There’s a Time and Place for Everything

It’s time to state the obvious: we’re all human.

Some people are loud. Some people are quiet. Some people are energetic, others need more time to recharge. Some are cognitive, some are emotional, and others are spiritual. Some come from patriarchic cultures, others from matriarchic ones; some from expressive languages, others from passives ones.

All in all, we’re in a globalized world of international nomads migrating like there’s no tomorrow, and many of us live like each day is our last, knowing that one day we’ll be right. If that’s the case, then why, pray tell, is there so much “justification” for being human?

Every personality type in life has pros and cons; there’s no “right way” to do anything. Each person has their own individual process tailored to their personal needs, and the only difference is the outcome. Some people prefer bouncing ideas off of others by generating live feedback and open discussion. Others may prefer to work independently and figure out the puzzles in silence, then come back with a final product. Whichever your personality type, no one can “tell” you who or what you are. Only you know that; the difference is, those in your life who care about you will advise or support you in the best ways they know how.

If you know that you benefit more from working alone, go do it, just get it done well. If you know that you’d prefer bouncing ideas off of people, find people who enjoy your conversations and can challenge your thinking.

It’s not about the “definition” of being “extroverted” or “introverted”, “ESTJ” “INFP”, “ADHD”; all of these words are medical terms coined by doctors to discuss treatment for patients. The fact that even I can casually drop these words into a blog having no accredited qualifications in this department (yet) only shows how easily our generation uses these words as adjectives to describe each other. We all think that we know more than we actually do, we are more entitled than we have earned, and many have become so self-centred instead of self-reflective.

Wake up, people, we’re all human here. There’s no “right” personality or “correct” trait. Everything is what it is, and everyone is who they think they are. What if we were to put all differences aside and get to the core of everything: do what you know from experience is best for you, and if you don’t have the experience to tell you, then go and make those experiences.

Quit sheltering yourself from everything that would make you stronger just because it’s “inconvenient” to have an experience at that given time. We’re always waiting for the “right time” to do things. The “right time” to organize a store room, or the “right time” to find love, or the “right time” to move house. Yes, timing is important when there are multiple factors, but most of the time, the “right time” is simply: what needs to be done and when?

There’s a time and place for everything. Stop making excuses for yourself. If you’re inspired, express it. If you’re tired, take a rest. If you’re excited, laugh and smile. If you’re sad, cry it out. If you’re angry, vent or rant. If you’re in love, show it. If you’re at peace, remember this feeling. From honest experience, just go with it. Don’t overthink it, don’t analyze it. Just go with it. The more we hold back, the more we regret the memories we never made.

There’s a time and place for everything.

Peace,
Mikavelli

Spread Your Transformed Wings and Defy Gravity

Some people are like steroid fertilizers, who enter one’s life and drench themselves so much so that there is no choice but to grow. To step out of a comfort zone and destroy all the excuses that were once sheltering and restricting. Sometimes it’s painful, sometimes it’s fun; but always, always, it’s beautiful.

When the phase of transformation is complete, when all the light and substance seeps through the cracks of a shell broken open, only beauty remains, in its finest, most pure.

The process of transformation is rarely beautiful — it is often intense, exhilarating, exciting, nerve wracking (to name the tip of the iceberg) — but what comes about it is perfect in its intent. All that was contained is freed from the cocoon that was once one’s reality, one’s whole world. Liberated from the cage that was once one’s freedom. Plucked from the prisons that once held the true essence of self.

When transformative cycles reach completion — much like the change of a season, much like the growth of a person, much like the progress of the world — the calm after the storm is the most enlightening, breathtaking moment as the light breaks the darkness.

Embrace the storm, the transformation. Often we fear the concept more than the reality, but we all have to spread our formed wings at some point…and maybe, just maybe, defy gravity.

~Mikavelli~

Season Finale 0f 2016

It’s safe to say that 2016 has been a year of transitions and change for many. Not only has the international arena taken a huge turn in development (as evidenced by Dahl, 1989-90), but immigration borders somehow started closing up the same time “wanderlust” hit social media. I could go on endlessly about social media being a physical representation of how our unconscious mind is capable of blowing perception entirely out of proportion, but I fear that digression would inadvertently lead to another novella.

