Happy Birthday – to my blog!

Yes!

It is hard to believe.

I have now been ‘around’ for a year!

Sincere thanks to all of you, who have made this effort worthwhile – and fun!

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The concept of ‘murder’ is not ‘universal’

In the dawn of civilization, we lived in smaller groups – sometimes little more than extended families of 20-30 people.  The actual number depended on many factors, such as the environment, population density, how developed our societies were and what they depended on for sustenance, and so on.

For thousands of years, these earliest societies hardly ever grew to more 150 people – the Dunbar’s number – and formed our monkeysphere.  In these small communities, we could care about each person as an individual:  we knew them, their family, and we could relate to them on  an individual, personal level.  This group was what we related to as ‘we’ or ‘us’.  Everyone else was ‘them’, an outsider.

This is very important, because these concepts of ‘us’ and ‘them’ were key in the evolution of our concept of morality.

For example, the Yanomamo of the Amazon basin live in relatively isolated ‘traditional villages’.  They have a very specific understanding of the concept of  ‘murder’ ‘Murder’, in their view, is killing someone or something ‘of the village’.  Killing a person who is ‘not of the village’ is ‘killing, not ‘murder’.  For the Yanomamo, killing a dog or a chicken that lives in the village is just as much ‘murder’ as killing a person who is ‘of the village’.

After all, everyone living ‘in the village’ forms a community which shares social bonds and therefore has an expectation of trust from the other members of the community.  It is killing a being with whom one shares social bonds that defines ‘murder’ for the Yanomamo.  The act of transgressing against the social bonds, the breaking of  trust which was built up through living together in one community, that constitutes ‘murder’.

This little example shows how a concept we consider universal can be thought just as universal, yet interpreted completely differently in other societies.

As we ‘scaled up’ our communities and instituded rules/laws – rather than direct resolution of specific actions – to govern our behaviour, we have moved from the early, Yanomamo-style concept of ‘murder’=’breaking social bonds of trust’ to the more general concept of ‘murder’=’killing a human’.

It is we, ‘The Westerners’, who have a shifted our moral concepts somewhere along our society’s development.  Instead ‘drawing the line’ based on ‘trust’ and ‘social bonds’, we have made them more abstract (emotionally) choice:  we base in to genetic similarity, belonging to the same species.

Yes, it is much more complex than just ‘genetic similarity’…  The strong and undeniable influence of Christian doctrines of ‘soul’ and their separation between ‘human’=’soul’ and ‘non-human’=’no soul’ probably has a lot to do with why our ancestors shifted their definition of ‘murder’ from ‘breaking the expectation of trust’ to ‘killing a member of our species’.  The root cause is not the point here – the fact that it happened is.

We can still see the ‘old morality’ hold true in some of our attitudes:  many of us struggle with the cultural understanding that killing an enemy soldier during war does not constitute ‘murder’, while killing a stranger on the street during peacetime does.  These ‘conflicting attitudes’ have been much remarked upon.  Still, most people who comment on it miss the true significance of this apparent contradiction:  this is a vestige of our original, ‘human’ concept of ‘murder’ – from before we drew an abstract line around ‘human’ and began to consider it to be ‘absolute’.

This is a clear and undeniable demonstration that it is our own cultural morals which have deviated from their original meanings.

There is nothing wrong with that – societies evolve and so do their ideas of morality.  Evolving our morals to keep pace with social evolution is usually a good thing – in my never-humble-opinion.  I am not criticizing that in the least. Yet, I am calling attention to the fact that most of us still have trouble even conceiving of the very idea that OUR understanding of what constitutes morality is not universal!

Hinduism, for example, has a much broader concept of what constitutes ‘murder’ than we, in ‘the West’ do.  While the very idea of ‘soul’ originated in the area of today’s India (and influenced certain mystic Jewish sects, like the Essenes – via whom Christianity acquired the concept of the divine soul), the Hindus do not limit the concept of ‘soul’ to just humans.  Therefore, their idea of ‘murder’ is also different from our ‘Western understanding’.  To pious Hindus, killing any living being constitutes ‘murder’.

