Regina Saphier: The Century of the Self

Regina Saphier: The Century of the Self

What is the series “The Century of the Self” about? (The Century of the Self, BBC, 2002, 4 part series, 4 x 60 minutes) To me the series is about how Sigmund Freud’s nephew Edward Bernays (as a PR professional), and one of Freud’s six children Anna Freud, and even Hitler (in his political PR) used the famous Austrian neurologist’s psychological insights and methodology (plus the PR insights of Freud’s nephew).

Yes, indeed, Hitler adopted Freud’s and Bernays’ knowledge of the human psyche for the purposes of mass political manipulation, therefore Freud’s insight became a weapon of mass destruction. Since there were no goods to satisfy desires, goods were replaced by the ideal of “serving the nation”. “The Century of the Self” is about how Freud unknowingly built the psychological toolkit of the persecution and genocide of his people.

Later, his over psycho-analyzed daughter, Anna Freud went out of her way to develop a generalized psychological theory of the “American society”, to prevent anything even remotely similar to the Holocaust. She wanted people to have emotional tools to keep their unconscious desires under control (her goal: instead of experiencing, people should control and suppress their impulses). This approach (obviously) backfired.

It is especially important to notice that while the US government financed the development of therapies and educational methods that would result in suppression of emotions, US enterprises invested in psychological research to increase sales (making people hyper focused on fulfilling their desires), and both did that at US universities! Astronomical budgets were spent on the generalization of two opposing impulses. Nobody could quantify the suffering this complex and contradictory brainwashing had on millions of unsuspecting people. This brainwashing is ongoing and you can easily notice this when you open a magazine and pages after pages contain luxury sweets, gourmet foods, weight loss programs, and models who obviously have extremely low BMI.
Suppress or indulge, that is the question. People in the eastern parts of the EU had a sudden high dose of this contradictory brainwashing after the borders were opened. And this horrible impact clearly shows up in people’s behaviors. In my opinion, treating uneducated and unprepared people like this is a criminal act, because experts are using psychological insights against the masses that individuals don’t possess, while those clueless individuals were instrumental during the market research process in focus groups.

The series tells the story how PR and the focus group method of psychoanalyst Ernest Dichter were combined to support the elections of Clinton and later Blair. Clinton’s reelection was achieved by the analysis of the desires of undecided voters (not only based on statistics, but also based on psychology and targeted questionnaires). This “desire-mining” resulted in Clinton’s success. Freud’s psychoanalysis applied to politics. Later Blair used the same method, but he even believed his own narrative that was based on the desires of his voters (after simply having copied the desperate Clinton campaign’s questionnaire based method, because it apparently worked). Simply put, the two politicians narrated what people (based on the targeted questionnaires and focus groups) wanted to hear. This approach is obviously morally wrong, because voters don’t always desire what their real needs are. The best example: The condition of the railway system in the UK did not show up as a primary need, but when the service became noticeably terrible politicians were immediately blamed.

I agree with Robert Reich! (Note: It shows the humanity and kindness of his family that in Northampton his sister Ellen once gave me her own apartment for a few days when I worked for CTY of Johns Hopkins University in 2002.) According to Robert, who for a while served as the secretary of labor during the Clinton administration, a politician who aims to fulfill irrational desires has no mandate. Bill Clinton responded by saying that if he doesn’t get reelected he can’t do anything. This is why Robert Reich quit politics and Clinton’s personality clearly got (even more) distorted by the pressures of his desperate steps.

It has always been my opinion (let us imagine me as a cute toddler with my curly brown hair having this opinion already) that mass democracy is a distorted phenomenon. It is still lacking even in societies with the best education systems, because humanistic and rational decisions would be needed and those require waste interdisciplinary knowledge, understanding of systems, and maturity, and that should be true for each and every member of a society. This requirement isn’t present in 90% of individuals, not even if many of them are degree holders. In my opinion elections aren’t decided based on rationality because humans aren’t rational beings. The Obama campaign wasn’t based on rationality either. It was based on the fondling of desires.

In Hungary for example in 2014 it was the general disillusionment in relation to Europe and the national inferiority complex that was easy to be used in an economically and socially ruined, vulnerable and backward country. People voted in larger numbers for the one who narrated what they wanted to hear, even though they knew that it wasn’t true. Most Hungarian citizens don’t know much about the world, because most people can’t speak any languages and most of them use the internet for idiotic activities. And every party should be ashamed of their behaviors (even today).

So, this series is about how the famous and infamous talents of the Freud family influenced the history of the XX. century (and even the XXI. century). And a particular representative of this influence is Anna Freud. This woman had enormous social and psychological impact… However, sadly she wasn’t a healthy human being! After having been over analyzed by her own father in relation to her depression and eating disorder… after having been addicted to masturbation… she remained a virgin until her death… She clearly got stuck in a personal emotional hell of not being able to be an authentic woman with well integrated impulses. From one extreme to the other. According to a relative, Anna Freud was a very cold adult. Based on her father’s theories and methods she suppressed all of her sexual impulses for life. She became the main servant of her father’s oeuvre.

As a famous therapist she for example used the four children of a billionaire divorce to develop her methods to divert societies, like the masses of the US, in a “good” direction. Based on her theories and advice the CIA developed a national method to teach people how to follow norms and how to suppress their unconscious and unwanted desires.

Parallel to this Edward Bernays was working to kindle, manipulate and legitimize on a mass scale impulses (almost turning them into a right): to smoke, to have an expensive car, fancy clothes and anything the average heart desired… or suddenly believed to desire, need and even deserve.

Again, this high profile and contradictory brainwashing went on and on. Companies were screaming at people to live their deepest desires, while the state whispered: suppress your desires. Hm… Just what could be the reason behind the massive number of depressed people in the US. And not only in the US… Anna Freud was so blind to her own mistakes that not even the fact that one of the four siblings she experimented with died of alcoholism and another committed suicide in her house in London during a psychoanalytical program. This was the horrific result of her distorted, emotionally stunted, left brained, analytical “love” for humans.

It is important to mention that Edward Bernays didn’t like people, he could only handle large crowds, and never believed in democracies. He was most likely a psychopath with zero compassion, or a sociopath with very limited empathy. His skepticism was based on the theories of Freud. He used this knowledge to lead people by their noses… or more specifically by their psyches.

According to the daughter of Bernays it was a terrible experience to have a father who assumed that everyone was an idiot. Such fathers are smiling or snarling depressed monsters, who maintain their unstable self confidence by constantly trying to destroy the self worth of their child and wife (notes by me: these types of people are mostly sociopaths and narcissists with some ability to feel anxiety… psychopaths don’t care about other people’s feelings at all… unless the person has acquired psychopathy… but these people all mostly look at others as means to their ends). Instead of building up their family members’ souls, they aim to destroy them while experiencing a perverted joy. In my opinion these people are extremely dangerous and as of today can not yet be cured and should be avoided (it is OK to have compassion for them, but it is also vital to keep a very healthy distance from them). People who look down on others never ask for help and never change their narcissistic point of view. To me this looks like severe brain damage that distorts such mentally ill people’s perception.

According to Wilhelm Reich’s daughter (no relations to Robert Reich), not much good can be expected of people like Anna Freud, who became asexual as a result of her father’s analysis. The woman who determined child psychology remained childless, as a result of the paternal trauma that she never faced up to. This should be emphasized because this is a horrific constellation. Anna Freud was an emotional wreck who was destroying a society among the most vulnerable. She systematically brainwashed children on a national level based on her own delusions. I seriously don’t understand people who respect Anna and Sigmund Freud. The father was a monster who played with people’s psyche, while his daughter determined the nature of child psychiatry in the developed world, and caused unimaginable damage to millions of people. I am sure she also did some good things, but as an heiress and as an internationally influential mental health professional she made sure her work and her father’s work is only seen in a positive light. She controlled all of the publications. Sigmund Freud turned away from people when he was an old man. We should turn away from Sigmund Freud.

Anna Freud acted out of a compensatory, yet delusional love for humanity. She suppressed her female impulses, first to serve her father’s creation, and second to “serve” the children of others. Bernays wanted to cynically control and manipulate the masses by making them believe that they are free, and able to achieve their dreams, fulfill their desires. Consuming goods is going to occupy their minds and entrepreneurs are going to become rich. The terrible motto of Bernays was essentially: “Consumption makes you free.” Anna Freud’s motto: “Freedom isn’t a goal, adapt at any cost, suppress your primal and human impulses.” These are already wrong on their own, but devastating when forced on an unsuspecting society at the same time.

The age of needs was replaced by the age of desires, created by Freud and Bernays. Freud provided the theory, while Bernays unethically and unscrupulously implemented these theories in the business world. Societies the world over are suffering from these tragic mistakes since the 1920s. Bernays and Anna Freud ended up in the large scale business of controlling the masses.

Those people who opposed Anna Freud, like Wilhelm Reich, fell out of favor (W. Reich went mad, his life and traumas predestined him to lose his mind, and he died in a prison in his sleep)..Those who criticized Anna Freud believed that the individual shouldn’t be blamed for their impulses. Rather it is the social context that pressures them to do the wrong thing. This destructive social pressure is what people should break free from (this is what people need help with). In the age of network analysis we now know that this is true on many levels. This means that instead of the externally and artificially induced desires, people should access and experience their true selves (whatever that means…). However, the true self is shaped by the surrounding society. If the society is sick, has the wrong values, that makes the individual sick. In a healthy society the same person would be most likely healthy.

Unfortunately, I am not surprised by these organized mental health crimes against humanity (add to this the criminalization of healing psychedelics). There is an interesting experiment that perfectly demonstrates the extreme influence psychological interventions can have on people (controlling the masses versus releasing the individual). In a US convent nuns participated in an experiment that increased their individual awareness… To put it simply: The convent was soon disbanded.

The women who had to look and behave as similar as possible suddenly became individuals. The question is: When they left the convent and underwent another brainwashing, were they happier people as consumers? The freedom of shopping can’t be the optimal freedom of people. But is there a true freedom of will? Doubtful, because people are social organisms. Humans (supposedly) are just one type of organism living on Earth… in the Universe… in the Multiverse… The individual got trapped by “modern” and artificial social pressures and is now empty… has everything… or believes to have nothing… and is therefore unhappy. Alone as an individual… reduced to the level of the consumer who thinks that products exist to show his or her uniqueness as an individual. But those products exist to make investors extremely rich and influential.

The endless stream of goods is there to serve the desires of the investors. But are those people happy? I don’t think so! There are many artists who could see and show the empty lives of the 1%. I also had multiple opportunities to witness this emptiness. For example while studying at Columbia University I participated in 12 group psychotherapy sessions of a famous Manhattan psychotherapist. An average human being can’t imagine the shallowness, the snobbism, and the emotional destitution of rich people of Manhattan. I was a total outsider, an international student, and I knew that these people were the prisoners of this expensive therapist. Buñuel’s movies came to mind…

These were my thoughts after I watched The Century of the Self many years ago. The mini series is in itself a manipulated version of reality. It is how the director wanted to represent Sigmund Freud, Edward Bernays, Anna Freud, Hitler, Clinton, and Blair. Individual subconscious processes… artificially inflated desires versus suppressed desires. Sales, genocide and emptiness. We have a shocking century behind us, and now we live in the era of social media manipulation… The movie is the story of the confused self and ego. Every character in this series was talented, influential and severely damaged.

In Zen Buddhism it is a fundamental idea that we create the world with our minds. I agree with Gábor Máté MD that it is also important to consider that first the world creates our minds (and most people in the developed world are traumatized and disconnected and many people will be helped by psychedelic therapies). People are looking for their own selves… a concept… a feeling… Not many people know how it feels to be a human being in a healthy community and society. We are healthy when we are in flow, we learn, we create, we grow and help others. We are healthy when we are in a healthy connection with ourselves and with others. The goal is not to own things. The goal is to help decrease suffering. Aim to be a better human being and build strong and loving connections with each other. Stop focusing on yourself. Start focusing on helping other people, while also taking care of yourself.


Watch the Century of the Self:



Regina Saphier: The Jordan Peterson (Psychedelic) Experience

Regina Saphier: The Jordan Peterson (Psychedelic) Experience

Jordan Peterson is a controversial Canadian clinical psychologist and psychology professor. He is also a best selling author and a member of the IDW. I think he is a very troubled and very talented human being. While he would so intelligently talk about the historical use of psychedelics (see video below) and how this relates to spiritual development and clinically proven healing of mental illnesses, he (in other videos) would warn against their use… and then he takes the prescribed and dangerous Benzodiazepine for his own anxiety (he also struggled with depression in the past)… and that action almost killed him recently, because his body developed a dependency. Instead of asking for a psilocybin trip treatment in the Netherlands his irrational fear kept him in the super dangerous and detached realm of psychiatry. He could have cured his depression and his anxiety with one or two psilocybin trips and a good trip guide. Instead in his “left brained” hyper rational blindness (Avidyā), devoid of his intuition, he almost killed himself. His example says it all. This is why psychedelic therapy should be a separate field, distinguishing itself by being in touch with nature and human intuition, while also being scientific and spiritual (but not religious). Once a Jordan Peterson type of person understands the difference and stands up in support of this new field, he will be healthier, a more adept leader and a true healer. This is my personal opinion.

If you share my post, please share it with his excellent lecture on psychedelics, healing and spirituality:
Jordan Peterson – The Shamanic Experience:

Regina Saphier: Becoming a Psychonautic Polymath

Default mode network connectivity. This image shows main regions of the default mode network (yellow) and connectivity between the regions color-coded by structural traversing direction (xyz → rgb). (Author Andreashorn)

Regina Saphier: Becoming a Psychonautic Polymath


When I was a teenager one of my teachers asked me what I am going to become when I grow up. And I responded that I would like to become a polymath. At the time I didn’t know that I could also become a psychonaut. Looking back, I am sure many polymaths were also psychonauts. In the end I became a sort of introspective “intellectual hedonist”. I am interested in many things and I love to share my knowledge with other people (but I am not going to save you the hard but beautiful work of self directed learning… if something is unclear there is the internet to explore… most of what I know: I noticed, read, heard or watched online).


Magic Mushroom Therapy and the Psychedelic Renaissance


If you have never seen the documentary DMT: The Spirit Molecule and if you never listened to the narratives of the clinical research volunteers of the famous study (or if you never had any “spiritual” experiences), you probably have no idea that your everyday reality is only a very narrow niche in the Universe (by spiritual I mean anything from a lucid dream to a near death experience). We should be really grateful to Rick Strassman MD who is basically one of the initiators of the psychedelic renaissance of our time. His volunteers after receiving intravenous DMT (N,N-Dimethyltryptamine) traveled to other universes, encountered entities and communicated with them, and in this altered state of mind some of them even lived alternative lives. Those who understand the topic know that DMT does not cause addiction. On the other hand it has a fascinating ability to open the mind and despite the short duration (only a few minutes) and the clinical setting the volunteers ranked the experience as one of the most important experiences of their lives. If people were as curious as me they would also react like this: “I would love to see this for myself at least once during my lifetime.” Sadly, most people are not as curious as me. Luckily for me, these days there are clinical studies happening in the UK too and perhaps one day I could become a volunteer in a DMT study.



As an interesting side note by the mild geek that I am, also during the early nineties as part of the series “Star Trek: The Next Generation” the famous episode called “The Inner Light” was broadcast. In that episode Jean-Luc Picard, the Captain of the Starship Enterprise while experiencing the projected memories of an alien civilization lives 40 years within a few minutes on an unknown planet. I also have to add, that these days serious people are debating whether we live in a base reality or in a simulation. Statistically our chances of living in a base reality are slim! Also related is the fact of neuroscience that our reality is a personal hallucination composed of the impulses that enter our brains. In this context the DMT experiences of the volunteers are especially interesting.

This video (below) contains a refreshingly interesting and creative chat about the topic of simulated reality. Artificial Intelligence expert Lex Fridman interviews philosopher and cognitive scientist David Chalmers.


A common theme of the DMT experience is that the new dimensions are more real than reality itself. Without any exogenous compounds I also had a few similar experiences, therefore I know what these people are talking about. It is possible because DMT is also produced by the human body. In my case two types of emotional conditions resulted in spontaneous, astonishing and memorable spiritual experiences: as a teenager meditative, focused listening to classical music with headphones in the darkness alone, and during my later years mourning triggered some extraordinary and beautiful experiences (but only after the death of people very close to me… the death of my dogs who were also very close to me did not trigger any spiritual experiences, despite the deep pain of having lost the perfect and conflict free love of my dogs). I am not religious, therefore I did not think of angels and gods, but the completely materialistic explanations appeared shallow too (materialism is also a kind of belief). During meditation I am able to stop the inner chatter and I feel very peaceful (I am only a beginner, but meditation already helped me tremendously to survive difficulties). I exist and I notice the “suchness” of things.


Learn more and see clearer!


Although I am an open minded and curious person, I had a similar take on psychedelics as Michael Pollan for a long time. I highly recommend his famous articles called: Trip Treatment and My Adventures with the Trip Doctors. In part it is his making that harmful prejudices are decreasing against beneficial psychedelics. According to Timothy Leary: “LSD is a psychedelic drug which occasionally causes psychotic behavior in people who have not taken it.” This is a brilliant observation. However, it is important to be careful with psychedelics! For example if you have one or two special genetic mutations you can end up having a very serious psychotic break when using marijuana (but this is rare). Set and setting are very important and psychedelics are not for everyone.

In this video Joe Rogan (a multitalented american who knows a lot about psychedelics…  don’t be misled by his meathead look… he is very intelligent, curious and loves people) talks with writer Michael Pollan about psychedelics.

Fun fact: I am watching Joe’s one-on-one chats regularly and YouTube thinks that I am a man! Just because of the smart, curious people I am watching on YouTube the algorithm assumes that I am a man. I can tell based on the advertisements (for months I got all sorts of suggestions for men’s soaps and shaving creams for example). YouTube’s algorithm is clearly sexist! LOL Someone should tell Joe that more women are watching his show globally than he thinks (and also more and more children probably… so perhaps watch the language Joe… I know you can do it…). In fact probably more women are on YouTube than YouTube thinks.



I never smoked (I refuse to let that toxic mix enter my lungs), I almost never drink alcohol (I am not a fan of alcohol, but an excellent Port wine after dinner or a cold beer during the summer can be nice), and I did not try cannabis ever, not even when all four of my travel companions tried it during my teenage years in Amsterdam. I was the living monument of sobriety all my life. Of course people thought that I was nuts. I admit, I am definitely not neurotypical.


My father was a regular drinker and that bothered me a lot. My mother rarely drank alcohol and she was also bothered by my father’s evening drinking (he drank beer, wine and strong drinks… not too much… but very little already made him insufferable… thankfully, he was never physically violent). When they turned middle aged, both of them quit smoking and both of them were very paranoid about addictive substances (my father was unable to see that besides drinking, compulsive collecting of objects is also an addiction related to brain chemistry… I on the other hand could very clearly see that I am going to inherit a shocking amount of objects… and that was no dream, rather a nightmare… I am not interested in owning objects, especially not so many objects… I have always been more interested in what happens in people).


Obviously, parental influences, lack of information and my peer pressure resistant character resulted in my categorical rejection of psychedelics until about 10-15 years ago. I lumped them together with dangerous hard drugs that cause addictions. Today, I know that I was simply uninformed. One day I met someone (sadly, he died young because his heart stopped due to chronic stress… he knew a thing or two about suffering) who explained to me that the use of mind altering substances goes hand in hand with human suffering and creativity… and that went on for thousands of years. At the time (due to a burnout) I was also suffering tremendously, but I still did not use any exogenous substances. I am not the pill popping type. I applied science and self directed learning to become functional again.


Suffering, learning, and the decision


I spent the last 15 years (among other things) suffering with my parents while they struggled with three different cancers plus a relapse. The lowest point of this horrible time period came when my mother died of cancer, a few weeks later my extraordinarily talented, highly intelligent and remarkably kind partner (who suffered from depression since his childhood) died of sudden cardiac arrest (his body could not take a lifetime of chronic stress any more), and finally a few months later my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer and he died within three months. Many people would break under the pressure of so much suffering, stress and pain if three of their loved ones died within 8 months. I did not break. My own strength surprised me too, but I could feel that I was in a lot of pain. I still did not become addicted to alcohol, pills, or any other types of drugs.


I experienced unimaginable amounts of suffering and I lost my loved ones who were my family. I meditated and consciously managed my energy to be able to survive those years. Meanwhile, I continuously studied psychedelic therapies. For years it was clear to me that this is going to be the right path if I need help (not the expensive, time consuming and slow talk therapy, neither alcohol, nor pills). By the time meditation, gardening, chats with friends, and laughter yoga weren’t enough to help process all the tragedies and to be able to move on with my own life, I knew exactly where to turn once I make my decision. I knew the place where I could try the psychedelic therapy legally, safely and effectively.


My trip to the Netherlands


Based on my personal experience in the Netherlands I can safely say that everything the international clinical studies are saying about the beneficial and healing properties of psychedelic therapies is TRUE!!! Magic mushrooms for example are safe and effective healing organisms, when used in an appropriate setting and with the right mindset (this is what “set and setting” means).  

To be afraid of magic mushrooms and their psilocybin content is like blaming the sponge, the vinegar and the water when a mindless idiot falls from a window while cleaning it during icy weather from the outside. (Based on this people actually should be very very afraid of alcohol, after poor alcoholic grandpa is hit by a truck while biking home.) If the window cleaning moron stood indoors, there wouldn’t have been a serious accident… Also, obviously, nobody should try a psychedelic on the balcony of a skyscraper. (The same way you should not bike around on public roads while under the influence of alcohol.) During my own magic truffle trip I was completely conscious, and I was in a safe and legal setting. When I opened my eyes everything looked normal, but I also definitely did not take the heroic dose that Terence McKenna was talking about (I added a video below with 24 hours of Terence). The DMT in ayahuasca and the psilocyn (produced by our bodies upon ingesting psilocybin found in magic mushrooms), are so called substituted tryptamines. Psilocyn in high dose could trigger a very DMT like hallucination, once attached to your serotonin receptors.



Our entire being functions based on such molecules. The experiences of our human existence are the results of chemically and biologically continuously modulated states of minds. In essence every individual, in their own brains, during every moment, hallucinates his or her personal universe. In case this personal hallucination is functional, the human being is able to live in relative harmony with his or her environment (this harmony can be based either on inner strength and knowledge, or on mindless conformity). We talk about mental illness, when the individual’s personal hallucination isn’t in harmony with the consensus “reality”. It is also possible that the individual’s “reality” hallucination is the truth, and the consensus “reality” is delusional. Just remember the case of Giordano Bruno… Society decided that it was best for him to burn to death because he was too sophisticated and knowledgeable for his time… his world view was much more developed than the consensus “reality” hallucination of his time. The cowardly and power hungry politicians (including the politicians of any church) have always been terrified of courageous, independent and intelligent people. It is not easy for the human mind to figure out truth and reality. According to Zen Buddhism our lives are only illusions, and we enter the path to enlightenment once we are able to see this and we begin to thrive to decrease the suffering in the world.


A trip around psychedelics


Initially, I was interested in the therapeutic impact of psilocyn in the human brain, especially the successful elimination of existential anxiety in terminally ill cancer patients, and the stunningly effective treatment of (otherwise) treatment resistant depression. Today I am also interested in the amazing healing properties of ayahuasca. The problem is not that one day we are all going to die, and until than life has a lot of suffering in store for us. This is life. The problem arises when we are not in an appropriate mental and emotional state to put up with this, deal with it, make good decisions, while we also relate appropriately to ourselves and to others (in relation to these I highly recommend the Zen Buddhist world view… I don’t agree with everything but it is a usable toolkit for life).


Sometimes one experiences too much stress and it is an intelligent idea to find a solution that is clinically proven to support trauma processing and helps regain one’s balance quickly, effectively and without adverse reactions. It won’t do anyone any good for the traumatized person to wait until a clinical depression develops, because if that happens society has to pay for a long term, debilitating and expensive antidepressant treatment, or for a drug/alcohol rehab again and again… And yet this is what happens and this is what is legal… Note: Now we know that many psychedelics can help people quit their addictions, even the long term types. What is legal, might not be morally acceptable. And things that are morally unusual, sometimes those are the right solutions.


A few decades ago it was believed (and it was clearly a delusion) that babies don’t feel pain. This is why babies were operated on without anesthesia. What barbarism! But at the time this was legal. This is what the medical community believed in. The torturing of infants was clearly a morally and medically unsustainable practice. And yet at the time those who were criticizing this barbaric practice were condemned. Today, the same is happening with people who know that it is not magic mushrooms that are dangerous, rather it is alcohol that is killing a large number of people. It takes a long time for the truth to saturate the social fabric.


For now I don’t feel the motivation to actually travel to Costa Rica or Peru to participate in a few ayahuasca ceremonies (unless it is a retreat with people like Dr. Gábor Máté or Dr. Rosalind Watts…). There possibly are other, closer options. For example, apparently, ayahuasca isn’t illegal in Italy. Also in Italy, right now it is legal to personally grow, harvest and use a small amount of cannabis. So, some Italians are trying to approach this topic with tolerance. Of course even in Italy audacious politicians keep telling the lie that all drugs should be banned because all are dangerous (sadly, many are using this topic to accumulate political capital… it is especially interesting, because people of more conservative orientation have much more active amygdalas, as opposed to more liberal people… and it is particularly the more conservative people who are more open to political fearmongering who would benefit most from the healing power of magic mushrooms… those who suffer most from their fears are unable to see that politicians only make things worse and increase their fears and push them further away from the very things that could ease their anxieties and pain… conservatives are supposed to be more into community building… but by coloring psychedelics as dark and evil things conservatives often do divide and hurt people).


In the Netherlands ayahuasca use is illegal since 2019. In 2008 magic mushrooms were also made illegal, but due to a legal niche truffles (the underground growing parts of magic mushrooms) are not illegal. Truffles of haute cuisine and psychedelic truffles shouldn’t be confused! Magic truffles contain all you need for a healing psychedelic trip. In Spain and in Austria the home growing and personal use of magic mushrooms is decriminalized. People should always carefully analyze the legal situation before making any decision in their particular environment and at a given time… for example if you are a US citizen and use mushrooms in Denver or Boulder in Colorado, you are ok, but if you are a tourist in the State of Colorado with a US federal visa, you could get in trouble for possession… So, use your brains people and be very aware of the local laws in any case and know about any possible law that could impact you at the time of use. Also in the US where more and more states decriminalize or legalize psychedelics, two churches legally use ayahuasca and those church members are measurably healthier people compared to the general population.


Entheogens and gods


When the goal is religious or spiritual ecstasy, we are talking about the use of entheogens. During human history hallucinogenic plants and mushrooms obviously contributed to the birth and development of religions. Sadly, instead of being intimate places of self-development and healing, today churches are mostly institutions of political brainwashing, devoid of authentic, deep and transformative spiritual experiences. In these institutions people are worshiping remarkably narcissistic, distant and psychopathic gods. You have to beg them, you have to fear them, they see everything… but they don’t give any fucks about you… you still have to admire them… you have to praise them… and you have to bring all the sacrifices (including your money)… Very familiar… typical self-absorbed and selfish male images… and you “just” have to blindly trust and believe in them. Tragically, millions of people still buy into this story, because due to their fears and culture they don’t have any other spark of wit. Society, the local culture, the school system and most families don’t bring up children to create their own independent and constructive world views, rather most children are brought up to be conformist adults maintaining the status quo. Therefore people reach for Jesus and alcohol, depending on what is on the shelf in the cultural pantry, because these components are at eye level and easy to pick. Anything else would require conscious, thorough discovery, learning and effort, but time and attention is not dedicated to these. Fact is, you can live a morally exemplary life without believing in god.

For example in the country where I live now alcoholism is a national tragedy. Yet alcohol is not prohibited (of course prohibition would also not do anything good). Any adult can drink as much as they like and just in this country tens of thousands of people are killed by alcohol per year (here the number of drug related deaths are incomparably less… I am going to tell you the ratio at the end of the article). For example many idiots are driving while being drunk. (Idiot in my dictionary means an individual who is suffering from ignorance.) Everyone knows that alcohol can ruin you even while you are sitting on the couch (it can destroy your liver and your family), it causes addiction, it alters the state of your mind, it does not heal your nervous system, rather destroys it. This does not stop people from imbibing excessively to the detriment of society and their own self. Similarly, masses of people belong to shallow and flashy churches, instead of looking for love and active compassion independently within to be able to relate to others through these positive emotions.


Churches that use ayahuasca in my opinion are positive phenomena. They represent the middle ground. There is true spiritual experience in their religious practice (gaining and holding on to political power is not their primary goal). Jesus (had he existed in accordance with today’s christian consensus) would have told people the following: Stop pretending that I am your guru, don’t admire me, use my teachings, take care of your self and others. Take off the copies of my dead body from all the crosses. Enjoy life. Eat magic mushrooms. Magic mushrooms exist to heal you, and to help you to turn to each other with loving kindness. That is the essence of my teaching.

Things that are good for you are prohibited!


Whatever would heal the individual and society (for example magic mushrooms) are prohibited in many countries. Their use is punished. This is simply a tragic mistake! The hysterically rejected hallucinations are similar to colorful migraine auras, for example interesting geometric visuals, and in addition they are harmless when used in a safe setting with the right mindset. I know that large amounts are able to trigger some really scary experiences, but these are part of the process, and everyone gets the trip they need (again: set and setting are fundamental). In the right setting you can work through the experiences. A bad trip isn’t more dangerous than a nightmare (when people use psychedelics in an emotionally and physically safe environment). You can learn from a nightmare too. Even a difficult trip can be elevating and your return can be euphoric. Emotionally some phases can be difficult, but these are part of the healing, and I am ready to face my feelings. It was one of the best decisions that after thorough research I opted for psychedelic therapy and traveled to the Netherlands. 


In this video Joe Rogan talks with one of the world’s most interesting mycologists. Paul Stamets in this interview for example tells us how as a teenager he tried magic mushrooms and how the heroic trip (he cluelessly ate too much of the mushrooms) unexpectedly cured his stuttering. I regularly watch Joe Rogan’s multi hour chats with some fascinating guests. (One can learn a lot by watching YouTube!) Joe Rogan is a martial artist and a stand up comedian.



A trip around my receptors


After a long theoretical preparation my practical decision to travel to the Netherlands was quick and spontaneous. I could tell that my pain was too much in relation to the tragedies and a generalized anxiety started to manifest itself. I knew that this wasn’t me. When a person experiences too much stress and trauma, the organ in his or her skull becomes more or less dysfunctional. The brain is an organ just like for example the liver. When the liver has to process too many toxins, it becomes damaged. At the same time the liver has amazing regenerative capacity. Before a particular point of no return it can be cured. The brain has very similar amazing regenerative capacity. People of the 21st century should finally understand that the brain is an organ and when it becomes dysfunctional there are many ways to heal it (but the solution is not necessarily in the hands of the pharmaceutical industry). Furthermore, the brain is also part of a bodily and social system.


I know that a Zen Buddhist would have recommended a few more years of meditation to nicely heal my traumatized brain, but I would like to feel better right now, I would like to be creative and productive now, and I want to be a helpful, pleasant and entertaining company for others now (instead of becoming a burden). The Jesus believers (bless their hearts) would have recommended prayer and the regular and long term ingestion of some “natural” remedy (something mind altering… like 5 htp… a precursor of serotonin… it fits the same system in the brain as psilocyn that our brains make out of psilocybin… psilocyn beautifully connects with our serotonin receptors… if the result is not a hallucination rather a better mood it is still an altered state of your mind… a better mood compared to your bad mood is an altered state of your mind…).


Thankfully, I have never been the kind of person who is impacted by peer pressure. I didn’t smoke pot just because everyone else did. I don’t drink just because everyone is drinking. And I am not going to limit my practice to meditation only just because a group of people and their leader only believe in meditation (and some of them don’t like to admit that many of them have LSD to thank for their first spiritual or religious experience… Rick Strassman tells this story in his book DMT: The Spirit Molecule). I search for my path and follow it. Even an acquaintance tried to stop me, who as a psychotherapist tried magic mushrooms many many years ago but had bad experiences. Based on my research it was clear to me that he used magic mushrooms inappropriately, but sadly he still could not see that. This is why he (with the best of intentions) repeatedly tried to talk me out of my plan to get better or heal myself effectively and quickly. I would have been a huge idiot if I listened to him!  While I knew that I am on the right path, naturally I also had some anxieties, because I was planning to try something exiting and new, in another country, with a trip guide I have never seen before.

When I was younger, I used to travel a lot, but due to the tragedies I have not left my native country for a long time. Terribly difficult years are behind me. I am grateful to my old friend who happened to travel to the Netherlands for work that he arranged everything for me and supported me throughout my short journey. I needed a respectful, tolerant, balanced, helpful, reliable and intelligent person who knew the area. He was the one. I made the right choice.


We did not travel to Amsterdam, rather we booked two very nice hotel rooms in a smaller town (I told reception that the rooms should be close to each other due to health and safety reasons and that did the trick). My room even had a functioning fireplace and I used it all the time! Before my journey I had to fill in a long questionnaire for my trip guide to know my story, and I also had to participate in an online intake interview. Traveling itself had an immediate healing effect on me. I really needed to be in a new environment. My trip guide arrived the day after my arrival. She traveled from Amsterdam to the small town to support me. She was a lovely, strong, kind woman, much younger than me. Instead of a businesslike greeting handshake we hugged one another as if we have always known each other. I am dyslexic, so I kind of missed the part where I was advised not to eat things that contain fat. I had some bacon and an egg for breakfast (thankfully, I did not drink coffee and alcohol). So, we postponed the start of the trip with one hour to avoid any problems and everything went well.


It was really hard for me to eat the fresh magic truffle. It has an unpleasant taste. It was easier to eat it with coconut water. (Interestingly, the rather boring coconut water became really pleasant during the trip. At the same time the lovely taste of the mango was gone during the trip!) If I ever ingest anything like this again I am going to make a tea out of the truffle bits. A few minutes after I ingested the first bits of the truffle I became very relaxed. Next, I felt kind of weak. So, I was headed to my bed. I was tripping in another country in a darkened hotel room with a stranger in the armchair. With my travel companion (who had to work that day) we agreed that he comes back to the hotel in the afternoon and if I don’t contact him until 8:00 pm he comes in and rescues me. Thankfully, everything went just fine. (My friend worked about 15 minutes away from the hotel, so in case of an emergency he would have been back in no time. Of course I also had travel insurance.)


The magic truffle that I ingested supports introspection and emotional processing. Initially, I observed something like a multidimensional serpent lantern. Its surface was covered by embers emitting colorful light. It was beautiful! I had a pleasant feeling, I was curious and I felt calm.


After a while I felt the onset of a panic like feeling and it gradually grabbed my body. This was very unpleasant… and it just would not pass. This is when my guide set on the edge of my bed, held my hand and started to talk to me. She told me that these feeling are deeply embedded in the body and if I face them I am able to process them. She asked me if I am able to let myself experience these feelings. I responded by saying that yes I want to face these feelings and I would like to let them go. I don’t want to suppress my feelings. The uncomfortable inner phenomena lasted for minutes. It was draining and subsided gradually.


I know from my readings that psilocyn has a very specific impact on the amygdala in the right hemisphere. After the trip I kept thinking about the uncomfortable feeling that had neither verbal nor visual information attached to it, that it could have been related to the fact that normally there is no speech center in the right hemisphere, while the amygdala has a lot to do with anxiety and fear. The unpleasant panicky feeling that I experienced a few times during the trip could have been related to the fear or anxiety memory of past experiences… the bodily feeling on its own… without any of the specifics. Apparently, these were emotionally manageable feelings because they were gone during the trip and no grim flashbacks were left behind. (When someone encounters unexpected, forgotten and severe past traumas it is especially vital to have a skilled, calm and compassionate trip guide present. Thankfully, I didn’t experience anything severe.)


MRI Location Right Amygdala


Later, after my trip was kind of over, my trip guide told me that middle eastern men are so detached from their own feelings that they need five trips and (compared to the amount I ingested) twice as much truffle to be somewhat able to access and process their feelings. This explains a lot of why women in many of those areas are in such a horrible situation. The brutal suppression of women equals the forceful suppression of authentic feelings in those societies (by the way, the West also has some very similar issues…). I didn’t suppress my feelings. A few times I cried so powerfully that my ears were filled with tears. My trip guide focused on me, when necessary supported me, and she let me experience my feelings. When I laughed she laughed with me. This intense and flexible therapeutic presence isn’t possible within the framework of traditional psychotherapy. Traditional psychotherapy also isn’t capable of what magic mushrooms are able to do to the brain in one or (ideally) two sessions. Contemporary clinical studies (for example by the Centre of Psychedelic Studies at Imperial College London) show that psilocyn drastically lowers the activity of the DMN in the brain. This triggers a rewiring of the brain. The brain begins to heal itself.


DMN: Default Mode Network


Magnetic resonance imaging of areas of the brain in the Default Mode Network


The DMN is basically the conductor network of your brain that sets the tone of your existence when you are awake. When your brain does not work properly, the DMN coordinates the dysfunctional activity. When due to magic mushrooms (or regular meditation, artistic creation, and other activities that require concentration) the impact of the DMN becomes minimal, the brain begins to regenerate, because new connections automatically build up between different, even distant parts of the brain. The network that represents the regenerative activity is the task-positive network in the brain. It is basically the network of the flow state. Once the trip is over the brain remains in this more effective state of functioning and this regenerative process (I can tell you from my first-hand experience) continues during the next few days and weeks.


After I returned home my generalized anxiety (in a milder form) returned for a few days, but one day it was suddenly gone. Note: Unfortunately, later symptoms can come and go when you are unable to legally access magic mushrooms and psychedelic therapy from time-to-time in your own environment. For anxiety, depression, OCD or PTSD and so on patients should be able to have free and legal access in their own countries to these mental health tools as needed. In the end you should be able to access these anywhere you go when needed. The therapy should be used to regain balance and to eliminate the disturbing symptoms. The goal, depending on the issue, is curing, healing or symptom management. The goal is basically the repair and the maintenance of a healthy balance in the brain.


Many of my OCD symptoms were gone too. I did not ruminate. I became more open to new experiences. I noticed my creativity returning. I was suddenly able to do the things that I planned to do for a long time. I could tell that a more optimal me started to manifest itself. This I must say is an amazing feeling! Immediately after the trip I was euphoric. It was a kind of afterglow (your mood can slightly fluctuate for a few days because the trip impacts your serotonin system, so a good trip guide will give you supplements for a week). In the evening I was tired and felt a bit down. The next day I felt fine. I was glad that I had this new experience, but I also felt like this was enough for a very long time. A week later I had the feeling that one day I am going to go for another trip because the first one helped a lot. But there is no chance for addiction! The main result was that my psychological flexibility increased even after one trip. This is amazing!


Forbidden self-healing ethnobotanical homeworks


Legal, so called “merciful killings” by medical pain relief


It is stunning how schizophrenic my fellow natives are when it comes to mind altering substances, or healing plant medicines. It is forbidden by law to use magic mushrooms, LSD, DMT containing ayahuasca, cannabis, MDMA and so on. Basically, anything that carries the possibility of knowledge, creativity, spiritual and personal development, physical and emotional self-healing is illegal. At the same time it is not forbidden, rather legal and customary to prescribe drugs that cause hard core addiction and death to terminally ill cancer patients by medical doctors. By the time relatives realize what is going on, their loved ones already and legally obtained addictive and destructive drugs. In the end very often within weeks or hours this is what kills them not the cancer, because they simply stop breathing. In my opinion as a result of the so called “modern” medical treatments a large number of cancer patients aren’t killed by the cancer, rather by the chemotherapy and the prescribed hard drugs! Sadly, I could’t convince my mother that she should not accept another chemo when her horrible cancer returned (her first chemo treatment already almost killed her and it destroyed her body and mind), because it won’t help, rather it will be harmful (and sadly, I was right). I would have given her eg.: a legal cancer vaccine in Germany (personalized immunotherapy), and psychedelics in the Netherlands (these are all forbidden and unavailable in my country). These would have made it possible for her to live without paralyzing anxieties and depression (that was triggered by the cancer and the chemo) for many months or even years. Her doctors gave her chemo and at the very end morphine. They definitely significantly shortened her life and they also caused tremendous suffering to her, to my father, to my partner and to me. I am the only one who survived this torture. In the US there is an obvious opiate crisis, while luckily more and more states decriminalize or legalize the personal (recreational or self-healing) use of psychedelics. By self-healing of course I don’t necessarily mean self-curing, rather many times it is about intelligent physical and emotional symptom management. But sometimes it could even mean self-curing.

I have another way to demonstrate the schizophrenic state of mind regarding the use of psychedelics. A few months ago I looked for special tents to protect my plants during the winter time. I was stunned to find a local online shop where one can freely and legally purchase any tool to grow, process, store and enjoy any psychedelic substance. The things that you can’t purchase are the illegal psychedelic plants/mushrooms and their seeds/spores. Because I have absolutely no connection to this circle of society, only then have I encountered the fact that while it is illegal to grow, harvest, sell and ingest these substances, a large number of my fellow citizens obviously and regularly grow and enjoy psychedelic substances. (Note: it is already a huge thing in this European country that you can legally purchase CBD containing supplements that don’t contain THC.)

Meet Rosalind and Gábor, two experts I came to appreciate the most while learning about psychedelics


I could mention a lot of names, but my favorit psychedelics researching therapist is Dr. Rosalind Watts who is one of the brilliant minds at the Psychedelics Research Centre of Imperial College London. In her LondonReal interview she told her story how she went from being skeptical to being absolutely convinced that psychedelics are there to heal people. Her childhood friend as a young adult developed severe depression and she decided to travel to another continent and experience an ayahuasca ceremony to heal herself. Rosalind did not know anything about ayahuasca and she tried to stop her friend from carrying out her plan. Rosalind’s friend thankfully ignored her opinion just like I ignored my psychotherapist acquaintance’s advice to forget about the therapeutic use of magic mushrooms. Rosalind’s childhood friend returned and was cured of her depression! This happened many years ago and she is still healthy. This experience and Michael Pollan’s “Trip Treatment” article guided Rosalind towards psychedelic psychotherapy. Today, as a world famous researcher and therapist she completely believes in this method because she witnesses every day how people are healing even from treatment resistant depression. Following the amazingly positive impact of Michael Pollan’s publications, more and more famous people reveal their experiences and talk about their healing with psychedelics.  

With one click you can watch the first part of Rosalind’s interview via YouTube below. Or following registration you can watch the full interview for free on the LondReal website. The interviewer Brian Rose has a very interesting story and I enjoy many of his multi hour chats with some fascinating people. Joe Rogan and Brian Rose are intelligent, talented and highly successful global representatives of a new type of independent and long form media (Note: Brian Rose behaved in an unacceptable way during the pandemic… I am kind of sorry for his guests… and viewers… he clearly had the opposite of an ego death during his ayahuasca ceremonies… Meanwhile Joe Rogan remained his authentic self. Thank You Joe!)


Another favorit of mine is a Hungarian born Canadian medical doctor who believes that severe illnesses (like cancer) and unprocessed traumatic life events are connected (based on the bio-neuropsychosocial model), and people can be helped with ayahuasca. I agree, there clearly is a connection. After Dr. Gábor Máté published his book “When The Body Says No” (it is well written, but due to the topic not an easy read), following his lectures more and more people started to ask him if he knows anything about the healing properties of ayahuasca. People assumed that he knew, because he as an MD used to work with drug addicts, but those poor souls used addictive and destructive hard drugs, not the healing psychedelics that don’t cause addiction (there is a major difference between the two groups of substances). At the beginning he kept saying that he does not know anything about ayahuasca, because he really had no idea about it. After a while he became really annoyed by these questions. Finally, he thought “perhaps the universe is trying to tell me something” and ten years ago he tried ayahuasca himself. These days he regularly travels to the rain forest (at age 75!) to participate in healing ayahuasca ceremonies and he experienced its physically and emotionally transformative properties in others too. I also agree with him that in the future when in the appropriate setting and with the appropriate mindset trip treatments could also help schizophrenics and people with bipolar depression. His compassionate inquiry method should be part of the curriculum at every medical university and teacher or therapist training institution.


