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Israel to Iran

Warmongering is the work of governments and economic interests, we know this. So it is about time we begin to see this people-to-people-messages. Because this pending war between us, it's not people against people. It's government against government. There is, of course, two videos I would still love to see on this topic: Israel-to-Palestine and Palestine-to-Israel.


Waffle heart

Wonder what it's like in Gardistan? This music video is built from cuts from the TV-series "Waffle Heart", recorded on the island (Runde). The song is the theme song of the TV-series, based on the book with the same name written by Maria Parr. It is possibly the best children's book I have ever read, it was very hard for me to put it down when the children fell asleep. I hate to admit, but I even fell a few tears on the saddest parts. It's not really a children's book, it's a story for everyone. About compassion, friendship, family, love, waffles and what it's like to live out here, on the edge of the world. International translations are in the works.  Music by Odd Nordstoga, who also played "the doctor" in the series. I hope the video works outside Norway.

Lyrics roughly translated to English:

There is light out there, that you can see from where you live
When you're afraid and alone, it's not like you think it is
It is not so, that nobody has thoughts for a small one
who lies there so alone and afraid
longing for the morning to lights and wind and weather
and is scared by the dark, big, scary

And it isn't so, that you don't have a best friend
No, it isn't so, that you don't have a best friend

There is a light out there, that my eyes rest on
when (the waves) break against the beach, but there is nothing you can see
It isn't so, that others aren't small, too
Because the ocean breaks even the hardest mountain
But out there, swipes a light for me and you
And show the way home to the quiet gardens

And it isn't so, that you don't have a best friend
No, it isn't so, that you don't have a best friend

Do you see the fence, go to the gate
Do you see the door, come in, then
Do you see the stairs, take a step and come inside

Because it isn't so that you don't have a best friend
No, it isn't so that you don't have a best friend
No, it isn't so that you don't have a best friend


Bullying: Responsibility

The Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang recently had an article about a psychologist, practicing cognitive therapy, making a statement about the victims of bullying needing to take responsibility to change their thought pattern so that they don't feel like victims.

He also went further, saying that verbal bullying has great resemblance to freedom of expression. Because often, WHAT is being said is not actually illegal.

This caused a bit of a stir. The office of the Children's Ombudsman responded with a letter stating that bullying is NOT freedom of expression, and that it is never the victim's responsibility that bullying occurs. In an anti-bullying forum on Facebook, several people obviously sided with the Ombudsman, some even making statements about the doctor that resemble, well, verbal bullying. How dare he blame the victims? The victim is never at fault. (The moderator, I'm happy to say, understood exactly what the doc was sayin')

I believe, however, that the doctor is right, and that the Ombudsman and the others who respond negatively are simply blinded by the attitude that the bully has the entire blame for the bullying. Because what they make so much noise about is not really about anything the good doctor has said.

Freedom of expression

Yes, verbal bullying can be compared to freedom of expression. Let me explain how.

In a very simple explanation of psychology, something happens, this thing means something to you, the meaning generates an emotion, and you act on the emotion. Your action then causes something else to happen, which means something - and so on.

First scenario: "Something happening" might be that a bully tells you you're worthless. In your mind, this statement might be a confirmation about your idea that you are worthless. This gives you pain, and you start crying. Bully scored!

Second scenario: "Something happening" might be that someone drew a made a movie depicting Muhammad as a child molestor, and you learn that the US government is showing this movie in all TV channels in the USA. In your mind, this seems to indicate that the US government is building up a consensus to attack your country, and you and your family will be killed. So you become outraged and go put the American Embassy in flames.

The power of verbal bullying lies in the second stage: what this means to you, and the emotion attached to this meaning. And you have the power to change that meaning. So let us try the first scenario again with a different meaning:

Bully tells you that you're worthless. In your mind, you realize that the bully is trying to tear you down, so that he can feel good about himself, and so you get a feeling of petty and decide to give him a hug, telling him he doesn't have to tear other people down to get hugs, all he has to do is ask.


The thing is, the only person who can change what something means to you is yourself. Noone can do it for you, and therefore you are responsible for the change to happen. This also means that the victim is responsible for the change to happen within themselves. This is what the good doctor is trying to convey, and it is absolutely true.

But it is not the full story.

Newborn children does not understand these concepts. They learn from the people around them. And the people around them are usually not cognitive therapists. So if we want to instill the non-bully behaviour in our children and thereby create a better, bully free society, we all have to take responsibility to increase our own knowledge and skills, so that we can become better role models for our children.


Bullying: Media frenzy

I do not always agree with The Amazing Atheist, but he is my favourite Devil's Advocate. And picking up on the feed about Amanda Todd, he made an excellent point - there are so many people out there who have been bullied so far that they kill themselves, it is a great question why exactly Amanda Todd has been singled out and turned into a story. Even Anonymous has gone to lengths to find her bullies, but what about those who are responsible for similar suicides, not to mention those who are active bullies today?

