Let this be my official resignation from society at large and small. Let this be my official resignation from trying to change anything for everybody in this world. One only needs to take care of himself/herself and his/her offspring. All for themselves. Everybody for himself. Hurray to selfishness! Three loud cheers to selfishness from me.
This is my official statement that I despair and give up. May I be damned if I go on one step further than which I wish to take. May I be damned if I TRY without a single other person on my side apart from my husband. May I be damned if I think of other people first because I have taken care of myself. Just may I be damned if I try to make any one person see the injustice of the whole visa regulations, how it is global apartheid, how it is birthplace racism. Just may I be damned if I go on trying to make myself heard on the social media, trying to get supporters when I have not managed to get even moral support let alone financial support in all these years. Just may I be damned if I do anything that goes further than doing my own things unless I get some financial support and at least a thousand real supporters, not passive ones. Just may I be damned!
May I be damned to care about this world which doesn't give a shit about anything I say. May I be damned if I care about people who look at what I say as if a donkey is farting. May I be damned if I try to get any one of the many spectators to take a stand with me.
May I be damned!
Sorry but even though it sounds so correct and encouraging, I'll have to disagree with this. (Just like the Berkeley professor suggests ;)
The one who loses after a fight, has lost twice. He has lost all the energy, time and the fight. He is left exhausted. So the one who has not got himself into the fight at all from the beginning, is much more ahead. And even though it breaks my heart to say this, I'll have to accept that he is the smarter one. It's really much more peaceful to accept losses and live your life unless it is something that is damaging your quality of life substantially. I have been trying, fighting in this world all my life, I think I'm at the verge of giving it up after seeing how stupid, ignorant and selfish people are. Also how sheepish they are!
After all, there is really so much, or rather so little any single person can do in this world. And most people just choose to be spectators. The most, they are passive supporters. And passive supporters are not of much use.
I like this Brecht quote better. At least, it is consolation...
It really is amazing how people try to hit you in other areas when they do not have counter-arguments. Their ego cannot accept that you may have a point, they cannot bring themselves to say that. So they play foul.
After the accusation of me waiting for applause, the other day came an accusation of me trying to promote my website with the discussion of the Open Letter to IATA.
Actually, there was truth in the “accusation”; there was an element of promotion in the things I was writing. But what was I promoting?
What am I promoting in my website, what am I writing about? Am I talking about my travels, oh how nice and well I travel, do you see cheesy photos of my feet and the sea, or photos of what I eat? Do you see photos of my happy family aimed at getting likes or do you see any hotel or airline promotions?? Do you?
I'll answer for you: No! I promote ideas. Travel related ideas!
Sure, I talk about my experiences, but it's mostly to get to a conclusion about the travel related issues today. There is nothing in it for me. Apart from the satisfaction of doing something I believe in. Nothing material. I do not even have a crowdfunding.: Which I plan to get one day.
"You do have a crowdfunding campaign on your website," someone said.
Nopes I don't. My husband looks after this stuff; he opened up a Patreon account but it's idle. Yes, there are donation links, but these methods do not work. Nobody has ever put a cent into my account for what I do. And there is no reason for me to believe or expect anybody from any traveller group or friends group to donate anything. Nobody cares.
Perhaps they might make some contribution if I open up a GoFundMe or the like; after all, the concept is popular and familiar. But I am too busy with other things to write, couldn't get around to working on that yet.
I am trying to open up a discussion. A discussion about travel and right of movement. I have loads of stories and ideas. I need feedback from travellers and other people. I need support. I am not chasing money. I need people first and foremost.
Where to find them... is the question.
I have hundreds of pages, almost all on different aspects of freedom of movement; articles on other related issues connect to the right of free movement, other issues are all related to philosophical essays on world politics. Nobody would go to such great lengths to write about this stuff if s/he did not really care about it. If I chose to spend my labor on this, it shows where my priorities and loyalties lie.
Nobody would write all these hundreds of articles, spend so much time and effort on these matters just to self-promote. That would be a ridiculously laughable claim. I have done three round-the-world tours, one by land, one by sea, one with family. So it's obvious that the way of self-promotion for me would have been emphasizing all this. That's where the glamour is. All the glory and fame is. Okay, let's not call it fame but all the praise is. I'd have had many fans if I took that road.
Where I stand is lonely.
So... Anybody who claims I am after money must be joking. Even though I'm still waiting for that anonymous large donation or that call from some prominent person, someone who believes in my ideas, to say s/he'll be funding me, I'm not holding my breath. Money does not lie on the road that I took; it lies on the opposite road of advertisement in the travel industry and popularity on social media.
Anybody who dares to even imply self-promotion... is so illogical and immature that s/he doesn't deserve even my contempt. Still... I'd like to share this meme, just because I find it so funny. Apologies for the profanity in advance!
Going over visa requirements on the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, I came across a page which listed countries whose citizens could get into Turkey with their national ID cards. Now, all fine up to here. What surprised me so much was that below was a list of countries whose citizens could get into Turkey with EXPIRED national ID's! Germans could get in with ID's expired within the last year. Citizens of Belgium, France, Spain, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Portugal and Bulgaria can enter with national ID's expired in the last 5 years. 5 years! 5 years expired documents valid to get into a country?!
I found it amazing and wrote to the ministry asking for an explanation. I didn't get an answer. So I decided to ask people in the Every Passport Stamp group, a FB group of people who are after every country. "Anybody has any idea of similar rule anywhere else around the world and do you know the logic?" I asked.
