while experiencing pain' but some people smile through their tears, so the answer's yes. Could I do some spontaneous dance steps while suffering from a deep wish for a hug?

If there were no physical sensations attached to our emotions, our languages would surely be a lot poorer. How could you stomach that? I didn't have the heart for it. And a nice Dutch one: he was standing with his mouth full of teeth, which is in plain (?) English: he put his foot in his mouth. A bit of a problem with proprioceptive information, I gather?

Maybe God was being a cheap skate. Or pragmatical... Using the same neurotransmitters for body functions as for emotions. I know that a bad mood causes stomach problems. While stomach ache makes people sour and angry. Suppose He used very different hormones for feelings and body parts. How big should our brains be and how many more organs would we need ?


I'm walking a side line here. My original question should be read like ... how can events, tragedies, romances etc. that are outside our own lives, arouse emotions in us? Even if these events are in art, in music or in stories?
Why all these questions, why this post?

Can't you tell? I just saw a movie... and now I wish I had never bought the DVD.





Wednesday, May 16, 2012

More Clouds [S-serie 5]


Why the clouds ?


Obviously I'm being critical on Scientology. It came up when I checked out the subjects of sects for my blog post on forgiveness and on science & technology.
Reading Hubbard's Axioms of Scientology made me feel like stepping into a science fiction story. Brainy, stripped of human feeling. Some self acclaimed leader, telling the world how it is constructed and that his doctrine is The truth... no room for mystery, for different opinions, no kaleidoscope. Totalitarianism breathes through it.
The Axioms were appalling, yet I felt a sneaky interest in finding out if I could 'get into the psyche' of the author. So I decided to focus on Scientology.
During the first phase of my study – I can be brainy too :-) - I didn't want to be biased by reading negative articles about Ron Hubbard, but while searching the internet I couldn't help catching some lines. Affirming my spontaneous feelings... Ron Hubbard was author of a range of science fiction stories

I now have “Dianetics” and “What is Scientology” in the windowsill, close to my desk. I have tried reading them from beginning to end, but I just can't do it.
First because the message becomes clear very soon, Hubbard just goes on repeating it, using different words, conjuring up a variety of examples... but the message stays the same. Now if his literary style were mesmerizing or at least catchy, but it is not. He seems to think his audience is not gifted with great intelligence. He's condescending and his repetition makes him quite 'dictatorial'. I get annoyed when people talk 'down' on me, especially when they are only repeating themselves.

The other reason for not being able to go through the books entirely, is because I felt dirty every time I had read a few pages. I just had to do something else to get rid of that feeling.
Years ago, during times of depression and being put under pressure by others, I've often worked with wood. It's smell, it's 'feel', gave me a certain steadiness and quiet strength. It helped me put milling thoughts to rest. I haven't touched wood for quite some time however. Strangely enough, since I started reading texts from Hubbard, I have picked up a new hobby: creating pastel drawings on wood. Coincidence?

I started to wonder what sense it would make, putting such an effort in a futile scheme. Scientology is about sixty years old, how could I think to get any understanding of it in a short time? Impossible, the track record of Scientology is way too big for a small time writer like me. I have other things on my mind as well!
Yes, I have been busy, too busy, the last few months, so profane things like calendars have been scandalously neglected by me. This Scientology itch didn't make things better. But for some silly odd reason just when I had enough of it, I noticed my Tolle Calendar, next to my refrigerator, was still on February while we were already in the first week of May. I took it from the wall to change it. Of course not without reading the February quote first... and it put me back in place:
“When you listen to a thought, you are aware not only of the thought but also of yourself as the witness of the thought. As you listen, you feel a conscious presence -your deeper self- behind or underneath the thought.” [Source: February of my Tolle Calendar]
I recognised my own theory. About the difference between what is 'Socially Accepted' as knowledge but which is actually reasoning and a deeper knowledge, which is just Knowing. It doesn't need reasoning or calculus because it already knows... Eckhart Tolle's “conscious presence”.

So there was my mistake: I had been looking at Hubbard's reasoning with my own reasoning.... to complete that I would have to work my way through 1000 pages at least, each of which made me feel dirty. And the 'answer', the entry for my analysis was already clear: the feelings that Hubbard's writing gave me. I was right in sensing he was into writing science fiction. The impression of being dirty was just another form of that direct Knowledge.
But how to make it a bit more usable, acceptable, for publication? After all, the knowledge-by-reasoning is the Socially Accepted Knowledge, while my so called True Knowledge is often regarded as fallible guessing.

“To judge a book, look at the table of contents” … in time I remembered the words of my geography teacher. Apart from an academical degree in biology I have also been trained as a librarian... so I knew of more sophisticated ways that might replace the table of contents. A little web surfing made my boat strand at 'TagCrowd' where one can upload texts as large as Hubbard's entire Dianetics and have it analysed in seconds. An intricating site that kept me playing with texts and analyses for quite a while. But I had what I was looking for: an an overview of the main terms in Dianetics. Hubbard's vocabulary, an insight into subjects close to his heart.

