The many struggles of Lizzy Clark PART 1: What she failed to see when walking through the park

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One morning, a girl named Lizzy woke up and made a firm decision: Today she would finally take that afternoon stroll in the local park  – only this time, through the eyes of J.R Tolkien, J.M Barrie, Michael Ende, and C.S Lewis. 

As she entered, she closed both eyes, squeezed them hard and imagined what it must feel like to be Tolkien – to invent one’s own language – to be Lewis at his home, planning a new story while painting and reshaping his dog into a lion, and his cats into half-human-half-horses  – and by the time her eyes opened, she saw a glimmer of fairy dust and above all … magic! 

Before her feet – by the pond with the colorful flowers, lay a bunch of yellow-white fairies who, one by one, flew out of their egg-nest while blowing soap-bubbles in the air. They all shared a peal of mocking laughter with a sprinkle of evil. What were they laughing at? They were laughing at all the strange humans passing them by every minute with their headphones glued to their ears, never noticing, never listening, never knowing the fairies were there. Now, Lizzy knew. She had noticed.

She then walked a little further and saw coral blue and emerald green mermaids swimming around in the big wide fountain – drinking and gulping up water at each other – giggling and sharing jokes because the fountain did in fact not produce water, but champagne. And no one knew but them. 

Then, as the magical fairy dust carried her body further down the screwy path of oaks and willows, she froze – astonished by the sight of branches moving; They were reaching out to each other, sharing a cup of tea with biscuits. The branches had eyes planted to their necks and they talked! And if … one looked close enough, one would be able to see the father of the branches – for the branches were, in fact, children of the bush, belonging to the great, big tree in the middle. He was busy hushing and scolding his mischievous little children for being so awfully loud. 

After the brief encounter with the talkative branches, Lizzy’s feet carried her off to the little pond with goldfish. Except, perhaps they were not goldfish .. For, as she came closer and really looked – she spotted something else – and the realization hit her; “Goldfish” is the name they’ve all been given by human beings – they will henceforth forever be perceived this way. But really – they are miniature mermaids, tinted with the holiest of all the colors in Mother Nature; The Rusty Rose. 

Inside the reflection of her face (the pond), they were swimming around in a circle of gold … but … were they really swimming? 

No. If one looked closer, one could catch a glimpse of the mermaids dancing. “The Ballerina of The Rusty Roses”; A dance so beautiful, so alluring that – if a person stood there for too long – they might bewitch them, making their body freeze to the ground with their eyes forever glued to the little pond. 

Then, over to the next fountain; “The King’s Fountain”, Lizzy saw a creme-white castle, planting its feet in the middle of the water – caked with a hundred bell-towers, church-windows and little angles made out of marble; All of the statues that were glued to the castle had now been set free – they were floating on sugar-clouds, singing and sanctifying the richness of Nature. They were pointing their fingers to the talking branches which – in the human’s perception – held the shape of trees standing still, then they pointed to the yellow-white fairies disguised as poppies, the whistling dragons in the shape of birds, the flying warriors, Gods and Goddesses from the Greek Myths – each one bore the mask of little ants and mosquitos. They were addressing all of those things we supposedly “see” every day around us, but don’t … not really.

For what do we really perceive if all we see is but the interpretation society has already given us? Lizzy wondered. What do our eyes behold as we walk through the park with our little devices? Do we see what we see, or what the screen sees? Are our brains infused with the picture our friend just posted? Will we look at the talking branches and only see .. branches? Will we perhaps .. not even look –  all we see is nothing but the air around us, mingled with some green and some blue, and the last newsfeed on our phone? 

There is much more, she now knew. Nature knows it. And it is laughing at us every day, for not noticing. 

 

 

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Saturday Insight: I quit sugar for 3 months – here’s what happened

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Way back in the fall of 2018, before Christmas and before Thanksgiving – I suddenly woke up one day with a revelation: My sweet tooth was gone. How did this happen? Had I been eating so much sugar in my life that my body suddenly had decided to shut down on it completely? 

I used to be the kind of girl who was known for my sweet tooth. I loved having pastries for breakfast, ice cream in the summer, and after dinner, I always felt a deep craving for dessert. In my High School years, I would eat at least one sugary thing every day. Yeah, I’m not kidding. It was either a snicker-bar (I was obsessed!) a cinnamon-bun, a soda (which was mostly Redbull) or a brownie. I used this habit as a tool to stay up later and study for my exams. If it was an important one, I would sit by my desk with a bunch of chocolate bars, an energy drink and a huge mug of black coffee.

I was, in other words, a textbook example for someone struggling with an addiction.

However – after I woke up that morning in fall 2018, not only did I not want sugar anymore – my gut and my teeth felt physically disgusted by it.

I tried eating a piece of chocolate, but instead of enjoying the flavors, my mind was entirely focused on all the synthetic sugar I had deliberately put in between my white, shiny teeth.

I felt that evil crystalline substance grinding on my internal organs as if that one chocolate bar was now the most self-destructive thing I had ever done towards my own body. I wasn’t wrong. It is crazy how we actually allow ourselves to do this, but, more on that later… 

So, what had happened? What led me to wake up one morning with a sudden revulsion towards sugar? 

 Well, the answer was simple; Without really knowing it, I had, slowly but surely, been cutting out sugar from my diet in the duration of six months.

I had been living alone for a while and didn’t want to act all careless with my expenses – so I didn’t allow myself to buy anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary for my body’s well being.

This conscious choice had resulted in a diet, only containing protein and vegetables, or more precisely: Eggs, chicken, red meat, carrots, onions, and broccoli. 

Yup. Believe it or not, but that’s all I ever ate for a couple of months. It worked. It was cheap, I felt healthy and I was able to exercise and do my job.

Then, suddenly, when being introduced to pastries again (which happened the day I woke up without a sweet tooth) I almost gagged. 

Later, I came across this video on YouTube and it all made a ton of sense .. 

 

The more sugar you eat, the more you crave! 

So if you slowly cut out sugar from your diet, bit by bit, you’ll come to realize that your body doesn’t actually want it anymore. Why? Because it realizes what a poison this substance really is!

It was because of my prior addiction to sugar that my body had adapted to the hostile era of my gut – making me less able to actually react to sweet things.

Now, however, after all those months of a sole protein-vegetable-diet, I am finally able to detect things containing too much artificial sugar. If it’s too sweet for me, I won’t eat it. That’s my body reacting in the right way. 

 

So what happened when I decided to actually cut out all sugar from my diet? 

 

  1. Tiredness and exhaustion disappeared 

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It sounds like a contradiction, I know. But sugar is supposed to make your more awake, right?

Nah … it’s not. That’s the image society projects to you. But it is, in fact, the complete opposite.

Yes, you do get a sudden zest of vigours energy after eating a snicker-bar, but that energy goes away as quickly as its arrival. And when it does go away, not only does it put you back into your normal anti-hyper state – it makes you even more tired than you were before eating the snicker-bar. What?! 

If your brain tells you: Sugar makes you more energized, then you should change that mindset to protein makes you more energized.

In fact, in an article on wellandgood.com, Ilana Muhlstein doesn’t deny that a fresh supply of glucose from carbs gives you a little shot of energy. However, she explains that if you want long-lasting stamina, reaching for those eggs and veggies instead is key. 

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It’s not unheard of that those who exercise vigorously have to keep a strict diet that’s high in protein.

They do this to stay awake and to not trick their body into thinking it’s full of energy when it’s not. When I quit sugar that fall, afternoon naps were no longer a necessity. Instead, it was an option. 

 

2. I felt less anxious and stressed 

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The realization came quickly: The sugar I had – in prior days – injected into my body, did something really bad to my mental state. 

According to Sara Lindberg from healthline.com, sugar releases insulin to help absorb the excess glucose in the bloodstream and stabilize blood sugar levels. This is a good thing. However – too much of this process can create a sugar rush, which makes your body work hard to get back to normal levels.

This roller coaster of ups and downs leaves you feeling nervous, foggy, irritable, jittery and drained. You don’t want this to become normal, do you? 

Well, I can say with my hand on my heart that my mental state never felt better than during the time I cut sugar out of my diet. 

 

3. My cravings were gone 

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Suddenly, the things I used to crave before became superfluous, uninteresting. They were just too sweet for me! And that will happen to you too if you decide to go on the same journey.

That Nutella Jar will be left unopened, because now, every time you take a spoonful of it, you’ll feel an explosive sugar-bomb in your mouth. Not pleasant.  

In fact, a plate of fries or a good stake become the things you crave more. Because they are filled with protein.

Your body wants that now because it got rid of the addiction and it can finally work in a proper, more sensible way.