Then I asked for one more thing: "I'd appreciate it much if any of the above citizens, when going to Turkey next time, could carry an old ID and try to enter with that and tell me if they really let you in. I mean they should. It's written out clearly. I'm attaching the screenshot from the government's website, so you can show it to them in case they object. But of course, no need to say, carry a valid ID with you, in case there is a problem you can take that out and get in.
Thank you so much."
The first reaction was: “Sure because we have nothing else to do. Are you on drugs? :))“
I don't know why people need to be snotty. Not that I was offended; didn't take it personally as I have never used any drug. Still... it's not very nice or decent if you ask me. Anyway...
“Not because you have nothing else to do but some people might be curious to know. It doesn't cost anything, but might teach you/us something,” I said. “Isn't it a curious fact??”
For me, it indeed is. For someone else it was too.
“I know that you can use an expired British Passport to return to Britain, and I would assume as much for most countries - but would never have thought of countries accepting foreign ID's which have expired... I guess as long as you can still distinguish from the photo, it's not as if you are no longer you...”
Yes, that's what I would have thought. You can go back to your own country even with an expired document. It's only logical. However, other countries accepting expired ID's was still totally strange for me.
“It used to be the case that Canadians and Americans could cross the border with expired passports. Not sure whether that's still the case,” wrote someone else.
“Do you know if it was an official policy or something that immigration officers turned a blind eye to?” I asked.
“Canada expressly allows the use of expired US passports for entry,” came the reply.
“This was also the case with driving to and from Mexico!” a third party added.
Okay. It made sense among next-door neighbors too I suppose. But then again... Why couldn't they/we extend this further? Why wouldn't/shouldn't all countries accept all expired passports? I believe they are all trained on all world passports at borders.
As for being able to distinguish from the photo... I thought that was the point of ID's having an expiry date. Otherwise, paper doesn't go stale, even though we do ;)
Again, even though we may age and hopefully mature in character, our identities generally remain the same from birth to death.: safe for women getting married or divorced, or special requests of name changes.
So if the point is to be able to recognize you from your photo... Then why is there a "Passports need to be valid for at least six months at the time of entry" rule?
I know I know... They argue what if you get sick and need to stay in the country longer than planned. But again, so what? What if your passport has expired a month ago? What's the harm? Why should you/we be put in jail or get into such trouble for such a trifle?
So what if our passport expires and we want to exit a foreign country? I'm not sure if you know of all the consequences, all the trouble you might find yourself in. Try searching for some horror stories from absent-minded travellers in Russia. Or read the Passport Idiot by Tom Ley to find out how many people go through how much hassle every day for this rule imposed on all travellers.
It simply doesn't make any sense to me to be able to travel with five year expired ID's in a world where we need passport validity of 6 months to go almost anywhere.
“I know that the Italian ID card, the paper-based version, can be extended with a simple stamp and a scribble by an official, and the electronic one with a letter. Probably the Turks are just waving the problem away in this way. At the end of the day, it's not as if you can do much with an expired ID in terms of pulling serious fraud, can you?”
I laughed so much at this. Here was an Italian, making it seem so easy. As if anything in Italy is ever that easy! Even if it may be so on paper, practice is something else. Or perhaps he was lucky and we unlucky. Previous Italian ID's were valid for 5 years, then they extended it to 10. You didn't really need to have it stamped. All officials knew about it. However, we were planning to go to England, and for some reason my husband wanted to use the ID instead of his passport. As the expiry date written clearly at the back had passed even though the card was still valid according to the Italians, he wanted to have it updated. After all, the British authorities might not know about this change and we could be getting into trouble. So Carlo went to the municipality in Rome, as they were the ones who issued it, but was refused because we had transferred to Velletri. So next, he went to the municipality in Velletri. He was again refused, this time because the ID wasn't issued there! They didn't offer any solutions. Just left us stuck in purgatory.
As for not being able to do much with an expired ID in terms of pulling serious fraud... No?! I suppose expired ID's can be given to others... That might be a concern. I don't know...
I don't know as I have no knowledge about identity frauds or any other frauds. I'd say you can. But if not, why can't everybody travel with an expired ID or a passport? It's the same thing, no? Why is there a validity date for papers for some people and not for others? So I keep turning back to the same questions.
A different question would be... Why is Germany allowed ID expired in the last year and other listed countries 5 years? Plus, Italy is a European country allowed to enter Turkey with an ID. What is the difference for Italians, why aren't they included in the list of countries who can go in with expired ID's??
It simply doesn't make any sense to me.
Then another answer came: "You seem to have missed the last decades. Before Schengen, since the seventies, we Austrians (and dozens others) were allowed to go to Italy with an expired passport (5 years) - and vice versa. Nowadays we, as you Italians too, are allowed to enter Croatia and other countries with expired passports. The reason is easy to explain : Even 5 years expired passports are machine-readable and you may get all infos you want immediately online. That is why expired passport are no longer stamped “Expired“ or punched. The passport tells you who is there and the computer tells you the rest! Falsifications are not possible since a long time- so no need to be extra-strict with European passport holders. But perhaps you should focus on real problems."
