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July 25, 2020 / Congau

Discrete But Discreet

A discrete part is not discreet. Far from it. It stands out, making itself visible by refusing to blend in.

When is it good to be discrete and when is it better to be discreet?

When is the time to stand out as an individual and show your distinctness and when is it preferable to stay low and avoid drawing attention?

In our modern times discreetness is rare and discreteness is rarer. Everyone is looking for a chance to be noticed, to flash the light at themselves whether or not they have anything to show. We just want to be seen and we avidly compete for attention on the wide web, wishing to be noticed among all the others who are out there for the same purpose.

So we are just like them and they are just like us. Nothing seems to make us a distinct part in this mass of screaming colors. We are afraid of being different but still want to be recognized as such.

What if you could be yourself? As a unique individual, born with characteristics that only belong to you, you are at least a potential self. But molded by society and shaped by fashion, you are a drawn toward all the rest playing that same game of self-effacing self-glorification.

Be discrete but discreet. By knowing thyself, by being yourself, you naturally make yourself distinct in the crowd of non-personalities and by not shouting and flashing your fake light, you will be different from the others. You may not be any more noticeable, but who is truly noticeable anyway when what they show is a distorted image of themselves.

A person, a real person, goes his own way. He is a lone wolf who does not cry with the other wolves. A discrete individual. A discreet person who stands out.

July 24, 2020 / Congau

In Reserve

To be used but never used. To be kept for keep’s sake. A treasure no one is allowed to see or touch but still revered for its presumed existence. Who needs the gold that is stored in dark vaults? Yet, they are all craving for it, scheming to get hold of it and transfer it to their own dusty dungeons. Why?

Because sometimes a potential is more valuable than what is actual. What is, is only that one thing, whereas what may be, may be many things. Who would want to be limited if one can be unlimited? Possibilities are alluring because they open up for an endless perspective. The world is open until you close it, and when your gold is spent, the choice is lost.

It’s hard to let go of a dream even if it means that it comes true. It therefore seems better to keep it in store, unused but still a possibility; better than giving it away to reality. Therefore you wait, guarding your assets as something more valuable than what could ever be.

Sancta simplicitas! What an astonishing self-deception! Choosing the thin air of a dream rather than enjoying a tangible reality! But like all self-deception it provides comfort. If you think about it hard enough it is almost as if it is real, and you can revel in it without being constrained by that prosaic sobriety which always accompanies reality.

But one day you wake up and look at that naïve creature in the mirror; the poor bastard who has a chest full of valuables but nothing of value. You have kept it in deposited until that day when it could buy the clouds, but that day has now passed without ever having come.

You wish you had spent it while you could. It is there but no longer in reserve.

July 23, 2020 / Congau


It is mine, rightfully mine. The law protects my property and keeps everyone but me away from it. That is my right.

I know what justice is: Getting my share. Acquiring what the law allows me to catch and then hang on to it. For the sake of my rights I never give anything away. I believe in justice.

I am right. Do you disagree with me? Check the law. It states clearly that I have the right to all I have, and more. For freedom is also my inalienable right, and therefore I am free to use my property to acquire more property and not to let anyone hinder me on my way to riches.

Rights are wonderful things, and I am full of them. It protects the individual, me, against the state, it, and other individuals, them. I can appeal to universal justice to get what I want. Maybe you thought justice meant sharing or giving an equal portion to equals and reward them for their merits? Not so. Justice means keeping.

Justice is a tool in my hands, and I can use it to extend my sense of self by means of my ever-expanding property. Thereby I gain power and freedom and rights.

Might is right. That thesis is supported by our institutions and our law. Whenever power has been obtained through property, that enlarged individual, me, can let my will be obeyed as my right.

Do I take the rights of others, you say? Me, a thief? No one is as law abiding as I am. All transactions are conducted strictly in accordance with law. I use my right, to accumulate more rights, and if your rights should be swallowed up by mine, that is just right.

Did anyone really think that rights were for the weak?

July 22, 2020 / Congau


Words have more meaning than their meaning. They often refer to objects, plain and simple, but still evoke feelings that go much beyond their sober significance. Poets know that since it is their craft to express their ideas through emotions. Advertisers know it since it is their business is to manipulate. We all know it, and since it is our intention to communicate, we desperately try to tread the narrow path of getting our message through without offending anyone.

In this endeavor we are sadly bound to fail. We may allow the poet an artistic license to move us and we willingly trust the advertiser to enchant us into buying what we don’t need, but we expect our fellow language users to exercise the utmost care to rub us the right way.