I think Tim Ferriss made one of the best interviews with Gábor (note: when Gábor says “8 years old”, he really means “8 months old” … he was a Jewish baby during the Holocaust in Hungary in 1944).


Epigenetic trauma hypothesis, possible psychedelic cure


Over ten years ago I read an article about a specific protein’s level being lower in lab mice that were not groomed by their mothers properly (were neglected or bullied), compared to mice that were properly taken care of by their mothers. As a result of the early negative experiences the mice showed defeated behavior, were anxious, gave up fighting easily, in other words they were depressed. The lack of love and appropriate care resulted in constant failure and humiliation, and it wasn’t their own making. Further research showed that the genes responsible for the production of the protein (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor) were “clogged up”. In their vicinity there were too many methyl groups. The researchers tested multiple compounds that decreased the amount of methyl groups and increased the amount of acetyl groups on the specific chromosomes. The long term impact of the early trauma was wiped out within weeks and the behavior of the traumatized mice became completely normal! Sadly, the article does not even mention the possibility of psychedelics as possible test compounds.

The immediacy of the positive impact made me think that these two topics are somehow related. What if psychedelics impact genes and chromosomes and increase the production of important proteins and other compounds in the brain (and all over the human body) that are necessary components of healthy adaptive functioning in humans too?


I’m not a scientist and I didn’t do any detective work in relation to this thought experiment but: What if it’s true?

My hypothesis is that beyond the beneficial impact of the lowered activity of the default mode network, psilocyn, DMT and other psychedelic molecules cause quick and constructive genetic changes in the brain and this is why the healing individual is so suddenly able to experience his or her optimal personality traits. Because you are what your genes are manifesting (plus, what society is successfully planting into your body and mind). I would love to examine the level of this protein before and after psychedelic use in mice and in people. I immediately started thinking about renting a lab, hiring a few people and researching my hypothesis, but because psychedelics are illegal in my country it would be very very difficult to receive permission to do this type of research, despite the fact that I would pay for it myself. In case the protein level is significantly higher after psychedelic use, that would show that for example magic mushrooms have a direct healing impact on an epigenetic level. This finding could speed up the medical use of psychedelics and could quickly decrease human suffering on a very large scale. 


Thinking further along these lines it is easy for me to imagine how stable serotonin levels in people living in healthy communities could have a serious balancing impact on a genetic level. It is definitely not an accident that during the research of longevity it wasn’t diet, rather it was the presence of a healthy and strong community that was typical of centenarians’ lives. The good community was the main common theme, not the super healthy type of food ingested on a regular basis. It is also the lack of community that causes the western mental health crisis. A healthy community does not mean a perfect group of people. People need communities that lovingly sustain them without violence. In order to create such communities people need help. We have to heal ourselves to find each other and create healthy, sustaining and sustainable communities.

While working on the English version of this blog, I spent some more time thinking about this process and I came up with another possible explanation. What if it is not directly psychedelic compounds that tweak the genetic settings of the protein production in the brain, but rather it is the heightened activity of the task-positive network upon the psychedelic impact, or meditation, or artistic activity, or sports and so on. Meditation clearly helps maintain the quick positive impact of psychedelics in the long run and so does belonging to a healthy, active and loving community.

Possibly both ideas could be true. Psychedelics could have a direct impact on methylation and acetylation on a genetic level (all over the body), and other constructive activities could maintain and stabilize the healing impact by down regulating the default mode network, allowing regeneration and maintaining psychological flexibility during flow activities made possible by the heightened activity of the task-positive network in the brain. We should also look at the connection between psychedelics, the task-positive network and the parasympathetic nervous system. This feels like the regenerative axis connecting nature, body and mind.

The closing thoughts of the completely independent long form blogger


Sadly, very few people are able to afford a professional psychedelic therapy in the Netherlands because it is expensive. (Note: It is problematic that the company takes absolutely no responsibility if anything bad happens to you.) Based on my thorough online research and after one personal experience (that is fading into the past) I believe that using psychedelic therapy for self-healing isn’t wrongdoing, but making this option illegal or inappropriately regulated is a very counterproductive idea. My native country is full of traumatized people who are suffering, and it is forbidden to them to effectively heal themselves, and they are permitted to escape into alcoholism and to ruin themselves and their families. We can rest assured that the Dutch people gladly spend the income generated by the sales of psychedelic substances. I’m also sure that the good people of Colorado in the US feel the same way about the high income generated since psychedelics are more available. Psychedelics should be legal and their therapeutic use should be regulated. People would feel better, be healthier and through the recreational revenues would also make more money. Win-Win!


What surprised me very much is how uninformed Dutch people are about this topic. My trip guide told me that airb&b guests should for example expect lower ratings if their hosts learn about their psychedelic use while renting. My trip guide’s acquaintances are also very often shocked when she explains her job. This means that Dutch people are not as liberal and well informed as one might expect. Imagine how conservative the Hungarian majority is… In both cases the problem is obviously lack of information, lack of knowledge, and the presence of deep seated prejudice. This means that even the Dutch government and media are doing a really bad communication job in this area. Much better communication is needed! In Hungary the situation is much much worse. Even among the highly educated population one is able to observe complete ignorance, fear and prejudice. In everyone’s best interest, in order to make the much needed and urgent healing of people all over the world possible: Please, open your eyes! Knowledge is all over the internet.


A message for the few paranoid readers: I am completely independent of governments, institutions, business and any nonprofit organization. I am an independent individual and this blog post contains my well informed personal opinion. Because of my personality, I follow the law and I encourage others to do the same. On the other hand the law should be adjusted to the scientific advances and the needs of the people. Psychedelics clearly work. They have neuroregenerative and inflammation lowering effects (both are supported by serious international clinical research). Psychedelics support the understanding of others and ourselves (when the right intentions are set). They should not be included in legal texts that are defining and banning substances that are dangerous and have no healing properties. It is also grotesque to make a wild mushroom illegal. It is part of nature and it isn’t even poisonous (and interestingly the ones that are, aren’t illegal…). DMT is also part of nature and the human body. Psychedelic molecules exist in order for us to heal and improve. Dear reader, the more resistance you feel against this topic, the more you would need a few bits of magic mushrooms.


Despite having had access to the psychedelic treatment through the free market of Europe (also in part as a result of these being illegal in Hungary), I am against the for profit exploitation of this mind opening therapeutic modality. When it comes to recreational use, I am all for business. Psychedelic therapy should be provided by the states for free. Magic mushrooms and other healing psychedelics should be legal to grow at home or purchase in shops. After a few therapeutic sessions (when needed) people should be able to use them independently. Obviously, a serious educational campaign is also necessary. Based on the amazing results of the leading international clinical research groups, change is inevitable. Resistance is futile! Why not make the change in a smart way.


Let me share what the most famous Hungarian toxicologist Dr. Gábor Zacher told during an interview: Every year in Hungary 30 000 people (of the approximately 10 million) are killed by alcohol, and only 40 are killed by hard drugs (and not by psychedelics). 750 times more people are killed by alcohol and it is still legal… Psychedelics don’t kill anyone, rather heal people and are illegal… This is an unsustainable and horrific situation.


After having lost all of my close loved ones in this country and because most of my friends live in other countries, nothing really keeps me here. I am again able to move to another country (where laws are more intelligent, where people like me are appreciated, and where the society is healthier). I am gradually letting go of everything that I own in Hungary. Despite this I would like to help decrease the suffering of people in Hungary. This is why I wrote this blog in the first place in Hungarian. With the new English version I would like to help people globally. Thank you for your attention!

Mesmerizing bonus! Below you can watch visuals that are typical of DMT trips.

Regina Saphier: Advising Cancer Patients (the European Perspective of a Patient Advocate and Adviser)

Regina Saphier: Advising Cancer Patients (the European Perspective of a Patient Advocate and Adviser)

Yes, I know, when you look at my LinkedIn profile, there are so many things on it, and yet you would not think that this is also something that I do. But I do it. I have done it for over a decade, and not because it is fun to read about cancer, but because I like to help people stay alive and I am able to ask good questions and am OK with reading complicated research papers (sometimes the summary, the intro or the conclusion are perfectly enough, but other times I have to read for hours to really understand a method and/or procedures). I like to explain things as well, and I prefer to write because a written explanation is always there for people to consult. Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, I am not a clinical researcher, I am not a diagnostician, and I can’t cure you of any illness. I am just a human being who does not see a key service that people need… so, I do it for them… a guide who helps desperate people understand what their doctors are saying and find out what doctors are not saying. I help people fight for their lives more efficiently when I am able to.


Infantilization of patients in the era of readily available high level online knowledge

The really good ones were all female!

First, let me talk about the good doctors I encountered. Fortunately, I encountered a few bright, open minded, emotionally intelligent, introspective and cooperative doctors. I even had a female doctor congratulate me when I told her how I diagnosed an illness that was unusual and it was later confirmed by lab results (I had to behave like a detective, pick people’s brains, read online, and I had to push for tests… it was’t easy). I also had a doctor in Europe who asked me for full articles that I downloaded from Harvard University’s server. I had a particularly brilliant doctor at Columbia University. She was fun, smart, and was always willing to explain everything to me. I had a doctor (also in Europe) who was even happy to explain the technology she used. She told me that I was the first patient ever who asked her to do that. All of them were female doctors! The really good ones were all female. (It is interesting, because I have no female friends. All of my friends are male and highly intelligent. So, it is surprising that when it comes to doctors, I prefer women. Note: I once read that female doctors are simply better. It is probably because of better social skills and listening skills. I am not saying that male doctors can not be good. All I am saying is that I have never seen them. Sitting in your office and administering medication and ordering lab tests is not what I consider the job of a good doctor. It is so much more complicated.)

There were doctors who were professionally famous but as human beings those were often the worst (I would naturally be kinder to a horse or a dog than those people were to me… those were mostly male doctors). In the age of medical AI it is your humanity that will be important, not your medical data driven memory… even your medical experience driven diagnostic skills will be less of a priority after a while. If you want to remain a doctor and become a really wonderful one, develop your emotional and social skills, focus on your communication skills, be comfortable with technology (like AI), plus learn to embrace and utilize the fact that more and more people are acquiring knowledge online. If you dislike their sources, direct them to the right sources. Be their guide in the medical jungle that you know better. Listen to their personal patient narrative, that they know better.

I posted this in 2016 as a status update on facebook:

Here is what I think:
This is the age of The Idiocracy in the age of unlimited and available knowledge…
And the age of The Out of Touch Intellectual and Political Elite in the age of unlimited connectivity…

My opinion hasn’t changed a bit!

How it “works” now

Most people just accept what their doctors are telling them. I am not that kind of person and most doctors hate that. I am looking forward to the day when I am going to have my own medical AI to prevent, treat or even cure illness (without having to see a human doctor). Unfortunately, most doctors today adopt a mindset that is based on viewing patients as “the other” (this is an international phenomenon and it is not new… in fact this horrible attitude is hundreds of years old). So, to me the expression: “patient” describes a submissive, child like “know nothing”. This to me is military grade bullshit. An archaic hierarchy based mindset created the idea of the “patient”. The doctor is “the know it all” character of this type of medical story. So wrong! And it is not even true! Most medical doctors are not scientists and are often terribly misinformed, yet super arrogant!

I would like to live in an era when all people are well educated and highly able to interact with medical technology. I just witnessed how a cancer patient had to wait months to get properly diagnosed and she is still not getting her treatment. Why? Because her oncologist is not willing to cooperate (not open to questions) and now even went on holiday, and because the patient behaves like a child… let me be more specific: she is forced to behave like a child by her passive-aggressive medical practitioner (plus, she is hardly able to understand the most basic explanations, because she was never educated in this area… and she did not educate herself in this area… so, a lot of time goes by without actual diagnostic and treatment related progress).

How it should work (in my opinion)

If the process would be automated I could have helped her faster without human doctors. Press two if you already had cancer… Here is how it should work in my not so humble opinion:

Press three if you are inoperable… Press this or that if you are not willing to receive chemo… Please, proceed to this and this specialist for a surgery free biopsy… Please, watch this video to understand the risks associated with biopsies… Please, go to this menu if you would like to speak to someone regarding your personal risk based on your medical history… Please, make an appointment in this menu for an MRI and a PET/CT. Please, request a lab test, including genetic testing. And a few days later: This is the type of cancer you have. These are the types of treatment combinations you can receive in your country, within the EU, in the US, in Asia, or anywhere in the world. These are the commercially available options. These are the clinical studies you could be eligible for. Here is where you can start registering for treatments. Here you can read full medical articles on PubMed. Here you can find patient readable summaries of the articles on the medical wikipedia. This is how much the different treatments cost. This is the most cost effective treatment for you. Here is your big data and AI based outcome analysis for all the treatment combinations. This is where you can receive financial support. This is the surface where you can raise funds online for your treatment. Thank you for selecting this noninvasive surgery in Italy and this cancer vaccine in Germany. Please, watch this video regarding the risks involved and here is the explanation how this is a safer method compared to another. Here are the clinic’s safety statistics locally, regionally and globally. Please, select the doctor you would like to see at our clinic. Here is your doctor’s performance rating. Here you can order your EU insurance card. Here you can contact your doctor via skype. Here you can book a medical flight and a medical stay in a nearby hotel or in our own hospital based hotel room. Here you can interact with patients like you.

Yes, I want this all to be online, and globally integrated. I want this to be a smooth service, like any other good service. I want as much stress be removed from the process as possible.

More about how it works now:

Doctors often behave like badly trained policemen. It is a bit like racism! I am telling you, it sometimes feels like I am talking to a white supremacists male police man while being a black female driver on a deserted country road, or something like that. I am white, but I can imagine the generalized anxiety and trauma such people cause innocent and vulnerable citizens. This best describes the atmosphere many doctors create while “serving” you. It often feels painful when I am interacting with a doctor. It is physically painful and it gets my sympathetic nervous system going… and that is directly damaging to a patient’s health, medical outcome and trust. So, doctors with this mindset should know that their behavior directly generates distance, stress, pain and a hostile environment that often results in more illness, instead of a cure in the first place. Many years ago I read the confessions of a doctor who only realized how she was hurting her own patients when she herself ended up being a patient. She could not believe the dehumanizing, insensitive, disrespectful and ignorant behaviors of her colleagues while she was a patient.

How can there be any trust when your doctor is not respecting you, does not see you, does not appreciate you as a complex and evolved human being or is even afraid of you because you are well read and are asking valid questions? Of course trust cannot be built this way! These people treat me as if I am reading homeopathy related articles (I think homeopathy is bullshit), when really, I am reading PubMed and similar advanced medical sites, that are there for medical doctors, smart nurses, diligent patient advisers and intelligent patients to educate themselves. And yet, I am treated like an idiot, with all the prejudice a human doctor can accumulate about a patient with higher education, fluent English, international experience, and the ability to understand the scientific literature that doctors are also supposed to read (but often don’t even have access to those databases or don’t have the language skills to understand the articles… it is everyday reality in Hungary for example, that doctors have no access to the latest medical literature and/or can’t read in English… many hospitals don’t have enough nurses, doctors, medications, appropriate technology and no toilet paper and no soap… even the furniture is falling apart… the rooms were not painted for decades… imagine that… and Hungary is part of the EU…).

Yes, indeed, I feel the abyss between the everyday realities of our dystopian present and my perfectly implementable utopian future.


Excuse My French!

So, in my experience, doctors switch to cognitive empathy instead of affective empathy and some even enter the realm of transient psychopathy coupled with professional denial. This behavior is next rationalized (by medical professionals as a group) as normal behavior, and vulnerable patients are often (excuse my French) fucked by this atmosphere, because even the nurses help maintain this by saying things like: “Yes, we know that he is insensitive and has no people skills, but this is why we are here… to compensate for his lack of sensitivity and empathy…” and she goes on being insensitive herself… In this insensitivity bubble (surrounded by desensitized medical professionals) patients suffer in silence. (Patients sometimes even display symptoms of a sort of “medical Stockholm syndrome”… identifying with those people who basically torture them in a horrible medical system, saying things like: “I know how difficult it is to work in such an underpaid, stressful environment”… when really, all you see, is that a particular doctor was never trained to be polite, kind, able to listen and empathize…) All the traumas patients accumulate during years of medical (mis)treatments can and will result in PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Generalized anxiety and stress related disorders undermine a patient’s chances of survival. When (due to past experiences) someone’s cortisol level jumps high just by thinking about having to go to a hospital, that will decrease that person’s life expectancy. And if you look for the most lethal conditions in humans, cortisol imbalance and chronically high cortisol levels are one of the most lethal conditions.

I am describing the atmosphere that leads to mistreatment, cruelty and humiliation. I used to trust doctors when I was younger and naive. But when I got seriously ill in my thirties and I encountered the above attitudes and doctors’ inability to help me and unwillingness to cooperate with me (there was even this obvious disapproval… and get this: even scolding for my informed questions), I discovered that most doctors simply cannot be trusted and often, you are on your own when you are ill. Literally, on your own, because your family (most likely) has no idea how to read scientific literature and don’t have your curiosity, stubbornness and grit to learn about medicine (if you have those features, you might not be 100% lucky in your ignorant human network… smart kids are bullied in schools and smart patients are bullied by doctors).

Patients also like to treat doctors as the “other”. “The doctor knows.” “The patient does not know.” This is a nineteenth century or even older attitude and “agreement”. Totally outdated! This is why I started to read the medical literature that doctors are supposed to be reading, as well as many patient blogs that knowledgeable patients write about their experiences. Unfortunately, I have not yet found the enlightened doctors to work with in my own personal environment. At the same time I reject unenlightened doctors. I have seen how “health care” and “healing” resulted in completely ruined bodies and souls. When a patient looks and feels like he or she was tortured by someone at the end of a treatment, plus his or her family was ruined by the experience… is that medicine or barbarism? This situation of rightfully rejecting medical barbarism could even kill a patient, no matter how informed he or she is, because such patients are disgusted by doctors who dehumanize and disrespect them. I am not a patient! Rather “impatient”! If I have to respect you as a doctor for your knowledge and time, should you not respect me, my knowledge, my time and my life? Look at me! I am a human being just like you!

What is special about my position as a patient adviser and advocate is this: Most oncologists are specialists. They are following a protocol and only read about their specialty locally (if they read at all…). But when you are a volunteer patient advocate and adviser (plus sometimes a patient yourself) with a global mindset, you read about many different illnesses and all sorts of treatments, even experimental ones, and even about treatments that are not yet mainstream and cost an exorbitant amount of money. “Multipotentialites” (everyday “polymaths”), like me, we read about everything under the Sun. Most doctors hate that and we will be bullied by doctors. This is absolutely wrong!


A bit about volunteer patient advocates and advisers

Patient advisers and advocates are often volunteer “medical sherpas”. They don’t really want to go where you go, they don’t have your problem, but out of love and with lots of empathy they pick up parts of your problem and carry parts of the burden for you, so you don’t have to. Such people will explore new paths of hope for you while you are asleep. Will explain medical procedures when you don’t understand, and remind you of the right questions you should ask your doctors. We do the heavy intellectual lifting to lighten the load of the struggle for patients and for doctors as well. We listen, do research, we network and search for answers, and explain. We translate the jargon. If you like, we repeat things ten times until you understand. We encourage you to be assertive. We tell you to expect more. We also tell you about the limitations and we don’t pretend that life is endless. We hear you and acknowledge your limitations. We know that every patient has a different endgame as well. Some want to try every possible treatment, no matter where it is. Some don’t want to be treated abroad. Some want to have a few good last years. We want you to make an informed decision for yourself. We never force you to do anything. It is your life.


A new type of medical training

It would be interesting to train doctors in a new way… Have them train like debate teams. When learning to debate, people learn to argue in support and against something. The same way, doctors should be trained to argue their positions from both a medically trained doctor’s perspective and from a well read patient’s perspective, and even from a completely uneducated patient’s perspective. This would help even those doctors with impaired empathy to improve their communication skills and would gain insight into patients’ anxieties. Even if you are a surgeon with psychopathic traits and zero affective empathy, you can learn to believably pretend to empathize and so put your patient at ease. An anxious patient with high blood pressure in surgery is at risk. If you can get your patient to trust you and relax, the surgery will be safer.


Artificial Medical Intelligence and the future of self-guided health care

I am one of those who believe that AI will be our highly personalized health care provider. Those adults who are well educated will be most able to access superior medical services to prevent illnesses by using medical AI first (and the eight year old girl who grows up while interacting with AI fluently… You know the scenario when a kid is constantly scolded: “Why are you always playing with your AI…?” and then one day: “Oh, did you just save your grandmother’s life with your AI???” But, of course, I am not talking about basic Artificial Narrow Intelligence. I am talking about either medically specialized Narrow Intelligence or later Artificial General Intelligence used in medicine and much later Artificial Superintelligence… it will feel like god to many people…)


Prevention will be the primary goal. Medical AI will be the first line of support and most human medical appointments will be done online. Most surgeries will become noninvasive. In fact the day will come when people will not believe invasive surgery by humans was a thing. I even suspect that hospitals will one day be completely obsolete. So, one day, hopefully, my medical learning capacity, my openness to technology and my AI interactive skills will be helpful when trying to figure out a treatment for myself and others and I would not have to go to a doctor’s office at all. I could just consult with several pre-selected doctors globally. Send me the medicine in the mail or let me print it. There should be more medical education in high schools (and online) and all people should learn how to make sense of clinical research papers (until this part can be completely taken over by medical AIs). People should not be so dependent on doctors and their very limited skills, questionable humanity and finite time. Your health is too precious to search for the right doctors for years! You should not have to go bankrupt during a treatment. Your family members should not get sick of the stress your prolonged care causes. Adults shouldn’t have to behave like helpless little kids while being treated within a questionable healthcare system.


Advocacy and advising people in practice (a mini case study)

I advise people voluntarily for free (and I avoid confrontation with doctors left over from the nineteenth century… not even the twentieth!). I do not advertise this activity. I help people with information. I support their decisions by summarizing the discovered possibilities beyond the local medical protocol. For example when a family friend had cancer I decided to search for a clinical trial for him (he did not want to be treated abroad) and when I found the right one, I gave his wife a phone number to call and explained the process. He had metastatic lung cancer 10 years ago (with bone metastasis). Luckily, he was a genetic match for the study I suggested (after picking other people’s brains for days). He lived an additional 5-6 years because the new treatment worked for him (in Budapest!). Today, an additional 5 years of survival could mean a possible cure that is under investigation now… but perhaps becomes a fully available, genetically targeted cure in 4 years for example.


Combination therapies (based on genetic testing and imaging)

It is important to note that today, cancer treatment does not mean one standard for all. Treatments are combined for individual needs. You can have:

  • Herceptin if your breast cancer is Her2+ (Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 positive breast cancer patients are a minority among breast cancer patients, but have a very good and specialized treatment option… however, live with an aggressive type of cancer that is likely to return, precisely due to the growth factor receptor, that is also the target of the special treatment),
  • Arimidex if your cancer is hormone sensitive,
  • Proton radiation therapy if the cancer is in an area that does not move during treatment (proton radiation can be better targeted and causes less damage),
  • MRI guided Ultrasound Surgery if you do not want a surgeon to cut you open, and a
  • Cancer vaccine to help your own immune system fight the cancer.

You can have all of these combined. Cancer is tricky. Today we are still in the “kill” paradigm, but one day the “return the cancer cell to a normal cell” paradigm will most likely rule.

This list is actually a fresh one I compiled for a patient with recurrent breast cancer that metastasized into her adrenals 5-6 years after her first diagnosis and treatment. Her prognosis was really bad, but she is still alive after 5 years! For her type of breast cancer it is extremely unusual to have adrenal metastasis and due to her general condition, she is inoperable. Now, even the biopsy was tricky. In the treating hospital (the leading one in the country) her doctors were unable to even imagine the biopsy without invasive surgery. She had to go to another hospital to see a specialist for ultrasound guided biopsy (no invasive surgery was needed for the adrenal biopsy!!!). Her oncologist only suggested chemo (I informed the patient, that chemo might spread her cancer without surgery… also, a biopsy could spread cancer cells), Herceptin (in my opinion, it should have been started within a month after her metastasis was diagnose, yet months later she is still not being treated) and Arimidex (also helpful). Her oncologist did not say anything about commercially available proton radiation therapy, MRI guided ultrasound surgery and personalized cancer vaccines in the European Union. I told her about these.

When necessary, I also look for top surgeons internationally (e.g.: for colon cancer), and possible treatments for adrenal cancer, like the personalized cancer vaccine (for the patient with adrenal cancer). When I do this research, I regularly pick other people’s brains internationally and read many articles to help patients and their families. But I never tell people what to opt for. I only research, list the options and explain them (and their possible combinations). The decision making is the patient’s personal task.

I think there should exist independent advisory teams for each patient in highly demanding situations. If you have never been ill, if you never had a relative who was ill, if you are a doctor who never experienced illness as a patient or family member, you have no idea from a patient’s perspective and from a relative’s perspective how terribly demanding it is to be ill, find your way in the maze of medical institutions, understand lab results, question your doctor’s opinions and suggestions, read, learn, be a caretaker, take care of yourself, work, be a mother, a father, and look for better treatment options (often internationally). People are fighting for their lives in a dehumanizing and confusing system! And you are lucky if you have the funds to finance the shocking expenses.

Advising cancer patients is a side project I do because I am able to. So, why not? Right? I wanted to write a summary blog about several of the possible treatments that people usually don’t get information about from their run-of-the-mill oncologists (below I am going to add a long section about treatments and medical technologies). Getting the best information really should not be a matter of chance in the age of the internet, AI, big data, citizen science and epic, interactive, multiplayer online games! There is so much information out there that could be useful to many people. I even have a concept of a medical science game for this purpose, for citizen scientists and even professional scientists. Saving a real human’s life in an online game would be much more epic than killing an avatar in an online game! In fact I am already working on this game idea!

OK, now that I managed to vent, I am going to talk a bit about the cancer treatments I encountered or revisited during the last couple of months (and this is just a short list, because I read at least a dozen articles regarding cancer treatments by the time I get up every day):


Personalized cancer vaccines (Example #1)

Cologne, Germany, European Union
Immunologisch Onkologisches Zentrum Köln (IOZK)

Click to access iozk_patient_info_2017.pdf

VOL-DC (Viral Oncolysate Loaded Dendritic Cells) or NDV/DC Immunotherapy (Newcastle Disease Virus/Dendritic Cell Immunothrapy)

You should have seen the different ways in which I attempted to explain the brilliance behind this safe treatment. I went from the scientific summary to the theater method: I portrayed the beautiful dendritic cells as ballerinas in tutus going swimming in the tumor specific antigen swimming pool in the lab (made possible by viruses), and later showing off the antigens like glitter to the T cells in the body. In turn the T cells are hopefully able to kill the cancer cells, because the cancer cells can no longer hide. I can see this in my head as an animation. I seriously tested every possible explanation level to get the message to the patient who is a female close to 70.

I heard about this method on the radio and did a few days of research. First, it sounded too good to be true. You just waltz into an office in Cologne, get tested and if your immune system is in good shape and if you have tens of thousands of euro in your bank account, you can get this extremely safe cancer treatment that might extend your life by years… and in a few cases even clinically cure some people. If you are lucky, this way, your own immune system will be able to kill the cancer. No toxic materials are used.

The patient, because she is inoperable, decided to go see if this would work for her. During the travel preparations she had an accident. She fell and hurt herself badly (in front of a building where she had to go in person to get her EU insurance card!!!). She still got the airplane tickets and was in Cologne within a few days with her husband. She wants to live!

I really don’t understand why this clinic does not send healthy, fit, medically trained employees to travel to such patients internationally. I mean, people in their late sixties should not have to travel up and down internationally to find the right treatment! Again, making everything convenient for the doctors, and stressful and dangerous for the patients. The patient should rest and his or her stress level should be kept minimal, yet it is the patient who has to go everywhere and wait hours and days for some attention (while risking accidents and infections). And in this case we are talking about a private European clinic in Germany!

Anyway, the results showed that she could benefit from the treatment. However, the clinic made a huge mistake! They promised to send the results in two weeks via e-mail. Instead, for some absolutely unclear reason, there was promise after promise for 5 weeks! Imagine how a patient (who is basically terminally ill without the appropriate treatments) feels while this is happening. The trust is gone! You run to Cologne, spent thousands of euro on airplane tickets, hotel nights, blood tests, and you are made to wait over twice the promised time period and that without any explanation and without any apology from your doctor! I mean, this was clear service error. This is unacceptable! The least those people should do is refund the money. Who would want to be treated by a clinic that behaves in such irresponsible and disrespectful manner? All I can say: Shame on IOZK! If you were the ones able to save this patient, if you wanted to save this patient, how could you treat her like this? Don’t you understand that you are in the business of trust, communication and saving human lives? It is very possible that this patient will live a shorter life because she can no longer trust you and can’t accept your treatment. She now thinks you are selling a hoax and I can’t blame her (even though I know that your method is medically valid). I personally think that the lab results were valid, useful and the treatment could work. But I can no longer expect this patient to trust IOZK. Obviously! And why do I have to write angry letters to a private clinic in Germany to get the lab results that cost the patient 3000 euro 5 weeks earlier? As if we have unlimited energy… (What are these people thinking?)

I could see from the results that the patient’s adrenal cancer was HER2+, so Herceptin will be an option again. But because she could not trust the results sent by IOZK, she had a biopsy that was/is not without risks. The biopsy reinforced the blood test based results. But with all the enormous effort by her, by her husband and by me, how is it possible that it took so long to get her these results? She was diagnosed during the spring and it is now August and she still did not get any treatment. What kind of medical system is this??? What are her doctors doing??? And now, because it is the summer, her oncologist just went on holiday! Yes, now that she knows what treatment she needs, she still has to wait! This is abnormal and unethical!!!


Personalized cancer vaccines (Example #2)

Suddenly, another personalized cancer vaccine turned up on my radar in Düsseldorf, Germany. I did not yet explore this one further, but I put it here for people who are interested:

Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Hans Bojar
Düsseldorf, Germany
This is from the website:
“The NextGen Oncology Group concerns itself with the further development of precision oncology treatment. Since tumors are as individual as a fingerprint, cancer treatment can only be successful if it takes this individuality into account. Using highly innovative procedures, we determine a patient’s molecular fingerprint. Pan-genomic gene activity analysis, next-generation mutation analysis, and many other procedures are the technologies necessary to personalize treatment.

The standard cytotoxic chemotherapy has long since been overtaken by the intelligent, personalized targeted therapies that are now at the heart of scientific inquiry.

Modern, molecular-genetic technologies are the basis that allow identifying individual treatment targets. The recent development in cancer vaccines has also raised high expectations and hopes. By analyzing the entire human genome, a tumor’s individual mutations can be determined. This then allows creating absolutely personal vaccinations which are as individual as a fingerprint. These new therapeutic options will significantly change the treatment of tumor diseases in the years to come.”


Another type of immunotherapy: Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-Cell Therapy

In this case new receptors are added to patients’ own harvested and later re-injected T cells. Very promising method, but can be more dangerous than the personalized cancer vaccines.
From the wiki article:
“Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs), (also known as Chimeric immunoreceptors, Chimeric T cell receptors, Artificial T cell receptors) are engineered receptors, which graft an arbitrary specificity onto an immune effector cell (T cell). Typically, these receptors are used to graft the specificity of a monoclonal antibody onto a T cell, with transfer of their coding sequence facilitated by retroviral vectors. The receptors are called chimeric because they are composed of parts from different sources.

CARs are under investigation as a therapy for cancer, using a technique called adoptive cell transfer. T cells are removed from a patient and modified so that they express receptors specific to the patient’s particular cancer. The T cells, which can then recognize and kill the cancer cells, are reintroduced into the patient. Modification of T-cells sourced from donors other than the patient are also under investigation.”


News regarding metastasis prevention:

This is also interesting and relevant:
Johns Hopkins researchers say they’ve unlocked key to cancer metastasis and how to slow it
From the article:
“When the tumor reaches a certain density, the study found, it releases two proteins called Interleukin 6 and Interleukin 8, signaling to cancer cells that things had grown too crowded and it was time to break off and head into other parts of the body.”

“The team then tested two drugs known to work on the Interleukin receptors to see if they would block or slow metastasis in mice. They found that using the two drugs together would block the signals from the Interleukin proteins that told the cancer cells to break off and spread, slowing — though not completely stopping — metastasis.

“The drugs the team used were Tocilizumab, a rheumatoid arthritis treatment, and Reparixin, which is being evaluated for cancer treatment.

The drugs bind to the Interleukin receptors and block their signals, slowing metastasis.

Though metastasis was not completely stopped, Jayatilaka said, the mice given the drug cocktail fared well and survived through the experiment. She said adding another, yet-to-be-determined drug or tweaking the dose might stop metastasis entirely.”


Do the most extensive genetic testing possible!

Keep this in mind when your outdated oncologist tells you that no extensive genetic testing is necessary:
Clinical impact of extensive molecular profiling in advanced cancer patients
From the article:
“Extensive molecular profiling using high-throughput techniques allows for the identification of actionable mutations in the majority of cases and is associated with substantial clinical benefit in up to one in four patients.”


Highly targeted cancer treatments are here for very specific mutations!

A New Cancer Drug Helped Almost Everyone Who Took It
From the article:
“… the DNA of his tumor was sequenced, and he was entered into a clinical trial for an experimental drug called larotrectinib. He felt better within a day. Within 72 hours, he no longer needed a cane. Within two weeks, he was walking around Manhattan on his monthly clinical trial visits, playing with his kids and eating like a champ.
Laurie’s experience isn’t unique. Results in the first 50 patients treated with larotrectinib are being presented today at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the biggest gathering of cancer doctors.”
“Loxo Oncology was founded in 2013, the brainchild of an oncologist named Joshua Bilenker, who was then working as an investor at Aisling Capital, a private equity firm. Between 2004 and 2006, Bilenker had served as a reviewer in the oncology division of the Food and Drug Administration, working on applications for new uses of cancer drugs like Rituxan and Herceptin.”


FDA Clears First Cancer Drug Based on Genetics of Disease, Not Tumor Location
From the article:
“Merck & Co’s immunotherapy Keytruda [pembrolizumab] chalked up another approval on Tuesday as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said the cancer medicine can be used to treat children and adults who carry a specific genetic feature regardless of where the disease originated.
It is the first time the agency has approved a cancer treatment based solely on a genetic biomarker.”

“The accelerated approval was for solid tumor cancers not eligible for surgery or that have spread in patients identified as having a biomarker called microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) or mismatch repair deficient (dMMR).
Tumors with those traits are most common in colorectal, endometrial and gastrointestinal cancers, but may also appear in cancers of the breast, prostate, bladder and thyroid gland.”


There are many promising new, targeted treatments

Immune checkpoint inhibitors to treat cancer
List from the site:
“PD-1 inhibitors: Examples of drugs that target PD-1 include:
Pembrolizumab (Keytruda)
Nivolumab (Opdivo)

PD-L1 inhibitors: Examples of drugs that target PD-L1 include:
Atezolizumab (Tecentriq)
Avelumab (Bavencio)
Durvalumab (Imfinzi)”


Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer
Novel technologies and emerging biomarkers for personalized cancer immunotherapy
From the article:
“These therapies are revolutionizing therapeutic concepts and changing the standard of care for cancer treatment. Immunotherapy is now widely accepted as a key component of the therapeutic strategies to control and potentially cure cancer. Moreover, immunotherapy has the potential to cure or convert cancer from a fatal disease into a non-life threatening or chronic disease. The concept of a “clinical cure” is emerging as a description of long-term tumor control. The broad potential for a clinical cure is now being extensively explored by both mono and combination cancer immunotherapy.”


Modern, highly targeted radiation therapies

Heidelberg Ion-Beam Therapy Center (HIT)
Heidelberg University Hospital
From the site:
“Ion beam radiation, also referred to as particle radiation. Protons and heavy ions are positively charged atomic nuclei (particles). Protons are positively charged nuclei of hydrogen atoms. Heavy ions are positively charged nuclei of atoms with a greater mass (at HIT, carbon, oxygen and helium ions are used). Ion radiation guarantees the highest possible precision. In addition, heavy ions have greater clinical efficacy than conventional irradiation with the same dose of photons.”


From the site:
“With Proton Therapy higher dosages in the tumor are possible and at the same time there are significant less side effects.”

Let the video explain:


Radionuclide therapy

This method is effective in tumor cells with somatostatin receptors. Lutetium-labelled peptides are used to kill the cancer cells. If you like to know more, here is an article:

Lutetium-labelled peptides for therapy of neuroendocrine tumours
From the article:
“Treatment with radiolabelled somatostatin analogues is a promising … tool in the management of patients with inoperable or metastasized … tumours.”


Noninvasive ultrasound surgery


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) guided high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) surgery could beautifully complement cancer immunotherapy. Did you know that MRI HIFU was invented and developed by a Hungarian doctor? He lived and worked in the US. Unfortunately, he passed away recently. And did you know that Hungarian hospitals refused to purchase an MRI HIFU machine a few years ago? It is a wonderful tool! It is available all over the world! It is in the early stages of development as laparoscopy was over 10 years ago… It is very promising! Of course Hungarian idiot decision makers did not want one!


So, I discovered the brilliant entity called:

Focused Ultrasound Foundation (in the US)
And their website has the most comprehensive search tool if you would like to search for a HIFU treatment in a country by organ treated! Currently the database has 588 treatment sites globally!!!

It lists several Italian institutions offering commercial HIFU treatments for kidney tumors (no word regarding adrenal tumors…).

  • Careggi General Hospital, Florence Italy
  • Cisanello Hospital of University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
  • European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy
  • Rome American Hospital, Rome, Italy
  • Sora Cancer Centre, Sora, Lazio, Italy

Always consult specific websites and it is best to contact the institution directly via e-mail or phone!

HIFU Treatment
From the site
“IEO [Istituto Europeo di Oncologia] is the most advanced developing Center in using HIFU technology for cancer treatment in the West. HIFU is a cutting-edge, non-invasive technology, developed in China* for destroying cancer without scalpels, irradiation or needles. Interventional Radiology in IEO has the largest number of HIFU cancer treatments in western countries.”

*There are several different types of HIFU equipment globally.


Clinical trial and medical science resources:

From the site:
“ is a registry and results database of publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants conducted around the world.”

From the site:
“PubMed comprises more than 27 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites.”


The leading European professional organisation for medical oncology


Apps, Labs, Data, Image Analysis, In Silico Testing and Artificial Intelligence

Now about a research tool and service that could support treatment related decision making

The Oncompass app

On this site, patients and doctors can look up clinical trials ranked by relevance for specific cancers and doctors can also add their own experiences with treatments immediately! It is free! This is a Hungarian app of a molecular diagnostics company (Oncompass), but its users are global! I just discovered it recently (I tested it a bit, but I did not use it for treatment search). Could make the search for a treatment or even a cure so much easier! Plus, it empowers e-patients and helps doctors expedite info sharing regarding treatments globally!

Note: Today it is not (yet) the state delegated oncologist in Budapest, Hungary (where healthcare is not up to EU standards) who tells a patient that there is for example LOXO 101 in an open clinical trial (e.g.: in Denmark) and that Loxo Oncology takes patients for free (!) to international locations, for free (clinical trial related) treatment with one of the safest and most successful cancer drugs in development (it targets a select group with a rare genetic mutation… and for those with the mutation it is apparently amazingly effective and sometimes even curative even in very advanced cases). It only helps a very small group of people globally with a very specific mutation, but those people see amazing results and Loxo Oncology is looking for them! This isn’t something that a regular oncologist shares with you and you do not even know how many facts are not being shared with you that could potentially save or prolong your life! It is the multidisciplinary long-form blogger and digital artist (me, Regina Saphier) who will dig this up online (and not with the free Oncompass system that I just discovered recently… perhaps one day I am going to use that one too, but it is very difficult to register a patient in it without the cooperation of the oncologist, the patient and other doctors).

I immediately noticed that the Precision Medicine Calculator (by Oncompass) has no registration and login option for friends, family, patient advocates/advisers and other caretakers. Yet, in many cases, in such stressful situations, it is this support network that helps patients find answers. And I can’t believe how many internet domains Oncompass has… at least 4… it is really confusing. But I appreciate the idea of this free and global app. It “just” has to work well now, and for that people need to know about it and people have to use it (and it regularly needs to be improved).

Oncompass Medicine is one of the companies in Hungary that does oncogenetic testing (another superior genetic sequencing service is provided by PentaCore Lab). At Oncompass 58* 600 genes are tested when searching for a cancer treatment, and there are specialized support options beyond the lab work and that is very important. (*Update on October 19. 2017: Oncompass recently started to analyse 600 genes and the full exome of patients!!! Ask for the Oncompass All Dynamic Program!!!). At PentaCore Lab, 400 oncogenes are sequenced (Vivaton 400). Duna Medical only tests 65+27 genes. In the US there are tests with hundreds of genes (similar to the Oncompass All Dynamic Program and the PentaCore’s Vivaton 400 panel in Budapest). When personalized cancer vaccines are developed for a patient, the best thing is to have the entire genome sequenced (by entire I mean even the healthy genome). That helps you find the best treatment targets.

There is so much information all over the place, that both patient networks and doctors need a reliable decision support system. If I could make decisions about this, I would even make medical AI based Enlitic available to patients and their networks as well. There are patients and supportive people in those networks who could enhance care by using Enlitic.


You might have noticed that I mentioned several Hungarians in this blog post. So, why stop now? There is a brilliant AI based drug discovery start up in Hungary called:
“Increase your laboratory success rate and reduce
time to trial with AI guided simulated experiments.
Turbine identifies complex biomarkers and designs effective
combinations by simulating millions of experiments each day.”

When I noticed Turbine, I did not have to think at all to know that this is brilliant! I wish this young company was advanced enough to permit patient side access to the system. Just imagine getting in silico hints about possible drug combinations that could help someone. Sometimes even drugs that are not cancer related can have a positive impact. Turbine, Oncompass and PentaCore Lab should create a partnership…


By the way, not only do patients need help finding the best molecular treatments, but people still need to find the best possible surgeons as well (etc.). I had to do such a surgeon search over ten years ago and the world’s best surgeon for the Hungarian patient was in the UK. That is still not an obvious thing that people can easily find online (You need statistics, like: How many such operations does that surgeon perform per year? How about his or her error rate? The top surgeon had a zero % error rate for a digestive system cancer and he used his own method that he was teaching during some of his operations… Go for that level of expertise, if you can! That is the safest.).

On top of that we also need insurance companies to realize that care is now global and this market has to be serviced globally, with locally acceptable fees.


Note: Oncompass Medicine also has a fee based, international cancer treatment research and cancer patient support service! It is the same kind of global cancer treatment research and cancer patient support that I am doing, but I do it for free. While I do this occasionally, Oncompass does this all the time and has excellent resources and a global network. If you can, it is probably a good idea to hire them. I don’t know how good they are. Let me know if you have any experience with them!


I am a big believer in self guided online learning. And so I coined the term: “self guided online health care”. Imagine having a personal robot that is connected to a medical AI. The patient could simply ask questions of the robot, it would connect to the AI and based on the lab results (a patient has at home or online), the AI could suggest different treatment options by scanning and comprehending the globally available medical research and treatment data. (I personally would prefer a more advanced, multitasking robot companion, or no robot, just the AI via my computer, tablet or smartphone.)

The Robot Will See You Now — AI and Health Care

What happens when diagnosis is automated?


My Game “Theory”

As I mentioned before, a global multiplayer online game could be developed for citizen scientists and medical students (even for doctors). By combining the available resources, a new level of information sharing could be achieved in a uniquely motivated network.