"Yes, I did," I said. I missed the days we (Turkish) could travel without a visa in Europe. I made to see the days without airline security searches but it's a distant memory now... His explanation made sense, but there was a catch: We are not talking about expired passports, this is expired ID's. Do the above listed countries have machine-readable ID's? If so, that might make a bit of sense. That might also explain the discrepancy why Italy is not included on that list as I have not seen an electronic ID in Italy as of yet. So even if they might exist, I take it they are not very common.
Then a British volunteered: “When you book a ticket with Vueling, the website states that British passport holders can visit Spain with an expired passport. I've never seen this rule anywhere else.”
“Brits cannot travel in the rest of Europe with expired passports,” commented the Austrian.
Okay... So now I pose another question: What happens if a UK citizen goes to Spain with an expired passport and then travels onward in Europe? It's easy as there are no borders (at least theoretically.) I actually have an idea as this is what happened to me in reverse when I was returning home from my second round-the-world tour. I was about to be declared Persona Non Grata.
“I don't think I'd like to try it out,” said the British guy.
“Why wouldn't you like to try it out?” I said. “Of course you wouldn't want to turn up at the airport without any alternative. You should always carry the document that will let you in without trouble. So take your valid passport with you too. But trying with one that should be valid is not a problem. If they say no, you can always present the 'correct' one and be on your way. I've done that in many places. Just to test.”
It doesn't cost anything. Gives you insight to the world of rules and its applications.
Smuggling a Baby
Once, we were arguing with my husband if we could take our daughter out of the country without a passport. She was 9 months-old and it was going to be our first trip to Turkey, my home country. The Italian government does not issue ID's to babies. The Turkish does. My husband claimed EU regulations require a passport even for babies, so he wanted to get her the Italian passport. I insisted she could get out of Italy with her Turkish ID. After all, she was going to a country she was a citizen of. But of course, there was the issue of her return to Italy. I wasn't so sure about that but surely, they wouldn't, or couldn't (?!) detain a baby born in their country, or refuse entry to her with both her parents along. She'd still have a valid ID, even if a Turkish one. Oh, perhaps they wouldn't let us board the plane in the first place. Okay, of course no parent would do such a thing but what would they have done if we just left the baby there and went on to board our plane? Stuck in another purgatory.
We also started discussing about photo being required for the passport. Actually I started the discussion, my innocent husband is always my victim in such cases. Whenever I do not like something, I raise questions why we need to do it and try to find ways to get around it. If you asked my husband, he'd just do what he is told and get on peacefully with his life.
I claimed photo of a baby was meaningless. Who checks? Who can tell with babies anyway? I even suggested that we put the photo of a friend's baby. I was adamant that we could go around without trouble at all anywhere. :)))) Now, thinking about it, or rather writing about it, I cannot but laugh at myself. But I really believed in it, and still do in fact. It's just a pointless enforcement. Still... Why not just do what they ask without questions? (See? :)) -Again another question!- I'm made like this. I'm stuck in the why stage of childhood!)
My poor husbandish... He has had to face so many obstacles and objections from me all these years. He is the first one to take and bare all my protests about stupid rules.
I respect meaningful rules; but I respect myself even more and cannot accept being made to follow the idiotic ones." Gülin De Vincentiis
You know what happened in the end? We got her the Italian passport. Carried it along too. But I only presented mine and my husband's passports to the immigration. My daughter's Turkish ID, being just a thin paper, was inside my passport. The officer just had a look at our passports and waved us go. He didn't notice the ID, he didn't notice our daughter in her trolley either. Their booths are just so high up! I am sure that it is done especially, so that they can overpower you. They are looking from above you. Most people do not notice this kind of stuff, but they are done on purpose. They are subtle ways to get you to feel low/inferior, to prime you to obedience.
Then of course they are ridiculed like this. I had a good laugh pointing out how we smuggled our baby!
I don't want to make light of a serious issue. Child kidnapping is definitely serious. There might be a reason why they introduced the obligation of photos. (I was first going to say “There probably is a reason”, but I couldn't bring myself to express it so strongly. Yes, even a probability of a reason is strong when it comes to many rules. Unfortunately, I believe most rules are introduced without much thought by some ordinary Joe who doesn't know what he is doing but who by happenstance is in some position. Introducing such novelties makes them look like they are doing something, and most people are content with the illusion of something.: just like “security” at airports. Semblance seems to work with the majority of people.)
Anyway... Coming to my point... I'm not even going to point out the big discrepancy of resemblance between a newborn and a three year-old. That's the duration of validity of a baby passport. Three years. After 3 years of age, it prolongs to 5 years. Do you have any idea of how tremendous a change a child goes through in its initial stages? Even a 16 months-old is much different than its 6 months-old self. There is quite a big difference between a 3 year-old and a 6 year-old let alone an 8-year old. As long as the general facial features match, like the hair and eye color, it's so easy to mix them up. In fact, it's amazing that one may not even recognize her own baby!
Don't believe me?? I wouldn't blame you if you didn't, but I'm telling you this because I know! One night, we were going through some old photos. I said “Ah Alya!” Alya is the daughter of my brother. My husband corrected me, “No, that's Lara.” Mind you, they are very different children, nobody would mix them up if they stood next to each other. Again mind you, I'm not a working mother who left her child to nannies and spent so much time outside; no, I'm a mother who nursed for more than three years, I was 24/24 with my daughter for four years. And I still confused my daughter with someone else's child. True, I am not a visual person; but we're talking about my own daughter here! I had not seen that photo before, I couldn't associate the child in the photo with my daughter.
