If you think 2020 wasn’t awkward enough, here comes an eerie, symbolical scene for its ending. A babushka style Mary and Joseph, (ancient?) astronaut, an Uruk-Hai warrior (seriously!), and an angel that looks like taken from a Starbucks logo.
It is not an avangard street art, from a squat. Nope, its this years Nativity Scene revealed few days ago in front of St. Peters Basilica in Vatican. If this is the way that Holy See wants to sum up the weirdness of what we all experienced in 2020 then I guess they achieved their goal.
One might say; this is just art. A creative interpretation, a step beyond the trivial depiction of what we all already know. Yet, if art is to instil in us specific emotions – then why is that it does not bring the joy that should be associated with Christmas. Instead… the feeling I get when looking at these sculptures is something that I would describe as a mix of amusement and uneasiness. It just feels off.
Particularly, that astronaut, that seems to be copy pasted from some fringe historians stories about ancient aliens. If you look closely you will see that its holding something in its hands… is it a gift?
As Catholic, I do believe that symbols are meaningful. So I wonder; is this just a artistic flop or a well thought, obscured preview of a things to come?
That future is being decided, as it seems above the head of a common man. The governments and big corporations, are putting their hands together in a tight grip to secure peace and prosperity.
What do these new plans for The Great Reset mean, exactly?
Well for one, a shift to a so called “stakeholder capitalism” where private corporations play the role of “trustees of society” and directly or indirectly influence the way the economy is shaped as well as the some of the laws.
In theory, this means that all the big players, governments and major private organisations come together to tackle global challenges such as social, environmental issues or, you got it… the pandemic.
But what that could mean in practice?
It could mean further acceleration of the trends we are seeing today.
Globalisation, higher taxation, invigilation, more rules to follow (such as climate/diversity/inclusion) which only big players can abide in order to stay afloat. More barriers and obstacles for small and medium size business, which not only have to deal with a post-Covid impact but also higher taxes (which big players can avoid more easily) and an additional set of requirements with regards to policies/infrastructure etc. enforced by them via legislature.
So in short – when big boys/girls get together (even if in theory for the”greater good”) then there might not be any space left for the little ones.
So fellow Citizens… erm… rejoice?
Some are pointing out, that such a merger of state and business, is always a murky water (as history shows).
Others warn of neo-feudalism and there are those who see it as a paving road to… you got it New World Order.
And I do mean here some backwater, foil hatter from demonetised YouTube channel – but a renown dignitaries such as Archbishop Vigano (former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States).
In his recent letter to President Donald Trump, Vigano writes a dire warning of a things to come, if the globalist agenda continues in it’s current form.
“The purpose of the Great Reset is the imposition of a health dictatorship aiming at the imposition of liberticidal measures, hidden behind tempting promises of ensuring a universal income and cancelling individual debt. The price of these concessions from the International Monetary Fund will be the renunciation of private property and adherence to a program of vaccination against Covid-19 and Covid-21 promoted by Bill Gates with the collaboration of the main pharmaceutical groups. Beyond the enormous economic interests that motivate the promoters of the Great Reset, the imposition of the vaccination will be accompanied by the requirement of a health passport and a digital ID, with the consequent contact tracing of the population of the entire world”
It is a rare treat to see, an article in the mainstream media hinting on the New World Order scenario, that is not mocking or dismissive.
The marriage of AI & some kind of a global power (such as world government or multi-national corporation) that enslaves society through powerful technology is a theme which has been explored a lot in various sci-fi stories and scientific books. Max Tegmark is analysing such scenario in the first chapter of his book “Life 3.0” with such a terrifying accuracy that one can’t help but wonder, if this is a prediction or a glimpse to what is really happening behind the curtain.
The Author of the article does not only explore the grim possibility of the global enslavement done through the means of omnipresent surveillance but also quite accurately points out to how the AI-supported technology can already be used in politics, media or propaganda.
“AI also underpins the growth of online misinformation, which is another tool of the authoritarian. AI-powered deep fakes, which can spread fabricated political messages, and algorithmic micro-targeting on social media are making propaganda more persuasive. This undermines our epistemic security – the ability to determine what is true and act on it – that democracies depend on. “
Credit: BBC Di Minardi
In the era of Facebook and TikTok controversies, in the world where our personal data is the new oil, the primary resource through which the industries gain their wealth and governments stay in power we ought to take such scenarios seriously. And we ought to ask have a discussion on where this is leading us. What will eventually happen if we just “go with the flow”?