And Islam teaches that all Muslims are members of the same greater family (Umma), or tribe: to be a Muslim is to be one of ‘us’ – non-Muslims are ‘they’.  Therefore,  killing a member of the Umma is ‘murder’….but killing someone who is not a Muslims (and therefore not a member of the Umma, not one of ‘us’) is not ‘murder’, it is just ‘killing’.  The ‘Umma’ may have grown beyond a single village, but the concept of ‘being of the Umma’ has not!

Understanding this is essential in order for people form different cultures to communicate effectively.  This is especially important as we are reaching the next stage of ‘scaling up of our communities‘ – this time on the global scale.

When negotiating how we integrate our cultures (because that is what is happening, like it or not), none of us (all sides) must fall into the error of considering our interpretation of deep concepts, of what constitutes ‘morality’, to be somehow ‘universal’.

Doing so would only lead to deep misunderstandings which lead to conflict and suffering.

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Geert Wilders: NOT a ‘perfect poster boy’…SO?

While reading the reactions to ‘The Geert Wildres case’, I have been saddened, dismayed and disheartened….

Why?

Because so many people who – in principle -think they support Freedom of Speech are critical of supporting of Geert Wilders in particular!

I have read criticism in many places, to the effect that if we ‘want to fight for Freedom of Speech’, we ‘should find a better poster-boy’….

People who express these sentiments are missing the point!!!

Let’s go back to basic human psychology…

Whom does a bully pick on first???

The successful bully will first pick on the strongest opponent who does not have allies ready to come to his/her defense!

This is a very basic psychological principle, taught to us both in school (if one were inclined to study psychology or anthropology/sociology or even history or business skills) and also in fiction – good fiction (including ‘science fiction’ and ‘historical novels’, ‘where’ most good ‘fiction’ writer are).  From Waltari to Card, from Čapek to Asimov.  The lesson is clear.  One would expect that most intelligent people would have learned it by now…

It is precisely because Geert Wilders is not likable, it is precisely because he is on the fringes of society, that he is one of the ‘first lines of victims’ of this new form of totalitarianism which hides its ugly face beneath a pretense of ‘multiculturalism’ and ‘accommodation’.  Not aware of his new totalitarianism?  Please, look around!  (Or read Kathy Shaidle’s book, ‘Tyrany of the Nice’.)

More and more invasive internet censorship….

More and more government regulation of our information streams…

More and more interference with mainstream media (through not using ‘organized means’)….and more and more media activism…

Add to this the growing debts by ‘Western’ governments – and the reality of who holds the bonds on these debts….

Include the Western obsession with the intentionally manipulatedGlobal Warmingagenda – with the billions paid in ‘carbon indulgencies’ by European countries….  (Along with unsupportable social systems, do you think sucking billions out of the European economies could have played a tiny role in the economic meltdown?)

And, last but not least, these latest ‘economic bailout packages’ with ‘strings attached’ give governments way too much control over industries (not that the European countries have not been racing down this road already…).  Whenever big business and big governments get all nice and cozy with each other, the rest of us need to worry.

This little peek around should dispel any last doubts that ALL our governments are steadily moving down the road towards totalitarianism….perhaps a little slower in Canada and the US than in Europe, but, slow and steady….

But, back to my main point:

Totalitarian governments are always bullies – it’s part of the definition.  That is why they follow classical bully-psychology:  beat up the biggest guy nobody will come and help because he’s a jerk.  When they want to establish – set a precedent – that they have the power to control something, totalitarian governments will pick on their strongest opponent who is least likable.  Once the precedent is set, they can then pick on their other opponents, one at a time. Please, notice the pattern!

In the words of Martin Niemöller:

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

Have we really forgotten the lesson?

For those who have, or who have failed to learn it, let me say it once again: IT’S NOT ABOUT GEERT WILDERS.  IT’S ABOUT FREEDOM OF SPEECH – AND ABOUT POLITICIANS USURPING THE POWER TO SILENCE US.

