25 things – updated

My friend Julieta [had] this weird idea of writing 25 random facts about herself, and asked some of her friends (including me) to do the same.

This is a repost from a previous entry, updated after 3 years. Deleted text from the previous version is mentioned for reference but stricken through.

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you. Or I want you to know more about me. Something like that.

(yes, this is one of these Facebook chains)

  1. Sometime during the past 4 years I have finally understood the difference between limerence (being “in love”) and love itself. This year, for the first time in my life, I experienced the transition from the former to the latter. It’s an amazing and inspiring experience.

    During the past 4 years I have transitioned from a powerless and defiant attitude towards injustice, inequality and suffering in the world at large to an overall contemplative attitude. Reading about Taoism did help. However I still feel guilty for not dedicating my energy to fight for others where it is needed.

  2. (related) I believe that the civil passivity of a citizen can be compensated by dedication towards his social environment (family, friends, working as a teacher, etc); i.e. if I cannot make the world change myself, it is still positive action to actively support others. However I am struggling to justify this position to myself.

  3. I love reading and learning, but I find it increasingly difficult to find people whom I can learn from and who can teach the things I specifically want to learn; meanwhile I also realize how much unexpected things there are to learn from pretty much anyone, and I enjoy that as well.

  4. Sometime in the last 3 6 years I have been enlightened by the perception that plants, lichens, mushrooms and the like are multicellular life forms like we are. That there is so much biology in common between a human and the vegetable life forms usually used as mere decorations. This cured me of temptations of spiritual vegetarianism or veganism, as I see the death of animals and vegetables to serve as food for others equally dramatical from a spiritual point of view. Instead, I now feel slightly grateful towards my potential biological food when I see it alive, either animal or vegetable. (no feelings after it’s effectively dead)

  5. That said, from a practical-economical perspective I also think it does not make sense to eat a piece of meat more than once every week. I do not need it biologically, and growing an amount of animal food is much more environmentally expensive than growing the nutritionally equivalent amount of vegetable food. I recognize that some human activities (say, physical jobs) need more protein input than others; I believe that the production and distribution of meat should be restricted on this basis.

  6. I never understood the meaning of “tingly feeling in the stomach” to describe a feeling (I used to imagine ants crawling there), until I saw two guys hugging and kissing out of sheer affection for the first time. Only then could I understand precisely why the media profusely show couples of men and women on screen.

  7. I do not have strong feelings towards religion in general. My attitude towards religion is nearly purely rational. I am personally non-religious by total lack of education either for or against it in my young age, and lack of need in my later years. Reading about history and geopolitics made me realize that religions are a peripheral side-effect of the way humans tend to naturally organize themselves into societies; in this sense I do not see any long-lasting rationale behind atheism, except to create a god-less religion where an elite is taken as transcendental reference. I think (and can justify) that most religious dogmas have been elaborately constructed at a time when they were needed for political or overall public health reasons, and that new systems of beliefs need to be constructed over time to stabilize populations. For this reason I despise several religious beliefs that are now outdated, irrelevant and have become potentially dangerous; for example I think that the Catholic support for human reproduction at all costs is irresponsible in our over-populated world. I think many old customs will evolve gradually anyways, even though I know I will not live to see the changes myself. I think that football and otherwise entertainment in the media have taken the role that violent circus games had in the antiquity, and that public executions had in the Middle-Ages; both of which constructed religions have tried to replace by more peaceful rites and habits that can channel the excitement of humans into constructive activities. I avoid televisions for this reason.

  8. I love flying, especially flying far. I find the experience of checking in and boarding into a plane exhilarating and it has spurted in my mind long-lasting periods of creativeness. Also, a flight takeoff is the only moment where I reflect what my peers’ life would be after I die. Unfortunately lately my relationship with planes has been deteriorated by a light amount of shame for the large environmental footprint of my addiction. I now compensate with trains; while the feeling is there less strong, I can experience it more often especially in the Netherlands. Actually I have an invisible friend with the shape of a tiny plane so small that it is invisible, with the behavior and intellect of an ever trusting puppy, whom I make fly by showing his flight path with my finger as I walk. We have not played together for many years now, but I still think about him every now and then.

  9. I am fascinated about information persistence as a basis for historical record. I have an acute perception that the last 30 years of computing are creating an historical “Dark Age”, from which historians of the future will not be able to retrieve our way of life nor our global knowledge. I feel lonely from the total lack of perception of this problem by my peers.

  10. I find disguises of economic competition as nationalistic territorial or ideological disputes blatantly dishonest and ridiculous. In particular I think that heated diplomatic relationships entertained for decades, if not centuries, are an irresponsible waste of energy, time, manpower and possibly lives; nationalists should realize how puny their concerns are compared to the immensity of the Earth (or the universe for whomever has ever looked up there), and/or convert their emotional distress into open commercial negotiations with their neighbors. Of course I do not believe there are simple solutions to all conflicts that are based on practical interest; some disputes may be virtually unsolvable based on the premises put forth by their participants. Take Israel for instance: my understanding is that the ruling leaders of the time basically took a piece of desert they had under their jurisdiction and “gave” it to the Jews, actually not out of sheer generosity but simply because accommodating them anywhere else would be practically more difficult. Conversely, the territory that is now Israel was virtually unused and non-habitable before the Israelis made it viable, and I find dishonest the Palestinians’ attempts to disguise their interest in reaping the economical gains of the Israelis’ efforts as a dispute over legitimacy. I think there is a lot to be said about these relatively current events in comparison with how the world community at large has accepted, or at least now tolerates, the way the Spaniards installed themselves in South America and how the Puritans colonized North America.

  11. I recently wrote and published a book. It was so much work that I have gained a new level of respect and understanding for the job of writers.

    I will go to Trance Energy next month, for the 4th or 5th time ever, and I am looking forward to it.

  12. When I was 20 I did not see myself live past 25, because I did not know of anything interesting to live through. When I was 25 I did not see myself live past 30, given how short-minded I perceived people become after they turn 30, marry and have kids. Since them I found out that aging is not so bad, and there are plenty of open-minded people to meet and things to do that actually require the extra maturity to enjoy. At the same time I still think people should retire from life when they become a burden to society. I plan to register a will in that sense.

  13. (related) while I feel a little sad when someone dies not because of old age, I strongly support the idea that the interruption of autonomous life in organic matter when it has little self potential is not a tragedy when it balances with the well-being of other living individuals who have a longer or more potential future. For example I think that an embryo developing into a child with no support from his family and subject to emotional distress, which later develops into a strongly unbalanced adult, should not be allowed to develop in the first place; and that instead its stem cells should be reused for curing critical diseases that disable people who could otherwise contribute to society (i.e. I do not support “comfort” medicine or curing diseases for otherwise disabled humans). In the same way, I believe we should be immensely grateful towards young people who die relatively stupidly and make their organs available to others in a good shape. At the same time, I am acutely critical of biomedical ethics and I believe the decision to terminate autonomous life should never be taken by single individuals or groups of individual with religious, economic or political interests.

  14. I once had purple hair for a while. Then I had it blue. Then silver. Later I turned orange, and I stayed red haired for a while. Now I am looking forward to seeing all my hair turn white, and I hope it happens before I lose it all.

  15. I find the sound of spoken Dutch physically attractive. This strongly supports my efforts in learning the language on my own; I realize only now that relatively few foreigners and even natives share this motive and I have troubles connecting with other people because of this. Lately I discovered this attraction also when hearing Frisian.

  16. I once heard there are people who arrived in the Netherlands and who do not want to learn how to bike because they find it childish. I am still bothered by the thought, as I totally cannot understand it.

  17. I think that journalists, teachers and clerics (either administrative or religious) have the most responsible jobs in society. The first decide what knowledge is worth keeping and its transmission over space; the second are responsible for its transmission over time; the third administrate its archival and regulate its retrieval.

  18. I believe that there exist global evil conspiracies of different natures and motives, but I believe those often purported in the media (Jew conspiracy, Illuminati, etc) are not global and have very little scope and influence. Instead, I believe for instance that cats are a highly developed species manipulating humans for its own benefits, and that the biosphere has an overall conscious existence of its own (the Gaia theory). More seriously, I believe there is a fundamental feud between mankind and womankind, that the rise of the Christian church and its misogynistic teachings was a temporary victory of mankind after ages of social ruling by womankind, and that the development of properly functional parthenogenesis or an artificial uterus by one kind sex will imply the prompt extinction, if not extermination, of the other.

  19. I have issues with disposing of unused or unusable items. I feel a sense of responsibility towards the potential uses of any artifact, even uses I cannot myself imagine, supported by the fallacious belief that if I take care of conserving an item (as opposed to e.g. letting it be destroyed with other garbage) someone else, sometime in the near or far future, will be able to benefit from it. My former emotional distress on this topic was alleviated when I learned that it is possible to give unused items away to people who will take care of redistributing them; I now merely need to solve the practical issue of classifying all the junk and transporting it to the right locations.

  20. I think that love, anger, attraction, contempt, jealousy, in general the “mountains and hills” of human emotions are biological “features” built into our chemical processes; they were once necessary to survive, and they now merely regulate our good function in society. They must not be ignored or repressed, like pain should not be ignored, because they are useful and make life overall easier (when not unusually disturbed); however I think that entertaining conscious thoughts, discussions, art or other forms of expression for the sole purpose of showing feelings (as opposed to propagating them where they are needed or conveying a message in combination) is utterly useless and a waste of time and energy.

  21. I experienced intense love for someone else and intense love from someone else in two distinct circumstances where it was not reciprocated. I now realize these are two situations that bring an insight on the complexity of human relationships that no amount of abstract education can possibly teach. It also has allowed me to really cherish my friends and my chosen siblings.

  22. I don’t know, and I care little, about the whereabouts of my biological siblings. However, I spend an inordinate amount of time wondering about the current life situation of other people I have met, especially those I have not stayed in touch with.

  23. I find the neck area between the jaw and shoulder of a man extremely attractive and comfortable; I routinely daydream of taking a guy in my arms and resting my head in the small of his neck, delicately kissing his skin there.

    I am fascinated by body modifications, and I have spent a large amount of time to decide how much I can and want to modify myself. I think that any living being has the inalienable right to decide of its own form, shape and metabolism (as long as it does not cause harm to other individuals or disrupts society, but I think any right is constrained by this restriction).

  24. I feel highly privileged to be allowed to live in the Netherlands and work in a University, and I have every intention to make myself worth of it. I had the occasion to test my limits in the past, I now know a balance between my responsibilities and my personal interests, and I intend to let this carry me for the next few years. I am ready to make adjustments as they are needed but I do not feel the need for radical self-desconstructions any more.

  25. I procrastinate too much. I should really do something about it, especially given that I know what I should do. I’ll start tomorrow, promise.