Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | September 2, 2014

Casus belli – NATO & Energy Security for Europe

Casus Belli…

The fighting in Ukraine, which Vladimir Putin further escalated this week by sending fresh well armed Russian forces over the border, provides a sombre backdrop to the upcoming NATO summit in Wales.

But in a way it’s good for NATO because it ensures that the meeting on September 4th will not have to spend time agonising over what the 65-year-old alliance is for…

The timing of the NATO meeting, was originally meant to scale down and to coincide with the nearing end of the Alliance’s combat operations in Afghanistan in January 2015.

At that time all forces will leave Afghanistan, but about 14,000 American and NATO troops may remain in the country to “train, advise and assist” Afghan security forces for a while longer. But now the NATO summit’s main task, thanks to Mr Putin, is a return to NATO’s old business: Ensuring Europe’s Border Defences and assuring members [New & Old] that when it pledges to defend its members, it can do so, adequately and winningly.

At first the alliance was hesitant to speak — let alone act — when Russia forcibly annexed Crimea in March of this year 2014. Yet it took a few modest steps to reassure the new members closest to Russia that NATO stood by its obligation under Article 5: an attack on one is an attack on all.

But despite the energetic leadership of the outgoing secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, from Denmark, some members, notably the Germans, the Italians and the Dutch [thinking Gas] were loath to be “provocative” towards the Russians… and they let the whole thing slide in a shameful show of appeasement.

Therefore, fear amongst the Alliance’s members increased for those closest to the beligerent and combative Russia, and subsequently a Polish request for 10,000 troops, including a sizeable American contingent, to be permanently based in that country arrived from Warsaw.

After minimal deliberation, this reasonable request was sadly rejected, because it was deemed to be too close to Russia’s borders, and the appeasers, feared that the “Bear” would get aggravated.

Thankfully, the constant appeasement of Mr Putin’s beligerence is finished. After Russia’s invasion of Eastern Ukraine and the threats of Mr Putin that he can have Kiev in a week’s time — Euro-appeasement is no longer in the cards. Russia’s orchestration of the civil war in east Ukraine and the shooting down of MH17, with 193 Dutch nationals on board, by Russian Ukraine separatists, recklessly armed by the Kremlin, have hardened European opinion and NATO’s resolve to tackle the matter forcefully if need be.

It is clear that the alliance must prepare to deal with an antagonistic and newly combative Russia flexing her well armed and Vodka fortified muscles for a long time to come.

Yet, even now, in the face of aggression, the risk is that NATO will react far too slowly and do too little, to stop the slow erosion of European Sovereignty, across the black earth plains of Ukraine.

The NATO summit is of course likely to back a “readiness action plan” aimed at strengthening deterrence. But that is paper work…

It is a good start but not a good enough effort.

It would be far better if a new high-readiness brigade should be formed, armed, trained, and ready to be deployed within hours. We need heavy weapons and anti aircraft and anti missile shields to be positioned in Poland now. We need these assets in place so that they could be used later by “follow-on” airlifted NATO forces, and we need a new Forward Central Europe Command Centre to be established right away.

Still if all that is adopted, NATO would have send a stronger signal to Russia if it had followed the Polish suggestion and had set up a forward Polish base for 10,000 combat troops there.

Which it still might… if the Europeans exhibit steely resolve, because that is how you stop aggressive bullies. Punch them in the nose decisively. Or at least flex your knuckles within an inch of their snout.

Of course, this would contravene the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act, which was intended to end the mutual suspicions of the cold war and pave the way for partnership between the alliance and Russia. However, given that Mr Putin has never treated NATO as anything but an enemy — this treaty is null and void. So NATO members have no need to feel bound by a document that is not honoured by the other side.

NATO’s European members should show their serious intent in another way, too. Fiscal austerity and a false sense of security have resulted in years of defence-budget cuts, whereas Russia has doubled its military spending (in nominal terms) since 2007. The complacent assumption in European capitals has always been that America would fill any capability gaps. Mr Rasmussen says that Mr Putin’s “wake-up call” has jolted half of NATO’s members into promising not to cut further, but that is not enough. In 2006 all member countries pledged to spend 2% of their GDP on defence. In Europe only Britain, France, Greece and Estonia come even close to this budgetary requirement for NATO members. Now thanks to Mr Putin, Poland is getting there too and others will soon follow.

But today what NATO needs above all is more deployable and better-equipped forces in cooperative footing ready for war. An intra European force too that is willing and able to fight for all of Europe’s borders and we need European leaders knowing Geography and remembering that Kiev and Ukraine are exactly placed in the centre of Europe.

And they should know enough of strategy to recognize that holding the centre is vital enough to sacrifice the stupid gas that Russia supplies to us.

And they should know full well that Europe can easily replace the Russian Gas supply, with Renewable and Sustainable Energy resources almost overnight.

We are in a war footing folks, Get on with it. A war economy does not rely on supplies from the enemy…

Got it?

Energy Security is Energy Independence.

That’s what Europe should do and that’s the bet that will send Mr Putin crawling back under whatever rock he came from.

Yours,
Pano

PS:

In the final analysis our parent’s NATO this is not. Times have changed and the cold war is over.

Everything has changed and everything is all the same again.

Yet for our times, if we want to cherish our Freedom and Peace, we should best wield a long stick and know how to use it well enough to trounce Mr Putin’s head, and give him some better ideas than invading a peaceful neighbour.

And that means we should have our own Energy totally owned.

That should about do it.

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | September 1, 2014

Know Nothings – Docta Ignorantia – Dogma of Science

Our advances in Science are staggering. In Physics alone we have a Teleological Theory that explains everything roughly once every week. In all other scientific fields am certain that similar earth shattering progress is perceived.

In the deluge of knowledge we produce — presently doubling every 24 months or so, it’s easy to assume that all these data and information are directly relevant to deep Life altering knowledge.

Yet few amongst us Leaders are conscious enough to have the cognitive strength to admit that all this avalanche of “knowledge” clearly shows and conclusively proves, how little we truly know.

Trust me, it’s like the Gold Rush. When we are few pioneers, prospectors, and go-lucky types, shifting the river sands for some shiny nuggets and we are able to glean a few ounces of gold consistently — we are sure to get lots more gold, when an industry is spawned to extract professionally the resource.

This resource now being knowledge, no one knows so much that they are able to be FREE. So they keep prospecting till death. Nice but no cigar…

If they had gotten the true Gold instead of the false Gold or Fool’s Gold that so often passes for True knowledge — they would have stopped seeking, a long time ago. Instead the very act that they are still prospecting and seeking knowledge, proves that they haven’t found it. Ohhh they found tons of knowledge alright, but not the kind of knowledge that is going to free you up.

Because true knowledge is liberating. Truly, it’s the truth that will set you free. Not science alone. It is that kind of self evident deep trueth , that can literally Free you up from the Human Condition. And it can only free you, when You are able to realize that you know “nothing” in the Socratic sense.

Then and only then, when you start approaching the deep truth as water for an empty vessel, you can be filled up. It’s a difficult thing. Yet some amongst us can do just that…

Now this is a rare gift.

Cause indeed very few of us are able to admit to that exacting standard. But the ones who do are the most excellent Human Beings. And when you meet these folks your world brightens up.

Must admit that I was fortunate enough to meet such a person recently. A medicine man, who is a World Leader in the areas of Re-Animation of human beings placed under the suspension of Life state for major brain surgery. He is a Cambridge fellow of Medicine and a Brain Surgeon and he has a heart of Gold along with an incredible neck top computer. The man knows how to think…

We had lots to talk about the new Medical Startup Innovations on this field, that will soon arise to the world.

However there is so much lack of knowledge in the area between Life and Death that if we ever, were willing to be honest about our lack of understanding — this would be the moment.

So me and the Good Doctor, we gravitated towards talking about — what else: Life and Death.

Thinking with both heart and mind, we were able to approach the apocryphal knowledge of the thresholds of Life and the passage to Death. And it is this area, of Scientific study that has been underused, under-taught, and underdeveloped, largely since the Dark Ages of the Christian Era. This misalignement of Life and Death has intensified through the Protestant Reformation era to such an extent that we now think of Life and Death, as an On-Off switch. Mechanistically thinking we are robots. Yet in fact, the Christian Taliban professing to knowing it all and speaking of the after life so much — have made the rest of the people perfect Serfs to that idea, and it’s diametrically opposing doctrine. A duality of delusion is what I call these two positions. In later days this duality intensified when we all became ashamed of our “not-knowing” what lies beyond, outside of the canned doctrine of the church’s dogma, and have thus tried to fight our battles with our own mortality, alone with the help of the rational intellect.

Am not one to underestimate the powers of Intelligence and the mighty computational devices of the intellect, but am also keenly aware that we are not robots, because we have the Breath of Life, and a soul to boot. Yet in an effort to understand, we had to scientize this abstract area of human Life and the nether world journey. Death is harsh and it took the loss of the most precious people around me to understand that. Yet now I think I get it. I call it Transit to another state of being. So this transference has coloured much of this debate and it became highly cerebral instead of experiential.

Of course it’s difficult to describe the experiences of a journey that you do not return from. But we’ve seen the journey of the chrysalis to the butterfly and could expect something similar. Although that is a rather poor analogy — it connotes a certain state of being changed to another. And then there is this small intellectual handicap in that truly nobody comes back from the other side to report the news. So the hypothesis cannot be proven or disproven by experimentation.

Thus it remains a Theory… of Life and Death.

But if you think of the cave paradox — then you know that “God” (who is really spirit, ether, mysterious energy) became something you could perfectly observe. Even when you needed to see the suffering and the crucifixion in order to feel like he really really cared for you. Or at least cared enough to deliver the report…. He wanted to deliver the Good News. The Glad Tidings.

And what did we do?

Killed the Messenger.

Methinks, we have a problem with that…

But the poor guy was just a Teacher speaking of the Physics of Energy and Frequency. He spoke of Eternal Life and you could understand this in physics [if you knew], but not in your terms — so you asked for bloody proof.

Well….

Seems to me that in the end, he delivered.

So the mystery is not known to us and we can be comfortable with it. We can be comfortable feeling something deep inside the heart. Even if it was something small, felt in a funeral you attended, or in some deep words you had with a teacher, or in the worthiness you worked for. Be as it may, but the “spirit” of mystery was never someone you surrendered to. You were never able to understand and comprehend without knowing. Accepting the unknowable was not part of your world.

And that’s how You fail to get the knowledge of not knowing. And that’s why you fall back to accumulating yardsticks, and tape measures.

Because to get that kind of knowledge — You must surrender to our wilful and accepting ignorance of certain vast and grey areas of Life and it’s varying states. It is easier to accept that within the discipline of Physics but not in fussiness. Politics, or Economics, but not in Business.

Surrendering to this is impossible for most of us — masters of the Universe — until the moment when we have to die. Change State is what I call it. Going from an animated matter State of Being to a state of ether.

This dematerialization is hard to stomach. To know this one needs to understand this. And to understand it intuitively you must retreat to a state of contemplation. And when your contemplative nature takes over — you surrender the material one. That is the key to deep “know”

Of course that is impossible unless you surrender your current Master of the Universe status and transcend your current mighty form to the far more mighty state of pure Energy. “Ether” is just that — energy. Invisible, undivided, dream inducing energy in the form of a gas. And even that is taking too much form but we need some parallels to todays’ life to be able to explain this…

Still in the strictly material and economic world point of view — today, the very word “surrender” is not to our liking. We are all about leading, deciding, executing, winning, climbing, achieving, performing, and being the best. In that light, contemplation and non-dual thinking are about as revolutionary and counter-cultural as you can get.

