Thursday, 4 February 2016

Sulk...what a terrible scene!!!

SULK is a "manifestation of boredom or bad mood that is revealed by gestures, by a stubborn silence or by avoid looking to who allegedly caused it."

Defined like this, it may look normal and harmless. But it is not. In fact, it is one of the most destructive scenes of relations between people, whether they are children or adults.

A personal testimony, to frame the subject.

My dear old father, who I have lost unexpectedly two years ago, had the bad habit of sulk. I still remember, with great discomfort and some uprising, family meals where he, angry with my mother or with any of the children, ate in silence, his head bowed, and answered in monosyllables. Child and adolescent, I often thought that nothing justified that behavior. Why make that scene? Why affect all with that? Why cause the desire to be elsewhere and not watch that scene? Why force everyone to pretend nothing is happening, relating artificially, as a misrepresented play?

The truth is that I became allergic, and even today, I run away of those scenes. Between couples, between parents and children, between siblings, between families, between friends, between co-workers, between supervisors and employees. No way, I cannot  bear out!

But I looked for the reason of my discomfort. And I found some plausible explanations. Take a look.

First, who is sulking uses a kind of a “bright sign” advertising all I AM ANGRY. This advertising assumes that all should be interested in the subject or in his anger. Selfishness, egotism, narcissism, and lack of respect for the patience of others. I would say, if he is angry, take a pill, or go for a walk, and DO NOT DISTURB!!!!

Second, and far more serious, sulk causes what psychologists call "non-recognition". Not recognize someone is telling “you do not exist, you are transparent, I do not see you, you're not important." Because that's exactly what happens. When someone well-intentioned approaches a grumpy and asks "what happened?", the answer is the turn of the face, a deafening silence or an abrupt leaving. And what the well-intentioned feels about this reaction? He feels that is presence was not recorded, it is not important, which is so low that does not deserve a response. But he will insist, because he wants to solve the problem, and he will be “not recognized” again and again ... It really hurts. And weakens and sickens who goes through this. Now imagine when this scene is made on a child ...

Well ... but it gets worse. Because sulk is a role model that is copied, it's contagious as a virus that passes from father to son, and runs even within a company. That is, a child who has parents that sulk, he learns sulking too, and there goes the virus....

Either we caught it, or we are running some risks. Here's a Portuguese humorous video  - The Minister sulking. Seriously?

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

When the toothbrush talks to us...

No, I'm not imagining things. My toothbrush really talks to me! Beeps every 30 seconds to move from the mouth quadrant, and slows to 2 minutes, time recommended by dentists for a perfect brushing.

Here is the brush image, and the relevant paragraph of the instructions manual, which does not let me lie.

"A useful timer on cable beeps every 30 seconds to indicate that should move to the next quadrant of the mouth. The electric toothbrush tells you when you have completed the 2-minute brushing recommended by dentists."

I’m talking about this with some amazement.

A few days ago, the stock of heads of my electric toothbrush ended, an already old model, with four years. I went to the supermarket and ... despair! A number of different models, I had to ask for help, between impatience and humiliation. Hell, it was just a toothbrush! I chose a head, of course, that ruined the old brush. Result, I had to come back to buy a new brush, without thinking too much...

Of course I have not read the instructions, who reads instructions of toothbrushes? As in the first test, the brush burst into noising and slowing down ... Controlling my suspicion and laughter, I read the manual. It was confirmed, the brush talks to me. OK.

And suddenly, I realized! It is not only the brush that speaks to us! We are surrounded by technology whose greatest entertainment is to tell us things, permanent and personally! Let’s see.

The TV boxes advise our favorite movies. The TV will shut down when approaching our bedtime. Bookstores, like Amazon, advise us books, music and movies similar to our preferences. Google and others mobilize to inform us when we visit websites and what we might want to search. The computer tells you about the spelling mistakes, the portfolio updates, time, alarms, arrivals messages, outgoing messages, cleaning to be carried out. Mobile phones, too, plus information on expenditures made. The ATM yells "pull out your money." ATMs supermarkets say "put the item in the bag, pass the card in the card reader, remove the receipt, thank you for your preference, please come again” ...

Not to mention cars that tell us everything that is happening inside and outside, little lights flashing, screens in the front window, and the friendly little voice, sometimes boring, of the GPS.

