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IS THERE A SILVER LINING IN A PANDEMIC?

Only one month ago we had been living in a society with a power struggle between the right and the left, the East and the West, the young and the Old. All assuming our side to be righteous, as we demonized and mocked the others. Who knows how long we would have continued to play this game.

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Some of us get up, read the news, go to work, come back home, get into a social media battle pointing the blame of the ills of the world to those who don’t agree with our cultural opinion. Rinse and repeat. Others skip some part of this all together, perhaps the artists, or the retirees. For the most part we function within a society that is in this constant motion, in this constant wheel. We are separated by barriers, languages, and cultures.

 

For me, I had made the move to experiment within the confines of one industry: the travel industry.  And by confines I mean the rules of its game. I was getting up and going to work, functioning within a schedule that was somewhat beyond my control. For the first time in a long time I was working in a more traditional field. Away from my freelancing, my acting, and my writing. It was more stable right? I wanted to see if that was what was missing, the routine, the predictable. At the same time, as I went to work everyday, I hoped something would free me.

Who would have imagined that something would be a global pandemic.

There are people that have been blessed and the loss of a job will simply mean a re-direction and some time spent in reflection. Others that will be hit hard by this, which only reiterates the need for solidarity. Solidarity like we have never seen before that runs worldwide.

 

The last global pandemic happened in a world with limited technology to keep it going. We can stay connected, like people in the past never could. It’s time to count our blessings and realize the world is about to see an incredible amount of innovation, because the law of nature says that he who doesn’t adapt loses. And we are now living through the law of nature, painfully but wonderfully.

 

We must adapt. We must reflect. We will change our ways.

 

As Saturn – the planet that represents change, organization and power – transitions from Capricorn – the sign of hard work and status quo – to Aquarius – the sign of rebelliousness, technology, and group consciousness – we transition with it.

 

I think it’s a bit exciting.

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VENEZUELAN SOCIALISM WORKS – HERE’S WHY

Shocking, I am Venezuelan, a Venezuelan that left the country because of policies that were hindering the countries’ economic growth (among other things of course). I have always repeated to friends and other acquaintances that “socialism doesn’t work.”  Then I dare write a post with the opposite title, claiming that it does. That it works perfectly well, that it worked so well that a country that used to be above world average on economic freedom according to the Heritage Foundation is now one of the most economically repressed.

 

I am talking about a country that used to be one of the richest, and most stable economies in Latin America. A nation where the average Venezuelan was earning three times what the average Colombian in the neighboring country was making. At the time of its economic prosperity, Venezuela was surrounded by failing governments and dictatorships across Latin America. Everyone and their brother wanted to move to the nation producing this prosperity, Venezuela experienced decades of immigration right after the 2nd World War from European citizens looking to rebuild their lives, and then as the economic prosperity improved as a result of these hard working immigrants, it opened its doors to more immigration from the poorest sectors of Latin American society in the 70s and 80s… not too long before its economic decline.

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I painted the picture, so now let’s go back to the topic at hand: Socialism. A lot of people – myself included – hold the position that this economic system doesn’t work. I read an article recently that claimed otherwise. I was momentarily annoyed at the author of the article. “How dare he say Socialism worked in Venezuela?” I thought. Of course, after reading it, I reconsidered my position. Perhaps I’ve been looking at the purpose of socialism from the wrong point of view. I’ve been saying that it doesn’t produce wealth; that it doesn’t produce freedom. Of course it doesn’t; but who ever said that the aim of socialism is to produce either of those things?

 

Socialism could never produce the good results “evil capitalism” creates. Did it ever claim to generate wealth? No. It promises the redistribution of already existing wealth, not to produce any wealth whatsoever. Well what happens when the redistributed wealth is used, or spent. Does it create more? Hardly. Socialism divides wealth, and when does dividing ever result in the multiplying of anything?

 

But the socialists of today will point to the Scandinavian countries. They will say how wonderfully socialism works in Sweden or Denmark. The problem with that argument is that these countries are not actual socialist countries. They didn’t achieve wealth because of socialism, but are rather rich despite of high tax policies. They might have high taxation, but the government doesn’t own the means of production (kind of a key aspect of socialism); not to mention corporate taxes are actually lower in Sweden than they are in the United States. Surprised? I definitely was. My opinion of socialism was starting to shift because of these myths. Fortunately people like the Prime Minister of Denmark, Lars Løkke Rasmussen stepped up and said Denmark is not socialist. Others have followed in Sweden and cleared up this Scandinavian myth, but there are still plenty that believe it.

 

On the other hand, we have places in the world were socialism has been put into practice; places where their leaders upheld the socialist banner and proudly claimed to be socialists. Were they lying? Were they just trying to soil Socialist as an economic theory? These nations have put into practice socialist systems. They have put into practice its rules. Examples would be the Soviet Socialist Republic in Russia under Stalin; The National Socialist German Workers’ Party under Hitler; and most recently, The United Socialist Party of Venezuela under Chavez.

