Post for Sep 17-23 2017 (updated Sep 19 & Sep 24)

TaN: With all the successive “smart” products appearing on the market and the increasing speed at which they are hacked, it would appear that “smart” things are not so smart after all.  In fact, those we regard as old-school, legacy, “dumb” are smarter.  Perhaps, instead of labeling them as “smart”, it is more apt to brand them as “convenient” — or more appropriately, “lazy”.

[In a previous TaN, I discussed the difference between convenience and laziness.  In a nutshell, convenience is something that one cannot do without and makes it easier for us whereas laziness is something we can do but we chose the easier way — as in an elevator is convenient for a person with disability or an ambulatory-challenged elderly while it is laziness for someone who can use the stairs, assuming that the ascent/descent is just a few floors up or down.]

This is due to a news article from NaturalNews titled “Security flaw: ‘Smart’ drug syringes found to be hackable” with date of posting as September 21, 2017 by a certain J D Hayes and an earlier one titled “Yes, your smart TV really is spying on you: Leaked docs reveal CIA secretly turned Samsung TVs into microphones that spy on your conversations” date posted was March 7, 2017 and by the same J D Hayes.  These and a host of other earlier news articles show that “smart” devices are not safe — as far as privacy and personal security is concerned.

One problem with people is that they cannot — or do not want to — distinguish between convenience and laziness and few know and understand that there is a direct inverse relationship between convenience and control (meaning, for more convenience we have to give up more direct control).  In effect, we become “victims” of technology instead of being its master.

Moreover, “smart” depends on how one defines it.  Most people understand “smart” as being able to anticipate what they want without having to do anything.  However, this definition, though apt, is not quite accurate because if it were (truly) smart, it would not be hacked in the first place.

“Smart”, in this particular instance, should be taken in the context of technology.  Furthermore, the more proper term would be “advance technology”, “AI-assisted”, “user profiling technology”, or even just go back to the “version x.xx” of the recent past but certainly not “smart”.  It was dumb to be hacked.

In any case, I would recommend against using such “modern” technology — and any and all such technology — especially if we consider that such technology enables malice to be done by unscrupulous people remotely as are now being witnessed in periodic reports mostly in alternative media and so-labeled conspiracy theorists.  Use these “smart” technology at your own risk and do not say I did not give any warning.

TaN (update): In the news on September 21, it was reported that, aside from the protesters against Mr Duterte, those who supported the current dispensation conducted a simultaneous rally at the nearest gate to the presidential palace.  I wonder if these rallyist — it must be clear that those who are against are called protesters or demonstrators while those who are in favor are called rallyists — really support Mr Duterte.

It must be understood that the issue, to ensure every person understand clearly, is not Mr Duterte but his methods, specifically the bloody and brutal campaign against illegal drugs and criminality. It is nothing personal against the president.

I wonder if these rallyists will still support Mr Duterte (or his style of “solving” the country’s major and pressing problems) so fervently if a loved one becomes a victim of the campaign.

There is no contention regarding the need and urgency to address the illegal drug and criminality (and corruption) issues.  What is the bone of contention is the methodology.  The issue is the seeming rampant and untethered killing of people without undergoing due process.

Mr Duterte is an impatient man who appears to want to make his permanent mark in history, whatever the cost and no matter the means.  The fear is that he may go down in history known for his infamy rather than the other.

And, as a politician, Mr Duterte seems to be very adept at being one and has adapted to the qualification/s magnificently: use of ambiguous or double-meaning terms (with the intention of deception, concealing or evading the truth), engage in “prestidigitation” (i.e., sleight of hand or magic trickery) with respect to producing things that does not exist, and enthrall gullible minds with fairy tales and false promises.  Btw, there is a saying that goes, When leaders speak of peace, the people must prepare for war.

In any case and I digress again — which is a (bad) habit of mine — a major problem is the stark reality that “People see what they want to see, hear what they want to hear“.

TaN (update): In today’s (September 17) hardcopy issue ot The Philippine STAR titled “Duterte slams CHR chief: Are you a pedophile?” on the front page, although it is nor surprising and not totally unexpected, I still find it amusing and refreshing that there are still people who will not back down when face with the likes of Mr Duterte.

