The Power of Knowledge

In the world of today, where you have a racist neo-nazi uprising in Europe, where Trump gets a free pass in saying racists slurs, and ISIS talks about global domination, I see history repeating itself – over and over again.

I always found Hitler an interesting man. I have over the years tried to understand what it is that gets millions of people to follow such a man and do horrible unthinkable things. I wanted to understand how it was possible for this one man to convince millions to believe his own reality and perception, acting on his beliefs, and follow him blindly.

I came to realise that Hitler is not the only one with this power, and this is why history keeps repeating itself. In more contemporary history we have the the neo-nazi uprising, Trump, Putin and ISIS following the same kind of speech:

“[They] are seeking to destroy our country. [They are] threatening us with [their] might, and [our nation] is in danger. Yes – danger from within and without. We need law and order! Without it our nation cannot survive.”

This is actually adapted from a quote from a campaign speech by Hitler in 1932, the year before he got elected.

What all these leaders and groups have in common is charisma, an enemy and a story. In all cases they use fear to recruit more into their movement and convince them about the cause, a cause they would die and kill for.

Fear is a powerful emotion, and from there comes hate. Yet, a lot of this fear comes from lack of knowledge, the fear of the unknown. Leaders that preach war and hate use fear to reach their goals and start movements. With fear they make people believe their cause, and with fear they win.

Our strongest tool against these movements is knowledge and critical thinking. That is how we stop governments cheating us, companies abusing us, global wars and bullies.

“Fear is such a powerful emotion for humans that when we allow it to take us over, it drives compassion right out of our hearts.” – Thomas Aquinas

We have therefore the obligation to each other to spread knowledge – not fear.

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This Thing with Climate Change

It’s funny though. These past few weeks I have seen the same message throughout my newsfeed and internet: “how climate change affects you and what 2ºC increase will do”. What is funny, is that this exact message was taught at my school 10 years ago. This message has been circulating for more than 10 years, the exact same things, with a little more catastrophic sugar on top, and yet, here we are. Waiting. Waiting for governments, people in power, to do something about it.

I can eat organic, buy less stuff, travel less, not own a car, consume less meat and other animal products, buy second hand, use more eco-friendly products, and tell other people to be more conscious about their lifestyle. Yet, those that can make HUGE differences are governments that can make laws, change the consumerist vicious cycles, invest in the green market, make it unprofitable to buy fossil fuels and plastic, and create penalties for environmental crime.

I used to think that living to the fullest, being part of so many organisations, volunteering on my free time, stressing myself to become the best in the field was worth the consequences. Living with cognitive difficulties because of brain fatigue due to my ambitious lifestyle was not worth it. Living to the fullest without considering the consequences for yourself and others is not worth it. Living in a world that is 2ºC warmer is not worth it. The conflicts within this world that we are going to live in is not worth it. Water will be scarce, diseases will be more abundant, food will be scarce, the economic repercussions of extreme weather will be costly.

It’s funny though. More than 10 years talking about climate change, more than 10 years advising in how to stop it. We have all heard it, we have all understood it, and yet, most of us turn a blind eye. “It will not happen to me”. But it does. The same way I used all my energy to live to the fullest caused my brain to overdrive and stop functioning properly, we are all living unsustainably in a world that will stop to function properly. The ecosystems we are affecting will not get back to it’s former self. Don’t worry, our planet will survive, and will create a new ecosystems and new species that can live in a 2ºC, 4ºC warmer planet. But we, as human beings, will not.

It’s funny, because you already know this. You have read the headlines, heard about it, you have probably considered it, even discussed it. Everyone knows this. Just like everyone knows stress is bad for you, yet here we are, in a society that expects you to have a lifestyle that will lead to burnouts, cause heart attacks and lead to bad mental health.

Each year our climate gets more extreme. More people displaced from their homes, more species extinct, more environmental destruction. Each year more people become aware of what is happening and decide to change their lifestyle. Each year more key figures want to make a change. I have only to hope that things will get better, that governments will do better. If I don’t have that ridiculous optimism in a world that is becoming more hateful and ignorant, it is way to difficult to bare the anxiety of what will come.

So I will keep shouting until they listen. Knowing the consequences of doing nothing makes all the shouting worth it.

The Hypocrite West

I am not feeling very patriotic right now.

Sweden’s commitment to human rights goes way back. In 1766, Sweden introduced freedom of the press – the first country in the world to do so. Today, ensuring that human rights are respected around the world is a core priority in Swedish foreign policy. But human rights begin with individuals. – Official website of Sweden

Sweden’s recent decision to keep the borders closed is appalling. I live in the border, and I am one of thousands of activists that have worked around the clock to help the refugees that arrive here. Let it be noted that we have been volunteering since September, without the help from the government, local municipality, police or migration board. We have only received help from donations.

