THE SULTAN: CREATING A PERFECT GOVERNMENT REQUIRES PERFECT PEOPLE

The Perfect Government

Mankind has been searching for the perfect government, longer than it has been searching for the ability to transmute lead into gold. But while transmutation can turn lead into gold, no amount of energy in the world can make a government perfect. The atomic structures of every metal are a known quantity, but human beings are not. And never can be.

The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle applies not just to electrons, but even more so to the paired entanglement of government and the governed. No system that rules over men can ever work perfectly. Nor was it ever meant to. But that hasn’t stopped progressive ideologies and philosophies from trying over and over again in age after age. Their goal is to create a perfect government that can then turn out perfect men.

Most such philosophies seek to use the power of government to regiment and thereby uplift man by imposing their system on him. Society is their petri dish. The citizens are their microbes. Squirt a drop here or there to see what develops. If the American experiment was in self-government, most of its modernist counterparts were experiments in comprehensive government. In the absolute imposition of modern scientific government to make its citizens better people.

The problem with setting out to create the perfect government is that it demands perfect people, among both government and the governed. You can turn government into a machine, but you can’t turn the people who run it or the people who live under it into machines. Most governments, even the bad ones, recognize this. A tyrant knows his limits, a progressive does not. His goal passes beyond the relative power of a tyrant, to the absolute power of a god. The tyrant seeks to dominate men. The progressive wants to recreate them.

The perfect government represents an idea in its chrysalis. It is more than a set of offices, rather it is a set of beliefs about how people should live. The perfect government is a plan for making perfect men. It is a plan that never succeeds, but its moral authority nevertheless derives from that plan.

The people of the Soviet Union did not live under Communism. They lived under a Communist government whose goal was to one day achieve true Communism, at which point the whole system of authority wielded by the Party would no longer be needed. The rulers always assured the people that True Communism was only a generation away. Like a mirage, the perfect system, whether it is Communist or any other, is always on the horizon. And always just out of reach. When the idealists die off or are sent away to the Gulags, it recedes into nothing more than a justification for holding power.

Ideological government exists for the sake of the plan. Every time Obama gets up and delivers another teleprompter fed speech full of grandiose yet pointless spending plans, he is keeping hope alive in the plan. The constant flow of new proposals is vital to maintaining the illusion of forward momentum by a progressive government. True Communism and the brotherhood of man is always just another 5 year plan away.

The basic structure of government is a set of rules governing the behavior of those under its purview. For governments, the predictable is also the ideal. If you can convince most people to behave the same way, then the task of governing them is made much easier. With this shift in attitude, the predictable becomes the lawful, and the unpredictable becomes criminal. Laws no longer exist to prevent harm to others, but as sheep fences to keep everyone moving in the same direction. This marks the shift from the representative to the bureaucratic– from self-government to comprehensive government.

Self-government is concerned with ownership, comprehensive government with its plan. And the plan requires predictability, which it then confuses with perfectibility. The ideal citizen becomes sheeplike, a predictable tiny gear in the vast machine of government. And though he may deficient in every capacity, his compliance with the plan makes him seem like the perfect citizen that the perfect government is seeking. Comprehensive government robs its people of initiative in order to maintain the plan. But since it is people who must implement the plan, the perfect government becomes a dumb machine in which everyone follows orders and no one is aware of consequences.

The dumb machine of government cannot be adjusted without initiative, whether it is at the local DMV office or at the highest levels of power in Washington D.C. And a government that deliberately breeds initiative out of its people, not only destroys them, but also destroys itself. The people learn to adjust by entering black market economies. But the government cannot make the same adjustments. And eventually the people, whether in authority or in the streets, tear it down. The death of structural initiative always puts the ball in the rebels’ court. Whether it is the rebels on the inside or the outside. That is how Communism fell.

The perfect government desires to remake men in conformity with an idea. But the idea is always more ephemeral than the man. Ideas come and go, but humanity endures. A thousand Ozymandias statues have been erected and toppled to numerous and varied ideologies. One statue falls, another rises. A revolution against one state ushers in a new state. No system of government is immortal. But that is what the perfect government wishes to be. Its ambition is to put its undying stamp on the future. To stamp humanity in a final and unyielding mold.