This latest news on Mr Duterte’s pitiful, deplorable, and futile attempt to demean and debase people who are just doing their job — just like what Mr Duterte claims he is doing with his bloody and brutal campaign against illegal drugs and, along the way, against corruption and other things — only shows the degree of intolerance of Mr Duterte against anyone who dares to even (openly) question his methods in achieving his self-imposed crusade against evil.

As to Mr Duterte’s query towards Mr Gascon regarding being a “gay pedophile” because the latter appears — in the former’s perception — too focused on teenage victims of violence and human rights violations, it is good to know what buttons to push to make Mr Duterte respond accordingly.  This makes Mr Duterte vulnerable.

If I were Mr Gascon, I will just ignore Mr Duterte’s outbursts and tirades — let them fall off by the wayside like water off a duck’s back — and continue doing what he is doing.  It would be interesting to see Mr Gascon continue with what he is doing, totally ignoring statements from Mr Duterte as if the latter is some insignificant gnat.  It would be nice to get Mr Duterte’s goat.  I wonder how much rattling can Mr Duterte take and what will happen when he snaps.

It is so funny and amusing to see or watch Mr Duterte go into fits of rage and make such baseless — just because successive high-profile incidents of violence and killings happened to involve teenage victims does not necessarily mean that one is focusing on teenagers and, being a former prosecutor trained in logic, Mr Duterte should or is expected to know better — inane statements such as accusing people of being gay and pedophiles on such flimsy reasons.   It would appear that Mr Duterte regard being gay or being a pedophile as something insulting to people — at least to Mr Gascon — otherwise why use the terms to abase Mr Gascon?

Lastly, it should be commit to mind that people of Mr Duterte’s personality bask in the limelight and the adoration of others so to deprive him of that which he “feeds on” — i.e., attention and adulation — is a big blow to his ego and the best response to Mr Duterte’s insults and tirades.  However, people like that are likewise prone to more drastic measures when they are pushed past their breaking point and we run the risk of more dangerous retaliations, such as physical violence, emotional and psychological distress, damage to public image, and financial ruin, using whatever resources is at their disposal and even underhanded tactics.  There is really no telling to what lengths such people will go to in order to “save face” and heal their ego.

TaN: The true mark of a sport is that it continues when you take away the prize money and simply just give the award and recognition — or at least, if you must have some kind of monetary compensation, it should be modest…just a token amount.  Moreover, it is easier to see with an unbiased and honest view when the prize purse is removed or so insignificant that it does not enter into the picture.

A good case in point would be boxing.  When you take away the huge (prize) purse, the whole thing degenerates into a simple fight between to people trying to punch each other’s lights out.  It is seen for what it truly is — a simple case of savage and barbaric display of pure stupidity and brutality.  It becomes a spectacle where it makes no sense and no real pleasure is derived — unless, of course, you are one of those who are sick.  The only people who will (still) patronize and derive pleasure from it would be those who have a twisted and malevolent taste of brutality and the macabre.

It is really not just a case of being juvenile but infantile and idiotic that people can enjoy such exhibits of inanity and foolishness.  They simply have too much time on their hands and cannot find anything better to do (or watch).

The old practice of pugilism is good because the antagonists are gentlemen and do not draw blood.  They do not taunt each other — for the media hype.  They are fully aware and respectful of the rules and there is very little or no intervention from or by the referee.  There is or was art in the sport; it was truly a sport.  There was no deriding, no mocking, no insulting, no distasteful media fanfare, no boasting, none of all the irrelevant shenanigans that is seen in “sports” these days when they face the media all for the sole purpose of hyping and ratcheting up the frenzy to get more publicity to get more audience which translates to more revenue in terms of advertisements and product endorsements…just for the sake of circus but more for the money.  Today, it has devolved into a “science” — pure and unadulterated systematized punching techniques masquerading as science, plus the fact of the obviously huge money at stake, both with the boxers and gamblers (whether it be a friendly wager among and between friends and relatives or among professional or addicted gamblers).  It was something to be proud of, if you happen to be a sportsman.  There was nobleness in sports — there was dignity, there was integrity, there was prestige.

Remember the age-old wisdom: Whenever money is involved, it is always about the money — regardless of what has been said and sworn to.  Everything else and all the “excuses” previously given are mere schemes and tools to get the true goal — the money.

