You and I Are More Alike Than You Think – “In our quest for security, it turns out we all think alike. “

Security Blanket – the image above shows a quilt digitally printed with most frequently used passwords.This word cloud represents a thousand of the most common passwords for a social application and gaming website called RockYou.

( The illustration is by LORRIE FAITH CRANOR, from CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY – “In our quest for security, it turns out we all think alike. “, says Lorrie) 

“Oh, no! Another password!” Does this happen to you when for the millionth time you are being asked to change or register somewhere with a new password?? Well, it does happen invariably to me – because I have to think one more time of a smart sequence of letters (and numbers) that I’ll have to remember when asked again, maybe in a few years’ time. But chances are that I’m giving myself all the trouble for nothing: whether I think a lot or just a little, my password is very likely to look similar or be identical to the one you thought about.

 

The story of this image  began with the hackers who stole information and passwords from the site in 2009 and published a subset on the Internet. In 2013, researcher Lorrie Faith Cranor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, decided to randomly analyze one thousand of the 32 million users’ passwords hacked from the site, to see which ones were the most common.
The results are digitally printed on this quilt – the more prominent, the most frequently used, like “123456”. I must admit, though, that these too simple ideas of passwords may have been common during the more “primitive” years of networking, while they are way less these days. However, this is just a simple example of how, in matters of things of everyday life, we share common patterns of thought in our choices, likes and dislikes – and industries like advertising and marketing know how to put it to good use.

It is known by “magicians”, especially by mentalists – a great number of their guesses (you know, when they ask you to think of a number between 1 – 100.., etc, etc,) are based on this particularity – or, rather, “generality” that we share.

Have You Ever Wondered? This Writing Here, Has Originated Here: Neuron Lacework

 

What I am writing right now originates in some “sparks” between my neurons that are happening right under my skull.

 

 

Here the connections are denser (not in my brain, I should say )

neurons1

 

 

And this is what we do right now, networking across the planet – is there any similarity?

Whether you are blogging – writing about food, or art, about picking flowers, or about the twenty ways to cut your nails, or  you are tweeting, or facebooking, or contacting a client, or a lover, or posting a scientific article, or sending a CV, with each action you create lines that criss-cross the planet. Maybe that Mind has been continuously creating connections and evolved the individual brain to arrive today at this collective brain – what makes today a Global Mind.

 

 

New Year – The Myth of Eternal Return 2 It’s Been A Rough Year

(this is the second part from the Larger theme New Year’s Myth of Eternal Return)

Like the E Coyote in Fast and Furry –ous, I, ever mindless of the anvils dropping on my head, cannot but turn it all into a questioning of the why of it all – what is the underlying meaning. It is not hard to notice that I am not the only one targeted these past few years – just watching the news on any channel in any possible country around the world brings enough evidence. Hardship, mishappenings, disruption and undoing seem to be the share of almost anyone, high and low, and difficulties seem to pile up over the heads of the famous and of the anonymous, of the wimp and the zilch and of the unaware. I cannot miss seeing that, wherever there is repetition, there is pattern, and, precisely because I choose to be a rational being and never insult my intelligence, I cannot allow myself to dismiss as just coincidences the things that show some hidden meaning.
It is the things that I see happening around me, around others and around the world that force me to admit that there is a plan in the adversity that makes us reach out, and, like Job, give out a loud cry: “Why, God, why me??” While I am not religious myself, I can’t understand the why of all this rage that atheists show against religion (but I can understand anyone’s stand against religious fanaticism). Sometimes it becomes so passionate that I ask myself, would’t this be the jealousy of the “don’t have’s” in confronts with those who have it? I, personally, have tried hard – but really hard – and yet haven’t arrived there, at the faith of Job, or at least up to the faith of my grandparents.

 

I have always envied those with a steadfast belief in God, whatever the religion – this makes their lives so much easier: in whatever enterprise we take, (and life is by far our biggest and longest) the whole difference between meeting with success or with total failure is that of knowing the rules, how to act and how to play – and, maybe, having some idea of the why of it all. It is this core belief, or knowledge of his God, which, undoubtedly, helped Job. It helped my grandparents all the same. It helped my grandfather cope with being dispossessed by the communists of all his property and assets he had inherited and accumulated along the sixty years of hard work; it helped him cope with authorities’scorn and with the humiliations against himself and his family, and, later on, when he was eighty, with the loss of his unique son in a car accident, and, along his ninety-something years of age, the list is endless.