Okay, perhaps if one looks closely, with the intention of identifying, one might spot differences and be able to tell. But really, how many times did that happen to you? How many times did an official look closely into your face to make sure you were the right person?
The reason why more bad things don't happen in this world is not because of so much fake "security" but because most people are decent folks. You don't prevent child smuggling by obliging photos of infants but by intelligence measures.
In the end, someone came back saying “Perhaps you should focus on real problems.”
I thought about it. It sounds so true after all. What I am after is so trivial. BUT... It actually is not. There is something much more important behind all this. I believe idiotic rules are a very real and big problem and deserve more attention because they're a menace in disguise. You cannot correct something you are not aware of.
I seriously believe we are being dumbed-down by such rules. The 100 ml liquid rule is for one. Serves nothing but to hassle millions of ordinary innocent people, that is such a big waste of time and resources. Please read We The Sheeple and tell me you'd support me when I start a campaign to stop this idiocy! The security-theater you can watch in play 24 hours in all airports around the world.
I'm the Idiotic Rules Police :)) Unfortunately, nobody pays for it, I do it for free. That's fine but I wish people would at least appreciate it. It is a very vital task after all.
* Special thanks to Daniel Chambers, Heimo Liendl, Michael Lumsdon, Fabrizio Soggetto, Scott Shelley and Cheyenne Murray for their contribution to the conversation; and Solomon Watkins who said he will be trying it out ;)
“We are 7 billion here, we need rules in order to prevent total chaos.”
Sounds so right, right?
With all due respect, I again disagree ;) as I tend to do with -accepted- too many things in this world.
I asked a question in the title.
We Are 7 Billion Here, We Need Rules... Do We?
Now I'm going to put another question.: to the ones who answer “Yes, we do.”
Even if we do need rules, are these the rules that we need?
Think about it.
My answer is: We don't need rules, we need a different strategy. Or in other words... We need totally, drastically different rules of the world game we play.
I'll tell you why we don't need rules, at least not the ones that are in currency right now:
First of all, there are many rules in place that are simply and outright wrong. Or they do not work. But they still stay in place because some authority at one point in time put them there and over time it has become accepted currency and people no longer question it. Just like the case of visas and responsibility illustrates.
We certainly don't need rules that are not clearly defined, that even the authorities involved do not know about. That only gives assholes the power to ruin y/our days and steal y/our time and money should they wish to do so. And unfortunately, even though there are a good many of kind and nice people, there are too many ignorant assholes out there too.
Second... No, I correct, I should say “another first” as this is just as important as the first... Rules are made by man, applied by man. Unfortunately, even the just rules are subject to be wrongly applied. Either by ignorant people or by the corrupt. The ignorant is hard to educate and to correct their mistakes is a pain in the ass in this bulky bureaucratic machinery with red-tape all over. As for the corrupt, they abuse power to exercise it over ordinary, well-meaning people.
Third, connected to this second... There are too many such people who like to go on ego-power-trips. (I don't blame them too much. It's very difficult to accept that we are nothing, NOTHING in this huge universe and are so tiny, so insignificant in this crowded world. We all need recognition. If we cannot get it from our small circle, they resort to who they can overpower. (No, the change in the subject of that sentence from “we” to “they” is not a mistake. I included myself in the first part, because if I couldn't get it, I'd be doing the same. But excluded myself from the second group as I get recognition from my core family and the approval of those two people are the most important.))
Last but not least... Many of the rules today are based on old definitions. Take Citizenship for example. Citizenship definitely needs to be redefined. Because the way it is defined now, it is beyond ridiculous. In our more connected world, our identities are changing. http://www.gulin.world/identity.html
Similarly with borders and visas. All these date back to a different time period in history. What is a letter of invitation? What is the meaning of booking hotels and flight tickets where they can so easily be faked or cancelled? All these bureaucratic systems need to come to their senses. I know, even the way it is, way too many people take them seriously. Whereas, they really should be ridiculed!
An Alternative Approach
Now you'll be saying “Ah, it's so easy to criticize. Come up with what to do then; what's the alternative?” or ask me “So you sayin' that there should be no rules?”
No, I'm not saying that at all. And I'll tell you what to do. Make the rules simpler; not more complex and detailed. Install a sense of logic and common-sense in people so that they can judge things fairly. I know I know... This is a very hard task. Still, it's achievable if you channel your energy to that instead of all the other useless stuff governments are trying to put into children's clean minds.
Make rules simple and clear. Like the 10 Commandments.
Inject a better sense of morals in children. Raising a child is a hard task. Support mothers. Now that I have seen the growing-up of a child first-hand, I know the stages they progress. Looking at the world in the meanwhile with the bit of wisdom of some age, I see that there are too many adults who have not managed to go past their anal stage.
It's very important how you raise a child. They are going to be the people who will make up the next generation. At the risk of sounding cliche, they're the future.
Get rid of this competition system.: the system that pushes you to take over others, be it by tripping them up. My daughter goes to a Montessori school. As some of you may know, it has a different approach. It was funny to find out that... -as they are regulated by the government they are obliged to give out report cards, but as they do not want to measure children with grades but let them be themselves and evolve according to their nature and interests, what do they do? They give all the children 9 in every course for all the five years of school! It's not that they do not care about the development of the child. They do. But they know that each child is unique. So they invite the parents and discuss what the children's strong points are and what they lag behind other children.
I don't know... Get rid of this indoctrination with rules, give them some room for innovation, creativity and better judgement. I'd say children should not be let out of their homes into the world until they have passed a basic logic test.
