A little something you forgot to consider

When you look at the world you see a combination of brilliance and dirt altogether. It makes you want to get out and explore every single part of it, every possible human emotion and at the same time, it makes you want to run to bed and stay there forever. It’s like being in a huge library with a billion books. You wish you’ll choose the most fascinating ones, those that will teach you a lot and make you a wiser person but still… you cannot know the ending in advance. There’s always a risk.  It’s scary – terrifying actually – but I suppose life can give you a few things that are worth the “pain and the aches of the outcoming fortune” in the words of the Danish Prince.

It is incredible that you have all these choices concerning who you want to become and how you want to use your life in order to contribute to society. But what most people forget to mention when they talk about the endless possibilities is risk and fear. The smallest choice you make has outcomes. There’s never a win-win situation. You always have to face consequences, responsibilities and stand up for the path you took and for the person you are today.

We chose friends, behaviors, careers, lovers, places to live in and even ways to approach situations. Every little thing is crucial but there are some choices bigger than others. These are the choices that will change your life. When you stand in front of a choice this big, I tell you, it’s scary. Nobody mentions that. Everyone goes on and on about doing the right thing but… when you’re actually standing a step away from opening one door or another, you can’t see “right” or “wrong”. You can only see the regret at the end of each way and you’re afraid of it. There are paths that guarantee security and others that involve greater risk.

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Making the step is hard. But no matter what you have been thinking so far, no matter what all the voices around you have been going on and on about, you have to take a step back and put yourself in the microscope. I don’t mean endless hours of worrying and re-thinking – which is something I am guilty of, to be honest – but to really stand across your deepest desire and ask yourself “Where do you want to go?”.

This process is usually so hard because we forget to keep in mind the fear that goes with it. It’s what we forget to consider when we make plans. Fear is usually a huge part of our choices but it shouldn’t be. Go with your gut. There is an instinct inside every one of us, we’ve just learned to ignore it over the years while trying to rationalize everything.

Remember back when you were a kid? You took one look at a person and you knew if you liked them or not. You went to ballet lessons for a week to find out you want to quit and then you tried piano and Italian and none of those were right for you. You knew and you were not afraid to admit you changed your mind. Nobody would call you a loser. Then, you finally tried tennis or playing the tuba and it was fun. You couldn’t see the time to go to practice. That’s what we suppress over the years, our pure instincts. We learn to like what we should like but, how will we ever be happy if we don’t risk walking the road our heart tells us it leads to happiness?

Charles Bukowski said “Go all the way” and he was right. If you don’t go all the way, you’ll never know. It takes a huge amount of courage to stop thinking of every little thing that can go wrong and focus on your pure desire. Don’t be afraid of it. Take a step on the path your heart points at. There must be some reason. Show it some trust and you’ll eventually find out why it took you there.

Have a magical day,

glance at the sky

by Elena Ktenopoulou

Scientific or Social?

For more than 2.500 years we’ve been evolving. We’ve been progressing in way’s no one could have thought of. We can access any information from any point of the world, we can get from Africa to America within hours, we can see our friend who lives miles away and talk to them every day, we can go to the moon! We are even preparing to explore other planets and eventually, some day.. the universe! It’s all so fascinating! Incredible, really… is it enough though? Have we forgotten about something even more important?

We’ve been progressing for more than 2.500 years… and it took more than twenty centuries to give women the right to vote, it took as much to start treating people of color as equals, it took even more to legalize homosexuality. Humanity had the technology to build airplanes, telephones and cars but the same people couldn’t realize what they were doing during the second world war.

Have we focused too much on scientific and technological progress? Have we forgotten to invest in more basic human needs? I meet people every day. They’re young people, students wanting to be scientists, teachers passing on their ideas, parents forming the future generations and… they are racist, misogynist and homophobic while they can use an i phone and handle the trickiest programs of a computer just fine. The problem is not in their minds. They have focused too much in one thing and forgotten about the other. They’ve left their humanity at home while working at the computer all day as they were an extend of it. As they were a machine. We execute commands one after the other just like a computer program. We don’t think. We act.

The education systems all around the world do not focus equally on science and the development of critical thinking. A kid who is doing great in math-class will be awarded. On the other hand, a kid with an extraordinary sense of justice or with a talent in abstract thinking won’t even be noticed. Science is what makes our lives better in so many ways but how could focusing only in one aspect be right? Human rights are just as important – or, I dare say, even more important – and by giving them priority, we will finally figure out how to use all those extremely precious scientific discoveries the right way.

We have to look at science critically and responsibly decide how to use every good that it gives us. Anything scientific, from medicine to technology is meant to serve humans. Humans are not made to serve it and it is only supposed to be used for good causes. Each person, whether you’re a lab scientist or just an i-phone user, has a responsibility. We are all part of this world and responsible for its future.

Maybe it’s time to start wondering why we do what we do and leave the how to do it aside just for a while. We’ve spent too much time focusing on technological progress -which is undoubtedly important and has made our lives a lot easier in many ways – but we’ve completely forgotten about working on our minds and our children’s minds in order to use the tools they have in the best way possible.

have a magical day,

 

 

glance at the sky

by Elena Ktenopoulou

Once upon… a time of identity crisis

Look down at yourself right now. What do you see? Your clothes represent something. It’s a message you wish to give to the world. It might be “look at me”, it might be “I’m such an intellectual” or it even might be “I don’t care about fashion” but you chose what you wear based on how you want to be perceived by others  whether it happened contentiously or not. Of course, it is not only a matter of appearances. Clothes and hair might say something but it’s also body language or even the use of verbal language that defines that first impression we’ll make on someone.

Although it is perfectly natural, in some periods of our lives we can get a little mixed up, confusing  the image we want to create with the people we really are, hopping that if everyone sees us in a certain way, we will eventually be that person. We never leave our homes without putting on a mask, so… does this mask become a part of us?

There is nothing wrong with wearing a mask. It is not something someone can  easily avoid. But the question I want to ask is, does that mask start to become some kind of oppression in our routine? We feel exposed and embarrassed if we take off that mask for five minutes or if we let it break a little on the edges. The question always stands: How do others see me?

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Jacques Lacan, an important French psychoanalyst of the 20th century, talked about the Mirror Stage in the life of each person. Briefly, the Mirror Stage comes when a baby first recognizes themselves in the mirror. In our minds, our-self is  is a mess of thoughts, emotions, instincts and experiences, that leads us to a strong shock when we realize that the way we look does not include any of that. We look so put together when we really are a mess.

The fact that either way we are not seen as we are, leads to a desire within us for creating the identity we would like to have. The mistakes happen when that identity is not based on your true self. For example, if you were a person who hates math but you chose a science career because of the prestige of it, you would end up living a miserable life and being bored of your job. Sometimes we make a serious mistake: we settle for what we imagine as the perfect identity, forgetting to ask who we really are. As a result, we never know what truly makes us happy and we end up chasing the happiness of that identity instead of our own.

Embrace that mess inside your head. That’s the real you. Don’t let it cause you fear just because it is not as pacific as what you see in the mirror. Get in touch with your inner self and build your outer identity based on your chore likes, dislikes, needs and characteristics. That way you will truly shine because everything about you will be sincere. People might be afraid of honesty a lot of the time but it always stands out and there’s no one who doesn’t love person who is true.

have a magical evening,

glance at the sky

by Elena Ktenopoulou