Congratulations. You are not tricking your body anymore.

 

Ready to hop on the same train after the Easter holidays? 

 


 

Love, 

Aftur S. Nerdrum 

 

 

 

 

#sugaraddiction #whyIquitsugar #quittingsugar #cuttingsugar #diets #health #newarticle #sugar #addiction #journalism #articles #freelancewriter #blogger #afturswritings #saturdayinsight

Obituary for The Cathedral of Notre Dame

For 859 summers, winters, autumns and springs, Notre Dame in Paris has been standing there, casting its immortal beauty upon a place known as “the city of love”. Those festive chimes from the great bells have planted a familiar melody in our hearts; The melody of a truly spectacular Western civilization. Yet, the bells sang the song, blissfully unaware of their forthcoming tragedy of which would take place one spring afternoon in the year of 2019. A cathedral admired by all the men and women of Paris, of France and of the rest of the world, has now succumbed by the evil force of Lucifer’s flames. Precious collectibles and historical gems have within minutes been swallowed by a luminous blaze of fire, so strong, so wicked that no one and nothing could stand a chance against it. Undoubtedly, this event will become a historical landmark; 15th of April – the dreaded day which would change the future history of France entirely. The recent death of one of the greatest buildings in history is and will always remain an unspeakable calamity. But with every action comes a reaction. With every destruction, comes a rebuilding. This might be an end for millions of people, but it is also a beginning – for as long as we keep the visual recollections of its beauty in our memory, we can create something extraordinary. And while the ghost of Victor Hugo’s Quasimodo still keeps living on in our hearts, so will the Cathedral of Notre Dame …


 

Love, 

Aftur S. Nerdrum 

 

 

#notredame #restinpeace #notredameonfire

Aftur recommends: A brand new culture-channel with an encouraging message

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“The cave of Apelles” = The modern-day version of the French Salons 


If you like the Rubin Report, you’ll fall in love with this brand new talk show. 

As a result of the Modern Movement in architecture (1925-1950), the early 20th century Cubanism and architect, Ludwig Miles van der Rohe (1886-1969) who first coined the phrase “Less is more” – pessimismdepression and despair have probably been the most common terms used among the aesthetically interested in association to the 21st century’s cultural development. It is easy to envision our world crumbling to pieces. Now, the difficult thing would be to actually see the light in the gutter. Can we rise up and away from the modern, the clean and the empty? Or are we just becoming a failed human species who have decided to partake in our own destruction? Well, as Isaac Newton once stated: “To every action, there is always opposed an equal reaction.”We must always remember: Following the apocalyptic Middle Ages, came the Renaissance. And The Thirty Year’s war between the Catholic and the Protestant states (1618 to 1648) eventually led to the birth of The Enlightenment. The same thing is happening now – with the creation of “The Cave of Apelles”. It seems as though a small group of people has decided to come with a strong reaction against the evergrowing era of modernism and simplicity; The Nerdrum-clan is not only making a better alternative for art-schools, now, they are also changing the world … 

The interviewer = Jan Ove Tuv, a figurative kitsch-painter, teacher and a former student of my father, Odd Nerdrum. He interviews musicians, painters, philosophers and other craftspeople. His questions are relatable, easy to follow and very well thought through. If you’re a painter or another creative of some kind, when listening to him, you’ll immediately feel a sense of comfort and support. We know it’s rough out there, but this is why this talk show was created – to bring all of us together and to find a solution to our mutual solitude. 

The setting = Probably one of the factors that make this talk show so enjoyable to look at. Each discussion is located in a wooden room with dim lighting, candle lights burning, masterpieces hanging on the walls, a small, round table clothed with a beautiful wine-red, renaissance-looking fabric. The guests usually drink either wine or beer. Sometimes there’s even food. 

Creator = Bork S. Nerdrum. He is my brother but he’s also an amazing film-director, editor, screenplay writer and camera-man. (Uhmm, hello, new Woody Allen or Charlie Chaplin??) This young, talented man also created a 6-episode-long documentary about my father, called “The Hunt of Odd Nerdrum”. If you haven’t checked it out already, you can do that by clicking HERE. 

The message = It’s evident that what they wish to convey to the world is inspiring; Culture is not over. Enthusiasm for the old Masters and the learnings of Ancient Greece is still present, and there will be a second Renaissance.

Go watch this talk-show right now. You will not be disappointed. 


 

 

Love,

Aftur S. Nerdrum 

 

 

 

#afturrecommends #mondayrecommendation #thecaveofapelles #newtalkshow #oddnerdrum #thenerdrumschool #cultureisnotdead #culture #thesecondRenaissance

Saturday Insight: Does learning a new language make you more tolerant?

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As most of you probably know already, my current residence is and has been for a while now, San Miguel De Allende in Mexico. It’s a charming town; Filled with colors, music and neoclassical buildings, where chocolate-bars are wrapped in brown paper and milk comes in cute glass-bottles. Yes, it does feel like I’ve gone back in time to the 1950s, and I’m enjoying each day with an absolute feeling of freedom and autonomy. My only problem is … I have to learn the Spanish language.

This realization came quickly … and painfully: There I was, standing in front of the counter in my favorite pastry-shop, my body, desperately in need of coffee, my mind, confused and frustrated by the fact that none of the cashiers spoke the most worldly language out there; English. So … I, I grabbed my phone and started typing in some words on google-translate as a desperate attempt of finding out what “Can I please have” was in Spanish. And that’s when it all came to me: What an idiot I had been. I pictured myself coming home without having learned one phrase or sentence in Spanish – I would probably be the laughing-stock in my family. Yeah, I can just hear them shouting: “What? You’ve been to Mexico but you haven’t even bothered to learn the language??”  Yeah. Go ahead and blame me. I deserve it. So, what did I do next? Well, I sat down and really began dedicating myself to verbs and grammar. And that was when another thought came through my head: What does learning a new language really do to your personality? 

Of course, we all know the obvious: Learning a new Language increases your brain-capacity, including the ability to focus and to connect patterns, as well as it lessens the likelihood of developing dementia. But how does it change your character? 

After a little bit of research, I came across an article on languagetrainers.co.uk where the bilingual writer, Katie Collom connects language learning with cultural competence. Ultimately, she suggests that when learning a new language, you simultaneously acquire knowledge about a new culture, country, or even a new way of life. If we connect more dots, we can find that this might be the reason why ambassadors are often diplomats and vice versa. Katie Collom also touches on the subject related to human beings and their natural inclination towards intolerance. She says: “It’s part of human nature to be wary of change or of those who are very different from ourselves. We crave uniformity and comfort, and for some, it can be a true struggle to step outside that familiar zone.”

It is, therefore, crucial for everyone to try to learn a third language, or at least, if you can, a second one. Seeing that in language classes, you won’t just be touching on themes related to grammar, vocabulary, and sentence structure, but also on topics related to everyday life, the country’s history and their unique cultural social cues. This is crucial for learning because it makes it much easier for our cognitive brain to pick up on new words if they’re put in an association with something else. 

So, what are the key-behavioral changes that happen to you when acquiring a new language to your everyday life? Well … 

  1. It opens your eyes to another way of thinking 

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Learning a new language has scientifically been proven to increase our practical intelligence which helps us pick up on social cues. By learning about their culture, we slowly begin to develop their ways of understanding things. 

 

2. You develop ‘tolerance of ambiguity’

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This means your brain becomes more programmed to find unfamiliar situations exciting rather than scary. It also allows you to feel more comfortable with unfamiliar words. That strange language you once thought was too harsh and brutal for your taste, suddenly seems rather nice and pleasant to listen to! 

 

3. The higher tolerance that comes from language-learning allows you to be less anxious in social situations 

i-doodle-comics-to-help-others-with-anxiety-fb4__700-png.jpgStruggling with social anxiety? Try learning a new language – go abroad, open up your horizons! 

 

4. Apparently – there’s a link between entrepreneurs and bilinguals 

entrepreneurs-illustration_23-2147514202.jpgLearning a new languages makes you more tolerant, which in turn, makes you more comfortable with stepping out of your comfort zone, talking to someone new and making business deals you never even thought of before. Is it strange to you now, that entrepreneurs are usually the ones with enhanced language-skills? 

 


End conclusion: Learning another language DOES make you more tolerant, plus, the other benefits of this activity are endless! So, next time you’re going somewhere – perhaps it’s just a vacation in the south – try jumping on that online-course and learn that language. It will do good for your brain and your social interactions. And yes, I will definitely return to my Spanish grammar after this. 


