Politics of abuse and feelings

I live in a small town in the province of Verona. Around me a beautiful garden, and two houses, not much else. English in not my native language, but I almost feel freer to speak in English, without that perverse Italian culture, which shuts down alternative opinions, or critiques. I want to break free too.

Having an opinion or be critical about the status quo, is considered a social crime. In the last decades, the in positions of powers were defined by politics, not competence. This had a cascade effect in destroying cultural advancements.

Public services have become poorly managed, ineffective and abuse is just the norm. There is not even a possibility to be heard. Politics, over here, is like a professional association which doesn’t have the rule of law as a standard reference for its actions. In this kind of context, there is not much room for beauty, creativity, positive growth, both personal and as society, competence, achievements.

Personal relations are affected too, obviously, as the most abusive ones gain powers, those who question it, are sent away. Even to find highly educated people to speak and reason with, one needs to look oversee, as anyone who remains, doesn’t question, as a copying mechanism.

I obviously interact with many social structures, and I can see those copying mechanism in action. There cannot be deep respect for oneself and others, in a society whose main structures are abusive relation of power.

One can only decide not to continue the cascading effect and be a barrier to abuse, not accepting it and not doing it to others, no matter what. It is also important for non-abusers, to meet, as connections provide strength and support. Also, the solution, is not to promote abusive behavior, but behave as you wish to be treated. I don’t know how the abusive ones around you might understand or see what they are doing. I don’t know what can transform consciousness. Some believe that love has this power. Maybe. I really don’t know.

Feelings and knowledge must go hand in hand. One might help the other, or support the other or compensate the shortcomings of the other, but I don’t know how to train feelings. Maybe by not being scared to feel. I keep reading that it is fear that prevents us from experiencing life. So maybe having a more balanced approach to fear, could be a first step, not to be unnecessarily scared, which might lead to experiencing feelings.

How to create a fearless, welcoming environments? With openness, transparency, authenticity, with an understanding, non-judgmental approach. Using the information we acquire, not to punish, but to understand others, their actions and reactions. Acknowledging our feelings too and respecting them, is also a fundamental step towards respecting others. So when someone’s behavior is hurtful, it is right to honor it, to respond to that need and to communicate it, in a non-abusive manner, to start breaking the chains.

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Posh beggars

Central banks create part of the money in circulation. They lend them to private banks, who also create “their own” money via loans and other financial services, those private institutions buy public debts and that is how states can intervene in societies and money is distributed. Hello world. We are told we live in a capitalistic one, where only the fittest survive. Business wise however, state aids are massive and they are justified “by reasons of general economic development”.

So if “the state” decides that AI is the way to go, then that industry will receive massive public investments and can continue to invest even without profits. Do I think it is fair? No. Not with my debt.

I wish I could decide, directly, how to invest my portion of the public debt, since I’ve to pay for it with my taxes, my work, my time, ultimately a big portion of my life. So, the rules of raw competition only apply to slaves/workers, not big companies and industries in general and here I have a couple of local examples.

Recently, I was told a couple of info that really shocked me and I thought that perhaps my contribution to society could be to let those news out. I have finally found one of my purposes in life: allow true stories to find their way out to the public. Good, you see how the world treats these people.

So, a steelwork company in the city center of Verona, a highly visited, touristic city in the norther part of Italy, is about to close. Finally, one would immediately think. A multinational company would like to buy it though and continue its “business operations” right there. That will save 300 people’s jobs. They also received political backups and permissions for the transit of heavy vehicles on ancient bridges. In exchange, the company will buy electric bicycles for the city and perhaps build a new bridge. It sounds like a deal but I genuinely hope you read this in a sarcastic way.

You would assume a motorway exit, or a secondary train station, to be more appropriate places to move an industry that fuses and works with heavy metals, considering the massive cargoes that need to be transported, but no. That factory had been one kilometer away from ancient roman artifacts the whole world admires, for a 100 years and there will continue to stay despite the fact the economy of the city has developed enormously in the meantime and despite the health consequences linked to steel micro powders and dioxin. I am always so happy when I see how the smartest people rule society overall, while the dumb ones lie on its sides. It is the survival of the fittest law, like we saw before.