In both cases the data entry is one of the most problematic areas. Lab results should be both human and machine readable. People who e.g. play EyeWire or Foldit could be on-boarded in a new game that is about hunting treasures like life saving medical treatments around the world and building alternative treatment plans for patients. It is doable! And I am working on it! Let me know if you would like to fund it!


Precision medicine is simply not possible without participatory medicine. Demand better care! I know that it is easy to expect and really hard to do. But every little positive change adds to the chance of an actual paradigm change! I hope you find the right doctors and the most appropriate treatments for you, your loved ones and your community members.

You can connect with me via Facebook and LinkedIn. I am happy to help. No matter where you are from, no matter who you are: If you need help and if I can help, I will help! Pay it forward to others in need when you can. My time, energy and resources are limited, so please, respect that when you ask a question (note: I understand if you feel the need to explain the context). Thank you for reading my blog post! I hope I could help with at least a little something. Find many more blog posts on my three different blog surfaces in a multitude of subject areas! Live long and prosper! 🙂


Saphier Regina: A Sárkány Völgyének Felfedezése



Saphier Regina: Falu a Sárkány Völgyében - szabadkézi festmény digitális médiumon - 2016. április 12.

Saphier Regina: Falu a Sárkány Völgyében – szabadkézi festmény digitális médiumon – 2016. Április 12.


Saphier Regina: A Sárkány Völgyének Felfedezése

Patkó Károly San Vito című képe (melynek reprodukciója alább látható) véleményem szerint nem San Vito-ban készült (vagyis nem San Vito-t ábrázolja), és ez lenne a kérdésem: Soha senki sem vette észre? Vagy ha valaha valaki rájött, miért nem publikálta ezt az információt online, könnyen elérhető formában? (Ha valaki már megtette volna, akkor egy gyors google kereséssel megtalálhattam volna, és nem kellett volna önálló kutatásba kezdenem, hogy láthassam a tényleges eredeti helyszínt.) Idealista módon úgy hiszem, hogy ha bárki ismerte volna a valódi helyszínt, a konkrét falut, akkor már korrigálták volna a festmény címét (lett volna néhány évtizede a művészettörténész szakmának, hogy ezt megtegye). Ebben az esszében többek között arról írok, hogy mi inspirál, amikor festek, és elmesélem, hogyan találtam meg (már megint) egy magyar festmény keletkezésének helyszínét (legalábbis hogy hol készültek az első vázlatok).


Felfedezés és inspiráció

Azt gondolhatod, úgy állok neki festeni, hogy előkapom a tabletet és a hozzá való tollat, beindítom az ArtRage nevű (digitális olajfestmények megalkotására is alkalmas) szoftvert, és egyfajta azonnali módosult tudatállapotban (flow-ban) festeni kezdek. De nem ez történik. Rengeteget kutatok, mielőtt skiccelni és festeni kezdek. Például festményeket, színeket, stílusokat, művészeti korszakokat és mozgalmakat, művészek életrajzait, városokat, falvakat, speciális helyszíneket, térélményeket áramoltatok át az agyamon és ezekből az impulzusokból áll össze az inspirációm. Akkor a legjobb festeni, amikor már alig bírom kivárni, hogy nekiállhassak alkotni, mert annyira tisztán látom, hogy mit szeretnék létrehozni.

Egy ilyen kutatási folyamat során fedeztem fel Berény Róbert egyik festményének alkotási helyszínét. Rögtön meg is festettem a saját verziómat egy másik szemszögből, és az egész történetet blogba foglaltam. Más hasonló felfedezéseket is tettem már. Például pusztán vizuális alapon felfedeztem, hogy Csontváry hol festette két festményét (“Holdtölte Taorminában” és “Mandulavirágzás Taorminában“), annak ellenére, hogy ez a helyszín nincs a híres Görög színházrom (melyet Csontváry szintén megörökített) közvetlenül látható környezetében. Nézz körül a festmények eredeti helyszínén a Google Street View segítségével. Sajnos a csodás pink villa eltűnt, és a kék épület romokban hever. A valaha volt festői látvány örökre eltűnt az eredeti helyszínről, de létezik két festmény, melyek segítenek emlékezni. Ha belegondolsz, a “megörökíteni” egy gyönyörű kifejezés.


Jó dolgok történnek, amikor egy kíváncsi művész nem leli egy Patkó Károly festmény látképét a címben szereplő településen

Az utóbbi időben néhány magyar festőt, pl. Ziffer Sándor-t és Patkó Károly-t tanulmányoztam. Miután pl. a Roquebrune című festményemen feltűntek Ziffer színei és atmoszférája (aminek nagyon megörültem), szándékosan Patkó Károly “San Vito” című képét választottam inspirációnak (teljesen más színek és más atmoszféra, pusztán a kísérletezés kedvéért). Egyik San Vito nevű települést a másik után vizsgáltam meg a Google Street View segítségével, de egyik sem hasonlított a Patkó Károly festményén látható falura. Meglepve konstatáltam, hogy Patkó Károly festményének ezek szerint kezdettől fogva rossz a címe. A San Vito című festmény nem San Vito-t ábrázolja. Már megint beletenyereltem egy felfedezési lehetőségbe.

Ez bizony nem San Vito! Úgy tűnik, hogy a festményt a kezdetektől napjainkig rossz címmel dokumentálták. (megjegyzés: Patkó Károly művészete szellemi jogi szempontból immár közkincs.)

Ez bizony nem San Vito! Úgy tűnik, hogy a festményt a kezdetektől napjainkig rossz címmel dokumentálták. (megjegyzés: Patkó Károly művészete szellemi jogi szempontból immár közkincs)


A motivációm, hogy megfessem ezt a konkrét falut, csak nőtt, amikor arra gondoltam, hogy (a téves és a széles nyilvánosság előtt sosem korrigált cím és helyszín miatt) jelenleg én lehetek az egyetlen emberi lény, aki szándékosan hozhatok létre egy valamennyire hasonló digitális művet, egy kicsit más szemszögből, a saját stílusomban. Ez úgy tűnik, hogy egy ismerős és visszatérő lehetőség az életemben, melyhez hozzá kell szoknom. (Emlékezzünk csak Monaco-ra és Berény Róbert-re… Mint már korábban utaltam rá, alapos és önálló vizuális kutatás után megleltem és megfestettem Berény egyik Monaco-i helyszínét, egy másik szemszögből. Nagy élmény volt! Megjegyzem, hogy nem csupán magyarul írtam erről, hanem egy sokkal komplexebb angol nyelvű blog bejegyzésben is megörökítettem a történetet.) Tulajdonképpen csak nemrég kezdtem ilyesmivel foglalkozni… egy éve sincs, hogy festek és inspiráló helyszíneket keresek. Rengeteg festmény létezhet rossz címmel, és rengeteg képnek kellene korrigálni a helyszínét vagy éppen fel kellene fedezni, hogy hol készült.

(Miközben ezzel a témával foglalkoztam, hirtelen feltűnt, hogy milyen sok tehetséges ember halt meg aránylag fiatalon 1941-ben… Patkó Károly, Amrita Sher-Gil, Aba-Novák Vilmos, Virginia Woolf…)

Mivel nem akartam, hogy a Patkó reprodukció legyen az egyetlen vizuális input, és mivel látni akartam az eredeti falut, kitartóan kerestem a valódi helyszínt. Ösztönösen meg voltam róla győződve, hogy kell lennie egy falunak Olaszországban, amelyik úgy néz ki, mint az úgynevezett “San Vito” látkép. Úgy tűnik, hogy a kép címe mindig is rossz volt és ez számomra bizarr. A téves címnek sok magyarázata lehet. Például, ha Patkó az úti skicceit használta a későbbi tempera kép megfestéséhez, akkor még az is lehet, hogy ő maga adott rossz címet a képnek. Nehéz elképzelni, de van rá esély, főleg, ha sokat utazgatott akkoriban és kevés időt töltött egy helyen. Ugyanakkor a képeknek a festők halála után gyakran mások adnak címet… a műkereskedők és a művészettörténészek sajnos gyakran felszínesek, amikor címet adnak egy műalkotásnak.

Előfordult, hogy rápillantottam egy Párizs-i városrészletet ábrázoló festményre, és azonnal láttam, hogy a Naplemente című kép csak Napfelkelte lehet… Nem gondolkoztam, csak ránéztem és ösztönösen tudtam, hogy rossz a napszak a címben, pedig a kép torzításai miatt nem volt pl. azonnal nyilvánvaló, hogy melyik hidat látom (a Pont Saint-Michel a Pont Neuf irányából nézve). Az intuíciómat perceken belül vizuális tényekkel tudtam alátámasztani a Google Street View segítségével: a festőnő, Corini Margit, kelet felé tájolta a kompozíciót, de a kép a mai napig rossz cím alatt fut online. Baráti körben is terjesztem ezt a kedvtelésemet, volt, hogy filmrészletet adtam fel feladványnak, miután sikerült megtalálnom egy bizonyos Manhattan-i helyszínt. Olyan valakit kértem meg, hogy keresse meg a Párizs-i látványt, ha van hozzá kedve, akit én vezettem rá a Google Street View és Google Earth alapú helyszín keresés élvezetére. És volt hozzá kedve! Ráadásul gyors volt, mint a villám! Meglehetősen jó vizuális készségű építész-művészről van szó, többek között a kedvenc profil képem is az ő tehetségét dicséri, úgyhogy minden képessége megvan, hogy megtalálja a megtalálható látképeket.

Komolyan mondom, nagyon jó és láthatóan hasznos játék. A múlt évben örömmel fedeztem fel, hogy volt, aki ilyesféle online játékot fejlesztett ki, bár nem művészeti síkon (pedig milyen jó lenne egy ilyen app).

Ugyanakkor biztos, hogy vizuális szempontból nem mindenki születik tehetségesnek. Egy alkalommal ugyanez a művész barátom lerajzolt két nőt egy kávéházban. Tanúja voltam a szituációnak és a figurák teljesen felismerhetőek voltak a képen. Az egyik nő molett volt, a másik átlagos. A molett nő ránézett a képre, és döbbenetünkre, halál komolyan ezt kérdezte: “Melyik vagyok én?” Nem tudta beazonosítani önmagát. Magunk között szólva, már a téri elhelyezkedéséből is fel kellett volna ismernie saját magát, de a testméretek végképp nyilvánvalóak voltak. Számomra egészen megdöbbentő, hogy egyes embereknek mennyire nincs reális önképük és/vagy térlátásuk.


Hogyan találtam rá a valódi helyszínre…

Tulajdonképpen nem is volt olyan nehéz, csak kitartónak kellett lennem (és az voltam). Ezekre a kulcsfontosságú részletekre koncentráltam: egy tengerparti olasz falu magas hegyek között, láthatóan egy nagyon szűk völgyben, tengerparti út viadukton, egy magányos épület a strandon, és egy különösen jellegzetes fehér épület, hatalmas teraszokkal, a jobb felső sarokban. (A legvalószínűbb San Vito jellegzetesen lapos, széles, és a tengerpartja meglehetősen hosszú. Egyáltalán nem hasonlít a Patkó képén látható falura, úgyhogy be sem linkelem. A művészettörténészek úgy tartják, hogy Patkó Károly járt (az egyik) San Vito-ban, ez szerepel az életrajzában, de a korrekt (avagy a festményen látható) falu, melyet végül felfedeztem, nem szerepel egyik online életrajzában sem, melyeket átolvastam.

Utazási emlékeim, online kutatásaim és a festett térélmény hatására úgy döntöttem, hogy a keresett falu nem az Adriai-tenger mellett, hanem a Tirrén-tenger partján található. Rengeteg tengerparti falut megnéztem, de nem leltem rá azonnal a keresett településre. Voltak hasonló falvak, de tudtam, hogy tovább kell keresnem.

Úgy döntöttem, hogy egy kicsit félreteszem a Google Earth-t és Street View-t, és visszatértem szokásos inspiráció vadászatomhoz a Google képkeresőben és a Pinterest-en… gondoltam, addig is, míg meglesz a keresett falu, felkutatok egy másik izgalmas és festői térélményt. Érdekes módon, ekkor láttam meg egy fotót az Amalfi parton fekvő Atrani-ról. Azonnal tudtam, hogy ráleltem arra a falura, ahol Patkó Károly (a tévesen) “San Vito” című képét festette (vagy legalábbis felvázolta)!!!! A légi fotó ugyan pici volt, de a téri szerkezet számomra egyértelmű volt. Nyomban további fotókat kerestem Atrani-ról és azonnal visszatértem a Google Street View-hoz. Mondanom sem kell, hogy meglehetősen boldog voltam!

A helyes cím tehát “Atrani” … avagy “A Sárkány Völgye“.

Az alábbi kép interaktív, mozgatható, ha alaposabban körül szeretnél nézni a mai Atrani-ban. Úgy állítottam be, hogy azonnal Atrani-nak az az oldala jelenjen meg, melyet Patkó Károly megfestett. (A blog bejegyzésem végére beillesztettem egy kompozit képet a régi Atrani-ról, abból az időből, amikor a strandon lévő épület még háromszintes volt.)


Itt az ideje, hogy fessek!

Amint volt időm, és miután megvizsgáltam Atrani-t minden lehetséges szemszögből, megragadtam a tabletemet, betöltöttem az ArtRage-t, és megfestettem a saját, főleg az építészeti és téri szerkezetre koncentráló digitális verziómat. Festményem kissé absztrakt, anakronisztikus juxtapozíció és egyben homage Patkó, Csontváry, Escher és Derain felé. Az is lehetne a képem címe, hogy: “Kanyarodó Út Atraniban” (most komolyan, remélem, hogy látod ezeket a fontos részleteket Patkó képén: a kanyarodó út, a víz a “híd alatt”, és a kétkerekű kocsi a három lóval… jó lenne tudni, hogy miért három és mit jelképez a három ló… és egy alak a kocsin… és egy vízhordó alak az úton… és halászok a hídra emlékeztető viadukt alatt… szerintem ezek mind Derain L’Estaque-i Kanyarodó Út-jára utalnak… L’Estaque pedig Cézanne-ra utal…), vagy adhattam volna a képemnek azt a címet, hogy “Egy Pink Villa az Atrani Út Alatt” (Csontváry miatt), vagy lehetne az is a cím, hogy “Escher Kockái Atrani-ban” (Escher Patkóval egy időben rajzolt Atrani-ban, és eljátszadozott a falu bőségesen rendelkezésre álló kubusaival).


Címadás és a saját művészeti irányom elnevezése

Azt gondolhatod, hogy címet adni könnyű, pedig nem. A falu nevétől, a mágikusnak tűnő címen át, a teljesen filozofikusig minimum fél tucat cím volt a listámon… és órákig tanakodtam, mire döntöttem. Egy ponton úgy hívtam a képet, hogy: “Posszibilizmus és Eternalizmus Atraniban”. Így született meg a saját irányzatom neve: Posszibilizmus. Én egy posszibilista vagyok. Ez egy létező (kulturális, humán) földrajzi fogalom (okkal nem a filozófiai Posszibilizmust választottam), és azt a nézetet fedi, hogy a földrajzi elhelyezkedés csak minimális mértékben befolyásolja a kulturális fejlődést. A kulturális fejlődést főleg a társadalmi körülmények határozzák meg. Amikor a kulturális földrajzi Posszibilizmust művészeti fogalommá alakítottam, hozzáadtam az örökké fejlődő internetet és technológiát, és egyszerűen kiterjesztettem a földrajzilag határtalan művészeti alkotásra (mindegy, hogy fizikailag hol vagy, megvannak az eszközeid, hogy online bárhol lehess), és a fenomenálisan rugalmas kulturális evolúcióra (internalizálhatsz és befolyásolhatsz más kultúrákat, anélkül, hogy azokban a konkrét kultúrákban és társadalmi környezetekben léteznél… földrajzilag és fizikailag nem kell ott lenned).

Online alaposan megvizsgáltam Atrani-t. A parton álló épület eredetileg magasabb volt, mint a viadukt, de a harmadik emeletet egy idő után lebontották és az 1950-es években kiszélesítették az utat, amitől az út ma a szó legszorosabb értelmében a strand épület felett helyezkedik el. Miközben Csontváry csodás Taormina-i pink villája megsemmisült (ami engem személy szerint nagyon elkeserített), Patkó magányos épülete Atrani-ban még ma is áll, még ha egy picit kisebb és rejtettebb is. Emlékszem, hogy milyen boldoggá tett a felismerés, hogy Monaco túlfejlesztett közegében a Berény Róbert által megfestett hangulatos kikötői épületek még ma is állnak (szinte pont olyanok, mint bő 100 éve, csak időközben párszor átfestették, itt-ott minimálisan átépítették őket). Hasonlóan örülök annak, hogy Atrani jó polgárai szinte eredeti szépségében őrizték meg ezt az apró falut. Itt csatlakozik a földrajzi Posszibilizmusból kreált irányzatomhoz a filozófiai Eternalizmus. Kulturálisan gazdagítom Atrani story-ját, a nappalim kanapéján ülve (tehát egy másik országból), továbbá gazdagítom a saját kulturális örökségemet is (ez az internet korszak Posszibilizmusa), mindezt kombinálom azzal a filozófiai feltételezéssel, hogy a digitális festményem lehetősége örökké létezett Atrani-ban, és csak látszólag jött létre az utóbbi napokban (a lehetőség mindig is létezett, és csak most érzékeljük a manifesztációt… ahogy Patkó festményének lehetősége is örökké létezett… gondoljunk az ősemberre… ott ült a barlang előtt, és nem tudta, hogy egy futurisztikus társadalom építőköveit pöcögteti a tűz mellett egy bottal… minden ott volt már körülötte és benne… minden mai létező lehetősége ott volt… és ugyanígy, mi is, ma is, térdig járunk a még fel nem ismert lehetőségekben… minden ma élő embernek adhatnánk méltóságteljes életet, ez csak közös agymunka kérdése… a legokosabbak még gondolkodnak rajta, hogy ezt hogyan lehetne megértetni a többi emberrel és hogyan lehetne elérni… láthatóan szinte minden a közös képzelőerőnkön múlik… vagyis a lehetőségek nem függnek az időtől, a lehetőségek örökké létezők, csak a lehetőségek manifesztációihoz vezet valamiféle idő szekvencia… miközben a tér az emberiség létidejében nem sokat látszik változni… szinte megérinthetném Patkó Károly vállát Atrani-ban, amint rajzol, pedig még nem is éltem, amikor ő már halott volt… én így értelmezem az általam megfogalmazott művészeti Eternalizmust). De miért is nem hagyok fel itt és most a filozófiailag kevésbé érdeklődő olvasók őrületbe kergetésével. Nem mindenki szeret és tud elvontan gondolkodni. Vannak, akik nyitott szemmel, ép látással sem látnak. És vannak, akik csukott szemmel is tisztán látnak. Sajnálatos módon általában az előbbiek verik fejbe az utóbbiakat. Ha nem így lenne, sokkal ideálisabb társadalmakban élnénk.


Patkó Károly Atranija, inspirációi, a festők titkai és az örökké tartó homage művészről művészre

Ha összeveted Patkó Károly festményét a valódi Atranival, láthatod, hogy megváltoztatta a kompozíciót, vagyis középre tolta a baloldalon látható épületeket. Egy széles látképet álló portré formátumban festett meg. Azt hiszem tetszettek neki a homlokzati ívek, ezekkel meg akarta bontani a szögletességet, illetve azt szerette volna elérni, hogy a festmény jobboldali épületei és az önkényesen középre pozicionált kubusok homogén tömeget alkossanak. A hegycsúcsok a valóságban soha sem néztek ki úgy, ahogy Patkó képén, úgyhogy valószínűleg improvizált, de az épületek fölött látható mezőgazdasági jellegű teraszok megfelelnek a valóságnak. Nem tudom pontosan, hogy milyen színűek lehettek Atrani házai 1931-ben, de Patkó főleg kékes, zöldes, fehér, és barnás színeket választott… Ugyanakkor, ebben a régióban az épületek ritkán kékek vagy zöldek. Patkó Károly verziója sok tekintetben messze elrugaszkodik a valóságtól, ugyanakkor a falu mégis tökéletesen felismerhető. Amikor Atranit skiccelte, valahol a viadukt felett, és a Bűnbánó Szent Mária Magdaléna Templom körül vagy kicsivel alatta állhatott.

A művészek befolyásolják egymást és emlékeznek egymásra. Pl. boldogan fedeztem fel azt, ahogyan Derain “vadL’Estaque-i festménye Patkó művészetét befolyásolta. Úgyhogy nem értek egyet azokkal, akik szerint szinte csak az olasz festészet inspirálta. Cézanne és Derain bizonyára a példaképei voltak.

Véleményem szerint nem az Atraniban született képe az egyetlen, melyen visszaköszön Derain L’Estaque-i gondolata… Kapásból van itt még két Patkó festmény, melyek engem Derain-ra emlékeztetnek: a “Libapásztorlány a Pataknál” és a “Subiaco” egyik verziója: nők ruhát mosnak egy híd mellett, sudár fák alatt, miközben egy kocsis áthajtat a magasan ívelt hídon.

Tényleg biztosak lehetünk abban, hogy Patkó Károly sosem járt L’Estaque-ban? Anno egy csodás kis halászfalu volt, ma Marseille egyik kerületének része, és a partja sajnos elszomorítóan ipari jelleget öltött. Jó lenne tudni, hogy Patkó hol festette a “Libapásztorlány a Pataknál” című képet, 1928-ban. Az 1926-os “Csendélet Almákkal” című képét nyilván Cézanne hatása alatt festette. Természetesen nem kell egy konkrét helyre utazni Franciaországban, hogy az ember inspirációt merítsen. Pontosan tudom. Még a plein air nagy mesterei is használtak (általában titokban) fényképeket. Patkó bárhol festhette a képet, akár a Balaton mellett is… pl. egy Derain reprodukció hatására. Bármi lehetséges.

Könyvében David Hockney arról ír (és egy kétrészes BBC sorozatban arról mesél), hogy a régi nagy festő mesterek, pl. Caravaggio Camera Obscurát, konkáv tükröket és lencséket használtak, amikor alkottak. Voltak trade secret-ek, melyek meggyorsították a folyamatokat, és precízebbé tették az ábrázolást. Hockney kutatásai szerint már 1420 óta használtak konkáv tükröket… a festő a Sötét Kamrában, vagyis a Camera Obscurában ült, miközben a modell erős napfényben a Sötét Kamrán kívül foglalt helyet… Caravaggio 1595-ben térhetett át a konkáv tükörről a fejlettebb lencsére… és 1839-ben feltalálták a fényképezést… Vagyis 1420 és 1839 között a festők titokban áttértek a körberajzolásra, aztán 1839 után fokozatosan visszatértek az 1420 előtti módszerekhez. A tükör és lencse használók ügyes művészek, nagy mágusok és dörzsölt üzletemberek voltak, akik mindent bevetettek, hogy az akkori eszközökkel (technológiákkal) a lehető legélethűbb vagy legizgalmasabb látványt hozzák létre (miközben hatékonyabban dolgozhattak). A festőművészek a konkáv tükrök előtti korszak emberibb, könnyedebb és kevésbé élethű látványvilágához a fotográfia korszakának hatására tértek vissza. A digitális fényképezés, a virtuális valóság, a mesterséges intelligencia és a robotika korában a művésznek már nem feltétlenül a vizuális élethűség megteremtése a feladata, hanem pl. az érzelmi ábrázolás. Impresszió, expresszivitás, vadság, játék a fénnyel, a hangulatokkal, a térrel. Ebben a korszakban az is teljesen magától értetődő, hogy egyre többen festenek digitális eszközökkel. Az intelligens művész nyitott korszaka minden lehetséges új eszközére. Nem a tükör, nem a lencse, és nem is a digitális eszköz hozza létre a mozdulatokat és a jeleket, hanem az ember egyéni és spontán működő idegrendszere.


Összevetettem a két festményt (megtükröztem a Patkó festményt, és mellé tettem Derain festményének megfelelő részletét, a jobb oldalon).

Összevetettem a két látványt, mert úgy éreztem, hogy közük van egymáshoz. (Megtükröztem a Patkó festményt, és mellé tettem Derain festményének megfelelő részletét, a jobb oldalon.)


Homage művészről művészre… egy természetes ösztön, mely örökké tart. Sokszor nem kell odautaznod, hogy érezz és láss egy helyszínt, főleg manapság! Máskor hiába is utaznál! Olyannyira, hogy egyes helyszínek, mint pl. Derain “vad” stílusú képének vidékies tája, és Csontváry pink villája, örökre eltűntek, és ezek a látványok érzékeny emberek egyedi művészetében élnek tovább. Már hiába mész L’Estaque-ba, hogy megállj a kanyarodó út mellett és lenézz a fák alatt serénykedő vagy pihenő emberekre. Inkább nézz Derain alkotására, ha inspirációt keresel. Atrani, a Sárkány Folyó Völgyében, különösen szerencsés falu, hiszen alapvetően megőrizte eredeti szépségét, és a mai napig gazdagodik a művészi kreativitás által, mert ma is inspirálja a művészeket.

Úgy vélem, sőt, teljesen biztos vagyok abban, hogy Patkó Károly festményének korrekt helyszíne és címe nem “San Vito”, hanem “Atrani“.


Atrani a múltban

Atrani a múltban



Regina Saphier: Finding the Valley of the Dragon


Village in the Valley of the Dragon by Regina Saphier freehand painting on digital medium April 12. 2016 small wtrmrkd

Village in the Valley of the Dragon by Regina Saphier freehand painting on digital medium April 12. 2016


Regina Saphier: Finding the Valley of the Dragon

Károly Patkó’s so called “San Vito” (see reproduction below) wasn’t painted in San Vito (in my opinion) and nobody ever noticed? I am sure the painting’s title would have been corrected by now had anyone had a clue about the real location. This is the story of my artistic process today, combined with the story of finding the correct place of creation of a well known Hungarian painting. Above you can see my own rendering of the Italian village where in my opinion Károly Patkó actually painted his picture.

My research process

You might think that I just grab my stylus and tablet, start ArtRage and begin to paint as if in a trans state. But that is not my process. I do a lot of research before I start sketching and painting. For example I research paintings, colors, styles, artistic periods and movements, artist bios, cities, villages, particular locations, spacial experiences and I compose my inspiration of the many impulses. I like to start painting when I can no longer wait to create because I so clearly see what I want to realize.

During such a research process in 2015 I discovered a specific location of a Róbert Berény painting and I created my own rendering from another angle, plus I wrote about the process. I keep making other discoveries as well. For example I discovered purely visually where Tivadar Csontváry Kosztka created two of his paintings in Taormina (“Full Moon over Taormina” and “Blossoming Almonds in Taormina“), in spite of the fact that this location is not in the visible vicinity of the ruins of the ancient Greek theater (that he also depicted there). Explore the location of the paintings via: Google Street View… Sadly the amazing pink villa is gone and the blue building is in ruins… The picturesque vista that once was is forever lost, but we have two paintings to help us remember.

Good things happen when a curious artist can not find the vista of a Patkó painting in the settlement stated in the original title

Recently I studied some Hungarian artists like Sándor Ziffer and Károly Patkó. After having noticed Ziffer in one of my paintings (I noticed his impact on my colors and atmosphere on my Roquebrune painting), I wanted to intentionally be inspired by Patkó, so I picked his “San Vito” painting. I looked at the particular “San Vito” via Google Street View (in fact I ended up looking at several places called San Vito) and I was surprised to realize that this Patkó painting has a clearly incorrect title. “San Vito” could not possibly depict San Vito!

This is not "San Vito". The painting apparently always had the wrong title until today.

This is not “San Vito”. The painting apparently always had the wrong title until today. (note: Károly Patkó’s art is now in the public domain in Hungary.)

My motivation to paint this village only grew when I had this in mind: I am the only one in the world right now who could intentionally create a somewhat similar digital painting from a slightly different angle in my own style. This is a familiar and reoccurring opportunity in my life! (Remember Monaco and Róbert Berény? I was able to find the place and paint it from a different angle. It was so much fun!) I just started to paint and research inspirational locations recently. How many paintings have the wrong location, the wrong title or no known and specified location at all (that could be discovered)?

(By the way, just as a side note: Károly Patkó died 75 years ago this April. 1941 killed so many talented artists I remember… Károly Patkó, Amrita Sher-Gil, Vilmos Aba-Novák, Virginia Woolf…)

Because I did not want to use the Patkó painting as my only visual input, and wanted to see the actual village, I kept searching for the real location. For some reason I was convinced that there should be a village that looks like the one on Patkó’s so called “San Vito”. Supposedly this has always been the title of the painting and that is really bizarre to me. Yet, there could be several explanations… for example Patkó used his own travel sketches to create his final tempera versions… it is possible that he himself gave the wrong title… hard to believe but possible… However, in many instances titles are given by other people once the artist is no longer alive… and art historians and art dealers are often superficial when coming up with a title… (eg.: in one case I could tell that a painting depicting a bridge in Paris with the title “sunset” was actually a “sunrise”… I just looked at it and knew instinctively that the title is wrong and it really was… I could show it on Google Street View within minutes).

How did I find the correct location of Patkó’s painting?

It was actually not that difficult, but I had to be persistent (and I was). The key components that I focused on were: a sea side Italian village among high mountains, apparently in a very narrow valley, a beach road on a viaduct, an isolated building on a very small beach and a particularly typical white building in the upper right corner with prominent terraces. (When you look at the most likely San Vito on Google Street View, you can clearly see that it is characteristically flat, broad, and the beach is rather long. Does not even resemble the village on Patkó’s painting. We know that he traveled to San Vito, it is in his bio, but the correct village that I finally discovered is not mentioned in his biographies that I looked at online.)

Next (based on the spacial experience on the Patkó painting, plus based on former travels and online research) I decided that while San Vito is at the Adriatic Sea, the place I am looking for must be on the Tyrrhenian Sea shore. I looked at several villages there, but I could not find it immediately. There were some similar places, but I knew that I had to keep searching.

I decided to stop looking at Google Earth and Street View for a while and went back to my usual inspirational Google Image search for the area to find the next best place to paint until I find the location of the Patkó painting. And interestingly that is when I stumbled upon a photo of Atrani on the Amalfi coast. And I knew immediately that I discovered the village where Patkó actually painted his “San Vito”! The aerial image was small, but the spacial structure was obvious.

The correct title should be “Atrani“… or “The Valley of the Dragon“.

This below is an interactive image, you can move it around to see Atrani today. I positioned it so that you can see the side of Atrani that was depicted by Károly Patkó. (At the end of this blog post I also included a composite image of Atrani in the past when the beach building was higher than the road.)


Creation time!

As soon as I had the time and as soon as I looked at Atrani from every possible angle, I grabbed my tablet, opened ArtRage and created my own architectural rendering of the village! It is a slightly abstract anachronistic juxtaposed homage to Patkó, Csontváry, Escher and Derain. It could be called: “The Turning Road at Atrani” (seriously, I hope you see these on Patkó’s painting: the turning road, the water and the gig with the three horses… and the man on the gig… and the water carrying figure on the road… and the people under the bridge-like viaduct… all references to Derain’s L’Estaque)… or “A Pink House in Atrani Below the Road” (because of Csontváry)… or “The Escheresque Cubes of Atrani” (Escher did actually draw Atrani and played around with the many cubes in the village)…

Coming up with a title and an artistic movement

You might assume that it is easy to come up with the right title of a painting, but that is also not the case. I spent hours finalizing the title… from the simple location name to the more magical one to the totally philosophical I had half a dozen different titles. At one point I called it: “Possibilism and Eternalism in Atrani”. And with that title I came up with a name for my own artistic movement: Possibilism. It exists as a cultural, human geographical terminology and basically covers the fact that geography is only a minimal limitation for cultural development. Cultural development is mainly determined by social conditions. When I transformed Possibilism into an artistic terminology I added the ever evolving internet and technology… plus I extended this terminology to geographically unlimited artistic creation (no matter where you are, you have the means to be anywhere online) and phenomenally flexible cultural evolution (you have the option of internalizing and even influencing another culture without being in that particular cultural or social environment).

I researched the village online. Initially the building on the Atrani beach was higher than the road, but the third floor was demolished after a while and in the 1950s the road was broadened and so the road is now literally above the beach building. While Csontváry’s beautiful pink villa in Taormina did not survive (and that made me very upset), Patkó’s beach house at Atrani is still there, even if a bit smaller and partly covered by the road. I remember how happy I was to see that in hyper developed Monaco the houses that Berény depicted were almost perfectly preserved in the harbor. Just the same, I am glad that the good people of Atrani maintained the beauty and authenticity of their village. This is where Eternalism joins Possibilism… Me culturally enhancing the story of Atrani from my living room couch (in another country) and also enhancing my own cultural heritage (Possibilism of the internet age) combined with the philosophical assumption that my digital painting’s possibility existed eternally in Atrani and only apparently came into being during the last couple of days (at least the possibility has always been there and only now do we recognize the manifestation … the same way the possibility of Patkó’s painting has always existed… think of a caveman sitting in front of a cave… that creature at the campfire cluelessly poked the building blocks of a futuristic society with a stick… the possibility of everything that exists today already existed within and without… the same way today we walk around knee-deep in yet unrecognized possibilities… for example we could ensure a dignified life to every human being alive, this is only a matter of joint mental effort, because the resources are there… the smartest individuals are however still trying to figure out how to enlighten all people about this and make the obvious possibility manifest itself as our everyday reality… clearly almost everything is dependent on our joint imagination… so, possibilities are not dependent on time, possibilities are apparently eternal, a time sequence is only relevant to the manifestation of the eternal possibilities… while space itself does not appear to be changing much during humanity’s existence… I could almost touch Patkó’s shoulder in Atrani while he is drawing, even though I did not exist yet when he was already dead… this is how I conceptualize my artistic Eternalism. When you notice a possibility and act upon it, you become the channel of manifestation of something eternally possible… ). But why don’t I stop driving the less philosophically inclined readers mad right here and right now…?


Pantkó’s Atrani, his inspirations, the secrets of artists and the ever lasting series of homages from artist to artist

If you compare Patkó’s painting with the real place (Atrani), you will notice that he changed the composition by eliminating the middle section of the residential layer… he virtually pushed some of the buildings from the left to the right to place them in the middle. He turned a broad landscape view into a tall portrait view. I think he did these because he found the series of arches on the left more interesting and wanted to make the middle section architecturally more homogeneous with the buildings on the right side. The mountain tops never looked like that in reality, he probably improvised, but the agricultural terraces above the buildings are correct. I am not sure about the colors of Atrani in 1931, but Patkó mainly opted for blues, greens, white and brownish colors… However, in this region blues and greens are less common on buildings. His version is in many ways removed from reality and yet the village is perfectly recognizable. While sketching Atrani he was standing above the viaduct, at or under the Collegiate Church of St. Mary Magdalene.

Artists influence each another and remember each other. I happily discovered how Derain’s L’Estaque painting impacted Patkó’s art… so, I disagree that his art was mostly inspired by the Italian tradition… Cézanne and Derain were definitely among his role models.

In my opinion this is not the only painting where he remembers André Derain’s The Turning Road in L’Estaque. Here are two other Patkó paintings that remind me of Derain: “Goose Girl by the Brook” and one of the “Subiaco” versions: women are washing clothes under a bridge and a coach driver is crossing the bridge.

Are we a 100% sure that Károly Patkó never went to L’Estaque? Alternatively: Where did he paint the “Goose Girl by the Brook” in 1928? His 1926 “Still Life with Apples” was clearly inspired by Cézanne… Of course one does not have to go to a particular place in France to be inspired by it… I know that. Patkó could have painted this canvas anywhere… even at Lake Balaton… based on a reproduction of Derain’s canvas. Anything is possible.

In his book (and in his two part BBC series) David Hockney talks about how old masters like Caravaggio used the Camera Obscura, concave mirrors and lenses when sketching and painting. There were trade secrets that made the artistic process more precise and faster. According to Hockney’s research concave mirrors were used as early as 1420… the artist worked in a Dark Room (Camera Obscura), while the model sat in strong sunlight outside of the Dark Room… Caravaggio apparently switched from the concave mirror to the more advanced lens in 1595… and in 1839 photography was invented. That means that between 1420 and 1839 artists gradually and secretly transitioned from freehand sketching to freehand tracing, and after 1839 artists regressed back to freehand sketching and painting that were the norm before 1420. Those who used concave mirrors and lenses were skilled artists, even appeared to be amazing magicians to less insightful people, and were most definitely shrewd businessman, deploying every possible contemporary technology to create the most lifelike and exciting images while optimizing their working conditions and maximizing their profits. Artists returned to the methods of the pre-mirror time period again as a reaction to the invention of photography. Today, in the age of digital photography, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and robotics, the task of the artist is no longer the creation of a lifelike visual experience, rather the task is eg.: the visual representation of human emotions. Impression, expression, fauvism, playing with light, color, atmosphere and space. In this age it is also absolutely self evident that more and more people are painting with digital tools. The intelligent and creative artist is open to every possible new tool his or her era has to offer. It is not the mirror, not the lens and not the digital tool that creates movements and marks. The artist’s personal and spontaneous neurology is what creates art in a larger social and cultural context, while channeling a universal and endless stream of possibilities.

Patkó tükrözve és Derain Estaque részlet

My comparison of the two (I flipped the Patkó painting and added a section of the Derain painting on the right).

Homage from artist to artist… a natural instinct that goes on forever. In many cases you don’t have to go to a particular location “to feel” or “to see” the place, especially today! However, the way I see it, the famous location of Derain’s fauvist painting is lost, just like Csontváry’s pink villa… these places live on in sensitive people’s unique art. Atrani (in the valley of the River Dragon) is a particularly lucky village that mostly maintained its original charme and is also enriched by artistic creativity.

As of today I am suggesting a new title and a new location for Károly Patkó’s “San Vito” painting. It should be called: “Atrani“.

Atrani in the past

Atrani in the past


Regina Saphier: The Tale of the Dictator Who Became a Flower Salesman

Regina Saphier: The tale of the dictator who became a flower salesman (

Regina Saphier: The Tale of the Dictator who Became a Flower Salesman (       Illustration concept by Regina Saphier, Drawing by Rózsa Ferkó Károly


Regina Saphier: The Tale of the Dictator Who Became a Flower Salesman

How unlikely! Right? No dictator ever gave up his or her corrupt power voluntarily. Have you ever wondered why? I did. First, I actually just contemplated good, responsive, inclusive leadership that my country never really experienced. And from there I got to the question: Just what is it about a society as an organism that does not permit healthy leadership? And I ended up with the image of a bodily tissue that can not properly repair itself and if you imagine a country as an organism, the dictator is produced by dysfunctional social tissue. This is why a dictator is a cancer cell, his or her immediate and selfish community is the cancer, and the country is the organism that is dying of cancer. There are dangerous and deadly cancers, and there are milder, more treatable cancers. Orbán and his entourage is colon cancer with no metastases (yet), actually rather preventable if an organism is well informed and takes care of itself, and also curable if someone finds the right surgeon. The North Korean dictator (whoever happens to be in that role at any given time) and his closest people are more of a metastatic, aggressive breast cancer. Much harder to treat and cure. So, dictators are identifiable on a scale. Yet almost all dictators (as all cancers) can be dangerous when untreated or when more social tissue degeneration is possible.

Add the Dunning and Kruger effect (of followers and the dictator for this essay’s sake).
“For a given skill, incompetent people will:
– fail to recognize their own lack of skill
– fail to recognize genuine skill in others
– fail to recognize the extent of their inadequacy
– recognize and acknowledge their own lack of skill, after they are exposed to training for that skill.”

Nouriel Roubini posted a blog regarding the possible fragmented, nationalist dystopian future of the EU if Orbán-omics (illiberal and nationalist state capitalism) spreads across Europe. Orbán is the populist, nationalist authoritarian mini dictator of Hungary (unfortunately there are similar jerks running countries in the EU). He has (or pretends to have) seriously archaic views of gender roles, social values, and economics. Yet, when he “worries” about the safety of Europe, he will say that he wants to “protect values like gender equality”. He will say whatever he thinks he needs to say, depending on his latest vision and depending on the environment. In my opinion Orbán is a classical, ambitious, manipulative sociopath with no remorse.

How are sociopaths* made?

Sociopaths are more common than you would expect (especially among politicians, business people, lawyers and the like). Becoming a sociopath is a typical (mal)adaptive developmental reaction to e.g.: a physically abusive father, and to a massive change in environment and social class that forced him (or her) to experience a lot of humiliation. Orbán is highly ambitious, a calculating risk-taker, superficially charming (according to his equally superficial followers), plus he is manipulative, aggressive, paranoid, delusional, experiences no remorse, does not have much cultural capital, yet he thinks he is always right, believes he is smarter than (almost) anyone else, has a grandiose sense of self, has no insight into the fact that he is a sociopath, uses others as tools, is constantly in a hero pose, does not experience true empathy for others, and is full of narcissism… and now add the constant secret inferiority complex that causes a lot of frustration (he uses metaphors in his political speeches that refer to physically abusive acts and he also spoke as a young man about his father beating him brutally)… he always knows when he is hurt or bothered, but is oblivious to other people’s feelings… (a sociopath is different from a psychopath in that the sociopath is a creation of his or her experiences and environment, while a psychopath is born without empathy and conscience… now that psychopathy can be diagnosed with MRI and genetic testing, I wonder how sociopaths could be spotted with these tests…). Of course I am only theorizing here, I am not a psychiatric professional, and obviously I can’t put dictators in an MRI machine. It is however hard not to see the traits that are used for diagnosis in psychology. Should we not have our politicians tested with objective tools before letting them take control of our national institutions, networks and budgets? Should we not stop psychopaths and sociopaths from ruining our national economy and international country image? (*After I wrote this blog I did more research regarding this personality disorder and I came across the term “acquired psychopathy” instead of “sociopathy”. The major difference between psychopaths and acquired psychopaths is that the latter experience fear and anxiety because their amygdalae are functional. I also encountered the term “pro-social psychopath” as opposed to “anti-social psychopath”… plus there are “transient psychopaths”… eg.: some people – when their loved ones are threatened – automatically turn off their empathy towards attackers. Unfortunately, “fearless dominance” that is so typical of born and dangerous psychopaths without anxiety is also very attractive to followers as a perceived leadership trait… During hard times many people unconsciously or consciously gravitate to leaders who are able to pretend to be fearless or are in fact dangerously fearless…)

Notice that young Orbán used to be relatively honest and uninhibited (he says he did not study much, but he is clearly intelligent). In this interview he talks about domestic abuse he experienced and how he would rather be a political science professor, after realizing that he is not a very good football player. He emphasizes that he does not want to be a politician sitting in meetings for 8 hours a day. And yet soon after this he found himself to be an elected official, a member of the Hungarian parliament and today he is a prime minister. So, was he telling the truth about his dream career as a professor, or was he extremely confused about his own aspirations during his mid twenties? (Note: This video keeps disappearing from YouTube… until now I had to add three different links to keep this video available in my blog post! Orbán is clearly trying again and again to erase his liberal self from the web, because it shows that neither his liberal, nor his autocratic self is the truth… he is just an empty role player. He has no core values to build his own moral character. He is very similar to Trump! Did you know that Trump used to be liberal? These types of people will “become” anything to be in a power position.)



Within two decades Orbán went from liberal political youngster studying law, to conservative political football player acting like a politician for economic gain. He does not have any deep and real core values, he is not a person of deep thought and definitely whimsical as a decision maker (note: as a young man he appeared to have European and democratic values… that is no longer the case). I am sure had George Soros known what is going to happen, his scholarship fund would not have supported Orbán’s Oxford studies. Orbán should have been an average football player or university professor we never heard of. Orbán today as a #1 politician is a dangerous product of his environment. Remember, he was the symbol of democratic hope 25 years ago! Apparently, he is not a man of core vales, he is rather a role player. He kind of thinks the country is his estate now. He is now simply playing in another film that suits him according to his own self image. He is a confused cell placed into the wrong bodily tissue and does not know its true and constructive role. This is why Orbán is a cancer cell, his entourage is cancer, and his (untreated) politics is becoming a malignant ideological tumor actively spreading in the EU. In the right tissue he would be a relatively normal and harmless cell. (I will explain this idea in a bit more detail later.) It is important to state: Most people aren’t born to be evil. Only a small percent are born with criminal tendencies. Most people who become criminals or dictators, are growing up with the wrong values and experience distorting events. As with the Dunning and Kruger effect, notice how most maladaptive behaviors have to do with the wrong kind of learning, with trauma, distorted perceptions, fluid and circumstantial morals, lack of objective feedback or the lack of knowledge and insight. This is the road that takes someone from active, inclusive, constructive idealism (humanism) to reactive, exclusive, destructive skepticism (dictatorship) along the full spectrum of human attitudes and perceptions of social realities.