Don’t let them.  Please!

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Will all Muslims be caught in the backlash against Islamists?

This post can stand on its own, but it is a loose continuation of my rant from yesterday:  Actions and reactions

In my never-humble-opinion, we are dealing with several things which overlap and muddle all discussions when we discuss ‘freedom of speech’, Islam and the now inevitable clash between the two.  Here is my little breakdown:

1. Islamists – those for whom Islam is not just a religion, but a political movement bent on dominating the world (it is wrong to dismiss the things people say they believe – and want to do, even if it sounds outrageous to our sensibilities).

2. Muslims – these are people for whom Islam is a religion.  It includes people for whom it is nothing more than their personal faith and who wish nothing more than to live in a free, democratic society.  It also includes all the Islamists.

3. Islamists make claims and demands on behalf of all Muslims, whether all Muslims agree with them or not.

4. Making claims and demands is perfectly OK. I know I make enough of them!

5. Legislators are satisfying and accommodating these claims and demands.  This is wrong.

Even if the Islamists DID have a mandate to speak for all Muslims (which they do NOT) it is unwise to grant any demands for special privileges to any group within a democracy, because this sets up official ‘classes of citizenship’. (Do we really want to follow the example of Malaysia, where there is one ministry to deal with the rights of non-Muslim women and then a secretariate to deal with the rights and welfare of only Muslim women, with no agencies permitted to participate in both?)

Also, accommodating the Islamists sets them up as ‘community leaders’ and this special status empowers the individual Islamist leaders.  It physically, financially (as government programs for the community are often administered through them) and psychologically gives them the ability to control most of the Muslims in their community.  Not only is very unfair to those moderate Muslims who want to enjoy democracy, it also, in a very real way, creates a parallel governance structure which is independent of the national government and free to pursue its own goals (which are often not compatible with the national government’s goals of maintaining terittorial sovereignity, and so on.)  

6. By setting Muslims apart from society, and giving them a special, privileged status (real or perceived), a strong resentment against all members of this perceived special group will necessarily happen.  That is human nature – people resent being treated (even if this is just a false perception) as second-class citizens, and, if they feel unable to change the governance structure which instituted this inequity, they will turn their resentment against the privileged group.   This is dangerous.

I am in no way saying this is right, or should be happening.  Rather, I am lamenting that human nature dictates that this is inevitable.

Let us look at what is happening in Europe now. No, let’s not dwell on the players: that is minutia. Let us examine the bigger forces behind the action….

The European Union (EU) has adopted many of the ‘multicultural’ attitudes from the UN.  The UN has, over and over, accommodated lobbying from the Organization of Islamic Conference to accord special status to religions in general and to Islam in particular.  And, regardless of the fact that the Western society is deeply rooted in the European renaissance – whose very existence began by criticizing religion and removing blasphemy from the criminal code… the EU has re-criminalized blasphemy.

In Holland, Geert Wilders, a sitting MP, is criminally charged. The prosecution charged him with making anti-Muslim statements. Wilders claimed he made true, supportable statements and quoted Muslim leaders. Wilders won, the charges get thrown out of court. The prosecution appealed. The appeals court – which over-rules the lower court in every way – ruled (on the day after President Obama’s inoguration – so the mainstream media focus would be elsewere) that the charges should not have been dropped and that the politician must face prosecution in that lower court because he is, in the appeals court’s opinion, guilty and must be punished.

You don’t have to be an accomplished jurist to understand the situation here. The lower court was told by its boss that this guy must stand trial because he is guilty.  So, they have to try him and find him guilty. Even if they do not, the appeals court will over-rule them.  Do you think there is even a tiny possibility this can be an impartial trial?

In Austria, Sussane Winter, a sitting MP, was actually convicted of ‘insulting Islam’.  24,000 Euros in penalties (I wonder what her court costs were in addition to the fine) and a suspended 3 month prison term. Her statements may have been phrased differently, yet the substance of what she said is in complete agreement with what the leading Muslim scholars are saying.