Yet when you don’t balance knowing with not knowing, you get into the kind of economics, business, religion and politics, we have today which is very antagonistic as if we are all players in a zero sum game. Winner takes all behaviours although natural, dictate an arrogant, falsely self-assured, and red of claw and tooth living amongst people who can never admit when they are wrong, and can never apologize because “they know” It makes for a Society none of us evolved humans would want to live into. A society where 9 year olds are playing child soldiers spraying bullets to all around and killing people like in their video games. What is the different here from the children soldiers of the LLA in the lush river valleys of Congo living, killing, and dying in the jungle like animals only with a particularly vicious streak for violence, pettiness, and inhumanity?

Would you want to live in a society like that?

Yet our everyday world is just like that to the extent that the law allows us to get away with maximalist and absolutist behaviours stemming from this type of knowing it all delusions. And am talking about the Natural law here…

This is the modern day learned ignorance that according to the great teachers, does not result from what we don’t know — it results from what we think we do know.

When we demonize the others we prove that we are a great society of accountants, business minds, and economists, all learned in the art of measuring the money – the ultimate measure of success and keeping score, but not knowing the value of anything. And then we go devote all of our lives in that game, accumulating that which is just a measure, and thinking that we are in control of our world.

Just do me a favour and try to imagine someone who accumulates yardsticks, measuring tapes, and metering devices, like clocks, watches, meters & measures, and who devotes all of his life to this collection, thinking that he is rich and knowledgeable. Just do this — and then come tell me that this person is not crazy.

Yet this is what we all do. We seek to accumulate this device of measuring success called money, in an antagonistic society, all seeking the same. Sounds like an insane asylum. And me, and you, and even that crazy person, and all others, practising the collecting of measures, that we all do, all the while thinking that we know the meaning of Life — are dangerously deluded.

Contrast this with anyone who really “knows” and you’ll see a vastly differing point of view. And more importantly a different way of living that person exercises.

Those wise enough to know that they don’t know, called this modern dogma of learned ignorance, docta ignorantia, for good reason…

Because it is clearly understood that we still live inside of Plato’s cave. And for the children to fear the Darkness is a natural thing. But for the Men to fear the Light — it is a tragedy of unimaginable proportions.

Yours,
Pano

PS:

The old accountants say it best: “We are lost because we know the price of everything and yet got no clue as to the value of Life”

Man used to be the measure of all things, and now money is the measure of all things…

Yet maybe in the long and distant future, no-matter will be the measure of all things.

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | August 30, 2014

Success comes only when you Innovate to Solve Big Problems

The winning Ideas generated for Business Innovation are the same as when we consider problem solving in the Social Arena.

Humanity, Society, and Business, are all linked through the Economy in Entrepreneurship. And this is what moves things along to feed us and distributes services to protect us from the vagaries of Life.

Innovation is also the only thing that might help us get off this rock and progress forward.

So don’t be shy — innovate.

Humanity needs you. Go ahead. Solve Big problems and you will succeed.

So when you are creating Enterprises it’s best to be as Innovative as possible in order to push the wheel forward.

Yours,
Pano

PS:
Therefore since these are the reasons businesses are created, make sure your innovation thoughts are aligned with your business actions and then you will be wildly successful.

Innovation for Albert Einstein is solving the problems by addressing the Right Question

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | August 29, 2014

Soul Food

Give up the Worry.

Give up the drama.

The fear of what if.

What ever bugs you.

Drop it.

This is the Season for that.

Forget to register in for the Drama class you play in your head daily, hourly, minutely.

Give up worse case scenarios.

Forget the Art of forecasting the risks and the fearful scenario building up of the monkey mind.

Give it all up.

Drop it all and lay it by the side of the road of Life, because forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.

And fill up that void with Happiness. Look at the sun and the rest will happen automatically…

Yours,
Pano

PS:

There is no nourishment like happiness and no illness like worry. Constantly eat the nourishment of happiness.

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | August 28, 2014

The Finance Genius of William Wallace and Bitcoins for Scotland

The Finance Genius of William Wallace’s drive for Independence, is now firmly recognized and along comes today’s Scottish Entrepreneurship fighting for National Existence. And it all makes perfect financial sense. Of course like all good things — it was worth waiting for as this change of economic sentiment arrives “on time” some seven centuries later than intended.

But who’s counting years?

Pioneers are always ahead of the curve and usually pay the price for the audacity of their vision.

So finally today the Scottish Business Leaders recognize that there is no fear of Risks anymore, and they decided to speak up for Independence in unison. It is a well played gamble because the Bulls of YES have now outspoken the bears of NO. So today, more than 200 leading business figures across the UK, have signed an open letter backing Scottish independence to the hilt.

Stagecoach chairman Sir Brian Souter and Clyde Bowers boss Jim McCall are among signatories who say independence is in Scotland’s economic interest.

The pro-independence letter has been published in The Herald newspaper.

Other signatories include Ralph Topping, retired chief executive of William Hill, Professor Nathu Puri, founder of Purico, former Scottish Enterprise chairman Sir Donald Mackay and former Royal Bank of Scotland chairman Sir George Mathewson.

The letter states: “An independent Scotland will recognise entrepreneurs small and large as the real wealth and job creators of the nation’s economic future.

“It will encourage a culture in which innovation, endeavour and enterprise are nurtured. It will place power in the hands of Scotland’s people to channel the huge resources of our country in the interests of those who live and work here.”

The letter goes on to argue that the real threat to Scotland is the “real possibility of a British exit from the European common market”.

This is a letter reminiscent to me of the early days of the Scottish Enlightement. Great and Good Men coming to the rescue of their country. And they did great for themselves and for the world.
It’s good to remember that Scotland had always been a Great country up until their leaders chose to sell it off to England for a few pieces of silver when the country had fallen on economic difficulties. Scared and fearful men gave up the Liberty for the whole nation and made their people a “subject” of the English Commonwealth. The Union with England in 1707 meant the end of the Scottish Parliament and the death of home rule simply because of Finance. Does this remind you of anything that is going on in the European Union’s Euro-zone today?

So today the Scots are faced with an arch-choice. To be in that hated Union or not? Am always ambivalent to the cause of the people’s uprising but since the Scottish nationals have woken up, now am totally with them. And because even in all new nations the difficulties are many and varied — most of them economic — still with the swift and wise economic legacy of David Hume and Adam Smith, am certain that Scotland will do well in it’s independent future.

Scotland will go to the polls in the referendum on 18 September, with voters being asked the “Yes/No” question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”The September 18th referendum on Scottish independence, comes at a time of growing opposition in the United Kingdom to remaining in the European Union. This is significant, because Scotland is the strongest base of pro-European sentiment in the UK.

For example, a poll conducted earlier this year determined that if a referendum on continued EU membership had been held in June in the UK as a whole, 47.1% would have voted to leave, with 39.4% voting to remain. But a poll in February 2014 showed that in Scotland, 48.7% would vote for the UK to remain in the EU, with 35.4% voting to leave. Other polls have also shown a consistent and markedly more positive attitude toward the EU in Scotland than in England.

The Scottish National Party, whose central aim is independence, won the 2011 Scottish Parliament election by a landslide, giving them a mandate to stage the vote.

On referendum day itself, voters across Scotland will head to polling booths to answer the yes/no question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

The Scottish government, led by First Minister Alex Salmond, says the 300-year-old Union is no longer fit for purpose and that an independent Scotland, with its oil wealth, would be one of the world’s richest countries. Oil is indeed a negative on the long term but a positive in the short term prospects for Scotland. It will eventually run out and the law of diminishing returns will catch up with Scotland if it doesn’t invest heavily on it’s abundant renewable energy potential, but for now it is a nice dowry for the new debutante. Today these North Sea oil and gas reserves (or more precisely the tax take from Scotland’s share) are vital to the Scottish government’s case for independence, because they can borrow heavily against future returns from oil revenues. And as anyone savvy in International Diplomacy will tell you — Nations Building is an expensive proposition. Mr Salmond the Scottish Minister is cleverly sidestepping this issue by saying that earmarking a tenth of the oil revenues of about £1bn a year, for future uses as Savings, could form an oil fund similar to the one operated in Norway, and it will create a £30bn sovereign wealth fund over the span of a generation. His Financial Arithmetic of course is all loopy but he’s got a point. Still he discounts the costs of nation building and the case of oil never being a driver of Savings but a Corrupting influence in the annals of history. Norway is the exemption that proves the rule. Still Salmond says it’s time for Scotland to take charge of its own destiny, free from what he describes as the “shackles” of a London-based UK parliament. Am willing to bet that salmon farming, harvesting and trading will be a far bigger industry than oil and gas long term and that Renewables will trump the fossil fuels of Scotland within five years from Independence.

The new, or old, currency debate for Scotland has been the other big area of disagreement, fear, and confusion. Under independence, the Scottish government wants to keep the pound as part of a formal currency union with the rest of the UK, and it argues this is in everyone’s best interests, but London disagrees hoping to force Scottish voters to favour the NO vote for fear of losing the pound. In this case London has taken a page from Berlin’s playbook with the fear of losing the Euro keeping people hostage within the Eurozone. Thus the three main UK parties, Conservatives, Labour, and the Liberal Democrats, join the fear mongering chorus against independence singing in unison that they won’t go for it, and saying that whoever’s in power after the next UK election will not agree to such a move. This position came as the UK Treasury published analysis from its top civil servant, Sir Nicholas Macpherson who outlined several reasons why currency unions were “fraught with difficulty”. Those folks amongst You living in the Eurozone will appreciate this sentiment rather well. However with the well endowed entrepreneurship mixed with Scottish prudence and love of Savings and Money Management, to the point of extreme thriftiness — I am certain that the Scottish coin to emerge, will in due time, be just as strong, if not stronger than the British pound.

After all, I’ve always said that Having your own Currency is How your Nation becomes prosperous: http://wp.me/pcacD-2pX — via @panokroko

Of course the Sterling usage dis-allowance and stopping the British pound from being used by the Newly Independent Scotland, are empty threats. And the English civil servants know full well that an Independent Scotland has as much right to use the pound as anyone else. But for the sake of argument let’s follow the reasonable thinking, and the logic here, as truly Enlightened human beings and scientists. Because it seems to me that as a matter of fact, the English overlords are doing a favour to Scotland by pushing her to adopt a new currency as a method to track it’s growth and support it’s markets. They are offering her the opportunity of a lifetime. And right now it’s brilliant moment for a new tech savvy nation to adopt a digital currency. Take Bitcoins and make them the Scottish bits ;-) Or allow a personalization and a nationalization version of Bitcoin itself. It will drive the Internet Street Cred of Scotland through the roof, and thousands of new startups will relocate in the “Highlands” physically or virtually. The digital Scotland will become the Digital Financial Centre of the World and all will turn out fine and dandy.