Will this be yet another story that is forgotten as soon as the US presidential election is over? Or will there be an actual earth shattering change?

Please! Prove The Amazing Atheist wrong, let's explore the root causes of bullying and do some major change at all levels of society - on a global scale. Let's treat the illness, not the symptom.


Bullying: Amanda Todd

For those who don't know the case of Amanda Todd, her story can be found at the bottom of the article.

Bully apologism and death penalty

In the trail of Amanda Todd's suicide, a whole bunch of people - some trolling, some being honest about their opinion - see Amanda's suicide as self inflicted and well deserved. So what they are really saying is: If a woman shows her breasts and sleep with someone's boyfriend, she should be dragged to the city square and stoned. As usual, the guy is of no fault, so he gets to take part of the stoning.

I don't know about you, but I don't want women to grow up thinking there is a death penalty for showing their breasts. Nor do I want anyone to think there is a death penalty for a silly mistake they did in 7th grade.

Mental health

Amanda started getting mental illnesss after photos of her breasts started circulating on the Internet, which constitutes a major traumatic event. At that moment, her perception of her life was changed dramatically. She feels shame, a matter of "I am" rather than "I did". She crossed the clinical line. And as she moved from place to place, she got a constant confirmation from people around her, that she "is" a mistake.

This is, in my opinion, a flawed thinking that a lot of people do. In the bullying that followed, the perpetrator was able to make life hell for her only because all her friends looked at it as a case of "you are" rather than "you did". It should take little effort to realize that yes, people in seventh grade do make mistakes, and that a child pornographer should not be your source of knowledge about the worth of children.

So when we're talking about mental health, we need to see the whole system. Everyone involved in the bullying were basically just trying to show off that they were better than her. I don't think destroying someone you see as lower than yourself makes you a better person. A better person has compassion. A better person does not strive to show off that they are better.


Indeed, a mentally secure and stable person does not have a need to compare themselves to others. My claim is that this shows a society-wide mental health issue. And it exists because children today are not educated in good morals and what it really means to be good. And possibly because it is being viewed as a task for the parents only, without giving the parents the tools needed to do this part of the job.

You have no friends

"Look around you, you have no friends," she was confronted with, as a way of pushing her further into the dirt. Why, a better person would have continued with "let me help you".

Today's TED is about shame.

Background: Amanda's story in her own words


Bullying: What is it?

In media today, the issue of bullying comes up at an increasingly frequent rate. Some stories similar, some stories different. There's the teen girl who committed suicide after being bullied, there's the politician who says "they're bullying me" and even representatives of a specific trade exclaiming "we feel bullied."

There are many definitions of bullying. I thought I had a good explanation when I defined my own "modes of bullying" to show how the operation changes as people grow older and the bullying evolves.

In 2002, the Norwegian goverment signed a "Manifest against bullying", which in turn prompted the Labour Inspection Authority to make a legal definition of bullying that would be somewhat managable from a monetary perspective: The work against bullying is limited to cases that occure "repeatedly and over time", and much effort is therefore also put into reactive policies.

My latest analysis of the mechanics of bullying, however, leaves me with an even simpler, psychological view: Bullying is when someone exerts physical or pschological supressive/destructive power against someone who is not likely to defend themselves. That is, if the target is someone who IS able to defend themselves and protect their physical and mental health, it is only an attempt of bullying. Whether the deed is repeated over time is irrelevant. If the target was hurt, it was bullying.

While my understanding of prophylactic psychology is limited to some books and one single lecture, I have no hestitation to state that the bully targets people who feel they have little right to be true to themselves. And by extention, the target is someone who is more dependent on external affirmation, rather than internal.

If we turn our focus to the bully, it is typically believed (I find little hard facts, so I intend to find some bullies to interview) that their behaviour is a method to feel better than others. They receive their affirmation by by-standers, "lieutenants" and the submission of the target. Similarly, "lieutenants" seek affirmation from the main bully. Indeed, there is a very thin line between bullying and crime - and often, this line is crossed.

To sum up, bullying occures between individuals who have low or non-existant internal affirmation. None of the people involved have really found "the right to be true to themselves". The roles they play in the bully game reflects the roles they have learned that statistically increase their external affirmation - up to the point that "being bullied" is an affirmation of your existance, even when it destroys you mentally and ultimately will drive you to suicide.

It is therefore clear to me, that preventive actions should be concentrated round the improvement of internal affirmation. Putting our efforts into this field would reduce the number of people who are susceptible to bullying (the bully's target-market), it would reduce the number of "lieutenants", it would reduce the bully's urge to hurt others, and more by-standers would dare to interviene.

As a bonus, I believe that average grades in school are likely to increase as well, as low internal affirmation creates mental stumbling blocks in students.