A leading humanitarian country since 1766, is now starting to lose track of what it is to be Swedish. While they should have been the leading country – together with Germany – to ensure a smooth process for refugee to establish in the Europe. Force other EU countries, and other Western countries to do their part in this moment of crisis.

What is happening now is that EU’s weak crisis management and attention to human rights, is costing people’s lives as well as creating a perfect open door for criminal activity that want to take advantage of the situation. It wouldn’t surprise me if ISIS is profiting from EU’s closed borders.

And now here we are. Right winged parties are winning popularity, thanks to fear and right winged propaganda. Even Donald Trump has got a friend in Jimmi Åkersson, leader of the neo-nazi party Sverigedemokraterna, with the idea of having a special system for Muslims, and keeping them in check. What kind of world are we living in?

It reminds me about Hitlers rise to power. The problem then were the Jews and the communists. The psychological propaganda is the same. It is scary to live here – again. With Europe’s conservative and right-winged parties rising in popularity thanks to fear produced by propaganda. It is amazing how they manage to inspire civilians to burn down temporary accommodations of refugee children and families in Sweden and Germany.

These past months Europe has been afraid that refugees would change us, our culture and traditions. Europe did change, but not thanks to the refugees. It was thanks for the hatred produced by us. Europe is closing borders and becoming exclusive, selfish. Europe is different, yes, but it was not the fault of refugees. These people are running for their lives.

It’s hypocrisy. Certain European countries and US are hypocrites. Western world sits on high chairs and sees the world become rotten, polluted and sick, thanks to capitalism and unethical consumerism. They send troops to “save” whoever seems to need saving. They call themselves humanitarian. Then they block the entrance of those that are affected by it. People, like you and me, with dreams and ambitions, knocking on your door because their world is in ruins. Or they die trying.

Western world has shown so much hypocrisy, so much stupidity, ignorance and greed the past few months, or even years, that I am not feeling very patriotic. You all make me sick. What is wrong with you?

Hetero- or homosexuality does not exist

Based on my background in biology and animal behaviour, based my own observation about sexual and social behaviour within our species and based on studies that have been made about homosexuality, I hypothesise that no one is gay or straight – hetero- and homosexuality is purely a result of suggestions and social construct.

This hypothesis came up from a discussion that I had with my wife. She seemed to have spent the morning reading about the science behind homosexuality, and in what way evolution would allow there to be homosexuality present in the population.

Many studies suggest that there is a so called “gay gene”, some studies suggest that homosexuality can be a result of environmental factors in the womb or external that allow genes to be expressed differently – as explained by Dawkins in the video.

I argue that our obsession about homosexuality makes us focus on the wrong issue. In fact, our obsession with gender also misdirects our studies and focus. What is sexual attraction is purely biological. It has to do with so called pheromones as to find the mate that perfectly matches our genetic composition to produce strong offsprings.

If that is true, why would genitalia matter? That is where the social pressure and power of suggestion comes in. I don’t believe being heterosexual is the “normal”, and other sexualities are derivatives. My theory is that we are all bisexual – or rather, pansexual. Those that identify as gay or straight are that way because of years of social pressure and suggestions.

Before you skip the rest of this article and hit the comment button and share unpleasant angry comments, I will say that I respect whatever LGBTQ+ identity you identify with. It is none of my business to say what is true or not. It is important that we respect everyone for who they are and not question whatever identity they identify with.

I am simply exploring the evolutionary perspective of sexuality in the biological sense. Psychology certainly plays a big part of it. We do not fall in love or become sexually aroused with our eyes, it is our nose that activates that part of our brain when a certain person is genetically compatible to us – we then explain it with our eyes. For those who identify as bisexuals or pansexuals will understand this. For those who identify as heterosexual and homosexual will not.

If we were all open about our sexuality and explore our feelings, it would possibly be clear that we are all bisexuals. Many times I have heard monosexuals say that they found a person attractive but would never date them because they are personally gay or straight. As humans we tend to close doors to possibilities when we feel these doors should not be open.

“What makes people homosexual?” is the wrong question to ask. You should ask “What makes people monosexual?” – THAT would be more interesting. The first question assumes that heterosexuality is the norm, while bisexuality could very well be the norm. Our research in homosexuality is very 80’s minded. I cannot understand why there is so much research in the “gay gene” when it is obvious that sexuality seems to be a spectrum and we all fall in different parts of the spectrum.