Alas, a small pattern has seemingly formulated within my immediate arena of social life, and as it would stand, December seems to have picked up a tad in contrast with the rest of the year. Large players in the game have shifted strategies as we embrace the alleged “New Word Order” with new players re-entering the arena. We’ve had the whole of 2016 to adapt to an unstable and ever-changing world, and many seem to be awaiting 2017 with the same anticipation seen just before 2016, 2015, 2014……

Nonetheless, there are definitely exciting turns to look forward to in the next year: all things considered, for the first time ever, I feel like history books are coming alive. As a kid with a vivid imagination, I was always curious about what the world I read about in books would be like in real life. Everything our millennial generation was taught in school, the world we were braced for, the regimes we challenged as powerless students, are coming to life with the snap of a finger. I have not lived long, but just enough to know that no era has seen a global change at the rate 2016 shifted. While we attribute the “change” to technological advances, how many of us have actually considered that perhaps it is simply our attitudes to what we’ve been absorbing that changed…?

Does our generation now possess the necessary apathy that enables us to survive these constant fluxes and cycles? Is it the instability of the external world that has forced our generation to look internally and strive for stability within ourselves?

It is for these reasons that I say with mournful delight that the key events of our year, 2016, have encompassed a few “necessary evils” that shook the globe, awoke humans, and pushed us out of the caves where thought we were safe. Yes, our generation is adequately prepared for a conceptual “war” – one that takes place using words, using technology, using ideas…but in the grand scheme of things, how important is “our role” in “the world” if we are the world?

When I was young, I had to learn that time moves “forwards” and history will remain as such, which made me wonder, “why learn history when we are preparing for the future?”

Then I grew up, and realized that time is cyclical. The human condition was once called “human nature”, and nature has a cycle. Yes, “global warming” has shaken things up with the carbon and pollution, but human “nature” is, too, reaching a season of change. Have we truly become so complacent in our place in the world that we are genuinely and deeply angered by change?

Is it anger or is it fear?

Yes, many a concept has been challenged over the year, many a regime threatened. Many weak minds have been offended, and the strong-willed have somehow lost hope. But we enter 2017 with the experience of how extreme our species is capable of being, of realizing that we are not as evolved as media wanted us to believe.

If, even for a second, we could strip from ourselves any form of definition we adhered to by way of social-media pressure, then maybe, just maybe, we’ll find out who we are..

My Love, you are more prepared than you realize. Embrace the experiences you never thought could happen; without having to think, analyze, or over explain, we now have the opportunity to experience history in the present. It is a frighteningly beautiful thing, exhilarating and nerve-wrecking to say the least.

But it is as real as whatever fictional literature we’ve ever read.

With 2017 around the corner, I guarantee it is the year dreams become reality. Fantasy becomes actuality. Fictional characters become autobiographies.

Walk undefined.
I dare you.


Peace,
Mikavelli

Merging Worlds

There are some whose worlds come together and complement each other as they merge and formulate new worlds in the making. The worlds intertwine with the commonality of foundations, where there is acceptance of differences, where there is an understanding that each individual world has its specialty.

There are others, however, whose worlds come together and collide, not in the magical, chemical way where passion goes both ways. No, the collision where all that’s left is destruction. Where all that’s left is ash and decay. When you walk past a land that was once beautiful, once solid, once secure, only to see it for what it has become. A fragment of history, a world that was once reality.

One can have multiple worlds: family, friends, work, academics, romance, and so forth — it does eventually become a constant shuffle of juggling the compartmentalization of each world. It’s knowing when to take breaks, when to go “all in”; when to rush, when to pace; when to love, when to fear…

Have you ever revisited old worlds that you’ve destroyed? Ever tread your history as if it were a biographical museum of your selves — past and present?

I have.

When you sift through the debris of the destruction from your past,
You slowly rediscover enough raw material to recreate worlds that last.

