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Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Intolerance and urbanisation

The recent French verdict on rooster Maurice (my blog) shows the growing intolerance amongst humans following reduced personal space due to ongoing urbanisation. Various countries now have political parties advocating animal rights (Wiki list). In 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, these human rights are not about overcrowdedness following an ever-increasing global population.

The benefits of urbanisation are clear: mega-cities are economic powerhouses similar to the ancient Hanseatic League. Ancient disadvantages of large cities have largely been solved: no more wooden houses, improved healthcare and sanitation preventing epidemics, improved waste management, improved logistics and transport, etcetera.

Water management in megacities is however still an issue, like in the Indonesian capital Jakarta . Guardian-2019: "Poor urban planning on land that was originally swamp, along with the unregulated draining of aquifers, has left 40% of the city under sea level. The worst affected neighbourhoods are reportedly sinking 10-20cm per year – one of the fastest rates in the world."

The modern dangers of urbanisation are mostly still of an academic and a professional nature, like the mental health of urban citizens following the 24/7 presence of artificial light and noise, and air pollution. Please see my blogs on urbanisation, in particular my 2016 blog Urbanisation (2) - mental health, and the 2016 Psychology Today article The Urbanization-Mental Health Connection.

I think, feel and believe that ongoing urbanisation is accountable and responsible for the growing intolerance and violence in human societies. Such intolerance and violence can also be viewed in battery cages, "a housing system used for various animal production methods, but primarily for egg-laying hens". A lack of personal space will first cause intolerance and then violence.

Urbanisation seems unstoppable. A 2014 UN report stated and predicted:
"Globally, more people live in urban areas than in rural areas, with 54 per cent of the world’s population residing in urban areas in 2014. In 1950, 30 per cent of the world’s population was urban, and by 2050, 66 per cent of the world’s population is projected to be urban." (eg, FT-2015UN-2014). 

Most of that 66% of the world population will live in mega-cities with more than 10 million citizens. The battery cage comparison is a thought that becomes less and less farfetched. In 2035, Amsterdam is expected to reach one (1) million people (eg, CBSNU). I suppose the entire Netherlands will then be viewed as a megacity of at least 18 million people.

“Tolerance of intolerance enables oppression.” A quote by DaShanne Stokes (b. 1978), an American "author, sociologist, public speaker and pundit".

Intolerant (2014) by Ylvis

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Extremism and plausible deniability (2)

This Sunday, I had an epiphany: plausible deniability is the reason why extremism hides behind belief systems. A recent example was the news that Dutch salafist primary schools teach young children that killing "unbelievers" is a commendable deed. The school is protected by the Dutch Constitution that guarantees freedom of religious education.

A very different example is the recent offer by a US pharmaceutical company to settle the very many lawsuits against them. This family business caused the OxyContin opioid addiction epidemic. Their offer looks like a remorse plea: we are not drug criminals but a well-respected business family. At the same time, this family was siphoning billions of dollars from its company before (i) legal settlement (eg, APHuffPostNYT) and/or (ii) bankruptcy (eg, Guardian).

Brexit and climate change are two more topics in which the majority of the population now also claims intellectual and moral superiority. People who dare to mention conflicting facts are disagreeing with the majority opinion. In the majority view, minority views are irresponsible, in denial, and challenging "the truth" (eg, recent Dutch opinion in Financieel Dagblad).

There appears to be a wave of dogmatism in the Western world, in which minority views are being condemned (eg, for lack of political correctness). Despite liberalism, minority views are being tolerated less and less. Liberalism only applies to the majority - of that very moment. For non-liberal countries, there is nothing new: holding minority views was and is dangerous.

When belief systems become obsolete, plausible deniability takes over: "I just expressed the majority opinion but I was still in doubt myself". Such statements are impossible to verify. Another strategy that works well, is mentioned in my 2016 blog: I cannot remember. I forgot. Minority views must always defend and explain themselves (eg, having no children).

Extremism becomes accepted once it's hidden behind a belief system. Sometimes, extremism hides behind two belief systems, like the Political Islam. It's very difficult criticizing the Political Islam because they either hide behind political or religious freedom - or both. Ironically, both freedoms mostly apply to the majority and are largely absent for minorities.