And the soccer ball that tracks the movements? And the clothes, which monitors health? And the Thermomix? And the electric oven? And the Tefal Actifry? And the refrigerator that tells about the stock shortages?

Only lack the pen that highlights errors, as recalled Nelson Trindade, who revised this post. It would be very useful to the children at school, and to all that do misspellings...

Well, dear friends. Everything around us talks to us. And there is so much to listen ... I love it.

So, please forget the "old things" ... 

Friday, 30 October 2015

When Prime Minister slid down a magazine cover

It was the year 2001, in the 2nd mandate of the Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres.

This year in February, May and July, the magazine VISÃO published three Guterres images, to illustrate its articles, which represent a stark reminder of the critical political moments of his government, which culminated in the resignation of the Prime Minister in December of that year.

The series of photos, then, is one of the best and creative political comment I have ever seen made by the mass media.

In the pictured of February 2001, Guterres is photographed at the top of the São Bento Palace staircase, the entire width of the central page, and the purpose of the article is creasing his plans for crisis control.

How? The photo was taken from the bottom up, with the Prime Minister in a decided pose, arms crossed, with the caption "What I'm going to do"!

February 2001

However, in May 2001, things were not going well to Guterres, and the cover of VISÃO illustrates, clearly, the disorientation of the Prime Minister face the crisis.

How? Guterres is photographed in an undecided pose, foot on the air, hands face up, head tilted and quizzical facial expression, with the caption "Now what do I do?"

May 2001

Finally, in July 2001, things were even worse, and the magazine cover illustrates the foreseeable drowning of the government.

How? Guterres is photographed with only half of his head, placed at the bottom of the cover, as if to slip, and with  the caption "Guterres hit ground?"

July 2001

Later this year, compared to the disaster of the Socialist Party in municipal elections, Guterres calls for the resignation of his government.

He left Portugal, then went to the UN, and it seems that he refuses to return ... ever again.

That must have hurt ... just slide down the magazine cover ...

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Let the children use the technologies .... with common sense!

Following the previous post, this one is about COMMON SENSE.

The technologies are not good or bad, depends, rather, the use that is made of them. Unfortunately, they only bring operating instructions and do not provide instructions on how to behave with them.

A simplistic example. A knife is good or bad? It depends. If it is to kill someone, it's bad. But to defend us from attack, it is good. And if in an operation? It's good. And if the doctor belongs to an organ trafficking network? It's bad ... and so on.

All this to say that the use of technology by children (and adults too, for that matter) have to obey a code of conduct to be defined as problems occur. It is the typical case of "only know later ...".

It is the time it takes to set the new code of conduct that tends to exasperate the most nostalgic, skeptics and pessimists. What an horror the phone ringing at cinema! Yes, but before it rings a few times, nobody thought it could happen! What an horror kids staying hours and hours at computer! Yes, but before it happened, who guessed?

I think that these matters must prevail common sense. But this "common sense" must result from the integration between what was important in the past, what is important in the present, and what we think will be the future.

One of the best examples of this is the construction of downtown Lisbon made by the Marquis of Pombal after the earthquake of 1755. He rebuilt the city for the future, considering the needs of the present then, and respecting its past. Of course, at the time, everybody disputed the exaggerated width of the downtown streets, but he replied "One day you will find them narrow". It was confirmed.

Nothing worse than to take decisions only on the basis of Past, who has since died. For example, in Portugal, a ban on the opening of hypermarkets on Sunday. Or just based on the present, that will disappear. For example, the construction of 10 football stadiums for Euro 2004. Or just based on the future, which is guesswork. For example, the construction of the huge network of motorways, which was confirmed to be maladjusted to traffic.

And now a video that shows the commentator Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa reading a mobile phone SMS right in the program of TVI! Hum ... is it fashionable?

Finally, a provocative question. The TV, mobile phone or computer put away the members of a family, or the family is already tucked away and technologies are only a symptom / getaway?

Oh...this question must have hurt ...

Let the children use technologies...also!

Try to keep children away from television, mobile phones and computers is not only absolutely inglorious, as will isolate them from the group of colleagues and friends. You drive them away from their present and, worse, their future.

But to manage this situation, there are two words -  ALSO and COMMON SENSE.

This post is about the ALSO.

A newspaper clipping, which can not find in my files (dispaiiiir!!!), reported one special news. In 1904, at United States, a doctor said that to ride a motor bike at 10km/h was dangerous! This was because, at this breakneck speed, the person opened his mouth, was filled with air and burst ... !!!

