Germans were brainwashed by Hitler during the 1930’s-40’s.
Russians were brainwashed by Lenin and Stalin for the majority of 20’s century.

Today, way too many people around the world are brainwashed by Isis and alike organizations to do things that are not prescribed by any religion in the name of religion.

Brainwashing did not leave SF untouched. Here, women have been brainwashed into thinking that being a feminist, i-phone addicted, make-up overconsuming corporate zombie, incapable for emotional vulnerability is a virtue.  Men have been lead to believe that being an overly politically correct, beer drinking, game watching, sloppily dressed, emotionally unavailable douche, who doesn’t know how to make a move on a woman is the right way to be.

I am disappointed in humanity. I thought that by now we would know better, and we would be better. Don’t you?

The Right Amount of Choices

too-many-choicesAbout 200 people showed up at my sister’s concert with minimal promotion. At least 10 people found the event on a meetup site. I seriously doubt that they would find it, if it was taking place in SF. This kind of concert would have been buried among hundreds or even thousands of other concerts, happy hours, networking events, etc. How do you find it then? And more importantly – how do you choose to go to an event if there are so many other options, however good or mediocre any of those options might be? When you only 2-3 interesting options for a Thursday evening, you are going to have a much easier time choosing which one to pick and you are going to enjoy it more thoroughly.

The next day, we went to an Afghan lunch buffet. There were only 3-4 salads and entrees to choose from, but they were all very good. This relatively modest amount of choices prevented us from overeating, because unlike in other lunch bars with way more options, here there was no temptation to try every single thing.

My sister also started dating a new guy. They met at a local hiking meet-up. It has only been a couple of months but he is clearly very focused on her based on how involved he is in her life now. All things equal, the fact that the pool of available women where she lives is significantly smaller than here, whether online or otherwise, a guy has to focus on and appreciate the women he meets and likes, instead of developing a chronic dating and sexual wanderlust, like so many guys do in NYC, SF, and alike places.

Having no choices is bad. But having too many choices is just as bad. Like in many other aspects of life, having the right amount of choices  – an amount that makes you feel free and empowered, but at the same time not overwhelmed and confused   – is what makes life better and more interesting.

Religion and Electrons

christianityContrary to what atheists or agnostics think, the value of religion is not in determining whether God exists or not. We will never know for sure. The value of any religion is in some similar to that of the electrons. No one can see or smell electrons, yet the entire world of electricity and electronics is based on that concept. The same applies to religion – it’s how your religious or other beliefs shape you, your behavior and your lifestyle that matters  – not whether your God exists or not.

Do you use your religion to make sure you don’t violate the law, because you are afraid that your God will punish you? Good for you. Whether your fear of God is rational or not, the end result is good for you and for others around you.

Do you believe in karma and participate in various charity activities, because you believe that God will be generous to those who are generous to others? Who cares if God actually works that way.  As long as your belief leads you to doing these good things – all the more power to you.

On the other hand, if you believe that your God drives you toward any type of unproductive revenge, murder, suicide, torture, etc… that’s a different story. It doesn’t make your God bad. It most likely makes you bad for thinking so lowly of God.

To all the non-believers  – God must be perceived not as a living being or an object but as a concept. Perhaps that’s the reason that the major ancient religions prohibited any depictions of god, such as painting and statutes that would attempt to portray God. Because any such depiction undermines the value of the concept itself.

Once you are able to accept and embrace it, you won’t worry about the existence of God, because it won’t matter.

Hubris and Arrogance

A friend forwarded an article that ties our beloved tech bubble and the emergence of sky rises to our arrogance – “… It’s hubris and overconfidence embodied in this chest-thumping behavior…”  But, I believe this statement is way more important and broad that it’s intended to be in the article. These mentioned wonderful traits affect so many other aspects of our culture  – from body langue and style, to dating, behavior on the road and our spending patterns.

So many act and walk as if they were god’s gift. Their overconfidence leads them to chronic overdressing, overspending, and under-worrying about showing a little more class, subtlety, and saving a buck or two saved up for a rainy day. Too many of us act like that rainy day might never come, not realizing that the cloud is never as far as it might seem to be, and it only takes a certain direction of wind to bring it over and make it pour hard.

We love acting as if we were invincible, but it’s nothing other than yet another way to overcompensate  for the opposite – our profound mental and economic vulnerability.

Starbucks Poll Suggests There Is Still Hope

The following poll suggests that there might be more to us than just a bunch of pigs foodies, whose main interest and goal in life is stuffing their mouths with all the bland, overpriced and overrated that his city has to offer at the local restaurants. It appears that those who eat to leave lead by slight margin. But then again, if this poll had been limited to San Francisco only, the results would be much more disappointing. I would estimate 90% / 10% in favor of shameless gluttony.