Februar

Denne uken har vært rolig. Null jobb. Masse fritid.
Det er jo veldig fint å kjenne hvordan det er å ha tid til å lese eller hekle eller hva det nå er jeg måtte ha lyst til å gjøre. Samtidig er det veldig dumt å ikke ha nok jobb. Men solen er i hvert fall kommet. Det er bitende kaldt i Trondheim ennå, men solen har kommet. Luften begynner å bli friskere, og man får lyst til å kjøpe ski og gå på tur på fjellet. Forrige uke meldte jeg meg inn i DNT. Og i forgårs kjøpte jeg en turbok om Jotunheimen i presang til Martin Leander. Jeg syns jeg er flink. Jeg er jo praktisk talt superfriluftsmenneske allerede. Når været blir varmere skal jeg og Martin ut på tur. I mellomtiden kan vi jo ta en tur til hytten.

Jeg leter etter jobber i Oslo. Jeg begynner å ikke bli så kresen. Men det hadde vært fint å finne noe som jeg ikke kommer til å hate. Som gjør at jeg får følelsen av å gjøre noe viktig. Og noe som gjør at jeg kan tjene ganske mye mer penger enn jeg gjør nå, på er ganske kort tidsperiode. Det er dyrt å bo i Oslo, tross alt.

I går var vi hos Dag og Martin og spilte spill. Det var en god gjeng som var der, og det var kjempekoselig. Vi spiste masse kake. Jeg hadde laget ostekake. Det var superdupergodt. Jeg spiste restene til frokost i morges. På vei hjem i formiddag, gikk jeg over plassen ved Nidarosdomen. Det var strålende solskinn. Jeg satte med ned på en av de store gråsteinbenkene som står der, og lot solen varme ansiktet mitt. Fremtiden er riktinok usikker, men å sitte med lukkede øyne ved Nidarosdomen og ha solen skinnende i ansiktet er likevel noe av det beste som fins. Og fremtiden ordner seg nok av seg selv etter hvert.

Cannabis legalization. Aka: Humanity’s need to self-destruct

We hear about more and more people standing up for the right to smoke pot legally as of late, and even in little Norway we can feel the impact of this discussion going on in the rest of the world. I realize that the arguments surrounding this issue are many and complex, and to some extent I can understand many of the opinions voiced. However, my automatic reaction is that cannabis is a drug that can cause big damage to the brain and to the body, and the thought of legalizing it contradicts a lot of what I believe in. Before we continue, I therefore have to make clear that these are just my own personal thoughts on the subject, and should be taken as such.

We are all aware of the damage pot can cause. Still there are a lot of people wanting to legalize it. The main argument that I have heard for doing this, is that it would minimize crime and release police resources to focus on more important things. Seeing as “so many” abuse cannabis already, making it legal would make this whole big problem suddenly disappear. As appealing as it sounds, the argument is the dumbest one I’ve ever heard. I mean, of course the crime rate would drop. If we legalize theft, raping and killing, it would also drop. Take away laws all together, there would never be any crimes at all. Amazing?

When we define something as legal or illegal, crime rate will drop or increase as a result of that – but our legal definition of something has nothing to do with the possible negative implications this definition can have for the society. So – drop the crime argument. It is irrelevant for what the discussion should really be about: how are the pros and the cons balanced?

Over to something else – namely the tendency to make pot a “nice” drug in comparison to other drugs. That when we see it next to for example heroin, it’s more or less cute and innocent. Going after the assumption that everything that doesn’t kill you, is harmless, this would make sense. However, the term “dangerous” is multi-faceted. Something can be dangerous because it kills you in an instant, and something can be dangerous because of the long-term-effects it can cause. What is certain, is that when you first start to smoke pot, the probability that you will start on harder drugs sky rockets.  That’s one thing that makes pot dangerous. Secondly, the long term damage you inflict upon your body can be severe.

On top of the damage you get from actually smoking the stuff and risk cancer in your lungs and respiratory system, you risk harming the Most Important Thing in your body: Your brain.

At first, smoking pot seems like a blast, because all you do is having a good time, relaxing, laugh with your friends and be comfortable. That’s what everyone want pot to be. But because smoking pot is such a positive experience, you risk smoking more and more, and smoking it over longer periods of time. These effects of pot-smoking often comes slowly, so you don’t understand what’s causing them, and they entail developing or worsening brain damags like disabled cognitive functions, bad memory, personality changes, poor reasoning and inability to see connections. Pot can also mess with your sense of reality and trigger serious diseases like psychoses, depression and schizophrenia. In other words, by smoking pot, you can damage the most vital thing you recieved when you became a living person. Because that is what the brain is.

Funny? No. Pot is not nice.

