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Monday, 18 December 2017

The triangle of Love Knowledge & Power

In my 1 December blog, I introduced the Strauss-Howe Generational Theory. In last Friday's blog, Simon Kuper linked the words "incompetence" to "generations". In business, there is a phenomenon called the "3rd generation curse". Time: "70% of wealthy families lose their wealth by the second generation, and a stunning 90% by the third, according to the Williams Group wealth consultancy."

I think, feel and believe that Simon Kuper is right to link the words generations and incompetence. I have been struggling to explain the why. The answer came to me when I realised what is being transferred from generation to generation. My concept of the 7 Belief systems and its Knowledge and Power dimensions proved to be useful again.

After ample thought, there appears to be a big difference in generational transfers. It's relatively easy to transfer Power (Money, Politics, Religion) from generation to generation. These transfers are often performed "automatically", at birth (Religion), during life time (Political connections), and at death (Money).

Transfer of Knowledge (Philosophy, Science, the Truth) is much more complicated because it isn't as tangible as the beliefs in the Power dimension. Knowledge is like intellectual property rights. We often aim to transfer Knowledge through education and upbringing. Our choice of friends as a child, teenager and young adult is often crucial for (the lack of) this transfer.

Excerpt of my 29 May 2017 blog: "Power without Knowledge is not lasting in history. Knowledge without Power isn't sustainable either, as it tends to get lost in human history." A successful generational cycle requires a transfer of both Knowledge and Power. Incompetency in our leaders may then be viewed as a mismatch between Power and Knowledge.

Donald Trump appears to be an excellent example: his family was successful in transferring Power (eg, Money) but unsuccessful in the transfer of Knowledge. The 45th President has been called a "fucking moron" by his own Secretary of State (eg, NY Magazine).

The element that may explain the successful transfer of Knowledge is Love, the 7th Belief system and perhaps the 3rd dimension, next to Knowledge and Power. The ancient Greeks differentiated 4 types of Love: Agápe (divine/spiritual), éros (romantic), philía (brotherly/sisterly), and storgē (parental). Parental and spiritual love might be crucial for being willing and able to receive Knowledge. Please also see my related 2017 blog: Love, the selfless belief (2).

Love, Knowledge and Power define a most powerful triangle in life. This triangle was already visible in my 15 July 2016 drawing (see default picture at the right of my blog). This triangle is represented by the 3 beliefs of Religion (Faith), Philosophy (Hope) and Love. 

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." (1 Corinthians 13-13)

The Power Of Love (1984) by Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Across the Universe

Across the Universe (1969 / 2002) by Rufus Wainwright

Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup
They slither while they pass, they slip away across the universe
Pools of sorrow waves of joy are drifting through my opened mind
Possessing and caressing me

Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world

Images of broken light which dance before me like a million eyes
They call me on and on across the universe
Thoughts meander like a restless wind
Inside a letter box they
Tumble blindly as they make their way
Across the universe

Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world

Sounds of laughter shades of life are ringing
Through my open ears inciting and inviting me
Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns
And calls me on and on across the universe

Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world

Jai guru deva
Jai guru deva
Jai guru deva
Jai guru deva
Jai guru deva...

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Drie keer is scheepsrecht

De oorsprong van deze uitspraak is vreemd genoeg onbekend: "Drie keer is scheepsrecht". Toch begrijpt iedereen deze. Scheepsrecht slaat - waarschijnlijk - gewoon op de zeevaart, en niet op "rechtspraak door schout en schepenen" (Onze Taal). De Friese variant laat daar weinig twijfel over bestaan: "trije is skippers-rjucht en ien for de feint"; of "drie is schippersrecht en éen voor den knecht" (DBNL).

Ook in andere talen zijn er soortgelijke referenties naar het getal drie: (1) "Third time's the charm", (ii) "Aller guten Dinge sind drei", en (iii) "Toutes les bonnes choses sont au nombre de trois" (source). Indien gezegden in meerdere talen voorkomen dan is het logisch om naar stokoude verklaringen te zoeken.

Een voor de hand liggende oude bron betreft de religie (o.a. Heilige Drie-eenheid, nummer 3). Nog oudere verklaringen betreffen normaliter astrologie en astronomie, en de daaraan gerelateerde wiskunde (o.a. e, geometriePi, priemgetal, pyramide, trigonometrie). 

Driehoeken vinden we overal terug. In de bouw heeft het dak vaak de vorm van een driehoek (o.a. tentdak, zadeldak). De kracht van driehoeken blijkt ook uit het feit dat pyramides wereldwijd nog altijd overeind staan. In de rechtspraak geldt het concept "trias politica", de scheiding tussen de wetgevende (het parlement), de rechterlijke (toetsende), en de uitvoerende (of regerende) macht.