If re-criminalizing blasphemy is not going to plunge Europe into another era of ‘Dark Ages’, then what I found out while digging about on this definitely will!

The story comes from Belgium (and, yes, it does make on recount the Monty Python skit about the contest for the most insulting thing to call a Belgian…).

There, only a few years ago, some very, very strange stuff was happening indeed.

First, I must declare my political bias here – I deplore separatist parties. Frankly, I think it is wrong for a party to be in Parliament, if its main goal is to break up the state. Yet, if this party’s representatives are elected into parliament, I would never prevent them from representing their electorate. In this case, subverting the will of the electorate would be a greater wrong.

OK

In Belgiun, there is was a separatist party of an ethnic minority. This party was – from what I have read – not too nice. But, what happened to it – that is even more ‘not nice’. It would appear that the Belgian Parliament actually passed some laws whose sole purpose it was to make this minority party illegal.

Scary?

Not as scary as what followed…

The party ‘cleaned up’ – at least, on the outside, changed its name (slightly) and is now growing in popularity.

GROWING IN POPULARITY!

Is this the beginning of the backlash?

And if it is, will ALL Muslims be caught up in it, not just the Islamists???  I certainly hope not!!!

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Actions and reactions

As a physical scientist, I have learned that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.  If you push on something, it will ‘push back’.  Of course, the exact outcome will not only depend on the forces applied, but also the properties of the materials involved in the interaction.

When observing people, I have learned that this principle holds – but in a unique way.

You can ‘push’ – and that soft squishy bit that our human behaviour is wrapped up in (tolerance, good manners, politeness and so on) will absorb a lot of this ‘push energy’.  On absorbing it, it may – over time – slowly dissipate this energy, if no further ‘push’ is applied.  No real reaction occurs.

If there are many more ‘pushes’, or if there comes a particularly big ‘push’, the energy built up in all this soft squishy stuff will be greater than the material can absorb:  there will be a counter-reaction.  Because so much of this energy has been stored in that squishy stuff – without a chance to dissipate – this energy will be released, magnifying the ‘opposite reaction’. In other words, if you push people long and far enough, they will strike back – and not just for the last push, but for all of the ‘little pushes’ and the last one put together.

This is often referred to as ‘backlash’ – and while this is decidedly not a constructive way of resolving the underlying issues, it does not change the reality of how the human psyche reacts.  Singly – but especially in groups – humans will only allow themselves to be pushed past some point.  Then they strike back – with interest, so to speak.

Where am I going with this?

It’s a not-too-subtle observation that forcing people to accept policies which elevate one minority above the rest of society will, in no uncertain terms, necessarily result in deep resentment of this minority.  If taken too far, it may, eventually, lead to very real rejection of this minority by the rest of society.

It does not matter whether this privileged group is identified on the basis or race, language, religion, wealth or anything else.  Once it is separated from the mainstream and elevated above it (in a real or perceived manner), given special privileges, the very perception of this inequity is what will cause resentment – and perhaps direct action – against this group.  That is simply human nature.

For decades now, Islamists (and I do not mean Muslims in general, but rather only those who treat Islam as both a religion and a political ideology which demands world conquest) have demanded a separation between all Muslims (and here, it is the Islamists who frame the definition to include all Muslims, whether they like it or not) and the rest of society.  Not only have they demanded a separation, but they have also demanded special privilages, ones not enjoyed by any religious or political groups.

There is nothing wrong with this demand.

Just about every religious group thinks theirs is the only ‘right’ faith.  Just about every political movement holds the view that theirs is the best way to run the world.  If these things were not true, it would make for pretty pathetic religions and pretty ineffective political movements.

The problem came when our lawmakers satisfied their demands and gave this ‘identified’ group of people privileges not enjoyed by the rest of society.

From such small things as demanding separate swim times in public pools – where only members of their faith may swim – to demanding and receiving legal recognition of their moral customs which are contrary to our legal and moral standards.  Not only have they succeeded in securing these (and many more) special privileges for only members of their religious minority (whether or not they partake of the political side of the movement), they are now demanding that members of the rest of society should not be allowed to criticize them:  from how they behave to the tenets of their religious faith!