Then people say that it’s wrong to legalize alcohol and tobacco when pot is prohibited. That may be so. By all means, what we need is more things to destruct ourselves on. But where comes this need to find substances to abuse so that our bodies get broken? It’s like we’re little babies who screams to the government to feed us more candy. It should’t be like that. In fact, no drugs should be illegal for abuse at all, because abusing them should’t be something we wanted to do.

But obviously, we want to do it. We want to find new things to give us rushes and highes to lighten up our miserable lives. What we don’t see, is that it dulls us. It makes us slack and stupid. Right now, Jemen could be in the middle of a revolution. That revolution and a bettering in the people’s conditions will never come. Why? Because they all go around chewing khat instead of doing something with their lives, and that slows their minds. And khat is regarded as something far less dangerous than pot! Still it stupidifies an entire nation.

And so, ultimately, the discussion is about what kind of a society we really want. Ideally, no-one should feel the need to do drugs. It’s just so useless and needless and overrated, and the lows are so much worse that the highs are good. Of course, I understand that such a society will never be, because humanity is so totally set on destructing itself. Frankly, I don’t even understand that we have managed to survive this long, but I’m convinced that it’s due to sheer luck.

As for me, I hate the thought of what these things can do to our bodies. And on an even more profound level, I am of the opinion that the most important thing we owe ourselves when we’ve been so lucky to earn a life on this wonderful planet in the first place, is to treat ourselves good, and not damage ourselves. Us damaging our bodies is just such a disrespect to ourselves and the nature in general. Therefore the whole concept of debating whether or not to legalize drugs are just tasteless to me.

My conclusion – and again, this is entirely my own opinion – is: grow up, get real, start enjoying the magnificent life you have instead of always searching for things to get high on. All it really does is making you dumb, numb, addicted, depentent, helpless, boring and uninventive. Life in itself has so much good to offer when one just takes the time to appreciate it. Messing with your brain is not a cool thing to do.

For bortskjemt for lykkelig?

Det er pussig hvordan vi stadig hører om at Norge er et av verdens rikeste land, kanskje det rikeste til og med, avhengig av hvordan man måler det, at vi her i det kalde nord har all verdens muligheter til å oppnå det vi vil, har høy levestandard, god inntekt og lang levetid. Likevel kan jeg ikke se at folk rundt meg er merkbart lykkeligere. Faktisk så er det utrolig sjeldent jeg møter folk og de kan si rett ut at “JA, jeg er lykkelig. LYKKELIG”. Som regel er det mer nja, ja, det går bra, det går greit, vil ha mer lønn bare, eller ny TV. Trene mer, spise sunnere, kulere jobb, bli kultivert. Få ny klesstil, se sexy ut, være sprek og få langt, glansfullt hår. Er det ikke pussig, tenker jeg. Her som vi har det så bra at alle burde vært overlykkelig.

Vi har alt, og det vi ikke har, kan helt sikkert kjøpes om vi vil. Umiddelbar tilfredsstillelse. Alltid på jakt etter noe mer. Noe bedre. Noe nyere. En ferskere utgave av mobilen vi har, selv om den gamle virker helt fint. Nye og kreative muligheter for oss å bruke pengene våre på. Det er som et sukkersug. Vi forsøker å tilfredsstille behovene våre gjennom å spille konsumentbrikker i et kynisk forbrukersamfunn. Og vi elsker det. Det føles så bra der og da. Før trangen til mer vender tilbake. Vi har det for bra, tenker jeg ofte. Vi har det så bra at vi aldri trenger å stoppe opp for å tenke på hvor bra vi har det. Vi blir heller aldri møtt med en virkelighet hvor vi har det direkte kjipt. Og derfor blir vi aldri ordentlig lykkelige.

Ulykkeligheten kommer til syne på ulike vis. Økningen i mentale lidelser har vært markant de siste årene og tiårene. Om denne økningen er reell, om samfunnet har blitt mer tolerant overfor de, eller om vi bare har begynt å ta mer på alvor lidelser som før ble avfeid, er en diskusjon som kan tas en annen gang. Uansett er det tydelig at ulykkeligheten brer om seg. Ulykkelighet kommer ikke nødvendigvis til syne gjennom depresjon, men kanskje en følelse av at man aldri helt slapper av, man jager alltid etter ett eller annet, det er et tomrom, man føler ikke at man står i ro eller at man har nok. Som buddhister har sagt i uminnelige tider: for mange ting er av det onde. Og ikke så rart. Jo flere ting man har, jo mer vil man ha. Jo mer plass tar de opp, både fysisk og psykisk. Tingene okkuperer plass inni hodene våre.

Samtidig merker vi på en annen måte konsekvensene av å leve i et overflodssamfunn: jo flere valgmuligheter vi får, jo mindre fornøyd blir vi med valget vi ender på. Det er en logisk nødvendighet som hjemsøker oss om vi ikke er oss den bevisst. Tenk selv: Hvis du skaffer deg en sjampo, en leilighet, en kjæreste – vil du ikke da alltid i bakhodet undre på om det ikke finnes noe bedre der ute, og alltid være litt på utkikk? Gresset ser jo alltid grønnere ut på den andre siden.