The other piece of info that reached me is the following. You know when (old) cruises tilt and get stuck and insurance companies pay for their dismissal? Oh, you didn’t know that. Now you do. Apparently it is a standard practice for multinational companies as a way to avoid paying the dismantling of these gigantic old coffeepots, which are objectively massive and problematic to deal with. It seems that 99.9% of the times there are no consequences for passengers who walk safely on land, like Jesus on the Sea of Galilee.

It appears to the general opinion that insurance companies are nasty bitches only for small, economically insignificant people, but for multinationals, they close one eye and pretend not to know. Did you know the Mediterranean sea is one of the graveyards for big ships? That is because it is the mildest of the seas. Even old couches with just a bit of make up on so to look smart, without the most advanced forms of security systems or warn frames, can seal it.

Of course, in general terms, and as it always happens, it is a single person’s fault. Do not ever doubt that or you might develop a CD, a conspiracy disorder. In case you do, stay calm and have faith. There’s a pill for that too, so that you can be cured and return to believe we live in a fair world.

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I love you – but don’t spoil my day with my responsibilities

So we spoke for two months, we had tango classes together, several group ones, as well as private lessons. You were my teacher. I wrote for you articles for your blog and we went out on a couple of occasions. One to a nearby small pub, listening to some rock music while playing childishly on the sofa, another one to a bar drinking exotic freshly squeezed, well-presented juices, nearby the ball school. We spoke endlessly, texted daily, hourly to be more precise. We shared our fears, our weaknesses, we kissed in your car, on a plateau overlooking your town, in the middle of a starry night, like teenagers. You thought I was twenty one. You are forty eight. We agreed on keeping our relationship at that level, nothing more. We made plans for further work we could share.

One evening, after a private lesson, you invited me to your home. You knew it in advance. I didn’t. I had opened up with you previously and I had shared intimate details about my physical difficulties in having sex and all the preparations required. i spoke with you because you seemed a sensitive soul. I did it because I would not have expected to have sex with you. You are short, and a lot older than me.

I tend to share stories with people on trains, but I am not the only one, knowing I will not meet them again. I think we all do it more or less, because we feel there are no consequences in opening up to a strangers, which is probably wrong, but life is full of mistakes. That is why I didn’t bring any form of lubricant with me, I didn’t expect we would have been that intimate.

It was never in our plans as we discussed many times. Yet, you knew differently.

After sharing an unremarkable moment, one can easily forget, you took me back to my car and I drove home. Nothing major happened, at least from my perspective, a few attempts, some rubbing. Eventually you took things in your hands, and helped yourself, on my side. Maybe I’m just trying to minimize or to deny it. Either way, it was enough.

The day after I began to feel pain in my urethra. The area was intense red and painful.

I share it with you. You minimize. You tell me of your candida issues you experienced with your ex-es. Couldn’t you share that before? Couldn’t you use a protection then? Selfish bastard. You blame me, and I never had anything in my life. You keep saying you are fixed in two days with an antibiotic, cortisone based cream which you use for an equal amount of time. With another fungicidal cream, used topically for two days, you cure your symptoms, but not the root cause, which remains latent.

You get angry with me for being fearful about my health. You take no blame and instead say my intestine must be full of the candida fungus. However, you did not enter in contact with my intestine, although you wanted. I said no. Two times. Even if you ignored me, I was still closed and nothing happened. So, no, you cannot blame my intestine as you probably do with the others, when you do not encounter any physical resistance.

“I don’t want my day to be spoiled” it’s the message I received a couple of days after that night, because someone showed an interest in taking over the shop you are leaving. I have not heard from you since.

Ten days passed and I am left dealing with the issue, the pain and the worries of having received a disease I never had, for the first time in my life. Thanks to you.

I decide to write to you, because I want to know how you could feel OK, after all we shared to treat me like that. How could you have simply disappeared. How could you not feel you owned me at least some help and an apology. So I write to you, but you cut short, annoyed, and the way you find to feel better about yourself, is by offending me, and calling be “unstable”, as you did with all the ex-es you told me about.