Idealism, realism and skepticism

I have been thinking in writing for a couple of days about idealism, realism and skepticism. Before I share my spontaneous reflections, let me say that I am what I call “an active, inclusive, constructive humanistic idealist”, and at the same time I like to take ideas apart, and put them back together with other, seemingly irrelevant ideas (so in my case “constructive” has a double meaning). It is like playing with idea Lego. Also, it is important to mention that I have never been the member of any political party ever and I am completely without illusions when it comes to party politics.

I share the humanistic values of people like Daphne Koller, Buckminster Fuller and Nikola Tesla. Constructive, visionary leaders with positive attitudes are the true architects of humanity’s future, but it is the collective sum of our best actions, hopes, ideals and ideas that lead to the future we will experience. Nobody in their right mind wants to live in a dark and hopeless, dystopian future. 100% basic realism is for selfish opportunists, for lazy conformists, or for misled people without any imagination. People who hate idealism have the darkest souls and wish for an equally dark future. Their souls are simply broken. (I am not one of them.) Basic, destructive and skeptical realism is for servants of the status quo. This is Orbán’s realm today.

Constructive idealism is for true change makers working with ideas that might look utopian and impossible to the conformist, less imaginative, less creative and less enlightened members of societies. Being an idealist means that you have ideas, ideals, values, aspirations, feelings, intuitions, mental images of a positive and inclusive future that you wish were your reality. When putting your constructive ideas and ideals out there in writing, saying no to personal circumstances that are destroying your positive experiences in life, and opting for actions that open the door to new, more ideal circumstances for you and others: you become an active, constructive idealist in this process. Our minds together create our reality in the future. Be mindful of what you wish for in a dynamic human network of ideas!

The success of your active and constructive idealism does not only depend on you. We live in human networks and ideas are spreading at the speed of light via the internet. The collective level of latent/passive, and active/constructive idealism determines the success of your own idealism.

My new hypothesis

Humanistic, inclusive and constructive idealism in action is the highest and most noble form of futuristic realism in any society.

In my humble opinion, realism is a spectrum, that runs from passive, selfish, misinformed skepticism, to active, informed, complex, constructive and humanistic idealism. Active, constructive and humanistic idealism reminds me of genetics. A constructive idea(l) adds value like a Telomerase … a kind of idea related telomere terminal transferase…. a protein… a reverse transcriptase enzyme. Enlightened idealists produce abstract ideas: catalysts constantly replenishing and extending the information related fibers of the social “fabric”, keeping the social “tissues” healthy and pushing the boundaries of humanity.

When the enlightened and knowledgeable idealists (the most terrifying enemies of rigid, authoritarian and aggressive dictators) are locked up, killed, discouraged, mistreated, unappreciated, economically and politically marginalized, or even forced to leave a country: societies stop improving and begin to age and die, just like humans when Telomeres are no longer replenished by Telomerase enzymes at the end of linear chromosomes. It is a weakened social structure that permits the rise of the dictator in the first place. It is not the rise of the dictator that starts the deterioration. The dictator is the one who will escalate the process.

Dictators are confused cells

Dictators and their immediate human networks are sort of confused cells and cancerous tissues (they want to be bigger, have more and more power, resources and money… often plutocrats in business behave the same way… again, dangerous psychopaths and sociopaths in action… and how many naive people just love them!?). Dictators begin to drain and abuse replenishing-resources of an immune deficient society (or multiple societies) to maintain their own opportunistic and corrupt social “tissues”. When human bodily tissues are not well repaired, or when there is a lack of iron, oxygen or vitamin D, the immune system becomes less efficient, some cells become confused and selfish, tumors grow, angiogenesis and cancer happens. Cells forget their original roles.

Cancer cells can become normal cells again! It’s true!

So, again, cancer happens when a cell forgets its original role, and this “cell dementia” happens because the surrounding tissue is deteriorating. The tissue matrix stops telling the cell what to do. Just like dictators are oblivious to the usually rather obviously bad ends of their dictator peers (the bad judgement is clearly visible right there) and to the bad shape of societies these people torture, cancer cells also don’t care that their selfish behavior is killing the entire organism. Place confused cells into healthy and relevant tissue, and the cells will suddenly remember their original, constructive and healthy roles! Cancer cells become healthy again! I am not making this up, it is true (watch Mina Bissell’s TED talk below). Basically, in rotten social networks the same happens, because the cells (people) don’t get the right information and forget their constructive roles. This is how people become destructive and self serving. This always inevitably leads to some level of collapse of values one way or the other, because the social “tissue” becomes thick, overgrown, rigid and homogeneous in an unhealthy way. The societies that contain them must first die in a way to be able to somehow experience the birth of healthy cells, people, ideals and values. (The operation called “system change” did not help in Hungary. We buried that illusion of change with former President Árpád Göncz recently.)

Here is a scenario that never happens (for a reason):

Unfortunately, in their isolated little bubbles, with their pathological personalities, dictators don’t normally wake up one morning with a new sense of self knowledge and say (I imagine this little sketch written by me, performed by Eddie Izzard on stage): “Oh, I am so sorry, I am a confused “cell”, a dictator person, oh no, and my people, who are dead inside, are not telling me the truth, wow, because I am a narcissistic sociopath with no empathy, oh no… I must do something about this… I will quit being an autocratic jerk and will become a lovely flower and stadium turf seed salesman instead.”

This somehow does not happen. It is how confused and broken these people are. Realistically, questioning their own behavior, or displaying true humility are not part of their repertoire. The stunning part? Everyone would be better off if this could happen, but it can’t. It is based on “social physics”. Yet what often does happen is that such a confused “cell” ends up in a prison cell, when a society’s immune system becomes stronger. It could be ironic that a lawyer becomes a dictator, but actually it isn’t ironic. In fact the legal profession is very popular among sociopaths (and among psychopaths).

The sicker the social tissue, the worse your dictator

Notice: As confused cells are the products of a broken repair system on the “tissue matrix” level, so are dictators products of a broken repair system on the social “tissue matrix” level. Unless you can somehow change the social matrix, you will not see any change in the short term. Orbán is allergic to Syrian refugees and migrants in large numbers because their strong will and determination could actually change the social matrix in Hungary… and he is terrified of that. It is his personal interest to keep things as they are. I personally would welcome Syrians in Hungary (healthy diversity, tolerance and the flow of information leads to prosperity), but I also understand that they would not want to live here. Hungary is mostly an intolerant and backward place (because the social tissue matrix is dysfunctional).

Since Hungary joined the EU, the European Union managed to finance (feed and support) the rise of a social class that is opportunistic, corrupt to the bone, destructive and intolerant (and not just the right, but also most of the left… Gyurcsány avoided becoming the same kind of dictator by falling flat on his political face… he had to learn something from that… of course leaving his office when he failed is also a detail that would never happen to Orbán, because the most important thing for him is power). The problem is, that the social tumors were never completely cut out of this society after the so called system “change”. At the same time the active and constructive humanistic idealists were economically and politically, gradually forced to leave the country after 2004. (Note: I was the only citizen in Hungary at that time who decided to found a pilot project for returning, highly educated Hungarians like me to support social change in this new EU member state. Within a few years the passive-aggressive and corrupt “elite” drained my soul and the entire establishment made me sick, in every sense of the word. One constructive idealist against a monolithic group of destructive, self-serving skeptics. One healthy cell in a sick tissue. There was no healthy way to function in this context. This is why I live and work in internet exile, away from the sick social tissue. I integrated into a global, online context that is much healthier for me. Here I am able to function as a free thinker and blogger. Nobody even attempts to tell me what I can or can not say and I am able to speak my mind freely.) Hungary as a society is dying of a relapse of social cancer, that was (only) believed to be removed over two decades ago. The leadership in power consist of people who are opportunistic, self serving conformists, destructive “realists” without: imagination, inclusive insight, conscience and appropriate knowledge. These people say that women belong into the kitchen, and that women should not participate in politics, because “dirty politics” (made dirty by these sick men in party politics) is “not for the ladies”! The kitchen is for the ladies! And their ladies think it is true! The only policy I appreciate was the banning of smoking in many public spaces. I love that! That is about it… and one bad decision comes after the other.

What is politics anyway?

True politics is about finding a common ground and setting goals in an intelligent, informed way for all members of a society and making responsible decisions about our community budget. Politics today also has to be based on intuitive and well informed futurology. What is happening in most countries today has nothing to do with politics that is in touch with people’s realities and needs. And to return to my original points: healthy and true politics is humanistic, inclusive and constructive idealism in action on a community level… the highest and most noble form of futuristic realism. Without a free and creative group of people at least aiming for a utopian future, modern societies are simply (pardon my French): fucked. I don’t know too many true politicians. The real politicians are well informed, decent, active, constructive, knowledgeable and idealistic civilians (yet pros in their respective fields) who are in touch with their communities and people’s needs and know about sustainable opportunities that their communities need to learn about to live better lives (eg.: Bernadett Szél, Bálint Misetics and Gergely Karácsony are promising examples in Hungary). Remember, healthy tissues tell healthy cells what to do. Even a couple of good people are able to form healthy tissues and networks around a capable human being. (When I set out to start my civic initiative, as a returnee to my native country, it is exactly the healthy social tissue and local network that I did not have.) Healthy social networks provide a healthy environment for people. But it is also important to remember, that at some point, when cells in tissue and people in social networks make a functional comeback, their contributions will make the entire system even healthier and more balanced. This is exactly why citizens are looking for such optimally functioning examples, because around such constructive people often happens to be a healthier social tissue and the possibility for change.

On the party political news you mostly see pseudo politicians (role playing party figures). The real politicians (civilian leaders) are rarely on the news. When they are, it often has to do with the enormous gravity of their idea(l)s in action. This power comes from the synergy of the individual’s vision and the readiness (level) of the networks around him or her, be it a local or a global network. Many amazing idea(l)s fail because the networks are not yet ready enough, not yet soaked by information, knowledge and insight to a certain extent (apathy of the masses in my opinion happens when latent idealism is temporarily frozen due to horrible social circumstances in dying social “tissues”… it means that the juices stopped flowing… interactions are minimal… ideas are not produced). It is often not even the constructive and visible visionary individual who fails. It is often the invisible and intangible network that fails the visionary individual, because members of that society for one reason or other don’t fulfill their right and duty to internalize new and important information and knowledge. Of course dictators love that, it is why the Hungarian state television is unbearable if you are an intelligent global thinker with local insight. It is a bit like being one healthy cell among all the ill ones in unhealthy tissue. Who is going to support you? Nobody! You can only make the change with external support in this case (and post operative rehabilitation will be essential until new values are internalized and institutions change). Unfortunately, it is always the individual who is blamed for the failure, because that is easy. Seeing the big picture requires intelligence, intuition, effort, knowledge, insight, analysis, etc. (Similar cases? For example imagine the talented kid failing because of a bad school. A healthy cell in unhealthy tissue. It is the child who is usually blamed, humiliated or forced to repeat a school year. The child can go to another, much better school where he or she will thrive. Ever been punished for your environment’s failures? It is so common, people don’t even notice.)

In countries like Hungary it was the biggest possible mistake to let the state administer the EU funds. The administration should have been less complicated and funds should have been much more directly available to civil players. Goals should not have been centrally determined, rather local (and real) civil players should have been setting the goals. Because the funds were administered via the government, it is the middle man who benefited (those who were willing to participate in the corrupt games). So, in a way, the EU officials and institutions are guilty of making a huge strategic mistake in this country. And the strategy did not change, so today the EU essentially is financing a new dictator in Hungary, while the social tissues beyond his entourage are drained of nutrients. Giving this corrupt government the same EU financial support in the future is like feeding a cancer patient sugar. An Unconditional Basic Income for all Hungarian citizens would be a healthy, nutrient and fiber rich diet for a survivor.

Sir Ken Robinson says: find your tribe. In addition I say, keep learning to build truly visionary tribes for a better future. Instead of putting all the responsibility on constructive visionary leaders, be mindful of your responsibility as a follower, as part of a network, a tribe, a community and a society, because you are all parts of the tissue matrix of that society. Don’t grow up to be a simple adult. Grow up to be a mindful member of a society. We have different personalities and different opportunities. Think about who you are, what you can do, what you could become, learn as much as you possibly can, and be your best possible self. Don’t be a passive complainer who does not do a thing. Even daydreaming about a better life and confronting your boss can lead to a better future for many people, if you speak up.

Remember, dictatorships and autocracies never last forever because societies are dynamic human systems.

Here is the only acceptable mission for humanity:

Buckminster Fuller's mission



Saphier Regina: Közös és “vad” kalandom Berény Róbert festőművésszel Monaco-ban

a., Remake of Róbert Berény’s Monaco Painting by Regina Saphier 2015 (Freehand Digital Drawing & Freehand Digital Painting) b., 3 Sunflower Street with Cherry Blossoms by Regina Saphier 2015 (Freehand Digital Drawing & Freehand Digital Painting) c., Venice with Lemon Tree by Regina Saphier 2015 (Freehand Digital Painting) d., Monaco Rue des Iris by Regina Saphier 2015 (Freehand Digital Painting) e., Lake Como by Regina Saphier 2015 (Freehand Digital Painting)

a., Berény Róbert Monaco-i háztetőinek digitális szabadkézi rajz és festmény tanulmánya (“digital remake”), Saphier Regina 2015
b., Napraforgó utca 3. cseresznyevirágokkal, Saphier Regina 2015 (szabadkézi rajz és festmény digitális médiumra, saját digitális fotó alapján)
c., Velencei tükörtér citromfával, Saphier Regina 2015 (szabadkézi festmény digitális médiumra, virtuális eszköz: Google Street View)
d., Monaco-i mese, Rue des Iris Saphier Regina 2015 (szabadkézi festmény digitális médiumra, virtuális eszköz: Google Street View)
e., Lake Como Saphier Regina 2015 (szabadkézi festmény digitális médiumra, virtuális eszköz: Google Street View)


Saphier Regina: Közös és “vad” kalandom Berény Róbert festőművésszel Monaco-ban

Pár héttel ezelőtt digitálisan megfestettem a Berény Róbert féle Monaco-i házakat (először készítettem egy remake-et, aztán valami ennél is váratlanabb alkotással leptem meg magam, és ha végigolvasod a szöveget, te is meglepődhetsz). Festeni tanulni támadt kedvem (digitális eszközökkel, egész pontosan egy Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Tablet-vel és az ArtRage androidos verziójával). Régen az enyém volt az eredeti festmény és imádtam (műtárgy piaci értelemben nem sokat ért amikor az enyém lett, de láttam, éreztem, hogy nagyon jó kép és szerettem… hosszú ideig a hálószobám falán lógott, és minden nap nézegettem).


Az eredeti Berény és a vászonra nyomott fotó reprodukció.

Az eredeti Berény és a vászonra nyomott fotó reprodukció.


A szívem szakadt meg, de végül eladtam (piaci értelemben a kép az idő múlásával egyre értékesebb lett, miközben a művészi értéke stabil maradt… mert mindig is jó kép volt, csak sajnos a legtöbben vakok ugyebár, maguktól nem látják meg a jó képet és csak divatokat követnek…). Mivel ez volt a kedvencem, a Monaco festményről most egy kiváló minőségű vászonra nyomott fénykép reprodukció van a nappalim falán a régi keretben, hogy az élmény valamilyen formában meglegyen… hogy minden nap láthassam.

Kezdjél vadul festeni!

Amikor pár hete rám tört a digitális festési vágy (teljesen kezdő vagyok), úgy döntöttem, hogy komolyabb kihívás gyanánt először ezt az alkotást festem meg a magam módján és ezt azonnal meg is tettem (2015 júliusának végén). Érdekes, hogy mennyit tanultam ezáltal a fiatal (18 éves) Berény Róbert Fauve (a “Vadak” egyik képviselője) festészetéről és a kép részleteiről. Szeretem a Côte d’Azur és a Belle Époque építészetét, az épületek otthonos formáját, a déli színeket a falakon, az erős napfényben. Ideális környezet, ha az ember festeni tanul. Egyszerűen festői. Úgy döntöttem, digitális neuro Fauve leszek (nem az akadémikus tanulás, hanem az ösztönös, vizuális ráérzés és inspiráló gyakorlás útját választottam, vagyis helyből elkezdtem színes, mozgalmas vagy meditatív képeket festeni), hiszen nem véletlen, hogy Berény Monaco-i házait annyira szeretem. Berény a gazdag érzelmi tér, a személyes, bensőséges aura festője. Ráadásul amikor festményeket böngészek, automatikusan ennek a korszaknak a képei ragadnak meg. A Google Street View-ban bebarangoltam Monaco-t, és ezt a Föld más városaival és tájaival is sokszor megtettem már, az elmúlt évek során. Rájöttem, hogy a Google vizuális szolgáltatásai nemcsak látvány, ingatlan és pl. séta helyszín vadászatra jók, hanem kiváló vizuális inspirációt biztosítanak egy technológia kedvelő és művész hajlamú ember számára. Persze az is sokat segít, hogy beutaztam a világot és pl. hónapokat töltöttem a Côte d’Azur-ön a húszas éveim közepén.

Ha már erre járok… megkeresem… és meg is találom!

Tehát, mint feljebb írtam, nagy élvezettel megrajzoltam és megfestettem Berény Monaco-i házait a magam kezdő módján. Kicsivel később, 2015 augusztus 15-16-án lefestettem a Monaco-i Rue des Iris-t (csak hétvégenként festek) és augusztus 18-án kitettem a fabeookon egy pár ismerősnek (“mesés vadasan”… szeretem, hogy a képeim mese illusztrációkra emlékeztetnek… fejben hatalmasnak látom őket…).

Gondoltam, ha már “erre járok”, megkeresem, hogy Berény hol festette a Monaco-i házakat. Szeretem az ilyen detektív élményeket. A pontosításhoz a Google keresőt, illetve a Google Maps, Earth és Street View ingyenes szolgáltatásait használtam. Berény életmódja, a festményen lévő épületek, és a város struktúrája alapján a Port Hercule közelében keresgéltem és mint már annyiszor, megvalósítottam a lehetetlent: mint a villám, megtaláltam a konkrét háztetőket, és az épületeket! Megvan, megvan, megvan! – kiáltoztam hangosan és boldog voltam! 🙂 Nagyon nehéz volt megállni, hogy addig ne meséljem el senkinek, míg Szeptember elején meg nem jelentettem a történetet itt a blogomon (angolul és magyarul). Nem akartam elaprózni az élményt.

Mindjárt elmesélem a részleteket, de előbb teszek egy rövid kitérőt, hogy helyek és emberek sikeres felkutatásáról és a vizuális térérzékelési képességről beszéljek (hogy ez a Monaco-i eset ne árválkodjon itt önmagában, mintha ez lenne az első… mert nem ez az első).


Volt már rá példa, hogy 50 éve Magyarországról eltűnt embert találtam meg Kanadában, pedig időközben több nevet is használt (nem béreltem fel senkit, magam végeztem a kutatást). Pechjére azzal a képességgel kerestem, amivel ő el akart tűnni… Előtte egy 80 éve Ausztriából világgá ment másik embert is megtaláltam Amerikában… mindkettővel találkoztam is később, Toronto-ban és San Francisco-ban (de ez egy mellékszál… valamikor a kilencvenes évek végéről, a kétezres évek legelejéről… most nem megyek bele a részletekbe). Mondom, szeretek nyomozni.


"Le Pin Parasol" avagy Mandula Fenyő Caprin Saphier Regina 2015 szabadkézi rajz és festmény, digitális médium, Pinterest-en talált fotó alapján

“Le Pin Parasol” avagy “Mandula Fenyő Caprin” Saphier Regina 2015 (szabadkézi rajz és festmény digitális médiumra, Pinterest-en talált fotó alapján)

Pár napja egy Mandula Fenyőt festettem meg, és a Pinterest fotó alapján csak annyit tudtam, hogy Capri-n van valahol… 5 perc Google Earth kutatás után egy az egyben megtaláltam a konkrét fát és látványt. Ez egy adottság, amit jó ideje fejlesztek. Anno, amikor lakást kerestem, az ingatlanosok rémálma voltam, mert minimális vizuális mintázat alapján képes vagyok megtalálni a hirdetett ingatlanokat… és nem csupán Budapesten. (Ha nem találod a Mandula Fenyőt és az utat Capri-n, akkor itt a megfejtés, csak ki kell jelölnöd a kettőspont utáni részt, de előbb próbáld meg megkeresni a Google Earth segítségével… hidd el, jó játék: Via Krupp)

Mit ér itthon, ha egy nő vizuálisan intelligens? Semmit!

Emlékszem, a kilencvenes évek közepén, a Városmajor utcában (ami ugyebár Berény miatt is releváns), Budán volt egy fejvadász cég és ott írattak velem egy Stanford-Binet intelligencia tesztet, melynek sok vizuális és verbális komponense volt. Órákig ültem egy szobában, és teszt lapokat töltögettem ki. Annyit mondtak, amikor rákérdeztem, hogy “a legmagasabb kategóriába” kerültem a tesztek alapján. Mást nem mondtak. (Azóta sem hallottam róluk. Jellemző. Végtére is kinek kell egy tehetséges nő ebben az országban, aki képzett, átlát a szitán, jó a térlátása, jól kommunikál, szorgalmas, sőt, szinte megszállottja a feladatainak, van belső motivációja és intelligensen gondolkodik…? Felesleges az ilyen luxus! Nem igaz? Arra is emlékszem, hogy merészen kb. 200 000 Ft-os fizetési igényt írtam be… mondom, egy fejvadász cégnél, ahol arra jutottak, hogy meglehetősen intelligens vagyok. Hát hogy is képzeltem én ezt egy kicsinyes és paternalista országban, a húszas éveim közepén, angoltudással és üzleti képzettséggel… na de erről ennyit.)

Térjünk vissza a Monaco-i kalandomhoz Berény Róberttel!

Íme a saját feladványom eredménye: Szerintem a Rue Princesse Antoinette kikötői sarkához közel lévő villák udvari, vagyis északi fekvésű, hátsó homlokzatai láthatók Berény Róbert Monaco-i házakat ábrázoló 1905-ös festményén. A festő a Boulevard Albert 1er 23-as szám alatt lakhatott (vendégeskedhetett) és az épület hátsó teraszán festett egy napfényes téli, egész pontosan decemberi délelőttön (ha jól gyanítom, a terasz a harmadik emeleten van), hacsak le nem fényképezte a látványt, ahogy egyes kortársai tették, mint pl. Pierre Bonnard (megjegyzés: Bonnard hatalmas vásznakat tett a műterme falára és csak a kép elkészültekor vágta körbe az eredményt, hogy ne a vászon mérete határozza meg a képet, hanem a kép tartalma szabja meg a végső vászon méretet… ez azért is érdekes, mert az ArtRage windows-os verziójában a digitális vászon mérete megnövelhető, ha nem elég a tér… a sokkal olcsóbb androidos verzióban nincs ilyen lehetőség).


Automobile Club Monaco - A festő a Boulevard Albert 1er 23-as szám alatt lakhatott (vendégeskedhetett) és az épület hátsó teraszán festhetett egy napfényes téli, egész pontosan decemberi reggelen

Automobile Club Monaco – A festő a Boulevard Albert 1er 23-as szám alatt lakhatott (vendégeskedhetett) és az épület hátsó teraszán festett egy napfényes téli, egész pontosan decemberi délelőttön. (Forrás: Google search)


Rue Princesse Antoinette Monaco-ban - A Berény féle Monaco képen látható villák déli, utcai homlokzatai ma. A festményen az udvari, tehát északi homlokzatok láthatóak.

A Rue Princesse Antoinette Monaco-ban – A Berény féle Monaco képen látható villák déli, utcai homlokzatai ma. A festményen az udvari, tehát északi homlokzatok láthatóak. (Forrás: Google Street View)


A Berény féle inspiráló Monaco-i udvar az űrből. Berajzoltam Berény nézőpontját is, azoknak, akiknek nem a térérzékelés az erőssége. (Kutatás, szöveg, képanyag gyűjtés: Saphier Regina 2015 augusztus)

A Berény féle inspiráló Monaco-i udvar az űrből. Berajzoltam Berény nézőpontját is, azoknak, akiknek nem a térérzékelés az erőssége. Még az üvegtéglák elhelyezkedése is jól kivehetők az űrből. A képet eredetileg angolul tettem közzé, ezért most is ezt a képet használom, az angol szöveggel. (Kutatás, szöveg, képanyag gyűjtés: Saphier Regina 2015 augusztus) (Forrás: Google Earth)



Vizuális Update: "The Secret Garden in Monaco" by Regina Saphier 2015. Szeptember 7., Szabadkézi festmény, digitális médiumon. (Ezt a festményt a helyszín megtalálása után festettem, a Rue Grimaldi felől. Megjelennek rajta: a saját világlátásom, Berény kézjegyei, és a helyszín mai állapota. A szinergia egyfajta mesevilágot nyit meg a szemlélő előtt. Bevallom, meglep, hogy 6 héttel az első festői próbálkozásom után erre vagyok képes, különösen úgy, hogy csak hétvégenként festek.)

Vizuális Update: “The Secret Garden in Monaco” by Regina Saphier 2015. Szeptember 7., nappali verzió, szabadkézi festmény, digitális médiumon. (Ezt a festményt a helyszín megtalálása után festettem, a Rue Grimaldi felől. Megjelennek rajta: a saját világlátásom, Berény kézjegyei, és a helyszín mai állapota egy új szemszögből. A szinergia egyfajta mesevilágot nyit meg a szemlélő előtt. Bevallom, meglep, hogy 6 héttel az első festői próbálkozásom után erre vagyok képes, különösen úgy, hogy csak hétvégenként festek.)


Vizuális Update: "The Secret Garden in Monaco" by Regina Saphier 2015. Szeptember 7., Éjszakai változat, szabadkézi festmény, digitális médiumon.

Vizuális Update: “The Secret Garden in Monaco” by Regina Saphier 2015. Szeptember 7., éjszakai változat, szabadkézi festmény, digitális médiumon. Az éjszakai változatot jobban szeretem, mint a nappali verziót, mert így a látvány álomszerűbb és titokzatosabb.


A Berény képén látható üvegtéglák hasonlóak lehettek 1905-ben.

A Berény képén látható üvegtéglák hasonlóak lehettek 1905-ben. (Figyelem! Ez NEM az az üveg tető, csak hasonló!) (Forrás: Google search)

A Rue Grimaldi felől látszik, hogy az udvar még ma is jellegzetesen zsúfolt és szabálytalan, az épületek itt-ott egymásra torlódnak (van, amit azóta valamennyire átépítettek és mindent többször átfestettek, illetve meglehet, hogy Berény némiképp érzelmi alapon határozta meg az épületek viszonyát, az arányokat és a színeket… de az eredmény nagyon élethű, ezt ma is tisztán lehet látni… a lényegi építészeti struktúrák változatlanok). Az űrből készült felvételeken jól látszik a belső udvar struktúrája és tisztán kivehető, hogy Berény 110 évvel ezelőtt milyen látószögből festette meg a villák belső udvarra néző színes falait. A látvány valamennyire megváltozott, de a hangulat éppen olyan álmatag (ma talán egy kicsit letisztultabb, polgáribb, sőt sterilebb)… az épületek karaktere ma is a Boldog Békeidők századfordulós hangulatát idézi. Csodás, hogy a festményen balra látható üvegtégla/üvegtető részlet is megvan (a fenti üvegtégla kép csak illusztráció, nem a Berény féle épületben van).

A világot virtuálisan is felfedezheted!

Oda sem kell menni, hogy az ember megtalálja, elemezze és bemutassa egy kép eredeti témáját (vagy hogy megfesse), pl. egy festmény külső helyszínét (vagy hogy új festményt fessen egyéb nézőpontokból). Amikor már láttam, hogy hol van a konkrét háztömb, körbejártam a blokkot és a címek alapján fényképes lakás hirdetéseket kerestem a Google-ben, illetve olyan rések után kutattam az épületek között, melyeken át be lehet látni a házak közötti udvarba. Több fotót és egy meglehetősen széles rést is találtam két épület (a Rue Grimaldi 44. és 42.) között, melyen át látszik az udvar.

Berény vizuális inspirációjának egy kis szeglete Anthony Burgess régi lakásából is látható (a Rue Grimaldi 44-es számú ház legfelső emeletéről). Döbbenetes, hogy miközben Pasaréten egy 60 nm-es lakás 30 millió Ft körül van, addig egy ugyanekkora lakás a Berény féle környéken, Monaco-ban ma 500 millió Ft körüli áron eladó… És ezt akkor sem engedheti meg magának az ember kis hazánkban, ha a legjobbaktól tanul festeni, amilyen Berény Róbert (aki 1905-ben már egy éve tanult festeni). Szerencsére élvezetes kalandokban online is részünk lehet, ha megvan hozzá a képességünk, a fantáziánk és a türelmünk.


A Monaco-i Berény féle udvar belső a Rue Grimaldi 44. felől

A Monaco-i Berény féle udvar belső a Rue Grimaldi 44. és 42. felől… a festményen látható épület a fekete (és a kevésbé látható kék) télikabáttal ma sárga és nem piros… (Forrás: Google Street View)


Monaco - a Berény féle udvar belső a Rue Grimaldi 44. felől... régebbi fotó... a sárga épület pár éve még barackszínű volt...

Monaco – a Berény féle udvar belső a Rue Grimaldi 44. és 42. felől… egy régebbi fotó… a sárga épület pár éve még barackszínű volt… (Forrás: Google search)


Berény Monaco-i udvara Anthony Burgess régi lakásából is látható a Rue Grimaldi 44. legfelső emeletéről. Burgess anno megvette mindkét emeleti lakást és összenyitotta őket. Ilyen csodás helyeken laknak a disztopikus jövőképeket vizionáló művészek...

Berény Monaco-i udvara Anthony Burgess régi lakásából is látható a Rue Grimaldi 44. legfelső emeletéről. Burgess anno megvette mindkét emeleti lakást és összenyitotta őket. Ilyen csodás helyeken laknak a disztopikus  jövőképeket vizionáló művészek… Berény udvara és házai a jobboldali ablakon át láthatók (minimális mértékben). (Forrás: Google search)


Berény Monaco-ja és az ablak részlet a fekete és a kék télikabáttal - Saphier Regina okos-telefon fotó 2015

Berény Monaco-ja és az ablak részlet a fekete és a kék télikabáttal  – Saphier Regina okos-telefon fotó 2015


Úgy gondolom, hogy művészettörténeti szempontból izgalmas és komoly felfedezést tettem. Angolul már korábban megírtam ezt a történetet, egy sokkal komplexebb és hosszabb esszé részeként, melyben olyan témákat feszegetek 8000 szóban, mint: “az eredeti” szubjektív fogalma régen és ma, a digitális és a tradicionális festészet eredetisége, a művészi és a piaci érték, a “virtuálisan inspirált” digitális szabadkézi rajz és festészet (amit magamnak találtam ki), a zsigeri önképzés a digitális festészetben, illetve a felnövő és feljövő “digitális bennszülöttek” és a lassan elsorvadó és kihaló “digitális bevándorlók” közötti fokozatos hatalomváltás (én ma valahol a két világ között létezem).

Szívesen írtam meg ezt a történetet magyarul, de a sokkal komplexebb angol verzió, melynek megírása egy teljes hetet vett igénybe, sokkal nagyobb élmény volt (na jó, több is volt az, mint egy hét, csak én itt egyfajta különös időtlen zen állapotban létezem és ez egy meglehetősen összetett történet). A végén egyenesen euforikus állapotba kerültem, ami akkor történik meg velem, amikor a legjobb szövegeimet írom, flow állapotban. Ezt az esszét is egy merő kedvtelésből írtam, ahogy az összeset. Ha tetszett, add tovább… like, share, comment… Köszönöm, hogy elolvastad! Remélem, hogy sikerült egy emlékezetes élménnyel gazdagítanom az életedet.


Ha az izgalmas (angolul és magyarul is megírt) történetem nem lenne elég, mely szerint megleltem (régi tulajdonom) Berény Róbert (a magyar Vadak képviselője) “Monaco-i Háztetők” című festményének Monaco-i helyszínét, nos bármikor tudom fokozni az izgalmakat!

Barki Gergely, az első számú Berény szakértő, ugyanakkor volt Monaco-ban, mint amikor én is ott nyomoztam, de nem tudtunk egymásról! Én Berény hatására éppen arrafelé festegettem a Google Earth és Street View segítségével és nyomoztam, hogy hol lehet az udvar. Gergely (nagyon helyes családja kíséretében) egy nemrég előkerült festmény kapcsán nyomozott (melyet a fiatal Berény a Monaco-i kikötőben festett, akkoriban, amikor a Monaco-i háztetőket is festette), és kereste az udvart.

Mint kiderült, 15 éve (a korábbi otthonomban, ahol a Monaco-i háztetők megtekinthetőek voltak) mi már találkoztunk. Gergely nem hitt a szemének, amikor hazatérése után véletlenül ráakadt a blogomra (egy Google keresés során) és benne az udvar fotóira, az űrfelvételre, és a történetemre. Azt írta, hogy ő is lefotózta az udvart, de csak akkor volt 1000%-ig biztos benne, hogy a megfelelő udvart lelte meg, amikor elolvasta a blogomat.

Boldog vagyok, hogy ez a történet egyre jobb lesz! Gergely ma (2015. Szeptember 21-én) tartott egy előadást a Virág Judit Galéria sajtótájékoztatója során, és prezentációjában kitért a blogomra is. Annyira lelkes volt, mintha mi ketten rokonok lennénk, és ez nekem nagyon jólesett! Jó érzés olyan emberrel levelezni, akinek hasonló élménye volt, és aki képes értékelni az eredményeimet. Ha lenne vér szerinti testvérem, jó lenne, ha ilyen lelkes ember lenne!


Régi fotók a Berény féle Monaco-i környékről:

Monaco anno Rue Grimaldi

Monaco anno… Rue Grimaldi… a kikötő közelében… (Forrás: Google search)


Monaco anno Rue Grimaldi

Monaco anno Rue Grimaldi (Forrás: Google search)


Végül a kerület manapság:

La Condamine Monaco (2010-ben)

La Condamine, Monaco (2010-ben) (Forrás: Google search)


Monaco Hafen

A Monaco-i kikötő 2014-ben (Forrás: Google search)

Regina Saphier: Unique Digital Art Experience in Painting

Van Gogh: The Starry Night... I added a few magnified and magnificent brush strokes to the picture... click the image and go to the link to zoom and have fun! (image source:

Van Gogh: The Starry Night… I added a few magnified and magnificent brush strokes to the picture… click the image and go to the link to zoom and have fun! (Image source:


Regina Saphier: Unique Digital Art Experience in Painting

Above: Vincent van Gogh: The Starry Night (1889) … I added his brush stroke details at the top and bottom of his painting. Notice the 3D appearance of the pigment. Some segments are even chipped… these details are beautiful and yet not observable by the naked eye… We need digital technology to show them online… I love to look at these details on the Google Cultural Institute’s Art Project page… click the image to be able to zoom into this beautiful painting and explore the texture. You can hardly expect any museum to let you touch a Van Gogh and look at it with a magnifying glass from up close.

This essay is about digital paintings, “classical” paintings, about the outdated, power and oppression based, elitist terminology of “uniqueness” and the elusive concept of “the original”… about what is “authentic” and what isn’t on the art market… about ever changing values, perceptions and the subjectivity of “market value”… about the best for a few, or the excellent for everyone… about the definitely original and the possibly original selling for the same amount on the global market… about Google Earth and Street View as artistic inspirations and amazingly as tools of an art historical discovery that I made during the process!

What matters is not the medium, not the surface… rather, it is the neural experience of the creator and the observer… The key is the merging and the synergy of experiences.

What is original? Artistic versus market value.

In my humble opinion, art “happens” between the brains of the creator and the observer, more specifically, between their brains, neural networks, synapses, neurons, the physical features of photons and the surface of the medium. The medium of representation or creation itself is marginal when it comes to artistic quality. According to David Hockney (one of the most important contemporary artists today), it is “the hand” that matters. I say, it is the personal neurology that matters.  I think we are talking about the same thing, I am just a bit more scientific. And that personal neurology is what makes something original to the owner today (not the canvas and not the oil). However, the untrained (and sometimes even the highly trained) observer is easily fooled by skilled forgers and so it is really hard to say what it means to have the original. It appears that believing that something is original satisfies most people. So, it is the belief that matters.

Estimating the market value of art is a completely different problem. Or is it? It is not about how artistic something is, not about the fingerprints of the specific artist’s hands (it is not about the artist’s hair in the oil on the canvas), not about how original it is as the result or product of a creative process (from a qualitative point of view). The financial or market value depends on the joint narrative, the PR of the seller and the psychology of the buyer.

An original oil on canvas Van Gogh on the museum wall shows less of the artist’s “fingerprints” (or hair for that matter), than a HD digital photo that permits unbelievable zooming into the artist’s brush strokes. I am sure Van Gogh would love to try digital painting after seeing his own brush strokes digitally magnified. He would see how brilliantly expressive it is. Also, many of his paintings would still be visible instead of being under another painting because he had no money for a new canvas. I would rather have more Van Gogh paintings, even if digital! Again, it is not the medium, it is the neural and visceral experience that matters!

So, we have belief and narrative behind the artistic and the market value. Both are phenomenally subjective. Humans are able to form beliefs, values and narratives in relation to digital art and anything else in life. It is how we function. Both traditional and digital art depend on acquired preferences and value systems. In the age of Bitcoin you can easily attach market value to digital art. In the digital age you don’t necessarily have to own the “one and only” original.


Originality in music, literature and cinema

Think of music

If you want to think about the incomprehensibility of the term “original”, think of classical music, think of Bach and the Goldberg Variations (a variations based composition that Glenn Gould recorded twice, both before and after he stopped playing to a live audience… he stopped because of his fear of airplanes and hatred for his audience… the youngish version was recorded in 1955… next he stopped flying in 1962 and recorded the old version in 1981 in a state of the art studio, just a year before his death). You can obviously not have Bach in your living room to play for you. You would need Glenn Gould to come and play if he were alive, but he is as dead as Bach at this point. Plus, in the end even a Glenn Gould concert was hard to find… even when he was still alive.

With visual art, next to having Van Gogh sit in your garden painting your almond tree (impossible), the next best thing today is owning his original Almond Blossom painting (also impossible) he created for his brother’s bedroom when his child was born, a few months before Van Gogh died.

In music, what is original? Bach playing his own composition for you directly? Not possible. Glenn Gould playing his own youngish interpretation of Bach in a concert hall? Young Glenn Gould’s impetuous studio version? His meditative version he recorded as an old man? Or is the original the music scores noted by Bach’s hand on paper? And how do you define originality when you purchase the Goldberg Variations by any artist as a file? (I always preferred listening to classical music alone with my eyes closed, to sitting in a concert hall in bright light on an uncomfortable chair with strangers I never wished to see… except of course that unique Sviatoslav Richter concert in Graz, Austria two decades ago… he played in a darkened room at night and only a candle was burning on the piano… that was all the light during the concert… I loved the experience!)

While I developed this essay, when I reached the idea of music, I opted for Glenn Gould as an example instinctively. And suddenly I found that he actually also contemplated musical and any kind of artistic originality and authenticity, precisely because he basically became the technical director of his studio recordings after he discontinued his concert pianist career. Interesting to find that he also came to the conclusion that there is a “pathetic duplicity” when people go from hysterically celebrating a painting as original to hysterically hating it once it is scientifically shown to be a forgery. I agree with him. While I dislike deception, aren’t overpriced art, luxury product marketing and romantic love all based on (self) deception?

Think of literature and cinema

What is original and unique? Take Ingmar Bergman’s “Scenes From a Marriage”. Is his script “the original” that he wrote within a few months? His miniseries that he directed? The book that contains his story? The stage adaptations? Initially, all people had in the past was the story teller, and later the theater with people on the stage. Next, as more and more people could read, there was the book. In the modern days the movie theater was invented. With the book and the cinema the story teller and the actor did not have to be present in real time. Today you don’t have to be present in the movie theater, you don’t even need to watch television, you can listen to an audio book, read on your kindle and watch films from files at home. What is original and unique? In every case it is your personal experience that is unique, as you lose yourself in the artist’s projected experience. The medium does not dominate your experience, even if reading a book, listening to a reader, or watching a film are different types of experiences. Independent of the medium there will always be your very personal experience.

Is something original if you have to pay for it (a little or a lot), or is it still original when you get it for free in an era of unconditional basic income in the future? Keep thinking: What is really original in an endless universe? Just how original is Earth itself in a Galaxy of hundreds of billions of stars, in the Visible Universe of at least a hundred billion other galaxies?


Power and leadership in the digital age

Originality and authenticity are outdated social constructs of a snobbish and power hungry elite who are also digital immigrants and often technophobes. The digital natives only nowadays begin to have a voice.

Here are the words that represent and describe the old and fading concepts of originality and uniqueness in my opinion (in art market terms of paintings these are not about talent, nor about personal creativity): money or funds (financial value, financial agreement based on an object that was created only once by someone well known and celebrated), status quo, elitism, common belief, (artificially created) scarcity, narrative (real or manipulated), PR (always manipulated), subjectivity, impressionability (lack of knowledge), self deception, perception, attitudes, the illusion of objectivity, illusion in general, changeable social and personal values, social and individual psychology (the need to fit in and/or build an identity), acquired preferences (based on own networks), oppression, exploitation, despotism, wealth, egotism, selfishness, questionable power and influence, competition and success of the few at the expense of the many, emotions and ever changing culture(s). This is where we are coming from.

As the digital natives with new, enlightened and timely values become leaders, these words and concepts will hopefully begin to fade during the next couple of decades.


The equal market value of the “definitely” original and the “probably” original

Let me give you a completely contemporary and fresh example how passing time, changing values, skillful PR, impressionability, acquired preferences, egotism and scarcity create inflated market “value” and also increase artistic “value” perception. It could be any artist, so the names in the story are not important. My goal isn’t gossiping, my goal is to be able to give you a raw example.

The artist was born in Hungary, yet she is regarded as one of the most important Indian painters (her mother was Jewish Hungarian, while her father was Punjabi Sikh). She died young in India (she was only 28) and most of her paintings are either in museums or in family collections. Most of her paintings are in India. Few of her paintings are in Europe, but these are in much better condition, due to the climate. For decades her art did not have much global market value (her highest prices a few times were around a few hundred thousand dollars), until an ambitious, talented and middle aged Hungarian gallery owner decided to acquire her well documented self portrait from a Hungarian family member (the old man, who as a little boy knew the artist, took care of the painting for decades, and this ensures authenticity… this historic detail adds value). The gallery owner took the painting to Sotheby’s and set down with a dedicated professional team. The networking started and a well crafted PR story unfolded targeting rich Indian men…

The created narrative was that here is this phenomenally talented and sexy, pretty young thing with her red lips and beautiful gaze who died in her prime after having studied in Paris, and just before she could reach her artistic peak in India. The narrative worked, the painting was sold for nearly 3 million USD in New York in 2015, surprising even the extremely ambitious seller and the highly experienced team (and also angering the son of the old family member who sold it to the Hungarian gallery owner). And the power game begins, behind the scenes for now… to the point of the gallery owner supposedly trying to suppress articles on the internet regarding the record sale! (Just how much of an ignorant and egotistic despot are you… man…?) And to the point of the original owner’s family supposedly taking legal action against the gallery owner. How lovely! It is morally puzzling to me why the gallery owner did not offer a joint sale of the painting in the first place. It is also unclear to me why the original owner did not go to Sotheby’s directly… (I mean, he is fluent in English.) Just why do I have this uneasy feeling that this story is based on exploitation, even if in local terms the original owner probably received a nice amount of money…?

