Pages

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Don't LGBT me

I belong to a species long before I belong to a sexuality. 

I belong to a gender, a society, a religion, a culture, a group of friends and a group of people with the same passion - all before I belong to a sexuality. 

So the expression 'LGBT Community' is something that, at best, puzzles me, and, at worst, annoys me. 

It feels like getting out of a closet only to climb into one with more people.
The overruling of the bedroom over any other room in our lives. 

I would want to join the best choir, the best sports team, rather than the one based on the sexual orientation of its members. 
Personally I can't really get rid of the idea there's selfishness involved: 'let's fight for a cause... but only ours. Ours is the cause we need to advance'. That's no cause, that's being self-centered. 

Especially in a civilization that is already in chaos, for no longer having a shared set of morals and splintering into dozens of sub-tribes, I don't see this as much help. Society should be the cause. 

So no, no 'Pride Parade' for me. And not just because I'm old enough to remember that pride used to be a vice, who ever it is coming from. Maybe, maybe one can be proud of an achievement - but anywhere else the word is horrendous. 
So changing the name to Dignity Parade will not help. 

Gay teenagers have among the highest suicide rates of all social groups. How will a colorful street party help that? I have yet to meet the parent who then goes: "O but in that case, now we will be supportive of our child". How does it provide a desperate teenager with a role model, stability or belief in self? All the things that really help? 

If anything, it's counter-productive. 

I embrace society and society embraces me. If someone does not, then so be it. I'm not the end product of millions of years of evolution to not be able to cope with a stupid tweet. I even find it insulting if someone finds that I need to be defended. Am I this helpless I need a 'safe space'?? 

Are there people around me who harass me or do not accept me, then I'm hanging around with the wrong crowd. If I start to harass them and their online forums, just as many an 'LGBT' does on Christian Facebook pages... then I'm the wrong crowd. 

If I force the hands of any priest to go against his or her belief system because he has to perform my wedding ceremony, if not we will lobby to strip him from benefits... then I am the fascist, not him, I am forcing my belief system on him, not the other way around. 

As said, this is the 'at worst': 'at best' I realize very well all the benefits of youngsters being able to meet others in their loneliness and psychological struggle. My friction is only with a small but such noisy group that often seems not to be able to stop... and have proclaimed a sexual orientation as the centre-piece of existence. 

We are much more than that. 

Ben 

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The prejudices of being anti-bullfighting

Question: What is the role of animals in our lives? 

Instruction: Be very honest. 

Answer 1: The overall majority of animals we ever meet is on our plate: meat

That means: to be grown as crop and having no life whatsoever. 

No space, forget about natural conditions, forget about 'standing a chance'. Between 1 and 24 months they feel and smell death coming - and then they are killed 'humanely'. For the pleasure of our taste buds. 

Answer 2: Of the second largest group we are only vaguely aware: 'nature'

Day after day biologists warn us of the annihilation of billions over the past decades, and the mass extinction having started. Anywhere over the western world wildlife is under enormous stress of our lifestyle (transport, noise, radiation). Every time we take an airplane we put a dagger in some bird somewhere. For the pleasure of our city-tripping or to have mobile phone reception in the underground parking. 

Actually we really dislike animals. Bees annoy us, trees must be taken away for our views, and a tranquil country road is perfect for motorbiking. Bar our personal pet, the well being of animals is hardly ever on our radar. 

Because: we don't have to see them, we don't have to know. We are fully disconnected from their lives. 

So, then you stumble over a bull farm in Andalusia...

and you stumble in with all your prejudices and instant-judging, all your lack of background and all your refusal to even educate yourself a tiny bit. 

And then you see an animal that lives a minimum of 4-6 years, sometimes up to 25 years, in semi-wild conditions, in group as this species needs to be, on 10,000 square meter per bull or cow. 

And then you start to hesitate. For if it would not be there in that bull farm, it would be meat - or get extinct

Very factual and dry
This is what we are rooting for when we are rooting for abolishing the corrida:
the abolishment of seeing cruelty. 