That means that not only is this group separated from the rest of society and privileged in its treatment, this group is now succeeding in forcing our lawmakers to outlaw the very principles on which our society was built….and without which our society cannot exist.

Again, it is not wrong for them to demand this.  The fault lies in satisfying this demand.

And since satisfying more and more such demands appears to be happening at a frighteningly fast pace, the rest of society feels that their way of life is being increasingly threatened…  that slowly, but surely, their very existence is being outlawed.

Push…after push…after push…

I fear that the ‘soft squishy’ bits of our society have stored up about as much ‘push’ as they can absorb….

So, what happens now?  Are we yet at a point when the backlash is about to occur? This may just be my Cassandra complex, but I can’t help saying it anyway.  Unless we figure out a way of dealing with the pressures created by unreasonable accommodations of non-integrating minorities soon, we will face social unrest the likes of which I do not want to imagine.

I just hope it is not too late!!!

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Article 29

As we struggle to preserve our freedom of speech, many people have been quoting the United Nations ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’.  They cite Article 19:

  • Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Sounds very nice:  solid, unequivocal, reassurring.  No sitting on the fence here.  Right?

Yet, Article 19 is only one of many which make us the lofty documents which so many of us faithfully believe guarantees us our rights and freedoms.  The document has to be considered in its entirety, because following the articles which address specific ‘human rights’, there are others which modify these by defining when and how they are to be applied.

Please, consider Article 29:

  • (1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
  • (2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
  • (3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

All right, let us look at it…

Section 1 is a blatant statement that individuals owe their soul to the community and that the community owes nothing back to them.  I use the term ‘soul’ in the sense of ‘that essence which makes us uniquely us’ and not in the religious sense, because the implication of the clause is quite clear:  without the community, none of us would be free to become who we are.

Personally, I most vehemently disagree with this statement.  The ‘community’ is often much more crippling to our development than not…

It is true that people have a greater chance for surviving when they form communities – and it is also true that many of our social needs are fulfilled by being members of a community.  I do not deny that.  However, the benefits which we derive from being members of a community have a great price:  we must necessarily give up much of our individuality in order to do so.

In other words, by being members of a community, we may enjoy physical safety – but at the cost of not developing of our full individual personality!

That is why I disagree so vehemently with the statement in Section 1.   But, why should that statement – or anything like it – even be included here?  What possible purpose is there in asserting the superiority of the community over every individual, in a document which is meant to address individual human rights?

Having affirmed the superiority of the community over every individual in Section 1, Sections 2 and 3 then go on to invalidate any and all individual human rights which the community does not wish to grant.

Section 2 begins by saying:

In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law

That seems pretty unequivocal, too.  Laws trump rights. Any law which is passed by any jurisdiction can limit the exercising of any of the rights and freedoms so gloriously listed in the previous articles!  In other words, if you live in a country which passes laws to deny its citizens any of the rights listed in the declaration, these citizens have just lost any ability to exercise these rights!

So, what was the point of the exercise in the first place?

If you live in a country that allows its citizens to exercise freedom of speech – for example – then you don’t need the UN’s declaration.  And, if you live in a country that does not, Section 29 has just clearly stated that you are out of luck!  You may still have these rights, you are just not allowed to exercise them!!!

The section then goes on to say more about the types of laws which are so important they can over-ride our human rights:

law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.

(Yes, I would like to have highlighted the ‘rights and freedoms of others’ – but I am attempting to align the highlights not with what my priorities are, but with what I, in my never-humble-opinion, think are the current priorities of most of our governments, the EU and UN in the lead…)

The implication of these words?  MORALITY??? It is legitimate for governments to ban speech which they thind does not think is moral enough?

And, of course, speech which might disturb ‘public order‘ can also be legitimately banned by any government!  No wonder that governments are rushing to criminalize speech which might annoy the most militant, most ruthless segments of society.  Instead of living up to their responsibility and keeping order, it is much easier to shut up those who might stir up trouble.