A man like you, probably feels proud.

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The morality to say no, to a system built upon others’ weaknesses

The golden aura that surrounds people who work to defend high principles and values shines bright. Justice, health, knowledge, are among the values most of us strongly affirms as fundamental, but recently I’ve been observing how reality is full contradictions. Very amusing, in a way.

I met a war photographer, whose family created his wealth by producing weapons. He was clearly proud of not following the family’s business and having dedicated his life to reporting from more than eighty foreign battlefields. He is doing that, obviously, not as a charitable act, but as paid employment, by an American company.

So in a way, one could say that the country who is contributing to dropping bombs, also gains the international rights to use the images of death it helped creating, while he is gaining an income from the very existence of war. Like his family did.

Yes, there must be a difference, which lies in the different use of the product of his and his family’s labor. Clearly his pictures make sure we are aware of war’s atrocities, while weapons are used to kill. Double thinking about it, the very same pictures can also be used to humiliate war’s victims in their life’s most fragile moments and as a representation or propaganda of military power. Likewise, the very same weapons may be used to defend other lives.

Then I think of our society and the fact that the entire system on which is is based, actually lies on faults. Like the availability of freshly printed money lies on newly formed debts, pharmaceuticals rely on illnesses, medical doctors work because we get sick, judges and lawyers protect interests, when there are crimes. All those highly regarded and highly paid professions, need poverty, illnesses and crime to be able to exist. Isn’t that curious? The very pompous judge, needs a criminal, the all knowledgeable medical doctor needs a weak, ill person, the banker needs the slave, and his life time, to buy his figures. They all have an active interest in the system to be based on such premises. So misery exists as the very pre-condition for this entire socio-economic system to run smoothly.

If the system were designed to create, wealth, health, safety, perhaps we wouldn’t need as many praised professionals as we do now, and what could all these highly praised, ego dominated people do? There are clearly conflicting interests, perhaps everyone should be paid, only if the positive values where the norm and not be paid for any illnesses, use of drug or injustice. So the doctor should be paid if the patients maintain good health. Pharmaceutical companies if citizens would not have to take drugs, and judges and lawyers if we were all in the position to act rightfully.

Perhaps we should be paid for the kind of society we aspire to live in, with an income reduction when the just, fair and healthy system, is under-performing.

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Left without looking

You know one of those unexpected encounters when you see someone that captures your attention and you feel drawn to that person. I was having a juice at a café where I usually go. A place full of plants, as it’s a glasshouse. In front of me I see this handsome man, working on his computer. Trainers, t-shirt, dark hair and huge, beautiful hands. He is working on a Mac on a few texts, I think he is a programmer. His facial profile, looks like an ancient statue, middle eastern, with a beard. He is working intensively on his computer and I think he looked at me twice. But not anymore. I’m sitting behind towards his right. I wish I could draw him, make a portrait while he works, but I don’t have my pencils, only my computer. So all I can do is describe him with words. He would be an excellent piano player, or a great artist, his hands are the best way a hand could develop. I can see how faulty I am in my descriptions, how little words I have to create images. He is only one meter away from me, but almost impossible to reach. Maybe I am not that interesting for him. There are two different music on the background playing at the same time, they are not playing in sync. Like me and him. Gosh am I so unimpressive? It would be so much easier if I were striking beautiful. He left without a glance. Silly me, now I’m standing in the café, writing this nonsense.

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You know the answer, it’s Rebecca’s fault.

It’s always Rebecca’s fault for being who she is. That’s why she finds herself in trouble, because she doesn’t comply.

Clearly a slave that does not comply is an issue, but any sentient being would not like to be enslaved for an evil purpose right? Wrong, she should adapt her personality to society’s needs, family’s expectations, colleagues’ ego. Being herself, knowing herself, following her intuitions and personality as it unfolds, those are her real problems. She is different and that is definitely an unwelcome trait of her. Independent individuals are not well regarded in this age and times. Have they ever been?

So she thought, how to defend herself from all the accusation that being herself is offensive to society? She talks about facts, the others keep saying she is wrong on a personal, internal level. Religious groups, say she needs to be rebuilt internally, and then get upset if she says they have sectarian tendencies, but who else would say “you should be rebuilt internally”, if not a controlling, well, sect?