It’s not enough to understand what we mean; the intricate rules of connotations must be observed. It has been decided that certain words sound bad, and then it is quite irrelevant if we know that the speaker’s intentions are innocent. It just feels so bad for us since that’s how we have been told to feel. What? Can we be told to feel?

Connotations are linguistic nuances that move us one way or the other either subconsciously or we willingly let our emotions go along in order to sense the effects of the richness of language; in other words, we are either unaware of what it does to us, or we pretend to be for our own enjoyment. In either case it may make sense to react to the words with negative feelings since we don’t quite comprehend what is going on. We think we react to the content, but it’s really the sound of the words that influences us. On the other hand, when we are fully aware of it all, we should be able to look away from the mere appearance and understand what is really said. If the bad connotations were really intended, we may have good reasons to feel offended, but if not, we should not let them bother us. Meaning matters, not words.

July 21, 2020 / Congau


The fragrance in the air cannot be seen. It is present in the temple like the spirits that reside in the altars and float above the worshipers. Its whisper is not heard, but it is felt; its colors are not noticed by the eye but are perceived. Words that are not words are understood without being grasped. The hues of the rainbow form an arch of incomprehensible comprehension encompassing the universe of the temple. You can smell it.

The sense of smell is mysterious. It creeps into the consciousness without announcing its appearance. You may not know it is there and seemingly from nowhere a thought occurs to you. A memory from your distant past, a picture from childhood, a day when something happened. It was quite insignificant, long forgotten, but now it is suddenly back. Why? Unwittingly a fragrance flew in through your nostrils. A burning incense perhaps. Passing that house, the smoke must have found you and as you move along the memory has stuck. That childhood day is back.

Do you remember? It was winter. You see the snow covering the landscape. It is cold, but you feel warm. It is Christmas and there are lights in the dark; stars sprinkled on the pine trees. There is also the silhouette of a church in the dark eve. You enter the church and perceive it from inside. The atmosphere addresses you with the wholeness of all the impressions but you notice nothing in particular. You are not even conscious of the incense, but it is there, and it affects you, forming the essence of a memory.

It was there, and it is here years later. It has returned. It.

We do not see all that we see. We cannot talk about all that we know. It is just there, like burning incense.

July 20, 2020 / Congau


It is the essence of a moment; an overly conscious effort to celebrate with all the symbols available to the imagination. The tuxedos in contrasting black and white and the elaborate women’s dresses turning people into objects of an occasion and deleting any hint of private individuals. They are not here to be themselves.

Are we ever out there to be ourselves? Every day is not a gala, but once we step out of our homely sanctuary, we cease to be individuals and become representatives of our own shadows. How can it be otherwise? The world is not interested in who we are, and we do not care to know if there are thinking beings out there. We are happy to see the splendor of what merely appears to be.

Do you think I am complaining about the emptiness of a gala performance? It is not any emptier than what it represents. It portrays people that never were people, but now at least they are made into something. If the world is just appearance, if social life is always fake, this is at least its best instance of pretense and deception.

The essence of the moment of celebration: no one quite knows what is being celebrated, their petty wealth perhaps or the victory someone else has won, it does not matter. By catching a cloud of smoke and holding it in one’s grasp for a moment a meaning is created out of nothing.

Is it possible? Does emptiness have an essence? Of course not. But imagine what it would be worth if there was actually something behind it. If the splendor of people represented splendid people. If the image was not one of decadence but of true greatness and an elevated spirit. If the gala had a meaning. But then, who would care to participate?

July 19, 2020 / Congau


To liberate is not to set free. It is to wrest something, and area or a people, out of the control of someone else and take it into your own possession. Great conquerors always view themselves as liberators and any oppressive force, any governmental prison guard, likes to flatter itself with such an epithet.

There are no liberators. No town and no country have ever been liberated. Words without meaning have no descriptive force and shouldn’t be used by anyone who seeks understanding. They are employed for propaganda purposes, intended to manipulate feelings while disguised as information.

How can a country be liberated? What would it mean? A person can be free or unfree. Whoever is able to do what he wants, is free, but what an entire country wants cannot be determined since it is never unanimous. Under certain circumstances, some people feel privileged and free while others insist that their movements are limited. Two people in the same condition, two brothers say, may assess their level of freedom differently, and so only one of them is free. At the moment of “liberation” their status will be turned around and one will gain and the other will lose his freedom. And if a country of millions is “liberated”, some of the inhabitants will lose their freedom in the process just based on their own conception of what has happened.