The scientific government was one of modernism’s greatest illusions. If man was nothing more than another set of biological phenomena, then it seemed to the progressives that there was every reason that science should encompass his every thought and deed. From the Behaviorist to the bureaucrat, the science of man seemed immutable. A rich field waiting to be mined by armies of social science researchers and cabinet professors.

But while science did roll back poverty– it did so through economics of productivity, not sociology. Every social measure meant to treat poverty, from eugenics to welfare, left an ugly stamp on the nation. While the ugly factories with their black smokestacks raised a generation out of the dim abyss of poverty. The attempts to perfect man by sterilizing the unfit or pandering to them failed, man succeeded not by tinkering with human nature, but by plying his own ingenious art of productivity.

The perfect government had failed at every turn, yet it endured. Its plans drained the economy and sucked away the blessings that productivity brought at every turn. But it endured where productivity did not. Productivity offered the promise of a better future, but the ‘Plan’ promised a perfect future. The productivity demanded responsibility, the ‘Plan’ only pliant compliance. Productivity was realistic. The ‘Plan’ was unrealistic. And it is the unreal that appeals to the human imagination, more than the real. ‘Hope and Change’ resonates more than ‘Hard Work’. A chance to return to the Garden of Eden, even if it is the serpent that offers us the key.

Perfect governments are abusive, but hold an undying appeal. Their power over the human imagination is as dangerous as their contempt and cruelty toward their imperfected subjects. A government that exists to impose the authority of its rulers is bad enough, but one that exists to impose ideological compliance is worse. The disparity of power in all forms of government breed corruption and abuses, as well as stretching a reality gap that prevents the rulers from being in touch with the actual situation on the ground. But ideological government dramatically increases the reality gap and the power disparity, and quickly become more corruptly abusive than any ordinary government will.

It is easier to oppress in the name of an idea, than in the name of a man, because there is no accompanying recognition of cruelty. Once the idea has been defined as the absolute good of mankind, then no act however cruel and merciless will appear so. Thus a private insurance company denying insurance coverage to a dying patient is perceived as behaving monstrously, while a government health insurance system doing the same thing is acting for the good of all. This is collectivist morality, the belief that the morality or immorality of an act is defined by whether its placement on the sliding scale of the collective good or the selfish individual. And collectivist morality is the moral principle of progressive government. To compromise the rights of individuals, for the needs of the many.

The only law that the perfect government recognizes is its own plan. It will kill for the plan. And it will disown any institution or power that is an obstacle to the plan. It will wreck economies, slay millions and ignore reality in the pursuit of its plan. The worst crimes will come to seem like virtues and the ugliest deeds of its followers will shine like gold. It will hold to no consistent ideas or principles, but the perpetuation of the plan. It will dance with the devil one night, and build a ladder to heaven on the next. Its lofty ambition will make its cynicism seem like idealism. It will have no loyalties or allegiances to anything but the mirage of the plan shimmering over the far desert sands.

The perfect government is the plantation. Its idealism expresses itself as regimentation. Its plan is to lay the whip on their backs until they trot through the right gate and out into the maze of progress, which will lead them at last to the plan. The less certain the authorities are about the plan, the more they lay on the whip.

Imperfect mankind is the enemy of perfect government. It is the bane and the inspiration for it. It obstructs all its plans and its one great plan, in which men seek to overcome the collective nature of humanity, when they have invariably not even overcome their own natures. The leader worship and the cults of personality associated with perfect government create the illusion that the leaders have already been perfected. That we should allow them to be our guides because they have already achieved a higher state of being. But the halo on their heads is nothing but a trick of the light. They are the avatars of a secular religion which places its faith in its own power to remake mankind with the reins of government. But men cannot be remade, imperfectly they remake themselves.

 

article from – sultanknish

30 Habits that Will Change your Life

Developing good habits is the basic of personal development and growth. Everything we do is the result of a habit that was previously taught to us. Unfortunately, not all the habits that we have are good, that’s why we are constantly trying to improve.

The following is a list of 30 practical habits that can make a huge difference in your life.

You should treat this list as a reference, and implement just one habit per month. This way you will have the time to fully absorb each of them, while still seeing significant improvements each month.