The sun shines beautifully, and there are always reasons for Rebecca to be cheerful. No matter how dark the times might be, there are also good people she meets and despite all difficulties, she can rely on other people’s experiences to feel that she is not alone. Books were great too and altogether she came to realize that hers, were actually shared experiences.

But how to move forward, to be self sufficient, not only economically, but psychologically? We are not islands are we? Gosh all those rhetorical questions are so boring. Sometimes I just feel I repeat already digested concepts, it’s so difficult to be original, everything I think of, has already being thought before, and most likely expressed in better ways.

Back to Rebecca, why can’t she just shut up and comply as everyone else does. It’s the majority’s rule, isn’t it. They have a right to command and demolish whoever thinks differently. She really is a black sheep, never happy, always questioning. Wouldn’t the whole world be happier without her? I mean, those who keep on the illusions would certainly be, the ruling economies would, the slaves would, as there would be no one to blame for raising questions and overall being a nuisance.

Everybody would essentially benefit because the majority of people would be happy and that is democracy. So, go to hell Rebecca. Even your family wouldn’t miss you, since you seem to accuse everyone of being unfair towards you. What if you had a victim issue? Maybe because you have been bullied in your past and then you replicate the story like victims do. It’s always the victims’ fault. Well that’s easy to blame them at least. It takes away everyone’s guilt.

Rebecca: Hey, you, narrator, may I say something about this? Yes, I have been a victim, in a way since childhood, yes everyone would be better off if I didn’t exist, but, who says you have more rights to live than me? Yes you belong to a majority, that’s fair, but there are species in the natural world who are getting extinct, yet we value them, as society. So, it’s not because I belong to a minority that I should shut up. I have a right to exist by the simple fact that I was born. So why don’t you keep your democratic majority issues to yourself. Democracy only works when people have free time to inform themselves and be knowledgeable, if not, it’s a form of control over the masses and a form of illusion about freedom. I understand it makes the majority feel better and carefree to think that someone is responsibly taking care of all important, demanding issues and that they are free, but do they actually really feel free? You say that I am a problem because I could interfere with your plans, just by being myself, and you call that attitude democratic? I report facts, you respond with personal offenses, personal judgments, personal isolation, how about responding with other facts for a change?

Well, Rebecca, as the narrator of this story, I kind of have the power on what to write, so you are already clearly inferior to me, but I’d like to share with you this important piece of information: rational, fact-based reasoning is not actually conducive to truth, because everyone selects the facts that will suit their reasoning. Everyone adopting that approach would have a rationale that proves their case and there would be no ultimate truth we could all agree on. Sorry about that, you thought you could prove what you wanted, but you are only proving yourself, you prove what you are, you are not describing an objective truth. Do you get it?

Rebecca: Oh so you are telling me that there is no objective truth. What if I kick you in the tibia? That is relative right and subject to opinions and especially projections right? Hey why don’t we try and see how it goes.

– Gosh, you are so violent, you bet people isolate you!

– Hey that’s your opinion and projection you are applying to me and by the way it’s not a fact at all, you are just describing your personal view about me. I want facts. What if I kiss you then, would that be an equally valuable experiment? Would that be just my opinion and my projection? I believe it’s a fact, but you can alway work it out yourself, with time.

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You are free to do as I say

It’s yet another beautiful day of sun, but I’m not in La la land, although I am living in a fantasy town as well, perhaps even more than LA, as it’s almost like a theme park nowadays. I think in the past I thought that the city was sold and bought in such a crude way that I could see some similarities with the stories of abusive prostitution. It’s difficult to feel thoughtful when the warmth of the rays gently caress the skin. Now that’s a therapy for depression, instead of hours talking and reasoning about things. Just sunshine. That’s too easy though, and we know easy solutions do not sustain the economy. A friend of mine asked me to write about my last work experience, because it’s a story of illusions and usual malpractices in the public administration. What could be more interesting is that official institutions did nothing about what I shared and asked for no proof of what I was saying, simply ignoring the facts. It’s too complicated to be dealing with that. It’s not a murder case, where facts are rather straight. It’s “simply” a story of mistreatments or forms of mental and emotional abuse, on the line:

– If you pass me anything (I had coughed once)I’ll bang you outside of the office kicking your ass.