Of course, this is only the human resources part. The other big part of the issue is how to manage economic resources.
First... Get rid of this capitalistic system based on profit. Get rid of it quick.
No no, get rid of the profit system quick but don't rush to conclusions too quick ;) I'm not going into an argument about communism/socialism etc. Just a simple fact: Change the rules of the economics game. So that it would create a better, juster and more egalitarian world.
Look... I'm not so rich or anything, but I am definitely one of the more privileged compared to other people in the world. I'm not willing to give up any of my privilege as long as the game is based on “Who gets most wins the game.” As long as it is a zero-sum game, I want to be ahead of the game. But I don't like it that we are living in such an unfair world, I don't want to go around the world feeling I need to protect myself because I am threatened. Who am I threatened by? By the people who have less. The people who do not have enough. They need to survive too. If they cannot, they will naturally come after the haves. The solution that the haves have found to this threat is to hire and install security measures. Aaaarrrgghhh! Sorry but that is a hell of a crappy solution! You want to solve your problem while not caring about the other. You are only thinking of yourself, your egoistic self and excluding the other. No group who tries to survive by excluding the other can survive for long. Because the other is going to try to get to you, find a solution to overcome your barriers, your walls, your protection mechanisms. So this system simply keeps escalating the “protection vs attack” game. STOP IT! Stop it for God's sake. Stop this stupid game!
It's a stupid game because there cannot be any winners. Yeah, there are. Temporarily. Then the upper hand passes to the opponent team. You feel weak, you build up your defenses and attack once more to start this endless cycle all over again. STOP IT!
I recently read a comment on Youtube, the best channel where you can witness the most awful, unhinged face of humanity. After so many profanities, this guy wrote: “you white people WILL NEVER CHANGE. ON YOUR OWN anyway. But Mother Nature will have the last word--you see, you do have the lowest birth rates in the world and falling fast. These same parasites you think are the bane of your world--will be the same ones your countries depend on for the very basic of services as you DIE OUT. Ironic, isn't it? All that you maggots have stolen will ultimately go RIGHT back to their rightful owners. Karmic I would say.”
He might have a point as there are many “whites” out there scared to death (forgive the pun) that “their” race is being wiped-out.
Another comment was “What amuses me most, is those elected in political offices in Africa, for example in my country tend to own the resources and collude with foreigners to plunder the resources they expected to protect. They facilitate the criminal activities and protect the foreigners whom they treat as their masters. They will help them to avoid and evade taxes. They put up investments in places like Dubai, London, New York. The persecute those who expose them.”
Yes, that's the way it is. When anyone tries to show anything wrong the authorities do, they are quietly “shut up”. Either their mouths, or themselves in between four-walls under a lock.
We definitely need a UBI in its true sense, Universal Basic Income for everyone living on the planet. We are not fighting over scarce resources; we are fighting because of greed and because of lack of respect. We fight about making it ours and accumulating to guarantee our future when others are starving today.
I know... Any change in the system, even a small one, is a long long process. The people in power who can abuse the system are never giving up their privileges on their own. That's why there are rebels and revolutionaries. So the fighting goes on and on.
I also know there's never going to be heaven on earth, I know we humans will never live peacefully along one another. The bickering of neighbors is forever. Apart from some exceptional lucky few. Or just look at how many marriages break up, these are people who profess to love each other. That's the level of compatibility of one person with another.
So perhaps the only thing important is to find that one person you can get along with and live peacefully next to. Then hope the child you bear fits within your values too. No, even though you raise them with some values I believe you can instill only so much, they get their own minds and their own characters at some point. (Like I did ;) I did only after 40 years but sometimes the apple simply falls far from the tree. (Andrew Solomon's book “Far From the Tree” is a wonderful book that everyone should be reading.)
On the other hand, it's also true that we all carry the traces of our upbringing. More importantly, the society in which we grow up shapes our world views. All I'm saying is that “Let's shape the worldview of the next generation in a different way than the current idiotic rules, let's install a better program in them to get a better future output.”
Let's reset the world. It really is in need of a reset!
We Need a Nudge Towards Our Better Selves
“We need rules in order to prevent total chaos,” was the premise of the person that started all the above thought process for me.
Do you think this world is panning out nicely and it is because of the rules in place? If so, I'd say think again.
I believe a world without nations and borders would probably pan out better.
When I wish for no nations, I don't mean in a cultural sense. I mean in the sense of dividing people. There is a section in “I, Asimov” which explains it so well:
“The Earth should not be cut up into hundreds of different sections, each inhabited by a self-defined segment of humanity that considers its own welfare and its own "national security" to be paramount above all other consideration.
I am all for cultural diversity and would be willing to see each recognizable group value its cultural heritage. I am a New York patriot, for instance, and if I lived in Los Angeles, I would love to get together with other New York expatriates and sing "Give My Regards to Broadway."
This sort of thing, however, should remain cultural and benign. I'm against it if it means that each group despises others and lusts to wipe them out. I'm against arming each little self-defined group with weapons with which to enforce its own prides and prejudices.”
To me, the world is not total chaos because most people are fairly decent. At least until they get a chance to not be so ;)
Do you think the world would (or could) turn into worse chaos if the rules or the police weren't there? If you do, I cannot agree with you. We can agree to disagree or try to find a common ground.