 

Love, 

Aftur S. Nerdrum 

 

 

 

 

#language #languages #learninganewlanguage #bilingual #onlinecourse #moretolreant #thirdlanguage #secondlanguage #wordlypeople #insightsaturday #canlanguagesmakeyoumoretolerant #articles #journalism #journalist #freelancewriter #writer #blogger #afturswritings

Why everyone should read the new Dan Brown book: “Origin”

“Well, science and religion are not competitors, they’re two different languages trying to tell the same story. There’s room in this world for both.”

– Robert Langdon from “Origin”


 

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Plot Summary: 

Ever since the origin of humanity, we have been trying to find answers to the two fundamental questions regarding our existence: Where do we come from? Where are we going? Allegedly, at the Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao, Spain, computer genius, futurist and billionaire, Edmond Kirsch, will answer these questions guarded by his own scientific studies and on top of that – partake in the unveiling of groundbreaking discovery that “will change the face of science forever.” Not only that – he also claims that it will destroy any notion of religion or spiritualism for good. Because of angry Catholics who want to protect their religion from any outside danger, Kirsch’s meticulously arranged avant-garde style presentation soon explodes into pandemonium as Kirsch gets brutally murdered. One of the invitees is Harvard Professor of symbology, Robert Langdon, who happens to be Edmund’s old professor and friend. Langdon finds out that Edmond’s video file, saved on his cell phone, is encrypted – and with that, he decides to embark on a perilous quest to find the device and release to humanity what his friend died for.


 

Well well well … Dan Brown, you did it again. You put our beloved hero, Mr. Langdon, in an impossible spot, forced to solve a puzzle in which the result could determine the beliefs, values, and lives of others.

How would this book be any different from the ones written before? And why would anyone bother to read the exact same plot again? 

I’ll tell you. Because believe it or not – this book is in some ways, poles apart from “The Da Vinci Code”, “Angels and Demons” and “Inferno”. Yes, the main character is unfolding an impossible riddle. Yes, there is a beautiful woman beside him on the journey, and yes, religion is a big part of the plot. But the most crucial part of this story is, in fact, one that the author has not embellished upon before, namely science-fiction. Yes. You heard me right. Dan Brown has written a book in which could easily be characterized as one among the computer-geeks, futurists, and astronomists in laboratories.

But fear not, dear readers. Our Robert Langdon is still the same old professor as he always was and always will be: A linguistic academic, classicist, history-nerd and code-breaker. Meaning, for the first time in the history of the Langdon-book-series, our protagonist has very little, better yet, no clue as to what is going on half of the time.

What?? (I can hear all of you crumble in your seats while reading this.) Could the professor have embarked on a mysterious journey that is beyond his intellectual understanding?? 

Yes. At least from my humble point of view, this book isn’t so much based on the intellectual capacity of Robert Langdon, rather, the brains of the actual hero of the plot; Edmund Kirsch. 

Through reading, I found out that Edmund Kirsch is the hero of the story for many reasons. A few of them being: 

  • His scientific discovery goes beyond himself, meaning; Because he believes so much in the outcome of his findings, he risks doing something that could potentially lead to the execution of his own life.
  • All that matters to him is for humanity to lead a better life with the truth, instead of a pleasant lie (which he calls religion) 
  • When he finds out that he’s most likely going to die under his speech, he deliberately leaves tracks and traces so that Robert Langdon can find the rest of his discovery after the assassination.
  • Whatever the discovery will present itself to be, the world knows that his presence and his speech will have had a significant impact on the future of humanity. 

Are you still confused as to why I, so arrogantly, claimed that everyone should read this book? Of course, you are! This is nothing but a lame, fantasy-book, pondering a couple of science-fiction theories that have already been done conspiracy-theories on by nerds and geeks across the globe! How could Dan Brown deceive us like that?  — That’s what you think, isn’t it? But you’re wrong. This book is so much more than that, and I will show you why by making a list of ideas and key-theories that are discussed in this great work of literature: 


  1. The universal conflict between atheism and religion 

    The very first pages of this book (the prologue) open up with an interesting discussion between an atheist and a Catholic priest; Edmund Kirsch and

    Bishop Antonio Valdespino. The transparent passive aggressiveness that’s lurking underneath the lines sets an immediate tone for the rest of the story – hinting to the reader that these opposing ideologies, atheism, and religion, will play a significant role in the remaining lifetime of our hero Edmund Kirsh. When Kirsch opens up to the priest about how he calculated only a twenty percent chance he would accept them meeting (seeing that Kirsch was a famous scientist and a nonbeliever) the priest calmly replies:” The devout can always benefit from listening to nonbelievers. It is in hearing the voice of the devil that we can better appreciate the voice of God.”

    This statement leaves you wondering why Kirsch would even be of any threat to the Catholics, regardless of what he has yet to confirm in his speech. However – later that day – when Kirsch holds a private performance on his scientific discoveries to all the influential priests in “The Parliament of the World’s Religions.” – before revealing it to the whole world, no one can believe their eyes or ears. Bishop Valdespino leaves the speech in utter frustration, decisive on the brutality he feels obliged to perform, which is to kill the most powerful religious threat out there; Edmund Kirsch. My thoughts, confused. However, I later concluded that the reason why the threat was so big, was of course – because most of the religious believers in this world, only believe because they’re taught to believe. Few of them actually read the entire work of the Holy Bible, partake in intellectual discussions with their priest or question the symbols and allegories that are tied to a religion. Bishop Valdespino is confident that he’ll never be persuaded in another direction because he has actually looked into his religion and questioned everything there is to question. But he knows that if everyone else gets to hear another truth, they’ll most likely fall for it. My conclusion of all this goes: There will always be a minority of religious individuals who question and devote themselves to biblical knowledge about their questionings. But then, as a result of this, there will always be the majority who believe blindly followed by a familiarity that they were presented with by their community; They believe because it’s convenient, not necessarily because they see the values that come with believing.

  2. The archetypical atheist who believes in a prosperous future world where only one religion dominates; The religion of Technology and Science 

And here we have our hero, Edmund Kirsch. On top of being an atheist and a computer-nerd who specializes in mathematics and game-theory, he’s also a hopeless idealist. He wants to change the world; To dimish all war, religious conflict, terror, and torture. He childishly thinks that if the world would have no God, our globe would be consumed with peace at last. Of course, he was too idealistic for his own good. Mr. Langdon doesn’t hesitate with thinking that he’s wrong, neither does the public or the reader (at least myself!) But in some ways, he did get exactly what he wanted. He died in peace, happy at last – because he knew that his theory would be distributed to the world, therefore, his childish notion of a peaceful world could go no existing. Because after all, what exists is only what we make it be, isn’t it? 

3. The archetypical villain who – in many ways – we find ourselves sympathizing with 

It’s always a plus when we can relate to a villain as it makes it all the more fun to read to the end of the book. We want the hero to succeed, but … at the same time, doesn’t the villain have a point too? 

The villain in this story (or more like, villains) are/is the Catholic sovereignty in Spain. Bishop Valdespino desperately wants to save his family’s innocence by preventing Kirsch’s discoveries ever to come out to the public. And can we blame him? This crazy scientist is shamelessly about to destroy all the purity left in this world and no one is trying to stop him?? 

What I love about “Origin” is that the two opposing factors (the hero and the villain) are in many ways already existing in real life. The fight between the atheist and the religious is a stereotype that has been happening throughout history! And somehow, we can never seem to come to a mutual understanding. Some people believe that – because their ideologies are poles apart from one another – it’s impossible for them to agree. I find myself doubting this theory. What if they can agree? What if – as Mr. Langdon says so brilliantly – “Well, science and religion are not competitors, they’re two different languages trying to tell the same story. There’s room in this world for both.”

I guess it all depends on whether you look at the Bible as a philosophical work full of symbols and visual metaphors, or as a full report on something that actually happened in real life … What do YOU think? 

 

4. Dan Brown’s prophecy in the end is very … very … almost frighteningly true 

Okay. Whether it’s Dan Brown’s or his fictional character, Edmund Kirsch’s theory, we cannot know. However – the author did make it up, and to me, it looks like he must have done a significant amount of background work in a scientifical studio to be able to write it down. Because let me tell you … the prophecy about our origin and about where we are going is truer and more astonishing than you think.

Never have I been more shocked when reading a book. 

Never have a heard such a bold confession been made into a literary art form.

This is the reason – my friends – to why you absolutely have to read his book. It could open up to many interesting and mindblowing discussions, both online and offline. Because Dan Brown is much more controversial than you might think … 

Now, I won’t reveal it to you, because I want you to have the pleasure of reading it for yourself. But be aware – it’s going to be one hell of a ride! 

