With respect to the dead… [The Coronavirus Sweden example]

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Photo by Lucas Craig from Pexels

Coronavirus crisis has helped in revealing the true nature of people and of states. Crises of such proportions do have the tendency of doing so.

Within the crisis people feared death, people laughed at death, people showed ignorance of epic proportions for basic scientific facts, others just chose to worry about everything while some of their friends were totally cut off from the crisis itself while sipping coffee.

And while dancing in the shadows.

Each man showed his real face…

States over the world similarly exhibited varied reactions to the coronavirus, with some imposing strict lock-downs, others doing nothing and then imposing lock-downs, while others imposed no or very limited measures whatsoever.

And while dancing in the shadows…

Some states revealed a monster.

And unlike fairy tales, monsters in this case were beautiful and clean. Even happy. One could never believe they are monsters anyway. Unless they hear the silence beyond their laughter…

Sweden once again startled the world. By choosing not to impose any measures or general lockdown (with the exception of banning big gatherings/ large events). Sweden and Swedes believe that their strategy was great and successful. They claim that they have managed to keep deaths at a low while not imposing a devastating lockdown which would collapse the economy.

First of all, the claim that they kept deaths low is wrong. The deaths in Sweden due to coronavirus per million are much higher than comparable nations which did much better at containing the new virus (e.g. Greece). Secondly, there is a price for keeping the economy happy. That price is death. And Sweden has a long tradition in doing so.

In the case of the coronavirus, the price is paid not by the people going out for coffee or drinks (without keeping safe distances by the way – no, the cause of the “success” is not in the obedience or the responsibility of the Swedes), but by the elderly. They are the ones who die in the nursing homes for the rest of Sweden to be able to go out and cry “Success!”…

This is not a secret either. It is known to everybody. It is just that there seems to be a prioritization of the economy over life, especially when that life is the life of a person in his late 70’s. As a restaurant owner said “With respect to the people who died, life goes on”.

With respect to the dead…

Sweden kept on doing business with Hitler during WW2, while other countries paid a huge death toll while fighting against the… business partner of Sweden. (See “Allies trading with Hitler – Economic games during World War II” for details)

With respect to the dead…

Sweden had eugenics long before Hitler even considered them. (Check “Evil Sweden strikes back… (or: How to sterilize “inferior” people)” for details)

With respect to the dead…

Sweden chooses to put a price on human life and leave everything uncontrolled because anyway it is the elderly who will die. Elderly who are anyway in nursing homes, so why care right? (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

Because at the end what is under question here is not the effectiveness of that measure of the other, but something much more fundamental: The value of human life itself. And Sweden has chosen to answer that question. No, don’e be fooled. It is not that the answer Sweden has given is wrong. The problem with questions is that they contain the answer as Aristotle said. And when you ask the value of human life, you will inevitably give an answer somehow. And this answer will have effects.

And measures will not be taken.

And the elderly will be left alone.

And the businesses will keep on working.

And people will keep on laughing.

While an old man dies alone.

Tell me, young man.

With respect to the people who live…

How can you put a price on the dead?

PS. This is not an anti-Sweden article per se. Sweden just gave a perfect example of how modern civilization measures the value of human life in money today. There are many other nations which think the same way as Sweden. For example in Gernamy Wolfgang Schäuble advocated for a more even calculus between public health and the economic and social consequences of a prolonged shutdown, fearing an overload of state capacities. He also disagreed with subordinating all other concerns to the goal of saving lives, claiming “this in its absolutism is not correct,” as the German constitution’s right to human dignity “does not exclude the possibility that we must die”. (source) That is a great line by the way. If only it was told by the man dying…

No, I do NOT want to be a billionaire! (or Bruce Lee)

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Seek peace… Conquer the world…

There is a great hype lately about how some new billionaire must be our new idol. And I totally disagree with that hype. Billionaires are not only overrated. They are constantly advertising all those things that should not be part of the principles in a man’s life.

To begin with, there is nothing wrong with being successful. I am not arguing against that. I am arguing against the definition of successful though.

Successful is raising your kids without having money.

Not creating companies with your dad’s money.

Successful is having a hard life and still smile.

Not being a rock star and being praised for working more than eight hours.

Successful is having a family and raising your kids.

Not changing women like shirts and buying your kids yachts.

Successful is creating a good company without subsidies.

Not posing as an entrepreneur with my money.

Successful is finishing your phD or your bachelor’s degree.

Not quitting school because you had an ‘idea’.

Successful is having humble beginning and still stay humble.

Not pose as the new Tony Stark while governments (or agencies) support your ideas.

Successful is breaking your will to accept the world.