Yeah, most people can be fairly decent, still... There is room for improvement. The improvement can come by the external factors. Like the Nudge by Nobel Prize winner Richard H. Thaler and Harvard Law School professor Cass R. Sunstein. I have not enjoyed the book so much, but its main premise is important. We should set up the world politics and economics game in such a way that it nudges us towards being nice so that we live in a better world. Sure, nudging can be a way of manipulation. But I believe, if used for the good, it is a wonderful tool. The current rules of the game nudge us towards getting the worst of us and presenting that to the world. Make rules such that we, all of us, can get the better part of ourselves.
In short... With all due respect, I disagree. We don't need rules, especially not the current ones; we need a more just and sensible economic system, we need better morals, we need a nudge towards our better selves and a better world.
There are too many people out there who argue just for argument's sake, with no sense whatsoever, no reasoning skills... I was saying that they were stuck in the anal stage.
When I thought of writing about it though, I said “Let me check before publishing such a claim.” I don't want to be bundled with the ignorant people talking without knowing anything. There are too many of those on the internet. I knew that there was some theory of Freud related to this. But I didn't know what it was exactly. So that's how I found about Freud's five psycho-sexual stages. Basically they are the oral, anal, phallic, latent and genital stages.
However, when I said “There are too many people stuck in their anal stage” I wasn't referring to that at all. I'm embarrasses to admit it was used as an insult. Not in a too bad way though, in an analytical way because they seem to be like children who do not know anything, but still object. “No. No!” they say. Then blabber some insensible stuff. When it's children we are talking about, it's understandable and forgivable. However, when it's adults, or at least who are supposed to be adults judging by their age, it's not so nice.
Having witnessed the growing up of a child freshly, I know there are a series of stages in which children grow and mature. They all come the same model. I have to talk to other parents around the world but I'd say some things are just universal.
The oral stage of Freud would be the stage where they put everything in their mouths. Unlike Freud, I don't think that it's related to any sexual satisfaction; it's just the fact that at that stage that's the only way babies get to learn the objects in their environment.: as their senses and language abilities are not developed yet. Then comes the “What is this?” stage. Then comes the “No” stage, or the so-called terrible 2's or 3's, where they get to realize that they are separate from their surroundings, where they want to assert their own identity. Then there is the “Why?” stage. Why, why, why? Why this, why that? Then there is the “cacca” stage, I don't know what children say in English, probably “poo” or “shit”... We got worried when our daughter was constantly saying “eat cacca” “cacca in your face” “cacca this, cacca that” all the time, it was embarrassing at dinner table with other people around. Of course, the first thing to do in such cases is to go check the internet. When I found out that it's normal, that all children do this, it's a stage, I was relieved. In fact, it passed. So basically, this was the stage I was talking about when referring to people being stuck in the “anal stage”.
And obviously, I am stuck in the “Why?” stage. My questions never finish!
My head hits the ceiling when people insist on their mistakes instead of saying sorry even when they know very well that they are in the wrong.
My head hits the ceiling when people lie brazen-facedly.
My head hits the ceiling when people have double-standards.
Ignorant people quite often take out guns to shoot you. The thing they are unaware is that their guns are empty as they are ignorant. So when I see somebody trying to hit me like that, I just get the gun from their hands, fill it with my ammunition of knowledge and readily shoot them down. I know it's very bad of me, but I can't help myself. It gives me such a great satisfaction. So, next time, I suggest you try to be careful about who you are trying to hit and with what.
Don't bring out the worse in me. I've got quite a big amount of good that you can appreciate.
Lately, I have come up with a motto that I really like and feel should go viral. Everybody has a good and a bad side. We all have both traits in us. Even the good, can do better. So I say, “Get the better of yourself and present that version of yourself to the world. Keep the worse of your self locked up in the house, in your own-self.” We spend so much time over dressing up, putting on make-up, hair-dos etc. Spend that time working on your inner beauty and reflect that to the world. Sure, it doesn't hurt, or it is nice to have a good outward/external look. But if you carry around your worse-self, the dress-up is of no use.
Now run, go get the better of yourselves and come back ;)
Someone told me: “We should get rid of our entitlement...”
I smiled to myself. Actually it's the other way around. The fact is... I/We do not have entitlements and I am actually asking/demanding entitlements! I demand, not for myself only, but for everybody, the entitlement to go wherever they/we wish in this world without the need for visas and controls. Yeah... I think we are all entitled to that. Even though in this world we live in, we are not. Therein comes my fight. To get that entitlement granted for/to everyone.
Should governments be entitled to make visa rules that are not clear, or even their own authorities do not know about as in the case of China? Should governments be entitled to make changes to these visa rules without informing all the authorities involved world-wide as in the case of Djibouti and Gabon? Should governments be entitled to make us go around like rats in a maze? Should we be at the order of their whims?
Should governments be entitled to make any visa rules at all, should governments be entitled to block us from moving around the world we were born on? Oh, so you are one of those who believe governments are bestowed with the natural right to decide who gets within their borders? Do you believe that the necessary and decisive battle against terrorism justifies putting groups of certain people under general suspicion and requiring visas from people of certain origins when they want to move around the world they were born on? Okay, but then, why was all the big fuss about Trump's travel ban? If you believe in borders, the imaginary lines, if you believe in visas and the status-quo and you were backing up Trump in this case, I commend you for your consistency. Because consistency in argument is a very important trait:. which one does not come across often.
Visa requirements are nothing but tarring people born within a certain line with the same brush.