 


Love, 

Aftur S. Nerdrum 

 

 

 

#danbrown #origin #book #newdanbrownbook #danbrownauthor #bookreview #danbrownbookreview #originbookreview #writer #bookworm #booknthusiast #bookish #bookreader #bookstagram #booknerd #scifinerd #sciencefiction #writings #blogger #articles #freelancewriter #afturswritings

 

How we got it all wrong with the idea of “love” and why it’s killing the modern-day marriages, one by one

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Over the last week, I have been studying the philosophies of British writer, Alain de Botton, and Belgian psychotherapist, Esther Perel: Two contemporary controversial, both seeking to revolutionize the society with an entirely unique and modern approach to love. My aim was to come up with a remedy – a way to solve the most questioned riddles in regards to love: How do we regain the flame in a marriage? And how do we make the love last? 

We all have doubts from time to time. That’s right. Both you and I have had moments where we ask ourselves: Is it even possible? Can a man and a woman last forever without succumbing to dullness, infidelity, indifference or a humongous urge to kill one another? Will you ever be able to look at your spouse and feel that same feeling as when you first clapped eyes on them?

Cynics would laugh and say NO!

Hopeless romantics (who haven’t yet been married) would smile and say with a dreamy voice: “Of course you will! If they’re the one.” 

Let me break it down for you. None of the above are right. The cynic is way too negative and the hopeless romantic is delusional beyond compare!

So what is the correct answer? I’ll tell you. But first, we have to dive into five of the many delusional ideas that novels and movies have been brainwashing you with since the beginning of the biased “Romantic era” that planted its roots in 1770:


  1. Love is about finding “The one”  

“In an ideal world, marriage vows would be entirely rewritten. At the altar, a couple would speak thus: “We accept not to panic when, some years from now, what we are doing today will seem like the worst decision of our lives. Yet we promise not to look around, either, for we accept that there cannot be better options out there. Everyone is always impossible. We are a demented species.” 

Alain de Botton

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Think about it. There are in total, 7.53 billion people living on this planet right now. And you still think that out of all those people, there is going to be one person who is the right one for you and who you will – mysteriously so – find one day because destiny provided you with a handful of set circumstances in order for you to walk down their path? It’s a cute theory, but it’s way too flawed to live by.

The truth is: No one is completely right for you because everyone carries baggage.

You might end up with someone whose values, religion and political views correspond with yours, but they still won’t be perfect. One day, they will say or do something weird that you’ll hate or even feel disgusted by. And the reason why they suddenly said or did that thing is simply that they grew up in a different environment than yours. This is the one thing we tend to just forget about when it comes to love: Namely, how each individual is – without their will or choice in the matter – shaped and formed by their community. Perhaps your parents did a great job in raising you, however, they fought a lot and they didn’t handle stressful situations all too well. You will then have downloaded all that information in your head and when being with your future partner, you are a hundred percent guaranteed to have some trouble in stressful situations: Your loved one might be all calm and solution-oriented while you’re raging with fear and irrational anger. This will separate you and create chaos – regardless of how similar you might be when it comes to everything else. If you’re one of those hopeless romantics, you will then start doubting whether they are the one or not. This doubt will turn into anxiety and in the end, you’ll break up. Then you go on looking for someone new. Naturally, you’ll find someone soon enough – someone who puts a blush to your cheek and makes your heart skip a beat. You then convince yourself that THEY must be the one. So you start dating, but then … you notice something else that’s wrong. This person is absolutely hysterical in stressful situations! They are hugely paranoid and even worse than YOU are! Plus – on top of that, they’re a slob! All they do is sit in front of the TV after work, eat ships and watch football. You start comparing this one to the previous one and you realize that the previous one wasn’t all that bad after all. Perhaps they were the one after all? 

Do you see where I’m going with this? 

The one doesn’t exist because we are all – in some way or another – shaped negatively by our parents. It’s inevitable! We just can’t help it. Because the truth is, it’s equally impossible for a parent to be perfect as it is for a couple to be. The concept of the one comes with a notion of perfection. And that is where the whole theory becomes flawed. Because perfection doesn’t exist. 

 

2. Love is based on one”feeling”

“The largest part of what we call ‘personality’ is determined by how we’ve opted to defend ourselves against anxiety and sadness”.”
Alain de Botton

If you think that love is based on the first impression of that feeling you got when you first saw or spoke to them – think again. 

Remember that everyone who seems sane and who interacts in our society as “appropriate” human beings are all, in essence, actors on a stage. Because of human evolution, people are – by instinct – taught to put up a facade in order to hide their personal flaws.

It all comes down to biology. They do this out of fear; We’re all scared of what might happen to the group if they were able to recognize our anxieties and despair – they would, without a twinge of doubt, leave us out in the dark wilderness with all the wild animals. So what do we do? We put on a shield – a smile, laughter, a good joke – we consciously make ourselves seem more interesting than we really are; Especially when meeting someone we’re attracted to. THAT is when we say goodnight to our insanity and good morning to our creativity. In fact, it’s scientifically proven that brain cells are working faster than ever on a first date: Within seconds we want to figure out how to act polite, smart, funny, mysterious, kind and wicked all at the same time! And while that’s going on, we desperately wish to come up with a loophole between being attentive and not being attentive.

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We want to give, but not too much. Because we also want to leave them longing for more. In essence, we’re doing psychological Math-equations minute by minute, all at a rapid speed. And while this is all going on, our date is sitting there, adoring us, thinking that we will be like this throughout the entire future relationship. But …. we won’t. Obviously, we won’t. Because the very second our love gets reciprocated by our partner and we become so comfortable in the relationship that we might as well have been alone, things start to fade. The romance is suddenly gone. Where is that feeling that we had from the very beginning? The one thing that was going to be the pillar of the entire relationship … where is it? It’s gone. Because you’re not using your creativity anymore. Ergo: You’re not looking at love as a craft. 

 

3. Expectations are too high 

“Today, we turn to one person to provide what an entire village once did: a sense of grounding, meaning, and continuity. At the same time, we expect our committed relationships to be romantic as well as emotionally and sexually fulfilling. Is it any wonder that so many relationships crumble under the weight of it all?”

-Esther Perel

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And because expectations are too high, we give up too soon … 

It is far too noticeable that in the 21st century, narcissism and self-righteousness have increased a substantial amount in the world of dating and relationships. Commonly, when a person gets involved with someone else, they feel like their partner should be able to provide them with a dozen different things: Physical intimacy, appreciation, and care, money and stability, laughter and spontaneity, novelty, autonomy, respectfulness, generosity and much much more.

The typical idea is that if they fail to supply one or two of these expectations, something must be terribly wrong and before you know it, they’re out the door.

Classic mistake. The problem here is that YOU should take a good look at yourself and YOUR mistakes before judging anybody else’s. You’re flawed too. Hell, you might even be more flawed than the person you’re pointing fingers at. Your partner might be bad at showing gratitude, but you might be awfully bad at responding to their ingratitude. Jordan Peterson says: ” if you can’t even clean up your own room, who the hell are you to give advice to the world?” And he’s right. So before setting those high expectations, take a good look at what YOU have to offer to the table. Most likely, there’s a lot you’ll need to fix about yourself. So start now. 

 

4. You need to be with your partner ALL THE TIME 

“Love rests on two pillars: surrender and autonomy. Our need for togetherness exists alongside our need for separateness.”
Esther Perel

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This is a very common mistake which happens way too often – not only because of the foolishness that comes with being in love – but also because of what society has been telling us again and again on what marriage and long-term relationship should look like; The archetypical american dream couple who live their lives together in a villa, go on vacations together, do their hobbies together and talk about their problems together. While all of this seems very nice and lovey-dovey, the reality of it isn’t as glorious as you may think. Believe it or not – couples NEED some time apart in order to thrive in a happy, prosperous marriage. 

Esther Perel once partook in research where she interviewed many couples from age 20 to 80. She asked each one of them the question: “When do you feel most in awe of your partner?” Half of them answered, “When he/she is doing something they love; A craft or an exercise that brings them joy and fulfillment.” The other half said, “When they’ve been away for a long time and we see each other again.” 

Perel concluded that the longing you feel for your partner when they’re away or focusing on something other than YOU can actually help bring the “flame” back into the relationship. In fact, the joy of seeing the spouse again after the pain of not having them there beside them can – neurologically – make the person experience the exact same sensations as when they saw them for the very first time. This is a guaranteed elixir for long-term relationships – regardless of age. So don’t feel tied to the conventional idea of having to stay with your spouse all the time. Take a pause every now and then. Reinvite the flame by being a bit distant towards them from time to time. Did you know that some couples don’t even live together even though they’re married? And that it’s actually proven to give better results than the ones that do live in the same house?