Not breaking everything to impose your own will to the cosmos.

Does that sound like failure to you?You might be right.Because at the end, success is not measured by success. No, these are not excuses for me not being a billionaire. I am sure I would be one if I had the Jedi-mind ability to convince people of things which might lead them to jail or if I managed to convince NASA to give me money to build spaceships with a company I owned which could not make spaceships (random example). I am sure I would be a zillionaire if I decided to leave all my family and children and friends while pursuing my dream to save the cosmos from something it never asked to be saved from.

People admire Bruce Lee for being a master of the martial arts. But there is nothing magic in being one. All you have to do is practice all day long every day until you die. See? You can be Bruce Lee too. And a billionaire (but then you wouldn’t have time to get that black belt). And a phD holder (but then you wouldn’t have time to be a billionaire). And a family guy (but then you might not even have time to get a phD)…

It is all a matter of priorities. So get your’s straight. And stop admiring false idols.

At the end, every man (and woman) can go on his own path. What we need to make sure though is not that the path is enlightened. But that the path leads to light at the end…

If that difference troubles you, then cheer up. You are in the right path already. Only some tears away from a smile…

Or you can always be Bruce Lee.

The Boeing case: Not Boeing’s fault! It is our ethics!

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Boeing airplane [Source]

Last week several emails exchanged between Boeing employees were revealed, in which those employees seemed to know about the problems of the 737 MAX airplane and even ridicule the authorities and the airlines for believing them that there were no problems. The investigation is ongoing.
One cannot of course know from now the result of the investigation. However the comment I would like to make has nothing to do with that per se. What I would like to comment is the all increasing cases of corporate scandals at the highest levels and of the highest severity, severity which only seems to increase as time passes.

The Enron case…

The mortgages scandal…

Apple and sweatshops in China…

Cambridge Analytica…

Boeing and the 737 MAX…

More and more we are being held witness to grand corporations breaking the law or bending it to a point where lives, the economy at a large scale or basic human rights are at stake.

Why does this happen?

Viewing this as a result of ad hoc errors, miscalculations, or even one-time fraudulent behavior by specific “bad” people who are not the norm simply won’t do it. No, the exceptions are becoming more and more and we have to consider whether the rule we believe that applies truly holds. Are big corporations really ethical? CAN they be ethical in a place where profit is the one and only goal?

The answer is a simple NO.

And this answer also offers an insight on WHY those incidents take place, while offering us a glimpse to the future as well. The western man’s dream is that of making money. We have for a long time now lost connection with basic spirituality. We have lost touch with those principles which actually make us humans and have relied on an arbitrary tool (money) to define our happiness. This may sound corny, but it is true.

Trading was thought of as an inferior activity in ancient Greece. Traders were treated as inferior people during the era where philosophy flourished. Answering the metaphysical questions of humanity seemed more important than selling things and generating profit for Aristotle and Plato. Can you blame them? The Byzantine Empire also held trade in low esteem; actually charging for interest was not allowed back then.

And then came Protestantism. And then people started trading. And then people started making money. And from that point onward, nothing else mattered. I am not blaming Protestantism for Boeing of course. If it wasn’t that, it would any other religious movement that would be used by people to make an excuse for their need to wealth and power, instead of the need of the cosmos for us to stay humble and accepting (Christian values).

Related article: The source of Ethics

We want control and power. We wish for more when we have enough. And after we get it, we want even more. Greediness and arrogance is what characterizes us. And there is no end in the tunnel. That is why no matter how successful one company is, it does not seem to have enough. And there is no way to get more and more by legal means. There is always a limit to how much money a company can earn in a regulated environment, let alone an environment with ethical values (we don’t such environment, just saying). So it is logical and expected that big companies tried to find a way to circumvent rules and regulations to achieve their (almost by definition) un-achievable goals.

Who sets these goals?
Society.
Who forms society?
You. The man next to you. Everyone.

No, again I am not saying that you and me are to be blamed for critical flaws that Boeing hid from the authorities. Just should be served in that case. However everyone is to blame for the way everyone puts money and profits in the throne of the King. If everyone sees success in profits and failure is lack of them, then it is only logical that companies would try to get more of them.

Wait a minute! you could say. When we celebrate successful companies for having profits, we do so with the assumption that the profits would be made legally! No one approves of a company breaking the law or making profits the wrong way!