Probably, most extremism, which is not hiding behind belief systems, is of a criminal nature. Drug criminals may claim that they "just" supply to a pre-existing demand. In a recent Vanity Fair article, a Sackler family member argued: “We have to hammer on the abusers in every way possible. They are the culprits and the problem. They are reckless criminals.”

“If the problem can be solved why worry? If the problem cannot be solved worrying will do you no good.” A quote by Shantideva (c. 685 - c. 763), an Indian Buddhist monk.

You Ain't The Problem (2019) by Michael Kiwanuka

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise

Monday, 16 September 2019

Decoupling of Business and Politics (4)

On 12 September 2019, 145 American CEO's of companies, with more and less than 500 employees, wrote a joint letter to the members of U.S. Senate, in which they wrote the following paragraph in bold letters:
"That’s why we urge the Senate to stand with the American public and take action on gun safety by passing a bill to require background checks on all gun sales and a strong Red Flag law that would allow courts to issue life-saving extreme risk protection orders."

The inertia of American politics on gun control is legendary. They are still debating whether guns OR bullets kill people. Obviously, it's both and especially in the hands of people. I could have written the wrong people but I don't believe that myself. There are too many examples of American children finding/using guns for shooting other children and/or adults. 

Less gun violence is better for retail business. More gun violence will (also) kill retail and boost online sales. Businesses interfering in Politics is relatively new. Brexit is another example; see my 2018 blogs #1, #2 and #3. Such interference shows the growing irrelevance of Politics, as a Belief system. Also see my 2018 blog Paradigm shift in the belief system Politics.

Contrary to what you might think, parliamentary democracy is relatively new: 
"An early example of parliamentary government developed in today's Netherlands and Belgium during the Dutch revolt (1581), when the sovereign, legislative and executive powers were taken over by the States General of the Netherlands from the monarch, King Philip II of Spain." (Wiki)

The parliamentary democracy in countries like China and Russia is already mostly a charade, using a rubber stamp for approving legislation by their rather authoritarian rulers. The UK headed by BoJo is on its way of becoming another parliamentary charade. For the moment, UK judges have ruled that the prorogation of parliament "was sought in a clandestine manner" (verdict).

The decoupling of Business and Politics will accelerate the evolution of the current 7 Belief systems (2016) into the future 7 Belief systems (2019 update). The adjective "future" might be misleading because China's 2020 Social Credit System (my 2017 blog) shows that Politics and Religion are being replaced by Data/Info and Technology. 

"Humans are in danger of losing their economic value because intelligence is decoupling from consciousness." A quote from Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari (b. 1976), an Israeli historian.

Charade (1963) by Henry Mancini (1924-1994)

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Texas Is Bracing for a Blue Wave in 2020. Yes, Texas. (Wired)

Wired title: Texas Is Bracing for a Blue Wave in 2020. Yes, Texas.

Wired subtitle: Why Republicans are getting very nervous about maintaining their stranglehold on the Lone Star State.

Author: Bob Moser

Publication date: 12 August 2019

"When Beto O’Rourke proclaimed, during the second round of Democratic presidential debates, that “there’s a new battleground state, Texas, and it has 38 Electoral College votes,” eyes rolled in unison across America. We’ve all heard that nonsense before! Pundits and progressives have been predicting that minority-white Texas would go blue for so long, it’s practically become a running joke. And while O’Rourke came tantalizingly close to knocking off Ted Cruz last fall, that race seemed to have all the hallmarks of a fluke—a Republican senator who even Republicans can’t stomach, running in a strong Democratic midterm cycle against a fresh-faced liberal who eschewed all forms of conventional political wisdom and ran a campaign so novel, so tireless, and so perfectly made for social media that it became a viral sensation. Post-Betomania, most people assumed that Texas Democrats would resume their role as American politics’ saddest underachievers, while Texas Republicans extended their quarter-century run of dominance as their national party’s ideological, financial, and electoral-vote stronghold.

But as people in Texas know, O’Rourke wasn’t blowing smoke. Although Republicans have continued to routinely swat away Democrats in statewide races (they haven’t lost one since 1990), while sending legions of unhinged conservatives to gum up the works in Washington, Democrats have taken control of every big city in the state over the past decade—a process that began in Dallas in 2006, when Democrats swept into power. More important, and more worrying for Republicans, that trend spilled over last year into the sprawling suburbs, long the bedrock of Texas Republicanism. Cruz was only able to beat O’Rourke by trouncing him two-to-one in rural Texas, where just a quarter of the state’s voters live; meanwhile, Democrats captured six Republican-held state House seats in the outskirts of Dallas alone (and six others statewide), while giving Republicans heartburn in some of the suburban U.S. House districts where the party was routinely winning, not long ago, by 20-plus points.