So the question is one of national sovereignty versus personal freedom of movement.
Whose entitlement are we talking about here?
I believe government authorities are the ones who need to give up their entitlement to hassle us. We are the ones paying their bills, we do not deserve this treatment. When I took the overland bus from Yaounde to Libreville and we were stopped at literally every corner -those of you who have travelled in Africa overland will understand me so very well. Roadblock. Stop. Show your ID's. Get down. Some random shakedown. Get back on. A couple of meters -okay let me not exaggerate too much - kilometers later, repeat all over.- I was just perplexed thinking... “Who gave the money to these 'soldiers' to buy these guns they carry? Who bought them these guns and what for? It's the people who paid for these guns by their taxes. And I'm sure the people didn't buy the guns so that the guns could be used against them. But that's exactly what happens! The guns are used against the people whom they are to protect. And as I said, the most ironical, farcical ironical (Is there such a term? Even if not, I just coined it now) thing is that the people have paid for these guns used against them!
No no no... Don't even for a second think that this is about Africa. It's no different in the “Western”, the so-called “civilized” world. The only difference is they do it in a much more subtle way. They do it with a nicely thought of scenario making people think that they need to be protected and the government is only protecting them. So people accept having to give up their liberties. I hope we have all heard of Benjamin Franklin's quote:
I'm seriously amazed that people see authority figures as their protector... Oh, of course, they put on uniforms, put on badges to make themselves important, to give themselves an air of grandeur. In some cases, they also carry guns. These people, oh such big big people, carry out such an important task, the task of protecting us by hassling us with 110 milliliters, or baby milk, or snow-spheres, or baby spoons, or wooden snake toys, oh how well are they protecting us! Then there is an explosion at some airport, at some concert, at some metro station, a truck running over people. Oh but we are protected! Governments are protecting us from dying up in the air! If we blow up in a bus, that's not their concern.
“Oh come on... How can they do that, how do you expect them to security-check everyone getting on and off at every bus-stop?”
I'm not. I'm not expecting such a thing at all. If you come up with such a counter-argument, you do not get anything I am saying. On the contrary, Exactly my point! I'd like you to be aware that they are doing the security checks at airports just because they can! One big load until destination. Buses, trains do not fit so nicely and easily to their control method. I am only saying these in order to open your eyes to the fact that airport security is nothing but a farce. I want you to be aware of it. It's a “security theater” as Bruce Schneir puts it.
I'd say okay, let people act in this theater if they wish; don't interfere. After all, the “feeling of security” is important too. Perhaps even as important as “real security” itself. But here is the catch:
At what cost? Who is paying for all that? We are paying of course. We are paying for it with taxes added into our tickets, an amount over which we have no say. We are the little people.
The cost is not only money, it is also the amount of time and energy which could be put to a much better use. The cost doesn't stop there either. There is also the psychological cost of the hassle we are exposed to. And perhaps the most important is a hidden cost, a far-reaching cost that we are not aware: The fact that we are dumbed down and start taking this for granted. Like the frog who is not aware he is being boiled as the temperature increases slowly.
I want people to be aware that the security controls at airports are way-too-far a farce to be acceptable if not totally pointless. The only reason why there are no more bombs exploding in the world is not because of these “security” controls but because there are not that many awful people plotting and lurking behind a corner to get us. (Or they are working in other territories.)
I'm not saying there is no need for protection. Sure there is. But that is achieved not by hassling ordinary people going about their business, hassling millions of them every day at every airport around the world, but by intelligence services. I don't know how they do it, but yeah, some guys up there have the tools to know who is plotting what. It's their area of expertise. I'm good with them. I'm just not good with the ones that I come face-to-face with every day in my life. Those are the bad kind. Sure, there are the good and well-meaning ones among them, but way too often there are the power-abusers. I don't want those kind in my life if you please.
And I love this quote! I think it is as essential as Franklin's:
I'd be fine if you didn't force me to accept giving up my liberties for your fears. I would indeed appreciate that a lot!
Dexter Dias is a human rights barrister. When I found out his book “The Ten Types of Humans”, even though I am suspicious of such titles, I thought it would be interesting. Given his experience, he probably knew so many interesting cases. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. There are just a few case examples and I didn't learn anything special about what goes on be it in human-trafficking or child slavery etc. However, I found one thing very intriguing. The question he put at the beginning of his book about the Kinsman.
The question is simple: What would you do if you found yourself in a position to choose over the life of your child or the life of 24 other children? He paints an example, -too much of a scenario if you ask me, but it probably would be considered quite valid in the US where such situations happen quite often. The scenario is this: You receive a call that there is a gunman at your daughter's school. You go there. Your daughter is in one room and there are 24 children in another room. Your choice is this: If you face the gunman, you all die. If you go in to the room where your daughter is, you save her life; the other children die. If you go in to the room with the other children, you save their lives; your daughter gets to die. What do you do?
I'm sorry... I'm saving my daughter.
He says “I know what you would do. I know what you'd do because I would do the same. Because virtually everyone we know would do the same.”
“Ah, good then,” I think. Not that I was feeling guilty about it. Still... it relieves you to know that you wouldn't seem selfish or cruel because of your choice and be judged.
Then he modifies the question some. What if there were 50 children versus your child? Would that change your decision? What if there were a 100?
I'm again sorry... I'm still saving my daughter.
Even 500 or 5000 or 5 million... I doubt it will matter. The world is crowded; I have but one daughter. (One who is alive that is.)