How I pity money for it is being used to symbolize and portray man’s evil.  Truly, as in the Holy Scriptures (1 Timothy 6:10, KJV): For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

TaN: No one (in this temporal reality) is — nor will ever hope to be — perfect.  However, this cannot be — nor can ever be used as — an excuse not to try and be as near perfection as possible.  [Actually, in at least one previous TaN, I had already elaborated and discussed it arguing that everyone and everything is perfect in its own way for as long as it functions or carries out its nature or purpose — as in a spoon is perfect for bringing food to the mouth but not so much for turning screws.]

The problem with many people is they used the argument of their being imperfect as an alibi to avoid the obligation to improve and develop to as high a level as possible.  This hinders our evolution towards perfection and is a major sin or insult to the Creator who intended for us to be flourish and be the best that we can be.  We are not expected to achieve perfection, at least not in this temporal reality — but the attitude that we develop and sustain is what will be our seed or capital for the next life and it would not do good to bring over mediocre habits and an attitude of no self-drive.

Many people confuse or do not understand that it is not the end but the process that is critical.  It is the journey and not the destination — for upon reaching the destination, what now?

It is difficult to put into words the feeling I have but I believe that, though God is already Perfect,  He does and has not stopped evolving — in His Perfection.  He is constantly dynamic and fluid. He is in perpetual change and this is what is His essence.

God wants to populate Paradise with souls who are of the same attitude and habit as He.  To stop changing is to be dead.  Life is eternally changing, re-arranging and re-inventing oneself. It is the essence of life.

So keep going and push yourself ever onward to goal you have set.  Just remember that the goal must be something attainable but always just out of reach — ever receding away from our grasp in order to motivate us to keep improving.

TaN: In this temporal world, things always begin as good but may turn bad.  It cannot be that something begins as bad then turns good.  It is simply not possible, just as time can only go forward and never backward.

However, it does not mean that what became bad — which implies that it was once not bad — cannot turn back to good.  The first case of this is with Lucifer, when God created him he was God’s greatest work for he is the angel of light and was the most beautiful.  Then he turned to the dark side — because his beauty, his vanity went to his head — then it was downhill ever since.

In the case of man, we also began as good.  This is why it is written that innocent babes who still have not developed any sense of good and bad go straight — but not immediately — Heaven.  It is because they are innately good.  They did not have time nor the opportunity to become bad.

Even the second law of thermodynamics (Law of Entropy) attest to this truth: Things begin or start out as organized and ordered and breaks down or deteriorates (over time) into disorder or chaos.  However, this law does not account or apply (completely) to man as man has the inherent ability to reverse the process (and return to good after turning bad).

TaN: Truth is simple whereas untruths are complicated.  Truth is just a matter of what is, what is reality, what is the actual situation, whereas untruths mean that there has to be deception and inconsistencies so it has to be well-thought of and the intricacy grows exponentially the longer it takes to unravel.

Moreover, since there is the constant threat or risk of unraveling or discovery or being uncovered, one has to live in constant fear and apprehension and anxiety.  This adds to the trauma which could have been (all) avoided had the truth been told at the onset.

However, in many societies and cultures, especially those in the East, saving face and shame are a huge thing and people frequently go to great lengths to hide their skeletons for fear of embarrassment.  For them, embarrassment is an even greater disgrace or dishonor and is deemed a fate worst than death.

Anyway, truth is still the best policy although it may sometimes hurt.  It is written in the Holy Scriptures that telling the truth is never wrong, immoral, sinful, or evil.  It is good.  This means that telling something as “innocent” as white lies and false compliments are wrong because they are untruths.  In other words, calling someone a fool or stupid or using what society normally considers inappropriate and hurtful words are not wrong if they happen to be the truth.

Always call a spade a spade, no matter what. It is the right thing to do. Calling someone stupid is good if the person is truly stupid — Nota bene: one must be careful with such things and limit them to acts and not the person (as in the law which is tantamount to slander or libel).  Ergo, calling it is best to refer to the act as being stupid instead of the person as calling the person such is tantamount to saying the person is stupid until death which may not be true because it could be that only the act is stupid and not the person.

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