Life is an unending journey of transforming worlds: of gathering the necessary tools to construct actual worlds within worlds, to reclaim land that was never ours to claim, to build, create, and shape. It is knowing when to let go and when to push through, when it’s acceptable to rest, and when you’re just being complacent in the excuses made for laziness. When to walk away, when to confront; when to build and rebuild, or when to ditch and destroy.

Every now and then, worlds change. They change internally when one learns from experience, and externally when one strives to make an environmental difference to physical habitats. Worlds can change with the flux of the world, and ones response to the flux.

But as worlds come together, as different entities meet at a metaphorical crossroads in the middle of the universe, it results in:
a) embrace the new worlds and let yours expand or,
b) defend your world to the death by keeping out every one who tries to be a part of it.

Each of us come from a world where things work differently, where we’re taught to perceive things differently, and where we, despite how much similarity may be drilled through convention, cannot fight the unique and individual design of our DNAs. Our whole lifetime will be a journey of figuring out the roles of our worlds in the world; there is no one right answer. There are so many ways to do what’s “right”, why restrict it to the one thing you were taught from that one world you were in before it expanded?

We are what we are
We are what we choose to be
We are what we merge
We are…

Peace!
Mikavelli

as-we-sift-through

Is Western Democracy at Its Tether?

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Years ago, in my first year of university, I encountered the question: “Social sciences, primarily that of politics, is a science. Agree or disagree?) In light of recent events in the international arena of politics, I began reflecting back on that question. Before you read on, what would your response be, and why?

As a citizen of a democratic nation, it is your duty to keep the place in-check. It is not the government’s responsibility, it is not the government’s shortfalls, and it is not the government’s incompetence, because democracies are ruled by the People.

For a democracy to sustain itself, it needs nation-wide standardised government education to teach following generations to make calculated votes based on conjecture over emotion. Dahl, in his book “Democracy and Its Critics”, writes about how polyarchic democracies can only be sustained “if it possesses a political culture and beliefs, particularly among activists, that support the institutions of polyarchy.

Democracy in itself is traditionally known as “for the people and by the people”. If the People are to rule each other, the does it not stand to reason that the People ought to know what is best for themselves? Yes and no.

People may know what is best for themselves, but not always what is best for the nation. The emotional appeal to people is often the detriment to democracy, because it allows people to vote for who they trust, who they like, who “seems” like a good candidate. It allows voters to become subjective rather than objective, but also takes away their accountability as a democrat. Dahl, however, states that sustaining a polyarchic democracy is possible if – and only if- those who advocate for politics share a united belief. Therefore, once the masses are swayed, it is hard to override the wants of the People in a short period of time. It is through educating the younger generations of voters to keep informed that an educated democratic vote can be made.

Politics once had a dichotomous front – that was to say, East vs. West, North vs. South – but today, with globalisation at its expansion, politics has become a multi-polar game where the aspects traditionally defined as “grey aras” are now the new norm.

With Western liberalism on the rise and the push for humanitarianism toughens, democratic OECD nations have shifted focus from national economy to social justice; however, for Third World Countries or other OECD non-democratic nations, liberalism has been a gradual push through media, education, and travel. Technological advancements have brought the international arena out of the shadows, and it is partially for these reasons that democracies are reaching their limitations.

The gap, which democracies have been yet to fill, is that of cultural flexibility within education: as it stands in today’s era, many institutions structure social sciences as Bachelor of Arts or Master of Arts. Politics itself may have been an art, traditionally, if analogised by chess played with words: it was an art, a virtue, a reflection of character and integrity. Nowadays, however, politics has become so systemic that democratic education platforms should consider restructuring political science into a scientific method of studying rather than an artistic one.

Though it has been argued that the volatility of politics makes it hard to be defined as a science, those who have studied the scientific route of politics are well-versed in their ability to see conjecture and formula over emotion and reflection. Information has reached the stage where it is not facts and opinions that are in flux as much as interpretation. Politics has facts, it has opinions, but what it lacks when applied is interpretation.

