I see my grand-mother more often these days. I come over, we sit down for a cup of Turkish coffee, we talk. At some point I understood that her experience has survived decades, and is more worthwhile than anything I'd have to say. So the older I get, the more I let her do the talking and I just sit and listen. What she has to say is usually simple, true and wise.
"Why were all dictators insane?" she asked me. I was not really sure if it was a rhetorical question.
"Well, there is no such thing as a 'good dictatorship'" I replied. "Maybe you have to be insane to pursue such a career."
"Hm. Maybe. When Lenin died, and the people asked him to name a successor, do you know what he said?"
Yes, I knew the story. "He said: anyone but Stalin."
"Yes, that's what he said. Anyone but Stalin. And who did they choose?"
"Stalin." I nodded. "But why?"
"Why? You want to know why? I'll tell you why. Because sometimes people are just plain stupid, that's why. Ah. Lenin was a sick man, a revolutionary and not very bright. But he was not Stalin. Stalin was a devil. They keep talking about Hitler, but believe me, Stalin was no better. They were both the same, murderers both. Insane."
It's a good question actually: why do people do this? Not the murdering part, we will not talk about what drives the insane. No, the people who brought him to power.
The same happened in Germany 1933 when Hitler became Chancellor. After winning the election he stepped before the Reichstag and asked the people for the right to rule for 4 years without the controlling function of a parliament. For that feed he needed a 2/3rd majority which his party did not have. But the incredible happened: the conservatives and the liberals gave him their votes. With their blood Hitler buried democracy itself. The only ones voting against it were the SPD (the socialists) and the KPD (the communists) but it was useless. The people had willingly handed the knife to their own butcher.
How could his happen? Until now I have found no better explanation. Sometimes people are just plain stupid.
The new Mirrormask trailer
Where's my brain again?
Writing is thinking on paper.
Writing is a habit. Or rather: you have to make it a habit. Instead of examining something in your head, you write about it.
For me it is important to be aware of that because I know the more I think about something, the less I tend to write about it. One possible explanation might be that the mind is a complex device while letters and marks are merely linear. And transforming a multi-dimensional product into something one-dimensional is straining. Whereas when you start by putting words into a line, your thoughts will follow that line. Or something like that.
What I observed was that when my mind starts working on a theme, it quickly becomes too big, and I get weary of "just typing it down" before I even open my word processor. It's a trap. The mind is lazy. It can think about a problem without really working on it. If the problem is solved in the process, well, that's just a convenient side effect. Writing on the other hand is associated with work. And you know what? We'll do that later, won't we?
The idea is to decentralise your thoughts. Cognitive federalism.
Writing is not work.