Yet, much too often, such concerns are marginalised and thrown into the same pot as the flat Earth theories.
So did BBC just join the Foil Hat club?
Truth be told, the bare fact that this story appeared in the mainstream media leaves me with a question.
Are we being warned to resist? Or are we just being familiarised with the notion… so that we accept?
As the world adapts to the pandemic reality, industries are taking various measures to keep their businesses going. Aim is to reduce the physical interactions between people, and minimize the risk of spreading the virus. And so the automation of workforce enters new areas and conquers new frontiers. Crowded spaces of restaurant kitchens and convenience stores are some of those.
The opportunities offered by sterile machines become even more tempting, in times were survival of your business could depend on hygienics and cleanliness.
Is that a trend that will help save the economy or is it another step on dehumanising yet another industry?
As one one of the managers, interviewed in the videos below put its:
“People are concerned with human beings involved with their food, and the spread of disease. So if you eliminate human beings from equation in some way shape or form, and replace them with robots people tend to feel safer. “
Sounds like this is where we are heading. Eliminating humans from the equation.
Feels so much safer already, doesn’t it?
Robot cooks are on the way
Flippy the burger frying robot
Meet Model-T grocery store remote controlled robot
There is that house on top of the hill in southern Poland. It towers above the village, yet it remains hidden in the embrace of the forest. The branches of nearby trees stretch above its roof, as if nature is crawling back in, to reclaim the land that once belonged to it.
Although this scenery seems like from a gothic story this house brings the emotions which I will always associate with peace, harmony and respite. My family owns this place, it has become our holiday retreat, and for me personally; a sanctuary.
Each day, just at sun dawn I would run into the woods behind the house, climb up the hill, off the beaten path and sit on the grass. I would close my eyes. And breathe.
This is how I remind myself of what is real. This is how I remind myself of those grim times when the urban life has entangled me and brought me down to the brink of depression. When I was burned out, when toxic work environment and “startup way of life” got me immersed in pointless masquerades. I remember, those times well, when I got lost in the crowd of new humans, and almost lost view of the reality.
In this age of abundance of information the most scarce resource is the Truth
“Quid est veritas?” – asks Pilate. What is truth? he ponders, while the Truth stands right before him. I can’t help but to think, that today it is the same for us.
What is truth? What is real? As we delve deeper into the flashy distractions of modern “culture” and entertainment we lose the sense of what is real. Those things that make us human, that define human experience, that rawness of reality is something I have to rediscover deep in the woods. Those precious moments can be seen and heard only in silence.
Chop wood, plant trees, cut grass, gather mushrooms, shoot a bow, take my kids for a hike through the woods, teach them to walk in silence and show them how to observe the wildlife. Drink some coffee with friends from the village; old-fashioned people who value work of their hands, who toil in the fields, who have not yet been immersed in the noise of the Metropolis.
I see the dichotomy, the growing rift between those people and the ones whom I met when living in Big Cities such as Berlin, Paris or Dubai. It is almost as if there are two species living in parallel worlds.
There is the homo sapiens, and there is this new human. The first one is of the old world, the latter is of the Brave New World. The new human is not taught to create but to consume. The new human trades elusive goals of long term effort for pleasures of immediate gratification.
Nurtured by fabricated food, educated by video entertainment, kept in darkness through constant exposure to blinding lights. A new human thrives when facing a screen and navigates effortlessly through digital jungle yet remains helpless and lost when confronted with real life. The new human is stripped of his identity, cut from his roots, detached from his legacy, even from biology.
The new human unlike the old one is not forged by constant values, but constantly morphs with ever changing trends and fashions.
The history of a new human is not written in stone, not even in paper but in wikipedia. The new human does not belong nor rely on a family, his sense of safety comes from an omnipresent embrace of the welfare state.
Family and marriage are redefined, blurred are the axioms, nothing is normal and everything is normal. You can’t observe reality for what it is, because you would become guilty of a mortal sin of being judgemental. When everything is questioned, nothing is real.
But the Truth, has this one miraculous property that It always emerges, eventually. And it leaves naked, those who try to suppress it.
All these thoughts ran through my mind as I was listening to the wind hustling through the tree branches, touching the moss, smelling the soil, cherishing the view of the bright blue sky above. How foolish I was to ever lose sight of it? I myself, came so dangerously close to becoming new human. Thankfully, I was given that time of blessed silence so I could see what is real and what has a meaning. I could step back and breathe again.
As C.S Lewis observed:
If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.