 

5. You stop dating when you get married 

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Marriage is not the end of romance, it is the beginning. They know that they have years in which to deepen their connection, to experiment, to regress, and even to fail. They see their relationship as something alive and ongoing, not a fait accompli. It’s a story that they are writing together, one with many chapters, and neither partner knows how it will end. There’s always a place they haven’t gone yet, always something about the other still to be discovered.”

-Esther Perel 

Whoever said there should be a defined bridge that separated dating and being married was utterly and completely wrong.

Never stop dating! Even when you get married! Especially then! 

We all know what happens when we first start dating someone: We are nervous around them, our brain has a hard time finding the right things to say, we blush, we laugh at their jokes – even the ones we don’t find funny at all. We stare into the screen of our phone, wondering what to text back while we write at least five different samples of a sentence before deleting them altogether. We wait a couple of days before calling them because we don’t want them to think we’re easy. We want to play hard-to-get. When we meet them, we take them on spontaneous trips, we surprise them, make them laugh, go star-gazing, tell them about our dreams and aspirations. We don’t see them too often, therefore, every time we do becomes the special highlight of our week. And since we sometimes go several days without meeting up, we have so much to catch up on that it’s almost impossible for conversations to go blanc.

Now – the scary thing that usually happens – the thing that determines whether you look at love as a craft or not – is the place between the dating-phase and the marriage/long-term relationship phase. I call this place “The Cliff”.  

The cliff is when – depending on the pace you’re going – you’ll either fall off the rock and into the pit, or, stop and go backward – back where you came from; Back to dating.

“The Cliff Allegory” goes like this: If you treat your relationship as a craft (or a skill) you constantly work on moving backward – away from the cliff. It’s like an ongoing spiral; You’ll run and you’ll run and eventually come to the cliff, then you’ll have to work on going back to dating, then you’ll move forward again, and backward, and forward, and backward – and you continue like that throughout every day and every year of the entire relationship without stop.

 

Dating Rule 1: The game = balance 

You may ask: Why is it so crucial to go back to the starting line? Well … with an ideal couple, “The Game” should never stop. It should go on, even in the marriage. Meaning, you should always be able to visualize a weight-scale (that being your marriage) and that weight scale should remain balanced. For example; One day you might find yourself having given a little “too much” appreciation to your partner. He/she might, in turn, have become less grateful because you’ve given so much so often that they’ve become used to it. So – in order to make the weight-scale stabilize itself again, you stop giving. Your partner then notices and starts giving more to you. And when you feel like your partner is becoming tired of you, it’s time to give them a little reminder on what they’re missing out on; Go away for a little while or just be less present than usual. This is in no way evil or rude. It is in fact, very healthy and much required in a marriage. All these exercises of give-and-take continue like this in circles. In essence, that’s what “The Game” is all about: Creating a balance within the relationship. If not the weight-scale, imagine the Yin Yang symbol from Taoism. Not only is it important to have balance in your own life, but it also has to exist within the marriage …

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Dating Rule 2: Be careful with “The Pit” 

But – if you look at your relationship as something that’s just going to “fix itself” because you base it on that one feeling you had in the beginning and you convince yourself to believe that THAT feeling will just magically redeem everything, you’ll run and you’ll run and you’ll come to the cliff – and since you’re just floating – you won’t do anything about it so you’ll fall down and into the pit and from there, it will be very hard to get up again. From there, the relationship will respond to the damage you’ve made with either infidelity, indifference, dullness or aggression. You’re in the pit, my friend. But fear not. It is possible to get up and go back to the starting line. But that requires shifting your perspective. 

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Dating Rule 3: Begin with looking at love as a craft – not a feeling 

I do not disregard that love is a feeling because it is. The sense of closeness, the caring and the wanting to die for another person’s wellbeing is an emotional state of reaction that goes on in your brain – HOWEVER – it takes practice and skill in order to keep this feeling. Now, having something and keeping something are two very different things. You can have a baby at any time. That’s easy. But keeping it – that requires work. If you don’t work on keeping your baby – if you don’t feed it and clothe it properly – the baby will die. Ergo; You won’t have it anymore. 

Why shouldn’t the same thing apply for love? 

Why isn’t there a school of love? Why can’t we take courses when we’re young, before entering a world of delusional romanticism which now has turned into a “hookup-culture” because of a simple misunderstanding of the entire concept? A lot of us base our whole lives on one marriage, and that marriage is something we do every day. Still, we were never taught how to do it. We were just thrown into it like newborn babies, trying to find a way of feeding ourselves without a mother. 

Is it possible that we have misunderstood love, completely? And can we be trained until we are able to master the art of love? 

Yes. I believe so. If we start looking at it differently. 

Falling in love is a feeling.

Love – however – is a skill that needs to be learned. 


 

Love, 

Aftur S. Nerdrum

 

 

 

 

#love #marriage #thepsychologyoflove #whywgotloveallwrong #lovearticles #relationships #relationshipstruggles #courseoflove #alaindebotton #estherperel #couplestherapy #couple #inolve #loveasaskill #craft #mastertheartoflove #blgger #writer #poet #journalist #freelancewriter #articles #afturswritings

The reason behind our self-love generation and why you should unfollow everyone on Instagram and YouTube

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It’s happening. We are ALL practicing self-awareness to the extreme. 

Am I happy? 

Am I using the law of attraction to better the things in my life?

Oh no, I’m focusing too much on the negative. How do I stop it?

Inner home. What is that? How do I attain it? 

This girl seems like she’s got her whole life together, my sister seems happy, my mum is better than ever. Then why am I sad? Why am I experiencing all these horrible feelings at the same time? Why me and only me? 

Anxiety? Do I have it? I probably have it. If she has it, I definitely have it! Should I find a therapist? 

Sounds familiar? 


It’s a Sunday. You’re all alone. The first thing you do is open up your laptop and turn to YouTube videos on how to practice the Law of Attraction. Then you read texts from https://thoughtcatalog.com “On how to love yourself fully”, and “How leaving him was probably for the best because it gave you a chance to reconnect with yourself” 

Reconnect with what? You may ask yourself – as you turn to your iPhone again, scroll through pictures of girls on the beach with their boyfriend or husband, passionately kissing over a cheesy caption that makes them seem at least 10 times better than all your prior relationships combined. For years you’ve been following a famous model, her life, her diet, her relationship. You know exactly what she tends to do on the weekend. You’ve stalked her boyfriend, you know the name of her best friend and you know that she likes to watch the TV show “Friends”. She travels all over the world but she doesn’t really seem to do anything but lie on the beach, sip on a drink and explore beautiful streets and restaurants. Every day, you click on the Instagram icon and let your brain receive a daily update on her life. And at the same time – you desperately practice the law of attraction, how to build your inner home and how to stay present and happy in your mindset. See the irony? 

No matter how many videos you watch, you won’t reach that happy place in your mind. Because it is a universally acknowledged truth that you can never be fully content if you keep comparing yourself to others. 

Now, you might argue that these pictures do nothing to your self-esteem. You might be perfectly convinced that you love yourself and that you wouldn’t want to change anything. But that’s where you’re wrong. According to Elizabeth Su, in an article on talkspace.com – “Excessive social media use has been shown to negatively impact people’s lives by lowering conscientiousness, increasing narcissism, decreasing real-life community engagement, and causing strain in relationships.” Why is this? Because even if we’re not aware of it – when looking at pictures of these models and their glorious days on the beach – we unconsciously compare their lives to ours. Imagine your brain telling you every time you go on Instagram; “Your life just isn’t good enough. She’s happy, you’re not. Therefore, something must be really wrong with the place you are in right now.” Belive it or not – but THAT is in fact what your brain is telling your subconsciousness every day. It’s proven by scientists. 

Of course, we end up losing ourselves. Of course, we can no longer know how to entertain ourselves alone. Of course, we desperately turn to meditation, YouTube gurus and spiritual healing. Because with these pictures popping up on our screen every day, nothing can EVER be good enough: 

Because of Instagram, we’ve become desperate. Before it was easy – knowing yourself. You just took some time alone – out on the mountain, in a cabin by the forest. By the end of it, you’d know exactly what to do, who to do it with and when to do it. Now, because of an online substance-abuse, we can no longer reach that point of self-discovery – even if we DO go out in the forest and stay alone inside a cabin for a week. 