Vroeger kreeg ik van mijn ouders te horen dat het verschil tussen een bliksem en de daaropvolgende donderslag, gedeeld door 3, de afstand in kilometers aangaf. Drie seconden stond voor 1 kilometer. Licht heeft een snelheid van bijna 300 miljoen meter per seconde en geluid 340 meter per seconde. Het verschil tussen beide lijkt dan 1.000.000x. De hoogte van de bliksem en donder - in kilometers - speelt echter ook een rol. Het blijft een driehoek. (Bron)

Vanuit statistische overwegingen lijken 2 pogingen (te) weinig. Bij 4 of meer pogingen lijkt de kans op een uiteindelijke mislukking (te) groot geworden. Na 3 pogingen heb je voldoende ervaring voor een opinie, een recht van spreken.

Drie keer is scheepsrecht geldt ook voor relaties. Na elke breuk in een relatie ontstaat er een verlies van vertrouwen, los van de andere 6 criteria (communicatie, intimiteit, kwetsbaarheid, respect, saamhorigheid, vergevingsgezindheid). Het is dan ook logisch dat elke volgende breuk sneller gebeurt. Na de 3e breuk is er weinig tot geen kans meer op een succesvolle doorstart.

Bovenstaande doet me denken aan de uitdrukking "vertrouwen komt te voet en gaat te paard". Deze wordt algemeen toegeschreven aan de politicus Johan Thorbecke (1798-1872). Het lijkt echter een spitsvondigheid op basis van een veel oudere (internationale) uitdrukking: "Ziekte komt te paard en gaat te voet" (bron). Ziekte kan ook door het woord liefde worden vervangen.

Vertrouwen (1996) door Guus Meeuwis - artiest, tekst, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Friday, 15 December 2017

Brexit, Trump and a generation of incompetents, written by Simon Kuper

"I didn’t want Brexit, but I assumed the Brexiters had a plan. I didn’t think Donald Trump had a plan, but I assumed the Republicans did. They didn’t. Whether you like these people or not, the question is: why are they incompetent?

It seems that the Brexiters really thought the EU would just bow to their demands; that they never imagined the Irish border might be a problem. Even now, the cabinet still hasn’t discussed what sort of Brexit it wants. Last week’s deal with the EU may leave the UK tracking Irish regulations for ever (or as Brexiters call it, “freedom”). 

In the US, when Republicans finally got their chance to abolish Obamacare, it turned out they had spent seven years not preparing an alternative. Much of their tax bill got handwritten overnight by lobbyists. And Russiagate’s key characteristic is amateurism. Mike Flynn and others didn’t declare obvious contacts with foreign officials, assuming nobody would notice. Trump appeared to incriminate himself by tweeting that he knew Flynn broke the law, but then his lawyer said he’d written the tweet. Richard Nixon’s downfall was not his crime but his cover-up; this time there’s hardly any cover-up. The only comparable folly in recent US-UK history is the Iraq war. So what explains this incompetence? 

It’s useful here to recall the contrast — often drawn in the US in the 1990s — between the “greatest generation” who fought the second world war, and the baby boomers. From the 1940s until the 1990s, most politicians in both countries were men who had fought a world war. That experience shaped them. Harold Macmillan, British prime minister from 1957 to 1963, had been wounded five times in the first world war. Once, after being hit in the knee and pelvis, he lay in a shell hole for 12 hours, medicating himself with morphine, playing dead when Germans came near, and reading Aeschylus in the original Greek, writes Richard Davenport-Hines in An English Affair. 

Macmillan reflected much later that posh officers such as himself, leading working-class troops, “learnt for the first time how to . . . feel at home with a whole class with whom we could not have come into contact in any other way”. In addition, he was responsible for their lives. No wonder he never afterwards shook the “inside feeling that something awful and unknown was about to happen”. As prime minister, writes Davenport-Hines, he sometimes spent weekends hiding in bed. 

You could tell similar stories about Clement Attlee (badly wounded in Iraq in the first world war, prime minister 1945-1951), John F Kennedy and George HW Bush. In 1975, 81 per cent of US senators were military veterans, says the Pew Research Center. Experience of war doesn’t guarantee seriousness (see Flynn) but it helps. 

Other 20th-century leaders of these countries — Lyndon B Johnson, Bill Clinton, John Major — had a different visceral experience: poverty. They too knew in their bones that government mattered. 