Note: Burning pages is my attempt to capture some elusive thoughts and observations before they turn to ash. Call it a journal if you want.
Few posts ago, I was writing about the growing (and worrying!) potential of the deepfake technology. You can check the article here. A recent news from Reuters, provided another example of how disturbing the applications of such software can be.
The story features Oliver Taylor, a student at England’s University of Birmingham. He is an activist who engaged through a series of articles in a tense debate on political issues around anti-Semitism and Jewish affairs. You can see Oliver’s photo in the source article on Reuters.
All this would not be anything particularly out of ordinary if not for one small detail.
Oliver Taylor doesn’t exist.
His identity is forged and his photo is a deepfake; an image generated through neural networks. As investigators behind Reuters article determined, some people generated this modern “Ventriloquist Dummy” to give voice to their agenda.
Dan Brahmy, quoted in the article (from Israel-based startup Cyabra specialized in detecting forged images.) observes:
“Deepfakes like Taylor are dangerous because they can help build “a totally untraceable identity,” (..) investigators chasing the origin of such photos are left “searching for a needle in a haystack – except the needle doesn’t exist.””
Those who played Deus-ex: Human Revolution might remembera character Eliza Cassan. She was an influential news anchor, famous all around the world. She also happened to be (spoiler alert!) a computer generated visual, a mere shell for a powerful AI behind it.
It seems like the reality is catching up on that one quite fast. Maybe even… it already did?
The loudest proponents of “inclusion” and “diversity”, are pushing the society away from liberty and towards more & more obvious totalitarianism. Big players in media, politics, tech and commerce have hijacked the public discourse (including universities) and are weeding out everything which deviates from mainstream narration with methods that have nothing to do with civilised debate. Some ideas, even if scientifically proven or statistically backed are labeled as unacceptable, fascist in other words “heretical”. It is not only that you are not allowed to voice your opinion anymore, – often you are not even allowed to ask questions.
Moreover, it is not only opinions & ideas that are labeled, but more often than not, individuals who dare to express them. People are slandered, ostracised and attacked for merely standing out in their worldview.
In times where memes and emotions, replaced arguments and facts, it is easy to spin the debate out of control. As Jordan Peterson (featured in the documentary) observes” The consequence that you are not talking is that you fight”.
These thoughts and warnings have been brilliantly captured through series of interviews and discussions in a new movie by Marijn Poels; Paradogma.
As Norbert Bolz, one of the professors featured in the movie ironically observes:
“Free thoughts supported people in informing themselves, so that they can form their own opinions and think independently. Right now it is assumed that people are no longer adults. Thank God we have responsible journalists and politicians that lead us in the right direction”
Liberty needs heretics so that out of the stir, out of the clash of the ideas the Truth can emerge. Because the Truth does not need to be protected from the lies by force, It stands for Itself . But surely, lies need brute force to be protected from the Truth.
If you are watching the news, rubbing your head wondering if it is just you or rather the whole world went nuts, then welcome in the club. You are not alone. Fortunately, there are a few others, some brilliant minds, that not only have the ability to see dangerous paradigm shifts plaguing our society, but also have the courage to speak against them. Their voices are a breeze of freedom and encouragement to all those, who like me might feel overwhelmed by the madness oozing from the mainstream media narration. Hear them out while you still can.
1. John Cleese
Who would think we will be living in times where Monty Python would become a stronghold of reason and common sense. Yet here we are.
So yeah, you read that right; this list is starting not with a philosopher, but with a creator of probably most famous comedy troupe in modern history; John Cleese.
“If people cant control their own emotions, then they are going to start controlling other peoples’ behaviour.”
These few short words on PC & the destruction of comedy, and the bare fact from whom they are coming from, depict in what scary world we arrived at.
2. Sam Harris
Really now? I am a Catholic and I recommend… Sam Harris to you? Yeah, Sam Harris is an outspoken atheist and probably we would disagree on a few matters. That doesn’t mean I that I don’t wholeheartedly agree with him, whenever he brings reason & common sense, to a conversation which had drifted far off from rationality. He shared some great thoughts on neuroscience and rise of AI. But also on recent events, which shows his courage. In times, where media are oozing at us with emotional blackmail he dares to speak the following;
“ This feeling of not-liking, of outrage, of disgust (..) this feeling isn’t an argument. This feeling shouldn’t be the basis for your belief for anything to be true or false about this world. Your capacity to be offended is not something that I or anyone else needs to respect. It isn’t something that you should respect. It is rather something you should be on your guard for. “
3. Douglas Murray
Speaking of times of madness, this list would not be complete without the Author of “Madness of Crowds” one of the two books which broke the veil of silence, and provided one of the very few neutral & fact based accounts on a raging trends that are reshaping our society.