I would love to test this hypothesis.

Gender and Evolution

The thing about gender, is that it’s completely irrelevant. Gender per se is just but an abstract concept. How do you know you are a woman, a man, agender or genderqueer? Binary or non-binary? It’s something you just seem to know. It’s not based on tastes, body types, genitals, or personality, because over and over again we are proved that all the stereotypes are wrong.

And in the end it’s irrelevant. Gender says NOTHING about you. It doesn’t add anything to your life. In fact, it just allows another person to know what kind of life experiences you have had – not because of your gender, but because of how others treat your gender.

Preconceptions and struggles from having a gender shapes your life. Being transgender, a woman, genderfluid, agender or a man – everyone is unfortunately treated differently within our society, thus making us all have a different experiences in the same situation. Is it fair? No, it leads to a vicious cycle of pre-assumptions.

When we thrive for an equal society, we should want gender abolishment. I have since very young not cared much about gender, I never felt I was treated any different, I don’t think people associate me with a gender, unless I expressively dress “accordingly”. During my day-to-day life I live in a genderless society, but that is rather naive and ignorant, because we don’t.

When faced with a such philosophical questions of our being, I tend to look at Nature. We are a product of evolution and our behaviour is based on evolution, so when in a introspective position, we should put everything in a global perspective. You have most probably heard about “survival of the fittest”, and you are probably wrong about it too.

All organisms – plants, animals, bacteria, viruses – live to die to live forever. It is all about passing your genetic material to the next generation, ultimately leading to immortality. You will die, but what made you “you” will be passed to another being. That is survival of the fittest. Within the animal kingdom, through mate choice and mate competition, you find a perfect mate that will create offsprings that will survive to procreate. It is an investment for the future.

Many animal species are sexually dimorphic, meaning that both genders look different, with little differences within the genders This was selected through evolution by sexual selection and/or natural selection. For these species, the force of selection is extremely strong. For us humans, not so much – at least not anymore.

PHOTOGRAPHS BY MARTIN SCHOELLER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

We are all very different from each other, a HUGE gene pool of various traits and major diversity in mate preferences. We don’t have such a strong natural selection pressure anymore – humans don’t die very easily thanks to medicine, hygiene and safer jobs. We still have some sexual selection, as we tend to choose a mate that most resembles our “kind”, as in the community we grew up with. But then again, as we can more easily travel, the more people we meet, the more the sexual selection pressure becomes lower. Furthermore, with lack of natural and sexual selection, variation increases.

All this to say that today we have a lower pressure to behave or be a certain way. Thanks to globalisation, there is no doubt that each and every one of us has a suitable mate or mates somewhere in this planet. We are free to be the gender we feel we are, and thanks to globalisation and medicine, I believe that gender is becoming more and more irrelevant.

That’s the amazing thing about science and technology. We are living in an amazing era in which all those cultural strains are breaking. Soon, you do not need to be a certain gender or conform to it. Soon couples won’t need different sexual organs to have a child. Transgender people won’t need to do a sex change to validate their gender. We won’t need to dress and behave a certain way to validate our gender. Gender will be irrelevant that we don’t need to validate anything.

Gender as we know it is dying.

Genderfluid & No-Shave November

How awesome would it be if your body changed with your gender? It would make any genderfluid’s life so much simpler.

With the “No-Shave November” campaign going on right now, I feel like the guy who can’t join the cool kids. You get a tough case of dysmorphia, frustrated that you cannot grow that amazing beard that is currently so fashionable. The person I am in my head is not who looks back at me in the mirror. So how amazing would it be if we lived in a sci-fi world where your body changes with respect of the gender in your head?

What the heck are we doing?!

Police officer Tobbe from Polisen Lund in Sweden published yesterday a text about how he experienced the whole refugee crisis, describing the situation of an unaccompanied refugee minor. The text itself was shared more than 54,000 times, and considering the circumstances in Europe today, I give you a translation, because we all should be questioning ourselves and what we are doing.

WHAT THE HECK ARE WE DOING?!

25 minutes ago you hang yourself. 16 years old, just a child. But by an unimaginable coincidence your friend came into the room just a few seconds after and managed to pull you down from the noose.

Now I am standing up in the ambulance, leaning over you and pushing you down on the gurney in an attempt to get you to remain still. A sweat drop from my forehead falls on your right cheek. I do everything in my power to get you to be quiet while I’m trying to keep the balance when the ambulance hastily jerks and sways back and forth.