I don't know about you, but me and the zoos I know don't have the enormous money, space, dedication to keep the gregarious toro bravo of 700 kg. We are rooting for its extinction or curve towards a meat producing animal.

We prefer a short and invisible no-life that ends 'humanely', over a humane life that ends 'cruelly'. 


The prejudice of 'cruelty'

For a prejudice it is: instant rejection without studying or investigating

We do not see farmers at work, we do not study a millennium old tradition and how it was forever fine-tuned, we do not read Emperor Hadrian, Hemingway, Orson Welles, Vargas Llosa, to name just a few great men who were attracted to the nobility of the corrida. 

We have already made up our minds; it's not noble, and we don't want to hear anything about it, for it's clear, it's not noble, we already know!!  

We see a sword in a needle, we see torture in something that is meant to reduce blood pressure.

Do you really think Hemingway would be fascinated by anything... ignoble?
Hemingway, the pope of courage and masculinity?
How horrified he would have been to be associated by something that is NOT fair?  


The prejudice of 'entertainment'

This is perhaps the most saddening sign of our times. 

Going to a mosque is not entertainment, a procession is not entertainment, and a bullfight is definitely not entertainment. 

But there too, we have already made up our mind - and it tells more about us and our modern society, then about the bullfight: 

'Fun' and 'entertainment' seem to have become the only possible reasons for people coming together. We are evolving towards a society without further heart or soul or duende or religious experience; everything is and there fore must be entertainment.  

The prejudice of 'barbaric' bullfighters

I have seen no understanding for animals, their needs and character, as the triangle between farmers, their horses and their cattle. 

They grow up together. 
You only need to see the massive respect and fascination of a farmer looking into the black eye of a bull, to know that we city-people and suburbanites, by now fully disconnected from nature or farming, maybe, maybe, possibly, who knows, are just not getting it.

We stumble over images of a bloody 'spectacle', without any preparation, explanation, background, reading on the history and how it evolved - a sheer guarantee for shock or disgust. 

Just as we push away any thought about where our meat comes from, or don't want to think about the implications of our own transport, internet use, oil and concrete addiction - we judge and condemn him. 

We have our own pet - "there, you see, I'm an animal lover"! 

The fight in the mind

It's too soon for me to say I'm pro-bullfight. 
After all, I did not grow up in it either, and

My mind finds it a very difficult topic and debate - to which it actually can't know a right answer. 

I can see that a bull has a 500 kg weight advantage, can outrun anyone and can turn on a tad faster than any man. I can see that anything in its evolution was directed at fighting, and that it will not stop until it has you no longer moving. He will not withdraw, not refuse to fight, not go stand in a corner - he wants the adversary dead

On the other hand, the toreador has got the advance knowledge that this bull will go for the thing that moves. 

The bull can learn during the fight (that it's the man who is the adversary, not the cloth, for it's a clever animal. But it's the only thing that the toreador has got. He does not protect himself in any other way - he dresses lighter than you and we would when going for a walk in the park (ballet shoes! silk!). And he does not know the specific bull: in the arena they see each other for the first time. 

He knows that his life might not be a long one - and possibly be among the very few people on earth who know when they will die: at 5 o'clock in the afternoon

He is cowardly nor cruel. 
In fact, should he not eat meat, and live a lifestyle that does not affect nature too much - he might be the person who understands animals best. 

I can talk ad infinitum about this topic... let's leave it at this right now - with this our minds have already enough on their plate, no? 

Ben

PS
Thank you to ReservaTauro in Ronda, the only ranch in Spain that I know that allows visitors. I can recommend a visit to anyone - pro and anti alike. It's a first step towards learning at least a bit about a tradition from Phoenicians and Romans alike. 