This is what happens when the market value of something is artificially and suddenly inflated. This has nothing to do with artistic value. This story of “value creation” unfolded without the knowledge of the supposed global “authority” of this particular lady artist’s work in India, a family member, who has never met her in person. He was stunned when he got the news. An old, mediocre artist, who is basically recycling his aunt’s art… So, when suddenly the aunt’s self portrait was sold for millions of dollars in the US without his knowledge and without his “royal” assent, he found himself insignificant (despite his many inherited paintings by his aunt suddenly having a record market value… his inherited collection in India was suddenly at least six times more valuable, because of this one sale in New York that he did not even know about).

Next thing you know, another self-portrait by her, out of nowhere in France pops up and now the old Indian relative is asked for approval before the Christie’s auction in London (probably via e-mail). To the best of my knowledge (and rest assured, I have not read this complex story anywhere, rather I harvested information from my network) he simply looked at a photo of the newly discovered and completely undocumented self-portrait (it wasn’t published anywhere and nobody knew it existed) and gave his immediate validation that it is definitely original. Just like that. Long distance. Almost like a clairvoyant. WOW! This, and only this nuance made the major sale possible in this case! He has not known about the painting beforehand, he did not hold it in his hands, he also isn’t an art historian, neither does he occupy himself with the chemical laboratory analysis of the pigments or the review of X-Ray imaging results of the deeper layers of the painting. In the golden age of technology, he simply looks at a photo and “knows”. Yeah, “right”…! And the painting that was not even documented in this so called connoisseur’s detailed and heavily illustrated book about his aunt (full of her letters and paintings, and her narcissistic father’s photos), was sold for over 2.5 million USD in London in 2015.

Without the sudden and rather superficially issued consent by the Indian relative, because this painting was latent until recently (unlike the other, well documented and well known painting sold by Sotheby’s in New York), nobody could have sold it in a major auction in London at Christie’s. Her market value was absolutely expected to go up, but not as suddenly and not as high as this. But now her art is at the top of the female Indian painters’ market value short list (within a few months), based on two early self portraits sold in the US and in the UK. The definitely original and the probably original sold for almost the same amount, there were only two hundred thousand dollars between the two final bids. Imagine when the old owners of her paintings begin to pass away in Europe or when some of her more mature work hits the market in India (her paintings can not be taken out of India, so once you take her art from Europe or from the US to India, that is it, it stays there).

Here is the extra grotesque part!

There is a heavily researched painting in Hungary that was acknowledged to be her painting by many experts and even a family member. The painting was exhibited in one of the major museums in Hungary. All sorts of tests were done, including X-Rays, different types of photographs (ultra violet light, infra red light, high definition, etc.), pigment analysis and so on. Yet, it cannot be sold at any auction in New York or London, because get this: based on photos alone (!) the Indian family member decided years ago that it is not his aunt’s work. Again, just by looking at photos. He never examined the painting itself and never explored the research material. But even if he were to examine it in person, he admits that he is not an expert. He does not issue an expert’s statement, no matter what. Yet, a multi million dollar sale depends on his superficial and subjective opinion. Is this what should determine what is original or unique today? Definitely not! Yet it is what is happening.


Technophilia and Technophobia

Technophilia (from Greek τέχνη – technē, “art, skill, craft” and φίλος – philos, “beloved, dear, friend”) refers generally to a strong enthusiasm for technology, especially new technologies such as personal computers, the Internet, mobile phones and home cinema.” (wikipedia)

Technophobia (from Greek τέχνη technē, “art, skill, craft” and φόβος phobos, “fear”) is the fear or dislike of advanced technology or complex devices, especially computers.” (wikipedia)

Technology is constantly evolving while the human intellectual and aesthetic evolution appears to be slower. Most people lack the intellectual independence to make up their minds about something new (and also about most of the old as well). People seek out opinion leaders (not necessarily true and reliable experts) to know what is original, what is valuable, what is authentic. That is rather sad but true. Most people aren’t independent thinkers, yet many assume an individualistic pose.

Anything can be artistic or original (if you like). If you have an oil on canvas Hockney, a montage Hockney, or a digital painting of Hockney, all of them were created by his hand, his brain, his neurology. And in each and every case the medium is also part of the end result (but only one part… it is not the key aspect of the artistic value and should not be a key aspect of the market value either in the twenty first digital century). Emotionally the impact will be the same if you have the right values and a high quality product. It is the values, the psychology, the narrative and the quality that matter, not the medium. You will see and feel what he wanted you to see and feel… a UK landscape in LA’s bright light for example… no matter what the medium is, if the product comes with a high quality.

Today, a digital painting’s market value, for example a monumental digital Hockney’s (even if it is made of smaller parts), might be determined by the fact that he has decades of contemporary success behind him, that he was invited by the Royal Academy of Art in 2012 to display his digital paintings and that each monumental digital painting was printed only once, so only one exists or only a limited number of them exist (depending on the agreement). It does not matter if it was painted on canvas, paper or on an Apple iPad or on a Samsung Galaxy Tablet Note 10.1 or a Note Pro 12.2, or perhaps on a jaw dropping Wacom Cintiq 27QHD Creative Pen and Touch Display for 2800 USD… plus 400 USD for the Ergo stand and 100 USD for a more capable Wacom pen… all together my dream tool is approximately: 3300 USD… I think that is without software… (note: software for android devices is much cheaper than for windows or apple products).


A demo of how the Wacom Cintiq 27QHD is used in animation:


Digital artists, who come after Hockney, don’t have to walk the same path, because he represents the transition from traditional contemporary art to the digital contemporary realm. The fact is, anyone could reach some level of artistic value. However, if you have some sort of classical visual culture (you don’t have to be academically educated, it is sufficient if you were surrounded by classical art or if you trained yourself visually), a person might be able to create much stronger and intellectually much more stimulating digital paintings, compared to those who were only exposed to the “aesthetics” of online games (note: there are very few aesthetically excellent online games). On top of this, the artistic and market value also depends on the cultured and/or sensitive audience or observer, again, a highly subjective component in the values game. Some are receptive, some aren’t. Some people are in touch with their latent inner artist, existing somewhere deep down, and some are completely out of touch with their creative emotional selves.

It is puzzling that most contemporary artists are technophobes…


Uniqueness in the digital age

In the digital age, when humanity attempts to make the most possible quality items available to the most possible people (like the cheap, yet excellent ArtRage software for android is a celebration of the long tail economy, while the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 or Note Pro 12.2 Tablets are also excellent), “uniqueness” becomes a highly questionable term.

Uniqueness in economic and market terms (not in artistic terms) speaks about the assumed needs of the elite, about privilege, power, money, wealth, or in other words about inequality, the oppression, exploitation, enslavement, dependency and suffering of the masses. (However, today people are learning at a rate like never before, so change might be on the horizon.) The rich buys “the one and only” at the expense of the poor. Something that is unique is a beautiful thing from one point of view and a very dirty one from another. Holding onto the shockingly expensive and to the traditionally unique represents an attachment to the despotism of an outdated and unenlightened era. A rich person is not better, nor more deserving than a poor person. An artist using oil and canvas is not a better artist than one using digital tools to paint and provoke some sort of emotional impact.

Hockney did not come from a privileged background. For a long time, among many things, he used oil. Today in his seventies as a famous and well to do artist he is also creating digital art. He is still undoubtedly creating Hockney paintings. The old medium does not dominate the artistic value, so it should not dominate the market value either. Of course the most sophisticated forgers are able to show people that even the artist is obsolete, when someone makes a skilled copy and nobody notices (only an Artificial Intelligence tool will be able to distinguish the original from the fake after a while). I know that “cultured” people are attracted to owning the original, but I don’t think that this is an inborn and necessary feature of humans. This is something we learn. So, this is also something that we can unlearn or reform.

Apparently it is the experience that matters. The artistic experience is formed in the observer, in his or her neural network, based on the available information (based on learning and feeling). How immense this artistic experience is depends strongly on the narrative. Art is a mental and social experience, embedded into an ever evolving narrative.


David Hockney talking about his digital art

About my digital art

I suddenly and only very recently started to learn the art of digital painting. By the end of July of 2015 my most amazing dog-sister passed away and my hunger for emotional expression resulted in sudden bursts of artistic activities. I finally gave in and accepted my best friend’s suggestion that digital painting was invented for me. He kindly lent me his Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Tablet and introduced me to ArtRage, a phenomenal digital painting software. Practicing graphic art is a new phenomenon in my life. Finding flow beyond blog writing to forget about loss… Turning pain into digital paintings to definitely see the beauty of life.

Two weeks after my brilliant dog’s sudden death I posted my first “presentable” digital painting (my third digital painting ever) on my facebook wall to a select few friends. It was a freehand digital drawing and painting based on my spring time smart phone photo of a nearby salmon pink Bauhaus building (note: there will be a composite image of my learning process later in this blog text).

Apparently it is a general practice today to paint from digital photos. In fact I just read a few days ago that hundred years ago Pierre Bonnard took photos of his family home and went to his art studio to work where several canvases were stretched on the walls (not on regular stretchers). This is how he created his uniquely intimate paintings. He also did not determine the size of his painting until it was completed (note: in the windows version of ArtRage one is able to enlarge the canvas if necessary).

You can look up and observe the old, but renovated Bauhaus building that I painted (find it on Google Street View if you like). It is 3 Napraforgó Street in Budapest’s second district (Napraforgó means Sunflower), very close to my home (I like to walk there, the entire street is part of a special housing project from better times in this country… it feels a bit like it wasn’t even in Hungary, rather somewhere in the UK… you almost expect a character like Belgian detective Hercule Poirot to appear). On my digital painting I intentionally made it look like the building was located somewhere on France’s Mediterranean coastline, because I used to own a Róbert Berény painting that he created at age 18 in Monaco at the very beginning of the twentieth century. I loved it. I always fantasized about one day painting rooftops for example. In fact “my art rage” started five days after the emotional trauma with my attempt to draw a “tree still life” on a tablet (to see how it works) and next (two additional days later, on July 27 of 2015) I attempted to recreate the atmosphere of my long sold work of art by Berény (an oil on cardboard) that used to hang in my bedroom in my former apartment. (Note: see the composite image of my learning process below.)

Frankly, after I had a professional photo reproduction on my wall for years, I don’t feel any real difference. Initially, it was painful having to sell the original, but I was happy to hang a high quality photo reproduction on my wall in the original frame. It is the emotional composition, the sight, the style, and the colorfulness that I like. I simply don’t care anymore that it is not “the original”. It is still unusual that I own a large and high quality photo reproduction like this one right here on the wall (I am sure, I am the only one with this experience). It is even more meaningful to me that I created a remake of the 1905 painting, because I discovered new details on the painting itself (there is not only a black winter coat, but there is also part of a blue winter coat visible in that same window). And not only that! I even discovered on my own where the painting was created in Monaco and I created my own rendering of the same courtyard as seen from another point of view! This is new information that could enrich our knowledge of Berény and his art. I will tell you the story (in words and in pictures) later in this blog post… Wait for it and read on to better understand what I am doing!

My evolving artistic self

I think I am approaching my personal style that I feel like calling “Neuro Fauvisme Digital” or “Neuro Digital Fauve Expressionism” or “Digital Neuro Surrealism“. As in my inner city photos, the same way on my digital paintings there are no people (also no animals except a hidden and small female black dog in each and every painting, representing the highest levels of loyalty, independence, curiosity, tolerance, love, devotion, truth and intelligence). I work with high tech to create images that resemble the art that was created over 100 years ago in Europe, because that is what I like. I am looking at Google Street View, walking through cities of Europe, finding landscapes and architectures that speak to me and I depict them manually, yet digitally, as if I walked through old towns and villages during summer siestas in 1904 or 1907. These images are my inner walks. My introspective nature is reflected in them.

Despite the high tech that I am using, there is nothing modern (no modern technology) on my digital paintings. I depict cities, homes and structures that contain human communities, that were created by people. No cars, no motorcycles, no digital displays, no traffic lights, no airplanes, nothing like that. Today, I am painting a pre-digital world, with a digital medium (but this might change as my art evolves… I am going to paint as long as I enjoy it). Until now I didn’t create visual art, because I was uniquely surrounded by hundreds of paintings created by (in large part female) artists who were active before W.W.II. Painting traditionally did not appear to be a particularly unusual or special activity to me. However, painting digitally in a pre-digital style felt fascinating to me. My evolving art is a colorful reminder of the Belle Époque before WW I., just when modern technology started to overwhelm us. I love modern technology (I am a female technophile), but I find my flow in taking a paradoxical break from it and wandering (off) visually, mentally and emotionally in(to) a long lost world. Any decent introvert will understand what I mean.

Look, I know that one can’t paint for 30 years within 3 weeks. I know I am a total beginner. People still like to compare my pictures, atmospheres and motives to paintings by Chirico, Escher, Matisse, Hockney, Berény or Csontváry and the like (interestingly and tellingly: not one female is listed, ever). The thing is, I don’t paint like any of them. I paint like me. No need to copy anyone, beyond obvious learning reasons. Yet, I was definitely shaped by the art that I observed throughout my life. I am just learning to paint (on my own), and see what happens. Stimulating (in)sights… loving life… optimism… yet a melancholic observer, a dreamy outsider… My images carry my contradictions. The traveler who is in one place all the time lately.

I write and paint as if I lived in California or New York in the US. Yet I live, write and paint in Budapest, Hungary, Europe. My subjects are located thousands of kilometers away in eg.: the Mediterranean region of Europe. I absorb, read, write, paint, express and display digitally. When you look at my paintings, imagine them as large printed colorful canvases in a foyer or lobby of a lively, elegant home, hotel, museum or restaurant in San Francisco, or on the wall of a magnificent loft in New York. This is what I have in my mind when I am between two paintings. But much more importantly, when I paint I have nothing “on my mind”. It is exactly why I paint. I like to be lost in space and time. Writing is more of a left brained flow experience, painting is more of a right brained flow state. This is how I find my path, my truth… via a whole brain experience. This is my way of celebrating life. I never party, I don’t use substances, I am not dependent on a defined group of people and their opinions. I do my own things. I am my own person. Yet I am highly connected to the world online.

What is unusual is that I have been doing this sudden artistic activity for a few weeks only… yet, it feels like it has all been waiting there inside of me to suddenly happen. I don’t even have to think about my concept when you ask me. It’s there, even ready to be written, as you can see.

My learning process

It pleases me enormously that I finally have an outlet for my serene self. My blogs are full of pensiveness. Painting balances me and helps me show my true inner range. And in surrealism anything is possible… you can have sunlit nights, with dark sky and bright, colorful walls.

Before I start drawing the sketch, I spend some time looking for my next subject for a few days. I pick sights that give me a particularly good feeling. I select subjects that I suddenly start seeing as a painting.

Three weeks into the self guided learning process this is what I produced:

a., Remake of Róbert Berény's Monaco Painting by Regina Saphier 2015 (Freehand Digital Drawing & Freehand Digital Painting) b., 3 Sunflower Street with Cherry Blossoms by Regina Saphier 2015 (Freehand Digital Drawing & Freehand Digital Painting) c., Venice with Lemon Tree by Regina Saphier 2015 (Freehand Digital Painting) d., Monaco Rue des Iris by Regina Saphier 2015 (Freehand Digital Painting) e., Lake Como by Regina Saphier 2015 (Freehand Digital Painting)

a., Remake of Róbert Berény’s Monaco Painting by Regina Saphier 2015 (Freehand Digital Drawing & Freehand Digital Painting)
b., 3 Sunflower Street with Cherry Blossoms by Regina Saphier 2015 (Freehand Digital Drawing & Freehand Digital Painting)
c., Venice with Lemon Tree by Regina Saphier 2015 (Freehand Digital Painting)
d., Monaco Rue des Iris by Regina Saphier 2015 (Freehand Digital Painting)
e., Lake Como by Regina Saphier 2015 (Freehand Digital Painting)



The first painting I posted on August 2nd of 2015 (the salmon pink Bauhaus building with the cherry tree) took me two days to create (I was still learning the software… had to get used to the digital logic of drawing and painting). The last one that I posted on August 22nd of Lake Como also took me two days. You can see the difference in complexity, yet both took me the same amount of time to create. It is unbelievably cool to experience what one can do within three weeks just by simply wanting to create images, by being dedicated and open minded. It still takes two days to complete a picture, because I am still learning while doing and I want to do well. Each time I wish to create something presentable in the end.

I skipped “the cube drawing phase” of learning (that usually takes months in a regular and formal drawing class… I don’t like boring training sessions… I did the same self-willed skipping while learning English… and yet I am able to write blogs in English about basically anything as you can see), and I do the practicing during the visual creation. I keep drawing the lines, until the “buildings” end up in the right position. I keep searching for the form, the shape, the depth, the perspective. I keep going back and doing it again, until I feel happy with the position and the composition. In a way I almost draw multiple pictures in some areas of the surface, until I end up with the final product that I like to look at, that shows the coherence I was looking for. This is why I call it eg.: “Digital Neuro Surrealism” (note: we all have a typical, personal handwriting, and I believe we all have a typical drawing and painting style that naturally happens while practicing). I don’t walk the academic path, it is dead boring to me.

I walk the neurological, instinctive path. Sometimes my frustration is enormous. I sit there and say: “Why can’t I draw?” or “I can’t draw!”… Because I see that it is wrong… so, I remove the specific area and do it again and again, because I know that I should be able to do it. I know it is possible, I just have to keep doing it. And suddenly I like it and I am happy and proud that I suffered through the frustration and that I persisted. When the sketch is done, I start painting the buildings on another layer (on my “Monaco – Rue des Iris” painting I put everything on the same layer and that is not the best approach with the digital medium… it is a good idea to use the separate layers, but technically it is more complicated… especially in the android version of ArtRage, because there the layers are not constantly visible while working)… and so on. Typically, I am not satisfied until I am done with the painting. There is a point where I feel that it is “ready” and I am happy with it (and I feel that I no longer wish to perfect it). I particularly like red buildings (red will be hard to print well, but I still like it).

During my discovery of the digital art realm I came across David Hockney’s digital paintings and listened to him as he spoke of his initial skepticism… Soon he realized, that this is a very serious and quick tool. I agree! Of course he is lucky that he has helpers dealing with the printing and mounting process. Perhaps one day I am going to print my paintings on canvas and hang them on the walls of my apartment along with other art.

Google Earth and Google Street View as brilliant sources of visual inspiration

Sometimes I point randomly onto an area of Google Maps or on Google Earth and zoom in on the Satellite Image of a particular city or village near a large body of water. I “take a walk” in places that I already have been to in the past, like the Côte d’Azur (I took many photos of the landscapes). When I discover the right place to depict, I walk around in Google Street View to compose my next digital drawing and painting. Luckily, due to my many travels, I have a realistic feeling of many places on Earth. I know how it feels to be there.

What is unique about this process, is that Google Street View is created from an angle that would be humanly and practically impossible to work from. Google Street View cars have a long pole on top carrying complex cameras that take multiple images at once as the car moves along the way. This is how the stream of image bubbles are created around the world. If I wanted to assume that position, I would have to sit on top of a ladder on top of a car and would have to maneuver the car back and forth while also painting, and that in the middle of the road. In my opinion Google Street View is a creative and open minded artist’s best friend. I don’t know if anyone is using it like I do, but it was a natural choice for me.

My digital or virtual self and a possible future

For many years I worked on an all digital writer self… I absorb knowledge digitally and I spread knowledge digitally via my blogs. Now I have another opportunity to be 100% contemporary and digital. I look at Google Street View with my human brain and eyes and I create a digital painting manually, filtering the sight through my personal neural network and neurons. Often, in the middle of the painting there is the road, representing life as a continuum and I take you into a (modern) technology free world that actually does not exist anymore. At this point, my freehand digital paintings look like illustrations in children’s books and I really love that. This is all so unexpected and gives me so much joy (after the sadness of loss of a loved one and beyond the understandable frustration of learning).

For an added texture I might one day attempt to 3D print my freehand digital paintings instead of simply printing them on canvas. If you look closer, ArtRage is able to detect your manual movements, hand pressure, etc., and is offering many tools and settings that give you the ability to create real texture. (One is able to add much more texture, I just opted for lighter touches.)

Painting digitally is more spontaneous, flexible, there is a lot of freedom, it is much more intuitive with all the tools compared to traditional painting. However, when I work with the digital stylus, I never copy or paste, I don’t put photos into the file, I don’t use digital shapes, I make everything possible manually (freehand).

I think what we need to do, is no longer a comparison of traditional painting and digital painting. We are already at the point where we should rather ask questions like: What would you see as original, a manually yet digitally painted painting by a human (printed professionally on real canvas), or an oil on canvas directly but created completely by an artificial intelligence driven robot without zero human intervention?

And at this point I think I just invented the AI navigated robot, that (instead of printing or even instead of 3D printing) looks at your finished digital painting file (not a computer generated image) and carries your exact movements (by learning the patterns of your personality, emotions and neural activity), painting your image move by move, on a canvas that you can hang on your wall, adding amazing extra texture to your digital painting.

So, as you can see, now as I am beginning to teach myself to draw and paint digitally, I did my share of thinking about this art form and field. I hope some or most of this essay was interesting to you.

Rest assured that this art technology will evolve and in a few years people will begin to acknowledge freehand digital (drawing and) painting as the serious art form it already is.

Remember, that in life and in art: It is the experience that really matters!


A small detail of my Lake Como painting:

Lake Como by Regina Saphier 2015 (Freehand Digital Painting)

Lake Como by Regina Saphier 2015 (Freehand Digital Painting detail)


By the time I completed this blog (on August 31. of 2015), I also completed a new painting. Here are three versions of my “Le Pin Parasol”:

Three versions of my Le Pin Parasol. (Le Pin Parasol Capri by Regina Saphier Freehand Digital Neuro Fauve Painting 2015)

Three versions of my Le Pin Parasol. (Le Pin Parasol Capri by Regina Saphier Freehand Digital Neuro Fauve Painting 2015)


This is a detail showing the manual/digital brushstrokes on my Le Pin Parasol representing the sea and the trees (note: I opted for homogeneous waves, but you can go really wild if you change the settings of the tools):

Le Pin Parasol by Regina Saphier 2015 (detail: digital brushstrokes)

Le Pin Parasol by Regina Saphier 2015 (detail: digital brushstrokes)

I painted this sight based on a photo on Pinterest. There wasn’t much info… I only knew that it was somewhere on Capri, in Italy. I could see that the tree was a Stone Pine. I had a good feel for the entire spacial experience. As usual, I got curious and used my almost savant like skill to find the original location (note: I used to be the nightmare of real estate agents… I could find their advertised homes based on the smallest spacial information… just seeing a small part of a city, like a rooftop is enough for me… on several occasions I would wave at the agent from the specific building’s door while he or she would wait for me at some neutral corner… finding things on Google Earth is something I also like to challenge my friends with… it is so much fun!). I used Google Maps and Google Earth and within 5 minutes I discovered the exact place. I zoomed in and out and explored the area. If you are like me, you can find it based on my painting in 5 minutes too. (Here is the solution if you can not find it, but first try if you have the time… if you don’t, just highlight the section: Via Krupp)


But here is the really amazing discovery I made during this process!

I used the same savant skill and tools (that I described above) to find the place in Monaco where Róbert Berény painted his Monaco houses and rooftops in 1905. I created the digital painting remake to learn (note: the Samsung Galaxy Tablet that I am using and the ArtRage version on it are Android based), plus discovered the place on Google Earth where he created his painting. The address in my opinion is 23 Boulevard Albert 1er, Monaco. I think Berény was standing on the terrace in the courtyard (he was facing south on a sunny winter morning very close to the sea in Monaco) and he painted the north facing walls and rooftops of a few villas on Rue Princesse Antoinette (unless he took photos as many of his contemporaries did). If you look closely, even the characteristic glass bricks are visible from space. (See images below for a better understanding.) From Rue Grimaldi one is able to see parts of the buildings on Google Street View. The building that is yellow today used to be peach colored a few years ago … and before that it could have been pink or red. A lot has changed in over 100 years in Monaco… and yet the atmosphere is the same in this courtyard.

Young Berény (only 19 at the time) was standing behind the inner white structure (on the left side, as seen from Rue Grimaldi below) on a huge terrace and faced the smaller buildings (like the yellow one on the right side)… The colors were different in the past, plus his imagination also played a role. Of course some of the buildings were slightly reconstructed since the original Berény painting was completed in 1905, but the place is 100% recognizable. (I posted images of the original painting at the end of my post.)

I am assuming this is a historically significant discovery, this is why I felt that I should publish it immediately as part of my digital art related blog post. I used to own the painting, I created its remake digital painting as part of my recently started learning process and I spotted the special place while exploring the area for further artistic inspiration via Google Maps, Earth and Street View. I painted a street approximately 500 meters from this location in August 2015. I was getting closer and closer and suddenly I had the exact place. I felt obligated to share my discovery with everyone who is able to appreciate it.

Thank you Google! I love technology! I love art! I love to write! I love to paint! I love to do research! I love to discover! I love the experiences!

Here are a few images to help you understand my research result:

Young Róbert Berény's inspirational courtyard as seen from Rue Grimaldi in Monaco... a lot has changed in over 100 years... and yet the atmosphere is the same.

Young Róbert Berény’s inspirational courtyard as seen from Rue Grimaldi in Monaco… a lot has changed in over 100 years in Monaco… and yet the atmosphere is the same in this courtyard. Berény was standing behind the white building on a huge terrace and faced the smaller buildings like the yellow one… The colors were different in the past, plus his imagination also played a role. Of course some of the buildings were slightly reconstructed since the original Berény painting was completed in 1905. (Image source: Google Street View)


Monaco - Berény's special courtyard as seen from Rue Grimaldi ... the yellow building used to be peach colored ... and before that could have been pink or red

Monaco – Berény’s special courtyard as seen from Rue Grimaldi … the yellow building used to be peach colored … and before that it could have been pink or red … (Image source: Google search)


The villas on Rue Princesse Antoinette in Monaco, Berény painted their courtyard facing facades (research by Regina Saphier Image source: Google Street View)

The villas on Rue Princesse Antoinette in Monaco… Berény painted their courtyard facing facades in my humble opinion (research by Regina Saphier (Image source: Google Street View)


Automobile Club Monaco, 23 Boulevard Albert 1er, Monaco

Automobile Club Monaco, 23 Boulevard Albert 1er, Monaco (research by Regina Saphier (Image source: Google search)



The courtyard today that inspired Róbert Berény in Monaco in 1905 ... even the glass bricks are visible from space! (Place of creation and point of view of the artist researched and discovered by Regina Saphier in August 2015)

The courtyard today that inspired Róbert Berény in Monaco in 1905 … even the glass bricks are visible from space! (Place of creation and point of view of the artist researched and discovered by Regina Saphier in August 2015) (Image source: Google Earth)


Visual Update: "The Secret Garden in Monaco" by Regina Saphier - September 7., 2015, freehand painting on digital medium. (I created this painting from Rue Grimaldi after I discovered the courtyard where Berény painted his Monaco Rooftops. My world view, Berény's motives and the location today are represented together in this visual synergy that reminds the viewer of children's stories. I have to admit that I am surprised that I am capable of something like this just six weeks after I started my visually artistic self directed learning adventure, especially because I am only painting during the weekends.)

Visual Update: “The Secret Garden in Monaco” by Regina Saphier – September 7., 2015, day version, freehand painting on digital medium. (I created this painting from Rue Grimaldi after I discovered the courtyard where Berény painted his Monaco Rooftops. My world view, Berény’s motives and the location today are represented together in this visual synergy that reminds the viewer of children’s stories. I have to admit that I am surprised that I am capable of something like this just six weeks after I started my visually artistic self directed learning adventure, especially because I am only painting during the weekends.)


Visual Update: "The Secret Garden in Monaco" by Regina Saphier - September 7., 2015, night version, freehand painting on digital medium. I prefer the night version, because it is more dream like and mysterious.

Visual Update: “The Secret Garden in Monaco” by Regina Saphier – September 7., 2015, night version, freehand painting on digital medium. I prefer the night version, because it is more dream like and mysterious. (Note: The dates on my paintings are the dates of publication.)




The original Berény painting on my wall and the photo on canvas reproduction Berény on my wall

The original Berény painting on my wall and the photo on canvas reproduction Berény on my wall


Berény's Monaco and the window detail with the black and the blue winter coat - smart phone photo by Saphier Regina 2015

Berény’s Monaco and the window detail with the black and the blue winter coat (I discovered the blue coat after I created the remake, painted the new rendering of the courtyard and the buildings and wrote this blog post… suddenly I noticed it on my own photo) – smart phone photo by Saphier Regina 2015



In case my fascinating story that I discovered the place of creation in Monaco of a Hungarian Fauve painting (by Róbert Berény) that I used to own wasn’t exciting enough (as part of this blog post in English and as the main topic of my latest Hungarian blog post), let me add this:

Gergely Barki, the number one Berény expert in Hungary was in Monaco at the very same time looking for the location where Berény created another early painting depicting houses in the Port of Monaco. We weren’t aware that the other person is exploring the area (him in person with his lovely family, and me online while painting and doing my detective work).

As it turns out, we have met 15 years ago in my own former home where my Berény painting was on display at the time. After returning to Hungary, Gergely was stunned when he accidentally found my blog (during a Google search) with the images of the courtyard that he also photographed. As he wrote he was only a 1000% sure that it was the same courtyard after he read my blog.

I’m thrilled that the story just keeps getting better! He gave a talk at a press conference of the Virág Judit Galéria in Budapest today on September 21 of 2015 and Gergely incorporated my findings and blog post into his presentation.

He was so enthusiastic as if we were related and I love that! It is so nice to correspond with someone who had a very similar experience, and who is able to appreciate my results. I wish I had an enthusiastic sibling like him!



Saphier Regina: Napos Éjjelek: Tesla PowerWall

Saphier Regina: Napos Éjjelek: Tesla PowerWall

Elon Musk Tesla PowerWallKöszönöm Elon Musk-nak, hogy lehetőséget biztosít a magyar állampolgároknak, hogy a közgazdaság síkján utasíthassák el az újonnan tervezett Orosz Nukleáris Erőművet, melyet az idióta magyar kormány csillagászati orosz kölcsön összegekből tervez felépíttetni, miközben a magyarok tömegeinek nincs munkája…

Amikor a politikai síkon, választásokkal nem lehetett megakadályozni a nukleáris erőmű tervének megszavazását, és amikor az EU impotens az elképzelés lenullázásához, akkor számíthatunk arra, hogy Elon Musk sorsfordító bejelentést tesz, és szinte minden egyénnek valamennyi lelki erőt, extra társadalmi befolyást, gazdasági szavazó erőt és gazdaságosan tárolható napenergiát ajánl! Erőt és lehetőséget a változtatáshoz… elérhető energiát a háztartásoknak, intézményeknek és vállalkozásoknak… Így a piaci verseny erejével lehet leszavazni a kormány gátlástalan butaságát.

A Tesla új, elérhető és hatékony háztartási és ipari napenergia tárolási technológiája máris olyan valami, amit még a magyar középosztály is hamarosan megengedhet magának, ráadásul állami támogatás nélkül. Nehogy azt várja valaki ettől a kormánytól, hogy majd értelmes dolgokat támogat! Ugyebár az értelmes az lenne, ha azonnal lemondanák az Orosz Atomerőmű megrendelést, és elkezdenének egy hazai Tesla PowerPack hálózaton, egy lakossági Tesla PowerWall támogatási projekten, vagy akár egy Tesla Gigafactory felépítésén gondolkodni… de ez eszükbe sem jut…

Képzeljünk el új házakat építő családokat, akik majd napelemeket és Tesla PowerWall-t vásárolnak, és a központi hálózatra rá sem kötik a házaikat (eljön a nap, amikor senkit sem lehet majd arra kötelezni az EU-ban, hogy a nagy semmire szereltessen fel villanyórát az állami szolgáltató kegyéből), hanem hálózatfüggetlen módon termelnek, tárolnak és használnak napenergiát (és általában megújuló energiát). (Óra akkor kelljen, ha egy magánszemély áram többlettel rendelkezik és el akarja adni az államnak.) Nem kell majd leszerződni egy szolgáltatóval, amelyik lényegesen drágább és környezetszennyezőbb, nukleáris alapú áramot vagy pl. földgázt árul.

A PowerWall-t a Tesla nyártól szállítja, de már most megrendelhető online… Természetesen az EUs piacon még fel kellene építeni egy-két Tesla Gigafactory-t… hogy igazán gazdaságos legyen a gyártás és a szállítás. Mindenképpen okos befektetés lesz családi házakba Tesla PowerWall-t, vagy pl. önkormányzatok részére PowerPack-et vásárolni (a budapesti II. kerületet kiszolgálná egy darab Tesla PowerPack, ha a kerület építene egy megfelelő méretű nap-farmot).

A Tesla féle elemek ipari verziója (a PowerPack) kisvállalkozások vagy pl. helyi energia szolgáltatók és helyi önkormányzatok számára teszi lehetővé a gazdaságos napenergia termelést, tárolást és szolgáltatást (éjjel és nappal egyaránt), pl. a kisebb gazdasági erejű kliensek körében (ha valaki nem tud saját PowerWall-t vagy PowerPack-et vásárolni). Hosszan sorolhatnám, hogy mitől lenne jó már elkészült otthonokba és létező intézményekbe is beépíteni… tisztább lenne a levegő… hiszen a lakások (gázzal, atomenergia alapú elektromossággal vagy fával történő) általában drága fűtése az egyik leginkább környezetszennyező tevékenység… ahogy a felrobbanó vagy lángoló atomreaktor és folyton halmozódó radioaktív hulladék sem használ senkinek… És mi lenne, ha végre minden légkondicionáló, éjjel-nappal olcsó napenergiával működne?

Nagyon támogatom a Tesla PowerWall-t és PowerPack-et! A titkos álmom, hogy Elon Musk lesz Magyarország kormányfője… vagy legalább egy hozzá hasonlóan intelligens és tehetséges ember. Akkor nem lehetne gátat szabni a fejlődésnek!

És a slusszpoén: 2 milliárd darab PowerPack képes lenne az emberiség minden energia szükségletét megújuló erőforrásokból begyűjteni, tárolni és ellátni (főleg napenergiából), és mindez 1-2 évtized alatt megvalósítható lenne. Ráadásul a Tesla rendelkezik egy “gyár méretű termékkel”, avagy: Tesla Gigafactory-t vegyenek! (Természetesen a gyár is megújuló energiával működik, mely energiát Tesla PowerPack-eken tárolják.)

A PowerWall 3000 – 3500 dollárért rendelhető. Vagyis a napenergia tárolás most lett hatékony és elérhető. Itthon ez egy átlagos családi ház hálózatfüggetlen energia ellátása esetén cirka 2 millió forintos befektetést jelent, ha hozzáadjuk a PowerWall árához a napcellák, a konverterek, a tervezés és a szerelés költségeit… Megtérül, függetlenné tesz és környezetkímélő… ráadásul még szép is és kis helyen, a falra szerelve elfér.


Regina Saphier: Sunny Nights: Tesla PowerWall

Regina Saphier: Sunny Nights: Tesla PowerWall


Elon Musk Tesla PowerWallThank you Elon Musk for giving Hungarian citizens a possibility to economically refuse the planned new Russian Nuclear Power Plant that the idiotic Hungarian government is planning to build in Hungary for exorbitant amounts of borrowed money (borrowed from the Russians of course… while people have no jobs…).

When a political election did not stop the nuclear power plant idea (it did not), when the EU is impotent to stop it (it is), you can always count on Elon Musk​ to do something that changes the game and gives even individuals power in every sense of the word!

TESLA’s home (and industrial) solar energy storage technology is already something that the middle class could afford even in Hungary and without government subsidies. (Because never expect this government to support something that makes sense… in present and in future tense.) Imagine people building new homes, purchasing solar panels, a TESLA POWERWALL, and living off the grid from the first day in their new houses… no need to have a contract with a utility company that provides more expensive, nuclear power based electricity or “natural” gas… It is a smart investment economically and ecologically to spend money on a PowerWall (eg.: at home) or on a PowerPack (let’s say, by the II. district in Budapest).

These batteries (their industrial versions) will also enable small and local energy businesses, even local governments to provide extremely affordable day and night Solar based electricity to financially less powerful clients. And I could go on and on about how it is a good idea to build this technology into existing homes and institutions as well… And we would have cleaner air as well… because heating homes with fossil fuels is one of the major sources of pollution… as are exploding and burning nuclear power plants… And how about finally running air conditioners with Solar energy (day and night).

I am for the TESLA POWERWALL. I support the TESLA POWERPACK! My secret dream: Elon Musk for Hungarian president… or at least a similarly intelligent and talented person. Game change: on!

And the punchline: 2 billion PowerPacks could make the entire world 100% Solar and renewable powered within a decade or two, and Tesla has a factory sized product for this: The TESLA GIGAFACTORY (that is obviously powered by renewable energy and Tesla PowerPacks).


Regina Saphier: Writing, Inner Speech & The Borg

Regina Saphier: Writing, Inner Speech & The Borg

The adventures of our inner voices… in the age of artificial intelligence, direct brain communications and global online networks…

Seven of Nine (Annika Hansen) in Star Trek: Voyager (played by Jeri Ryan) image:

Seven of Nine (Annika Hansen) in Star Trek: Voyager (played by Jeri Ryan) image:

I swear I thought I am going to write about writing as a manifestation of my inner voice (silent thought processes that only you are aware of and only you can work with… until you write things down, speak them out loud or get them out of your mind in some other way with technology… no I am not joking), but I ended up in a completely different direction… this is why I write, to explore what is in there and what is out there and what is in between…

Writing is listening to my inner voice/speech (in a healthy way)… to my own thinking… It is a manifestation of my reflective capacity, my consciousness… and reading is listening to someone else’s inner stream of ideas (alongside your’s)… If you don’t realize that you do this, pay attention to yourself more. Just as many people are not aware of their inner imagery when reading a novel for example, the same way many people don’t know that they are running a narrative of their own reality in their heads… It is “on” so much so that only people well trained in meditation are able to turn off the inner voice, the inner speech, the random ideas, feelings and reactions… and there are mindful people attempting to guide and manage the inner speech and voice… to use it efficiently, even creatively (like me) and not let their inner processes ruin their experiences. Introverts are more in tune with this inner world.

Radio, Skype, Intimacy

I love the radio show: This American Life. I love many of the stories people tell or read on that show. Some are fiction, some are nonfiction. I think it is one of the best radio shows in the world. I always loved radio done by people who truly love to listen and tell stories.

I just noticed that a “voice only” skype chat with a friend and listening to “This American Life” stories on my computer or smartphone… these experiences have something in common. Perhaps it is intimacy. Films and video chats on skype never have this depth. When you see people, when you see yourself talking to someone, when you know you are being watched, when your conversation partner knows of being watched, you both remain highly self conscious (different people on a different level), even if you are old friends. When you listen to radio or to someone’s voice via skype (or via phone, if you do not have to hold onto the phone physically… remember how your hands could get tired of holding that thing… or your ears could hurt… these physical reactions keep you self aware), there is a depth of intimacy that you can never reach with the moving image and with a phone in your hand. The moving image is wonderful, but even if you put the camera right into someone’s bedroom and into their faces, the moving image can never be as intimate as hearing a person talk “only”. I am sure you can feel how overwhelming it is when some people film and photograph everything… and how calming it can be when you can just listen (listen to the other and to yourself) and relax. Of course photography is a brilliantly expressive art, and yes some images are worth a million words, but most images can never outperform a good voice chat online… and yes, I also love in person chats, of course, but those are different (due to the physical and the visual elements, it is simply harder to allocate all of your energy to the spoken layer). I love films, but I might opt for a good radio program instead.

Relying on Your Hearing Only

It is similar to blind people having unbelievable hearing, to the level of bats. When you “only” listen to someone, you become an emotional bat, navigating blindly in an emotional cave and relying on your listening skills and instincts. I believe this is a good way to improve your intuitive capacity. You don’t see with your eyes, you see with your mind’s other “eyes” and you go very deep, really fast, if you like. Your brain suddenly reaches a deeper level of listening and closeness.

This is similar to people sitting in completely dark rooms… they become highly intimate even with strangers (there is also less material for judgement… you are more able to feel close to another human being…). It is almost meditative when you listen deeply. Effectively, you can become a better listener if you only listen to people via skype and via radio. It is interesting to experience different modalities.

Inner Radio

I just realized, when I am writing, I am turning my inner radio on… I start listening to what I am thinking closely and I make it visible on my computer screen (would be nice to skip this part, the typing and the reading by making the process more direct). I ask myself questions without asking… the questioning of the self and the excavation of thinking processes and opinions are embedded in the process of writing. Writing is not typing. Writing is listening to myself and mapping how I am relating to the world. During writing your limited consciousness stops being a small mental container and turns into a portal for your deep mind… and the deep mind of sophisticated internet users is different from the mind of unconnected individuals who are not mindful. In the distant past when people were listening to their own inner narratives they had no real time options to see how that inner narrative related to other people’s deep mind and to facts.

Reading as Listening

Reading is listening too. Because after I posted this blog note, you started to read it (most likely) silently. I effectively speak to you silently… it is like asynchronous telepathy… you are listening to my inner voice in your head with some delay. When you start thinking about my ideas in your head, you virtually engage in a silent conversation with me. I only know it when you write back, or speak to me, but even if you do not, the conversation happens, even if “only” in your head (you will respond and resonate even if you do not write to me). Every person reading this blog conducts a secret parallel conversation with me in a hidden dimension of our universe. I believe that writers are essentially and primarily skilled inner conversationalist, explorers and listeners. Writers are even able to converse with people in the distant future (and with people in the past, when reading). I am writing for my own pleasure, to see what I think, but still, thank you for the conversation, now that you let me enter your mind with my inner voice and speech. It is my inner narrative that will survive as long as my writing is being read (or absorbed in some other way in the future).

The Future of Inner Speech and Mental Transfer

Perhaps one day people will no longer speak nor write to one another but simply use “technological telepathy” (just made this terminology up, because I know that the basic technology is already a reality in this area) to transfer this inner voice directly from mind to mind or from mind to computer (just like mental images are now recognized and reproduced by dedicated technology). It will be just as simple as leaving a message on an answering machine, or even easier. However, when I look at the difference in precision, I am thinking: how are we going to be able to be as precise and as nuanced as in writing? Are we going to think our ideas into a file and edit them by thinking about our thoughts? Isn’t it interesting to think about this? And when uploading our entire mind on a computer, are we going to edit out the personally embarrassing bits? And what are we to do with criminal minds?

Are we going to get help from AI to take our inner narrative to the next level? Will an AI companion read our minds to help us know what we think? Will an AI help us learn the things we need to know about the world and ourselves silently? Is it possible that we are becoming The Borg… a community of minds directly connected? Everyone hearing everyone else… Are we to become one mind? How are we to remain individuals in such a network? How are we to protect our minds from other people’s evil thoughts and destructive inner speech? Who is going to be in control of our minds?

Video: The AI based holographic Doctor teaching a former Borg, called Seven of Nine (a human being rediscovering her humanity lost during her childhood) on the show Star Trek: Voyager

Futurist Zoltan Istvan‘s transhumanist dream (and he is not alone with this dream) to upload his mind might just be the only reality for people in a machine age of constant learning, collective knowledge, the internet, robotics, space exploration and AI. But that won’t solve his fear of death, because he will still be gone one day… His knowledge, personality, and inner speech will melt into the collective. Humanity as The Borg…? “Seven of Nine”… “One of Seven Billion” today… But just how valuable will our minds be when AI systems will become more knowledgeable and more creative than people? Only we care about our ephemeral minds… Would you like your brain to be placed in an individual robot? Perhaps many people would be ok with that… Is your identity related to your body or your mind or both? Are YOU a mental process? Will our fear of death be replaced by the feeling of being intellectually and creatively obsolete when AI technologies become smarter and unfollowable for a human individual and even for humanity as a whole?