But it is worse than just that:  if a government deems it is against ‘public order’ and ‘general welfare’ of a society for its political opponents to exist, this gives the right to ban their legitimate opposition from speaking.  Think about it.  Really think about it…

If you still had any doubt that the intent of Section 29 is to silence political opposition, please, examine Section 3:

These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

The UN is a political body – right?

This is an unequivocal statement that anyone whose politics, views or ideas are not aligned with the political aims and goals of the United Nations, has no right to exercise any of the rights and freedoms the UN had so universally declared!

Yeah, I put it into a rant, too:

What a UNIVERSAL HOAX!


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Defend Geert Wilders

If you have not heard, there is a new blog each and every person who holds the principle of Free Speech dear to their hearts should visit:

Defend Geert Wilders

What is it?  What is its purpose?

When Mark Steyn was being persecuted in Canada, all the Canadian ‘Free Speechers’ went to get the latest information about what was happening at one central place, ‘Free Mark Steyn’.

By having the latest, most accurate information at our fingertips, we could then work to raise public awareness and de-normalize the attitudes which allowed this abuse of the judicial system (in our case, the Human Rights Commissions and Tribunals).  As more and more people became aware of what was truly happening, public attitudes changed.  Mark Steyn – and Ezra Levant, who was also persecuted in the same manner – were vindicated.   Many thanks to Binks for having had the courage and dedication to run this site.

Now, another Canadian Free Speecher – Walker Morrow – has stepped up and started up ‘Defend Geert Wilders’ in the same spirit – and with the same hopes.  So, if you would like to keep up to date with what is happening in the war for Freedom of Speech, Geert Wilders battle, bookmark this site.

And, if you get some information that should be included there, but is missing – comment, write, contribute.

Free Speechers of the world – unite!

Don’t let them silence us.

Please!

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In defense of Free Speech: Geert Wilders

This is NOT about Geert Wilders, or about his movie Fitna.

This is NOT about what I, you – or anyone else thinks about him or the movie.

This is about giving our politicians the power to silence us, one voice at a time!

Ezra Levant has all the details of the charges now brought against the Dutch Paliamentarian for daring to speak his mind.  Ezra also has a most excellent analysis of the situation – clear, concise and exhaustive.  Much better than how I could say it!

All I will add is:  it is not about a particular voice, what that voice says, or how that voice says it.  It is about us permitting our governments, our politicians, the power to decide which ideas are ‘legal’, which are ‘illegal’ – and giving them the ability to silence us, one voice at a time….

h/t:  BlazingCatfur

 

UPDATE:  Walker Morrow has started ‘Defend Geert Wilders’, to central place to bring attention to the fight for Free Speech in the specific case of Geert Wilders!  Thank you, Walker Morrow! 

UPDATE: 

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Aspergers and learning: understand, not memorize

We, Aspies, each have our own, individual way of learning.  However, in my online searches of how the Aspie brain differs from others, I have come across a few things that might be helpful when designing a learning strategy for an Aspie.

These things create an environment that helps Aspies learn:

  • CLEAR GOAL – having a plan worked out (especially with the Aspie’s help) with very clear, specific goals to be achieved in each learning session and in the overall plan clearly posted or otherwise available for the Aspie to see.
  • CLEAR EXPECTATIONS before a learning session is started, the Aspie knows what will be the task, what goal will be achieved and how it will be achieved.  This is very important to Aspies – no surprises, changes in routine, and so on – even if other people cannot understand why.
  • CLEAR PROGRESS –  clearly indicating progress within each session, as well as the progress each session makes towards the overall goal is very, very comforting and motivating for us, Aspies.
  • CONSISTENT ENVIRONMENT – it may be corny, but having a ‘special place’ with ‘special tools’ used only for learning – even if it is just a simple tray with the ‘special tools’ that gets brought out for the study session and put onto the dining room table or coffee table, etc. – can be comforting and help an Aspie get into the ‘right frame of mind’ for learning.  It is the ‘little ritual’ of ‘getting down to studying’ which helps the Aspie mind ‘settle’.
  • ENGAGEMENT -whatever motivator is used, the Aspie must want to succeed – or the whole exercise is pointless.