Suddenly, Texas Republicans are on the defensive in their national fortress—and they’re both talking and acting like it. “The tectonic plates shifted in Texas in 2018,” Senator John Cornyn, the powerful Republican who’s facing reelection in 2020 (with just a 37 percent approval rating) said earlier this year. Cornyn has been sounding the alarms ever since November, warning national Republicans against complacency and spelling out the dire consequences for his party if they can’t stave off the Democratic surge: “If Texas turns back to a Democratic state, which it used to be, then we’ll never elect another Republican [president] in my lifetime,” said Cornyn.

A confluence of events over the past couple of weeks has reinforced Cornyn’s message. In what giddy Democrats are calling “the Texodus,” four Republican members of Congress announced, in short order, that they won’t be running for reelection in 2020; three of their seats, all in the suburbs, will likely go Democratic, adding to the two they took from Republicans in 2018. “We could see other representatives step away too,” said Manny Garcia, executive director of the Texas Democratic Party. “Why would you go into a knockdown, drag-out fight when you’re either going to lose next time, or soon afterward?”

While the Texodus was underway, Republican infighting—the latest episode in a long-running battle between conservatives and the hard right—hit the headlines in the most embarrassing of ways. Republican House Speaker Dennis Bonnen was caught on tape by prominent right-wing activist Michael Quinn Sullivan crudely insulting several lawmakers, while rattling off a “hit list” of insufficiently conservative Republicans he wanted to be taken out in primaries next year. (Democrats filed suit earlier this week, alleging that Bonnen broke state law and violated campaign-finance regulations in the process.)

And then there was President Trump and the terrorism in El Paso. By 2022, Latino Texans are projected to outnumber whites, and the rising majority won’t soon forget the mass murder by a gunman, apparently inspired by Trump’s rhetoric, who took advantage of the state’s insanely lax gun laws. Nor will it forget the way the president put a target on the city’s back, falsely claiming in this year’s State of the Union that El Paso was “one of our nation’s most dangerous cities” before the border barriers went up, then amplifying the message in a rally there a few weeks later. “Murders, murders, murders!” Trump cried out as he talked about immigrants, while his fans chanted, “Build the wall!”

“This is going to stick with Latinos in Texas for a long, long time,” said Jessica Cisneros, who’s challenging conservative Democratic Representative Henry Cuellar from the left in a border district that stretches from Laredo to the outskirts of San Antonio. “We’re going to hold those people who enable this behavior and this language accountable.” Even before the El Paso massacre, Trump had been an albatross for Texas Republicans. While he carried the state in 2016, his single-digit margin of victory—in a state Hillary Clinton didn’t even try to contest—was the narrowest for Republicans in almost 20 years; even Mitt Romney had carried Texas by 16 points. In the Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth areas, which accounted for more than half of the state’s votes, Trump won only 48 percent, and early 2020 polls have shown him losing Texas to O’Rourke, Joe Biden, and Bernie Sanders.

Cal Jillson, a venerable political scientist at Southern Methodist University, is among those who think this president has accelerated the Democratic comeback in Texas. “My sense pre-Trump was that there were demographic dynamics that were going to bring two-party competition at some point,” he said. “I thought it would take another 15 to 20 years. But Trump has brought all that forward. It’s happening much more quickly.”

That’s not just because the president has trashed the image of Republicans for Texas Latinos, who’ve traditionally been more conservative than their peers in places like California; it’s also because the Texas GOP has wholeheartedly embraced Trumpism and Tea Partyism. Despite the state’s ultra-conservative reputation, this is a recent development: When the party rose to power in the 1990s, and then achieved dominance in the 2000s, its leading figures—Governors George W. Bush and Rick Perry—prevented right-wing lawmakers from passing Arizona-style anti-immigration laws. In his first of four terms, in fact, one of Perry’s initial acts was championing and signing a bill that gives free in-state tuition to undocumented Texans. Like Bush, Perry also used his power to keep a lid (for the most part) on the other forms of right-wing extremism that were always threatening to boil over in the state capital; culture-war bills that might make businesses think twice about coming to Texas, or staunch the nation’s biggest flow of in-migration (mostly from the Midwest and California), were quietly killed. If it wasn’t good for business, it wasn’t happening.