This is a word cloud of the 100 most frequently used words in “Dianetics”.
Where is love or any other word that expresses affection? They aren't there. Ron Hubbard only dedicates one chapter to love, not enough to be noticed by a Text Analyser.
Hubbard can write really stunning about love and forgiveness in a short article on the Scientology site [“What is Greatness”] But why is it of such minor importance in one of his most important books? The book that is considered to be the basics of Scientology.

The book mentions the word love 60 times, all in all. There is the 5 page chapter entitled Love. It deals only with the relationship between a man and a woman and seems to mock it to pieces. No wonder, Hubbard doesn't really separate the lust part from the love part, [to keep it simple]. What he describes is either extremely annoying or laughable.
Outside this chapter he mentions love too. Sometimes as enjoying, but mostly he writes about the love of an adult for the child (s)he raises. And don't you dare to show love when a child is sick, sad or at it's wits end... you condition the child to become a person who enters these negative states in order to receive love.
For Man, humanity, Hubbard seems to replace the word love often with pleasure or happiness. But they cover only part of love. If overvalued they are bound to result in egotism.


This cloud stuff may function well as a warning system, but it is not much deeper than judging a book by it's cover. Scientology being the book, Dianetics and other scriptures of Ron Hubbard being it's cover.
Cover as in covering up.... a system that, according to many reports, does work as most sects do [see my Forgiveness post] no matter how hard Scientology claims to be a religion and publishes judicial decisions on their behalf.
The only one who can have any real feelings about Scientology is the one who is involved in it, while having her or his ears open for the own inner voice. A free thinker.
Is that allowed in Scientology? It threatens the system, it must be 'entheta' and therefore forbidden. Be it fact or fiction.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Clouded Minds [S-serie 4]

People who feel their minds, their feelings, or at least their lives are clouded, like to get help from others. 
Here we enter a situation that holds a paradox... you seek help because your judgment is impaired. So how do you know that the help offered really is Helpful? And not just another mistake or worse... a trap?

My geography teacher gave me great advise. He taught me not to judge a book by its cover. He wasn't talking psychology, he meant it literally.  Instead one had better take a look at the table of contents, he said. And it's true: you don't only see the subjects the author is dealing with, but also the logic of his reasoning. And if you are in for a bit of calculus... you can estimate how deep the author is digging into his subjects.
A book of 589 pages with only one chapter about love, 5 pages in all, would you choose that book if you wanted to read about love? [Which book is that? Just check the next post...]

There is a new technology that I believe equals the value of the table of contents: text analyser programs, that list the words that are most frequently used in the text.  They are nbest when they display the relative frequency graphically. Like word clouds. It gives a handle to judge the book by...   If only we could do that with people too ?

Here are four word clouds with the 30 most frequently used words in digital documents.  The bigger the words represent a higher frequency of use. All texts come from people who are known for helping people getting on the right track. And the texts are about their viewpoints .  Answer at least to yourself: from whom - of these four-  would you take advise and who is allowed to help you chase away the clouds and the fog in your life?

Mr A.
Mr B.
Mr C.
Mr D.


This is not a right or wrong quiz. It is learning to listen to your instincts, the site of Deep [True] Knowledge.  There are no sentences here that form a made up theory to sway you. No colorful cover masking an ugly plot.  So all you can go by is ....


Who are Mr A, B,C and D ? First make your own choice, who would you turn to? Then just follow this link.... Actually, it is the continuation of this post!



Let Go

Here are a few lines that are not from me. I feel I should pass them on, so they can inspire more people.

Firstly I like what Barry Neil Kaufman has said, in relation to his program "Parenting Solution".   The three things a parent should do, are:

Love
Guide 
Let Go
And under my breath I always add...  
Leave the Gate open  
so your children know they are always welcome to return for a bit more...



Is Letting Go not a way to love someone?  Just as I like to  [try to]  let go of my butterfly friends?



Letting Go

Letting Go doesn't mean that you stop loving
It's recognizing you can't perform your loved one's task

Letting Go isn't shutting yourself up
It means realizing you can't control the other

Letting Go is refraining from manipulation
Allowing things to happen by themselves 

Letting Go is no longer fighting your lack of power
And accepting the outcome doesn't lie in your hands

Letting Go is not trying to change or blame the other,
And trying to make the most of it for yourself

Letting Go is caring about
instead of caring for

Letting Go is lending a hand
instead of taking things out off someone's hands

Letting Go is not passing judgement
And allowing the other to be himself

Letting Go is not enforcing a commitment
It's accepting the other must go his own way

Letting Go is to refrain from protecting
So the other can learn to deal with reality

Letting Go is admitting you can't shape other people's lives
and can only live up to your own potential instead.

Letting Go is having less fears 
and giving so much more of your love



I have translated  these lines myself, because I have only ever seen them in dutch. I never found out who the author is. If anyone knows...  please let me know. Add a comment or check out my email address in my profile.