A new panic attack washes over you and you get another outbreak. Cries and screams come back and you start beating wildly around you in a desperation attempt to break from my grasp.

Through the windows of the ambulance I look out into the darkness outside. The blue lights lights up and reflects everything in our direct surroundings, speed increases somewhat and we continue on our way to the emergency room. The paramedic next to you gives you another dose of Stesolid with hope that this will relax you. After a moment, you calm down a little but continue to cry.

Poor little boy. What horrible things have you experienced in your life? What have you been involved with that made you feel so awful? Your background likely contains terrible things that not even I can imagine; pain that has been shredding you from the inside and filled such a young man with all this anxiety and concern.

You are not the first one I meet. And you will absolutely not be the last one.

A few hours later we arrive at the children’s emergency room. While you lie on your back on the bed, me and my colleague Cammo sit next to either side of you. She talks calmly to you in English and tries to comfort you. She tries to give you hope. I am talking on the phone with the regional duty officer, and it was decided that you would be taken to the Paediatric Psychiatric Ward in Malmö. I hope they can help you with all your thoughts.

So, to all those with preconceived notions about unaccompanied refugee minors:

Imagine you were able to join a shift in a police car and see what I have seen. Hear and I have heard. Experience what I have experienced and feel what I have felt.

I think that then you would both change your mind and feel very ashamed. And afterwards you would ask yourself a question and direct it to the whole of humanity.

For we all exist and live in this planet, our only planet. We breath the same air, we laugh and cry together, we are born and we die. But still we continue to allow a world where a three year old boy from Kobane who is fleeing for his life to drown in the Mediterranean sea, whose lifeless body was washed up on the beach before our eyes under horrible circumstances. We never stop to hurt our humanity, creating new crisis and catastrophes that result in more pain, war, crushed life stories, waves of refugees, and death.

And today, more than ever, we should ask ourselves this question:

What the heck are we doing?

//Lundapolisen, Tobbe

‪#‎RefugeesWelcome‬ ‪#‎SaveSyria‬

When a Local Community Help Refugees

On this day, last week, the media reported a refugee crisis in Europe. 230 refugees arrived that evening to Malmö, which is connected to Denmark and mainland Europe. While the government and local entities did nothing, NGO’s, churches, mosques and the local community did everything: allocating roofs over their head, free food, donating basic goods like shampoos, pads, combs, clothes, shoes, carry-ons and backpacks, amongst others.

There are volunteers at the train station in Malmö and the ferry stop in Trelleborg to receive all the refugees. There are interpreters and food ready for them when they arrive. They are then transported using private cars to locations where they can be fed, get to relax and sleep, before going to the migration board the next day.

I joined the volunteers and helped at a local cultural centre which has a large venue to accommodate hundreds of people. Thanks to donations by private people, there are beds, linens, pillows and blankets. I was told by those who volunteered during the night that a girl was sleeping with a smile.

There is a kitchen, and there they cook meals all day and all night to feed those that arrive after weeks or months of travel. I saw two mothers, one with a 5 year old and one with a few months old child, limping and traveling with plastic bags. Locals have donated hygienic products, baby food, diapers, women’s products – every day new donations come. They get to shower, get warm clothes, good shoes and change their plastic bags to carry-ons and backpacks. People have donated money so that these refugees can buy tickets to go to another city in Sweden, Finland or Norway, where they might have family and friends.

The media portrays refugees as poor creatures without democracy, money suckers and religious twats. Oh, right, and terrorists. But those that I met are highly educated people, engineers, actors, artists. They are people not numbers. Some come with smart phones, which indicates that they were middle class. People like you and me, who had a home, a job, a university degree, whose children went to school and have dreams and ambitions. They were forced to flee to keep their family safe. They were forced to choose between dictatorship or radicalised islam, when they wanted democracy. According to a Syrian volunteer that I met this week, ISIS is funded by dictators in the Middle East to make people see there is something worse than dictatorship.

While the government, the EU and official entities did nothing, this past week the community got together to give these people something when they have nothing. And you know what? During WWII, Portuguese consul Aristides de Sousa Mendes in Bordeaux, France, saved the lives of 30,000 refugees by granting them visas to neutral Portugal. He did this even though Portugal did not allow it and this was a time when Portugal was under a dictatorship. He is today considered a hero, as he sacrificed his career and life doing what he considered was the right thing to do.

We are now living the worst refugee crisis since WWII. So, what does it say about our privileged generation who are unwilling to receive with open arms refugees fleeing from war, when our grandparents received refugees at a time when Europe was at its worst?