– You know while you have been sick, we didn’t feel any difference in the office, you are useless, a piece of shit. We expected a Ferrari when we hired you and we find ourselves with a Cinquecento.

– If you sign your voluntary resignations, we will amend the disciplinary proceedings. [talking to someone else] If she doesn’t resign by herself, we fire her with these things here [the disciplinary proceedings]

– [talking to a group of people] She looks like a lamb, but she is a monster. Sometimes it happens to step on a piece of shit in life.

– [screaming] Do not ever dare to contact me again, is that clear?

Business as usual in a country where the relation of powers are almost always unfair, unjust, perhaps in a word one could say, corrupted. It is the mentality over here and it is present in almost all relations. Perhaps it comes embedded in the DNA or in the culture of those raised here. Everyone apparently rejects the Mafia style of mentality, only to behave like a Mafia club, given the opportunity. That applies to families, associations, religious groups. Those who do not share this kind of mentality of complacent “mind your business, you will live long”, or “choose a friend” or someone you know that belongs to the “family”, if not you are going to have “loyalty” problems, independently of whether one acts correctly or not.

Respect assumes twisted meanings, closer to subjugation like:

– I respect her, although I have been telling her lies for two years, me and all my “brothers”, for the sake of quiet living.

– I can’t switch off my phone at night or at any time, I have to be available for my family at all times [no medical reason for that].

– Apologies to my sister and bring her a gift, or you can consider yourself free [no more in a “loving” relationship].

I’m talking perhaps too generally so I’m not offering any interesting piece of news. The reality is that these cult-style experiences, leave those who live them rather empty, because they question their own understanding of reality and their own capabilities. The cult, political or religious based, consists of a mass of people, mostly brainwashed, one way or another, by a society that doesn’t value independent thinking or constructive criticism.

Aren’t citizens often called, “consumers”, by the way, as that’s what they are valued for: consumption and production. Gradually they will be valued only for their capabilities to consume, as robots will be able to take care of most of production, which is not bad by the way. We could all be artists and judges/consultants working an hour a day. Perhaps corruption would vanish and we would live in a better society.

Yes, in a hundred years time. Meanwhile, those who live now, have to deal with the same old human dynamics, only more complicated and subtle, since as we know more, we find finer ways to take advantage or manipulate others.


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Truth doesn’t lie where profit is involved

What is the Truth? How can I know that what I know is part of it? For centuries people tried to understand life and all it mattered was to understand more, dig deeper and possibly to unveil life’s secrets. Are we so sure though that even in the past, the research conducted didn’t serve a specific purpose? Because we tend to find what we are looking for and this is true in every realm of life. Even scientific research.

Everything I say might be wrong I have no pretence to speak the truth as each person should walk the path of research. I am not satisfied with what I read though, I hope I can at least say that.

Where can I find truth? Honesty? Nowadays I guess anywhere but where there’s money involved. Perhaps this is why I haven’t been close to money in a while! Where there’s money, there’s interest and where there is one particular interest to take care of, there is no open approach to accept the truth in its contradictory terms.

Besides, I didn’t know, I recently found out that the majority of the scientific research published today is found wrong at some point “tomorrow”, once new data come in. Hence the business of research publishing and all its consequences.

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An alien view on human behaviour

The more I interact, as I have to do every day, the more I understand that I’m an alien otherwise I could not explain any behaviour of those humans. Help me to make sense of this please:

Someone hosted me on Couchsurf. He seemed kind, I brought gifts he likes very much. The second day of my stay I had to leave at 7.40ish in the morning with him, because he didn’t want to leave me his house keys and I stayed outdoor all day. Our meeting in the afternoon-evening at the station was at 19.00 and he arrived 40 minutes later and we had no ways to communicate with each other. I called him with a public phone and he didn’t reply. Needless to say I started to panic. That evening I was also supposed to go to my second couch host (because the first one couldn’t host me for four nights but only two) and so once I arrived at home and I prepared my things I left. Things were a bit awkward and I thought that I had done something, but apparently no, he was simply busy, this is what he said. He writes a positive review on the CS platform and then blocks my number on Whatsapp. I am still wondering if this makes sense.