But when Perry left office in 2015, as Jillson said, “traditional conservatism went with him.” Governor Greg Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, right-wing ideologues who both won reelection last year, have unchained the pent-up lawmakers and activists who’d long chafed at the relative moderation of party leaders—and they’re steering the Texas GOP straight toward self-destruction. “You’ve got a very conservative group of Republicans in the legislature passing their preferred legislation,” Jillson noted, “while the wave builds on the other side and Democrats are making gains.” Even though Republican leaders have grown increasingly alarmed about the Democratic renaissance, “there’s no move to moderate what the party is doing, or to speak to those growing constituencies in Texas. The Republicans are locked in,” Jillson said. “There’s a lot of money and a lot of institutional influence on the right that keeps the Republicans worried about primary challenges from the right more than winning general elections.”

While Republicans have been busy planting the seeds of their likely doom, the Texas Democratic Party has been rebuilding itself into a force capable of capitalizing on its opponents’ strategic insanity. A decade ago, when I was running a political magazine in Texas, the state’s Democrats were comically inept; while Texas grew browner and younger by the day, the party was led by a gang of aging, nostalgic white moderates who clung to the outdated strategies that had won them elections in the 1960s and ’70s. These dinosaurs couldn’t understand why Latinos weren’t registering and voting Democratic in far greater numbers, or why upward of 40 percent of those who did vote sometimes cast ballots for Republicans like Perry—what was wrong with these people?

What was wrong, of course, was that Texas Democrats were giving Latinos and young whites no reason to engage. That started to change in 2012, when Gilberto Hinojosa, a former judge, was elected party chair. “He wanted a progressive, aggressive institution,” said Manny Garcia, who became one of the new hires charged with “creating a Democratic brand” where there was none, and moving the party into the twenty-first century. Texas Democrats now have full-blown data and digital operations; they’re raising more money online than any state party in the country, Garcia said, while plotting “the largest coordinated campaign in the history of Texas” for 2020. The party’s efforts have been aided considerably by voter-engagement groups like Jolt and Texas Rising, which have focused on Latinos and young voters and helped to send voter registration and turnout soaring; from 2014 to 2018, Texas added some 1.8 million new voters, the majority of them women and people of color. The party estimates that “there’s 30,000 to 50,000 Democrats who arrive in the state every month,” according to Garcia, and now—at last—they’re being asked to register, vote, and run for office.

The spooked Republicans recently rolled out a voter-registration PAC of their own, called Engage Texas, which aims to sign up new Republicans. Garcia finds this both telling and amusing. “Those one million unregistered Republicans they’re talking about don’t exist,” he said, laughing. “They’re tapped out.”

It’s been a long time since Democrats in Texas could have a good chuckle at the other party’s expense. Republicans have been so omnipotent that, for years, they’ve been dispatching their own grassroots volunteers to other states at election time; they simply weren’t needed in Texas. Wealthy conservative donors have followed suit, funneling their millions into places where money was needed. That will likely change in 2020, after last year’s wake-up call—though conservative pundits like Sean Trende are worrying aloud about Republican complacency:

Trump and Cornyn will still be favored to win in 2020, partly because the chances of national Democrats fully investing in carrying Texas, at this point, remain slim. With its massive size and large number of media markets, it would cost gazillions to go all-in on winning the state—and national Democrats will probably choose to funnel their resources into the Rust Belt states Trump barely carried in 2016, along with Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, and Arizona.

But nobody in Texas, aside from a few blinkered Republicans, believes that Democrats won’t continue to loosen the Republican stranglehold in 2020. At least half a dozen Republican seats in Congress will be ripe for the taking, and Democrats have a realistic chance of capturing the nine Republican seats in the state House they need to gain a majority—just in time for the next round of redistricting in 2021. If they regain a toehold of power in Austin, and can prevent Republicans from having total control over gerrymandering, Democrats could turn Texas blue in a hurry; if not, it’ll probably be a more gradual process over the next decade, with strict voter ID and other forms of suppression still intact, and districts artificially tilted in Republicans’ favor.