Liberation, if it has any meaning, can only be individual. A person can break out of a prison or achieve personal release from whatever physical or mental impediment he may have. But “liberation” in the political sense is necessarily collective and therefore meaningless.

I suggest we liberate ourselves from the language of confusion and manipulation and use words we understand. Otherwise we are forced into a compulsive mode of thinking from which we would need liberation.

July 18, 2020 / Congau


The past is gone. The present is all there is. But we still remember yesterday, and it interferes with the joy of today. The failures that brought us here are haunting us. The gnawing remorse and the guilt are stains that must be washed off if we are to live undisturbed.

Every day is a day after, hanging over from last night. We shouldn’t have done what we did.

We didn’t do it. Our forefathers did. Why are we told those stories? They conquered the land we now inhabit. They were not invited, and neither are we. Therefore we should leave, but we have nowhere to go. We are already at home but it’s not ours. We are intruders.

Forget it then. Pretend it never happened. Today is the first day of history.

Do you feel better now? The hang-over is gone. Your head has stopped aching. No worries. The past is obliterated. Let the party begin.

Light and easy. Your mind is emptied. Dancing to the music of the moment.

Don’t ask why. You are here, but you didn’t get here. There are no causes. What is, is. You are.

The payment for guilt is punishment. If the past is guilt, the present is punishment. We don’t want to be punished. No one wants it.

The past is injustice and so is the present. Life is unjust and failure to realize it, makes it an illusion, devoid of reality. How can we enjoy what is not real?

The past is here in the present. It makes it what it is. You are not to be blamed for history, and your own history can’t be changed even by you. But you have to know what was if you are to know what is.

Don’t forget to remember who you are.

July 15, 2020 / Congau

Freedom of Hate Speech

Hate speech is also speech, and if speech is to be free, so must hate speech. Only if there is a difference between the meaning of the simple word “speech” in those two instances, can it logically be argued that the one connected with hate should be forbidden.

Clearly, speech is not simply speech in either case. That is, it is not just about the utterance of words by means of the vocal cords. Also, it is not meant to protect the use of any words in any circumstance, like falsely crying fire in a crowded theater, revealing trade secrets or impolitely interrupting a toastmaster. The whole point of free speech is that any opinion is to be tolerated by the government. Whatever anyone thinks about any issue, they should be allowed to express it without being met with state sanctions. Other kinds of talking that are not about any general issue potentially concerning a wider public, like private slander against one’s next door neighbor, cannot be considered opinions and therefore cannot demand protection.

What then about so-called hate speech? Sure, it may sound like slander, but it is usually not private. Insulting entire groups of people, however reprehensible, may still be an expression of an opinion. Even going so far as to call for a genocide is an opinion as long as it is not a part of the actual planning and execution of such an atrocity. Saying that members of certain ethnic groups are inferior, is also an articulation of an opinion no matter how awful most of us think it is. If we mean anything by free speech, we must allow it to be said.

People hate each other, and hate is an awful thing. Banning it sounds like a nice Utopian idea, but if we do, we’ll have to give up the idea of free speech.

July 14, 2020 / Congau

Unspoken Freedom

The tolerance of free speech seems unlimited, until it reaches its limit. Anything imaginable is allowed to be published, any meaningless utterance, random picture, anything that may offend intolerant religions and uncultured people. We in the West know what tolerance is, and since we have the power, we insist on teaching them a lesson. The bully refuses to be bullied.

But since we know what tolerance is, we don’t tolerate intolerance. No one is allowed to pronounce words that show disrespect for certain people; that is called hate speech, and such we cannot accept. The free speech has reached its limit.

Now, I don’t have any sympathy for derogatory remarks about minority groups and foreigners, but if free speech really meant anything, such opinions, although distasteful, must also be permitted. As long as they are actual opinions, articulated in an understandable language, it qualifies as speech and must be free.

Let’s say someone claims that immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa spread disease in Europe. That is probably a racist remark, and completely untrue, at least according to my information, but free speech was never meant only to protect truth. If that were the case, a totalitarian state punishing “untrue” agitation against the government, would be a champion of free speech. It also shouldn’t matter if all the scientists in the world were against such an opinion. It has happened before that a lone inventor has introduced a new theory that was first condemned and later accepted, so if we were honest about this principle, nothing, even the most outrageous opinion, can be suppressed. Maybe it’s an expression of hatred (it probably is), maybe it has no scientific foundation (it probably hasn’t), but who am I to say.

An opinion is speech since it can be formulated with words. Contrast that to a picture that is just offensive without expressing an opinion about anything.