The second couchhost was another case of “am I doing something wrong?”. We met in the evening and he was all happy and chivalrous. He took my suitcase, showed me his home, chatted friendly, wanted to go out to eat something, absolutely insisted to pay for my salad. Overall he seemed super nice and he was a good looking guy who also knew it. So that same evening, after I had a shower and was ready to go to bed, he came a couple of meters away without his T-shirt on and spoke about something I don’t actually remember. All I remember is that he clearly spent more time exercising than on books. I don’t know how he managed to have five degrees as he said to have. So he showed a bit his physique and then I said “well, good night”. The following day I bought for him a small present and I wanted to prepare one of my favourite dishes, gnocchi with tomato sauce for the evening meal. When he returned home he wasn’t very chatty, didn’t want to eat carbohydrate in the evening and he was very annoyed by me talking. We watched a TV series, there was no showing off that night. The following day I left in the afternoon (it rained all day) and as goodbye message he wrote: “are you still at home? I want to sleep when I return at 16.00” I got the message and left before that time. I then whatsapped him asked if I had done anything wrong that bothered him and he did not reply. Whatsapp showed the two blue ticks, so I guess he just didn’t want to have anything to do with me. So am I the alien here?

On the fifth day I moved to my shared apartment. My flatmate was all smiley and friendly when I came to see the place, after I moved in she barely talks to me. It is a lot if she says “ok”, “yes”, “bye”. It’s a lot because she established an unspoken role of avoidance for which if I am in the kitchen she and her boyfriend stay in their room and if they are in the kitchen I have to stay in my room. She switched from super nice to super avoidance in a matter of three days. I asked ten times if I had done anything that bothered and the answer has always been “no”. So I wonder if this is considered normal.

I can go on ad infinitum.


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Communication strategies to avoid communication

Smart, intelligent people don’t get passionate about things. They maintain a certain distance, because only fools and child-like personalities feel something and get carried out by emotions. That’s what smart, successful, business-like people teach me every day. I found out this morning a great way for avoiding communication whilst taking part in a it and look as if you were actually contributing with constructive arguments when in fact you were simply not listening.

Firstly, you control every movement you make. Gestures are not signs expressing what you feel inside, as it would be natural, rather they become a statement you make, a play you put in act at every circumstance. Signs of a calm, rational person, regardless of what you actually are in that precise moment. So movements rather than being an expression of oneself become an outfit, a way to alter the outside image one wants to present.

Secondly, you keep the tone of your voice always low or flat, and you do not listen to the meaning of what the other person is telling you, not even the words if possible, otherwise it would be natural to alter slightly your tone of voice and you don’t want that. That’s weak, that’s emotional.

The way you can be bullish in a conversation without appearing so and without listening to anything you are being told is to speak over someone at every single occasion, whilst maintaining a calm tone of voice. Don’t let your interlocutor say anything more than “Ah, Bah, Boh, No, But, Yes but, I don’t, Why” that’s it, as soon as they start replying to your statements, start talking over them very calmly, yet firmly.

This will drive the other person insane if he/she is a human being and you will feel satisfied with yourself because it will only prove your point that he/she is clearly wrong, insane, or “negative” as it’s in fashion nowadays to say and it will be evident instead how available you were to have an adult conversation, which the other person is clearly too emotive, or too negative, or too irrational to have.

The conversation will therefore not change anything in you and that will grant you the strongest psychological asset, the feeling of being right and the luxury of not questioning yourself, so you can keep being the image you have induced yourself to think you are after reading the last positive-attitude book published by The Economist in collaboration with the Harvard Business School. You’ll be on the right track of becoming a great component of the big machine, which will lead to fewer problems in life. Maybe you will fail the purpose of being alive and never become a (better) human being, but you will fit flawlessly within an efficient work organisation. It’s all a matter of priorities isn’t it 😉

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