Douglas Murray is a bestselling author & journalist, who unlike his peers from mass media has done his homework and is not afraid to pick up on subjects which are getting dangerously close to becoming taboo in the mainstream narration. Here is one of the interviews with him, where he delves into the consequences of identity politics.
4. Taylor Marshall
Being a Catholic, I wouldn’t be also myself if I wouldn’t smuggle into the list a strong voice of the Church. But hey, he is not a priest! One might say.
Well Church is also laity, and their voices like the one of Taylor Marshall need to be heard. In his podcast, Taylor Marshall is not afraid to touch topics which are difficult; both for secular and a Catholic world. He dares to speak the uncomfortable truth, while many representatives of the clergy remain comfortably silent.
He gives another perspective, the one that comes of deep understanding of the Christian roots of Western civilisation (same civilisation that gave us science, morals, and the bare concept of objective truth, nothing big, right?). Perspective that sometimes might feel shocking only because we have drifted so far away from those roots.
5. Jordan B. Peterson
“The game of dividing human beings by their group identity ends in disaster, no matter who plays that game.”
I would like to close the list with someone whom I personally consider as one of the most influential thinkers of modern times and a one-man stronghold against the forces of darkness (yeah, not kidding here). The occurring theme of his bestselling book “12 rules for life”, articles, lectures is the one of the constant struggle of forces of chaos and order.
And what we are seeing right now, is raging chaos, that starts to take hold of our culture, society, universities (and what comes with it; science) even our language.
Jordan Peterson has a gift of precisely articulating thoughts, forming them into words that are like sword cutting through that garbage of miasmatic newspeak that hijacked public discourse.
If you haven’t heard of him yet – just do yourself a favour and google one of his interviews or lectures. Here is a rare one , which is more on a funny, laid back note.
I admit that, I tend to overreact a bit when I accidentally see the news. Or when I look at those herds of good natured people blindly following (again) some trendy trend on social media, changing their profile pics into all colours of rainbow (including the newest addition: pitch black).
I can’t help but to draw conclusions which are usually, vastly different from what the mainstream is telling us. As a result, some people (not to say most of them) find me in a striking similarity to that nice guy from “Pacific Rim”, who has been immortalised in the famous meme you can see below…
But you see, there is reason for my specific stance. And I tend to believe it is a good one.
Long time ago, I wrote master thesis on the methods of influence and manipulation of masses, the ethics (or lack of thereof) behind them, their genesis, their philosophical and psychological basis. I had a privilege of having a tutor who is a specialist in Greek philosophy.
And so what was an unavoidable consequence under such guidance, was the necessity for me to confront such abstract concepts as the morals, the good, the evil and the truth.
I delved into mechanisms of controlling masses and how they evolved across the ages. I read through classics like Le Bonn’s “Psychology of crowds”, Machiavelli’s “Prince”, Sun Tzu’s “The art of war”, Schopenhauer’s “Eristics” and Plato’s “Gorgias” to name just a few. I never suspected that, It would be such a captivating research and that it would leave me a different man, quite literally. Firstly it taught me to respect the Truth. Secondly, it left me with a bit of a burden on my perception.
Never again watching daily news channel, reading newspaper or online magazine was the same experience. I started seeing patterns.
And I see them now.
There is a battlefield, where not tools of mass destruction but tools of mass manipulation are unleashed. And we are all in their range.
Divide et impera. People divided are easier to be controlled. Order through chaos. Create a problem so that you can propose a solution. Capitalise on the never-ending fight between the haves and have-nots. Feed the conflict, justify violence, label ideological enemies. Victimise certain “classes” so that they can revolt and overthrow the “oppressors”. Shift the paradigm, redefine the values, so that from the ashes of the old world order a New one can arise. Replace traditionally established institutions with a “more modern” ones, change language, radicalise relationships in the society, drive people to be in constant conflict with each other.
I can’t help but notice that all those tools and mechanism are set in motion to lead us… exactly, where?
This is a fertile ground for a whole range of articles which I promise to deliver in the future.
But for now, let’s start with an appetiser.
If you would like to start getting better grasp of the events that are unfolding behind our very eyes and on our streets, you do not need to study through a library of ancient texts.