Ben 


Wednesday, 12 July 2017

2 months without mobile phone

I'm actually 6 weeks into living without that gadget in my pocket, and only now I start to really understand why people do this - and start to get really enthused about it. So this article will be updated on a regular basis. My notes in the first weeks were rather dull:


AFTER 7 DAYS

"So 7 days ago I ditched my smartphone, and 
I'm sitting here waiting for a remarkable insight or intelligent conclusion of my experience but, damn, nothing pops up. 

Only the first day was strange, that urgent feel that I was missing out on something or someone could not get hold of me. That very quickly evaporated though. 

The only remarkable insight so far is just how unremarkable it is".

AFTER 30 DAYS


"Nothing changed. Zip. A colleague told me I seemed to be more relax than before, but that might as well have been because I'm in holiday at the same time. Life has continued exactly as before. As though I never was a smartphone addict - and as though that smartphone never contributed anything that was unmissable. That in itself might be tale-telling. 

If I have to think of some positives, these would be: 

1. An appointment is an appointment again (olĂ©!) - There's just no way to let me know you would be 15 minutes late or 'have to cancel'. I've got my friends trained really well in that respect. 

2. Following from the above: I've got more time and more energy: I'm no longer busy half of the day organizing the other half. Gosh, looking back I was a walking call centre, and that on top of my normal job. Especially the last 2 years it seemed that every day was a chain reaction of calls postponing something and then informing it was not postponed at all, ... ad infinitum. 

3. And this is the Big One: nobody can call me from a supermarket asking me whether I prefer the orange juice with the pulp or without the pulp!  I have no idea when that level of superficiality surfaced in our lives... how did we do that before the invention of the mobile phone? Did we find those things... important"?

They say a mobile phone can save your life - or what will you do when you have an accident and... I must have been in pretty few life threatening situations this month, for not once I said: "God, how I wish I had a mobile phone".

On the other hand, it's also not so that anything major has changed - I'm lukewarm about the whole experience".

('Experience', really?  
I grew up and lived 30 years without a mobile phone, and today not having one is... an experience?)

Will be continued... soon.

Ben


Thursday, 13 August 2015

We do what we are

It's the premise of all marketing. 

And marketing in all its shapes and forms. 

'My front door is of quality, for ME I am quality'. 

You can apply that to the physical appearance as to the voice, a leaflet, business card, website or any other personal or professional marketing tool: anything that is meant to leave an impression. 

There's not a s-h-r-e-d we put online or its subliminal message is: this is me

No message on Facebook or it provides the person seeing it with a wealth of information and it's decisive

90% is unconscious communication: We are not aware that we're aware of it. 

Neither the person posting it nor the person seeing it are not rationally aware of the meat of the message. It's picked up nevertheless: not just what you care about. But how much. How much time you have put in it. Care. Commitment. Money. Energy. Quality of thought.

Everything you are not saying or don't know that you are saying is transmitted anyway - from one unconscious brain to the other.

We do what we are and we are what we do

At least, that's both the perception, the expectation as well as the hope. Ergo: it's everything. 

Example: I do not need to write an 'About Me' page: For your impressions have already long been made. 

You already know it's about cost-effective marketing for small businesses. For you already see the 'cost-effectiveness' and the 'smallness' in everything. 

Your emotional decision to see me as a reliable source or not, was made within seconds after you landed on this blog. Whatever I write or do not write in this page, has no relevance or purpose. It's done. It's too late. You have made up your mind and have taken your emotional decision. 

That was the hardest and most difficult lesson I learned in marketing: 

It took 1 year to rank in the Top 3 for 'SEO advisor' or 'SEO Brussels'. 

It took 1 year to understand that these rankings were not cost-effective marketing at all.
It took 
1 year full time studying conversion techniques before my own website started to run by itself, without further marketing costs.
But it took me 8 years to truly and fully grasp the above. 

Don't tell what you can do, show it, from the very first second. 
For we are perceived to be doing what we inherently are.  

Bernardus

TIP: If you hate this article, you'll also hate Silence is a language too and definitely How is your Halo Effect?