Whether Democrats regain power in Texas quickly or gradually, it still adds up to a doomsday scenario for Republicans—and a precious ray of light, through the fog and gloom of Trumpism, for Democrats."

Note Wired:
"Bob Moser is a contributing editor at The New Republic, and reports on politics for Rolling Stone. He is also the author of Blue Dixie: Awakening the South’s Democratic Majority."


Saturday, 14 September 2019

Merkel warns of danger to EU of Singapore-style UK on its border (Guardian)

The Guardian title: Merkel warns of danger to EU of Singapore-style UK on its border

The Guardian subtitle: UK poses threat if it fails to match regulation standards of bloc, says German chancellor

Publication date: 11 September 2019

"Angela Merkel has highlighted the economic danger posed by Britain if it is allowed to become a Singapore-on-Thames as Boris Johnson’s Brexit envoy outlined a plan to ditch the UK’s commitments to stay aligned to the EU’s social and environmental standards.

In talks with European commission officials, the prime minister’s negotiator, David Frost, insisted that the UK is seeking a “clean break” from an array of the bloc’s regulations, a policy choice from the new British government that has caused alarm in other EU capitals.

As the UK’s new vision was laid out in Brussels, the German chancellor, speaking in the Bundestag, said she was determined to strike a deal with Johnson but that a no-deal Brexit could not be ruled out.

Merkel also warned of the economic threat that the UK could pose. Johnson had privately told EU diplomats during his time as foreign secretary of his desire to build a “buccaneering” Britain, which has been seen as an indication of his plan to recast the UK as a low-tax and low-regulation state.

Merkel’s comments indicate the difficulty that the British government will face in striking what it has described as a “best in class” free trade deal if it fails to match EU standards on goods, workers’ rights, tax and the environment, among others.

EU sources have said that the UK will need to sign up to more onerous, level playing-field obligations than Canada due to the UK’s proximity and the size of its economy.

Diplomats in Brussels said that the British government would be presented with a “Canada minus minus”, potentially including tariffs on some goods, if it seeks to strike a free trade deal without the full array of commitments currently contained in the political declaration on the future relationship agreed with Theresa May.

Merkel told German parliamentarians: “We still have every chance of getting an orderly [Brexit] and the German government will do everything it can to make that possible – right up to the last day. But I also say we are prepared for a disorderly Brexit.

“But the fact remains that after the withdrawal of Britain, we have an economic competitor at our door, even if we want to keep close economic, foreign and security cooperation and friendly relations.

“On the one hand, as Europeans we are weaker with Britain’s exit – that has to be said – but on the other hand, this is the moment to develop new strengths.”

She added: “No country in the world can solve its problems alone and if we all work against each other we will not win. I believe in win-win situations, if we work together.”

A UK government spokesman said: “The UK is seeking to agree a free trade agreement. The EU have always said this is available. Any level playing-field provisions will need to reflect this end state.”

The intervention from Berlin came as France’s minister for Europe, Amélie de Montchalin, accused the UK of breaking “the spirit” of the negotiations by trying to strike “mini-deals” with individual EU member states.

“We see that in the bilateral meetings the British try to get with their opposite numbers that they are trying to organise a managed no deal,” she told a news conference after meeting the 26 ambassadors to France of the EU’s members. The British ambassador was excluded. “And what the British want is to ensure that the different relationships that they have with each EU member state are recreated before the moment of separation, thanks to these mini deals. It is completely contrary to the spirit in which we’ve been negotiating. When [Stephen] Barclay [the UK Brexit secretary] or others try this in France, we say: ‘We hear you. Go and talk to Michel Barnier to see what can be done at the European level.’”

De Montchalin said a no deal was now “highly possible”. She added that a Brexit extension request by the UK would not be accepted under the “current conditions” and the the EU27 would deal with the UK prime minister and not parliament.

She said: “We first have to receive a formal ask. Governments talk to the commission, that’s the way it works. There is no such thing, for example, as parliament asking for an extension. Those who have the legitimacy to represent a country are those who sit at the table of the European council.

“If – and that’s a big if, it seems … we try to follow what’s happening in the UK – but if there is such an ask, we have always said that ‘time for time’ is not an option. So if there is a change in the political scene – a new government, the announcement of elections, something that makes us think the landscape of the discussions is changing – then we will consider an extension.