And what was said when the film came! dark room, a bright screen...people would be blind! Or photography, that steal the soul of the photographed ...

Just to laugh, watch this little movie that shows Charlot and the fear of man in relation to the machine.


This is the "normal" attitude of the human being facing the technological novelty, whatever it may be. Distrust, fear, dark future ...

And that's why, every day, there are news, studies and reports about awful things that can happen to anyone who uses the television, mobile phone, microwave, Facebook and who knows what else! Even our prestigious Portuguese sociologist Antonio Barreto wrote against the mobile phone in the 90s. Seriously?

The truth is that new technologies are not only inevitable, now and in the future, but also stimulate our brain completely differently from the "old days".

And without dwell too much on this evidence, I refer you to one great book, 2005, Steven Johnson, "EVERYTHING BAD IS GOOD  FOR YOU - How video games, TV and Internet are ultimately making us smarter ". Here you will find the challenge of thinking ahead.

BUT ...
if the kids have to know how to use the technologies sooner the better, as with learning a second language (the sooner, the more impregnated in their "skin") also have to know that the water does not born in the taps and the chicken is not that thing with its legs open at supermarket shelves ...

That is, the child with his unrivaled potential has to be developed and stimulated in all directions without radicalism or nostalgia.

The photo below put alternatively, Technology and Nature.

But this is a false choice. The Technology is not opposed to Nature. It is not "Technology or Nature". It really is "Technology and also Nature."

In the field of Civilization and Culture, there are many other examples of false choices. We have to be vigilant.´

In the next post, I will discuss the COMMON SENSE accompanying this ALSO. And I will be even more boring ...

When the "cultural tradition" justifies the crime

It is common today to call "cultural tradition" of a group, a people or a religion to justify acts that collide with contemporary values ​​in particular the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Here are some examples of acts that have been historically accepted in other eras, and being intolerable today, still remain protected by this idea of ​​"cultural tradition".

Female genital mutilation

Still widely practiced in sub-Saharan Africa, female genital mutilation is now countered by offend all women's rights.

Child marriage

Still widely practiced in Africa and Asia, child marriage is now considered pedophilia, and fought for offending once again, the right of women.

Domestic violence

"Between husband and wife no goals to reap" it was said, until some years ago in Portugal. Today is a public crime that includes domestic violence on children, the elderly, women and men, but their complaint further clashes with the "cultural tradition".

Pakistani Ailee Kohi worked
more than 20 years as a slave.

Still practiced around the world, including Portugal, slavery of men, women and children is tackled today for offending human rights.

Violence against animals

Bullfighting, hunting dolphins, seals and whales, or the industry of precious skins, are examples of how violence against animals can be particularly shocking to contemporary eyes, especially with regard to the "show business". For too "artistic" or economically interesting they are.

But it's a matter of time before all disappear ... And this depends on the strength of public opinion.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Parents and children. Copy and paste.

Well, the children imitate everything adults do. Indeed, it is the first way to learn.

It begins in the family and continues, over time, other "socializing agencies" - the neighborhood group, school, TV, the Internet, and so on ...~

Ah, family ... is the place where everything happens. Father and mother, a father or a mother, two fathers or two mothers, educators in the asylum, whatever, are crucial in the transmission of patterns of thought and behavior. Even without aware of it. Even when they judge not. Even when they want to teach A and, after all, teach B.

The child sees, hears, feels and does the same. Those adults are his life, his model, his example. They are his Instruction Manual.

And what does he  see? The words they use. The gestures they make. Their actions.

How parents love each other, how to get angry, how to behave when separated. How to love their children, how to get angry with them, how they treat them in a separation. How they view working life. How they view school life. How they behave in public space. In traffic, in rows of shops, before the figures of authority, in relation to an insult or aggression, face to foreigners, given the weaker...How to behave in the political space.

That is why it is so challenging to observe a family. There is there a common model, speak the same way, smiling likewise, have similar body positions, moving the same way. Impressive.

Thus, children will repeat throughout life, what they have learned here. The chosen wife or husband will have hints of their father or their mother. And teach their children what they heard, saw and felt.

Sometimes in adolescence and adulthood, they may try to separate themselves from these models. But in a crisis, there will out what was impregnated in their skin.

Finale. We're screwed!

A strong video. To be always present.