Long live the Great Human Adventure!

Europe around 1740. Go back or forth in time and you will find all sorts of different maps. This teaches you that your precious "Nation" is not more than an arbitrary concept to organize things.

Europe around 1740. Go back or forth in time and you will find all sorts of different maps.
This teaches you that your precious “Nation” is not more than an arbitrary concept to organize things.

One of woodpeckers numerous hobbies is the study of history.

Although ignorants consider it nerdy or boring, there is a lot to gain from this occupation.
So I let it take up increasing parts of my spare time, which luckily is ample due to downshifting and reducing superfluous occupations of my past (like excessive money counting, or pointless anonymous discussions in the internet).

The study of history is a very worthwhile endeavour, especially when you live in Europe, an area where every country, every city, and virtually every square meter is soaked with history, where virtually all peoples and nations had sky-high moments and times of darkest night in their past. A place where our fates are intermingled to a point such that people without history knowledge will never be able to understand what is going on today, why it is going on and what will happen next.

To polish up the image of history as an occupation, I have a few benefits for you to consider:

  1. You gain a much broader view on life, on your own existence and the tininess of our daily worries and fears compared to the “whole thing” in space and time
  2. You understand that we all are only small parts in the huge chain that I’d like to call the „great human adventure“, a development that leads our race from the caves of the stone age through the rise and fall of empires, rulers, nations, to where we stand today
  3. You understand how we all, and all our actions are influenced by the power of the past. How the experiences, traumata and fates of our ancestors somehow live within our collective thinking and influences our actions and feelings as a society
  4. You see that the same holds true for the societies around you and their relationship towards the group you are part of
  5. You understand that you are not part of one group, but of groups on multiple levels. E.g. in Woodpeckers case, I am Franconian, Bavaria, German, European and World-Citizen, depending on the situation, and depending on the way I want to see myself
  6. You can see how errors are repeated and you can try to avoid them, or even predict the future to some extend. You can also see how things are done to avoid errors (yes, that happens! See bullet 9)
  7. That all makes you much more mild and relaxed towards all the hustle and bustle around you. You get an understanding that the great human adventure, that we are all part of, was always a chaotic and non-linear mess, with ups and downs, with distractions and confusion. Nevertheless, we are still here! 🙂
  8. Alias, from that higher perspective, you will clearly see that, overall, the human adventure constantly makes progress. Despite all errors and cul-de-sacs, despite atrocities and terrible mistakes, it is amazing how our race moves on, how it was (and still is!) able to tackle and overcome even the largest and most fearsome problems that it encounters on it‘s way
  9. You will better understand politics.
    Politicians are not all stupid or the always selfish pack that minor mind think they are (in typically projecting their own selfishness on them). Of course they are sometimes, but very often, you will just not understand the reasons why they are doing certain things. Because many, if not most, decisions of our so-called rulers are not as free as they seem, but they are embedded in the course of history, they are forced by the strong and ever-pushing current of history and by the state of society, that pushes humanity forward. Politicians mostly do (and did) just mirror the society they live in. The good politicians are the ones that know history well and are able to see beyond their time. They will be criticised a lot by their people, but only later be called genius.
    Many short time unfavourable decisions might turn out brilliant in the long run, many clever short-term gains turn pale in the bleaching light of time going by.
    By studying history you will be better able to understand the forces and the currents in the river. You will see when it is worth an effort to reach the shore or when you’d better not swim against the current.
  10. For me, seeing how humankind overcame so big confusion, chaos and catastrophes in the past, makes me very confident that humanity will be able to master the future too, no matter what comes.
  11. This is a precious insight in times where most people seem to agree that the future will be grim.
    It ist not! It is just different. And always was.
    Future might look grim from our daily “ant” perspective, but difficulties are nothing new to humankind. They were always there, and we always mastered them.
    We can and we will master them again!

I seldom do book recommendations, but in this case I have a book that is almost too good to be true.

It is of interest for German readers mostly, but also for all European neighbors:

„German History of the 19th and 20th century“ by Golo Mann.

Mann writes the German (and European) history of the last two centuries not in tables and maps, but as a continuous tale and from all different perspectives without any bias. It can be read like a novel and is much more fascinating than most of them. Imagine: A history book as a pageturner! You just want to read on and on and see what happens next.

If you are German, please read this!

If it does NOT change your view on the world and on your country, let me know and I’ll spend you a beer in Munich!

Cheers,

Woodpecker

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Book Review: Stop Thinking Start Living

stopWhen doing the winter trip last week and writing the last post, about the importance of the here and now, I actually had a few insights in mind from a book I read recently:

 

“Stop thinking, start living” by Richard Carlson.

 

The book is a bit repetitive in parts, but the central idea is quite compelling:

 

  • How you feel is entirely dependent on your current thoughts.
  • I.e. whenever you feel unhappy, bad, stressed, it is a result of “negative” thoughts that stayed in your mind too long.
  • You cannot control what thoughts enter your mind (they are created by your sub-consciousness) but you can learn to control if you allow them to stay in your mind.
  • Most people cling to negative thoughts too long and turn them around and around in their minds, thus creating an unnecessary feeling of unhappiness.
  • Too the contrary what the mainstream says, “Thinking problems through” is in most cases not helpful but harming.
  • Most “problems” are better solved when not thinking about them but letting the subconsciousness (your “wisdom“) solve them without active thinking-effort.
  • Querying your wisdom (i.e. listening to your intuition) will yield much better results and save you from bad feelings due to negative trains of thoughts.
  • If you are in a bad mood, always understand that this is just a symptom of some bad thoughts you had before, and not reality.

In a nutshell, Carlson is opposing basically all the psychological opinion in saying you should not dig around in your problems, your bad thoughts and the reasons for that.

According to him, you should learn to let negative thoughts simply pass by and get a distance between you and them.

I am not yet sure if I would go as far as Carlson in all of his conclusions, but in some points he seems to be damn right:

  • Learning how to not follow negative trains of thought is very valuable. Especially if you are already aware that you cannot change the situation now.
  • Getting a better connection to your intuition sure also is a good advise. Intuition is not something esoteric, but it is neglected in today’s world as it is not seen as “rational“.
  • Getting distance to your negative thoughts and also to negative feelings makes sense. The trick is to accept both the negative thoughts and negative feelings (not to fight them), but to say to yourself in the same instance: “This is just a negative thought or feeling, it is not reality. My mind is currently clouded, thus I do not see things realistically but much more negative than they are in fact.”

At least for Woodpecker, especially the last bullet was a very valuable advise that seems to work.

Try out yourself or better read the book!
If bought used, it’s not more than 3-4 EUR. 🙂

Cheers,

Woodpecker