See? This is what I end up with today when I am thinking about writing as inner speech, a special way of self expression and listening. Our inner monologues will be highly and directly interconnected dialogues or group conversations in the future and that is probably an understatement of how our communications will be unrecognizable… and yet it will be natural even with technology, because our brains have the capacity to adapt. Writing and the spoken word might become obsolete sooner than we think. This will be the age of really big and fast understanding of unimaginably big “data”.

My facial expression exactly when I was done with this blog post! image:

My facial expression exactly when I was done with this blog post! image:

Articles I read mostly while I wrote the above post:

Telepathy is now a thing thanks to technology

Brain decoder can eavesdrop on your inner voice

Artificial Intelligence Outperforms Average High School Senior

Direct Brain Communication Between Humans Study Replicated

Controlling Genes with Your Thoughts: New System Regulates Gene Expression

These People Want To Use The Internet To Live Forever

Regina Saphier: Corrupt Dictatorships Kidnap Societies

Regina Saphier: Corrupt Dictatorships Kidnap Societies

Political Systems Are Able to Powerfully Distort Behavior Using the Channels of Peer Pressure and Social Networks: A quick look at corrupt dictatorial socialism, democratic socialism, liberal capitalism… “good” societies… “bad” societies… and my memories of Hungary before 1989…


Good societies... Bad societies... (


Stigmatizing Swedes in the US?

The more twenty something Swedish liberals are exposed to a social democracy during childhood the worse their journalistic superficiality when reporting a highly sensitive social topic in a major international magazine while studying in the US?

A fresh study from “The DHYB Institute” * revealed that young liberal democratic Swedish men, especially Columbia graduates interning at The Economist while studying at Harvard are highly likely to write one dimensional and superficial articles. *Note: “The Don’t Hold Your Breath Institute” does not exist, I just made it up to be able to hold up a mirror in front of Simon Hedlin Larsson, Marjorie Deane Intern at The Economist who wrote this unbelievably short, superficial and damaging article about Dan Ariely’s research involving Germans, a dice game and very little amounts of money (note that the word “dice” is still misspelled in the original article, because the editors could not care less… rest assured that valid and constructive criticism is also very unlikely to impact them…):

The Economist
Economics and ethics
Simon Hedlin Larsson: Lying commies
“The more people are exposed to socialism, the worse they behave”
“The authors found that, on average, those who had East German roots cheated twice as much as those who had grown up in West Germany under capitalism.”

When in Rome, do as the Romans do? Are you sure? How did I perceive my own childhood before 1989 in Hungary? How do I perceive the Hungarian society today?

It is not easy for me to write about my experiences under communism, but not for the reasons you would assume. My story is highly atypical, but I feel I need to tell you where I am coming from in every sense of the word. I grew up in Hungary, in Budapest, but I also spent a lot of time in western countries since my childhood (mostly on my own, not with my family and mostly after 1989). A major social conflict I had to endure in Hungary (after I returned in 2002) was that people not only could not put up with my straightforward style, but simply called me an idiot for not participating in the local social cheating games. It is like not eating monkeys in a rainforest when visiting a tribe (that knows everything about monkey eating there is to know). You appear a loser to them, because it is survival that matters to these people and your best qualities mostly don’t mean a thing in their milieu. So, I have my insider experience with “the social jungle” in “Eastern” Europe, and it is not a fun one (not only because I am an eternal outsider in my own motherland, but also because I have never been a big fan of peer pressure and empty goals… plus, I keep having my own opinion and I even dare to voice it).

Surely you would like me to give you an example…

Note: If you don’t want to spend time reading about my childhood memories, skip the next part and scroll down ten paragraphs all the way under this title: “Now back to the article in The Economist

When I renovated my apartment in Budapest several years ago, it was torture. The main contractor (who came highly recommended by some locals) was surprised when I asked him to sign a contract. I know! How shocking that I would ask for a contract! Right? He brought smoking, drinking, uneducated workers lacking the basic ability to read an architectural drawing (I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, and I am able to read architectural blueprints… so, I am the misfit here… obviously). There were idiots wanting to (secretly) run the electrical wires so that they would cross one another in the wall in a totally irregular and unpredictable way (less wire, more money stays with the contractor)… and they were surprised to learn that this would be life threatening and that doing this was also dishonest. And this is not unusual here (… but wait, is it not possible that this could happen anywhere in the world…? well, in fact it could…).

Also, to the half dozen other contractors’ dismay I asked for invoices when handing over money. People here mostly don’t ask for invoices when renovating their homes. But the most shocking development to them was that a woman would fire them without payment if the work was unacceptable… or when I noticed their dishonesty. That was unusual to them. These people still think that something was wrong with me. Here are my mistakes again: I did not want the workers to smoke and drink in my apartment, I wanted electrical wires to run safely in the wall, I wanted the workers to be able to read blueprints, I wanted contracts, I wanted quality, and I wanted invoices. How horrible of me. I am sure you get the picture. This is the local culture and this happened in the capital, in one of the best districts. These same people would probably be more educated, more intelligent, more diligent, more precise, more respectful, better regulated and managed in Sweden. While personally this was a very painful experience, I am able to see that these people were not born to be evil or stupid, and I know for a fact that it wasn’t socialism that distorted them… the problem is so much more complicated. Socialism was legally over in 1989… yet the social structure and the culture did not become healthier.

When I think of my childhood I don’t remember socialism and I also don’t remember communism…

My mother was in an unlikely position in those days, because she was a homemaker. My father opted for collecting antiques and independence (collecting art is not exactly a group activity you know), instead of an office job (or instead of anything involving superiors). Therefore I didn’t know a thing about people in offices and in factories. The only place that I knew before 1989 was the school system (beyond our home). My parents found ways for themselves to remain outside the system (as much as possible), while letting me endure the school system alone, because there were no other options (at least not to their knowledge). My mother loved school and summer camps as a child, but as an adult she did not mingle much. I was a girl and so I was expected to be girly, to be social and to love school.

I hated my schools in Hungary (in fact as soon as I could I registered as a private student at my high school in 1989 and moved to Austria for a school year on my own to learn German, to go to school in Graz and to work as a nanny… I was only 17), and I never went to summer camps. I’m more like my father, disliking formal schooling… he by the way never set foot in any of my schools in Hungary (he hated schools very much… I did not know that until much later) and he never really noticed how much I suffered from the formal school system (while girls are expected to put up with unbearable things, boys usually stop adjusting and quit… one of the double standards of societies)… We all loved to learn about things that were interesting to us.

At the same time I’m lucky that my parents let me move to Graz alone at a very young age to assume my own responsibilities and explore the world. This was very unusual 25 years ago in Hungary, to complete four years of high school in three years (I had to pass a series of private exams at the end of the third high school year to be able to join my former class for the final year), while also working during the third year, plus going to a vocational school and learning a new language in Graz, Austria. I had the chance to shape my own learning. I wish I had mentors, but no guidance system was in place for my kind of people. All this in fact could have happened to me in the US. I am sure you see that most of my story fits both socialism, democracy and capitalism. Non-conformists struggle with the system everywhere.

What I remember from my childhood in Hungary is that nobody was supposed to speak freely on the phone and people were standing in line for bananas and oranges. We could not travel freely. News and knowledge from the West did not really make it to Hungary. I don’t recall it as a system that shared its goods with me (no redistribution). I remember that during a class reunion (when I was already in my thirties) some of my high school teachers told us stories how they smuggled things across the border (from Austria). I also remember how in high school the old school, conservative teachers and the young, progressive, reformist teachers were yelling at each other. I always knew that I was an outcast in those schools, I just did not know: why? I didn’t yet know just how different my family was… while others grew up with cheap retro furniture and uniformity (everyone had the same kind of cupboards, chairs and tables), I remember antiques, colors, textures and diversity. While many families had no books or a few books, we had lots of books. This is how I remember the times before 1989… I remember the feeling of not really belonging to any social group. Meanwhile, I was surrounded by a society that either really enjoyed camaraderie (those were often either naive, or privileged ones, or people coming from a poor background) or at least diligently pretended to enjoy the system. I understand that most people did not have choices. People were locked into a bizarre, paranoid and isolated society.

As a child I was not aware of much. We lived in a small family bubble. What made me aware was the social and political transition and my own, independent travels beyond Hungary. It was during my teenage years that I found myself suddenly being one of the delegates of a school protest in Hungary when the director fabricated a reason to eliminate the best professor, a liberal history teacher (this was after I returned from Austria). Until that day (right before our high school leaving exams) nobody mentioned that I might be a courageous leader (and little did I care about the risks: high school exams in year four were important parts of the university application process and university entry was artificially limited to a small number of people). I felt that I should be able to stand up for what I believe in without being afraid. This in fact is a very democratic value and I didn’t pick it up in school, that is for sure.

Blissful ignorance

I think one reason for not knowing a thing about my leadership qualities was that I was wholehearted, independent, introverted (with some extroverted qualities that I picked up from my parents) and never subscribed to peer pressure… So, nobody in those days risked to tell me how to become a leader. I lived with the assumption that everyone should be able to think for themselves (it turns out, most people don’t really like to think or lead, most people like to mindlessly follow… but for some reason I think this is changing as more and more people have the opportunity and the ability to learn online). I never came across any acceptable role models either. I did not perceive my teachers as role models to be followed at all. I felt most of them were rather troubled people. Ever since I recognized my own intellectual and leadership qualities I also started to consciously observe and analyze people and their “group think” tendencies. The more I experienced in life, the more I observed the human rituals of leading, following, marriage, religion and politics, the more bizarre human behavior appeared to me. People, I realized, build surreally firm social structures even out of thin air to eliminate their suspicion that life is short and that they are not really important in the universe. People construct importance, positions, ranks, hierarchies and dictatorships, even now that they are able to learn almost anything online for free, can use tools that are a bit more complicated than a stone, should be able to think for themselves and are no longer monkeys on trees. But I know that positive change is also constructed out of “nothing”… because we imagine things and try to realize those ideals. We are an interesting species in the universe. I wish we used our mental powers to create healthy societies that respect people in groups and individually.

Hidden layers that I did not know about at the time, only came to see them later

At my schools, kids with influential parents, who liked to party and went to “elite” summer camps (so much about being equal under communism) were very likely to end up in leadership positions later. The ones willing to serve their groups mindlessly got nurtured, included, rewarded and promoted, especially the extroverted ones. Only decades later did I realize that classes that kids were grouped into by school officials (when kids first entered school) were very often selective based on their parental backgrounds. I can tell you, I have never been in class A in school, because my parents were not in the communist party, were outside of the top ranking leader range and held no offices (nobody in my immediate family held any public or “business related” offices). Those who enjoyed the last decades of the softened socialist dictatorship in Hungary were the ones closest to the fire, receiving the most benefits. If you adjusted, you were fine. If you did not adjust, you had to face a lot of problems and you often encountered invisible roadblocks. The most privileged of the system change era are now the “leaders” of Hungary, no matter what party they are part of. Needless to say: I am still not a party member and will never be one. I hope I managed to show you that I’m not a beneficiary of the past system and I have my critical opinion of this particular society. I also feel that my non-conformist tendencies and my unusual family bubble prevented me from being mentally “kidnapped” by the corrupt socialist dictatorship that surrounded us.

Now back to the article in The Economist

In my informed opinion, the way Simon Hedlin Larsson reported the Ariely research in The Economist is dangerously simplistic and even the original researchers came up with the wrong conclusion in their infinite “wisdom”, because it is not socialism on its own that causes people to cheat, rather it is corrupt socialist dictatorships pretending to be communist that distort people for generations (unless something provides protection, like an unusual family and personality in my case). Also, just one question: Have you done some thinking how likely the capitalists were to do amoral things in former “communist” states? (Perhaps at least twice as likely?) No matter what hypocritical “western” business schools like to teach about avoiding corruption in corrupt markets (I suspect that is impossible to avoid in international business).

While I embraced the system change (I went as far as graduating from Columbia University in New York in 2002), it is hard to ignore the fact that there were no homeless people in the district where I grew up in Budapest before 1989, and now homeless people are part of the landscape. This tragic phenomenon, as well as drug abuse (beyond rampant alcoholism), joblessness, anorexia, morbid obesity, body image issues on a large scale, overt racism, violent crimes, and so on arrived with “morally superior” capitalism. The negative results of “super” morals and attitudes of capitalism: objectified life goals, masses of homeless and jobless outcasts, stress, anxiety and existential fear among the masses. Starved and/or threatened people with limited means were centrally “slenderized” under the dictators of “communism”, and full employment was just a way of storing people in buildings (to stop loitering) while increasing the national debt (to keep up appearances of a “functional communist society”), so people mostly only traded the causes of stress when going from “communism” to “capitalism”… a healthy social structure never followed.

When you combine socialism and democracy, you get Sweden, and I don’t think that people in Sweden are more likely to cheat (I know that Sweden is also a capitalist market economy, but redistribution in Sweden and in the US cannot be compared). Only when you combine socialism and corrupt dictatorships will you get the cheating behavior of East Germans as reported by Ariely and his team. Socialism without corrupt dictatorship does not necessarily distort behavior. Both the researchers and the interning journalist failed to make, explore and emphasize this important distinction. The hidden agenda of the young and politically active journalist is that he hates socialism in Sweden, but he is afraid to say so publicly. He thinks socialism in Sweden makes “undeserving” people dishonest, so he opted for psychological, historical and geographical transference. I am only theorizing here, but might just be right.

Meanwhile in Hungary… today…

Right now the biggest problem of Hungarian society: the phenomenally rotten “elite”. Not only did they keep their past “morality” of “take everything that belongs to the community” (the best example from the early years of the transition is the privatisation process during the nineties… the biggest takers now have their own schools, radio stations, companies and offshore assets… left and right), but they also adopted the locally “new ethics” of capitalism: “the richer you get the better for you”. So now, here is how they think: “Let’s take everything that belongs to the community because the goal is to be rich” (and now the goods and funds include the EU resources too). These people live with the most shocking sense of entitlement, with amazing amounts of ignorance, and don’t know (or don’t want to know) that this is simply wrong. My problem: Just how do you distinguish this from the amazingly amoral and über risky behavior of the western bankers who caused this major economic crisis that the entire world suffered from (and in many places the suffering is not over yet)? We urgently need a new elite, but the members of the old “elite” are suffocating the country.

Sudden and prolonged trauma both go very deep into the psyche

Back to my issues with the above mentioned research and article. If by the end of the 1940s in New York you would have tested German jews who escaped Hitler, and at the same time American jews enjoying the safety of the US from birth, and if you did the same test with the offsprings of these people one generation later, you would have discovered that exposure to a nazi dictatorship resulted in understandable mistrust towards institutions and other people, and this probably resulted in questionable behaviors (that would not be present without the trauma). You could have discovered powerful behavioral differences. The same is true for people exposed to corrupt “communist” dictatorships. Trauma, existential fear, pathological social systems (like dictatorships and autocracies) and wars cause epigenetic changes and so: lasting personality, behavioral, cultural and social changes. The original research had more to say about the reasons and the causes (compared to the short article in The Economist). Unfortunately, the Economist article basically says something like this (I am making this up for demonstration): “Germans in 1944 were twice as likely to appear to be nazis based on a simple test compared to French people” (why not compare the two… they are neighbors in Europe… if we follow the bizarre logic of Ariely). This is how it sounds to me.

The Economist article ends like this: “The study reveals nothing about the nature of the link between socialism and dishonesty. It might be a function of the relative poverty of East Germans, for example. All the same, when it comes to ethics, a capitalist upbringing appears to trump a socialist one.” Says the privileged young journalist from social democratic Sweden who apparently did not really read the research and knows next to nothing about socialism, communism, democracy, corruption, capitalism and the possible combinations of these… he is the naive child who thinks that it is only personal effort in capitalism that makes a difference and “only the lazy never make it”… but this is a delusion. The young journalist failed to display true journalistic talent and missed an opportunity to publish a marvelously intelligent, compassionate, well researched and deeply analytical article in this area. Let us hope that he will learn and change and not let his social bubble isolate him from reality for ever.

It is easier to be honest and correct in a healthier and richer society and the devil is in the details

I wrote in one of my essays (mostly about China, but also about Hungary) in July 2013: “Dictatorships not only brainwash and isolate people, they also distort people on the cellular level for generations. That is a crime against humanity. Outsiders and even privileged insiders usually “somehow” fail to see that. Change makers in these countries are mostly regarded as strange and are powerfully hindered by the conformist masses and by the rotten status quo even after the dictators are long gone.” Regina Saphier: The United States of China (Part 2)

Simon Hedlin Larsson published his article in a major magazine. Imagine an HR pro reading that article and coming up with the sad conclusion that he or she will never hire an “East” German IT professional again because those people are “rumored to be cheaters” (rumored because not many read the original research article and the original article in fact says much more, yet still too little). The way Simon Hedlin Larsson framed this story (“Lying commies” / “The more people are exposed to socialism, the worse they behave”) fuels discrimination and stigmatization, and he failed to express basic empathy with a traumatized “group” that is as diverse as Europe and Asia combined.

The worst Neo-Nazis in Sweden might have better politically correct table manners… I’m assuming (at least these people think that they love Sweden, while the young, liberal, expat intern apparently hates socialist Sweden and is inclined to stigmatize others)… Some of the Swedish extremists are being pushed out of Sweden to fuel extremist right groups in Hungary… in a country with a very fragile social and political immune system… Plus, Hungary wasn’t so lucky financially and economically as the East Germans were… “Communist” Hungary did not have a “Capitalist” Hungary to pour money into the recovering and devastated economy after 1989… Just how “dishonest” would the average Hungarian be during Ariely’s dice game? (I know Hungary was called The Happiest Barrack… but still…) I even give you this assumption: Mr. Larsson quit Sweden because he so powerfully hates the socialist tendencies of his motherland. Mr. Larsson is a big fan of liberal capitalism, and he is probably a democrat. Telling you the truth, I dislike all of the political and social systems discussed in my blog. When I think about options like the “Unconditional Basic Income”, I am thinking about options to restore Basic Human Dignity and let people explore new avenues in their lives. (Regina Saphier: Unconditional Basic Income) I strongly believe that technological abundance, an optimal unconditional basic income, and free online learning will lead to some very important and positive social changes.

Wait! Why are West Germans still cheating in such a simple game?

In the end I ask you, and here I refer back to my example of not devouring primates in the rainforest with the tribe you are visiting: Why are “West” Germans still fond of social “monkey eating” (cheating and lying for no good reason during a meaningless game)? Mostly well adjusted human beings use white lies to keep a healthy social balance, but: Why do people with a high standard of living, high income and no recent trauma caused by a dictator still cheat on a silly game? To me, this is the real question! And this is the kind of irrational behavior that Dan Ariely truly likes to explore. Therefore the right questions are these: How come “average” people are only twice as likely to cheat after so much past suffering and readjustment stress? Is it not possible that the truly irrational behavior happens when people without recent or inherited trauma, and with optimal income still cheat during a meaningless game?

It is simply not true that the original research article does not say a thing about the reasons. On page two and in the “Discussion and Conclusion” section there is an explanation saying that there was extensive scarcity, citizens were constantly observed, followed, interrogated, and freedom of speech was not a viable survival strategy. However, for no good reason the researchers keep saying that it was socialism that resulted in distorted human behavior. Again, in my opinion this is wrong. Socialism without a corrupt dictatorship does not result in lying and cheating. If you grew up in Sweden (like Simon Hedlin Larsson did) where democratic socialism is dominant, you should know this. It is dictatorial socialism or dictatorial anything (mostly) that distorts people… but even more precisely it is corrupt dictatorships that are inherently dishonest. But have you seen how people are distorted by unregulated market economies and capitalism? I have seen the change. Both systems are powerfully distorting, dishonest, and misguided.

Let’s see: Surveyance is present in the US, scarcity is present in African countries, preference for the common good is present in Japan, utopian socialists built the Kibbutz system in Israel. Cubans and North Koreans live in two different kinds of dictatorships (Cuba is now a bit like Hungary was a few decades ago, while North Korea is a bit like former East Germany+The GULag, so N. Korea is much worse).

Look at North Korea and South Korea

There you have it: try to compare the honesty and dishonesty levels in N. and S. Korea. What does an active dictatorship do to people’s morals compared to the hyper competitive capitalist side of the same nation? You will see that those living (or having lived) in the North Korean dictatorship (and perhaps escaped… note: cheating and lying… note: to survive…!) will show a heightened level of motivation for cheating and lying (even the next generation). (Note: Forces that make South Koreans be so extremely suicidal might have some surprising impact on morals… Nothing is black and white…) The difference won’t be related to communism, nor to socialism, and not even to capitalism itself. The difference will show strong correlation with oppression, scarcity, anxiety, shame, alienation, stories of mysteriously vanished relatives and friends, forced labor camps and public executions… in other words powerful and regular stressors… and so with epigenetic changes… even changes in the microbiome… and with differential neurological development… and survival strategies observed within families and in a society. I would never judge a North Korean refugee for his or her understandable paranoia and hardly unlearnable visceral reactions. Would you? I would want to talk about this, I would want North Korean refugees to get help. Of course I would also want to know that people make conscious efforts to overcome the powerful inclination to distort the truth and/or cheat. At the same time those without the traumas need to learn what happened to traumatized people and be as compassionate as possible.

To quote my 2013 article again (Regina Saphier: The United States of China (Part 2)): “… look at citizens in Germany, so close to each other (not apart like the US and China). People in the eastern part are very different from the people in western Germany. Decades of epigenetic changes due to a long era of suffering, fear, stress, anxiety and lack of resources and lack of freedom don’t disappear from one day to the other. At least two generations have to go before people in Germany start to look similar and indistinguishable again.” I called this process in my article “PSCS”: “post-system change syndrome”. If it is easier for you, look at East Germans and North Koreans as victims of a mass kidnapping that lasted for decades. Look at them as former and present day hostages of a politically sociopathological system. Don’t be sorry for them, don’t discriminate, don’t judge, rather learn to ask: “What happened to you?” Learn to be compassionate and listen. (You might also like to read Part 1: Regina Saphier: The United States of China)


It was not primarily the economic context that impacted East Germans’ honesty. It was rather the corrupt political layer that impacted the culture (note: I am sure not everyone internalized this culture). If you have a political leadership that is not corrupt, you have a completely different game (Singapore is supposed to be one of the least corrupt countries with a strong economy and it does utilize elements of a dictatorial system). Composing the wrong hypothesis in this case is similar to comparing a rich kid who lives in a well to do neighborhood and a poor kid who lives in a poor neighborhood and ignoring the fact that the poor kid experienced domestic violence, as did his or her parents, while the rich kid and his or her family did not. First, I only assumed that The Economist simply permitted a young journalist to be the five year old running around with scissors in a supermarket, but while this is true, at the same time the researchers simply came up with the wrong hypothesis or the wrong conclusion, and were negligent in their analysis. Look what happens when research based on a misguided and superficially defined hypothesis ends up in the hands of a badly mentored Economist intern. (Who financed the study by the way? What was the purpose?)

There is a reason why I stopped reading The Economist many years ago. I also find it dishonest that the articles appear without the names of the authors. I only know the name of this author because he used to be my first degree connection on LinkedIn (until he noticed my open criticism… after that he simply deleted me… how “convenient”… but not my loss actually). I publish with my full name everywhere. Who is dishonest now? The woman with a face and a name who grew up in a former “communist” state (while it fell apart), or the international magazine publishers with capitalist backgrounds and their faceless and nameless writers?

Sweden’s democratic socialism does not make one dishonest (if you have the right culture). East Germany’s corrupt dictatorial socialism did distort people (without the right culture), while it pretended to be communist. But hey, what do I know, I’m just an independent thinker and blogger taking the time to actually think and write about the world we live in.

Tomorrow is the 58th anniversary of the Hungarian uprising that happened in 1956. Warning: Hungary today shows signs of a corrupt dictatorship in the making. The fact that the leaders of the past did not go away and the leaders of the present got their power during the global economic crisis makes this a very dangerous situation on the eastern edge of the European Union in a poor country with a very thin layer of European culture, a high number of people living in the underclass, while members of the middle class, the upper class and intellectuals (left and right) are migrating to richer and much more developed countries. The European Union must stop giving free money to the corrupt Hungarian leadership in the form of EU grants. It is imperative for the EU to introduce the Unconditional Basic Income on a European level in member states like Hungary to give the freedom of choice and power to the citizens to be able to free themselves from the corrupt leaders and to live an honest and productive life. The money is there, only the channels of distribution must be changed. We don’t want to go back in time. We want to go forward, face the future with optimism and build a healthier culture.


Blogs written by Regina Saphier that you might like:

Virtual Humanism

My Coursera Blog

My TED Blog


Saphier Regina: Physique Sociale avagy Társadalmi Fizika


Saphier Regina: Physique Sociale avagy Társadalmi Fizika

A “big data” (és a “big understanding”) korában újra előkerült egy réges-régi fogalom, a “társadalmi fizika”, mely a szociológia fogalmát megalkotó Auguste Comte fejéből pattant ki. Mivel ma már az emberek szinte minden lépése követhető, egészen új szinten figyelhetjük meg a társadalom törvényszerűségeit és mechanizmusait, továbbá be is avatkozhatunk.
A LinkedIn-en felmerült a téma, mely szerint a magyarországi konferenciákra nem nagyon érdemes előadóként ellátogatni… szerintem nézőként sem érdemes. A legjobb külföldi konferenciákat pedig online is meg lehet nézni. A TED fő konferenciáin minden előadó ingyen ad elő (alapos coaching-ban van részük, egyeseknek a Prezi-jét is legyártatja a TED). A motiváló az előadók számára, hogy 1. tényleg jó kapcsolatokra tehetnek szert a hosszú szünetekben, 2. ha igazán jó az előadásuk, a kiváló minőségű nyersanyagból profi virális videó lehet, ha a TED fejesei is úgy akarják (ugyanis nem minden előadás kerül fel a netre), 3. sokszor nagyon inspiráló a többi előadó is (szakmai szinergia alakulhat ki az előadók találkozásaiból), 4. az élő és csúcsminőségű online stream miatt olyan bloggerek írnak róluk globálisan, angolul, akár real time, mint pl. én (a saját kanapémon ülve, éveken át élőben tudósítottam a nagy TED konferenciákról, több száz előadásról, tehát az is közkincs lett, amiből a TED nem tett közzé videót). Megjegyzés: kb. 7 éve nem járok konferenciákra (sem előadóként, sem pedig nézőként).
Felvetődött tehát egy probléma, helyezzük szélesebb kontextusba, nézzük meg a kapcsolódó társadalmi jelenségeket, gondolatokat, és lássuk, mi lehet a megoldás.

Ha korlátolt a szponzor…

Vannak olyan konferencia előadók, akiknek érdemes fizetni, vannak, akiknek nem. Viszont mindkét csoportban vannak olyanok, akik mondanak néha nagyon érdekes, friss dolgokat, de ez teljesen kiszámíthatatlan. A digital media használatának szinte teljes hiánya a hazai konferenciák kapcsán megdöbbentő (a TED példát ezért hoztam fel, mert ők jól használják a digital media eszközöket… lehetne tőlük tanulni). Pár hónapja már majdnem rávettem magam, hogy ellátogassak egy online oktatási konferenciára a Magyar Telekom székházába, de mivel “beszólt” az egyik szervező, hogy ne tegyek saját és teljesen releváns online oktatási blog linkeket a konferencia üresen kongó facebook oldalára (később az egyik szervezőket koordináló személy elnézést kért tőlem, de addigra már nem volt mit tenni), újra teljesen elment a kedvem a személyes megjelenéstől, még azelőtt, hogy elindultam volna (átjött a helyi “értékrend” és sötétség, ami taszító és baromira felidegesít, ezért nagy ívben kerülöm)… Persze online nem lehetett előadásokat nézni, annak ellenére sem, hogy a Magyar Telekomnál gyűltek össze, és az online tanulás volt a téma. Utólag sem tettek fel videókat… mert egyszerűen nem készültek videók… nesze nekünk kommunikációs stratégia, ha korlátolt a szponzor… Lefogadom, hogy tele volt a terem videóképes okostelefonokkal is… Ha nincs az épületben ingyen wifi… nincs online konferencia stream… és nem kerülnek fel videók… kinek a szégyene ez? Megmondom én a kedves olvasónak, hogy ne kelljen ezen a fejét törnie, R. Iván kommunikációs igazgató szégyene… víziótlanság, fantáziátlanság, kicsinyesség és lustaság, provinciális multi szinten, és ezért még fizetést is kap… az ilyen emberek könnyen lesznek Magyarországon felsővezetők… nem a tehetség, nem a szorgalom, nem az ész, nem a szív, nem a jó szándék a mérvadó, hanem a bulizási képesség… az ilyen jellegű haverok nyomják egymást egyre feljebb… Hihetetlen, hogy még olyan kapcsolati hálók metszetében sem képesek a digitális média és a telekommunikáció eszközeit profin használni egy konferencia hozzáadott értékeként, mint a telekom szektor és az online oktatási szektor. Ez nem lehet pénz kérdés egy telekom cég esetében.

Amire érdemes időt szánni: Google+ Hangouts on Air

Ha valaki széles körben be akarja mutatni, hogy ő kicsoda, mit tud, és mit gondol, az ma ne egy zárt ajtók mögötti konferenciára áldozza az idejét, hanem érdemesebb Google Hangout-okban részt vennie, on air (amilyeneket pl. Koltányi Gergely készített a nyáron… szerintem nagyon jó kezdet, nem szabad abbahagyni, Gergely elég extrovertált hozzá, és minden résztvevőnek komolyan kellene venni ezt a lehetőséget… rendesen felöltözni, megfésülködni, rendet rakni a háttérben, kiküszöbölni a háttér zajokat, fel kell turbózni a saját netet és számítógépet, kamerát, és illik pontosan megjelenni, online is, stb.).
Nézőként sem érdemes egy unalmas, egész napos konferencián kókadozni, amikor valaki otthonról vagy egy kávéházból megnézheti élőben az egyik online konferencia szekció Hangout-ját, amint a legérdekesebb szakértők másokkal beszélgetnek. Bárki bárkivel felveheti a kapcsolatot online, vagy személyesen (akár egy újabb videót is fel lehet venni). Nem érdemes pénzért előadni egy limitált közönségnek, ha online el(ő)adhatod a tudásodat, amennyiben tényleg van rá kereslet, egy online tananyag formájában (akár angolul is). Felesleges szokványos konferenciát szervezni egy szűk körnek, amikor meetup-okat is lehet szervezni, bárkinek (akár pénzért), akit érdekel egy személyes összejövetel egy számára izgalmas témával kapcsolatban, például egy Google+ Hangout on Air alapú konferencia után. Én ebben a blogomban most arról gondolkodom hangosan, hogy hogyan lehetne a magyar társadalom útakadályait a digitális média eszközeivel, hatékonyan elhárítani.

Pentland társadalmi fizikája a big data korában avagy a társadalmi “átjárhatóság”

Egy társadalom csak akkor fejlődik, ha van átjárás a társadalmi csoportok között, ez alap “társadalom fizikai” szabály. Ajánlom ezzel kapcsolatban Alex Pentland kutatásait, előadásait és könyvét: Social Physics: How Good Ideas Spread: the Lessons from a New Science. A magyar társadalom csoportjai között minimális az átjárás, többek között ezért olyan gyenge a gazdasági teljesítmény is. Legyen pl. a konferencia prezentációs része online (mint egy TED előadás vagy egy MOOC videó), és a meetup legyen egy hatalmas, személyes “kávé szünet”, amikor mindenki leülhet és kedvére beszélgethet. Ennek van értelme. Hovatovább, a cégeken belül is ennek lenne értelme. Nem szabad az emberek csoportjait buborékokba zárni, hagyni kell, hogy együtt menjenek kávézni, lehetővé kell tenni, hogy beszélgessenek más csoportok tagjaival, megismerjék egymást és tanuljanak egymástól (erre nem alkalmasak a partik, főleg, mivel az introvertált munkatársak nem szívesen járnak bulizni).

Online névjegy

Hogy valaki érdekes ember, abból könnyen meg tudom mondani, hogy online mennyire izgalmas, amit ír vagy mond, és én csak akkor akarok vele találkozni, ha online képes tartalmas lenni vagy mond valami elgondolkodtatót (ez nem jelenti azt, hogy ne bukkannék személyesen is érdekes emberekre, de szakmai szempontból, ha valaki online nincs jelen, az ma elég gyanús és meglehetősen rossz benyomást kelt). A minap valaki online megkérdezte tőlem, hogy akarok-e egy olyan diplomamunkát bírálni tavasszal, amiben hivatkoznak az egyik tematikus blogomra. Megnéztem, hogy mit találok online a diákról és tudni akartam, hogy én mit tanulhatok tőle. Semmit sem találtam, ami bizony megdöbbentő. Ezt válaszoltam a professzorának (akitől a felkérést kaptam): “annyi közös lehet bennünk, hogy mindketten csillagpor vagyunk…”. Minek bíráljak egy szöveget, amit részben belőlem, vagyis az online megjelenési formámból ír egy önállótlan offline lény? Hasonlóképpen, minek menjek olyan konferenciákra, melyeken “egymás egyforma köldökét nézegető offline buboréklakók” beszélnek egymáshoz? Nekem többször fizettek konferencia előadóként, mint nem, de ennek ellenére ráuntam. A konferenciák a magyar társadalom összes gyermekbetegségeit hordozzák. Belterjesség és elmaradottság… a ki tudja hányadik hatványon…

Ebből a kiút a digitális média síkjaira vezet:

– Blog (nekem ez az első számú kedvencem, ha tartalmat akarok generálni, mert alapvetően egy introvertált író vagyok, és szeretek befelé figyelni),
– G+ Hangout on Air vagy egyéb eredetű YouTube videók (ez inkább az extrovertált embereknek való… én a Hangout-okat hallgatni szeretem, nem nézni, mert minek nézzek pár ringó fejet egy órán át), és
– Audio (pl. online rádió, számomra ennek a befogadása a legmeditatívabb és magam is szeretek hanganyagokat felvenni, társaságban is… jó lenne egy online rádiót létrehozni).
Az élő konferencia stream önálló kategória, de itthon sajnos nem nagyon vannak átütő konferencia előadók, akiket egész nap érdemes lenne nézni (a magyar TEDx előadókat többnyire kezdettől fogva siralmasnak találom), tehát ilyesmit inkább a TED legfelső síkján szeretek befogadni, alkalmanként négy napon át.
Hozzá kell tennem, hogy a legnépszerűbb előadók még gyakran nem tudnak azzal mit kezdeni, hogy az interjúik és az előadásaik egymás alatt jelennek meg a google-ön, és egy alapos néző hamar rájön, hogy a legjobb előadók is unásig ismétlik magukat, ahogy telnek az évek. Ha nem akarunk kiábrándulni a kedvenceinkből, ne nézzük meg az összes videót és ne hallgassuk meg az összes hanganyagot, mert nyomasztó lehet az ismétlés. Az előadóknak oda kell figyelniük erre a korábban ismeretlen problémára, és ez nem könnyű.

Online nyitás

Mindent összevetve, az izolált, offline konferenciák szokásos formájukban az elmaradottságot növelik és a magyar gazdaságot stagnáló állapotban tartják (sok más egyéb belterjességet erősítő tényezővel együtt). Van, akinek a konferenciák csak kellemetlenségek (sok üres fecsegés, széken gubbasztás), van, akinek networking események (ők az önreklámozó, feltörekvő szakemberek, akik azt hiszik, hogy itt lehet felfelé törekedni, pedig ez nagyon ritkán igaz… itt a felfelé vezető út valójában igen gyakran lefelé visz morális szempontból… szinte minden csak optikai csalódás, az örökös üzleti növekedés téveszméjéhez hasonlóan). Számomra a konferenciák minősége kifejezi a magyar társadalom állapotát, melyen mindenképpen változtatni kell. Első lépésnek az is elég, ha a jelenlegi konferenciákat Google+ Hangout-ok formájában, on Air, vagyis élőben elérhetővé teszik és mellé rendelik a meetup-ok személyes, közösségi lehetőségeit. Szintén fontos, hogy a fő social network-ökön online is induljanak a témához kapcsolódó oldalak és csoportok.
A konferenciák nyitottá tételéhez wifi, laptop, egy-két jó minőségű kamera, reflektor és mikrofon kell… no és persze jó (nemzetközi) előadók és beszélgetőtársak, akiket érdemes megnézni. Az ingyenes Hangout on Air okos felhasználása elősegítheti a gondolatok szabad áramlását, és az ideák szabad szárnyalása elősegítheti a társadalmi fejlődést és a gazdaság erősödést. A konferencia nem azért van, hogy az egyének magukat mutogassák, hanem például azért, hogy a közösség a jövőbe vezető utat közösen találhassa meg. Fontos tehát, hogy jó legyen a témaválasztás, és a konferencia címe mindenképpen legyen kifejező. A Hangout-okkal azonnal megosztható tartalmak is létrejönnek, melyek megtöbbszörözik az üzenet online (és offline) terjedési sebességét és távolságát.
Válogatott írásaimat, angolul és magyarul, a legkülönbözőbb témákban itt találod. Ha tetszik, amit írok, ne habozz reagálni, megosztani, “lájkolni”. Köszönöm, hogy elolvastad és továbbadtad.

Regina Saphier: Recovering Plutocrats: Wake UP!

First published on Aug 22, 2014 on LinkedIn.


Regina Saphier: Recovering Plutocrats: Wake UP!

I used to write a live TED conference blog for years, but I stopped (partly because I started two other blogs, about MOOCs and Virtual Humanism)… partly because I started to publish via LinkedIn.
However, I watched a TED talk recently that I wanted to share with you all (this time via LinkedIn), but not because it was brilliant. I wanted you to see how billionaires are playing with ideas like raising wages or shortening the workweek to deal with the puzzling problem of the rich getting richer (despite the recent economic crisis), the middle class getting poorer, robots replacing human workers, profits going up (again, despite the recent crisis that did not yet go away), while employment is going downIt looks like new technologies are not creating new workplaces in large enough numbers.

Raising Wages?

Nick Hanauer is your average, recovering, garden variety plutocrat who says that the US middle class needs higher wages (let me translate that for you, he means: more purchasing power) and better living conditions (the ability to spend more on housing, for example). He is a capitalist who does not believe in his own privileges at the expense of american society. “Marvelous”. He warns his fellow plutocrats that the “pitchforks” are coming if things don’t change. In other words there will be consequences when too few own too much for too long.

Nick has a point, but unfortunately he still thinks that more consumption is going to fix a society that exists on Earth that has limited resources. Nick is wrong. You cannot forever increase productivity and consumption… that strategy does not lead to a sustainable society at this point. Yet it is important that he is willing to spend more of his revenues on wages instead of a new mansion or boat and that he stands up for his views publicly (let me remind you, he needs no more money, yet raising wages in general might result in more profits for him, depending on his investment portfolio). I also like that he admits that in another country with less national economic power he would sell fruit on the side of the road, because that system has only that much economic power and not everyone gets lucky… I am sorry that his warning has to do with his own fear of lower social classes, and not so much with his conscience.

What Could Be a Truly Transformative Idea for a New Era?

Plutocrats did not make america, rather the country and mostly its middle class made the 0.01% super rich, he says. I say, the super rich and governments of developed nations could easily implement the Unconditional Basic Income or UBI idea (or in other places it is called the Basic Income Guarantee or BIG).After all, Nick so clearly argues that minimum wages can be raised significantly without having to worry about negative consequences. In fact he says that spending will make the economy healthier.
So, if that is true, why not provide people with dignified optimal income (independent of work) and let them make real choices (like opting into the open source and sharing economies as consumers and/or as entrepreneurs)? This would be a truly transformative message. However, Nick is not interested in a society of true fairness and real choices, he is interested in a society that keeps people dependent and usable (keep working for money, keep spending to keep earning, to keep spending, to keep earning… so that Nick could make even more money, even if he does not need any more of that).

A Very Expressive Chart

Here is a chart that shows how corporate profits are going up while employment is in sharp decline in the US. (I regenerated the chart that I encountered in Federico Pistono’s lecture that he held at the University of Life Sciences Oslo in Norway in 2013.) If people are losing their jobs at this rate in the US, it will soon be hard to raise wages of workers… because there will be hardly any employees to benefit from a raise in a few decades. In fact Nick’s fellow plutocrats are going to be investing into technologies that make people obsolete (they are investing in this heavily already, otherwise how did profits go up to an all time high while employment plummeted to a 1984 level by now).
Every single road of this economy leads to human work becoming more and more obsolete, now even in the middle class… There will be low level jobs that cannot be done by robots (only for a while), and there will be jobs that require high level human intuition, cognition and empathy that robots cannot replace (again, for a while). The rest of the job market will be eaten alive by automation (it is already happening). Raising wages (or shortening the workweek) of nonexistent future workers is the kiss of death in a bad dream in the long run… It is happening in the US, in China, and I suspect that most of the angry people won’t grab actual “pitchforks”. To tell you the truth I rather not start to imagine what jobless masses are going to do in our foreseeable future without income. So, forget about raising wages (or shrinking the workweek) being the only way
Nilofer Merchant looks at her son to see the future in “Digital Life in 2025 – AI, Robotics, and the Future of Jobs” (Pew Research Center, 2014):
Let me put it this way:
my son, who is 10, doesn’t think he needs to learn to drive or do grocery shopping because he says he’ll just click something to arrive. All the fundamentals of life can and will be automated, from driving to grocery shopping. Chores effectively disappear in terms of time consumption.

Shrinking the Workweek?

Recently I watched Larry Page while he spoke to Vinod Khosla (basically, one billionaire to another) and there were a few very important ideas.
Larry Page: “I totally believe we should be living in a time of abundance, like Peter Diamandis’ book. If you really think about the things that you need to make yourself happy – housing, security, opportunities for your kids – anthropologists have been identifying these things. It’s not that hard for us to provide those things. The amount of resources we need to do that, the amount of work that actually needs to go into that is pretty small. I’m guessing less than 1-percent at the moment. So the idea that everyone needs to work frantically to meet people’s needs is just not true. I do think there’s a problem that we don’t recognize that. I think there’s also a social problem that a lot of people aren’t happy if they don’t have anything to do. So we need to give people things to do. We need to feel like you’re needed, wanted and have something productive to do.”
Larry Page goes on saying: “… reduce the workweek. And then, if you add slightly less employment, you can adjust and people will still have jobs.”
I agree that not everyone has to work to provide what people need, but reducing the workweek is only a short term solution… first you will have 20 hour work weeks… next 10 hour work weeks… Whats next? The 5 hour workweek? For how much money? Based on what performance? Coming from what source? Sustaining how many people?

Giving People the Opportunity to NOT Having to Work for a Living

In my humble opinion, providing plutocrats with endless amounts of profits cannot be a viable social goal in the age of amazing technologies. Humanity as a community cannot let this happen.
There were two key ideas I strongly agree with, added by Vinod Khosla in the video.
Vinod Khosla: “I fundamentally believe we move from an economy of labor and capital to an economy of ideas. Most economists haven’t caught on to this change…”
Vinod Khosla: “Looking 40 years out, I find it hard to imagine why we won’t need to support half the population to not work but pursue other interests that are interesting to them.”