 

It helped my grandmother – the most recent example I can remember of was when a fire started at a major electricity pillar a few hundred meters down her home – with all the commotion from the fire-fighters’ intervention and the panicked people, she just held her calm, never rising her eyes off her Bible. When we asked her how come, she just said that nothing is more important to listen to than the words of God.
For much thinking and trying to find some meaning, I can see how my grandparents and all those people who have faith find in it the spinal bone that keeps them standing. For them, life has meaning and has purpose, all like it did for Job,for whom this explanation was good enough: God has tried him and “performed” “what is attended for him”, because “affliction doesn’t just sprout out from the dust and the ground”, but “there is a purpose for it”. The parable is intended for us all, believers or non-believers, no doubt; its sense is that there is purpose in exploring life, particularly if we probe into hardship, that it is good for our own sublimation, in order for us to “come forth like gold”, that is, pure and shiny, essential and noble.
Easier said than done – I am not made of the hero stuff. What’s more, as I don’t live in Job’s days, I have a crave for things to be rational and to appeal to my logical mind. I guess my need for rationality started long ago, with that unanswered question that my grandfather, “the man who knew everything”, left unanswered.
As I was his first grandchild and we got to spend lots of time together, he felt it was his duty to teach me the things of the heaven and of the world; he taught me about God, the saints, and, from his religious-structured worldview, he resumed to me the universe : “God made us and everything there is”, he told me.

But this only left me thinking: who made God, then? And his answer was that these are the greatest mysteries of the world and that I shouldn’t try to go there. But, without my knowing, I did – or, rather, it was life that took me there – this chaotic life that makes no sense, apparently.

New Year – The Myth of Eternal Return – 2014, One of Those Years…

New Year’s Myth of Eternal Return This is intended as a series of posts grouped around the idea of the New Year as a theme for cyclic change; in tackling this theme, I relate to famous religious and mythology scholar Mircea Eliade’s work on showing how traditionally, man has found meaning and strength in his relation with the sacred, higher dimension to life – man is not an accident, but his  existence wobbling in between chaos and order is sending ripples and impresses, affects the cosmos. Having forgotten this seems to be modern man’s “capital sin” – from here, the overly materialistic and technologized world without humanity of our days is throwing us into personal distress and social chaos – we live in the best of times ever, but depression and neurosis have never been so high.

Starting from a series of personal, real-life events, I intend to go deeper into the “why” and the “what for” of it all – without sense and meaning life would lack the salt and the pepper that keep us going…

(1) A Farewell to 2014 – It’s Been A Rough Year…

Two days to go – ugh, what a year it has been! It started with my grandmother’s death on April 11, the day of the 77th anniversary of her first-born son (my dad) – and what a gift it was to my dad from his mother! Then, on May 11, his name day, Sts *Constantine and Helena my father was taken to the hospital with a serious CVA – the next day he was to be diagnosed with lung and colon tumor and metastases.

Then it was my turn for a birthday gift: he passed away on Juy 13, two days after my anniversary. The next month my husband had a car crash that smashed two concrete light poles and tumbled the bullet-proof concrete cabin (used as a shelter for the army) some five meter away, and we had to gratefully take whatever remained of the car to the junkyard.  The very next day, exactly thirty-one hours later, at two in the morning, a phone call woke me up: my son crashed our other car on a 12m-high bridge; I went right on and felt quite elated when I saw that the side next-to the driver was totally crushed, but his side has managed to remain somehow whole. The only difference between remaining on that bridge and plummeting the 12 meters down were those last two enduring bars of the side fence, only 2cm-width each that remained in place at the point of collision.

Then my brother got a divorce, then my daughter. This one came just in: breaking news at Christmas. Now, I know I only have two choices: I can remain in those moments, or I can take them as facts of life and move on. I can choose to rationalize: my grandmother was 98, she left behind eight children, and a good number of grandchildren and grand-grandchildren spread all-around the world. I could also consider how she had good reasons to be proud of all of them, when she suddenly chose to go.

But hard as I try, my mind says (shaking its head): “Nahaa, not so fast!” when it comes to my father.  Already five month have passed by, but it still hurts . .. ughh… That’s why, I’m thinking that the best medicine I know of is letting it out, sharing the goods and the bads – so I intend to write down my impressions of our last month together (the only one, in fact, for the past thirty years) and share one of the hardest moments with which, sooner or later, life would want to confront us with.

About the other events, it’s somewhat “easier”. With the first accident, I lost a car, but I got to keep my husband –  whole and scathless. For the second, I’ve lost a few thousand dollars, but the Higher-Forum-Up-There decided that I deserved the immense favor to gift me with a safe, “not-even-scratched” son – for which I’m immensely grateful. What’s more, if I stare a little more into the bright side, it’ll become quite obvious that actually, things are more beautiful now than before, when I used to take them for granted in my life.

About my brother’s divorce – deep sigh – I’ll have to think that at times a separation is better than staying in sentenced for life. So, I guess, the same should be valid for my daughter too. And, secondly, it is because it hurts so much – I just realized that, by writing about it, I can work at and exorcise the pain.