But this is what is great here! Most of the above cases were conducted either legally (e.g. Cambridge Analytica) or on the verge of the boundary between legal and illegal (e.g. the mortgages scandal or Apple and its factories in China)! If Apple has factories with people working under gruesome conditions in a country which allows such conditions, is that illegal? If a bank provides mortgages to people who cannot repay but everything is approved as per the bank processes and the regulators say nothing and then others are buying derivatives based on those mortgages isn’t the whole system to blame? If the FAA approved the 737 MAX is it Boeing to blame? If the airlines approved the fact that no training was needed for this completely new plane, is it Boeing to blame? Or also the whole culture of “Profit is the King”?

So no, the legal or illegal character of the actions is not what those scandals have in common. Law can be circumvented or changed (for better or worse). There is something much fundamental and much darker lurking in the depths of our degraded era…

How could an airline consider not having any training in simulators for a plane with such changes, only because there didn’t want to pay for this training? How could people profit on loans on homeless people only to earn some more money? How could the European regulator blindly trust the FAA for a new plane which would carry lives in the sky?

Can you start seeing that something lurking in the dark taking shape?
Performing such actions and at that level, especially actions which affect human lives and the basic human rights, is conducted not only because either the law or the regulatory authorities processes have holes. The biggest cause for all of the above, is the big holes we have in our ethical foundations. Because no matter how many excuses a company or a person can find based on the law or the regulations, there are would be no excuses if there existed a solid ethical foundation to which everyone should comply with. Even cases which were clearly illegal from the first minute and which resulted in people getting in prison (as in the Enron case), would be completely avoidable if ethics were instilled in society as a whole. If the King was declared naked.

No, PROFIT is not the ultimate goal!

Do that sound corny? Yes. And I do not care. It is ethics we need. Not profits. The more we look only at those the more such scandals as the above will increase and increase with no end in sight. Why stop at 10 billion dollars profit when you can make 20? Why stop at 20 when you can make 50?

Who could provide this ethical foundation?

Well, for this we can re-iterate the beginning of this article…

“Trading was thought of as an inferior activity in ancient Greece”…

Do you see now?

We have lost our grasp of what is right and what is wrong. We have broken our moral compass (God) a long time ago. And now we are just wandering with no goal except the goals we set…

And still…

That dark shape in the dark is afraid…

Of us listening to the voice we used to listen to…

“Thou shalt not lie”…

DC vs. Marvel: A battle already won (thus, lost). [Losing money in an era of profits]

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DC will soon be releasing The Jocker.

A film which had already won prestigious awards and which is destined to rule the Oscars. But why is that film successful, in comparison to other DC films?

The answer is simple: because in this film, DC is itself and does not pretend to be something else that what it is. And the same applies to all other successful films of DC, like The Dark Knight, Watchmen, V for Vendetta etc. In these films DC does not try to imitate Marvel and, thus, successfully reflects the only thing which ever matters: itself.

At the end everything fake dies. (Wait! We die too!) Everything true stays for ever.

In an era of existence, can you dare not reflect yourself? In an era of marketing, do you dare not to sell? DC keeps on trying to follow the path of others because it thinks it must. And yet, in an era of profits, success – true success – is measured by how much you can sustain loses. And still stay true to yourself.

The Watchmen are dead now.

V as well.

At the end DC will manage to sell more.

And the Jocker will laugh.

But no one will see that he is truly crying…

GRETA AND CHILD EXPLOITATION! (says a crying adult)

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Photo by Felix Mittermeier from Pexels

To all of you who see Greta and rejoice for how she speaks so strongly in favor of the “cause”: Do you know what the legal meaning of child exploitation is?

Here is a short summary: It is exactly what is happening with Greta right now!

Do you understand how this kid has been put on the forefront for a race that has a specific agenda? No child should be exploited. A 16-year-old kid has to play, enjoy life, learn. Not to make hysterical speeches in front of an assembly of diplomats to “teach” us what the right thing is. Don’t you understand that Greta just repeats what she’s been told to repeat?

And one more thing: The mere use of Greta (because this is what it is: they are just using her) – of a child I must repeat – in such a situation shows the low level at which the debate has fallen. We are no longer talking with arguments. We talk to the emotions of others and we try to build guilt syndromes. And what can be better than a crying little kid?

If your house is on fire, will you listen to a little kid saying it to you or to an adult? Or worse: Will you hear the little kid more than the adult who warns you about the fire? Sorry but if that is the case, then you are stupid. (Maybe if I put a little kid to say this while crying it will sound much more impressive)

Let the kids out of this and out of any other discussion (I refer to cases where people bring their children to the gay parade etc).

Unconditionally and without reservations!

PS. I have written other articles (see “The hypocrisy of Ecology” for example) about climate and what is happening that few people sit down to read. This article is specifically for Greta and a call to end child exploitation. Not to discuss climate!