And there is no better opportunity for Scotland to create and adopt as a currency some fiat currency to be created as a digital currency like Bitcoin and other internet currencies, but with the benefit of the watchdog authorities that Bitcoin lacks. This would be a true Innovation in national finance and thus it will propel Scotland to the forefront of Internet Finance and development of new Economic Enterprises. Even adopting Bitcoin as a stop gap measure right away will solve the connundrum of what to do if we can’t use the pound post Independence. And don’t forget that Scotland will become the New Silicon Valley by adopting this new digital currency as it’s official coin of the realm. It’s all upside from there on…

But for now, just take and use Bitcoins, as the short term national Independence currency. It’s a good fit. That’s a radically disruptive idea and it is exactly how you built a Digital Economy running on the Fire of Innovation. A great idea and please don’t forget that You heard it here first.

We’ve faced this issue before… because and despite various challenges, Scotland is generally regarded to have asserted its independence from about 843, until the official unification with England taking place in 1707. All that time they had their own coin and currency. At the time, of the Unity treaty, Scotland was going through a naturally periodic depression. Much like Autumn for the economy. But the merchant’s view was that Scotland was desperate for cash, and England came in to the rescue. The rest is subjugation of the nation, and history. Opponents of the Unification Treaty were outraged when they found out that the Scots who put their names to the Act of Union were bribed by England to do so and thus enslaved their own people for their own private gain & enrichment. This sorrowful episode of corruption moved Scotland’s poet, Robert Burns, to write: “We are bought and sold for English gold. Such a parcel of rogues in a nation.”
Robert Burns Scottish National Poet
So this time around let us not make Money the central issue of stopping the Scottish Independence.

On the opposite side of the debate, the UK government, led by Prime Minister David Cameron, says Britain is one of the world’s most successful social and political unions, and should stay as is.

To that the Scottish Independents simply argue that David is a man behind times and blissfully ignorant of whatever he says — so we pay no heed to him…

Of course, it is premature to draw any firm conclusions from these figures, speeches, and posturing.
Politics is about Symbols and Symbolism writ large rules the roost in the UK these divisive and yet strangely unifying, and inclusive days.
Even the referendum on exiting the EU that Prime Minister David Cameron has proposed may never take place, regardless of the success (whatever that may mean) of his promised “renegotiation” of the terms of British membership. But, as a result of various ostensibly minor issues, the likelihood of a British exit seems to be increasing – which fundamentally alters the importance of the vote in Scotland.

Cameron no doubt wished to reassure those in his Conservative Party who doubt his euroskeptic zeal. Even so, Cameron’s supposed remark that the UK was more likely to leave the EU if Juncker’s candidacy succeeded was strange and disquieting, not least because any renegotiation of the terms of British membership will be carried out primarily with other member states, not with the Commission.

Cameron’s bid to thwart Juncker’s candidacy mirrored his unsuccessful attempt to prevent the adoption of the EU’s fiscal compact in 2012. He overestimated German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s willingness and ability to support the British position. Many influential Germans are reluctant to help Cameron in what they regard as his self-created European problem. They will not allow Merkel much latitude here, even if she seeks it. Which the old hippie-hitler flower girl, never does…

If Cameron’s advisers overestimated the support that they might have received from Merkel and others, they clearly underestimated the power and effectiveness of the European Parliament. For many months, the European Parliament had made it clear that it had specific ideas about how it would exercise its new powers, granted by the Treaty of Lisbon, over the Commission presidency. But the rapid post-election agreement among the Parliament’s major political groups to support Juncker caught Cameron off guard.

Far from enhancing British influence, threats of withdrawal have undermined the Cameron led coalition government’s credibility and influence within the EU, as colleagues have become disinclined to engage in significant compromises with a UK that may not be a member in two years. Traditionally, EU heads of state and governments try to help one another with their domestic political problems. But there is a growing sense in the European Council that Cameron is abusing this goodwill.

Thus, Cameron’s claim that Juncker’s election would make it more difficult to ensure the UK’s continued EU membership risks becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. To present Juncker’s candidacy as a matter of high political principle, with Cameron heroically but unsuccessfully standing alone against the dark forces of federalism and centralization, could have only reinforced English feelings of alienation from Europe. That is less likely to be the case in Scotland.

Because remember that the case for the Scottish Enlightenment was the outpouring of positive Scottish Energy towards the Humanities and the liberal Arts — when their national Identity was suppressed. Their increased bottled up aspirations for Liberty, Philosophy and Economics led great men to teach the world about the ideas emanating from the Scottish Enlightenment “Soilleireachadh na h-Alba” which was the period in the 18th century characterised by an outpouring of intellectual and scientific accomplishments. By the eighteenth century, Scotland had a network of parish schools in the Lowlands and five full universities. By comparison, England at the time had only two universities. Scottish culture was orientated toward books, learning, and intense discussion, that took place daily at such intellectual gathering places in Edinburgh as The Select Society, the preparatory schools for the universities, the Coffee shops, the taverns, the public gathering venues, the social clubs, as well as within Scotland’s ancient universities of St Andrews, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen.

Sharing the humanist and rationalist outlook of the European Enlightenment of the same time period, the thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment asserted the fundamental importance of human reason combined with a rejection of any authority that could not be justified by reason. They held to an optimistic belief in the ability of humanity to effect changes for the better in society and nature, guided only by reason.

This optimistic belief in the ability of humanity to effect changes for the better in society and nature, guided only by reason, gave the Scottish Enlightenment its special power and glory, thus also distinguishing it from the European period of Enlightement that was strangely docile to the ruling Kings and princes. In Scotland, the Enlightenment was characterised by a thoroughgoing empiricism and practicality where the chief virtues were improvement, virtue, and practical benefit for the individual and society as a whole. Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite, were born in Scotland just as much as in France, and they were best exemplified in the free Highlands of “Scottish always Free” and Independent warrior clans.

During the Scottish Enlightement among the fields that rapidly advanced were philosophy, political economy, engineering, architecture, medicine, geology, archaeology, law, agriculture, chemistry and sociology. And amongst the Scottish thinkers and leading scientists of thattime period were Francis Hutcheson, David Hume, Adam Smith, Dugald Stewart, Thomas Reid, Robert Burns, Adam Ferguson, John Playfair, Joseph Black and James Hutton.

The Scottish Enlightenment had effects far beyond Scotland, and today am betting that with the coming Independence a New Era of the Scottish Enlightenment will commence with Goodness spilling out to the rest of the world.

My reasoning is: They did it once they can do it again… So let Scotland become independent and Free to lead us to the Glorious Future of Liberty and Democracy that will strengthen the Open Minds and Open Markets this world needs. Free people are always the better Finance Future for All. That is the message of the finance genius of William Wallace some Seven hundred years ago.

And today it is far more resonant when young people speak among those under-30s, where a single thought emerges: “We want to run our own country.”

Sure the young have heard it all: From the dire macro-economic warnings, and the false fear about the pound, the uncertainty about the banks, the doubts about the debt, the non-reliability of the North Sea oil & gas income stream — and they choose to ignore the Kasandras. Today’s Wallaces when set against the idea of making a clean break with Westminster politics and neoliberal economics, they clearly say that these are risks they are prepared to face.

One reason the political class is unable to represent Independent Scotland fully with the voters is that the basic vote for independence has become a narrative of the people against big government. All government. The Internet generation is out en mass feeling it’s oats and being crazy happy about an energised Scottish Life, on the streets, on the workplaces, on the highlands, and on the net — dead set against the sleazy elite of official politics. That’s the real revolution and the possible adoption of the Bitcoin as the official currency of the newly independent country is what the young people want as they said when I first floated the idea in Edinburgh Independence talks.

As for us vs them, and for the common currency the pound, it is best to help Scotland use it and not place an obstacle of fear in front of the people. We need to help Scotland leave. We need to help her set up a new household because it is to our own best interest. So let’s lend a helping hand by embracing the idea of a monetary Union after Independence of Scotland is gained.

We have a proud tradition in helping people emancipate themselves. We’ve helped Greece and the Balkans as well as all of Middle East to escape Ottoman rule, and become independent nations. We’ve held Africa enthralled with the Anti-Apartheid support to South Africa that led Mandela out of jail and into the Presidency of the first fully Democratic country of the African continent. More recently we’ve helped do this in South Sudan. We helped in Montenegro, and in Kosovo, and in some other far flung places to create new and emerging nations. The UK has helped all of them in their drive for independence and national Sovereignty. This is a global phenomenon and rightfully so.

Since 1990, 34 new countries have been created. The dissolution of the USSR and Yugoslavia in the early 1990s caused the creation of most of the newly independent states. Fifteen new countries became independent with the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. Most of these countries declared independence a few months preceding the fall of the Soviet Union in late 1991. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. We helped all of them. And in the former Yugoslavia who dissolved in the early 1990s into five independent countries, of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia (officially The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), Serbia and Montenegro, and Slovenia. We helped them too right along with the thirteen other new countries that became independent through Independence and Sovereignty movements. Namibia became independent of South Africa. North and South Yemen merged to form a unified Yemen. East Germany and West Germany merged to form a unified Germany after the fall of the Iron Curtain. The Marshall Islands as part of the Trust Territory of Pacific Islands (administered by the United States), gained independence as a former colony. Micronesia, previously known as the Caroline Islands, became independent from the United States. The Czech Republic and Slovakia became independent nations when Czechoslovakia dissolved. Eritrea was a part of Ethiopia but seceded and gained independence. Palau was part of the Trust Territory of Pacific Islands (administered by the United States) and gained independence as a former colony. East Timor (Timor-Leste) declared independence from Portugal in 1975 but did not became independent from Indonesia until 2002. More recently we’ve helped Montenegro which was part of Serbia and Montenegro (also known as Yugoslavia) to gain independence after a referendum. And inadvertently we helped Serbia too, because on June 5, 2006 – Serbia became its own entity after Montenegro split. On February 17, 2008 – Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia. And on July 9, 2011 – South Sudan peacefully seceded from Sudan following a January 2011 referendum after 50 years of viciously ruthless and bloody war. Sudan itself was the first to recognize South Sudan and did so one day early, on July 8, 2011.

So we are Masters of the Game, and a Great game it is. And we are Masters in the Business of Nation Building and thus we better put these skills forward to help the new nation of Scotland succeed all the while creating economic opportunities for the both members of our partnership. Because the special partnership between England and Scotland will continue undaunted for many years to come. Maybe for many more centuries to be sure, if we handle the transition right.

We have a Great legacy of helping Freedom Loving People — to protect. Now let’s help our neighbours up North to gain their measure of Freedom and national Independence and we’ll all be better for it.

Eventually we all will be independent and yet more connected than ever before in Unions of Beneficial Association, momentary and momentous. But without compromising our Freedoms. No long term Memorandums and Treaties of Unification. Just commercial grade contracts that allow us to function like Mergers and Acquisitions of independent nations coming together. Free-forming unions. Swarms of nations. We’ll flock and fly together and when we need to leave we’ll make no fuss. We’ll just fly slightly faster or slower than the flock. It’s natural. And when the case for the Union goes away, then instead of coming apart, we’ll just separate. We need to create the space for this freedom in the relationships amongst nations same as we’ve done in our personal Life with the advent of easy divorce. Look how many people now live happier lives free of unhappy and souls sucking, bondage of failed wedlocks. This is what the future for international unions will look like too. Long term politics will be a freeer existence for the sovereign nations and for the Citizens with all human rights as the measure of success. The new nations to come, will have been created by this confluence of Liberty and Democracy. Old anachronisms like the Soviet Union or the United kingdom will give way to new mini-emperors who at least have a stich of clothes on.

That is the Future of Politics, and that will come up soon enough, so that we will all claim to have been the New Nations success stories. You know the world needs more StartUp nations and more Free and Democratic nations and cities, as well as regions, free of subjugation, so we can all enjoy our cultural traditions and the world in turn can enjoy the Civilization we bring forth.

It is time. We all can use a bit more Freedom right about now, and Lady Liberty smiles upon us each and every time a new nation earns it’s wings…

So what is the benefit for Scotland is the benefit for England too. And even though at this time my English Manor born friends don’t see it that way, it remains true. Please don’t let the blinders of a bygone Empire block us from seeing our True Commercial Interests. The Commonwealth is a far greater opportunity than the United Kingdom. Undeniably, the Goodness springing from up North will emanate to the South and the Finance opportunities along with the Economic Growth entailed in a New nation building — are humongous.

Who is set to better take advantage of this enormous economic trade and finance, commercial opportunity, the Scottish Independence will bring?

Who in the world is best suited in bonding, syndicating, dealing and provisioning the necessary Sovereign Debt that New Scotland will incur?

Who is more capable than the Square Mile finance community of the City of London to fashion bonds and harvest this new nation finance building opportunity?

Methinks, You know the answer.

Scottish Independence is a new Enlightement for all of us in the UK and also for our friends in the European Union Community. Heck, it’s good for the whole world… which in a strange sort of way it says that it will be good for England, for Europe, and also for those other little countries feeling the weight of “Occupation” upon their shoulders.

Scotland’s and Britain’s EU membership will be one of the major issues at stake in both September 18th vote and in next year’s UK elections. But it will be a major issue in Brussels, in Catalunia, in Pannonia, in Alsace, in Ukraine & Russia, in the Baltic countries as well as in Greece and Italy.

Yet after the “sure to arrive” Scottish independence it would be a tragedy if the British voters next year, cast their ballots without fully understanding their own sentiments against Big Gov. And if their own assertions for “independence” from the European Berlin centric and Brussels veneered Big Gov machine are any implication, their own YES vote for INDEPENDENCE will have shattering global implications.

But for now — one thing, seems certain: If Scotland votes for independence in September 18th, a referendum within the remaining UK on continued EU membership would be even less likely to produce a victory for those who wish to remain. And then the lovely and uniquely strange Welsh are going to want to go their own way… However never fear because they do not know which way is that — they are likely to stay put in front of the telly. So who remains n the United kingdom long term is uncertain except for the House of Windsor. That will stay put.

Following recent events, those of you who who watched the two politicians Salmond and Darling, arguing on the BBC about Scotland’s future as a country will have got the wrong message. These two otherwise astute men, made it look like a political brawl. But this is not, because the Scots who fight for the YES vote, are fighting for their national existence. Independence has little to do with party politics. And true to apathetic voters all over the UK, hardly any Scots belong to the Scottish National Party. Yet from the nooks and crannies, and from the glens of the green country, has emerged a body politic whose members have never taken part in politics but are true patriots. They are not the SNP registered party membership. They are not in the pay of England or of the UK government. They are simply the people of Scotland. And they are young…

You will find them everywhere. And even in the midst of nowhere. They are not part of the UK agenda to win hearts and minds. They are still finishing high school. But they are vocal. Very very very vocal. You will see them fighting in school debates. In University cafeterias and student Union halls. You will see them trolling and arguing the digital life for Independence on the web, and in the Social Media and the Internet networks, like FB, in numbers unimaginable to the pollsters and the politicians. On analog life you will see them as “too young to be believed” canvassers, who are knocking at the doors in the housing schemes and the long winding lanes in villages and cities explaining tirelessly their cause. The rustle in the heather and the singing in the glens, that was the Devolution’s call for Independence, has become the soaring anthem of a people awakening from a long slumber. Be wary because finally the Scots are leaving the comfort of their sleep. And when they awake they will walk away from England and yet still choose to walk besides the other independent and intelligent Europeans.

Even my friend Sean Connery says: “As a Scot and as someone with a lifelong love for Scotland, I believe the opportunity of independence is too good to miss”

I believe in the Future too, and thus I believe in these lads honest take on Independence. Let Scotland be free. Simple as that. Because once the Scottish people have woken up — there is no going back to sleep. And this new drive for independence might wake up some other sleeping small states of Europe that are slumbering under the boot of foreign occupation.

Time is now.

You know I like StartUps.

And by now You might have known that I’ve come to see Scotland as the new StartUp Nation.

The case for Scotland has been made because there is a giant opportunity for something innovative and visionary out of a new Start Up Nation. Scotland could have some kind of new, egalitarian, and ethical, leadership, and it could take on some fresh ideas. Given the Vision I see, I’ve got to conclude: Go Ahead my Friends. Go for it.

LIBERTE graffiti in Scotland

I’ve now come to believe in a Free and Independent Scotland as the Future of Europe.

You may wonder why I’ve changed…

Liberty is the Mother of all that’s good.

I will further tell you this: Scotland has been ruled by governments they do not elect. Scotland currently has more pandas in her zoos, than seated Tory MPs. Yes … pandas. These cute black and white baby bears that eat bamboo grasses and love to cuddle. More of them Pandas, exist in Scotland than in the UK governing Tory party. They are smart these pandas, so they don’t go where it’s rotten…

Ordinary freedom loving English people understand this and are on the side of Scotland. Eton educated and other “independent” school grown daft elitists, don’t. And it is largely their fault, because like Alistair Darling, and the David-George-Nick, trio of intellectual dwarfs, it’s their toff daftness that makes the UK look so silly. These guys make Monty Python look positively serious. Do they realise just how foolish and funny the UK looks today to the outsiders? A UK that is unable to maintain the Social Net, diving into austerity, and unwilling to create jobs at home, and yet still strutting around and lording it like a world Super Power while having a navy with a huge aircraft carrier and no planes to land on it. This does not make for a comedy. More like a Tragedy of King Lear proportions.

Scottish people laughed at this uniquely British arrogance, right along with the rest of the world, but at the same time the Scottish Independents have stopped laughing because they remember that a quarter of the true Scottish population lives in poverty inside their own dilapidated home-country, while House prices in London are out of reach even for the Banker-wankers, and are only on par for the Chinese, Arab, and Russian oligarchs.

And all that David Cameron and his Tory cronies [all stockholder kids] can promise Scotland, is that if they vote NO to Scottish Independence — there will be more poverty for the rich country of Scotland.

Sadly these UK leaders are not even good at playing government — let alone delivering anything of substance. In recent memory, they have bankrupted the UK three times and had to beg for help.

Even more sad is that they didn’t beg or even ask economic help from Scotland. They just took whatever wealth was created and threw it as modern day sacrifices to the Valhalla Gods of bankrupt Banks. Look at RBS, and the North Sea riches. Look at Balmoral and the white stag. Look at the Royal Mile and Glasgow’s mile end. Look at Barclays and the Libor rate. Look at yourselves…

Now these days are over.

The pound has started to slide even at the threat of Scotland leaving. Now is the time to adopt Bitcoin and convert your pound sterling holdings into the digital currency — and then go on to make some really handsome profits from the arbitrage value, when Independence does arrive. William Wallace sowed the seeds and showed us the way back in the day when he struck and minted his own Scottish coin n order to fight the Brits and assert his Independence. The time of the wheel of History revolving again on this mark has arrived.

UK British Pound is sliding — Scottish Bitcoin is rising…

William Wallace smiles…

Scottish Independence William Wallace Monument

So go for YES because Scottish Independence will create a new nation and a vibrant settlement that puts people to work and creates Social Wealth before Bank profits and before the manor holding elites benefiting off the hard work of the unusually entrepreneurial and industrious Scottish people who really know the value of long term investing and savings. They can’t help it. Adam Smith is their grand daddy.

Yours,
Pano

PS:

And as the Law of Unintended Consequences, takes effect, those in England who believe that our own society needs to be rebalanced along similar lines will wake up and join the debate, and help me and so many others, make a better Britain too.

Because in my view Scottish Independence will bring us all closer to a Freely federated European Union and a better more equitable “Unification” of the green and pleasant isles as well. A Free Scotland for a Free England is what I believe in.

Let’s not wait another 7oo years for this moment in the sun. Follow your heart You Brave Scots and never fear for anything…

There is enough Bitcoins for everyone to get some.

And maybe the time is now to to restart the Independence movement in other parts of Europe as well.

Who is with me?

Who wants to stand up?

And most importantly, who is feeling oppressed and occupied at the moment?

Are you with me?

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | August 27, 2014

Sublime Traveler

WTO will be renamed WORLD TRAVEL ORGANIZATION if I can help it…

Because travel is now the world’s biggest industry — by far according to the World Trade Organisation.

It beats arms and pharmaceuticals both in turnover and in numbers of people employed.

The only thing bigger is Sovereign Debt… but that is another travel experience.

And despite the post 9-11 dip, forecasts for the travel sector are measured not in billions of dollars but in trillions.

Apparently, Man’s collective endeavours – our god-like technology, our money, our precious time – seem more and more directed at satisfying an oddly unnecessary urge: to be somewhere else.

And we all do it, today but we do it amazingly bad. We travel like consuming Fast Food. With a Mc Donalds and a Starbucks inside the forbidden city of the Beijing Emperor’s palace quarters — I give up. Truly there is no sacred place anymore.

Or so they would have you think.

Because as the scope of our travel widens and we become more efficient at getting there, and as the material standards of hotels and resorts improve, a predictable paradox emerges: the experience itself is tinged with failure and disappointment.

The thing with travel is that we do not do it well, since we are sadly ignorant of the subtleties of travel. The travel industry is quick to tell us where to go and take our payment for the how and the where to stay and what to do once there… but it always fails to help us consider the Why.

Why?

We don’t know.

And we make fools of ourselves like the slapper giving a round of blow jobs to a bunch of strangers in Magaluf, for more days of travel holidays. And much like her, we receive just a stupid drink instead…

And that’s nothing compared to the tens of thousands that die on their way to Meccah and Medina, for the Haj pilgrimage each and every year. And they die in this incredible human stampede because all these many millions of people have to go there all at the same time. Talk about birds of a feather flocking together…

Or what about the downtrodden going to the Lourdes by the Millions to see the black Madonna, all at the same Holiday weekend in the midst of Summer and all hoping to touch the wood and receive miracles on command. All at the same time.

Man, what a cash machine… Cachingggg…

Human Hopelessness is something that religions take very serious advantage of. And they do it massively for profit just like the Magaluf bar owners do, but why should you fall prey to that?

This I do not understand…

Maybe it’s just a different form of the Magaluf fluffer enjoying the Art of travel in the massive company of strangers herded together for a religious moment of a Good God Time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aLlXnCJDCw#t=17

So where do we turn for advise on How to Travel Right and how to do it right and basically the big “Why” do we travel?

Maybe we should seek out and ask the old and the very dead travelers of yore because they surely knew the Why…

Now let’s go way back and see the Stone Age folk who were literally built for journeying farther and with a lot more risk than even the most active and adventurous extreme travelers of today. Stone Age groups’ leg bones, spears reflect remarkably long treks.

Methinks, the Stone Age could just as easily be called the Roaming Age…
These early travelers were great but they didn’t leave behind any significant written record.

As the Graeco-Roman world expanded, so did travel, and consequently so grew the conceptual thought. By the late sixth-century, Ionian travelers developed new ideas about the shape of the world and the very nature of humanity. Hecataeus of Miletus, an experienced traveler, produced a geographical narrative called the Ges Periodos (“tour of the world”) that summed up his extensive journeys across much of the known world of his day.

So I communicate frequently — when bored or planning a trip, with someone who left behind a whole lot of diaries and travel notes from his followers and himself and who is closer to disposition to me. Ibn Batuta… the itinerant traveler par excellence.

Go Ahead and meditate upon his travels, and you’ll see that what most of us world weary super travelers do, is still tourism compared to his epic journeys.

And then we’ve got Tamim Ibn Bahr who reminds us to jump across puddles to get wherever we want to go and even if we get wet — it’s fun to be a kid again. But he was a prince traveler  in his time. Imagine that. A leader with plenty of humour.

The venerable Hwi Chao traveled from China to India and almost all of the SE Asia and the social continent of his day. And he did so as a full scientific expedition. He initially traveled to India and lived there for several years and visited various Buddhist kingdoms in India, Persia and Afghanistan. On the returning journey, traveled to Kashmir, Kabul, passed the Pamirs and entered Xinjiang from Tashkurgan, then skirted around the Taklamakan desert from the northern towns, Kucha, Turfan and Hami. His account Wang wou t’ien tchou kquo tch’ouan or The Record to Five Indian Kingdoms provided valuable information on the Islamic and Buddhist distribution among the Central Asian kingdoms during the 8th century. His book had been lost since Tang dynasty until an incomplete copy (14 pages, ~6000 words) was miraculously discovered by the French explorer, Paul Pelliot at Dunhuang cave in 1908.

An Amazing story…

So am now starting to be doing all my travels as journeys. Real journeys with the pre-requisite advance Diplomacy to precede the travel plans I have. But that of course takes time, administrative assistance, and huge lead ways. But that’s just fine with me. It costs a whole lot more too…
And yet it is surprisingly worth it.

So my advise to you is to start communicating with all these dead travelers and dead painters and dead poets, the aesthetes and the Romantics, and you’ll find your way to the “East” with Ease.

Read the old travelers, because from King Mu Wang one of the earliest Silk Road travellers, you’ll find Samarkand easier today.

From reading Pausanias’ the Periegesis of Hellas, we experience classic Democracy and it’s shortcomings better than reading 19th century history, and from Byron’s Childe Harold, we get the sense of Justice and Adventurism, unparalleled to this day. Reading Chateaubriand, and following his travels, we get the whole synopsis of the ancient world in light of the Era of Enlightenment and the Renaissance along with all variances of contemporary political systems, politics, and revolutionary splendour and bloody mayhem. Undecided about where his loyalties lay and always shifting his allegiances, Chateaubriand gifted us this inalienable right — to change our mind. He also given us great insights in all knowledge from Liberty to Democracy and comparative Architecture and stylism, and along with whatever we can glean from Lafayette, we get the foreign service experience fighting for Liberty and Democracy wherever we are.

 

So head for the hill countries and get stoked with the great writers of old because that is what we ought to know when traveling. Start traveling with intelligent company.
And you can gather from Flaubert’s horror of staying at home and his yearning for the freedom of the East, so you can understand more of your own traveller’s motive. From that great post-Enlightenment traveller Alexander von Humboldt, with his exhaustive mapping, taxonomy and pioneer botany, we can learn very little because all that stuff has been done now.
And from Alexander the Great we learn that you don’t need to conquer a nation and slaughter it’s people in order to know their daughters in an intimate fashion. If only he had discovered Magaluf… or Malia, or Hersonisos, he would never have ventured to Persia.
We get all that by reading while traveling or preparing to travel. Bit by bit, wisdom of the past drips into our skull and we get the essence of travel but even simply reading Wordsworth on a rainy night in London can certainly improve our appreciation of every landscape.

And if you are inclined on massively damaging religious tourism amongst the masses — maybe God’s answer to Job could also be the traveller’s manifesto – “the joy of feeling small in a big world.”

Dead painters can also help us to see things differently, when we travel: Van Gogh helps us see chrysanthemums always like the sun. His sunshine creeps into my gray bedroom and his cypress trees and Provence are always green in my living room. Ruskin helps me see everything anew. And the pre-Raphaelites give me light and beauty when my Life is bereft.

Reading the iconic example of ancient travel through the adventures of Odysseus in the Odyssey is of course, travel writing. And whether or not we consider Homer to have been an original composer, or an early rapper, or even an oral poet — his hero, Odysseus narrates his own “Hero Journey” as small travel tales related to his princely and kingly hosts, always wooing them with his travails. And turning them on to travel. Isn’t that what the best travel writers do? Even the Phaeacians were embedded in the story, which looks back on ten or twenty long years of wandering through the Eastern mediterranean Sea. As travel writing and travel rioting, Odyssey surely meets all the usual criteria. It is in the first person, it recounts travels that the speaker has experienced himself, and includes digressions about nations, places, and people, most notably about the weird people like the Cyclopes and the unusual places like the Goat Island. For Travel Writing the ambiguous figure of Odysseus — sexy, smart, adventurous, powerful, unreliable, and with an abundant streak of cunning for survival — is perhaps the archetype for the constant traveler.

Though popularly considered adventuresome, in the Odyssey — Odysseus himself, repeatedly insists that he simply wants to return to hearth and home. And also to his errant wife and son. Yet he also displays curiosity when he famously listens to the song of the Sirens while bound to the mast, or when in Hades he eagerly engages with heroic souls and shades of never beings. The opening lines of the poem boast that Odysseus learned of different cultures, and Alcinous,the Phaeacian king, essentially asks Odysseus for a travel tale: “Come,tell me the following and relate it precisely: where you have wandered, and to what lands of men you have traveled, the people themselves and their inhabited cities, how many were rough, wild, and unjust, and who were hospitable and mindful of the gods”

The supernatural quality of the wanderings may not seem suited for Trade and war, the two major motivations for travel, but these and the Social customs are certainly ever present in the Odyssey. And although Ulysses wistful contemplation contrasts sharply with Odysseus’ rueful, and literally nostalgic, and rather dramatic Greek remark that “there is nothing worse than wandering for mortals” Even he the Great Wanderer, got the Blues and wished for a safe harbour…

And if we all do as Homer says and take the time with Ulysses to sail the Aegean Sea in well over twenty years — by drawing fantastic tales and spinning yarn, and painting pictures that nobody will forget — even if we’re not very good, we’ll master the art of Sailing and Traveling rather well.

Xenophon’s “Anavassis” the story of Greek mercenaries cut off far inland within the Persian Empire having fought on the losing side of Cyrus the Great, are a great example of Travel story. Same as Caesar’s Gallic Wars writings, that might also qualify as travel literature with some sections, like the incursion into Britain, constituting a journey travel log still relevant for today’s social custom in Britain with the exception of the tea time. That is not to say that Caesar engaged in the modern genre of “travel writing”, a first-person, subjective description of a travel experience. Caesar famously describes his own actions in the third person. Very similar to Xenophon who appears only as a character in his narrative.

Fort me, travel may provide the essential plot of the hero quest, but this is usually told by “some one else” or by the traveler writing in the third person. To refer to one’s self as an outside observer is tellingly the Art of Loss of Attachment. And this is accomplished when one is able to describe themselves as an outside observer.

Talk about learning to detach.

And some people spend their whole life learning to detach through psychotherapy, and drugs, whereas a good Journey will rock you out of any and all attachments swiftly.

Travel far, is like a Zen koan. Singular benefits like Buddhist detachment and realistic humanity, are the side effects. All Good and some pain but the summation is positive. So travel for travels sake.

But for God’s sake please do not take photos. Not one photo. Nothing. Zip. Not even the I-phone photos. If you make the mistake to have taken photos in your journeys, I have one thing to tell you: Delete delete delete. Delete it all and by the love of Jove please avoid selfies like the plague. Or better avoid all digital image makers and takers, like the Ebola virus outbreak. Don’t even be in the company of people who want to take photos. And need I add anything about group photos?

Stop offending people by whipping out and using the liquid disinfectant, so many of you carry. Please throw that shit away. Stop thinking that others are dirty germ carrying subhumans. People are intelligent and when they see you doing this — they immediately understand that you are suffering from the malady born of the germs of racism and worse.

Liberate yourself from this mindset of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. The world is a far cleaner and safer place than you would know by sitting in your armchair watching television. Fear alone will kill you.

Nobody ever died from adventure itself but billions have died fearful and wistful. You’ve got to free yourself off of that. And you can only get liberated by avoiding the tyranny of guidebooks, the dullness of great sights, and the oppression of the “must see” culture. Avoid all of our acquisitive reaction to exotic splendours, and all trite monuments. Avoid the reflexive “must experience” thrill seekers too. Avoid all that crap because all of these dead experiences are part of the traveller’s affliction. It’s a veritable sickness.

If in Greece don’t go see the Acropolis. At least not the first time. But do go see the people’s ghettos. Go see the non existent Social net. Go mingle with the folks living in the city’s refugee areas. And only then go see the Acropolis because by then You are ready to understand it… as an Innovation of a time bygone. Nothing else…

If you are in Egypt please avoid the Pyramids and their camel drivers, but do visit Heliopolis and the local Mc Donalds. Eating crap and drinking corn syrup while looking at the pyramids from afar, puts a certain perspective to the life of the Pharaohs or the rule of today’s Sisi. Avoid the Egyptian Museum but do visit the Jamalek. Go to the tribal areas and have tea with the camel herders. Stick clear off the tourist bazaar traps but go to the Southern Roman ruins that nobody ever visits. Swim in the Nile upstream. But keep a look out for crocodiles…

Just kidding.

If you are in Beijing please avoid the forbidden city or going to Tanjin to see the Great wall of China. But certainly go and visit the old bathhouses of old Peking and thrive in their quiet happiness.

Experience things by always trying to notice the little things, trying to remain curious, and remaining aware of the change of the light and day turning to night. That’s how you experience the culture of the people first hand.

Do this because nature and the sublime can help correct our psychological imbalances, always learning, always growing, always evolving — when we are traveling. And curiously enough the others — the people of a foreign country — can help us see ourselves and the world in a better light. Our racism, xenophobia, ignorance, stupidity, religion, nationality, and our own innate ability to draw quick judgements, and drive hastily conclusions — it all goes out the window.

That’s the sublime traveler.

And through Travel, we change. We become a better vintage. Much like wine. We mature well without turning to vinegar. We become like old master paintings.  It is impressive, when we really observe people and not buildings — how much we learn. When we eat with locals, and sleep with locals, avoiding hotels as best we can, that is when we thrive.

Do this and you’ll realize that our “sharing” is in itself the understanding. Do this and the work of Civilization will no doubt become clear to you and you alone. Then you’ll understand that this is masterful travel.

Today Provence looks a little grey and raining, so rather than spending time indoors with a book, I joined a group of strangers in a café to practice my language skills and share their Life together. You know it goes both ways because what you receive is what you give, and vice versa.

Give me five minutes of a man’s life over all the books in the world, said Borges – a lesson as relevant for travellers today, as for pallid bookworms, and unrepentant Magalufians.

Of course a dispassionate attitude to travel, is required in order to accomplish all this. And this difficult for people to understand let alone practice, because their problem lies in the diversity of experiences. We all travel for different reasons. For me it’s always for work, work, work, and sometimes for relaxation, for more work, occasionally for adventure, rarely for self-fulfilment, and almost always for knowledge.

For all of us Travel is usually the draw of what we find exotic abroad because it may be what we hunger for and what we lust after in vain, at home… Soft pleasures that we can’t fulfill at home are de rigueur the very pleasures we seek and receive in our travels. We derive pleasure and pain from our journeys, all in strictly equal measure.

This perhaps is dependent more on the mindset of equanimity, with which we travel than on the destination we travel to, but it holds true. The averages are set. Equal parts pleasure and pain make for a good travel. When you are out of balance your travels suck.

Either way you slice it and even if you are a serious hedonist, still, please avoid Majorca, Minorca, Myconos, and all the Cretan and Cypriot mass market holiday spots, because they will make you dull. Or turn you into a Magalufian…

Don’t go to St Barts, or the Barbados, because they suck. Just like all the Virgin islands do. They are no longer Virgins there any more than there are in Santo Domingo. Avoid all the sex holiday and the religious holiday destinations a well as the alcohol frenzied resorts or the posh enclaves. It’s a simple rule of thumb that will keep you honest to goodness a TRAVELER. Stick to lesser destinations. Avoid Switzerland altogether and drive by Monaco in a hurry as if chased by the police, which is sure to chase you if you do above 90 mph on the winding roads off the Le Mans circuit time. Escape the South of France altogether in the Summer head for the hills and the norwest rain coast…

It’s a big world out there and you can find your interesting places. Places just for you. So please go to places nobody has spoken to you about. Don’t read travel magazines they will only make you feel stupid. Do not follow wealthy travel shows, they will make you jealous and avoid the San Francisco crowd doing Burning Man and then going off to Bali for Detox… they will make you stupid. Hanging out with these type of folks will only result in more followers. Soon thereafter… you’ll be following yourself. So avoid all that and never post anything travel related on Social Media. F__ Facebook and Instagram and Foursquare boasting about being the mayor of Sahara or something equally stupid. Never ever post pictures of your foreign food because you will appear like the germans posting photos of beignets made and eaten fresh in Paris and of Americans eating insects in Pnom Penh.

So don’t do that and Start with the beginnings.

Craft your very own odyssey…

Start this travel by consulting with Homer and substituting all his name places with the islands of the Indonesian archipelago. or find your own archipelago, anywhere else. It doesn’t even have to have sea. Just map the cities, towns, hamlets, and geographical toponyms like in a desert. Cross the desert and seek your own archipelago — just make sure it is not a gulag. And if it is then communicate with the Russian Alexander on how to survive it.

Or travel with Herodotus because he recognises the naivete of supposing that life’s station, distance, and time, can separate us from ourselves, and death. The common destiny of all men…
He sure as hell knows the value of Life and the valuelessness of our earthly endeavours.

All of his stolen Kings, are expert witnesses to the futility of Life and they offer us abstractions of experience. And that, surely, is History. The diplomacy built into the art of travel. This is no different from the art of war but is more sublime.

Yours,
Pano

PS:

As the rain drips down, in Provence, am far more aware of myself. And we all are more ourselves, when travelling. Yes even when we are depressingly wet, our spirits are dumb, and our bodies cold, hot, ill, exhausted, isolated, depressed, or sick far from home — we are all more fully human.

Travel cause in the end it’s some kind of a Right of Passage and a gateway to understanding that we are born alone, travel alone, and die alone.

Got this?

Travel even when suffering because without these discomforts we would never be allowed those moments of transcendence that justify our efforts.

The world is still full of wonders. Being able to fly to any country in a single day has not really brought these wonders any closer. Finding them is just as difficult, and just as rewarding, as ever.

Ah and travel alone. That is the cardinal rule. No ancient traveler took a woman with him to Bangkok and yet many contemporaries do just that.

Travel alone but in the company of strangers, by always carrying a book of poems with you.

Am travelling with Tagore these days…

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | August 27, 2014

My Speech delivered to the Knesset on Feb 1st 2011

Speech delivered to the Knesset on Feb 1st on behalf of the Environmental Parliament 2011

 
Gross National Product – GNP –  or more commonly known as GDP is not an accurate means of measuring anything relevant to the wealth of nations, because it only measures economic activity and much of it is detrimental to the real wealth and it’s origins. It’s even detrimental to many resources… and the People of those nations thus measured.
 
And by the way, money is not wealth.
 
Or as Robert F. Kennedy said when He spoke on what GDP meant for him, some fourty four years ago, his wisdom transcends the years since:
 
“Too much and for too long, we seem to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our gross national product now is over 800 Billion dollars a year …  But that Gross National Product…
 
If we should judge America by that — that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of our redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and it counts nuclear warhead, and armored cars for police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.
 
Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.
 
And it can tell us everything about America — except why we are proud that we are Americans.”
 
And that fits well here because it is also my view of today’s catastrophic singular focus on money measurement of the economy and of our complete neglect of the environment… and failure to conserve our resources that make up the real wealth and our real global commons. By wasting our natural resources we are diminishing every year both the global commons and our economy in real terms —  because these “externalities” matter and our money measurement culture gets the losing end of the bargain daily.
 
Because the real global Commons is made up of three simple entities that cannot be measured in GDP and that are truly indivisible and belong to all of us in equal measure. The Atmosphere, the Planet we live in, and the perfectly balanced Environment that allows us to survive. And that is the real global Commons we ought to conserve and spend all of our wherewithal to conserve and maintain in good operating order. On the other hand, the world’s economy is just a networked system of financial economic and trade transactions that might or might not affect our lives greatly depending on how much emphasis we put on this real sideshow. And as it happens we pay inordinate attention to the sideshow, neglecting the real Commons where conservation and protection is of utmost importance and necessary for our survival.
 
Because if we fail to observe, manage and conserve the real global Commons and fail to institute global coordination of responses to giant problems we’ve created, we shall simply perish. We need desperately the tools of worldwide conservation, in the form of environmental common governance, of clean earth, clean air and clean water, emanating. We want access to these most basic human rights in order to preserve ourselves, that is if we do not want to experience the real tragedy of the Commons as described in the Victorian era ruination of the “village green…”
 
And as people we’ve faced this issues in the past too and arrived at a system of conserving and protecting the village Green. Not to play golf on, but to manage it as a common grazing pasture, a recreation, an animal feed, a protected environment and as a natural habitat. Somewhat the same is what we are referencing for the earth. Only on a far larger and more abstract way for the earth’s critical ecosystems are our village Commons in their entirety.
 
And we’ve come up with some interesting institutions to deal with these issues. Valuable institutions that many doubting Thomases, neo-luddites and ideological idiots, now want to disembowel if not abolish altogether… under the guise of economic development. The European Union’s 20/20/20 policy is a great example of this and the development of renewable energy is not the only positive outcome stemming from this great policy.
 
And the message is clear:
If we take care of the environment, the people and the earth  — the economy will take care of itself.
 
GDP is not an accurate means of measuring anything relevant to the wealth of nations, because it only measures economic activity and much of it is detrimental to the real wealth and it’s origins. It’s even detrimental to many resources… and to the Peoples of this Earth.
 
Money is not wealth.
 
Money after all, was and still is just a clever and convenient invention. And because it was designed as a means of exchange and not as the basic measure of wealth it is ill fitted in it’s new “royal” robes. But somehow that has changed and what was once solely a means to an end has become the end itself, and what was a means of exchange has unfortunately become the only measure of wealth and has gone on to be considered wealth itself. Of course this is a simple delusion foisted upon the simpletons of this earth. No smart person or real intelligence can fathom this as such…  But let this be as it may. Even by that measure for wealth generation, environmental protection in general and EPA in particular is far ahead of it’s time and all other measurements.
Still conservation, environmental protection and renewable energy policies are not conducting any cost-benefit analysis of their work, because we all believe that the very imminent threat to human life, to clean earth, to clean water, and to clean air from unregulated business pollution, transcend dilly-dallying about dollars and cents.
 
Almost half a century has passed since the birth of the Environmental Movement and now we are in a similar path of ecosystem destruction and the hope for redemption is fading fast while we are facing challenges unseen back then and we see certain problems far more great than what our predecessors in the movement ever considered.
 
We clear cut the rainforests and replace them with vast cow pastures or palm oil plantations or mine the trees and leave the lands fallow, only in order to make industrial process agriculture and a tiny profit. Yet the damage done to the wealth of the nations far surpasses whatever the returns we will ever get out of these lands.
 
We pollute the rivers, cause anoxic seas, and over-fish the oceans for very little profit and mainly because we do not want to manage our resources. Yet with a little foresight in environmental controls, stoppage of agricultural nitrates runoff, and proper environmental and habitat management we could have sorted out the problem.
 
We destroy the local economy in search of ever cheaper goods, no matter how much CO2 is emitted in the process and regardless of the human capital costs. Yet with a bot of better management of human resources and product locality we could be seeing a benefit from the globalization trends. Still the bottom line of a few dollars more, always comes first.
 
We hire and fire people at will, for the sake of balancing the books, meeting financial corporate projections and boosting the economy of the enterprise while we are destroying the overall economy. Yet, the most valuable commodity human capital – people – has now become little more than the switch in the means of production and the instrument of making paper profit.
 
And all of that in the blind faith and pursuit of some obscure God named money. We are not even talking about folding money, but digital unreal currencies lost at the push of a button in a single FX transaction that might go against you. GM crops, nuclear energy, cloning and animal experimentation – nothing is forbidden – just as long as it adds to GDP and increases the share value of corporations and companies.
 
Ethics, morality and human dignity are all secondary and subservient to the profit margins. Bankrupt bankers have to be bailed out again and again, even though we can all see that they and all other business leaders are utterly incapable of solving the economic crisis. Politicians and policymakers still want to obey their desires. No wonder that our governments are completely incapable of creating conditions for the stability and well-being of people – because all social, political, educational and communal values — exist solely to serve economic growth, which simply means growth in money supply, in GDP and in consumption.
 
As long as we are wedded to this financial paradigm and the profit maximization model, the economies will suffer, real capitalism will be decreed amoral, the strong will exploit the weak, and our human, social and environmental fabric will continue to fall apart.
 
The current economic crisis gives us an opportunity to look deeper and examine the consequences of confusing the means with the ends. Money has a place, of course, but we must keep it in its place and not allow it to dominate our lives in such a manner that we lose all our bearings and become its slaves. Money was made to serve people, not the other way around.
 
And even with the rudimentary environmental protections, things have progressed greatly and certainly have gone rather badly for the environment over the last 40 to 50 years. Because quite simply the level of threat and problems we’ve created with our present mindset cannot be solved without a serious brain software upgrade or even a new operating system running our head computers. We simply cannot understand the impacts we’ve unleashed in this “the Anthropocene era” of disequilibrium, of magnified returns and of forced results from closed loop ecosystems. Climate forcings are now the norm… with tremendous force storms all the more frequent because of the atmospheric warming up.
 