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Socialists of today will look at those examples and say they none of them are examples of real socialism, or that in these cases, socialism wasn’t implemented correctly. There is a kind of arrogance with a lot of socialists in that they always believe they would get to power and immediately do things better than those who tried it before. Well, if they didn’t do it right, can you find an example of someone who has done it well? Again, don’t mention the Scandinavians.

 

There’s a famous and overused quote that states that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. Perhaps these well-intentioned socialists are actually insane. The other ones could possibly just hate the rich.

 

The Colombian President of Venezuela agreed that the socialist model failed the economy. He admitted this. Did he become a capitalist then? Did he change his tune? No, absolutely not. Because socialism is not in any way about economic prosperity, but about the control of government in all aspects of society. To run a socialist nation peacefully you need collective agreement.

 

We are supposed to trust that the government can manage and run the country better than its citizens. We are supposed to give them power over business and enterprises. What happened in Venezuela is no different. Maduro’s predecessor, and creator of the “Revolucion Bonita” (Pretty Revolution), expropriated businesses left and right. Same thing happened in Cuba. The private sector suffered, and must of those businesses were either run into the ground, or given to a friend with the right connections to Chavez and his regime. Of course, others were subjected to price controls and were also run to the ground. Facing the harsh economic policies, many businesses left the country, giving those jobs to other nations. Is this surprising at all? It shouldn’t be.

 

Marx knew perfectly well socialism would wreck the economy and that it was quote “insufficient and untenable” as he wrote.  It seems as if he felt some moral superiority and just wanted the proletariat to take things away from the bourgeoisie. It’s not about love for the people, it’s about resentment, coveting what others have. Socialism is very very successful at making everyone equal, but of course equally poor… except for the new bourgeoisie, the new elite running the government.

 

As George Orwell puts it in his book Animal Farm: “four legs good, two legs bad” then turns into “four legs good, two legs better.”

 

WHY PC CULTURE IS TRASH AND HOW TO CHANGE IT

For some time now we have been marching towards a society where thinking differently than the other is dangerous business. Thankfully we are not yet at the point where the government can actually monitor your thoughts; but big tech is getting incredibly close. 

I’m not trying to sensationalize nor induce fear, I’m not against certain ads appearing on my feed because the algorithm has figured out my interests.

No, I genuinely don’t care about that.

I do care about the narrative that is being told by a minority of very vocal people who have become increasingly powerful because of their skill to influence through the media. 

The narrative has become so strong that it has left those who dare have a different opinion be afraid to express it. It has become so strong that people who actually are vocal about their beliefs are fired from their jobs, banned from twitter (ex. Posie Parker), banned from Facebook, and demonetized on Youtube (ex. Steven Crowder). 

Yes, a private company may hold certain codes of conduct. That’s fine, but those codes of conduct are often influenced by a media narrative that has become increasingly biased and afraid of dissent. Companies like YouTube and Facebook are seen as open platforms which allow all creators to join in the conversation; meaning they enjoy the benefits of the law for not being held liable for anything said, or published in their platform; but yet some creators are demonetized without breaking any of the company’s rules simply because someone got “offended.”

There’s no clear set of guidelines about why these creators are being punished. In which case one could argue these companies are dictating a narrative; if someone where to step outside of the story, that someone is likely to be punished. 

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Photo by Connor Danylenko from Pexels

It seems like people are becoming increasingly prone to be offended. Something as reasonable as saying “men and women are different” (which is backed up by science), is now somehow taboo. 

The US government has not yet taken steps to make an “offensive opinion” a crime… yet (Canada passed a bill for compelled speech in 2017). However, it seems those groups that are always finding ways to be offended are pushing for laws punishing those who dare say something offensive. Now, you might think this is a good idea, right? Perhaps we should fine those who say certain things, like “hate speech” for example. However, what constitutes offensive? Who defines hate speech? And why should we give someone the power to legislate on that? What’s offensive to you might not be offensive to me and vice versa. Why should we let someone decide what that means? 

We are getting closer to an Orwellian society, and that’s a problem. 

How did we let this happen?

Simple; just by living our lives; going to school, hanging out with friends, getting jobs. Most of us hear things going on in the periphery but they are not actually a priority to us. But how did we go from legalizing gay marriage to having conversations about whether children should change genders before they reach the age of consent? Both under the banner for LGBTQ rights. 

One of these is most definitely not like the other. In fact the latter is a far cry from the former. I think it’s time we start paying attention and start vocalizing our concerns without fear of being called a bigot, seems that word has lost all its meaning after it being abused by the far left. 

The silent majority does not agree with the direction our society is going, I think it’s time for that majority to stop being silent. 

The Places We Love

Sometimes whenever I am meeting someone new, or making conversation with a friend, I ask the question: “If you could have a superpower, what would it be?”

I feel I can get a sense of who their person is and what their desires in life are by the way they answer the question.

I always say that I would want to teleport myself. My answer has never changed.

I am very much aware that I love traveling, but I always picture myself teleporting myself to the same places.

The same place I would just love to transport myself at the blink of an eye (in this case quite

Photo by Melissa Thomas

literally).