Before the Social Media came to the market, there was a significantly smaller audience for self-love/reflection videos and articles. Only hippies and minor alternative communities were interested in the spiritual world. The rest of us were content with just … living our lives! Now – however – the marked has grown a substantial amount – all because of the anxiety, pressure, and fear that comes with Social Media Addiction. It has become an evil spiral; Social Media platforms earn money on their users, and self-help gurus earn money from the mental problems that come with the use of Social Media. It’s a win-win situation for strategic entrepreneurs, but a living hell for their target.

Take a good look at the pop culture and you’ll see how the internet is now spiraling with videos – DEDICATED to the generation of depression and anxiety: Skjermbilde 2019-04-08 kl. 11.29.07.png

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And at the same time – Youtube is showing girls of millions who are now opening up about their anxiety and depression:

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Sure – it’s nice that people aren’t afraid of talking about mental problems anymore. However – There’s a famous theory that girls today are actually helping each other to increase their mental instabilities even more through opening up about them on Social Media Platforms. Today, it is so common to have a psychological issue – that everyone seems to just get on board with it in order to fit in. And THAT is just the cherry on top of the cake. Because first and foremost – INSTAGRAM is the very thing that started all of this. 

So what do you do? 

You delete everyone who doesn’t contribute to your life in any way. Go to YouTube. Go to Instagram. Get rid of that model you follow all day long – she doesn’t do anything. All she does is look pretty while showing off her happy life and her amazing boyfriend. You don’t really respect her because she doesn’t create anything, she doesn’t contribute to the world in any way and you know it. So why would you even bother? Could it be that the only reason why you follow her is either A) because everyone else does – or B) because her flashy pictures show just enough skin so that it becomes addictive to watch? 

Yeah, thought so. 

Now, after you’ve unfollowed her, take a good look at the rest of your list. Do you want to constantly see people who show off lives that you don’t really care about? No. You don’t. Wipe them off. You can do it, it’s not that hard. Remember that this is for your brain to stabilize itself again. It’s good for you. And while you’re at it, you might as well unfollow the remaining 90% of that list. Why not? I bet there are only a few people on there who actually influence you in a positive way – someone who brings something to the table; A quote, a thought, a painting/drawing, a beautiful photo depicting a mountain and a waterfall – those are the ones you should keep in your life. Respect your brain enough to do this – it wants it, it craves it. You know it. 

The very reason why your brain is responding with anxiety attacks, loneliness, and negative thoughts is because of YOUR conscious choice to overstimulate it with insignificant things. So before you turn to YouTube videos on how to attain inner peace – do what should have been done a long time ago; Clean up on your Social Media platforms. Or, as Jordan Peterson likes to put it: “Clean up your room!” 


 

 

Love, 

Aftur S. Nerdrum 

 

 

 

#selflove #21generation #anxiety #depression #unfollow #socialmediaabuse #socialmediaaddiction #millenialgeneration #generationofdepression #youtubeaddiction #instagramaddiction #selfhelp #psychology #mindfullness #therapy #blogger #writer #poet #shortstorywriter #fictionwriter #journalist #freelancewriter #booklover #afturswritings

15 ways to be the superior one in any debate like Jordan Peterson and Steven Crowder

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1. Start with where you agree 

Jordan Peterson does this a lot: He listens to the opponent’s argument, takes it in, evaluates in his mind, and then, he tracks down all the little things that they actually may have an agreement on. This might sound like an impossible task because the whole point about a debate is in fact to disagree and to find a way of getting your opponent on your side. However – if you take a look at a couple of Jordan Peterson’s debates, you’ll come to realize that there are actually a lot of ways that you can agree. Now, how does this make you more superior in the argument? Well. It’s pretty simple: By starting with where you agree, you immediately show yourself off as a kind, understanding and tolerant human being – and no matter how controversial your opinions will present themselves to be – your opponent will see you differently and you’ll be guaranteed to be treated with more respect and integrity throughout the remaining parts of your debate. 

2. Forget about who they are 

What usually happens before you sit down to argue with a person is that your mind will prepare itself with a set of expectations and preconceptions about who they are, what they stand for and how they’ll argue their way for it. This is a very common mistake in debates -, especially among politicians. The problem with this is that you’ll start focusing more on the person debating their cause than the actual cause itself. Perhaps you’re already intimidated by this person. Perhaps this person insulted your sister last week and now you’re ready to take your revenge. Or perhaps this is a politician or an activist from the left wing, you’re from the right wing –  and you’re already infuriated by this person (who you don’t even know anything about) because of the general preconceptions that the media presents to us about people on the left. If you instead, forget about who they are and only focus on the argumentations of their cause, you’ll immediately be regarded as stronger and more powerful in the discussion. You’ll be taken seriously and you won’t be judged as much – regardless of what your opinions might be. 

3. Avoid getting personal 

This might be the one thing that determines whether you’re a professional debater or not. When you debate a cause, you want to seem like you’re interested in the cause only, not your’s or your opponent’s private life. I know it seems tempting to pitch in that story about when you had to have an abortion because you were too young and vulnerable – when debating with a pro-life activist. But please. Hear me out: Don’t do it. It will only shed darkness on your abilities to stay cool and unaffected. Your story might make you emotional, you might cry and you might call your opponent horrible for calling YOU a murderer – and that’s when you’ve lost the whole argument. Now, I’m not saying either one of you is right to do this. I’m just saying that the very second you told that personal story –  it suddenly became a hundred times easier for your opponent to take you down and to announce themselves a winner. Remain an emotionless robot, if you can … 

4. Be careful with attacks

I know, I know, I know. But what if I’m debating with an irrational human being? you might ask. And trust me. I know exactly what you’re talking about. I know the pain: That person, who, in the middle of the debate starts shouting, calls you a fascist, points their finger at you and commands that the world would be a better place if someone wiped off every single person who shared your political views – that person is probably an asshole. Still, don’t give in. The reason why this person has – all of a sudden – become the biggest asshole on earth, is simply because they feel threatened by you. Perhaps you’re debating with a woman and you’re playing around with the idea of shutting down the woman’s right to vote. From her point of view, she has a right to react. She has a right to wish you dead – because at that moment you verbally abused her gender. Now, you didn’t do that, of course. Because all you did was verbalize an opinion – which, everyone should be allowed to do at any time. However, in her world, hearing an opinion about the gender of women is the same thing as hearing an opinion about her. So in her eyes – you were actually pointing a finger at your opponent, suggesting that she didn’t deserve the right to vote. Now, this puts things in perspective, doesn’t it? Imagine hearing from your opponent that you don’t deserve the right to vote. It’s not very pleasant, is it? So – before you start attacking her back (and becoming just as unreasonable and immature as her) you got to put yourself into the shoes of the reactor. Why did they react so much? Perhaps they’re not used to hear the word women and NOT immediately relate it to themselves as an individual? Perhaps they’ve been taught by their parents that their gender defines them and that whoever verbally abuses their gender, also, simultaneously verbally abuses them as a person? Most likely, they have a right to react. Because they see things from another perspective than what you do. So why not – next time your opponent becomes aggressive – why not evaluate their position in the argument, before going into attack-mode? Why not ask your opponent: “Why did you get angry just now? Do we have a miscommunication? In that case, I’d love to hear about it, so that I can fully understand your way of reacting. Because right now, I’m clueless.” 

5. Never begin with “So what you’re saying …” 

In the famous debate between Jordan Peterson and Cathy Newman, it’s easy to pin down her first significant mistake; Namely, the sentence: “So what you’re saying …” Now, if you break it down, you’ll see that the reason why she chose to begin her sentences like this, is in fact, quite understandable. Yes, we’ve all done it before. We have all been a Cathy Newman; She did it because she started to feel threatened, and as a natural reaction to this, she unconsciously decided to regain her power over Jordan Peterson by making her own summary of his every opinion and demanding that whatever he said, her perception of it was the right one. It’s an innocent sentence – “So what you’re saying” – but the meaning behind it and the way it’s received is far more aggressive than what you might think. As a result of Cathy Newman’s powerplay, Jordan Peterson immediately felt as if he was put in a spot, unable to utter anything because he knew that whatever opinion he came with next would be attacked by Cathy’s own version of the truth. The conclusion to this is –  never assume that your version of what someone else is saying is the right one; Because when you start going down that path, you’ll be perceived as “the bully” and you’ll have lost the whole debate. 