Critics argue that “interpretation” is subjective; but science is clear in that when a hypothesis is formulated, the variables make up the solution. Conjecture can be formed based on pattern learning, and interpretation is a collection and process of data. (see Qualitative vs. Quantitative Data)  Having studied political science for years, and watched how it plays out in the world, I have come to realise that a gap political scientists need to emphasise more is that of culture. In a globalised world, “culture” is the determinant of how votes take place. Rogoff, in his analysis “Britain’s Democratic Failure” in regards to Brexit, stated that “a country should not be making fundamental, irreversible changes based on a razor-thin minority that might prevail only during a brief window of emotion”.

It is in this regard that nationalism is key to a successful vote, and arguably, nationalism is the antithesis of globalisation. With the information era pushing globalisation at a rate no renowned political scientist could ever predict (due to technological setbacks in the past), it is evident that democratic votes hold higher regard to emotion than cognition. Many democratic votes in this century have been swayed by creating a breeding ground of emotional frenzy whereby the arguments are one sided on both sides.

History shows us examples of where emotive language has succeeded because it catered to those who were not in positions to receive the education required to understand political language. Machiavelli instilled fear in his attitude that “it is better to be feared than loved,” (Cahn, 2005). Napolean Bonaparte moved the revolutionist in the French; Hitler manipulated the minds of the Nazi’s; Churchill, amidst the panic of ideological change during the Cold War. There are also recent examples such as how “Brexit has thrown the U.K’s two major parties into civil war”.[1]  It is evidenced by America with Trump’s appeal to the radical, barbaric, and competitive side of human nature (as philosophised by Hobbes, Rousseau, and Machiavelli), Clinton’s dual-sided arguments appealing to the freedom-hungry, autonomous, as well as self-interested side of human nature (as speculated by Locke, Mill, and Smith).

Yes, politics has become more systemic in the information era, and it is for these reasons that institutions (especially democratic ones) ought to reconsider how the social science courses are implemented, for the art of politics was the “old man’s game”; but today’s forward thinking generation of tomorrow’s world needs balance – the science of politics.

As a citizen of a democratic nation, it is your duty to keep the place in-check. It is not the government’s responsibility, it is not the government’s shortfalls, and it is not the government’s incompetence, because democracies are ruled by the People.

[1] Politics in the last two decades has become so systemic through the information era that it’s inevitable to be “surprised but not surprised” by the Brexit vote. As seen by the results, Brexit has, in itself, created a breeding ground of emotional frenzy whereby the arguments are one sided on both sides.

~Gordan

The Hypnosis of Language

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Language itself is one of the greatest foundations of society. The structure of society often reflects the structure of the language and syntax. Foucault argues that sociologically, language determines how society forms itself based on the chosen words a legal or political system uses to communicate with the general populous. Lukaszewski argues that positive words gets better results than negative ones – or at least faster and lasting results. Hogan did a lecture on how using certain phrases causes others to believe you perceive their ideas as important, and thus the language communication is more effective in getting what you want.

Various scientists have analysed the theories, and over the last decade or two, diverse results can be seen. Many of us limit our perception of societies and cultures to politics and law, but to go one step deeper, the basis for everything is what humans have in common – language. Whether it be English, Chinese, French, German, or even body language and sign language, each system has a structure, and that is: how the ideas are communicated through words.

It is arguable that many people read body language more than words, but people respond to words more than body language. However, systems are created based on language structure. Generally speaking, English is a diverse language – it is split into formal and colloquial, British and American, conversational and technological. (Refer to my 2013 article on The Evolution of The English Language for a brief breakdown). American English uses active voice and heavy diction, therefore the American culture is perceived to be more assertive and aggressive when communicating. British English uses passive voice and is heavily derived from Classic English Literature, and the culture is thusly more reserved and private. The Chinese language, in terms of writing, is based on stroke order, prefixes, and suffixes. When a child, at the age of three, learns to write his or her name in Chinese, he or she first learns stroke order. The brain slowly conditions itself to memorise structure and order, combined with breaking down the characters and reconstructing a new word. The Chinese education system, therefore, stresses memorisation and breakdown-construct. French is a philosophical and artistic language, and the culture is quite aesthetic and philosophical in their thinking. German language is structured and complex, hence historical Germany were militarily strong.