But both countries have now fallen into the hands of well-off baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964 — the luckiest members of the luckiest generation in history. These people had no formative experiences, only TV shows. They never expected anything awful or unknown to happen. They went into politics mostly for kicks. The paradigmatic shift was from George HW Bush (born 1924) to his son (born 1946). Like Trump, Bush Jr spent much of his early presidency on vacation. Then 9/11 jolted him into frenzied activity: the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

It’s often said that today’s politicians have no experience outside politics, but they do. Bush Jr ran a baseball club, Boris Johnson wrote funny columns, and Trump played a successful businessman on television. Along the way they learnt a skill their predecessors mostly lacked: performing on mass media. 

Then came populism, which validated amateurism. No need for “experts” — anyone could do the job. Thoughtful people who couldn’t bellow simplifications on TV drifted out of politics. 

Populism polarised. So the new governments selected people for their loyalty to the cause. Theresa May, as prime minister, had to give the “three Brexiteers”, Johnson, David Davis and Liam Fox, jobs for which nothing in their experience had prepared them. Days after Trump’s election, his daughter Ivanka seized control of a transition meeting, praised Flynn’s “amazing loyalty”, and asked him, “General, what job do you want?” This month in Alabama’s senate race, Trump endorsed another loyalist: alleged paedophile Roy Moore. 

So we’re left with an insouciant, inexperienced political class of mostly ageing white men. Thankfully, that will soon change. Everyone raised under baby-boomer rule has learnt that awful and unknown things can happen anytime. Brexit and Trump have mobilised a generation of young people, taught them that government matters, and shown that not screwing up is a lofty goal. Unprecedented numbers of US women — most of them born post boom — are now seeking election at every political level. In the Senate, there are about 10 times more female candidates than in 2014. They will have a generation’s worth of mess to clean up."

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Out of the game

Recently, the magazine Foreign Affairs published 2 seemingly contradicting articles: Why New Russia Sanctions Won't Change Moscow's Behavior, and How to Stand Up to the Kremlin. Latter essay was co-written by Joe Biden, Obama's Vice President. Both are interesting reads.

From a strictly technical perspective, I disagree with the 1st article. In my view, sanctions on Russia did change Moscow's behaviour - for the worse. Following the so-called Magnitsky Act (2012), Russian interference in Europe and USA has significantly increased (eg, Brexit, Catalonia, Crimea, France, Germany, Netherlands, USA).

Robert Mueller's investigation of the Russian interference in the 2016 US Presidential elections is revealing that this interference was about removing the sanctions against Russia (eg, BBCNYT). A few days ago, a Russian hacker - in a Russian court - acknowledged that Russian intelligence officials instructed this interference (eg, BITimes). Clearly, sanctions changed Moscow's behaviour.

The sanctions aim to hurt a small group of people who are closely related to the Russian President. The severity of the Russian interference is probably indicative of how much these sanctions hurt. Russian oligarchs have lost billions due to the international sanctions following the 2014 Russian annexation of the Crimea (eg, CNN). Kleptocrats are hurt in their wallets.

For some, it's tempting not to implement sanctions for various reasons: (i) the population will be hurt more than their leaders, (ii) sanctions do not result in desired behavioural change, (iii) sanctions will worsen a nation's behaviour (eg, North Korea), (iv) sanctions are seldom universal, and (v) evading sanctions is often profitable (eg, Turkey and Iranian oil).

For some, it's tempting to keep increasing the volume of sanctions, even if they do not result in a desired behaviour change of a reluctant regime (eg, US vs North Korea).

Behavioural change is a result of Faith, (new) Beliefs, and Willpower (my blogs). For a single human being, the process of Change will take (lots of) time. A small group of (very) powerful people is unlikely to change. Also see my 2016 blogs: The more we have, the more we fight Change, and The less you have, the more you embrace Change

The fact that remedial action only involves a small group of Russian people allows for a tailored approach. A recent example might (!) be the French arrest of a Russian oligarch (eg, FT, Guardian, VOA). Cutting off Hydra's heads might be a more successful strategy than broad sanctions. Empty chairs may create more fear than losing money while retaining freedom (eg, CNBC).

This approach would also make sense as Russian interference equals state-terrorism. Terrorists are taken out of the game, one by one.

Out of the Game (2012) by Rufus Wainwright - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Brexit minus minus minus

On 10 December 2017, the UK Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union demanded a "Canada plus plus plus" trade deal from the EU, else the € 40-60 billion financial settlement as reached by his boss, Mrs May, would not be paid to the EU. Blackmail was seldom more clear.