Health habits

  1. Exercise 30 minutes every day. Especially if you don’t do much movement while working, it’s essential that you get some daily exercise. 30 minutes every day are the minimum recommended for optimal health.
  2. Eat breakfast every day. Breakfast is the more important meal of the day, yet so many people skip it. Personally, I like to eat a couple of toasts in the morning along with a fruit beverage.
  3. Sleep 8 hours. Sleep deprivation is never a good idea. You may think that you are gaining time by sleeping less, when in reality you are only gaining stress and tiredness. 8 hours are a good number of hours for most people, along with an optional 20 minutes nap after lunch.
  4. Avoid snacking between meals. Snacking between meals is the best way to gain weight. If you are hungry, eat something concrete. Otherwise don’t. Update: for clarification, I mean don’t eat junk food between meals, but eating real food it’s ok.
  5. Eat five portions of fruits and vegetables every day. Our body and brain loves getting vegetables and fruit, so I highly recommend eating as much of them as possible. Five portions is the dose that’s usually recommended by many health associations.
  6. Eat fish. Fish is rich of omega 3 and other healthy elements. At least one meal per week of fish should be enough for getting all these nutrients.
  7. Drink one glass of water when you wake up. When you wake up, your body is dehydrated and needs liquid. Make the habit of drinking one glass of water after you wake up in the morning. Also, drink more during the day.
  8. Avoid soda. Soda is often one of the most unhealthy beverage you can find. Limit your consumption of soda as much as possible and you’re body will be grateful for that.
  9. Keep your body clean. I don’t advise spending your day in front of the mirror, but a minimum of personal care does never hurt.
  10. If you smoke, stop it. There’s no reason to smoke anymore, and quitting is possible
  11. If you drink, stop it. Same as above. Don’t think that alcohol will solve your problems. It never does. The only exception is one glass of wine per day during meals.
  12. Take the stairs. This is just a hack that forces you to do a minimum of exercise. Instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs.

Productivity habits

  1. Use an inbox system. Make the habit of keeping track of all the ideas and things that comes to mind. You can use a notebook to do this, and then sync everything on your computer.
  2. Prioritize. If you have a list of things to do, where do you start? One way is to prioritize your list. If you are in doubt, ask yourself: “If I could only accomplish one thing today, what would it be?”
  3. Plan, but not too much. Planning is important, and you should decide in advance what you are going to do today or this week. However, planning for more than a few weeks is usually inefficient, so I would not worry too much about that.
  4. Wake up early. Waking up early in the morning is a great way to gain extra time. I personally like to wake up at 5 am, so that by 9 am I have already accomplished what otherwise would have taken me many days..
  5. Check your email only twice per day. Email can easily become an addiction, but it’s usually unnecessary to check it every 10 minutes. Make an effort and check your email only once or twice per day, see if the world will still rotate as before after you try this.
  6. Eliminate unimportant tasks. Being busy all day does not mean you are doing important stuff. Eliminate every activity that’s not important, and focus on what really matters.
  7. Clean off your desk and room. Having a clear room and desk is important to maintain focus and creativity.
  8. Automate. There are a lot of tasks that you need to perform every day or every week. Try to automate them as much as possible.
  9. Set strict deadlines. When you do something, decide in advance when you’re going to stop. There’s a rule that states that you will fulfill all the time you have available for completing a task, so make an habit of setting strict deadlines for maximizing your productivity.
  10. Take one day off per week. Instead of working every day, take one day off per week (for example sunday) where you are not going to turn on your computer. Use that time for doing recreational activities like going for a walk.

Personal Development habits

  1. Read 1 book per week. Reading is a good way to keep your brain active. With just 30 minutes per day you should be able to read one book per week, or more than 50 books per year.
  2. Solve puzzles. Quizzes, word games, etc. are all good ways to exercise your brain.
  3. Think positively. You are what you think, all the time.
  4. Make fast decisions. Instead of thinking for one hour wherever you are going to do something, make your decisions as fast as possible (usually less than 1 minute).
  5. Wait before buying. Wait 48 hours before buying anything, is a tremendous money saver, try it.
  6. Meditate 30 minutes per day. A great way to gain clearness and peace is through meditation. 30 minutes are not a lot, but enough to get you started with meditation.

Career habits

  1. Start a blog. Blogging is one of the best way to put your word out. It doesn’t have to be around a specific topic, even a personal blog will do.
  2. Build a portfolio. If your job is creating stuff, building a portfolio is a great way to show what you are capable of. You can also contribute stuff for free if that applies to your work.