Yet, no learning environment will be effective if the method of learning is one that the Aspie cannot master.

Many of the studies I have read have found that Aspies have very poor memory – as in, rote memory.  We are much, much worse at it than our peers of comparable intelligence.  We are even worse at remembering things ‘in order’.  (As in, if a person is shown a list of words, objects or numbers and is then requested to repeat or identify them in the same order as originally presented – Aspies rate so low, it is unbelievable.)

(Aside:  this does not mean that an Aspie cannot benefit from improving their rote memory – to the contrary!  But, that will have to be a separate post of its own…  What it does mean is that forcing an Aspie to rely on memory for learning is setting him/her up for failure, with all the emotional baggage this carries.)

Therefore, any system of learning which will rely on memorizing or sequencing or any such thing is setting an Aspie up for failure.  Be it multiplication tables or spelling/reading/writing or vocabulary or history dates – using this approach will only lead the Aspie to conclude that they are stupid and that there is no point in trying….and the Aspie will work hard to avoid these tasks, or simply refuse to perform them altogether.  This is because the internal pain of having it reinforced that ‘they are incompetent’, ‘not performing up to expectations’ and so on is so great, no amount of punishment would be worse for the Aspie.  The Aspie will either appear unwilling or unable…

This can be frustrating!  For everyone involved. 

However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel!

These same studies show that Aspies are much better than their peers at remembering things they ‘figure out on their own’.  This is very, very important – and supports the whole ‘Aspies like rules’ thing!

This is just my little hypothesis, no more than that.  Yet, I think the facts fit…  One major ‘coping mechanism’ Aspies develop to compensate for poor ‘reteniton’ using ‘memory’ is to use ‘understanding’ instead. 

And what a coping mechanism!  By understanding, instead of remembering, Aspies do not learn about a subject, they learn the subject!

Aspies like rules because when we analyze something, breaking it down into small components ‘according to rules’ helps us ‘figure it out’.  That is when ‘understanding’ (or ‘comprehension’) happens.  It has certainly been my personal experience:  I went to study Physics, because it was the only subject where I did not have to remember anything!  I could (and usually did) derive each and every equation I needed from first principles – which I understood, and therefore did not have to remember.

Many Aspies (especially male Aspies) are attracted to the science and technology fields, because this is one area of learning where ‘understanding’ is much more important to success than ‘memorizing’.  Here, the ‘coping mechanism’ gives Aspies an edge over others!

Everyone is familiar with the description of the ‘young Aspie’ as ‘a little professor’, where large amounts of information are absorbed and retained.  How can this be achieved without a good memory?  

As the Aspie learns new information, it is ‘figured out’ – what each bit means, how it fits into this ‘field’ or ‘subject-matter’.  It is not so much ‘memorized’ as it is ‘absorbed into the framework of understanding’ of that subject matter.  So, it is not ‘memory’ but ‘understanding’ that the Aspie uses to learn so much about so little!

Test it for yourself.  If an Aspie were to be simply ‘memorizing’ new information about a favorite subject, they will only be able to answer the questions that are directly answered by quotes from the new information.  Yet, I am willing to bet that if you do try this little experiment, the Aspie will have – after a single read – integrated all that is contained in the new information into everything else they know about the subject. Their young mind will have cross-referenced, catalogued and analyzed all the new information as it is being read.  The answers they’ll give will be at a much deeper level of understanding than simple memorization would permit.  (Aside:  this also explains why Aspies often have a difficulty citing their source for specific facts – all the information is ‘fused’ into the common ‘understanding’ as it is absorbed and not really ‘stored’ separately.)

This suggests that ‘figuring out’/’understanding’/’comprehension’ are essential to a successful learning strategy of an Aspie.