Maybe some places – just like some people – have a magnetic effect on us. We can’t seem to stop thinking about going back to these places, being there even if it’s just for an afternoon coffee. They feel like our place to be, They could feel like home.

Yet, something is stopping us from fully moving to these places.  Something is holding us back – or we truly believe that.

We want to appear there. Experience the place in short spouts, long spouts. Sometimes just yearn for them; yet not fully engage.

We say to ourselves, one day, one day I will go back and I will stay. I will make that place my home. For now, I will just dream about teleporting myself there from time to time.

 

An Elusive Cocktail – Short Story

“But I just don’t like this music,” he said to her.

It was crowded and they were already inches close to each other. She looked at him and a smile twinkled through her eyes. She inched closer, and closer to him as he stood still looking down at her.

It all seemed to be happening in slow motion – but yet for a third party not two seconds went by before she kissed him, running her hands down his chest. There was a magical kind of intensity emanating from both of them.

She then whispered: “Did you like that?”

“Yes,” he said, as if the breath had been sucked out of his lungs.

“Then you don’t need to like the music,” she said as she went back to dancing.

He looked at her for a second with a half-smile. Was it lust? or was it enchantment? – Perhaps it was both, an elusive cocktail. Soon enough, he was dancing in perfect tune with her, to the music he did not like.

UNADULTERATED FREEDOM

Honestly, I’m not sure “Unadulterated Freedom” is the right title for this post. It was just something that popped into my head while I was thinking what to write. It seems to go with the theme. No limitations right I am not following some kind of guideline when it comes to naming this post. So perfect, “Unadulterated Freedom” it is.

I am reinventing the way I write this thing. Yes, I have been out for a while. I was having one of those moments that last for months. You see, I was following all of the advice of keeping a website/blog. Be consistent with the theme, find an audience, etc. etc. etc. All good advice, but also a bunch of nonsense.

I was way into my head about it trying to find a specific topic to write about each week. It froze me. I lost my interest. It felt forced.

This wasn’t meant to be forced. It was meant to be a release for me, fun to write, and hopefully fun and relatable for you to read.

Guys, I am back where all of this started for me. I started this website a couple of years ago when I moved from Boston to NYC. Right out of college, when I didn’t know what to do with my life. I started to write, I started taking acting classes, and I ended up moving to LA for a Master of Fine Arts in Acting.

I definitely didn’t see that coming when I started writing this thing.

Which taught me that sometimes life has a more exciting journey than you expect. But I was definitely resisting my creative/artistic path up until a few months ago believe it or not.

I just called it a hobby.

Not anymore. I’ve accepted that I am an actress, and a writer and all that comes along with it. It is exceptionally freeing to accept it. More than it is scary; and I’m definitely excited for what’s to come.

I will be writing here about whatever it is I want to share. Whatever I want, Encouragement, self-empowerment, self-discovery stories, life in New York, and maybe even some short stories.

Hope you are also finding your freedom.

Cheers, and stay tuned!

THANK YOU INTERNET – WE ARE LUCKY TO HAVE YOU

I have to admit, I watch a lot of Netflix. I love TV shows, I love stories. Most of the time, the series I watch spring out of the writer’s imagination, most of it being fiction inspired by real events. Sometimes however, I really love getting into a show that tells a true story. The Tudors, The Crown, even Vikings, are great examples of these shows. I am fascinated by what happened in years past; and truth is, history can be even more fascinating than fiction.

Most recently I watched “Kurt Seyit ve Sura,” a Turkish show set in the early 1900’s. The show was a love story adapted from a novel; which happened to narrate a real story between two people during the Russian Revolution and WWI. It is an incredibly emotional show, and there is no consolation in saying: “it’s just a show.” Because it isn’t. It happened, regardless of specific details, the story is true.

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You might be wondering by now, where am I going with this?

Well, the show is set in times of war, were families were separated, and when going on a voyage from one country to another might mean you might not see the people you are leaving behind ever again. It made me reflect on how lucky we are as a generation.

I am also from a country that is having social and political unrest; but watching this show made me thankful about the opportunities I have, that people one hundred years ago did not even dream of. Communication and travel have never been so accessible in history.

Why not take advantage of the things we have now?

The internet has made it possible for us to stay connected with those whom we met briefly on a weekend in another city; with family members on a foreign land, and with childhood friends who went on a different direction.

 

It has never been easier to explore the world, and to enrich our lives with experiences. We can work from anywhere in the world from our laptop. Everyday there is less need to go to an office, and sit in a cubicle. The difficulty lies in our own patterns.

Because it’s the way it has been done for so long, it becomes hard to break away. Even if you consider it for a second, many of us dismiss the thought as something crazy. I invite you to consider the possibility. Allow yourself to dream. Because with that kind of exploring and adventure, comes interconnectedness and understanding. Understanding of different cultures and its people.

What would have been the fate of the people in the Russian Revolution if they had the tools we now have?

PS: If you want a real tear jerker, watch Kurt Seyit ve Sura on Netflix