#RefugeesWelcome

Cultural Appropriation: is it just about hair?

The whole “white people shouldn’t have black hairstyles” keeps coming up on my FB newsfeed.. The question is always the same “why is it such a big deal when we are all basically multicultural? Shouldn’t sharing our differences be something to celebrate?”

I think it all comes down to respect. I daresay, this is an American issue and based on how American culture is structured, so I understand when Europeans go “I don’t understand why this is such a big deal”. I did that, and it got me blocked from the Everyday Feminism facebook page – I was accused of being a White Feminist. I learned from my mistake: I do not have a say in how a minority feels, especially assume that all our cultures are the same.

Is it okay for a white person to use black hairstyles? Sure. Does it show respect? No. A western white person wearing a kimono, a hijab, or a black hairstyle because it is fashionable ends up negatively affecting those from who they “stole” or “borrowed” it from. It is not easy to be culturally different from the majority; wearing cornrows or a hijab is not generally accepted in the western society, but if a white person uses them, it is considered cool and fashionable.

Cultural appropriation negatively affects the movement for equality. If America had no racism, this wouldn’t be an issue, but because there is racism, it does become an issue. One doesn’t get to steal a cultural aspect they like, and ignore the rest. “We are equals, focus on how we are equal and share the culture”. Great idea, but you are ignoring why people are getting upset, you are not taking the time to actually sit down and listen to why. You are blinded by a perfect society that doesn’t exist, unwilling to see gender, race and religion, because we are all equal. You are therefore part of the problem.

It is not about making the gap between races, religion and culture bigger, it is about acknowledging the differences and closing the gap. People are shouting about how they are discriminated and anti-movements respond with “we are all equal, focus on that, focus on our similarities, there are more important issues to focus on”. The problem is that we are not equal, we don’t have equal opportunities and equal rights. Yes, we are all human beings – we eat, poop, fart and all our bodies function exactly the same way. We all thrive for happiness and we love, hate and feel emotion, some more than others. Yet, our social structure is not based on equality, but on our differences. If you do not see how, we will never be able to change it.

That is what activism is about: I say that I am a multilingual pansexual genderqueer person who has a multicultural background to show that I exist, that I am not like you, and our society does not welcome me the way I am. Why? No one knows what pansexuality is, no one understands non-binary, I am fluent in many languages but I haven’t mastered any of them which makes people think I am stupid, and I grew up with different cultural backgrounds so I don’t really fit in anywhere. If you do not want to see me for who I am because you are “gender blind” or want to see everyone as equals, you will never be an ally to make my life a bit easier. We are equals, but we are not treated equally – THAT is the issue many are ignoring. Stop dreaming and focus on the reality and listen.

Why I gave up Twitter

Last month I decided to try Twitter, and I have now deleted my account – I lasted one month. During the first hours there, I got trolled and bullied because I made it public that I am a feminist. Why? Because there are many “feminists” that promote expressions like “showering in man tears” and then do not realise that feminism today is in fact about all genders, sexual orientations, races, religions and nationalities – Intersectional Feminism.

It also got to a point where people have questioned my gender identity – in general confrontational about my views, what I want to help achieve and who I am. What annoys me however, is that there are people who have the same views as me (according to their account), yet just want to be the one who is right without trying to understand the other. In the end, Twitter becomes a perfect location to increase tension in movements like feminism, and in many cases making it worse, when we could unite for the same goal.

While this experience has allowed me to see and understand why so many are against feminism, it has also given me an existential crisis about my views on feminism, gender identity and anything else that is queer. Not that I might be wrong, but when you get bullied so hard you start to question everything about yourself and others. “Am I doing the right thing?”

When you go against the stream and actively work for a world where people take you for who you are without questioning you, you sometimes doubt yourself. It is normal, but scary. I am not a feminist scholar, I haven’t read a whole load of books, and I do not have a degree in gender studies. I am a green scientist, observant, part of the LGBTQ+ community and my views and ideals accidentally lie in what is known as feminism.

Bully me all you want, push me down all you want, but I stand firm about who I am and what I deserve, for I see unfairness in our society for all genders. I feel more at ease walking at night in the company of a man, I feel the need to prove myself over and over again, I feel the need to marry my girlfriend to show that my relationship is real and not a phase, I feel the need to say I am gay instead of pansexual, and I feel the need to STFU when it comes to talking about my rights.

I gave up twitter because it was a toxic environment – it doesn’t help to increase my knowledge about feminism, it doesn’t help the movement and many “feminists” have made feminism a hate movement against men. So, thanks but no thanks.