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6. Try not to generalize

This is a tough one because we all do it from time to time. As humans, we simply can’t help putting people in a box by categorizing everyone’s behavior. Our brain hates chaos, therefore, we unconsciously create order. And how do we do that? We make our own answers to unanswerable things by putting them in boxes with our own invented labels. (Society in a nutshell!) This is not a bad trait. However, when you’re debating an opinion or an issue with someone, generalizing too much can actually make you look ignorant and onesided in the eyes of your opponent. We never want to be the villain in a debate. So here are a few things you can do as to not generalize too much:

  • When you want to argue that a vast majority of a group is so and so – try finding the actual percentage online. Don’t say “All men are rapists” or “All women are submissive”. Just because you’ve had a couple of bad real-life experiences with a certain type of gender, it doesn’t mean they’re all the same. Remember that if someone generalized your gender (unless you’re a psychopath with no feelings) I’m sure you wouldn’t have liked it. 
  • When you want to say “Most people are so and so …” say it, but add “But there are exceptions of course.” Yes, we all know there is the exception to everything and it’s too obvious to even mention, but saying it actually helps a lot to improve your character in the debate. Not only will you be perceived as tolerant, but you also, simultaneously warn your opponent that the rest of the generalizations you’ll be pulling in the future of the conversation should be taken with a grain of salt. 

7. Support yourself with facts 

We’ve all been there – it’s physically painful to be the one who’s poor on facts, while your opponent has graphs, numbers, and dates – all memorized in their head. You feel inadequate, unable to support your side even though you know its the right one. So what do you do next time? You study. Study hard, meet your opponent one more time and hit them with the truth. Trust me. Nothing feels better than when your recent downloaded knowledge makes you more able to argue for your side. 

8. Argue as if you desperately want your opponent to change your mind

Steven Crowder is a master at applying this specific method in his debates. What he does is that he sits down with someone who has an opposing view and before anything else, he says: “Here is my view, you’re more than welcome to change my mind.” Now, how does this little sidenote affect the entirety of the remaining debate? It’s simple: With a statement like that, you are in essence admitting to the possibility of being wrong. Ergo; You’re a person who constantly practices self-improvement, which involves – always questioning your own beliefs, always willing to process the other side of a story and always open to criticism on your viewpoints. A highly intelligent man is someone who covers all those things mentioned above. And a first-impression like this can go a long way in any debate. 

9. Never point fingers or assume something about your opponent 

If you’re debating with a stranger, be careful with your assumptions. Remember that you don’t know their story or their background. Mutual respect for whoever they are and whatever they’re going through is crucial if you want to keep your superior role in a debate. 

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10. Adjust your voice and posture 

This is probably Jordan Peterson’s best trait; He is one of the few people on the right who never goes out of line with his voice or temperament. Notice his way of behaving in debates; He’s steady, he’s calm and he has the audience listening immediately. Why? Because not only is his tone of voice serene and pleasant to listen to, he also takes time with his sentences. He pauses a great deal – which is yet another effective way of capturing the opponent’s full attention. Try it yourself: When you’re arguing with someone, suddenly pause in the middle of your sentence, look at your opponent to see if they’re actually listening to you, then look down, stroke your chin and continue where you left off, slowly. This method is highly effective in any circumstance (not only debates) because it makes you seem powerful and in control. 

Take a look at this video of Jordan Peterson’s debate with Cathy Newman. Notice how he uses both techniques throughout the entire discussion: His posture stays the same –  laid back, calm and cool – his tonality remains the same and he does the “pausing thing “every now and then. 

11. Implement humor 

Jordan Peterson does this in the video above when he takes the liberty to laugh at the way Cathy Newman always seems to misinterpret what he’s saying. This is in no way agonizing or bullying – because the way he does it (contrary to the bullies) is very inviting – as if he is telling Cathy Newman; “Isn’t it funny how we’re not on the same page at all?” Another reason to why he does this has a lot to do with strategy: Jordan Peterson doesn’t want this argument to turn into a fight between two opposing views – because that won’t do good to anyone and it won’t convey the right message to the audience. So when he feels like the energy is about to get a little too tense, he rescues himself back with a little laughter or a joke – this way, he won’t be regarded as the villain, the audience will cool off and so will the opponent. After all, it’s not warfare. It’s just a debate. 

12. Make the other person feel understood 

Going back to the importance of being humble: It’s very very important to take the side of your opponent even when you don’t agree with their viewpoints. How do you do that? This is how: Imagine that you’re arguing with someone about an emotional subject. Let’s say “The transgender community”. Okay. So your opponent considers themselves to be of no gender. You don’t believe in that and you’re very against gender pronounces. Your opponent begins to explain how they didn’t feel at ease with their gender while growing up, and that they were often bullied and misunderstood. Now, you have to be very smart here – you have to not be like the bullies that your opponent experienced in their childhood. Because if you begin to insult them, they’ll only get the trauma back from their childhood, they’ll hate you and you will have lost the debate (in their eyes). So, what you’ll do is that you’ll nod, stroke your chin, say comforting words like “Yeah .. that must have been hard.” and “I can’t imagine what that must have felt like …”. Forget about what they stand for – just for a moment. Realize that this is an actual human being who has experienced suffering. It’s an emotional subject for them. Don’t be the villain. Try to understand their point of view. Now, after you’ve given them your comforting shoulder, you can begin to calmly explain why you don’t believe in the LGBTQ community, while still making them feel understood. And that’s how you win the debate darling:) 

13. Use Visual imagery 

In my life, I’ve seen this a lot. And it’s very very effective. Why? Because sometimes, your opponent might not understand the argument you’re giving them. You might be using advanced terms and databases that they have not yet been able to look into. What do you do? You come up with an example that they can understand – something they can relate to their own life. That is visual imagery: You immediately invite your opponent into a world of visualizing a specific situation in their head. Don’t be the villain and say: “Oh, you haven’t heard of this term? What are you, stupid?” (Maybe Donald Trump can say this but I urge YOU not to!) Instead, try to make them understand by putting them in an alternate situation with key components that apply more to their life. 

14. Admit it when you’re wrong – it actually makes you look stronger 

Actually, I have to compliment Cathy Newman on this. She did it once in the interview with Jordan Peterson, and I’m telling you – if she hadn’t done that – if she hadn’t admitted to her mistake just once – she would’ve been A LOT more ridiculed in the media. Trust me on this. When I saw her admitting to her mistake, I actually grew more respect for her. (Now, I wish she could’ve done it more but once was enough to make her seem … hmmm … just a tiny bit more powerful in her position!)  

Take a look at Cathy Newman admitting to her mistake:

15. Ask yourself: Do I want to be right or do I want to learn?

Or rather .. do I want to be the villain or do I want intellectual stimuli?

Sometimes you have to choose one. Because it’s inevitable that you will – some time or another – be the wrong one in a discussion. Now, I have come to the point where I want to be wrong, just because I find it more fulfilling and definitely more entertaining. It depends on the way you look at it. Perhaps you love to win, that’s fine. Just … please do me this favor and … admit to your mistakes if you know you’ve made one. There’s no use in making yourself look better when your audience already knows that you’re loosing. In life, you’re supposed to be the student, not the teacher. And even if you are a teacher to some people, you’ll remain a student for someone else. That is how you become an intellectual. 

 

I hope you liked this article and that you learned something new! Now, keep on debating that heartfelt issue of yours! 

 


Love, 

Aftur S. Nerdrum 

 

 

 

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Why growing up is so hard

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I used to be the kind of child who, before making a choice between two alternatives, I would visualize a cross-road in my mind. The image was clear and in high definition; It was a road that split into two different pavements. Each one would lead me to a different future and it was up to my intuition which road would be the most pleasant one to travel by. Of course, as a result of this, I rarely chose anything at all. I would either run away from the obligation or … make someone else choose for me. Can you imagine what entering adulthood must have felt like ….? 

On my tenth birthday, when my mum took me out for French pastries, I took about fifteen minutes just standing over the counter, staring at all the delicious cakes and tarts, wondering which one would bring me the most joy. That day was the first day she had ever told me: “You can have whatever you want now.” – a dreaded sentence in which I knew was not good for my mental health at the time. Naturally, I didn’t want the burden of having chosen the wrong one, so I ended up putting my hands over my eyes and let my mum choose for me. The responsibility of deciding between pastries in a bakery was just too much of a burden on my shoulders. This particular kind of behavior continued to follow me a decade later. But I never knew why I struggled so much with it. I guess logic told me that if I didn’t choose anything, the possibilities would continue being endless. I wouldn’t be questioning all the time whether I made the right choice and I wouldn’t suffer from regret.