I had increased the number of my own accord but reading on, he increases it to a million and asks again. Writes it out in numbers: 1,000,000 so as for us to see the sheer magnitude of the lives at stake. That's how many lives you can save if you give up only one. But that 1, is your daughter.
He asks “Still not enough?”
No. Sorry, it's not. It's not enough. There is no enough.
Then he modifies the question in a different way. What if, among the 24 or a million, there was a young scientist who had found out the cure for cancer. The catch is, she hasn't shared her discovery with anybody yet. Would you save her or your child?
“Think of all the generations of unspeakable suffering and grief you will save.”
Actually, that doesn't affect me much. It doesn't have to be cancer patients. Losing your child is an unspeakable suffering and grief, I should know. If I were to think of that, I'd have saved the million children in the first place.
“Can you live with the condemnation of the generations if you choose your child? Can you live with yourself if you don't?”
Yeah I will. If someone has found a cure, someone else will find the cure as well. Until then, we live with cancer just like we have done all this time.
“If it's possible, step back. Think about what you're seriously considering. You're contemplating consigning generation after future generation to suffering the continuing blight of cancer, just to save one child.”
E yeah. But you are forgetting one thing, the most important thing: It is my child you are talking about. Oh, if it's somebody else's child, I'd sure save the scientist. That one is easy.
Why is the other one easy too? Because the one person you are talking about... She is my child. As Carnegie puts it, the boil on my neck, or on anybody's neck for that matter, is more important to me/to them than any other pain of other people.
“What would you do?
I know what you would do. I know what we'd both do. But why?”
Ah okay, so you'd do the same. Good.
Mr. Dias stops there. But I add other questions myself: What if I knew I'd be getting cancer, suffering and dying, or it could be that I already had cancer and was counting on this scientist to save my life... What then? Would I still save my daughter or the scientist?
I'd save my daughter.
What if it was my daughter versus the scientist plus a million other children?
I'd still save my daughter. I'm sorry for all the loss of life, but I'm saving my daughter. It makes you realize how important your/one's child is... how important my child is to me.
Let's make another twist to the question: What if I knew my daughter would be getting cancer and dying if not for this scientist? Then what would I do?
Yeah, then I'd save the scientist and give up my daughter. Only then... Only then I would.
I confess, again for very selfish reasons. For the sole reason that I wouldn't want to see her suffer and die. For the sole reason that I cannot bear to stand and watch her suffering, and find it better that she doesn't suffer and I suffer her absence on this earth.
My husband objected to this line of reasoning. He said “Just like you said beforehand, if not that scientist, somebody else will find the cure for cancer.”
Yeah, might be. But when? If I knew somebody would find the cure on time for my daughter, I'd for sure sacrifice the scientist again.
What about if the other children were the children of my best friends?
Not that I have best friends with so many children... But still it wouldn't matter. I'm saving my child.
My heart would break. My heart would go out to them. My heart goes out to all mothers who lose their child. But if I have to make a choice, I'm saving my child.
Mr. Dias calls this person the Kinsman. He says “It will sacrifice dozens or even hundreds of other children - even a thousand – for just one of its own.” Yes, it will. Yes, I will.
“We all want to protect our children. Everybody knows that. But do we appreciate the frightening strength of that drive? How aware are we of the ruthless extent that it chooses our child over others?”
Ruthless extent... Yes, I agree. It is a ruthless extent.
There is one thing though... I said I'd choose my daughter over all the other children. Yet... This is all in theory. This is when I am sitting in my couch, content with the knowledge that my daughter is healthy and fine and there are no child's lives at risk, that no other child's life depends on me.
When it comes the time, if I am faced with such a reality, it is quite possible that I cannot bring myself to sacrifice all those children. I might just sacrifice myself, my daughter, just because I'd feel it would be the right thing to do. I know I know... Generally it's the other way around. People know the right thing but still go ahead and do the wrong thing. Well, I am almost always opposite to the general trend. I have a strange reasoning. I mean I've found that out after so much conflict, misunderstanding, and arguing in my life. There must be something wrong with the way I am wired. Not that I believe I am wrong or bad. On the contrary, I believe it's all the other people who are strange ;)
“Did you 'break'? This is the term we've pretty quickly settled on when I've spoken to groups about this problem. Did you reach a point at which you left your child? Some people –very few- break at 24. Far more when it gets to 50 other children. Many more find their breaking point closer to 100. I have a friend who did not break even if the toll would be every other single children on the planet. Until she realised she wanted a child for her daughter to play with – so everyone else minus one, that was her number. That friend (she's still a friend) is a lawyer.”
Well... Obviously Mr. Dias feels the need to stress that this “horrible” person who sacrifices all other children over her own is still a friend! I wouldn't have deemed it necessary. To me, I wouldn't care about my daughter having someone to play with. There will be children born. In the meantime, she entertains the company of adults. The only thing I'd consider would be the trauma for her seeing all her friends die. That might be too much for her to deal. I have a 6 year-old.
Perhaps, I might break at five million children. Or maybe not. But if my child was to kill five million, I'd sacrifice her. I'm just sharing what I think honestly and openly here. In the hope that no one will make judgements. But in case anybody wants to, feel free.
“We all have a number. What's yours? What do these numbers say about us? By our numbers shall we be known?”
I leave these questions for you to think about and answer.
PS: I give the first answer in the comments ;)