Plutocrats Don’t Appear to Know Anything About: Unconditional Basic Income

Here is where “UBI” or “BIG” should have been mentioned during the discussion, but apparently not one of the three participants knew about it. Plus, Nick Hanauer, can you hear what Vinod Khosla, your fellow plutocrat is saying? He says, that in a few decades wage based employment won’t be a priority. He is right! What are you going to do with raised wages in an era of hyper automation? What are you going to do with shortened workweeks in the age of technology based mass unemployment?
Of course I wish all people had more income (who need it) and less meaningless work (giving people the option of self development and meaning), but raising wages or reducing the workweek are very short sighted solutions in this age, based on a highly outdated market paradigm, at a never before seen level of automation that was supposed to make human life easier and more creative. How are you able to stay rich if you are so shortsighted when you believe you are a beacon? Please, wake up and look beyond your corporate bubbles, look further along the road and try connecting the actual dots.

More content regarding virtual humanism, UBI, leadership and many other topics on My Virtual Humanism Blog

Regina Saphier: Experts don’t make the future. Dreamers do!

This is a cross posting of my article “Regina Saphier: Experts don’t make the future. Dreamers do!” published via LinkedIn on August 7, 2014.

Societies in 2042? Unemployed AI developer & robotics engineer needs your unconditional support. (

Societies in 2042?
Unemployed AI developer & robotics engineer needs your unconditional support. ( written by Regina Saphier)


Regina Saphier: Experts don’t make the future. Dreamers do!

I am writing this post in response to these LinkedIn influencer posts:

Vivek Wadhwa: We’re heading into a jobless future, no matter what the government does

Vivek Wadhwa: Why We Should Believe the Dreamers — And Not the Experts

Dear Vivek!

When I challenged you a few weeks ago to think about Unconditional Basic Income (as discussed in one of my blog notes), you responded that UBI equals unemployment in your opinion and that you are not sure the world is ready for that (note: I respectfully disagree, UBI would not cause unemployment and the world is just about to be ready for UBI). It is clear based on your blog on a jobless future that in addition you believe that new technologies also lead to unemployment. So, no matter what we do, the result is more unemployment in your opinion and there is no turning back. I agree. When you now write that people should opt for 20 or 10 hour work weeks you are not far away from the 5 or the zero hour work week (that comes next). In your other blog post you say people should know that experts are getting more and more puzzled by the future and are less and less able to predict what’s coming.

I agree: Dreamers Are The New Experts

There is one tiny problem: Mostly experts have the resources, dreamers usually don’t. Experts are usually part of the establishment and like to hold on to their power. Dreamers and idealist are usually outsiders and dislike institutions. Elon Musk is a rare kind of dreamer who is also an expert with self made resources. So, we have to find a way in the future to get more resources to the dreamers who possess or are ready to acquire and build expert level knowledge and find more experts with dreamer qualities.

To quote myself: “Many people sadly assume that if you work you earn an income and that this is the only way and that it is always true. Less people are able to imagine that if you have an income then you will work on things that matter based on your initiative and your diligence (based on inner motivation). We are up against the limitations of human imagination and experiences, NOT against economics. It is not economics that defines us. We are the ones creating and defining economics with our collective imagination.” This paragraph was taken from another relevant blog note written by me… basically Part 2 of my above mentioned UBI blog post.

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. (Arthur Schopenhauer)


Isn’t it possible that sufficiently imaginative people are not very common in the field of economics? Isn’t it possible that when you suggest a shorter workweek you are stuck in an old paradigm that is completely outdated and not at all creative in terms of modern thinking? I think if we take David M. Kelley‘s principles of evoking creativity and combine his transformative methods with social issues and economics related innovation, we will be able to initiate a true paradigm shift.

For new kinds of ideas we need to discover new ways of thinking in a new era. To help you understand how silly it sounds to opt for 10 or 20 hour work weeks in the future: If Coursera or edX asked you to suggest a payment method three years ago during the planning phase (based on your latest article suggesting a drastically shorter workweek) you probably would have suggested that online students in India should pay “only” 25-50% of the tuition fee compared to American on campus students (at Stanford or at Harvard)… and so, would have completely rejected poorer talent in India based on simple personal lack of imagination, effort and courage. As we know that would ruin the entire massive model of these MOOCs, yet that would be the only thing you could come up with. I am sure in retrospect you would not want to take that kind of embarrassment upon yourself. People now have free choices for top level learning, and only exams come with a small fee (and even that can be waived). If this is possible, anything is possible. This is why either free utilities and/or (as I call it) “employment-independent optimal income” might and should be possible too (more and more of the technologies is there to make that possible) and instead of unemployment, it would mean massive open online entrepreneurship and human creativity with no existential pressure.

Serious Social Games

What we need is a new field of intuitive, compassionate and creative Social and Economic Engineering and Design or SEED, but ideally one that is not related to business, academia, party politics, nor government, rather one that is crowdsourced, that is based on big understanding of Big Data and Social Physics. Show me the numbers, the computer models, show me the online games that could test the hypothesis and trace the hidden, yet key mechanisms of positive social transformation. In EyeWire you can trace neurons, in FoldIt you can optimize proteins (these are serious online science games). I am positive there are serious game design opportunities to trace and optimally “fold” social structures, we just need to create those tools and mindsets on a global scale.

In the US the government was able to drive technological R&D. The same way, the task of the US government right now is to drive social and economic R&D. At the same time private foundations also must engage in financing social experiments that are based on careful, mindful and thoughtful research. The same is true for the EU that is now trying to shake up its economic situation, yet ignores the social elements and the ever present income inequality in eastern, southern, western and northern Europe. One day people are going to look back and think: How were people able to live during those dark ages?

What to Expect?

During my twenties I wanted the internet to provide me with information, let me exchange e-mails and chat lines and answer my questions. During my thirties I wanted the internet to connect me with the entire world, let me do research, let me express myself, let me build my online image and presence and provide me with top learning opportunities. During my forties I want the internet to find me the perfect jobs (as long as jobs are available), and provide me with an optimal income, as simple as that, independent of work in the traditional sense (in the future).

Just a Few Questions

Why do people take it for granted that facebook is perfectly welcome to earn money with our data, while we are not getting a penny? Why is it so natural that bloggers with excellent content get nothing while bad journalists earn money? Why can’t we track how our ideas pollinate the blogosphere and the mind of researchers and business people? Why is it that designers have to complain about their images being misused instead of having a solution that would make it possible for them to either receive automatic payments for every use or alternatively have their image posted with their work or website as an advertisement? How come the fitting jobs still can’t find you based on your extensive online content? How come society still thinks that creative human content writing (that can not yet be beaten by AI) should not be rewarded by the society that benefits from the producers’ inner motivation, diligence and hard work? We need more online activities that actually provide all sorts of income. We need to start squeezing more income out of the online sphere for everyone.

Social Scavenger Hunt

Here is an excellent example to tweak your attitudes and thinking regarding hidden value and access: The Bigger or Better Scavenger Hunt. This is a game college students and kids play in the US. The key idea is that you start with a small item, like a chewing gum and keep walking door to door asking for something bigger or better… like a book… or a pen drive… and in a few steps, after a few doors you might end up with a used smartphone. Imagine what you could end up with if you walked across the US… There are huge wasted assets and financial resources all over societies that need to be redistributed fairly in order to permit anyone to live an enlightened life on Earth. And developed societies must start to think about introducing Unconditional Basic Income, because when hundreds of millions of people start their grotesque jobs of 10 hours a week, what are we going to do to keep the middle class alive? And what about poor people who are without jobs already, some of them formerly known as lower or even upper middle class citizens? Everything happens so fast with technological development that we must speed up our social and financial adjustment and for that we need appropriate ideas for testing and we need to start the computer simulations yesterday to introduce the right policies tomorrow. After all, this is a social emergency!

Star Trek – Emergency Medical Hologram – “Please state the nature of the medical emergency!”

If you don’t know Star Trek Voyager: there is a brilliant holographic doctor with a slightly narcissistic personality… a gifted opera singer with the desire to be as human as possible. He is undoubtedly an important part of the starship crew and goes on all sorts of missions. Robert Picardo did an excellent job portraying a technology that appears to be human yet it isn’t. This EMH even has his own personality and his personality disorder to fit in perfectly with people. People in the story are never concerned with money, yet they aspire to do a good job, as does the Hologram. Members of the crew don’t get puzzled by the holographic team member, but they occasionally struggle with his personality traits. Very human indeed. I like this vision of a technology perfectly fitting in with humans, even having a sense of humor. And he (almost) never gets tired of asking what the emergency is…

The same way we should not get tired of asking: How are we going to sustain people in an era when human work no longer generates income? When income is a given and people still remain productive in so many ways… That should be a healthier avenue. Picture that! Please state the nature of the social emergency and use your imagination to solve it! Let us do this together.




Saphier Regina: A kutatói hazatérés ellenjavallt


Egy régi konferencia előadásom ma is érvényes szövege
Az előadás időpontja: 2007. november 9.
Corvinus Egyetem, Új épület, II. emeleti nagyelőadó
Budapest, Magyarország
Szervező: Tudományos és Technológiai Alapítvány

A konferencia címe: Nehéz ma Magyarországon tudós nőnek lenni?


Saphier Regina: Milyen nehézségekkel néznek szembe a Magyarországra visszatérő kutatók? Avagy: Térhet ide vissza érdemben Magyarországon született kutató(nő)?


Note: A 2007-ben született szöveget 2014 májusában kis mértékben aktualizáltam, de a szöveg lényegében azt tartalmazza, amit 2007-ben elmondtam, mivel sajnos nem sok minden változott… kivéve azt a beszédes tényt, hogy még több magyar állampolgár él külföldön…


Arra kértek, hogy beszéljek a hazatérő kutatónők helyzetéről, ezzel nekem nem kis gyötrelmet okozva, mert nem nagyon vannak hazatérő kutatónők. Mióta 2004-ben létrehoztam a Project Retour-t, számtalanszor elmondtam, hogy a szervezet nem a kutatók hazatérésének támogatására jött létre, mivel szerintem a számottevő kutatói hazatérés egyelőre lehetetlen (note: 2014-ben, 7 évvel a szöveg megírása után, amikor ezt az előadásomat újra közzéteszem, a helyzet mit sem változott). Személyes célom az volt, hogy felhívjam a figyelmet a hazatérő fiatal szakemberek egy részének beilleszkedési gondjaira és kerestem a megoldásokat, partnereket; de egy idő után belefáradtam a küzdelembe. A tervem az volt, hogy azokat tájékoztassuk, akik kimennek, továbbá azokat szolgáljuk, akik valamiért maguktól térnek haza, hogy egyéni hazatérésük sikerülhessen, és ne torkolljon emberi, szakmai és egzisztenciális tragédiákba. A hazatérő célcsoportban vannak nők is, vannak kutatók is, és vannak kutatónők is, de többnyire nem lehet hazatért kutatókkal kapcsolatos beilleszkedési sikerekről beszélni. Aki hazatér, az vagy feladja kutatói karrierjét, vagy olyan pénzeket hoz külföldről, melyekkel önálló kutatócsoportot indíthat el. Miért van ez így? A probléma olyan összetett, olyan sokrétegű, hogy itt csak a felszínt érinthetjük.

A Newsweek például a londoni Centre for European Reform jelentését idézte, melyben a szakértők szó szerint az akadémiai tehetségek exodusáról beszéltek (Stefan Theil: Where the future is a dead end, Newsweek 2006. június 12.). Ha megnézzük az EU egyetemeit, arra lehetünk figyelmesek, hogy bár az amerikai egyetemeknek a nyomába sem érnek, mégis elszippantják a keletebbről jövő fiatalokat. Az EU egyetemei, sem finanszírozásban, sem az öregdiákok támogatónak való megnyerésében, sem kutatási cikkek, sem infrastruktúra, sem az iparral való kapcsolatok terén nem tudják felvenni a versenyt az USA egyetemeivel. A The Economist 2005. szeptember 10-én „The Brains Business” címmel elemzést közölt a felsőoktatás globális helyzetével kapcsolatban. Ebben a világ első 500 egyeteme között, az első tízből nyolc amerikai, és kettő brit volt. Valahol a kétszázadik és háromszázadik között szerepelt a Szegedi Tudományegyetem, és valahol a 400-dik és 500-dik között volt az ELTE (állítólag a BME is ott szerepelt, de én nem találtam a hivatalos online listán). Az első ötvenből harmincöt amerikai volt. A BusinessWeek 2004. decemberében „Rich College, Poor College” címmel az amerikai elit egyetemek forrásteremtési őrületéről számolt be. A Harvard, a világranglista abszolút első helyezettje (persze ranglistája válogatja), 1999­-ben lezárult kampánya során két és fél milliárd dollárt könyvelhetett el (akkor, mert azóta azért más egyetemek elhúztak mellette). A Harvard meglévő alapja több mint 22 milliárd dollár volt. Tessék mondani, hol rúgunk mi itt labdába? (Note: Azóta a Stanford rekordot döntött, 2012-ben 1 milliárd dollárt gyűjtöttek, a gazdasági válság hatásainak dacára.)

Hadd világosítsam fel a hallgatókat (és az olvasókat), hogy Magyarország sehol sincs a világ kutatói palettáján, tehát a hazatérő kutatónők nem a fényes karrier reményében jönnek haza, hanem pl. családi kényszer, vagy honvágy hatására, ahogy más szakember társaik is. Van, akinek lejár a munkavállalási engedélye, van, akinek az idős szülei betegednek meg, van, akinek a főnöke nem képes elég kutatási támogatást szerezni, megint más egyszerűen nem érzi jól magát a “külföldi” (sokszor nyomasztó) szerepében. Egy átlag svéd úgy tekint egy magyar állampolgárra, mint egy átlag magyar állampolgár egy indiaira. Az előítéletek ma még nagyon keményen meghatározzák az emberi kapcsolatokat. A nagy “multikulti” és politikai korrektség felszíne alatt az USA pl. egy meglehetősen rasszista ország. Ez van.

Hadd közöljem, hogy olyan Európai Parlamenti képviselőink voltak (és nyilván vannak és lesznek is), akik kint-létük során  ébrednek csak rá, hogy a német egyetemek NEM a világ élvonala (konkrétan Fazekas Szabolcs, MSZP-s európai parlamenti képviselőről van szó… bár ő nem lényeges, de a tudatlansága jellegzetes). Ilyen emberek engem ne képviseljenek Európában. Jelzem, soha sem párt-politizálok, és soha sem voltam magyar egyetem munkatársa. Önálló, független, civil ember vagyok. Olyan “vezetőink” vannak, akik azt sem tudják, mihez viszonyítsanak, és hol tartanak. Nehéz így haladni és reális célokat kitűzni, továbbá, ebből következően, nyilván, lehetetlen az irreális célokat elérni. A világ élvonalbeli kutatóintézetei, egyetemei az USA-ban vannak, és pl. Ázsiában.

Hadd jelezzem, hogy a Harvard Egyetem, vagy pl. a Johns Hopkins Egyetem kutatási forrásai a hazai, országos és teljes kutatásra fordítható költségvetésünkkel vetekszenek. Hogy kiszakítsam Önöket a GDP arányos K+F számok bűvöletéből, konkrétan, pl. amikor hazánk 1999-ben 330 millió dollárt költött kutatás fejlesztésre (forrás:, a Harvard Egyetem 326 millió dollárt költött R&D-re. A Johns Hopkins Egyetem, melynek egy ideig dolgoztam: 874 milliót, a University of Michigan, melynek campus-án egy ideig laktam: 508 milliót, a Columbia Egyetem, ahol a masters fokozatomat szereztem: 279 millió dollárt költött kutatásra és fejlesztésre 1999-ben. (DATA SOURCE: Academic Research and Development Expenditures: Fiscal Year 1999, National Science Foundation/Division of Science Resources Studies, Expenditures at Universities and Colleges, Fiscal Year 1999; Table B-32. Total R&D expenditures at universities fiscal years 1992-1999; p. 102; note: These data do not include R&D expenditures at university-administered federally funded research and development centers. See tables B-73 and B-74.) (A dollárt akkor átlagosan 237 forinton váltották az szerint). Eszembe nem jutna Magyarország nevetséges R&D kiadásait az USA R&D kiadásaihoz mérni, és világosan látszik, hogy miért átverés, amikor a kutatás fejlesztési kiadásokat a GDP arányában fogalmazzák meg. Kicsit lejjebb majd frissebb adatokat is közlök.

Az USA-ban több ezer egyetem van! Hadd emlékeztessek arra, hogy erős gazdaság nélkül nincs átütő kutatás, mert ha nincs tőke, akkor nincs miből kutatni, ha nincs felvevő piac, akkor nincs hol megvalósulni az innovatív eredményeknek. Amíg a gazdaságunk meg nem erősödik, addig nincs számottevő kutatói hazatérés. Amíg az EU kizárólag agyelszívási forrásnak tekinti az újonnan csatlakozott országokat, addig szintén nem beszélhetünk kutatói hazatérésről. És akkor még meg sem említettük, hogy a Newsweek 2007. augusztus 20-27. közötti száma alapján már nem is nyugatra kellene néznünk, ha picinek és elmaradottnak akarjuk érezni magunkat: Global Education, The Race is On – Rivalry Among Top Schools is Fiercer Than Ever – And the West May be Losing its Lead. Erről már nem is akarok beszélni, mert hamarosan egymás vállán fogunk zokogni. (Note: 2014-ben már két éve azzal kellene itthon foglalkoznia az egyetemi vezetőknek, hogy hogyan hasznosítsák a Massive Open Online Course jelenség adta lehetőségeket. Ehelyett nagyjából tudomást sem akarnak venni róla, pedig pl. a Coursera és az edX a világ legjobb egyetemeinek kurzusait teszi elérhetővé ingyen és online.)

Miért tobzódtam idáig a milliárdokban és a milliókban? Miért hasonlítom hazánkat egy amerikai egyetemhez? Miért hozok fel 1999-es példákat? Azért, hölgyeim és uraim, mert a csapból is az a butuska szöveg folyik itthon, hogy majd így meg úgy lesz versenyképes az EU tíz éven belül és benne hazánk. Nos, maradjunk abban, hogy sajnos nem leszünk versenyképesek, mert közel 6 év alatt a lépték nem változott érdemben: a Harvard 2005-ben 447 millió dollárt költött R&D-re, a University of Michigan 808 milliót, a Columbia Egyetem 535 millió dollárt, hazánk 1 milliárd dollárt, de pechünkre a Johns Hopkins 1,5 milliárd dollárt áldozott ugyanerre, és persze, sokat köszönhetünk a dollár romlásának, 2001. szeptember 11-nek és a statisztikusok misztikus számkezelésének (források: és Annak ellenére, hogy a hazai nemzeti R&D kiadásunk 1999 és 2005 között megháromszorozódott, ennek ellenére van (nem is egy) olyan amerikai egyetem, amelyik lényegesen többet produkál, mint hazánk. Akkor hogyan is akarunk versenyképesek lenni az USA-val való összevetésben? Ne hazudjunk magunknak, mert akkor nem tudunk majd kivitelezhető, reális célokat kitűzni. EU-s egyetemi számokkal nem vacakoltam, mert minek is, ha nincsenek a kutatási és felsőoktatási világtérképen (kivéve Oxford-ot és Cambridge-t)? Továbbá beszédes, hogy mindenütt arról áradoznak, hogy mi van az R&D spending-gel a GDP százalékában, és nagyon ügyelnek arra, hogy minél kevesebb konkrét adat jelenjen meg, euróban, egyetemekre lebontva. (Note: Az eredeti szöveget a 2008-as válság előtt nem sokkal írtam… és a válság biztosan nem használt nekünk…)

Mint tudjuk, az USA-nak van az egyik legnagyobb és technológiai szempontból legerősebb gazdasága a világon (vannak persze olyan országok, melyekben az egyének átlagosan többet keresnek, mint pl. Norvégiában). Az USA egy főre eső GDP-je 43.500 dollár volt 2006-ban. Mint ismeretes, az EU nem ilyen erős gazdasági térség, és ugyan átlag GDP-je 2006-ban 29.900 dollár volt, sajnos országról-országra a GDP per fő 7.000 és 69.000 dollár között van, a terület nyelvi szempontból heterogén, történelmi okokból feszült, és emiatt igen nehéz célokat kitűzni és elérni. (forrás: CIA – The World Factbook) Ezért is nevetséges, amikor azt olvasom az, hogy: „Produktivitätswachstum: EU überholt USA”. Avagy a termelékenység növekedése: az EU megelőzi az USA-t. Már megint egy növekedési ráta, a valós adatok, és a konkrét számok helyett. Vagyis a szalagcím szerint, “gyorsabban futunk” EU-ként, mint az USA, de persze csak átmenetileg, és nem ugyan azon a versenypályán, nem ugyan annyi tőkéből, nem ugyan olyan cipőben és teljesen más közegben.

Ezek számomra közhelyek, de mégis, amikor 2002-ben, lelkes, friss Ivy Leage diplomásként hazaérkeztem, éppen ebben az önámító hazai közegben, megszűntem alakuló kutatónői mivoltomban; pedig azon az úton haladtam, mely sokoldalú, kvalitatív, elemző szakember kineveléséhez vezethetett volna, és már volt némi (szellemi, anyagi és társadalmi) tőke belém fektetve, hogy úgy mondjam. Amikor 1999-ben már Corporate Social Responsability-t említettem az egyik (angliai) diplomamunkámban, itthon még kevesen tudták, hogy az micsoda. Túl zabolátlan és szabad vagyok én ehhez a rendszerhez? Vagy a rendszer siralmasan elmaradott? 2003-ban még magyaráznom kellett a „brain drain” kifejezést a Népszabadság hirdetésszerkesztőjének, aki inkább szerződést szegett volna, de halált megvető bátorsággal, nem jelentette meg az általa dehonesztálónak ítélt agyelszívó ország kifejezést és szerinte a „brain drain” „valami az álommal”… Beleakadtam az elmaradottság és az érdekek ága-bogába, és már rég letettem róla, hogy szervezett formában folytassam itthon tanulmányaimat, a rendszer korlátoltsága, rugalmatlansága, és szögletessége miatt. (Note: 2014-ben már eszem ágában sincs azon gondolkodni, hogy mit kezdhetnék a hazai egyetemekkel, hanem egyszerűn online tanulok, angolul, ingyen, ha valami érdekel, pl. a Coursera vagy az edX oldalain, és magam közlöm le a saját gondolataimat a blogjaimon, főleg angolul, és nem érdekelnek a hazai sajtótermékek és a korlátolt szerkesztők.)


Magyarán, senkinek a csicskása nem kívántam lenni, főleg ingyen és perspektíva nélkül nem. Miért gondolja bárki, hogy megéri például egy 25 vagy 50 ezer dolláros amerikai diplomával itthon havi 180 ezer forint bruttóért kepeszteni? Persze ez csak a diplomához vezető kreditek pénzértéke, ebben nincsenek benne a könyvek, a szállás, az élelem, az utazás és ruházkodás költségei (hozzáteszem, az USA-ban olcsóbb a ruha és az élelmiszer, továbbá minden kiadvány elérhető, amiről itthon csak álmodozunk). Nem véletlen, hogy szóba sem kerül az Amerikában diplomázott magyar orvosok hazatérése, hiszen nekik 100 ezer dollárnyi adósságot kell törleszteni, hacsak nem kaptak ösztöndíjat, de még akkor is lesz mit visszafizetniük. Aki ma hazajön, nagyon is józanul, befektetést lát a végzettségében, és sejti, hogy itthon ez a befektetés nem térülhet meg, főleg kutatóként nem. Vagy hadd idézzem az itthon, angolul (véletlenül) megvásárolható: Immigrants – Your Country Needs Them (Philippe Legrain) könyvet: „The disparity in wages between rich and poor countries is so huge that university graduates from poor countries are often better off financially driving cabs in rich countries than doing graduate work in their country of origin.” Gondolom, hogy mindenki kapásból értette az angol szöveget, és ha mégsem, akkor nem velem van a baj, és igen, ez burkolt célzás volt arra, hogy milyen rosszul állunk itthon angolul jól beszélő szakemberekből, mert nem elég angolul makogni. Ez a rendszer engem mindig kivetett magából, míg Amerikában élvezhettem az egyetemi infrastruktúra minden előnyét, és szabadon alkalmazhattam interdiszciplináris szemléletemet. Nem vagyok ezzel egyedül. A hazai közeg üzenete: kívül tágasabb. Ezt negatív felhang vagy rosszindulat nélkül csak én mondhatom, senki más, mert a sikeres hazatérés számomra prioritás, és én voltam az egyetlen ember ebben az országban, 2004-ben, akinek eszébe jutott ezzel kapcsolatban non-profit szervezetet alapítani.

Tehát mi is van a hazatérő nőkkel a tudományban? Ritkák, és nincsenek jó hazai tapasztalataik. Konzervatív, önző közeg ez a hazai, klasszikusan rövidlátó tendenciákkal, férfiuralommal, izolált és belterjes társadalmi buborékokkal. Parlamentünkben minimális a képviselőnők aránya. Akadémiánkon a nő ritka, mint a fehér holló. Álljon itt még néhány személyes tapasztalat: Amikor én pl. anno az ELTE-n érdeklődtem, hogy doktorálhassak, az egyik férfi tanszékvezető válasza ez volt: “Mit keresne a kis ELTE-n egy Columbia Egyetemet végzett nő?” Mit is mondhatnék erre? És mit mondjak, amikor a CEU-n furcsa mód, mintegy véletlenül, pont a Columbia Egyetem-i ajánlóleveleimet veszítették el, amikor évekkel korábban oda jelentkeztem, gender doktori képzésre. De említhetném mindjárt a Corvinus egyik professzorát, aki szerint a hazatérőkről írt első angol nyelvű cikkem, melyet a saját magam által létrehozott szervezet, saját portálján keresztül kutattam, a saját sajtómunkám hatására épített globális közösségben, nos szerinte munkám nem üti meg egy doktori iskolába kerülés színvonalát hazánkban. Azért megnyugtató, hogy szerinte „kiváló policy szociológia”, amit műveltem. Lehet, hogy inkább ezt kellett volna elmondanom a BBC World-nek adott angol interjúmban. Ha a hazai szokásoknak megfelelően összelopkodtam volna mások eleve összeollózott munkáiból, referencia megjelölések nélkül, akkor megfelelt volna a munkám? Az eredetiség itt nem érdem? Vagy említhetném a Corvinus egyik releváns tanszékét: kértek tőlem egy speciális kollégium kurzus tervet, amit én el is küldtem, de soha nem kaptam rá választ. Valahogy az istennek nem akar befogadni ez a közeg, és céljainak megfelelően, hol lebecsül, hol túlbecsül, de a valódi értékem mellékes számára. Évek alatt az embernek elege is lesz ebből. És még akkor arra intettek, hogy ne legyek dühös és fogjam vissza magam. (Note: 2014-ben már nemhogy nem vagyok dühös, de nem is gondolok rájuk, csak azért teszem közzé ezt az írást, mert kaptam egy hazatérői kérdést e-mailben, és mert láttam egy fórum vitát valami kormányzati hazugságról, hogy milyen világszínvonalúak az egyetemeink, ami egy röhejes baromság…) Lehet, hogy csak a „besitzbürgertum” találkozik a „bildungsbürgertum”-mal? A társadalmi és „kulturális tőkés szellemi elit” ütközik a magának helyet követelő, nem kevésbé jó képességű „pénztőkés (szerű) elit”, másfajta, jóval praktikusabb elméletiségével? (Note: Ha annyit kaptál az élettől, hogy nem kell mások baromságait egy idióta főnök formájában eltűrnöd, akkor már nagyon szerencsés vagy és egyben sokaknak félelmetes is!) Lehet, hogy a hazai felsőoktatás elefántcsonttorony lakói még nem vették észre a doktori fokozat globális elterjedését és a gyakorlatias, vezetők esetében alapvető, újfajta doktori fokozatok megjelenését? Research Doctorate versus Professional Doctorate, avagy kutatási doktori áll szemben a professzionális doktorival; az egyik esetben eredeti kutatási eredményekkel kell hozzájárulni a területhez, míg a másik esetben a létező kutatási eredmények megismerése és gyakorlati alkalmazása a meghatározó. Ma már a doktori nem kellene, hogy azt jelentse: néhány kiválasztott belépőjegyet váltott az elefántcsonttoronyba. Lassan már a doktori fokozat is megkérdőjeleződik… ahogy megváltozik az oktatásról és a tudásról alkotott képünk. Ki kellene nyitni a felsőoktatásunkat, mert lemaradunk, ahogy a világ felsőoktatás-üzleti trendjeit elnézem… Mert ma már, a felsőoktatás: üzlet; ha tetszik, ha nem.


De, hogy az egyes emberek szintjén is megnézzük a tapasztalatokat (és elrugaszkodjak az általánostól és a személyestől), egyik esettanulmányom nőnemű kutató alanyának történetéből merítenék. (Az angol tanulmány olvasható volt a Project Retour portálján, míg végül támogatás híján le nem állítottam a szervert.) A hazatért, Harvardot végzett kutató-orvosnővel kávét főzetett a nőnemű felettese. Kardiológus társaival egy kanadai szívgyógyász egyesület online oktató programjával “önképeztek” rezidens korukban, mert a főleg férfi professzorok, “nem pazarolnak időt” a tudás átadására. Kutatói karrierje nyomtalanul szívódott fel, amint átlépte az államhatárt. Bostonba visszatérve konstatálta, hogy két év alatt annyira tönkretették Magyarországon, hogy már nem képes ugyan úgy bekapcsolódni a kinti kutatói lüktetésbe, haladásba, mint hazaérkezése előtt. Maratoni távokat könnyedén lefutó, kimagaslóan tehetséges nőről beszélünk, mind fizikai, mind szellemi értelemben. Hazaérkezése előtt boldog, kreatív ember volt… arról beszélt, hogy micsoda új érzés volt, amikor kint emberszámba vették, és szakmailag felbecsülhetetlen tudás birtokosává tették. “Mintha Amerikában a megfelelő virágföldbe ültettek volna, kivirágoztam.” – mondta. Azért jött haza, hogy tegyen a saját hazájáért, és átadja a tudást. Naiv volt és idealista, és elvesztegetett tehetség lett. Egyik online kutatásomból az derült ki, hogy a férfiak hajlamosabbak lennének hazajönni, de a nők mégis gyakrabban jönnek. Szakmai üvegplafon mindenütt létezik, még az USA-ban is harcolnak ellene. Ennek a most bemutatott fiatal nőnek azonban nem az üvegplafon okozott gondot, mert Amerikában zöld kártyát és állást ajánlottak neki, hogy ott-marasztalják. Itthon el sem juthatott volna az üvegplafon jelenségig, mert már korábban megrekedt és ellehetetlenedett.

Véleményem szerint, most, a hazatérés során nem az a kérdés, hogy nő, vagy férfi az illető kutató, hanem az, hogy valóban hazatérő, vagy sem, ismer-e valakit a cél egyetemen, és hogy van-e a területén EU forrás, grant, bármi, amivel majd befogadják. Magyarán, ha hozol pénzt, és közben meghunyászkodsz, akkor haza is jöhetsz akár, de fúrni fognak a kollégáid, ameddig a szem ellát a tanszéken. A főnököd pedig szinte biztosan féltékeny lesz rád és egy idő után, ott tesz majd neked keresztbe, ahol csak tud, főleg, ha nem hazatérő. (Tisztelet a kivételnek.) A konkrét eseteket maguk a hazatérők meséltél el nekem, évek alatt, a klubjainkban. A hazai „bildungsbürgertum” (az értelmiség), amelyik nem engedi be a rendszerbe a hazatérőket, mert nem akar versenyt, és bizonyos pozíciók fölé nem engedik a nőket… nos épp ez az értelmiségi csoport felelős az ország jelenlegi rossz helyzetéért, akár jobb, akár baloldali (mind 2007-ben, mind 2014-ben).


Nem engedik ki a kezükből a hatalmat, és megfojtják a fejlődést. Nőket csak akkor engednek közel a tűzhöz, ha azok egyetemi szolgák (tanársegédek), családtagok, rokonom, vagy szeretők. És persze, hogy nem az ő szárnyaik alatt cseperedő kutatónőkről beszélek a hazatérés kapcsán. Aki a tanszékről kiment kicsit külföldre, nem tekinthető kapcsolatrendszerét vesztett, vagy másik területre átképződött, tartósan külföldön élő kutatónak. Ez is érdekes feladat, ezeknek az árnyalt, definiált megkülönböztetése, de ezt meg definiálgassa az, aki számottevő ösztöndíjat kap érte. Hozzáteszem, ismerek tehetséges nőket ebben a rendszerben, akik valóban saját tehetségüknek és szakmai közegük intelligenciájának köszönhetik az előrejutást, de ezek a nők nem állnak valami jól anyagilag, és nem sok beleszólásuk van a dolgok menetébe. Vagy már régen nincsenek itthon. Nem tagjai, nem is lehetnek tagjai a kialakult „férfikluboknak”. Nem járunk ugyanis tömegesen horgászni, vadászni, golfozni, vagy sörözni. Üzeneteinkkel csak formabontóan és gátlástalanul juthatunk át a zajon, de arra lettünk nevelve, hogy legyünk csendben, legyünk türelmesek és szolgáljuk a társadalom hím tagjait. Ha nem ilyenek vagyunk, akkor gondoskodni fognak róla a hatalommal rendelkezők, hogy néhány jól irányzott fenékbebillentés, vagy éppen némi tapizás, ajánlattétel után megtudjuk, hol a helyünk a szexista rendszerükben. Hazatérő nőként talán határozottabban kérjük ki magunknak, ami aztán tovább rontja az esélyeinket (itthon).


Mindent összevetve, kedves hazatérni szándékozó fiatal kutatók, kutatónők: ne térjetek haza, ha kedves az életetek, és fontos a szakmai fejlődésetek és sikeretek. Főleg ne próbálkozzatok, ha nem vagytok feudális rendszerhez szokva, és megadatott, tehetségeteknél fogva, hogy világszínvonalon kutathassatok. Gyűrjétek le a honvágyat, látogassatok haza kellően rövid időre, és szorítsátok össze a fogatokat, amikor külföldiként aláznak meg és néznek levegőnek benneteket, mert összehasonlíthatatlanul rosszabb, ha az embert a saját hazájában alázzák meg, miután hazatért. És ezt olyan valaki mondja, aki több év után hazajött, évekig itthon maradt, foggal-körömmel, és a hazatérés érdekében, nonprofit szervezetet alapított, továbbá igyekezett itthon hasznosítani a külföldön elsajátított tudást. Én szeretném a legjobban, ha itthon tudnátok érvényesülni, de ahogy egy pénzügyi szakember, vagy egy informatikus itthon akár meg is tudhat élni (főleg akkor, ha külföldről fizetett munkája van), úgy egy kutatónak ez majdnem lehetetlen feladat. Mindig tisztelet a kivételnek, mely ebben az esetben ritka és nagyon megbecsülendő! Nézzetek azonban mögé, hogy milyen árat fizetett az, aki itthon maradt, vagy visszajött, mint kutató. Ha az ár kint nagyobbnak látszik, az legtöbbször azért van, mert még nem vészeltetek át itthoni szakmai éveket.

Most említhetnék néhány sikeres példát. Ugyanakkor nem szeretném, ha ezek a példák bárkit megtévesztenének. A kutatói hazatérés – a közegellenállás, és a kinti viszonyokhoz képest alacsony kutatóintézeti színvonal, és méltánytalan finanszírozás okán – ellenjavallt. Ha nő, ha férfi az illető, mindegy. Ezzel nem azt akarom mondani, hogy ne lenne számtalan gender kérdés a probléma mögött, de ott még nem tartunk a témában, hogy erről a hazatérés síkján érdemes lenne részleteiben vitatkozni. Bárcsak már ott tartanánk. A 2001 körül Amerikában, a vezetőképes és akadémiai karriert befutó nőkről készült, és egyéb írásaim, máig a fiókban porosodnak. Szakmai sóhajom: bárcsak soha ne tértem volna haza. Nagyon emberi konklúzióm: mégiscsak itt születtem, és itt vagyok otthon.


Mindent összevetve, már nem is tudom, hogy mit akartam a doktoritól itthon. Hiszen egymagam is írhatok, olvashatok, és előadhatok. Nem kell nekem ehhez közeg, ha nincs, de milyen más lenne, ha a közeg adott lenne! És valljuk be, egy agykutató nő, vagy egy atomfizikus nő nehezebben kutat és alkot a kanapén ülve, inspiráló, együttműködő közeg, nívós kutatóintézet, stabil pénzforrás, és világszínvonalú eszközök nélkül.

Ennek ellenére, én továbbra is fontosnak tartom a szellemi és pénzügyi tőke bármilyen jellegű hazatérését és a folyamat elősegítését, de azért tudnunk kell különbséget tenni a személyek között aszerint, hogy valaki kutató vagy üzleti szakember, vállalkozó, esetleg művész, anyagilag független vagy kiszolgáltatott, lelkileg stabil vagy sem, egészséges vagy sem, jól vagy rosszul fizetett, van saját otthona vagy nincs, célszerűen felépített, erős vagy kusza és gyenge kapcsolatrendszere van, tehetséges vagy sem, fiatal vagy idős, nő vagy férfi. Ez egy bonyolult mátrix. Ha pl. sok év után hazatért, kapcsolati hálóját vesztett fiatal kutatónő az illető, lakás és anyagi lehetőségek nélkül, akkor ma ő, sajnos az egyik legkiszolgáltatottabb értelmiségi.


Regina Saphier: Futuristically Speaking

Regina Saphier: Futuristically Speaking

From robot-like human workers to human-like working robots…

I want my readers to know that my support for an Unconditional Basic Income does not come without a million questions regarding our human future. So, below, partly in response to a thoughtful comment that I received via WordPress upon publishing my Unconditional Basic Income post, I crafted this post here, contemplating our near and our distant futures, virtual currencies and the ever more obvious obsoleteness of human work as we know it. In this quick essay I am going to move back-and-forth between our near and our distant futures, and will be listing the related questions and issues. Nothing is black and white in that future.

Your (the commenter’s) points are perfectly valid. We have to keep thinking about how the UBI (the Unconditional Basic Income) could work in different countries and what the related issues are, including (digital) currencies. However, let’s state that we are talking about the basics and dignity. Scarcity (or rarity as you put it) won’t be an issue when it comes to basics when technologies (robots, nanotechnology, biotechnology, machines and algorithms in general) permit humanity to produce those basics for everyone alive virtually for free, and with minimal human input.

What is hard to answer is this: When most people are no longer needed in the long run to work, what is going to motivate most people to make an effort for anything, to become anything, or to do anything? Because today in developed countries approximately 40% of people work for money (are employed), the rest either are unemployed, married or are children (these people are dependent), or used to work for money (used to be employed or used to be married to someone who used to work) and are now getting a pension. For me it is not even the feasibility of the UBI… and not even people’s abilities that brings up question marks.

Am I naive?

The other day I have been watching a film and there were young and old people playing bingo during a church community event in the US… And I stopped to ask: Is this the future of most people with no intellectual challenges and a basic income? Am I naive to think that most people could enjoy intellectual challenges? To me it is natural to ask questions and come up with possible answers or to tell stories… I even believe that a MOOC based high quality mass education online will make more people creative and smart, and that will lead to better answers and better solutions. I believe that everyone who is cognitively appropriately functional (believe it or not: the majority of humanity) is able to learn to read and write and engage in intellectually and artistically productive activities and learning. People are not born stupid. People are kept in the dark by lack of education or by bad education. This will gradually change as quality education will be available to everyone for free. It is already happening. The best example is Coursera.

Are consumers contributing anything?

But what about those who don’t want to do anything? Or what about those who are smart, not necessarily artistic or expressive but unnecessary as workers in the economic cycle in the future? Is their only contribution being a consumer? Is that a contribution? If VAT is used as the source of UBI in that case even that is a possibility. There are people like this even today. These people spend other people’s money. But what about people like this by the billions? This is the very distant future, not our future. Yet we should keep thinking about this. What happens to these people? You mentioned acting in good faith… Are these people even capable of acting in good faith or are these individuals only mindless spenders? In that yet to be built future what does it mean to act in good faith? There are many questions to be asked and to be answered.

A new kind of economics

Futuristically speaking, in the near future, possibly in our personal future, when (and where) there is no shortage of basic goods that are necessary for a good life, and when the sharing economy is generally accepted, traditional currency has less value and exchange of skills, knowledge and creative abilities might become more interesting and a digital, virtual currency is perfect for measuring that exchange. I believe that bitcoin is interesting beyond its simple monetary features… it is interesting because it is able to directly encapsulate your intellectual performance into the virtual shape of a digital currency. Add UBI to this mix in digital currency and you have the basic components of a new kind of economics.

The Missing Temple of Human Dignity

Social media presence, our peer reviewed work, our online education, our influence on others, our good standing in the virtual public space will be a major part of our valuation in the future. Imagine if I could promote my blog with my digital UBI and my readers could click to send me extra bitcoins or some other virtual currency that could help me pay for my food, my electricity, my travels… Peer content rewarded directly by peer consumers of my intellectual input. No paypal, no bank transfer, just direct virtual reward for valued efforts. A digital barter. It only leaves the virtual space in the form of me being able to switch on the light and my laptop… or I could have a wish list online and people could purchase necessities in exchange for my intellectual input. I am posting quality blogs, readers learn, and people can send me “bits” of a new plant… “bits” of a pillow… a coupon for shoes… pay a portion of my electricity bill along with many other readers… things that I listed as needed. This is global micro crowdfunding, if you like. And everyone is fine. Unconditional Basic Dignity… as you put it… I believe in that too. It should be part of the basic community “hygiene”. I don’t need money, I need to turn my intellectual input into goods and services to live with dignity. I believe today the financial system and the religious establishment are the temples of money, and there is no temple of human dignity.

While people keep criticizing an Unconditional Basic Income as the perceived “lazy maker” of this century, there are others who find it bizarre that free work effort is taken for granted. I find the acceptance of free work without any return outrageous when someone does not have the financial basics to be able to work without financial compensation. I stopped my TED volunteer activities because I felt I was giving more to this small country that speaks Hungarian than I was gaining with my quality work within this society… the process made me feel used after a while, so I stopped (and also because of the grotesque decisions made by an overpaid TED employee a few years ago).

Asking people to work for free is exploitation when people have no income

Recently I outlined an idea for TED for example in my “Weapons of Mass Construction” blog note to make it possible for TED Open Translation Project volunteers (translators and reviewers) to earn money for their translations when they need income (because many do need and don’t have income). There are people who can afford to donate money and to donate work efforts to TED, but others “donate” work efforts while jobless and without independent income. And in some countries there is no limit to free work that people expect you to do. Samasource helps multinationals to “donate paid work” to poor countries! TED could also be a channel of “paid work donation”. It is unfair in my opinion that people work for TED for free while having no independent income of their own. It is exploitation in a way. Not the same when someone has an income or an estate, lives well and works for free as a hobby. Some people translate TED talks because their abilities are not used by their own communities and these people still want to remain intellectually active, want to learn and improve. These are often highly capable, diligent and jobless people. Their joblessness is a structural problem of the job markets, and has nothing to do with personal ability or inability to work. (Soon by the way there will no longer be a need for human translation… note: speech transcription can now be done by computers with very little human intervention…) There is volunteer inequality in this process that nobody appears to address. If all people had an Unconditional Basic Income, even this volunteer inequality would not exist.

Many people sadly assume that if you work you earn an income and that this is the only way and that it is always true. Less people are able to imagine that if you have an income then you will work on things that matter based on your initiative and your diligence (based on inner motivation). We are up against the limitations of human imagination and experiences, NOT against economics. It is not economics that defines us. We are the ones creating and defining economics with our collective imagination.

By 2050 only less than 10% of the human translators will be necessary

Again, the need for volunteer translators and paid translators might not exist in ten years at all… Let’s say that compared to 1950, in 2050 only less than 10% of the human translators will be necessary, but only to review machine transcripts and translations. What goals can you give people when intellectual challenges like a translation or article writing will be gone and most translator activities will be gone too, along with their income… Let’s say that everyone would have an independent income (UBI) and could decide what to do. But what do you do, when your abilities are no longer needed to sustain you, your loved ones, your community, production and in an extreme case: human culture? So, what I am saying is that not only will you not need to work for money, but most of us won’t be needed for work to sustain humanity. Over 90% of human beings might be without a paid job by 2050. It is a possibility. So, what will we be doing with billions of Coursera and MOOC educated citizens with no jobs? And there will be new technologies for high quality mass education by that date… and those technologies will require less and less human input.

