All posts tagged: freedom

Journey home.

In December I took a much-needed trip to Norway to see my family and friends. It was so grounding to be around people who have known me pretty much my whole life, and only want the best for me. Christmas at my parents house is magical. It’s a cozy red house in the forest atop a valley overlooking our town (pop. 5000) with a river running through it. All that was missing was the snow, but it was still felt plenty like Christmas. Then on New Years Eve, because of unceremonious airline schedules, I flew to Los Angeles for a 1 night layover before my final destination at home in Hawaii. Exiting LAX at 10 pm, I checked into an anonymous airport hotel, took an unsatisfying bath, and crawled into bed as invisible fireworks started exploding all over the corners of the city. I awoke with the sunrise and a billboard outside reminded me to watch Beasts of No Nations – thanks, Hollywood. Checking-in on a Hawaii-bound flight has to be one of life’s singular …

A conversation with Edward Snowden in Hawaii (February 14, 2015)

On an unusual gloomy Saturday morning in Honolulu I was lucky to attend a (video) conference with Edward Snowden who called in from Moscow. The event was hosted by ACLU Hawaii and all 800 seats sold out in advance. The demographic was mainly older (60+) but with a handful of younger curious onlookers, activists and journalists. The moderator Aviam Soifer joked that he knew that some homeland security and other intelligence agents were in attendance but that they had to pay their $5 cover like everyone else and sit idly by while their most wanted man spoke to us in (virtual) person. It’s the kind of humor that flies really well in Hawaii – equality, absurdity and aloha. It’s a fine mix. The event opened by showing the academy award nominated documentary CitizenFour so that everyone who hasn’t followed the Snowden story obsessively could be on the same page. It’s a really great documentary – emotional and human with the urgency of an international spy thriller. Snowden especially comes across as composed, a man on …

True currency is time and love

You know that old bullshit saying ‘time is money’? Uh, no. This is a rather short addition to the 10 Steps, but it might be one of the most important. Realize that the only true currency is time and love. Money is an illusion but it can get you in some deep trouble so live within your means. You have build thick skin in order to resist advertising and focus mostly on needs, and only the occasional wants. Human beings are the only species that have to pay in order to live on this planet. The powers to be figured this out long before the rest of us and found the perfect system of control – money. If we don’t play by their rules we go to prison, which robs of us the only two things of true value in this life – time and being close to those we love. Imagining a world without money is actually a really hard mental exercise, but very rewarding. You immediately run into the most obvious downsides – …

Painting the snowflakes red: The insanity of capitalism in 500 words

Alice in Wonderland strikes again. Over the past 65 years, millions of children have marveled at the absurdity of the Red Queen making her minions paint the white roses red, or lose their heads. Unfortunately, the same children grew up and became mindless consumers of plastic junk, not giving a second thought as to who made their peculiar trinkets. But this Christmas, a stunning article by Oliver Wainwright at The Guardian made it impossible to ignore. No art director in the world could come up with more unforgettable images of Santa’s workshop from hell. Wainwright writes: “Wai is 19. Together with his father, he works long days in the red-splattered lair, taking polystyrene snowflakes, dipping them in a bath of glue, then putting them in a powder-coating machine until they turn red – and making 5,000 of the things every day. In the process, the two of them end up dusted from head to toe in fine crimson powder. His dad wears a Santa hat (not for the festive spirit, he says, but to stop …

Terrorize this

Can we just take a moment to appreciate the irony of all the world’s leading governments  “taking a stand against terrorism” by launching the most massive surveillance apparatus the world has ever seen. And the perpetual warfare in countries with vastly different cultures than the West and victory is only declared when the countries more or less resemble the Western ideal of the corporate state. And if that’s not bad enough, how about those flying killing machines called drones that they like to launch over countries not even declared war upon, making sure that for every civilian killed, 20 more revenge-bent “terrorists” pop up. And let’s not forget about the West’s own citizens, in their desire to protect us against dark boogeymen, every ounce of privacy awarded us through the ages are wiped out in less than a decade “for our own protection”. Hey, sociopaths in charge, guess what? Living has always come with certain risks. One of them is death from unexpected events. Like falling in the shower. Or getting shot by your gun-crazy …

So fucking special

I think my life would be a lot easier if I wasn’t obsessed with truth. Truth in all things. I badger the people I love about getting to the bottom of things – why did you do that, why do you think that, why, why, why. Sometimes it feels inevitable that my life took this turn. A writer asks questions. A writer tries to make sense of human nature. And what bigger question is there than who runs the world – who creates reality? In no way do I think I am unique in asking these questions. I think a lot of people do, and I think that’s why all these ‘truther’ movements are popping up. As marketing and image-obsession increasingly seep into all aspects of our lives, people are eventually bound to start craving truth, honesty and beauty, which all used to be found in art. But even art is an endless marketing campaign now. Maybe it always was, who knows. So then the artist turns to reality – how can I shatter these …

Will the 3D revolution be sustainable?

  Are you excited about 3D printing? I sure am. As I continue to peel back the layers of what is cultural integration and what is actually natural laws of being alive, I find so many absurdities among our current mindset. Why is it that a handful of people “own” the world’s oil supply that we all depend on to survive? They weren’t around 200 million years ago when all that stuff got made and, as far as I can tell, their maximum life span is 100 years, same as the rest of us. They are no more or less special than anyone else, except they have the arrogance to assume they can own a large chunk of a life sustaining planet on which they are only visitors. And now they are trying to buy the planet’s fresh water supply, too, with the absurd commodity called “money”, which may be the most useless object in the world, when you really think about it. Old, bacteria-ridden crumbled pieces of dirty cotton. Good luck trying to drink …

Your story matters

Who else is feeling like the world just imploded this summer? Gaza, Syria, Iraq, America’s reentry into Iraq, so many refugees, an endless stream of people with nowhere to go… every place is “full” and the money supply is always dwindling as the 0.1% keep stuffing their secret bank accounts with more billions each month. And it’s all there, right in our face on social media. It’s exhausting just to keep up with all the senseless suffering. But then I had this thought. What if social media is eventually going to put a stop to all this? When enough people have had enough and join together in a massive show of civil disobedience of this bullshit system of war and profit over people and peace. Wouldn’t that be something. Soon, everyone under 20 won’t know a world without social media. Soon, it will be impossible to justify war when its true face is in our face every single day. Stories have the power to change the world. One visionary photographer, Brandon Stanton, was recently unemployed …