On 6 December 2017, the UK Finance Minister - or chancellor - acknowledged the obvious: "I find it inconceivable that we as a nation would be walking away from an obligation that we recognised as an obligation. That is not a credible scenario. That is not the kind of country we are. Frankly, it would not make us a credible partner for future international agreements.” (Times)

The (political) term "divorce (penalty) bill" has always been utterly misleading. It's nothing more - or less - than a financial settlement of long-term UK commitments minus long-term EU subsidies (≤ 2040). The net settlement runs in the tens of billions as the UK is a net payer, like Germany, Holland and several other countries. See 2016 diagram of Dutch Statistics Bureau

The UK Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union may have used the words "Canada plus plus plus" as phase 1 of the negotiations resulted in a Brexit minus minus minus. An EU negotiator summarized it as follows: "The EU leads by 10-0." (Volkskrant).

Phase 2 of the negotiations, a EU-UK trade deal, will be much harder according to both the EU and the UK. Why? The UK has much to win and the EU has not much to lose (Independent). The Brexiteers believe that the opposite is true. Phase 1 of the negotiations should already have proven to the Brexiteers that they are (very) wrong about the EU stance towards the UK.

The Brexit statements by the UK Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union are intriguing. In his TV interview on the Marr Show on Sunday, "he said London would not pay any money to the EU if no final trade deal is negotiated with the bloc. “No deal means we won’t be paying the money,” Davis said". "The Brexit secretary subsequently walked back the comments, telling LBC radio on Monday the deal with Brussels is in fact “more than legally enforceable". (Politico)

On 6 December 2017, the UK Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union came with a shocking revelation, after being pressed by the Labour opposition for months to release these documents: there were/are no Brexit impact papers (eg, BBCFT, Guardian), and no sectoral Brexit impact assessments (eg, FT, Guardian). No expectations means no accountability.

In 2013, the Scottish National Party published a 670 page document, entitled Scotland's Future, ahead of the Scottish independence referendum. Their Labour opponent branded the document a "work of fiction, full of meaningless assertions" (BBC). Expectations means accountability.

The title of this blog refers to the continued dismantling of Brexit and its promises. The end result will be a situation in which the UK Parliament should ask itself: is the EU-Brexit negotiation result worth leaving the EU?? The Brexiteers will answer: "Whatever it takes".

Whatever It Takes (2017) by Imagine Dragons - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Men cannot be alone

Saturday's newspaper Trouw featured a column by a recently divorced female journalist. Its intriguing heading was: "Neither do I know a divorced man who didn't already have another woman". The journalist introduced a relationship therapist and had her say these words: "A man cannot be alone. It's just as simple as that."

I must admit that I have believed this view for decades. Possibly because my former wife often reminded me of this. Possibly because I wasn't allowed to do household chores as I was deemed too slow. Possibly because other women in my life also stimulated this belief.

Since several years, I do no longer believe in this view. My domestic independence is a serious goal in my life. I want to prove - to myself, first and foremost - that I do not need a woman in my life. I do want a woman in my life but that is because life can be nicer together.

I will never master my household chores and I have accepted that quite quickly. I only do them when I feel they must be done. In general, they have a lower priority than my reading, thinking and writing. Sometimes I get some innocent remarks as my domestic ambition is lower than others.

In general, I believe that men are more opportunistic and/or pragmatic. Hence, many men will indeed have a girlfriend, especially when they expect that their current relationship will not last. Investing some time in a potential new relationship will seem a smart move to a man.

In general, I think, feel and believe that women believe in an "All or Nothing" or "zero-sum game" approach. This situation is characterized by having a Winner and a Loser. Men will aim to avoid such situations by creating (additional) options for themselves.

One of the valuable comments that I received was about who is taking the initiative. If the other person didn't see the break-up coming then (s)he may have a period of grief before dating. Some may start dating while being in the Angry phase. Revenge and/or retaliation is often a bad motive. Grief usually follows these 5 steps: Denial (my blogs), Anger (my blog), Bargaining (my blogs), Depression (my blogs), and Acceptance (my blog) - a.k.a. the Kubler-Ross model.

Women claim to be better in multitasking. In general, I believe this claim is probably true. Example: running a family, a household, and a (parttime) job. However, men may be better in single-tasking: a dedicated focus on a career at sports or work while minimizing distractions. A successful combination of single and multitasking can indeed pay off (well) to both partners.

Most women probably know that they do not need a man. I'm not sure what would happen to society when men would stop believing that they need a woman. This will probably never happen as women are not eager to share their knowledge. In 1971, Neil Young seemed pretty well-informed - for a man.

A Man Needs A Maid (1971) by Neil Young - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2