False confessions

Silence is golden

People have a strange and worrying tendency to admit to things they have not, in fact, done

 

SINCE 1992 the Innocence Project, an American legal charity, has used DNA evidence to help exonerate 271 people who were wrongly convicted of crimes, sometimes after they had served dozens of years in prison. But a mystery has emerged from the case reports. Despite being innocent, around a quarter of these people had confessed or pleaded guilty to the offences of which they were accused.

It seems hard to imagine that anyone of sound mind would take the blame for something he did not do. But several researchers have found it surprisingly easy to make people fess up to invented misdemeanours. Admittedly these confessions are taking place in a laboratory rather than an interrogation room, so the stakes might not appear that high to the confessor. On the other hand, the pressures that can be brought to bear in a police station are much stronger than those in a lab. The upshot is that it seems worryingly simple to extract a false confession from someone—which he might find hard subsequently to retract.

I must confess

One of the most recent papers on the subject, published in Law and Human Behavior by Saul Kassin and Jennifer Perillo of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, used a group of 71 university students who were told they were taking part in a test of their reaction times. Participants were asked to press keys on a keyboard as they were read aloud by another person, who was secretly in cahoots with the experimenter. The volunteers were informed that the ALT key was faulty, and that if it was pressed the computer would crash and all the experimental data would be lost. The experimenter watched the proceedings from across the table.

In fact, the computer was set up to crash regardless, about a minute into the test. When this happened the experimenter asked each participant if he had pressed the illicit key, acted as if he was upset when it was “discovered” that the data had disappeared, and requested that the participant sign a confession. Only one person actually did hit the ALT key by mistake, but a quarter of the innocent participants were so disarmed by the shock of the accusation that they confessed to something they had not done.

Robert Horselenberg and his colleagues at Maastricht University, in the Netherlands, have come up with similar results. In an as-yet-unpublished study, members of Dr Horselenberg’s group told 83 people that they were taking part in a taste test for a supermarket chain. The top taster would win a prize such as an iPad or a set of DVDs. The volunteers were asked to try ten cans of fizzy drink and guess which was which. The labels were obscured by socks pulled up to the rim of each can, so to cheat a volunteer had only to lower the sock.

During the test, which was filmed by a hidden camera, ten participants actually did cheat. Bafflingly, though, another eight falsely confessed when accused by the experimenter, despite participants having been told cheats would be fined €50 ($72).

The number of innocent confessors jumps when various interrogation techniques are added to the mix. Several experiments, for example, have focused on the use of false evidence, as when police pretend they have proof of a person’s guilt in order to encourage him to confess. This is usually permitted in the United States, though banned in Britain.

A second computer-crash test conducted by Dr Kassin and Dr Perillo used this technique. Another person in the room beside the experimenter said he saw the participant hitting the ALT key. In this case the confession rate jumped to 80% of innocent participants. Dr Horselenberg and his colleagues found something similar.

Dr Kassin also tested the impact of bluffing. Two participants, one of whom was again in cahoots with the investigator, sat in the same room and were asked to complete what appeared to be an academic test. Halfway through, the investigator accused them of helping each other and cited the university’s honour code against cheating. The investigator went on to bluff that there was a video camera in the room, though the recording, with its definitive proof one way or the other, would not be accessible until later. In the real world, this might be like a detective telling a suspect that DNA or fingerprint evidence had been found but not yet analysed (in Britain as well as America, if such a statement were actually true, police would be permitted to say it, though in the case of the experiment it was a lie). Presumably, the innocent participants knew such a tape would exonerate them. Even so, half still confessed.

All of which is both strange and rather alarming. Dr Kassin suggests that participants may have the naive—though common—belief that the world is a just place, and that their innocence will emerge in the end, particularly in the case of the alleged video evidence. One participant, for example, told him, “it made it easier [to sign the confession] because I had nothing to hide. The cameras would prove it.”

In cases like that, confession is seen as a way to end an unpleasant interrogation. But it is a risky one. In the real world, such faith can be misplaced. Though a lot of jurisdictions require corroborating evidence, in practice self-condemnation is pretty damning—and, it seems, surprisingly easy to induce.

 

> An article from The Economist.