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The plight of the Palestinian people in Gaza

More and more Palestinians in Gaza blame Hamas for all the violence they are suffering!!!

Most Palestinians may have voted for Hamas during the last elections, but they have since learned that living under the rule of Hamas is terrible!  Now, they know that Hamas and their disrespect for human life is the cause of their suffering – including the Israeli attacks! 

But, what can they do now? Who will protect them from their own government?  Hamas may have been legitimately elected in Gaza, but they are not using legitimate methods to govern!

Since coming to power, Hamas has seriously oppressed the Gazan population.  Right away, opposition party members (Fatah) were jailed – many were executed.  Journalists were gagged:  no more freedom of the press, thus keeping the world from seeing what they were doing to the people who had elected them.  Demonstrations by the civilian population were brutally suppressed (doctors being specifically targetted).

And, not much was said about it in the world… This is the ‘soft racism’ of mainstream media which consistently fails to report abuses done by a ‘favoured’ groups, like Hamas has become. 

Please, take a look.  This is how Hamas treats the Gazans:

 

Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia on Hamas, which would appear to give independant support to the claims in the video above:

In addition to killing Israeli civilians and armed forces, Hamas has also attacked suspected Palestinian collaborators, and Fatah rivals.[167]

On February 2007, members of the Palestinian Red Crescent, speaking on conditions on anonymity, said that Hamas had confiscated their humanitarian supply convoys that were destined for Palestinian civilians. Hamas claims the supplies were heading to former members of Fatah.[citation needed]

Human Rights Watch has cited a number of summary executions as particular examples of violations of the rules of warfare, including the case of Muhammad Swairki, 28, a cook for Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s presidential guard, who was thrown to his death, with his hands and legs tied, from a 15-story apartment building in Gaza City.[168]

Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups frequently extra judicially execute or otherwise punish those they consider collaborators with Israel. Frequent killings of unarmed people have also occurred during Hamas-Fatah clashes.[169][170]

Thousands of angry Hamas loyalists marched on 24 February 2008 at the funeral of a Muslim preacher who died in PNA custody, turning the ceremony into a rare show of defiance against President Mahmoud Abbas.[171]

Hamas imprisoned their political opponenets, tortured and executed them…  Hamas stole humanitarian supplies from the already suffering people, sold them to the highest bidder and used the money to buy more weapons.  When they could no longer buy sewage pipes  from Israel because it was discovered they used them to build Kassam rockets, they started ripping up the already aging sewer system for more pipes….causing sewage floods severe enough that some people (including kids) died. 

As disgusting as it is, it is true.  Hamas did not care if what they did caused the children in Gaza to drown in sewage, if it helped them fight Israel…  Do you think the people of Gaza have not realized this? 

 

Hamas may have been legitimately elected, but they are not using legitimate methods to govern!

Here is another video which shows how Hamas ‘maintains order’ in Gaza…

When Israel has invaded Gaza – in order to stop the shelling of its civilian populations by Hamas – what was the first thing Hamas did?  It shot several hundred Gazan civilians in their legs (kneecapped them) because they feared that the very people of Gaza would welcome the Israeli forces as liberators from Hamas oppression and help them!!!

Let me say it again, in no uncertain words:  Hamas knows that the civilian population of Gaza is ready to work even with the ‘hated Israelis’, if it will free them of Hamas!

Hamas, whose top leadership lives in Syria – not Gaza – has many goals… but the well-being of ordinary Gazans is not one of them.  Now, the Palestinian people living in Gaza know it, too. 

Hamas is anti-Israel, not pro-Palestinian people!  The two are not the same!

Please, if you wish to support the Palestinian people, if you are truly moved by their plight and wish to join a demonstration to show your support – do NOT tolerate any show of support for Hamas there.  Please, tell any co-demonstrator who seems unaware of this that showing support for Hamas is anti-Palestinian people. 

Please, do not allow the oppressors to continue to hijack the demonstrations meant to show support for their very victims.  Support the people of Gaza, not Hamas!

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