Start by watching a few videos (while they are still on YouTube that is…). You can get on to Plato later (assuming you haven’t yet).
So here is my recommendation for step one.
Yuri Bezmenov aka Tomas Schuman, KGB deflector teaching Westerners the methods of soft diversion used by Soviet Union. In other words; how to influence masses to push the state over the edge. This is a lecture from 1984, but don’t be mistaken. It is horrifyingly accurate in explaining what is happening in 2020.
I would say enjoy the video, but I can assure after watching it (if you haven’t done that before) it will leave you in a quite grim mood. Knowledge can be a burden. But if there is one thing I learned from my thesis, it’s the fact that naked truth is always better than a blissful ignorance. Stay tuned for the next episode.
A decade of experience in project & product management in various organisations taught me a true value of the ability to maintain focus. Sometimes the hard way. Now in the times of work from home, cutting off distractions might be even more changeling than one would think. With tons of tasks at hand, tough questions from developers and stakeholders, messages on slack spamming every minute, urgent emails, kids yelling in the background and that annoying fly buzzing in the room , a simple task of replying to an email can become a bloodied struggle with oneself. Not to even mention of how one could attempt to write software specifications.
How do I get through such days and make the most out of them? Firstly I kill that f**ing fly. And then I apply a few simple rules, that not only help to keep my sanity in check, but also allow me to get the job done.
1. Prioritise & execute
Multitasking is a myth.
Don’t believe me? Try a simple exercise (credit to my Dad) – write on a blackboard in a row numbers from 1 to 10 in arabic numerals, and then in roman signs. Then do the same but with instead of going with one row till the end, switch between arabic and roman after each sign. See which method will take you more time…
That’s right. Unlike what some say about the art of management – switching through various tasks makes you actually LESS efficient. So what you need to learn first is to be able to pick up ONE thing at a time. Ideally the most important one. And get it though till the end (or at least a measurable milestone). Then another. And so on.
The method of Prioritising and Executing has been described at length in an amazing book “Extreme Ownership” by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. If you ever think of becoming a manager or about picking up on any leadership role – read it please.
2. Put the music on. Keep it on the loop.
I get it – apparently there are people who need silence to maintain focus. I guess those people have a luxury of having silence in their surroundings in first place. I am not one of them – so good headphones and good music are key to my performance.
There is a music for sports, music to sing to, songs for dancing with your wife, there is also a music you need to focus ON. Such music is not recommended at all.
You need the RIGHT kind of music, if you want to stay productive. The music that is not intrusive, that is repetitive so it gets you in the rhythm , that enhances clarity of mind. “De gustibus non-disptandum est” so I imagine such tunes will be different for different people. For myself, one of the tracks that kept me through a lot of usability diagrams and helped through producing some complex documentation was this one.
So find your tune. This will be a soundtrack for you life achievements. So better make it good.
3. Stay fit to keep the mind sharp.
Balance between your body and mind is paramount, not just to stay productive, but in the long run to simply stay alive. Lack of physical activity, wrong diet & not managing stress are slow killers.
So make sure you do exercise on a daily basis, ideally somewhere on fresh air. You will sweat some toxins out of your body and get bit more oxygen to that precious brain of yours.
Oh and if you happen to do martial arts, here is a bonus tip: throwing few kicks at boxing bag is an awesome way of acting out on those passive-aggressive e-mails you are getting from one of THESE clients…
4. Get breaks
Speaking of balance. Remember to rest. Ideally every 45-60 minutes, take a deep breath, switch your mind to something else. Change place. Walk a bit, stretch arms.
Let your mind take a break. It will gratify you by staying sharp.
Do not look at any screen. Do not check your phone. Especially not that Facebook feed…
5. Treat social media as poison for your mind (which they are).
Social media are designed to keep you in a dopamine-seeking cue-reward loop. All those developers behind every major social media platform are using their extraordinary skills and brainpower for ultimately, one single purpose.
To make a f***ing lab rat out of you.
With the same data-based cue-reward mechanisms, which are used to train animals those applications are to tame you and teach you to scroll/hit likes/post videos so that you can get that that neurological candy in a form of like/comment/new content.
And then come back for more. Know, that those apps are good at it.
So just do not give them any chance. Before hitting that “play video” button, before checking that notification you got – remember you are about to sip a bit of poison. And before you know it, you will drink from the whole bottle bottom up. This will cloud your mind, drain your energy and get you away from your goal.
Do not let them distract you. Stay focused. Get the job done. Chase your dreams.