After a little while, I started looking into alternative worlds. As you probably would have guessed already, the notion that I could be someone else and do other things amounted my mind in an instant. It was like a get-out-jail-free card for my imagination. So, one day (I think I was around twelve years old) I had a headache. It was normal irritation, like the one you get when you haven’t been drinking enough water. I knew it wasn’t deadly and that I would be fine the next day. Still, my mind immediately began visualizing an “alternative me” developing a brain tumor. I drew the whole story in my mind; I was a girl, starving for more attention from my siblings and my mother, and because of this, God served me with cancer. Oddly enough, I felt happy with my diagnosis. I was finally someone. I was “the girl with cancer”. Better than nothing right? Well, when my health started deteriorating and my life was at risk, I came to the realization that it wasn’t that good of an idea to wish for cancer. And so I sat down and wrote my first story ever. It was called:

“The girl who didn’t want to have cancer after all…” 

I became mesmerized by this alternative girl I had created. She was like me, only more bold, honest and wicked. I read the whole story for my sister and my best friend. They loved it. So I wrote a part 2. They loved it even more. I guess the moral of the plot was to be careful with what you wished for. In life, you may think you want something, but then once you have it, it’s not as great as you thought it would be. A classic human mistake isn’t it? Can you blame me now why I had such a hard time choosing something – anything – by myself? Well. Let me tell you this – it does not get any better when you’re an adult. In fact, it gets worse. Yay! And if you’re a hypersensitive girl like me; If you also visualize a crossroad in your mind every time you have to decide something or if you think that a stomach-ache could, in fact, be intestine-cancer .. well, you’re not alone. But life is going to be just a bit harder for you. I hope you can take it! 

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Here is a list of the 7 challenges I had to go through with the pains of getting older … 

 

  1. You realize you’re the only one in charge of your own health 

For me, this is the worst one – in fact, it’s something I still struggle with. Yup. My life is great you guys, but we all have problems. And here I am, telling you mine … About a year ago, I slowly began developing a mental syndrome which Wikipedia chooses to call: “Hypochondria”. Allegedly, it’s one branch out of the tree of the many anxieties that human beings have to go through at least once in their lives. While others struggle with anxiety about money, social life and claustrophobia, I struggle with worrying about illnesses and death. I love hospitals – they make me feel comfortable and safe. I hate being away from my doctor or not knowing where a hospital is located because then I can’t check if everything is alright with my health. Every time I meet a doctor, I usually jump on them and ask them about all my concerns. My future dream involves having my own private doctor of whom I can pay a visit whenever I like. I usually have symptoms of some sort, all the time, every day. However – I don’t know whether this is caused by me just being an alive human being or me mentalizing myself into pain. A little bit of both, perhaps. Anyways. I recently discovered that a part of growing up is being in charge of your own health, which … pretty much makes me even more worried. Now I have to take care of what foods I eat, how much sleep I get, what vitamins I lack and which symptoms mean what?? Yeah. It’s hard. But I’m slowly but surely getting used to the idea that being alive also means experiencing physical pain every now and then – and that it’s actually a good sign:) 

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2. You have to make your own decisions. You just … have to

Yeah … It’s not the greatest, but if you wish to be an independent, functional human being in this world, it’s bound to happen sooner or later. You can’t just go back to being a child in bed, relying on your parents to make the choices for you.  You have to decide on a way to earn your money, you have to know who to spend your time with, you have to choose a condo with or without a roommate, you have to choose the street, the city, the era, the car, the grocery store, the bedcovers, the bedsheets, the phone. Yes, you will probably regret half of them. But hey! You’ll learn and next time you won’t choose that thing that was wrong for you again. So look at all this a learning process, not the real thing – that will keep your sanity-level up for the remaining parts of your twenties:) 

 

3. Everything costs … SOO much! 

Why did all the prices go up all so suddenly? Is it only me, or does it feel like the average price of something increases by an amount of 50% each year? Maybe it does. I haven’t checked the economic marked lately, but my personal theory is that it doesn’t increase that much. A little, maybe, but not a substantial amount. Rather – we start becoming more and more conscious about our own purchases. Why? Because we’re growing up! We become smarter. We begin to actually prioritize the things that mean something by putting the things that don’t mean anything back on the shelf. Suddenly, buying that expensive purse from that expensive brand becomes an insignificant thing for us. We laugh about high-school girls and boys who STILL care about materialistic values because we know all too well that those purchases won’t mean anything when they’re put into a situation of having to earn their own money. No one cares about what you wear, who you date or where you went on vacation. People care only about themselves because there’s not enough room for others in this chaotic, stressful and expensive life called adulthood. And frankly, it’s not too bad wearing cheap, basic clothes that no one recognizes or thinks anything of. At least you’re not faking it. At least, you’re being real!

 

4. If you leave a cup, the cup will stay … forever 

I still cry over the fact that every single action has a consequence to follow up with it – including leaving a cup or a glass of wine on the counter. It’s still so amazing to me that if you live alone and leave a cup, the cup will actually stay there .. like … forever! Until you get up on your feet and decide to actually do something about it. But until then – it will just …. stay there. Isn’t it weird to you? Perhaps it’s just me. (Quietly reminding myself o clean the empty cup behind my laptop after writing this article …)istockphoto-472281487-612x612.jpg

 

5. You have to be nice to everybody 

Yeah … Not my best trait but I’m working on it! Again, don’t mistake me. I consider myself to be a genuinely very nice person and I usually always see the best in people. But … you know those days when … all you feel like doing is locking yourself up in your room, staying in bed, read a novel and not talk to or see anyone for weeks on end? Well … if you’re a creative like me – if you’re dependent on having an extended group of influential contacts in order for your craft to get it’s deserved recognition in the world – well, I’m sorry to say but you have to learn to be your best self all the time. You never know when a business-opportunity is going to present itself. You’re a starving creative! There’s no time for your ego to come through. You can’t just – in the middle of talking to one of the most influential investors – yawn and say “You know what, I don’t really feel like socializing today. I’m gonna take a nap in your coach.”  I know, I know – extreme example. But you get my point. Growing up also forces you to fake it a lot of times. Do like me – pretend you’re going on a stage. You’re an actor/actress now, not your real self. Just do your very best performance and keep reminding yourself how much it will pay off in the end. 

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6. Did I mention laundry?

The most dreadful subject of them all … laundry! Your clothes just get dirty. I know, it sucks, but it’s something you have to live with. Sure, I did my own laundry throughout my whole life, it’s not like I’m not used to it. But it’s something about living alone … it makes it harder. Till this day I have yet to figure out the reason why … but I think it’s because there’s literally no one there to tell you that you smell and that you should probably do another round with your dirty clothes. Okay, fine, I don’t live alone. I live with my husband, so there really shouldn’t be any excuse for me but … to be honest, my husband is not that concerned with formalities either. We’re both creatives, can you blame us? When you’re so into your work and you feel like you’re doing a great contribution to the rest of the world, it’s easy to forget trivialities such as washing your clothes! And I know you do it too. We’ve all been guilty of taking a little too long with fixing our external appearances. And I’m not going to sit here and pretend that it hasn’t been hard for me. Yet, I refuse to lose my optimism about the future. I’m working on it okay? It’ll take some time but … I’ll get there. 

 

7. You realize the world isn’t …  that great 

I am an optimist and I will always be – however – I am also aware of the cruelness of the world and that people can actually turn out to be full of shit (excuse the expression!) 

But it’s true. And it’s one of the hardest things I had to come to terms with when growing up. In my teen years, I used to dread newspapers so much that I wouldn’t even let my eyes read the headlines. Yes, it was that bad. In the grocery-store – when seeing a newspaper – I would quickly turn my gaze away before my unconsciousness was able to download any information at all. I would hear something about “murder” or “terror attack” on the TV when I was sitting in the emergency room in the hospital, and I would immediately put my hands over my ears to shut out all the noise. It’s not that I didn’t want to learn about the world. It’s that I physically and mentally couldn’t handle it. I struggled understanding why people do what they do – why rapists rape, why terrorists attack and why kidnappers kidnap. So I chose to just turn away from that world completely. I chose to look at them as aliens. I couldn’t – I simply couldn’t see them as human beings! To me, they were more like otherworldy species who had come to the earth to destroy us. For some reason, this childish notion comforted me and gave me hope for a better future world. 

Now, however, I’ve been training my mind to come to terms with the reality of things; People do what they do because they simply have another perspective of things. And the best thing you can do as a human being is learning to put yourself into other peoples shoes. Because that is in fact, the only way we can ever find a solution to horror. We have to try and understand why they do it. Not turn away from it. I refuse to blind myself like I did in my teens – because mentally blind people don’t contribute to any change. All they do is shy away from reality. They’re in denial. Yes, it is hard to grow up, to hear about such horrors and to be forced to comprehend that THIS is, in fact, reality – but you can’t change what’s happening around you. You can only change where you go from there. 

 


Love, 

Aftur S. Nerdrum 

 

 

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