“I cannot tell you now what might be decided now in such a situation on a night in Brussels in October,” the French minister added. “As we have said, under current circumstances, the answer is no: if nothing changes, we have always said time alone is not a sufficient reason [for another extension]. We cannot commit today, because we have no concrete scenarios yet.” "


Rooster ‘Was Just Being Himself’: Court Rules He Can Keep Crowing (NYT)

NY Times title: Rooster ‘Was Just Being Himself’: Court Rules He Can Keep Crowing

Publication date: 5 September 2019

"PARIS — The most famous rooster in France can continue to crow.

So ruled a French judge on Thursday, rejecting a claim by neighbors on the southwestern island of Oléron that the fowl, named Maurice, was a nuisance and made too much noise.

The judge found that the rooster, being a rooster, had a right to crow in his rural habitat.

“Maurice has won his fight,” his lawyer, Julien Papineau, said after the court decision in the small coastal city of Rochefort. “The judge recalled that, where Maurice is singing, it is in nature. It is in a rural town.”

“This rooster was not being unbearable,” Mr. Papineau added. “He was just being himself.”

The court also awarded the rooster 1,000 euros, about $1,100, in damages — more than enough for a luxury redo of his simple green chicken coop, though the money will go to a fund for the families of those who have perished at sea, his lawyer said.

Maurice, a modest bird with magnificent plumage, did not let out a triumphant cackle at the news of his court victory in Rochefort. His celebrity has not gone to his head.

The rooster and his owner, Corinne Fesseau, had been sued by a retired couple, Jean-Louis Biron and Joëlle Andrieux, who have a vacation home in the area and claimed that Maurice’s crowing had made their holidays stressful.

The rooster’s case had been taken up by thousands of people across France as a symbol of rural values — eternal values in France — that they say are under threat.

Other neighbors staunchly defended Maurice, and the mayor passed an ordinance protecting the animal’s rights.

The judge’s decision was soundly based on French law, the lawyer said. In these “fights between neighbors, the nuisance has to be excessive, or permanent,” Mr. Papineau said.

The court found that neither was the case.

“This is a reaffirmation that people of bad faith don’t always win,” Mr. Papineau said, “and that we’ve got to accept nature’s sounds.” "


Friday, 13 September 2019

Lessons in Love

The article that I used for Tuesday's blog came as a relief. Apparently, others experience the same as I do. In fact, its contents have been on my mind for quite some time. Why is it that the duration of my relationships gets shorter and shorter? I am the only constant factor. Hence, the issue should logically reside with me (eg, my incompatibility).

At work, I have always had issues with people who are lazy, dependent, and/or dumb. I have always preferred working with reasonably smart, independent, and hard-working people. Until writing this line, I had never considered that I may have copied that approach into my private life.

Some people bring joy into your life, whether at home or at work. To me, bringing joy has always been a big compensation for any deficiencies. Your tolerance level becomes higher and you just accept more (actually: less) of them.

Love is perhaps the greatest joy of all because you will accept all kinds of flaws from that person. Sexual intimacy is another source of great joy. Its (deliberate) absence causes major problems in relationships (Guardian-2019HuffPost-2014, Psychology Today-2016).

John Gottman and his business and romantic partner Julie Gottman (ie, the Gottman Institute) recently published their newest book: Eight dates. They mention the 8 categories that are fitfalls for any relationship: trust and commitment, conflict, sex, money and work, family, fun and adventure, spirituality, and dreams and ambitions (Guardian-2019).

My irritation with certain people might relate to #2: conflict. However, I avoid conflict unless it serves a purpose. I prefer harmony in my own life and with others. Avoiding conflict may very well result in a shorter duration of a relationship.

I just realised that I am learning from my romantic failures by applying an improved due diligence process: long phone conversations before meeting someone, as well as Google background checks (eg, Facebook, LinkedIn). Actually, interviewing candidates for an open job is similar. Companies, like banks, use customer due diligence before starting a commercial relationship.

The shorter duration of my relationships isn't only negative. My longest relationship was my biggest failure. My second longest relationship was a mix of failure and success. My third and fourth longest relationship were relatively successful. The others may qualify for a Dutch saying: It's better to stop half way than to persevere in error.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” A quote by Rumi (1207-1273), a Persian poet.

Lessons in Love (1986) by Level 42

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise