Read: The Other Afghan Women

Even though headlines try to convince us otherwise, conflict or war is never simple. There is no simple answer to who is right and who is wrong, especially in conflict riddled Afghanistan. I know very little about the country’s history, therefore it was perhaps even more insightful to listen to this article called The Other Afghan Women, written by Anand Gopal. I never knew about those other women. Their stories probably didn’t make headlines, because those stories don’t confirm the Western storyline of being saviours and victors. I’m glad Gopal wrote their stories down for me and you to read.

The Taliban takeover has restored order to the conservative countryside while plunging the comparatively liberal streets of Kabul into fear and hopelessness. This reversal of fates brings to light the unspoken premise of the past two decades: if U.S. troops kept battling the Taliban in the countryside, then life in the cities could blossom. This may have been a sustainable project—the Taliban were unable to capture cities in the face of U.S. airpower. But was it just? Can the rights of one community depend, in perpetuity, on the deprivation of rights in another? In Sangin, whenever I brought up the question of gender, village women reacted with derision. “They are giving rights to Kabul women, and they are killing women here,” Pazaro said. “Is this justice?” Marzia, from Pan Killay, told me, “This is not ‘women’s rights’ when you are killing us, killing our brothers, killing our fathers.” Khalida, from a nearby village, said, “The Americans did not bring us any rights. They just came, fought, killed, and left.”

From: The Other Afghan Women, Anand Gopal, The New Yorker

Door |2021-09-14T14:45:12+02:0014 september 2021|flow, vrouw|0 Reacties

Amazing animation

The most wonderful projects I’ve done are those where I jumped on an idea and simply started executing without worrying too much about feasibility or whether I have the right skills to do it. Yes, in all those projects I constantly doubted myself and beat myself up for starting it in the first place. But once finished I always felt joy. Joy of delivering something, joy of developing new skills along the way, joy of personal growth. And sometimes the result turned out to be more than I expected.

I therefore recognize a lot in the presentation I watched of Sam Gainsborough who animated/directed a short animation called Facing It. He had something in his mind for a long while. He then got the opportunity to execute the idea and went for it. He came to the conclusion that it was a lot more work than imagined, but simply carried on. Frame by frame animating many ‘clay’ heads. Six months work. Frame by frame getting rid of the green screen and matching those heads on the real actors. Five months work. All that for a 7 minute long film. The result is amazing and worth every second. Watch the end result first, then watch Sam explain how he did it.

Door |2021-01-18T16:22:37+02:0018 januari 2021|flow, kunst|0 Reacties

Strong emotion wins in the sharing competition

On my other website I published a fairly long piece of writing (in Dutch). The starting point for writing that piece was a screenshot of a facebook post that was included in an academic paper which analysed all posts on HPV vaccination within a certain time frame. This particular post got a special mention since it was by far the most shared and commented on. The whole lay-out and wording used in that post sent out warning signals for being untrue. I got curious. What are the actual facts and arguments behind this message?

I thought I would write a blog post about it. Then I started documenting my findings during my search and quickly the whole exercise to follow my curiousity resulted in a three week long research into the use of false arguments, misinterpretations of statistics and scientific research results. I came to the conclusion that the group of authors I came across during my research try to win a political debate by using tragic illnesses and deaths of young people as a starting point to discredit a company and the government.

Through my research I learned some lessons about how false arguments and interpretations spread between websites, what kind of tricks organisations use to look more credible than they really are and what types of signals to look for when checking for credibility of messages. By sharing these lessons I hope to vaccinate the reader against the next fake news story that plays your emotion.

So instead of a blog post, I published a blog research article of about 7500 words. If you’re fluent in Dutch, go to Storymines and check it out. Get yourself lost in a world of thoughts that might not be yours. I really enjoyed writing it and I hope you will be immunized afterwards.

Door |2020-07-13T16:51:57+02:0013 juli 2020|datadieet, flow|0 Reacties

The story we tell ourselves

I came across a very interesting passage in The Storytelling Animal: how stories make us human. It explains the Lake Wobegone Effect, the effect that we think of ourselves as above average when it comes to positive qualities. Like being a good driver (which for a matter of fact I am). In the book the author makes a link to depression.

Depressed people have lost their positive illusions; they rate their personal qualities much more plausibly than average. They are able to see, with terrible clarity, that they are not all that special.

Jonathan Gottschall, The Storytelling Animal: how stories make us human (p.174)

He then refers to psychologist Shelley Taylor, who said that “a healthy mind tells itself flattering lies. And if it does not lie to itself, it is not healthy.”

This is a perspective I hadn’t taken on depression before, but it makes a whole lot of sense. As someone who is on the realistic side of self-assessment I can tell you that it is indeed an unhealthy state to be always doubting your self. It would have really helped me sail through life if I had more self-esteem and a less realistic view on the world.

Because, as the philosopher William Hirstein puts it, positive illusions keep us from yielding to despair:
“The truth is depressing. We are going to die, most likely after illness; all our friends will likewise die; we are tiny insignificant dots on a tiny planet. Perhaps with the advent of broad intelligence and foresight comes the need for…self-deception to keep depression and its consequent lethargy at bay. There needs to be a basic denial of our finitude and insignificance in the larger scene. It takes a certain amount of chutzpah just to get out of bed in the morning.”

Jonathan Gottschall, The Storytelling Animal: how stories make us human (p.174)

Gottschall goes on to describe the role of a psychotherapist as someone who helps you to rewrite your life story. To give you a story you can live with.

A psychotherapist can therefore be seen as a kind of script doctor who helps patients revise their life stories so that they can play the role of protagonist again – suffering and flawed protagonists, to be sure, but protagonists who are moving toward the light.

Jonathan Gottschall, The Storytelling Animal: how stories make us human (p.175)

Spot on.

Excellent read by the way.

Door |2020-05-26T10:45:23+02:0026 mei 2020|flow, gelezen|2 Reacties

Read: Six literacies to save the world

Earlier this week this article written by Lazar Dzamic crossed my path. A very interesting read. What grabbed my attention was that Dzamic puts archetypal/narrative literacy on number one.

It’s one of the most widely studied arts and crafts in the world, but in the utterly utilitarian way: how to tell strong stories to become famous, make money, or be very good at selling stuff. But we don’t learn how to defend ourselves from strong stories like populism, conspiracies and various sorts of propaganda, whether political or commercial. This literacy is the antidote for almost any of the manipulations unleashed upon us by the digital space, in all its guises. This whole dark theatre of problems has but one common approach: the use of strong emotional, archetypal, narratives.

Door |2020-05-15T14:22:34+02:0015 mei 2020|links|0 Reacties
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