Det er veldig smart, egentlig. Vi har et forbrukersamfunn som skaper behov hos en nevrotisk befolkning på stadig jakt etter ting som kan oppfylle behovene som forbrukersamfunnet angivelig leverer. Perfekt match! Som Gunnar Hall Jensen sa i A-amgasinet i dag: Harmoniske mennesker er dårlige konsumenter. Ulykkelige mennesker derimot: perfekt. Folk som alltid føler seg litt tomme og alltid vil ha noe mer. Tenk så kjedelig hvis alle hadde levd i harmoni med seg selv og omverdenen. Da hadde jo samfunnet gått inn i regresjon.

Du trenger den ikke, altså. Den nye telefonen, bilen, PC-en, kaffemaskinen som bare trakter innkapsla kaffe i farger som matcher eller hva det måtte være. Sannsynligvis øker det ikke livskvaliteten din heller i det lange løp. Det er bare lureri. Du kunne heller brukt pengene på noe som faktisk er kult. Som å kjøpe en fiskestang og leve av selvfisket fisk i et par uker ute i villmarken. Lære å seile og ta en jordomseiling. Reise til Afrika og bygge en skole. Bidra til reelle forandringer, hos deg selv eller andre. Og mens du er der nede, i Kenya eller hvor som helst, så kan du spørre deg selv hvorfor gategutten som ikke eier noenting likevel smiler bredere og setter mer pris på livets små øyeblikk enn alle oss her oppe i Norge.

Ikke at du gjør det. Du kommer ikke til å stoppe opp og ta deg tid til å være alene, tenke over alt du faktisk har i livet. Jeg vet nok at du kjøper kaffemaskinen likevel. Jeg prøver bare å forklare hvorfor vi ikke blir lykkelig av den grunn. Vi er jo altfor bortskjemt. Vi har da tross alt ikke levd under krigen.Vi vet ikke hvordan et hardt liv faktisk er. Kanskje derfor vi ikke kan sette pris på det?

 

The fight for democracy: Action in Middle East

There are a lot of things happening in parts of the world right now that possibly can lead to big changes. I am of course talking about the massive demonstrations happening first in Tunisia and then in Egypt. This photo is taken from the centre of Kairo, where hundreds of thousands collected to demonstrate against the dictatorship of Mubarak this morning.

I think a lot of us were caught off-guard at the abruptness and massiveness of this thing. In our part of the world at least, government issues of these parts of the world are hardly mentioned at all, and these questions are never problematized by the media. A lot of us didn’t even know how bad it was, myself included. Now, the news agency AFP says that at least 102 people have been killed in Egypt since last friday, and we see people riot on television and read about them in the newspapers. What is going on right now is a huge outcry for basic human rights, and as such this fight is extremely important. That it should happen right now came as a surprise, but obviously, only a little spark was all it took. This has been building up for years.

In Egypt, Mubarak takes his precautions by shutting down the internet access, but this only shows how desperate he is. I think he knows now that things are coming to an end. Still, the police is doing a lot of bad things. People are telling about an episode where police snipers shot civilian demonstraters from a roof top while they tried to storm the national department. 28 got killed in that incident. Nothing can justify ruthlessly killing innocent people, but when a country’s own  law-upholders turn against it’s people, the real and very ugly truth of the government becomes even more evident. That makes the demonstrations even more important. A big coin-flipper is the army, that have been helping the demonstraters several times. It is great excitement connected to whether or not the army will turn against Mubarak entirely, or fight against the people.

What will be really interesting to see is how this will affect the rest of the world. Both USA and Israel is now shivering at the thought of Egypt in the control of Islamic movements. That would threaten the Israelites greatly, and possibly change the conditions for a Palestine in supression.

This isn’t just Egypt’s battle. We should all demand democratic rights for people all over the world. It is evident in this case how the american government follows a despicable double-standard. On the one hand they say that the people of Egypt have a right to demonstrate, and that the government should allow it. Still, they will try to do everything to calm down the riots and uphold their support to Mubarak’s regime. A girl that was intervued spoke of how the ammunition used to shoot at civilians had “made in USA” written on it. It is American weapons that are used to enforce the corrupt government. We should all demand that Obama changes honeyed words into action.

We shall see how long USA can extend their force. What is certain, is that things are happening. In Tunisia, in Algeria, in Jemen and now in Egypt. It’s a massive mobilization. And it’s  a mobilization that we should all support, so that people can enforce their own rights. And by giving this support, we also send a message to the demonstraters: don’t give up until a change is achieved.

 

For more pictures, visit http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2011/01/protest_spreads_in_the_middle.html