I Like You When You Are Quiet

 

I like you when you are quiet because it is as though you are absent,
and you hear me from far away, and my voice does not touch you.
It looks as though your eyes had flown away
and it looks as if a kiss had sealed your mouth.

Like all things are full of my soul
You emerge from the things, full of my soul.
Dream butterfly, you look like my soul,
and you look like a melancoly word.

I like you when you are quiet and it is as though you are distant.
It is as though you are complaining, butterfly in lullaby.
And you hear me from far away, and my voice does not reach you:
let me fall quiet with your own silence.

Let me also speak to you with your silence
Clear like a lamp, simple like a ring.
You are like the night, quiet and constellated.
Your silence is of a star, so far away and solitary.

I like you when you are quiet because it is as though you are absent.
Distant and painful as if you had died.
A word then, a smile is enough.
And I am happy, happy that it is not true.

translation of

– Pablo Neruda – Me Gustas Cuando Callas

Short Myers-Briggs Test

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®, or MBTI®, is one of the most widely-used personality “tests” in the world. It is based on Carl Jung’s notion of psychological type and was developed by the mother-daughter team of Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers.

According to the theory, there are sixteen personality types. These are indicated by a four-letter code (e.g. – ENFP). You can find out your type by using the following chart. For each question, ask yourself which letter best represents you most of the time. Each person is a little bit of both but will usually tend to prefer one side over the other. Another question you can ask yourself is: Which one of these preferences comes more naturally to me and which one did I have to learn over time? Choose the one that comes more naturally. Once you have figured out your four letters, you can read a full description of your personality type here

How do you get your energy?

E

Extroverts

  • are generally sociable
  • are focused on the outer world
  • get energy by spending time with others
  • talk a lot & start conversations
  • speak first, then think
  • are quick to take action
  • have many friends & many interests

Introverts

  • are generally quiet
  • are focused on their inner world
  • get energy by spending time alone
  • mostly listen & wait for others to talk first
  • think first, then speak
  • are slow to take action
  • have a few deep friendships & refined interests

I

How do you see the world & gather information?

S

Sensers

  • use their five senses
  • pay attention to the details
  • focus on what is real (in the present)
  • think in concrete terms
  • like practical things
  • like to do (make)
  • are accurate and observant
  • prefer to do things the established way

iNtuitives

  • use their “sixth sense”
  • see the “big picture”
  • focus on what is possible (in the future)
  • think in abstract terms
  • like theories
  • like to dream (design)
  • are creative and imaginative
  • prefer to try out new ideas

N

How do you make your decisions?

T

Thinkers

  • mostly use their head
  • make decisions based on logic
  • are more interested in things & ideas
  • treat everybody the same
    (emphasizing fairness)
  • are more scientific in describing the world

Feelers

  • mostly use their heart
  • make decisions based on their values
  • are more interested in people & emotions
  • treat people according to their situation (emphasizing compassion)
  • are more poetic in describing the world

F

How much do you like to plan ahead?

J

Judgers

  • are organized and structured
  • make plans in advance
  • keep to the plan
  • like to be in control of their life
  • want to finalize decisions

Perceivers

  • are casual and relaxed
  • prefer to “go with the flow”
  • are able to change and adapt quickly
  • like to simply let life happen
  • want to find more information

P

How To Treat Others: 5 Lessons From an Unknown Author

Five Lessons About How To Treat People
— Author Unknown

1. First Important Lesson – “Know The Cleaning Lady”

During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?”

Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.

“Absolutely,” said the professor. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say “hello.”

I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.


2. Second Important Lesson – “Pickup In The Rain”

One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.

A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab.

She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man’s door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home.

A special note was attached. It read: “Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.”

Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.

3. Third Important Lesson – “Remember Those Who Serve”

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10 year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. “How much is an ice cream sundae?” he asked. “50¢,” replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.

“Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?” he inquired. By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient. “35¢!” she brusquely replied.

The little boy again counted his coins. “I’ll have the plain ice cream,” he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left.

When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies. You see, he couldn’t have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.


4. Fourth Important Lesson – “The Obstacles In Our Path”

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand – “Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.”

5. Fifth Important Lesson – “Giving When It Counts”

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year-old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, “Yes, I’ll do it if it will save her.”

As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, “Will I start to die right away?”.

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.