One thing every language has in common though, is positive versus negative. Human nature is defiant and rebellious: we are innately programmed to do what we shouldn’t do. Schools create rebels because they often say “Don’t do this” or “don’t do that” instead of “If you do this, a consequence will happen”. When communicating with children and youth, telling them not to eat junk food will make them want to eat junk food. However, if a young child is told that vegetables are junk, and McDonald’s is healthy, the child will naturally opt for vegetables after a period of time. Legal language has succeed in this area for the phrasing itself is as simple as “if you commit this crime, you will serve this maximum punishment”. It offers people a choice, not an absolute. Humans need choices because people want recognition: recognition for making a good choice rather than just robotically doing as told (Fukuyama).

When communicating, it is suggested that we use relate words so as to maximize the greatest outcome for both sides, primarily ourselves. If children hate homework, call it a “mission”, “task”, or “project”. They will feel a sense of accomplishment. If teenagers believe that rules are made to be broken, give them “guidelines” and “suggestions”. If you want someone to help you, ask for it, don’t demand it. If you want to persuade someone, simply say “don’t  you think this would be a good idea?” instead of “I think this is a good idea”. People care more about what they think than what you think, so make them believe that it was their idea.

In sum, language is a large basis for the way our world works, and if used correctly, we can maximise the greatest outcomes for ourselves.

Thinking it is nothing, knowing it is something, and doing it is everything.

Mikavelli

References:
1. Foucault – The Archeology of Knowledge
2. Bacal – Using Positive Language
3. Lukaszewski – The Strategic Power of Positive Language
4. Mikavelli – The Evolution of The English Language

Symbols of Perspective

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Perspective is everything, and we are taught to interpret symbols in images as well as words. When you see a blue box with an “F”, we associate it with Facebook. A large green “M” represents a can of Monster. But symbols are not just images, they are also words. When you hear the word “success”, you automatically think money, grades, and suits before we think happiness and long-term progress. When we hear “work”, we think of tedious, endless tasks of working for long hours with bare minimum appreciation instead of the long-term outcome of “no pain no gain”.

But what if everything were as simple as a syntactic reversal to naturally, not conditionally, achieve results?

When someone says “I was thinking of doing this,” we automatically assume they mean they’ve changed their mind now. When they say “I am thinking about doing this,” we interpret it as they haven’t done it yet.

People have associations with words – both positive and negative. Children don’t like homework, but they like missions, adventures, and projects. We can condition them to work, but that takes effort on both parties. Teenagers don’t like rules, but they respond more positively to suggestions and guidelines as they feel they have a choice. Adults don’t like work, but what if work were called “time killers”, “money makers”, or “a level in a game”?

When you’re young, you rely on what you are told. When you become an adult, you make your own choices based on what you’re taught versus what you’ve experienced. If you want someone to respond positively to use, find words they associate positively. Negative words result in negative results, positive words have positive outcomes. If you want to get what you want, communicate in the syntax they use – speaking to children means using “kid-words”, speaking to teenagers means making analogies with music and movies they like. When communicating with academics, they will automatically respect you more when you use good vocabulary and good grammar. When communicating with the general populous, use simple and concise words.

We are taught to exert a certain level of respect so that others will respect us, but the truest form of respect is when we are willing to choose words according to their responses. Fearful people respond to intimidation; fighters respond to perceived victory.

Often, we become frustrated and angry that people “just don’t listen”, but it’s usually because they’ve heard a word they associate negatively. When someone is told to “wake up earlier”, they see that as a constraint on their freedom. Rather, say “if you wake up early you could get more done” comes across as a suggestion rather than a demand. When someone is told to “go to sleep early”, they associate it with “punishments” because in our childhoods, “staying up late” was perceived as a luxury, a reward.

When you offer people choices and positive associations, they will personally feel that they have made good choices. This builds their confidence and self-respect, which in turns builds their respect for you. People who respect themselves will respect others – but it is not up to us to decide whether or not the person is respectful simply based on appearance. Most of the time, people appear to be disrespectful simply because they haven’t learned to communicate.

Let people hear what you want to say by saying it in ways they will listen.

~Mikavelli~