Check these little happenings from this last year and prepare adequately for the next one to come, because all of them contribute to the meme sphere of our mind’s attention deficit. The magnitude-9 earthquake in Japan, the momentous climate change summit, the reports on future global “hyperwarming”, and the rumblings about some of the first geoengineering field trials all made 2011 a remarkable year with the environment at centre stage…
 
The recent cluster of huge quakes around the Pacific Ocean – the December 2004 Sumatra quake, the February 2010 Chile quake, and now the Fukushima one, have fuelled speculation that they are tectonic plates seismically linked and subject to earth’s crust sudden warming and thus releasing their energy forcefully.
 
The planet is on course for over 3 °C of global warming and maybe up to 5°C by 2025 along with ten billion humans requiring ever more resources yet finding ever less. That temperature rise leaves Greenland – the world’s second-largest ice cap – heading for a melting point of no return. Greenland will surely reach a tipping point in the early 2020s. And after that is curtains because no amount of action on our part, can save the great ice chest of Greenland…
 
The question of whether climate change is responsible for extreme weather events like the heatwave that set Russia alight in 2010 is one of the hottest topics in climate science. Next year, UK and US climate scientists plan to launch an annual global assessment of whether humans are to blame for the previous year’s extreme weather events. Solving the issue could bring closer the day when disaster victims can successfully sue oil and coal companies.
 
Field trials for experiments to engineer the climate have begun. When they get approval, a team of UK researchers will hoist one end of a 1-kilometre-long hose aloft using a balloon, then attempt to pump water up it and spray it into the atmosphere. If the test succeeds, a larger-scale version could one day pump sulphate aerosols into the stratosphere, creating a sunshade to offset the greenhouse effect. Ocean iron rust seeding for algae blooms has already begun and many other tests are on track most with a rather negative bend and no discernible positive effects. Plans from formal bodies like shooting and exploding into the high atmosphere strategic nukes to bring on the Nuclear winter, in order to cool down the atmosphere, are contemplated by the US Pentagon.Although too far fetched to even think about, yet they constitute the official Plan B of the US government in case of runaway global warming…
 
And all of us we are having endless meetings…  that lead to naught. Global Climate Meetings like the Bali, Copenhagen, Cancun, Durban ad infinitum.
 
Yet not a single tonne of carbon was saved in the Durban Climate Change Summit organized by the UN and the conference of the parties. Instead a lot of CO2 was emitted due to thousands of delegates flying around and about and talking till nauseum. Fact is on the short term, the planet will benefit not one jot. Some are calling it a betrayal of both science and the world’s poor and we are calling it a disgrace and a Greenwashing exercise in stupidity. Yet the climate conference in Durban, South Africa, did force major developing nations like China, Brazil and South Africa to accept the principle of future binding targets on their greenhouse gas emissions for the first time…
 
Gas has become the byword for energy companies wanting to greenwash. But gas drilling especially for shale gas poses a major safety hazard if there are water wells nearby. It appears that gas drilling contaminates the waters nearby and destroys the aquifer. The controversial use of “fracking” is also a huge safety risk as regards water contamination and carries other big risks too.
 
More than ten million people in the Horn of Africa face a humanitarian emergency as the region grappled with its worst drought in the last century. The main climatic trigger for the droughts was Climate Change, a warmer planet and the La Niña, a cyclical meteorological phenomenon affecting how much rain falls in Africa and elsewhere. We were unable to respond in time and yet we knew of this incoming catastrophe, all along, and as far back as five years in advance.
 
On 31st of October 2011 or thereabouts, a newborn baby somewhere in the world became the Seventh billion member of the human race. Or so said the UN – but behind the UN’s patina of certainty may lie outdated and unreliable census data. These inaccuracies make it harder to answer a more important question: is human population set to peak within the next few decades or will it carry on growing beyond that to the nine Billion mark as many predict within ten years’ time and then on to double again in seven more years?
 
The perturbations in the networked biological systems we are dependent on for our survival are becoming far too great to deal with, let alone stop, and are tilting whole systems out of balance. Environmental shocks and overstimulation, via temperature changes, osmotic shocks, pressure changes, chemistry alienation, toxicity, anoxicity, oceanic acidification, desalination, and various inauspicious changes are endangering our existence directly. The way of the Dinosaurs is perhaps our Tom-Tom directional GPS driver assist destination…
 
Environmental policy and the lack of it of course has greatly shifted in the last 40 years in order to incorporate explicit economic analyses of the costs and benefits of restricting the amount of deadly, toxic, and dangerous pollution that is produced, but it never accounted for the positive wealth creation and preservation of nature. And because of that we are now facing the very difficult public policy debate of why having the EPA at all.
 
Yet the answer is simple. If only because there is an increasing understanding of how environmental policy can correct market failures, by building freer markets by reducing externalities that distort economic incentives and by protecting resources, we are now finally able to acknowledge these externalities. Those great “external” costs that were so great, we left them untold and unaccountable in the business history of our civilization. But the piper has come on calling…
 
At last we are responsible for paying for the free lunch we so heartily enjoyed for far too long. The open sewer we call atmosphere is chock full with carbon and is slowly cooking up our planet. Are we awake enough to address this catastrophe or we are to slowly cook in the pot like the poor frogs served in the French brasseries all over Paris?
 
Do we have any other option but to address the climatic and environmental changes brought on by our pollution that is warming the planet?
 
The drive toward sustainable development has been non-partisan and relatively non-ideological in the past. Why does it have to become so now?
 
Most US administrations promoted government-business partnerships by which corporations would voluntarily adopt more sustainable business practices instead of setting mandatory regulations.
 
With advances in environmental monitoring, economic science, and globalization, corporations have integrated sustainability into their bottom lines — often realizing both short-term, and long term profit as well as brand benefit and general societal profit because of the focus on energy efficiency and long-term viability.
 
GDP is not an accurate means of measuring anything relevant to the wealth of nations, because it only measures economic activity and much of it is detrimental to the real wealth and it’s origins. It’s even detrimental to many resources… and the Peoples.
 
Money is not wealth.
 
Real wealth is our Goldilocks planet as a very fine home to us, and to all other species because of that special chemical balance that we are able to survive into.
 
Real wealth is our clean air, clean land and clean water to help us survive and thrive.
 
Real wealth is land, forest, rivers, animals and people.
 
Real wealth is further created by the imagination, creativity and skill of people understanding their purpose.
 
Bankers and business leaders in search of ever-increasing profit are not the wealth creators; at best they are wealth counters and at worst wealth destroyers.
 
So let’s honour the true wealth creators, such as the environmental activists, environmental engineers, mechanics helping natural systems recuperate, skilled workers maintaining forested lands and primary pastures, architects and engineers building sustainable buildings, renewable energy developers, sustainable business leaders, creative civil servants, ethical political leaders, morally responsible governors, imaginative legislative artists, environmental public policy craftsmen, caring mothers and women on top of their professions, all teachers, all doctors, most builders and local small farmers and above all else, let’s honour the children to come. For the future and the economy is theirs and we feel it’s safe in their hands.
 
Let us respect the generous Earth, Gaia and Nature, the eternal source of wellbeing and prosperity.
 
Because if we take care of the environment, people and nature, the economy will take care of itself.
 
Happy New Year and please use this bit of food for thought and action…
 
Yours,
 
Pano
 
Time to change our yard stick.
 
Maybe GNH is the way to measure success going forward.
 
Much like Bhutan does.
Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | August 25, 2014

Wisdom

Wisdom, sometimes is seen as discernment at it’s preparatory role, for Leadership in Life.

Wisdom provides the sense of direction with its conceptual understanding of reality, it’s pattern recognition, and the understanding of viewing beyond the horizon.

Wisdom is designed to awaken the faculty of penetrative understanding to see things as they really are.

At a later stage, wisdom is achievement.

This is only possible when the mind has been refined by training in ethical leadership, moral discipline, self sufficiency and concentration.

And when one rids oneself of the many needs and necessities, and is satisfied and satiated with the gradual arising of simple knowledge — True Wisdom will arrive as a superior view and full intention to serve…

Yours,
Pano

PS:
Ergo, Leadership

Success is a “big” term. Each person will have their own ideas of what success might mean.

But only that which is measured, is that which gets managed.

So we’ve established Money as the metric of success and a way to keep score of your value to society, so we can manage the relative contributions in the totem tree of importance.

Thus we use money measures for companies and entrepreneurs that are easy – capital raised, IPO valuation, Exit money, sales, quarterly schedules. number of employees, number of customers, Forbes rankings, Billionaire status, longevity, acquisitions, etc…

But just because they are easy to measure doesn’t make them the most important metrics.

There are some metrics of success that are very hard to compute. Metrics such as the deadening loneliness of the Visionary. The freedom of the desert dweller. The sacrificial lamb willing to make a difference in people’s lives…

Oh so sorry these are not positive attributes?

Well here are some more commonplace attributes of success: Creating wealth, leaving a legacy, growing as a human being, autonomy, influence, power with prosperity.

Yet combined the two sets of Good & Bad, Easy and Difficult, Up and Down, measures can be what is truly “to know” if you are doing “well” or suffering grandly as an entrepreneur.

People want to pigeonhole you as being successful or not, yet success is not an absolute phenomenon, and we have not got any universal metrics. My simple algorithm is to remember that You are only as successful as you believe to be at the moment. You believe are the operative words here… because you will be truly successful only when you stop caring about other people’s assessment of you. Only when You get over the judgement and the point to be or to do what others determine as success — you shall be free and most endowed with success. Only when you look in the mirror and you love the person you see — you have truly made it.

But you invariably have to go through the valley of death before you get there. And that is the marathon you have to run, walk, crawl or limp through till the bitter end, and instead of becoming disheartened by any type of upheaval, become one with a big heart, and accept gracefully the difficulties and be grateful for whatever brown rain comes down on your head…

Because I would say that facing your own “abyss” is the moment where you can truly clarify who “you” are. Not the you that your parents want, nor the you that your friends remember, nor the You that your colleagues and subordinates see — but the you that is inside and hidden behind the “shoulds” of your inner voice.

Only by taking 100% responsibility for your own life you can you go through the path to the abyss and face your fears. I believe that only entrepreneurship allows a 100% responsible for my life attitude – so it is one of the few paths that allow you to grow to your fullest potential as a human being.

So you have to define your own success yourself.

As for me I’ll define my own and also seek out to tease the definition of a successful entrepreneur right here because I meet with hundreds of entrepreneurs a year…

Entrepreneurs ranging from the smart operators to the ones as dumb and conceited as a rock. Entrepreneurs who think they can do anything and many others who ACTUALLY DO. The two kinds seldom mix… because the conceited ones talk a lot and deliver little, and the other ones just DELIVER.

I meet with oodles of entrepreneurs who are dismal failures, and typically fail to understand whatever it is they are supposed to be doing, they have no vision and wait for someone else to tell them where to look. These folks are incapable for seeing let alone delivering, and forget about being able to launch anything…

And then you have the real princes. The Visionaries who are the real “game changers” and who set out to change the world. NOTHING LESS.

I meet entrepreneurs from the premature ejaculators to the perennial “Maniana” boys and girls. And they always come in mixed bags. Like the mixed nuts and the rainbow coloured M&Ms they are all mixed up in dysfunctional teams that end up dragging each other up or down depending on the balance of forces within…

Given my extensive experience dealing as a LEADER, as an Innovation Master, a CEO, a VC financier and simple entrepreneur myself, with the whole gamut of entrepreneurs out there, I thought I’d share with you PANO’S TOP TEN

Here are the 10 priceless tips as to what it really takes to be the Billion Dollar Entrepreneur you aspire to be.

1. Be Yourself and don’t be afraid of other people’s judgements – Because you can’t really be successful trying to please everybody else and especially the jealous and the barking dogs and the detractors who have never been out into the field of Honour. And you can’t manipulate yourself into success either. Pleasing others or yourself is equally bad and trying out personality tweaks or even major overhauls, is like cosmetic surgery. At the end you’ll be looking like the bride of Weitgestein and will feel like it too. Don’t be a silly poo and not an asshole either. In fact, it’s just best to be the opposite of what people want you to be. Be a Contrarian, because A) that is the real minority positiona dn everyone loves an underdog even if they hate to admit it, and B) the work you do is the most powerful thing you can do. Words do not matter as much as deeds. So be You. Be real. And carry on the work load. This is REAL. Human Real as in blood, sweat, and tears. Human Real as in struggling, grappling, sweating, crying, laughing, steadying, and caring. As in authentic. Think of authenticity as your foundation, your center, and don’t let anyone try to wring it out of you, subtly or otherwise. Billion dollar entrepreneurs are rarely politically correct. They are mavericks with a mind of their own.

2. Be an Outstanding Communicator – If I had to choose another major key attribute that would be most predictive of stunning success for an entrepreneur I would have to say being an outstanding communicator. By that I mean having the ability to get other people real excited or inspired about your vision. In the end, success comes largely from the work and contribution of others around you, not yourself. That includes employees, investors, customers, users, etc… If you can effectively recruit, pitch, sell, and evangelize to these groups then you’re in outstanding shape. There are of course exceptions, but I’ve almost always found when I meet great entrepreneurs they all share that capability… in spades.

3. Dream Big, and Die Trying – Bigger than life entrepreneurship is a combination of three things: genetics, circumstance and perseverance. Genetics: You were born with it and cannot do anything about it. Circumstance: Luck plays a part in success, but the harder you work, the luckier you get. Perseverance: You only fail in your business when you actually give up, so, in fact, no business would ever fail if people persevered. I know the Founders of many of the most successful technology companies in the world, and there were (and still are times) where the Founders refused to give up despite unbelievable problems, stress and negative signaling. Elon Musk called entrepreneurship “like eating glass and walking on hot coals at the same time.” An entrepreneur faces all of the debilitating problems of their own life coupled with all of the personal problems of their team, as well as hostile operating environments, limited capital, stretched resources, no time, regulatory burdens, etc… The loneliness and darkness of entrepreneurship are not discussed very often, but they are very real. Those that relentlessly persevere succeed. Those that don’t just don’t.

4. Be willing to knock any obstacle that comes your way – You work on something for months and months, around the clock night and day, and it doesn’t work out. You pick yourself up and try again, and for another external reason, it doesn’t work out. You believe in yourself while others mock you and tell you to ‘get a real job’ but you keep trying. You try again, and this time are convinced it’s going to work out, you almost get there, and once again, it fails…It is this moment that makes a successful entrepreneur. The time when you get back up again, when everyone else would stay down and give up. You get back up again and try once more. What makes an entrepreneur in my opinion is sheer relentless determination. Sure you need all the other skills, but it’s the sheer determination that will get you to your goals. No matter how many knocks you take, you know your life will be dedicated to being an entrepreneur. You were born to be a superstar – it’s never a lifestyle choice, it’s inherent within you. If you are a true billion dollar entrepreneur, you won’t ever be able to ever walk away from being one, regardless of the hardships. And conversely, I doubt very much you’ll be able to walk into becoming one, regardless of the aspirations.

5. Embrace risks – In order to succeed, you must first be willing to fail – and you must have the courage to go for it anyway. Risk-taking is absolutely essential to getting any business off the ground. Many of the world’s most exciting and successful companies wouldn’t exist today if the founders were focused on the things that could have gone wrong. Look at it this way: Risks will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to risk. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, tell yourself you lived life to the fullest.

6. Do not be afraid of failure and review your failures at least once a week to make sure you have made enough mistakes. – That’s the way to learn… Make your mistakes multiple times and then forget them. The lessons I learned from my biggest failures 10 years ago are the very lessons that people now pay me big bucks to help them overcome and achieve.
I truly believe in failing forward and failing toward success. And I practice it each and every time. What you need to connect is that the very lessons am teaching and writing about have all been birthed from hardship, challenges and yes, even some serious and serial failures.
I won’t gloss over it. I’ve had more failures than I had victories. But I managed to make the Victories determine the outcome of the war, and in the Grand Total it all seems like a Big old Success Story. But let me show you the scars… oh my God…
Napoleon Hill said, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of equal or greater benefit.”
Here is the key, we have the opportunity to turn failure into success, to turn adversity into lessons learned, challenges into resolve, but it’s up to us to see the vision of possibility and have the faith and resolve to get back up and keep moving toward our goals. And when we do that it is guaranteed that we will have something of great benefit to share with others.
There are notable examples of many entrepreneurs who have previously ‘failed’ but have gone on to do incredible things. It is also important to note that there should equally be no fear of change. Entrepreneurs need to adapt as changes happen. There are many incredible businesses that actually started off as one thing and became another. Your initial mission statement doesn’t matter. Your Business Plan doesn’t matter either. All these will change. But Your VISION remains. That won’t change and in that respect, what matters is fighting, winning the road, and getting there.

7. Never stop learning – The most powerful word in the English language is “Why.” There is nothing so powerful as an open, inquiring mind. Whatever field you choose for building your business – be a lifelong student. The world is full of people who have stopped learning and who think they’ve got it all figured out. You’ve no doubt met some of them already – and you’ll meet plenty more. Their favorite word is “No.” They will give you a million reasons why something can’t be done or shouldn’t be done. Don’t listen to these losers, don’t be deterred by them, and don’t become one of them. Not if you want to fulfill your potential – and not if you want to build a billion dollar enterprise and change the world for the better.

8. Develop a crazy sense of urgency – Most entrepreneurs have this. They have to have this. It’s part of what pushes you to work late nights, weekends, and while walking on the treadmill. People who don’t have this trait should think twice about trying their hand at starting a business. On the other hand, you need to have a huge amount of internal patience and ability to deal with delays that will inevitably happen, but have an external impatience that demands progress quickly.

9. Develop a real solid network of relationships and an eye to distribution - If you need to strike partnerships, learn about your industry and who cuts deals. Be the most prepared person in the room at every meeting. If you need access to specific channels, learn to dance around the enterprises that shape those markets. This is the best and fastest way sometimes to scale your business and take it to stratospheric levels.

10. Give back – You are ultimately responsible for your success and failure, but you only succeed if you share the reward with others. At the end of the day, ask yourself: Am I making a difference in the lives of others? On that same note, be generous with stock options, find yourself a strong technical co-founder and choose VCs that really add value beyond money.

Success has many fathers.

So Let’s go for it.

To Your Success, or to your Change.

Go for it. Either way You win…

And we all benefit.

Yours,

Pano

PS:

Failure is a bastard…

And yet out of those failures, you can reiterate and make a success the second or third time…

You will notice that I have not mentioned your idea as important to success as an entrepreneur. There are definitely better ideas and worse ideas. But there are no bad ideas.

There are important ideas and impotent ideas. That’s it. The former ones are fecund and lead to big successes in all metrics and the other ones … not so much because their sperm has no motility.

So please don’t be too attached to your ideas because A) You don’t know what they are at the outset, and B) they will definitely change as they are applied to the crucible of fire, the enterprise is.

I have seen great ideas fail and bad ideas become worth billions. The easiest two examples of successful bad ideas are Google and eBay.

Doing another search engine around 1999 was a definitely stupid idea. There were about 175 search engines at the time and most of them failing…
Yet a couple of young folks with a simple relational algorithm didn’t know any better and went ahead and did… Sergey is a friend who has seen and done his share of “stupid” but chose to persevere and rise above it all.

Sending used merchandise through the mail to people that you met online and then mailing a $0.23 commission check to eBay, when stamps cost $0.25, was a stupid idea as well. Pierre is also a friend and his niche proved to be a killer…

So, stupid ideas or not, the companies they spawned today have a combined market cap well above the half a Trillion mark.

Get this.

The two failure recipe ideas, have a combined market capitalization of over $500 billion today.

And my idea is that they have so many synergies that they should combine their strategic vision and their particular talents to make a great new company.

And for me it would be a great M & A opportunity to work on with other savvy Financiers to execute my idea.

Because when we set to work through this merger, we can really accomplish some economies of scale and surpass our competitors and thus make the first Trillion dollar company in the history of the world…

There you go.

That’s reality…

And that’s my Big Hairy Awesome Idea of the day.

What do you think?

 

President Barack Obama had some choice strong words for the Islamic State Middle Eastern group, during a White House briefing statement issued yesterday, regarding the group’s execution of freelance photojournalist Jim Foley, who had been missing since 2012, after disappearing in Syria.

“Jim was taken from us in an act of violence that shocks the conscience of the entire world,” he said, speaking from Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. “We are all heartbroken.”

The president ripped into I.S. group, which has swept across parts of Iraq, taking over towns, and kidnapping, and killing people, in an attempt to establish a new Sharia law islamic state.

President Obama had this to say: “I.S. has no ideology of any value to human beings. They have rampaged across cities and villages, killing innocent unarmed civilians in acts of cowardly violence. … No just God would stand for what they did yesterday and what they do every single day.” He added that I.S.’s victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and that the group “speaks for no religion.”

The President’s comments come after the I.S. group beheaded Foley in a video it released online. Foley was remembered by his mother Diane in a statement posted to the Free James Foley Facebook page: “We have never been prouder of our son Jim. He gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people. We implore the kidnappers to spare the lives of the remaining hostages. Like Jim, they are innocents. They have no control over American government policy in Iraq, Syria or anywhere in the world. We thank Jim for all the joy he gave us. He was an extraordinary son, brother, journalist and person. Please respect our privacy in the days ahead as we mourn and cherish Jim.”

The Foley family echoed those sentiments in an emotional news conference outside their New Hampshire home Wednesday afternoon.

Did the U.S. know? According to CNN News, the US government knew that IS was threatening to kill Foley after the United States conducted airstrikes to help Kurdish and Iraqi forces regain ground in their home country.

United States President Mr Barack Obama had this to say: “The Entire World Is Appalled by the Killing of Journalist James Foley”
The online news outlet for which Foley was freelancing [Global Post] when he was captured, received an email last week from his captors “stating their intention to execute Jim,” according to president and founder Philip Balboni, who stated that the White House was aware of the communication but that the threat did not lead to any negotiations over Foley’s release.

The latest threat from I.S. is much more public. In the same video that depicted Foley’s execution, I.S. shows captured journalist Steven Sotloff, warning that his fate will depend on Obama’s “next decision.” Given his response Wednesday, that decision is unlikely to include leaving I.S. alone.

“The United States of America will continue to do what we must do to protect our people. We will be vigilant and we will be relentless,” is what President Obama said in his speech. “When people harm Americans, anywhere, we do what’s necessary to see that justice is done. And we act against I.S. standing alongside others.”

Older Posts »

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,473 other followers