Back to the near future

If our social media presence would carry our social and intellectual value as well, we could benefit from virtual currencies on top of our UBI via peer reward for our community efforts in the virtual space and in the so called “real world” too. I am fine with that. But what is your goal to realize during your lifetime if you no longer have to work for money… and if you no longer have to go to an office where other people work too? You won’t find any job advertisements connected to an income… in a possible future. How will you be part of a community? Remember, in the past we used to work on land, on farms, only later did people end up in factories… and now we envision a future without a central workplace. I can handle my freedom… How about you? Is it possible that less than 10% of humanity is enough to create the conditions of full social wellbeing? Do you start focusing on your family? Bringing up happy children? But for what? To make them unemployed smart people who paint marvelously and write brilliantly in a world where machines are able to paint and write just as well? Or could it be that losing interest in our lives on Earth is the natural trigger for a new goal…? Could it be that it is how people start feeling motivated to leave this planet for ever and populate other planets? Could this be the natural process if we manage to migrate before destroying ourselves on this planet? I hope that we don’t end up in an Idiocracy… just because we don’t need to face the challenges of sustaining human life and culture as we used to. I want to believe in an optimum case scenario at least in the near future. Remember: We make any of those futures and we must adapt! Those better be humanistic and well planned futures.

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Regina Saphier: Unconditional Basic Income

I am connecting imaginary and virtual “boxes” in my subconscious and I am adding my cognitive capacity, experience and knowledge. That mix is intuition in my opinion. I am not “thinking outside the box”, I am “working with a complex and flexible matrix of virtual boxes or sets”. This is “Regina’s 4X Method”. 😉 Yes, I just made this up, but it is true. (Regina Saphier: My 4X Method)
Regina SAPHIER: Unconditional Basic Income (exclusive infographic by Károly Ferkó RÓZSA)

Regina SAPHIER: Unconditional Basic Income (exclusive infographic by Károly Ferkó RÓZSA)

Regina Saphier: Unconditional Basic Income
Please, give one answer before you read my UBI blog post:

Most people think that income should be work based. At the same time most people don’t feel annoyed by most work being done for free? In fact the majority of work is voluntary and unpaid. Most income today is NOT work based, rather it is transferred income (eg.: redistributed tax money or family support). I believe it is a huge mistake to assume that income should be directly work related in developed countries. By redistributing the available funds (parts of the national budget), we could provide people with an Unconditional Basic Income or UBI if we created a smart plan in Hungary. Our Gross National Income (GNI) per capita per year is only around 9000 Euros, on the border line between developing and developed countries. (I feel that GNI is highly relevant here, this is why I am introducing this term in my essay.) That means we can work with 750 Euros per month per capita (9000 Euros divided by 12 months), and we should not give more to one person. However, anything below 500 Euros would not be a Basic Income that permits people to aim to join the middle class. Keep that in mind. And don’t worry, most people would still work, because people usually want more, it is human nature. So, we would not run out of consumers paying VAT, we would still have entrepreneurs building companies and employing people who when earning more (beyond the UBI) would also spend more and pay taxes. The money cycle would be faster and not slower, because people could try new things, and more citizens would start small businesses. In turn our per capita GNI would increase, and the UBI could be gradually increased.

Gross National Income World Bank

Gross National Income (GNI) in US dollars per capita per year (source: World Bank)

Unconditional Basic Income (UBI) was mentioned during the last election in Hungary (“Feltétel Nélküli Alapjövedelem”) and many people assumed that it was a new thing. No it is not a new idea, and no it was not invented in Hungary. I have been preparing a blog post about UBI for a while (meaning I let my subconscious work on it on its own), long before it was used in the election (by the way Thomas Paine proposed it first, over 200 years ago in the US), and now it is time for me to publish my random musings regarding UBI. I am a strong supporter of UBI, by the way. The key idea of UBI is that everyone, from small baby to old lady would get UBI even when not working, and work permits people to earn beyond the UBI. Here is what I think (I am trying to be clear to everyone so I am working with examples to explain how I see the idea).

The End of Tenure “Paralysis”: Extended, More Efficient Intellectual Competition

Imagine the US where tenure is a university professor’s dream. You get tenure and you are set for life. Now compared to the millions studying via Coursera globally for free, there are only a handful of tenured professors. When you have tenure, you can theoretically do “whatever” you want as long as your work fits the academic framework and criteria, so you are intellectually free to create, nobody can kick you out. This unfortunately often leads to loss of creativity, because you have to compete less. When you review negative arguments against Unconditional Basic Income, it is often stated by naysayers that giving everyone a basic living allowance for a dignified life without having to work would make them universally lazy. Others say that UBI would make us all more creative. Now the fact is that some tenured professors become prolific researchers, writers and teachers. Others however get lazy. Let’s see the psychology of this problem. The first type who remains diligent has inner motivation and gets into flow via intellectual accomplishments. For that person work is fun, a source of mental wellbeing. The safety of tenure makes them even more creative. Those people who get lazy after becoming tenured probably never had inner motivation, external incentives were pushing them toward tenure, like family expectations, peer competition, fame, or prestige… These people stop producing quality, original work when tenure “hits” them, because their work was not fulfilling emotionally. This does not mean that these people are inherently unable to enjoy work, it only means that they are doing the wrong kind of work (often for the wrong kind of reason).

What is the major difference between tenured professors and people getting Unconditional Basic Income?

The competition does not go away when you get UBI! Let’s imagine why this would result in revolution even in Academia… We live in the age of citizen science. You can discover galaxies from your couch online while on UBI. You can publish in open source online journals. You can also study astronomy for free via Coursera. Now you see if you discover 365 new galaxies during your “innerly motivated, constantly learning, self starter” lifetime as a citizen scientist while living on UBI and a tenured professor only discovers 36.5 galaxies during his or her lifetime, that gets noticed after a while on a high level. So, UBI would bring back competition even in the tenured professor’s life when his or her motivational source is external or these people would be able to change careers by requesting UBI and leaving their unfulfilling academic jobs. Right now many tenured professors feel that they invested so much time and effort into their tenure that they are unable to quit. UBI would give them the freedom to try something else. This would be good for everyone involved due to completely flexible professional mobility.

The Immigrant in New York, The Intellectual in Budapest

An immigrant in New York often has no choices. He or she emigrated from his or her country because in the country of origin there were no opportunities and the atmosphere was suffocating. People who need to integrate into a new culture most of the time have no choices, must do anything that looks doable for money. Not ideal. A person who does not emigrate from the same country and lives in internal exile has enormous financial difficulties while attempting to produce intellectual work on a global level. What if both had Unconditional Basic Income? None of these diligent and enterprising people would have to endure major humiliation, stress and could have choices and options. Imagine the amazing creativity that would follow! (Again, if you wish to become rich, you would still have to work.)

Many would not have to emigrate in the first place and when not emigrating these people could keep focusing on dignified intellectual and social activities. Would not have to hide in their own homes because of the crippling financial vacuum. It is draining when people keep asking what you do, and how you earn money… This is what defines you: your income generating work and your income itself. Unfortunately, not your knowledge, not your humanity, not what you can do, not what you are able to create. If you have fantastic education and no job, you are nobody. If you have a job, but no work based income, you are again nobody. If you have a job and income, but no title and status, you are nobody, no matter how smart, intelligent and productive you are in some other way. This is a terrible mentality. People will judge you, and not know that two third of work in societies is unpaid, and the majority of people don’t live on directly work related income, rather receive transfer income from the state or their own families.

People Have Different Needs

Some argue, that people have different needs and abilities. I agree. Others say let’s leave everyone alone the very same way instead of supporting most people the same way, because they believe in the free market that governs itself. I believe that free markets see profits only. But who is focusing on the social elements, on well being, on justice? In my opinion the Earth belongs to all of us, and the results of our efforts should not end up in a select few people’s bank accounts. Redistribution is the only morally acceptable choice and it must be expected of the super rich for the health of all communities.

People do have different needs, but people also have different levels of network complexity around them, different cognitive abilities, different cultures, different levels of health, different family and educational backgrounds, different creative abilities and so on. Leaving people alone in a market economy disregards the importance and impact of where the individual is within the local and the global social network. Different emotional, cognitive, social, financial needs and levels are part of the issue. One writer made fun of the new Maslow pyramid, where wifi is the most fundamental need. Of course food, water, shelter and safety are most important. But what if I told you that you can not provide these to millions of people without digital access to digital global microwork on an individual level? See? I hate to witness when white academic males argue from their limited and well served point of view (tenured thinking with no tenure in Hungary). Your reality is not my reality. I keep improving and writing even without a penny of employment related income. To me this is normal. I wish from time to time that I had UBI, because I could have more options with my creativity. If you are against UBI, you wish I did not have options. I wish you too had the option to move on from your isolated academic world for example … UBI would be marvelously useful for people with bubble thinking too.

Homelessness and UBI

Homeless people could rent a room and could purchase food and basic services… No more homelessness, no more begging, no more slave like conditions, no more public health crisis from this source. I think this speaks for itself.

The Economy

The problem is: Hungary does not have the economy, the oil, the service or IT industry that could possibly support an optimal basic income to every citizen to lift them up into the middle class. We would not be able to provide 300 000 Ft for every citizen every month (approximately 1000 Euros when I publish this blog post). It is also true that Hungary is not a huge country, and does not have over 300 million citizens creating a strong market economy like the US, neither are we wealthy Switzerland with a high-tech economy and a small population of 8 million. No. We are a small market with a language nobody else speaks on Earth, we are poor in EU terms, we have no oil or gas like Norway (the little gas we have should stay where it is to protect the environment), and there are 10 million citizens (of which approximately 500 000 expats live abroad in more developed countries).

Thomas Paine (by Laurent Dabos)

Getting Creative with UBI

Therefore I believe that the solution should be planned on an EU level, in combination with many other solutions (free online education via Coursera, global online digital work and the like). I would argue that we need an “opt in” Unconditional Basic Income in Hungary and I would combine it with tax free startup opportunities and tax free online global digital work opportunities. I would add Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to the mix for free quality higher education. If you can make a living online you might not opt into the UBI program or you might transfer your UBI to someone else. If you are able to start a global business you would only take UBI as long as you don’t generate a good income. Make UBI need based, voluntary and bureaucracy free. I mean, if I had to fill in a form online stating my name, gender, age, location, education level, and volunteer activities, I could get an algorithm tell me how much UBI I could get and the software could ask me: Do you feel the personal need at this time to opt into the UBI program? And if I hit YES, I would start getting the monthly UBI, no other questions asked. However when I have a well paying job, I personally would like to have the independent option to either stop the payment on my own, or transfer my portion to a given person I wish to support. Alternatively unclaimed UBI could accumulate for each person as a saving, and it could be inherited from family members, or it could be invested safely. Richer people could divert payment based on perceived need to others. However, I would limit that personal transfer on both sides. I could only transfer my portion to 10 other people, and I could only receive transfer from only 10 people (this could help start a high profile NGO with other people, by redistributing UBI). Non-profits could also get UBI transfer payments from individuals to support the staffing of a worthy NGO.

Looking at the UBI from an EU Point of View

From an EU point of view, spending money on people’s UBI and supporting online global work and startups makes more sense than pumping senselessly spent EU development money into a country of paralyzed citizens (paralyzed by the stress of systems change, corruption, joblessness, and a hopeless “elite”). If richer countries don’t want the economic crisis fuelled nationalism to spread from poor EU countries, an EU level UBI would be enormously liberating and healing. I am telling you, Hungary and its citizens were punished on three different occasions during the last 70 years: after WW II, during communism, and recently during the misguided system change (that did not really change the system).

Capitalism only works on a large market among ideal circumstances. So, either be a large country, or be part of a large market (like the EU). Small markets isolated by language barriers, with limited exportable goods and services don’t work well unless there is a special income source, like oil. Even in rich Scandinavia the film industry only works by combining the resources and the audiences of each Scandinavian country. Hungary does not have that kind of cooperation with its neighboring countries because culturally these countries don’t identify with one another and their languages are very different. Teaching people English and teaching them how to make money globally makes more sense than forcing them to cooperate with geographical neighbors.

Should we be Optimistic about UBI?

There is a book on optimism bias (look up the TED talk if you have no time for the book). People tend to be unrealistically optimistic about personal risks or success. If people had realistic assessments of their real outcomes, most would never start families or businesses. They tend to see large scale, long term changes in darker color (I think). This is why people are afraid of social changes and innovation, like UBI. I am optimistic when I look at the digital opportunities that this new era brings on a large scale.

It was possible to provide hundreds of millions of people globally with many free digital services in such a short time… within 10-15 years… (like Google, Gmail, G+, Facebook, LinkedIn, Coursera, edX, TED and so on). Therefore it must be possible to provide livelihood, housing, clothing, education, even work, etc… When community resources are available, access to these services does not depend on your employment, nor on your personal income. These community resources are Unconditional Basic Services if you like. These services are financed the same way as UBI should be financed. I think we are already in the process. Leila’s Samasource is an excellent example of the economic spillover impact of digital businesses. Samasource provides digital microwork to people in Africa and the US.

So, would you prefer to live in a Kibbutz? Or would you prefer to get Unconditional Basic Income (UBI) and live anywhere you like? Anywhere… and I mean wherever you like… That might be possible in the very distant future, but not today, at least not in Hungary. Let’s take UBI to the global level in the distant future. Especially interesting now that we know: Hungarian expats are sending home hundreds of millions of USD per year… I believe that UBI would open up new opportunities for people who are doing meaningless jobs to sustain themselves day in and day out. You might find that it would slow migration. Existential fear or lack of opportunities are very limiting, and people migrate to overcome those limitations. We need more social mobility locally and probably less economic migration. People could learn online, draw, sing, teach, dance, write, start small business, work online, cooperate with others, build community resources, volunteer, use open source templates and systems, and stop worrying about sustaining their families and having to save them from poverty (because even your kids and your partner would get UBI). People could start using indiegogo, kickstarter, Patreon, Elance, oDesk, Amazon and similar services to earn money.

There is this educational story… the boss is asking: Ok, I should train these people, but what if someone is leaving after I invest in his or her development? Can I afford that? And his advisor says: Can you afford not to train people? Obviously, if you want a better outcome, you need to train your people, you must invest in people.

The same is true for UBI in my humble opinion. Would you rather have the lazy ones work for you for your money directly, with no results, or would you prefer to have them stay at home but not be without any income? You could hire those who are willing to work in spite of their UBI. In my opinion more people could figure out their own strengths and place in the world, and become more productive and satisfied. And add the aforementioned optimism bias. Imagine: no worries, you have UBI, more freedom, social mobility, opportunity to grow and optimism, while you can afford the internet or to travel to the big city to find a job (and have the money to travel home when there is no job for you). This plan looks good to me. Perhaps even the one who looked really lazy in one position could learn freely and be brilliant at something else, somewhere else.

So, how much?

I strongly disagree with the 50 000 Ft UBI level that one political party proposed in Hungary. 50 000 might be enough for an uneducated older person (who never travels) in a village with a small garden where produce is available at home and where a well is used to water vegetables and fruits, and where people are bartering goods and services, but this is subsistence level. Unless you move city dwelling intellectuals to villages, you have to calculate with at least 150 000 Fts (approximately 500 Euros today) for the highly educated, because rent is high, utilities and food cost a lot in the capital (where most of them live). You also want that intellectual to go out and see people if possible. If you can not afford to sit in a tea house with people, to go see a theater play, or occasionally eat out, you become completely isolated.

National and EU based Unconditional Basic Income (NUBI and UBIE)

Since VAT would be an ideal source of UBI, we need people to go out and spend, as well as we need people to pay UBI taxes when they have excess income beyond the UBI. Therefore differentiation is critical in a poor country, where education levels and living expenses are very different within the population, and where the state budget is very limited. Plus, I believe it is morally wrong to give UBI to the super rich unless someone for some reason suddenly does not have any income. For example due to family bankruptcy… it is possible to have a large estate and suddenly be without any cash after a major illness (or illnesses) in the family for example… if your estate does not sell and you have no cash flow and no savings, you are in huge trouble… so you should get UBI. However, if someone has 1 billion in the bank, why give them 150 000 Fts per months? No need for that.

On average I would say 100 000 Ft UBI should be spent on one adult. This is doable even within the Hungarian economy. What is not doable is an EU living standard. For that there should be an EU UBI Extension Fund on an EU level for each country introducing the National UBI (or NUBI). Remember the GNI? The Gross National Income per capita per year is limiting the possibilities in Hungary below 750 Euros per month in my opinion… and I also wrote that UBI should be above 500 Euros to support the entry into the middle class. So, let’s say, you get exactly 150 000 Fts NUBI (from your country) and another 150 000 Fts of UBIE (from the EU), if you are a highly educated middle aged person who does a lot of volunteer work in the community. You can also work for money and earn even more, or you can spend all your time volunteering, studying, or you can write, teach, whatever you like.

Update (September 08. 2016):

On the first link there is a UBI chart and in the article there is a link to an interactive UBI calculator chart (the second link below) that was published in 2016.

Basic income calculator shows policy’s feasibility

The original and interactive The Economist chart (with the full list of countries analysed):

Universal basic income in the OECD

The interactive calculator chart (originally created and published by The Economist Data Team) calculates with a 4 500 USD UBI per year for each Hungarian citizen at least and it also makes state budget predictions for the UBI at higher amounts. This UBI range supports my calculations in my 2014 UBI blog, the one that you are reading right now (and does not support the much lower Hungarian civic suggestions regarding the local UBI). 4 500 USD would be just a bit over 100 000 Ft per citizen per month today.


I believe that the UBI idea needs to be planned and introduced on an EU (UBIE) level while considering and incorporating the National UBI plans or programs. There is a UBIE initiative in the EU, but I don’t know the details of their proposal. It could even consolidate nationalism, via a narrative that aims to support people who wish to move back to their country of origin. Give them UBIE+NUBI (calculated based on citizenship and education levels) and those people will go home. It is even possible that people with high UBI (from richer countries with high NUBI) would migrate to low NUBI countries within the EU because their purchasing power would permit them a more fulfilling lifestyle there. This would stop emigration in poorer countries and would perhaps start a new kind of economic migration from west to east, plus add cultural development and understanding to the mix.

The UBI could be transferred anywhere within the EU, automatically. If you live in Paris, but you have a hungarian citizenship, you get your NUBI from Hungary in Paris, as well as your UBIE from the EU. If you are french and you live at Lake Balaton, you get your french NUBI in Hungary, as well as your UBIE from the EU. Both sums are adjusted to your citizenship and are extended with the UBIE from the EU. It might be interesting to give incentives for moving home to a less advantaged country, or for migrating from a more advantaged one to a less advantaged one. I would not permit the automatic, central, mass transfer of the UBIE beyond the EU, and I would also limit the central transfer of the NUBI to the specific country unless the EU citizen has an address in another EU country… but if you get it in Budapest and travel to Australia and spend it there, that is your call. The restriction really makes a difference because it’s ok if a few thousand spend it overseas, but it is not ok, if hundreds of thousands do that automatically. We want to finance wellbeing within the EU with our funds. (Of course all of this is just brainstorming and up for discussion.)

I know that pension funds are being drained by the ageing population, and middle aged people of today might not have any pension at all 20-30 years from now. However, when you have the choice of working meaningfully or getting your UBI no matter how old you are, no matter where you are in the EU, in a more productive and more relaxed society UBI would eliminate the pension tension too. Millions of people get stuck in positions because they fear to lose the job, and so lose the pension and the benefits. If you could forget about this fear, would you not start your own business or do freelance work even at 50? Of course you would. And how about free online learning? That is also possible. When you think of wealthy families you take it for granted that their offspring are rich too, because they are part of the family. When you think of UBI think of your country as an extended tribal family. If the “national tribal community” has the means, the only morally acceptable way to go is to redistribute the family wealth in a smart way. Even if yours is not the richest country, it is indeed located in the EU and has more economic power than most countries in Africa.

When I see the argument that people should not get UBI because it would mean nobody would do the horrible jobs… I get really angry… because this kind of thinking hides this kind of attitude: An elitist jerk is sitting in his comfortable chair and thinks, “lets keep people dependent and needy so that somebody would do the shitty jobs that …”… well, that the elitist jerk would never do even for a lot of money… This is the slave keeper attitude. Let’s keep them poor and uneducated… Horrible attitude, in my humble opinion! Here is the thing: let machines do those low level jobs. Let technology companies solve the problem of automatic waste collection (already possible) and selection for example. And let the poor learn and live with dignity (yes those people are able to learn and deserve dignity).

The Community is Supporting and Respecting You, and so In Return it is Only Natural to Support and Respect the Community

Giving people an Unconditional Basic Income does NOT take away their basic need for self worth, the motivation to serve or to lead, to create, to grow, or to go places! Crippling poverty, an economy waiting to be reinvented, a corrupt and superficial elite waiting to be replaced are the things that limit lives, NOT an Unconditional Basic Income! Create the conditions, the education, the culture for community service. Send the message that yes, now you do not have to struggle, but every job that is necessary (and that can not yet be done by technology alone) must be done by people and work it out. It is a matter of cooperation, communication, planning and a sense of community. The community is supporting and respecting you, and so in return it is only natural to support and respect the community.

UBI and Abuse Prevention

Before I close my UBI essay, here is a key idea that is very close to my heart. Children and abused women need independent income and savings and UBI would give them just that. In Hungary thousands of children are experiencing hunger. Others have to put up with abuse and have nowhere to go. Many children and women run away to escape family abuse only to find themselves prostituted because they have no income. UBI would eliminate a lot of suffering and dependency. And many abusive men might just feel less workplace and family pressure and many would never ever reach the point of losing it in the first place… if those men had UBI. The abuser is often the one being abused by someone else, for example by the employer. UBI based independence would bring the opposite of unhealthy dependency and laziness. It would lead to healthy independence, cooperation, actions, innovation and creativity.

Use this on Facebook to Demonstrate YOUR Support for UBI

Use this on Facebook to Demonstrate YOUR Support for UBI


Soon (and it is already happening) technology is going to replace so many jobs and produce so much profit that you won’t be able to afford not to give the jobless billions an Unconditional Basic Income to avoid major uprising. Machines, robots, computer algorithms will do more and more of the jobs, even the ones that were considered highly human, like writing (there are articles on the web right now that were written by an algorithm), driving (there are self driving cars being successfully tested on roads), teaching (one professor teaching over 100 000 people via Coursera globally is now a reality), caretaking (there are robots in Japan that lift people up from the floor), medical evaluation (there are algorithms being developed for this purpose), and things like that. Trust me, once even the male intellectual middle class starts to notice the end of work and work based income as we know it, UBI will become very popular. Because we need to survive on something, and we need to do something with our brains, while somehow being part of society. The process is not possible without labor and income innovation. Here is another blog post by me introducing Samasource and global microwork. And here is another post by me about online learning, MOOCs and Coursera.

If you think that having financial safety reduces creative urges, just ask well to do teenagers doing free online translations, or voluntarily participating in community efforts. Yes, true, there are lazy rich teens too, but the problem is never the fulfillment of their basic needs. Rather it is the lack of family and teacher attention, lack of culture and lack of healthy community (that destroys their motivation). When we start giving people UBI, we need to start community building and education for a healthier, more responsible society as well. We need new attitudes with the new opportunities. We need people to pay taxes, to learn and remain active.

Today there are already new attitudes, that created the sharing economy, good games, crowdfunding, Massive Open Online Courses for free on the Ivy League level globally, 3D printing, personal fabrication, automation, robotics, artificial intelligence, big data, social networks, social media, peer content, citizen science, online jobs… we are in the middle of social and economic change already. We need to research and plan how individual human existence can be continuously financed in this “future in the making” that we never experienced before as a species. The answer is Unconditional Basic Income. The “how” is country and budget dependent. The key question is not: Should we introduce it? The key questions are: How and when to introduce this new form of income? And of course if you want to earn more money, you can and should work beyond getting your Unconditional Basic Income. So, the motivation to get ahead is still there. Healthy competition is good for the economy. UBI is good for society. Income security is good for the individual, but we need to build Unconditional Basic Culture to provide people with meaning. If you don’t have to work, you can still live a meaningful life if you are able to set intelligent goals and reach them. 

Note: There is another poll below. Please, be so kind and answer my UBI related questions (this one is multiple choice and I want to see how readers think after having read my blog post). Thank you for reading and adding your opinion below.

Written by Regina Saphier

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Saphier Regina: Az Én Évszázada – The Century of the Self

Saphier Regina: Az Én Évszázada – The Century of the Self

Eredeti blog szöveg (a szolgáltató megszűnése miatt részben elveszett írás): kedd 2009. április 21. 10:10:00

Update (az elveszett szöveg egyik mentett verziója, minimálisan frissítve): kedd 2014. április 08. 12:22:00

Utolsó update: 2020. Február 15. (Apró javítások, finomítások.)

Miről is szól a “Century of the Self” című négy részes dokumentum film? (The Century of the Self, BBC, 2002, sorozat, 4 x 60 perc) Kinek, mit mutat meg, amit eddig nem tudott… Nekem azt, ahogy Freud elméleteit átvette az USA-ban élő unokaöccse, Edward Bernays. Ennek az eszköznek a birtokában, kimosta az emberek agyát, a vágyaik kielégítése mentén. Ez az amerikai Public Relations (PR). Ezt már tudtam.

Majd ugyanezt a PR módszert vette át Hitler (ezt nem tudtam), csak nem az üzleti életben, hanem a politikában… Vagyis Hitler, éppen Freud lélektani tudását, majd Freud unokaöccsének PR módszerét használta eszközként, a zsidók ellen… Mivel nem volt mivel kielégíteni a vágyakat, az árukat felváltotta a haza szolgálatának fogalma (ugye milyen ismerős ez ma Magyarországon…?). Ez annak a története, hogy milyen módon alapozta meg Freud (öntudatlanul) a zsidók, és így saját maga, huszadik századi üldöztetését.

Később, Sigmund Freud agyon analizált lánya, Anna Freud, éppen azért dolgozta ki az amerikai társadalomra generalizált lélektani elméleteit, hogy Hitler ördögi borzalmai ne ismétlődhessenek meg, vagyis hogy legyen az egyéneknek olyan eszköze, amivel úrrá lesznek tudatalatti vágyaikon (tehát nem élik ki, hanem uralják, vagy elnyomják). Ez az elmélet is rosszul sült el, de erről majd később. Mindenesetre, tanulságos, hogy az amerikai állam, az ilyen jellegű terápiák és oktatási módszerek kidolgozásának és művelésének érdekében, míg a vállalatok, az eladásnövelés lélektanának jobb megismerése érdekében: dotálták az amerikai egyetemek mentálhigiénés kutatásait és intézeteit. Hatalmas összegeket költöttek két egymásnak ellentmondó impulzus társadalmi általánosítására. Ki tudja, hogy mekkora szenvedést okozott és okoz még ma is ez azoknak, akik gyanútlan áldozatai lettek ennek a komplex agymosásnak. Talán ennek lehet a következménye, hogy a csillogó női divatlapokban, az egyik reklám luxus édességet, a másik fogyókúrát, a harmadik életvezetési tanácsadást, a negyedik pedig anorexiásokra méretezett ruhadarabokat reklámoz.

Elnyomni, vagy nem elnyomni, ez itt a kérdés. Mi, itt az EU keleti szélén, nagy dózisban és hirtelen kaptuk ezt az agymosási hullámot. Ez látszik is a társadalmunk állapotán. Véleményem szerint, a műveletlen és felkészületlen tömegekkel ilyen módon bánni bűn, mert olyan tudást használnak fel ellenük, mellyel ők maguk nem rendelkeznek, de amit ők maguk segítettek egészen apró részletekbe menően kidolgozni (pl. fókuszcsoportok, lásd lejjebb).

A film bemutatja, hogy a „PR”, és egy pszichoanalitikus, Ernest Dichter, úgynevezett „fókuszcsoport” módszerének lett Clinton, és később Blair is, a haszonélvezője, vagyis úgy választották újra Clintont, hogy a bizonytalan választók vágyait vizsgálták (nem csak statisztikai, hanem lélektani módszerekkel, kérdőívekkel, és kifejezetten megrendelésre). Clinton ezeket a talált választói vágyakat lovagolta meg. Freudi pszichoanalízis a politikában. Később Blair is ezt a módszert használta, csak ő el is hitte, amit mondott (pusztán lemásolták a kétségbeesett Clinton kampány kérdőíves módszerét, mert működni látszott). A két politikus, tehát, csak azt mondta, amit a tömeg, a fókuszcsoportok és kérdőívek tanúsága alapján, hallani akart. Ennek a morálisan erősen megkérdőjelezhető kampány módszernek, az ad rossz alapot, hogy az emberek nem mindig arra vágynak, amire valójában szükség van… és így, pl. idővel, az angol vasutak tragikus állapotba kerültek, mert a vonat nem jelent meg az elsődleges vágyak között, de amint leromlott a hálózat állapota, azonnal a politikusok szemére vetették.

Robert Reich-vel értek egyet (akinek lánytestvére, egy alkalommal, 2002-ben, kölcsönadta nekem Northampton-i lakását, ami nagyon rendes volt tőle, és a családjuk emberséges vonásait mutatja). Robert szerint, aki egy ideig Clinton munkaügyi minisztere volt, nincs mandátuma annak a politikusnak, aki irracionális vágyteljesítő. Bill azt válaszolta neki, hogy ha nem választják újra, akkor semmit sem tud majd megvalósítani. Robert Reich ezért sem folytatta politikai pályafutását, és Clinton személyisége láthatóan megsínylette saját kétségbeesett lépését. Mindig is azon a véleményen voltam, hogy a tömegdemokrácia torz jelenség, még a legjobb oktatási rendszerekben képzett tömegekkel sem működik, hiszen humanista racionalista döntéseket kellene hozni, amihez hatalmas interdiszciplináris tudás, rendszerismeret, és érettség kellene, minden egyes egyénnek. Ez a tömegeket képező egyének 90%-ában nem lelhető fel, még akkor sem, ha sokan közülük diplomások. Hiszem, hogy a választások, sehol és soha nem a racionális problémák körül dőlnek el, ugyanis az ember alapvetően (akár egyénként, akár tömegben) nem racionális lény. Obama esetében sem a racionalitás volt a döntő, hanem az ügyes kampány, és a VÁLTOZÁS VÁGYÁNAK becézgetése.

Magyarországon 2014-ben az Európával szembeni általános csalódottság és a kisebbrendűségi érzés volt tömegesen meglovagolható egy gazdaságilag teljesen lerohasztott és hihetetlen mértékben kiszolgáltatott és elmaradott országban. Az emberek arra szavaztak többen, aki azt mondta, amit hallani akartak, akkor is, ha az nem igaz. A magyar állampolgárok többsége nem sokat tud arról, hogy mi folyik a világban, mert nem tudnak nyelveket és többségük bugyuta dolgokra használja az internetet. A jobboldal és a baloldal egyaránt szégyellheti magát.

Lényegében, a sorozat annak története, hogy hogyan befolyásolta a Freud család híres vagy hírhedt tehetsége, a XX. század történetét (és mint látjuk, a hatás még nem halt el), és ennek különös képviselője Anna Freud, aki örök életére szűz maradt, miután a saját apja analizálta őt (a lány korábban mániákusan önkielégített, depressziós volt, és táplálkozási zavarai is voltak). Miért van olyan érzésem, hogy ez a helyzet út volt a lelki, életre szóló pokolba? Egyik végletből a másikba. Anna Freud, egyik rokona szerint, meglehetősen rideg személy benyomását keltette (felnőttként). Egy életre elnyomta az összes szexuális impulzusát, az apai módszerek következtében, és annak elméletei szolgálatában. Híres terapeutaként egy elvált milliárdos nő négy gyerekén (is) vizsgálta, hogy majdan milyen módszerekkel befolyásolhatná “jó” irányba, a(z amerikai) társadalmat. Elméleteire és tanácsaira alapozva, a CIA nemzeti módszert dolgozott ki, hogy hogyan kell az embereket a normakövetésre tanítani, hogy el tudják nyomni a tudatalatti, ”nem kívánatos” vágyaikat. Miközben Edward Bernays, Sigmund Freud unokaöccse, éppen ezen vágyak felkorbácsolása, manipulatív, tömeges legitimálása, szinte joggá formálása mentén adta el a cigarettát, az autókat, a ruhákat, mindent, az átlagembereknek…

Magas szinten, kétirányú agymosás folyt. A cégek azt harsogták, hogy éld ki a vágyaidat, az állam pedig azt suttogta éjjel és nappal, hogy fojtsátok el a vágyaitokat. Mitől is depressziós ma az amerikaiak jelentős hányada? Anna Freud még akkor sem látta be, hogy valami nem stimmel a vágyelnyomó elméleteivel, amikor felnőttként, az egyik ”minta gyerek” a négyből alkoholbetegségben meghalt, egy másik pedig, éppen Freud londoni házában lett öngyilkos, egy Anna Freuddal folytatott pszichoanalízis program során… A kísérletező, torz, saját érzelmi, indulati gyökereitől elszakított, bal féltekés, analitikus ”emberszeretet” következménye lett volna mindez? Véleményem szerint igen.

Meg kell jegyezni, hogy Edward Bernays nem kedvelte az embereket, csak nagy tömegeket tudott szakmailag ”kezelni”, és soha nem hitt a demokráciában. Szociopata (vagy talán pszichopata) volt, nulla empátiával. Szkepszise azon az alapon nyugodott, amit az emberekről Freud munkái alapján megtudott, és amivel az orruknál fogva vezette őket. Bernays lánya szerint, elég nyomasztó volt egy olyan apa, aki mindenkit folyton lehülyézett. Az ilyen apák mosolygó vagy vicsorgó depressziós szörnyetegek, akik a másik ember, pl. saját gyermekük vagy feleségük önbecsülésének folytonos, kitartó, életre szóló rombolásával tartják fönn saját labilis önbizalmukat (ezek inkább a szociopaták és a nárcisztikus emberek… a pszichopaták általában nem szoronganak és nem befolyásolja őket mások véleménye… számukra az emberek csak eszközök). Ahelyett, hogy felépítenék gyermekük vagy társuk lelkét, inkább minden nap igyekeznek rombolni azt, és ez gyakran perverz kielégülést okoz nekik. Véleményem szerint (a tudomány mai állása szerint) az ilyen ember egyszerűen menthetetlen elmebeteg és nagy ívben el kell kerülni. Mivel mindenkit lenéz, ezért soha sem kér segítséget, hogy szemléletén és viselkedésén változtatni tudjon. Esete gyakorlatilag reménytelen és rettenetesen veszélyes.

Wilhelm Reich (róla később írok…  nincs köze a Clinton kabinetben szolgált Robert Reich-hez) lánya szerint nagyon sok jót nem várhatunk egy olyan nőtől, mint Anna Freud, aki aszexuálissá vált az apja által folytatott analízis során. A gyermek lélektant meghatározó nő gyermektelen maradt, az általa soha nevén nem nevezett apai trauma hatására. Ezt nem győzöm hangsúlyozni, mert ez borzalmas konstelláció. Anna Freud gyakorlatilag egy lelki nyomorék volt, aki lelkileg pusztította a társadalmat, a közösség legsérülékenyebb, legvédtelenebb, legkiszolgáltatottabb tagjainak körében. Gyerekek agymosása, egy téveszme rendszer mentén, országos szinten… Én nem értem azokat az embereket, akik tisztelik Sigmund Freudot és a lányát. Az apa egy emberekkel játszadozó szörnyeteg volt, és lánya, Anna Freud határozta meg a fejlett világ gyermekpszichiátriáját, és valószínűleg elképzelhetetlen károkat okozott, emberek millióinak (munkásságának nyilván vannak pozitívumai is, de örökösi és nemzetközi szaktekintély hatalmánál fogva, mind apja szellemi hagyatékát, mind saját image-át, kizárólag pozitív színben tüntette fel, hiszen minden publikáción szigorúan rajta tartotta a szemét). S. Freud elfordult az emberektől, idős korára. Nekünk pedig Freudtól kell elfordulni.

A. Freud egyfajta kompenzáló emberszeretet érdekében, örökre elnyomta női impulzusainak többségét, elsőként apja művének, majd mások gyermekeinek “szolgálatában”. Bernays azon az alapon kivitelezte, az üzleti élet minden területére kiterjedő, cinikusan manipulatív terveit, hogy a tömegeket valahogy kordában kell tartani, és ez legjobban úgy érhető el, ha azt hiszik, hogy szabadok, és elérhetik álmaikat, beteljesíthetik vágyaikat. A fogyasztás majd leköti őket, a vállalatok tulajdonosai meg jól keresnek. Bernays jelmondata, ha jobban belegondolunk, ez: A fogyasztás szabaddá tesz! (Hát nem döbbenetes!?) Anna Freud jelmondata: A szabadság nem cél, alkalmazkodj mindenáron, és nyomd el ősi és emberi impulzusaidat. Mindkét elképzelést kétes sikerre vitték.

A szükségletek korát felváltotta a vágyak kora, és ennek alapjait Freud és Bernays fektette le. Freud adta az elméletet, Bernays pedig etikátlanul és gátlástalanul átvitte ezeket az üzleti gyakorlatba. Ennek isszuk ma is a levét, pedig ez a story a XX. század húszas éveiben indult el. Mind Bernays, mind Anna Freud, a tömegek kontrollálásával foglalkoztak.

Azok, akik szembeszegültek a nagy hatalommal rendelkező Anna Freuddal, mint pl. Wilhelm Reich, egyszerűen kegyvesztetté váltak (W. Reich köztudottan megőrült, egész élete és traumái predesztinálták erre és végül börtönben halt meg, álmában). Anna Freud kritikusai, azt vallották, hogy nem az egyén impulzusai a bűnösek, hanem éppen a társadalom az, ami rosszra készteti őket, és ettől kell az egyénnek megszabadulni, ezektől a rákényszerített társadalmi erőktől, befolyástól. A hálózatkutatás korában már tudható, hogy ez sok tekintetben nagyon igaz. Vagyis a kívülről indukált vágyak helyett (amiket Bernays és követői mesterségesen generáltak, az általános emberi vágyak, és az üzletemberek eladás növelési vágyai mentén), a ”valódi én” belső impulzusait, és vágyait kell feltárni, és megélni. Csakhogy “a valódi én” a társadalmi közeg hatására alakul ki. Ha beteg a társadalom, ha rossz értékrend szerint működik, akkor az egyén is beteg lesz. Egy egészséges társadalomban, ugyanaz a személy nagy valószínűséggel egészséges lenne.

Azon nem vagyok meglepődve, hogy milyenfajta ”lélektunkolás”, lélekszikkasztás folyt a korai pszichiáterek zárt ajtói mögött, és hogy ez a tendencia hogyan ment át a média csatornáin, és egyéb csatornákon. Azokat a szélsőséges módszereket, melyekkel kontrollálják a tömeget, vagy felszabadítják az individuumot, legjobban egy amerikai zárda esete példázza: kísérlet gyanánt, apácákon próbáltak ki individualizáló pszichiátriai csoport módszereket. Tömören: a vége az lett, hogy megszűnt a zárda.

Az egyformaságra kényszerített nők egy csapásra egyéniségek lettek. Kérdés, hogy amikor kikerültek a zárdából: Jobb lett nekik? Mert kikerülve vásárlók, fogyasztók, tömeg, és újra agy-mosott emberek lettek, csak másképp. A vásárlás szabadsága, nem lehet az ember optimális szabadsága. Ugyanakkor van-e olyan, hogy szabad akarat? Kétséges, hiszen az ember társadalmi organizmus. Maga az emberiség, összességében, egyfajta élőlény a Földön (az Univerzumban… vagy a Multiverzumban). Az egyén, a társadalom kényszerei közé szorult, és kiüresedett. Mindene megvan, vagy éppen azt hiszi, hogy semmije, és ettől olyan boldogtalan. Egyénként magára maradt. Fogyasztóvá redukálták, aki azt hiszi, hogy a termékek egyénisége megmutatására szolgálnak. Pedig a termékek arra szolgálnak, hogy a befektetők még nagyobb jachtokat vehessenek maguknak.

A termékek dömpingje, nem a vásárlók, hanem a befektetők vágyteljesítését szolgálják, és vannak bőven olyan írók, akik beleláttak a felső tízezer, vagy a felső 1% kiüresedett mindennapjaiba, és meg is mutatták azt. Jómagam is belenézhettem, amikor pl. az egyetemi képzés részeként csoport terápiába jártam egy híres manhattani terapeutához. Az átlagember el sem tudja képzelni, hogy micsoda sekélyesség, sznobizmus, és lelki nyomor jellemzi a manhattani gazdagokat. 12 alkalmat ültem végig, totális kívülállóként, külföldi diákként, de tudtam, hogy ezek az emberek immár közel hét éve voltak eme konkrét terapeutának, jól fizető, nyomorult foglyai (én fogolynak láttam őket). Bunuel filmjeiben vannak ilyen karakterek.

Hogyan értelmezhető, a (freudi) pszichoanalízis tanulságain alapuló, PR és politikai kommunikáció, a hazai viszonyok között?

Ez itt a leglepusztultabb, legcinikusabb, legelvakultabb, leggusztustalanabb eladási kommunikáció: a politikai PR. Még akkor is cinikus és undorító a reklám, a product placement, a plakát kampány, a bújtatott reklámot hordozó állcikk, ha különben magasan képzett emberek hozzák a kapcsolódó döntéseket. Ugyanakkor magasan képzett, intelligens, és egyben morálisan fejlett és szikla szilárd ember nem megy reklámszakembernek. Valamelyik komponens biztosan hiányzik: műveltség, érzelmi intelligencia, de főleg a morális érzék… és ez nagy baj. Reklám szakembernek az megy, aki nagyot akar kaszálni, nem az, aki szereti az embereket. Gyanítom, hogy éppen ilyen emberek mennek politikusnak is, tisztelet a kivételnek. A legcinikusabb, legsorvadtabb, legüresebb emberek, akiket nem zavar, hogy haszontalan, káros, felesleges dolgokat tukmálnak rá elmagányosodott, eladósodott, műveletlen, önismereti szempontból éretlen, és hiszékeny emberekre.

Ezért semmi jót nem tudok mondani a hazai PR-ról. A hazai PR, reklám és hirdetési piac nagyrészt nem a tájékoztatásról, hanem az átverésről szól, és ez a politikára is igaz, ha jobb, ha baloldali az a kampány. Nincs valódi alternatíva, mert egy-egy tudatalatti vágycsoport, vagy vágy mátrix mentén rendeződtek el a választók, ahogy az USA-ban is. Nincs mérvadó, tartalmas, és érett alternatíva. Aki nem szavaz, az szavaz ma igazán…? Ha az emberek nem lennének hiszékenyek, el sem mennének a szavazóurnákig. Személy szerint örülök, hogy az USA-ban Obama nyert (anno, kétszer is), és rá szavaztam volna, ha amerikai lennék, mert nekem is van vágymátrixom, ami mentén valamennyire képes vagyok a nagy társadalmi csoportokhoz viszonyulni. Alkalmazkodni nem, de viszonyulni igen. Ugyanakkor itthon, senkit nem látok a politikában, akihez legalább „viszonyulni” akarnék. A rendszerváltás óta, egy kivételével minden hazai választáson megjelentem és szavaztam, de soha nem éreztem, hogy az érdekeimet képviselik. Civilként volt alkalmam közelebbről megismerni a hazai politikusokat, és még a valamennyire szimpatikus ember is korrupt politikus volt… Nekem ez nem hiányzik.

The Century of the Self… ezek jutottak eszembe a dokumentumfilmről… mely film, természetesen, önmagában is manipulált PR. Kiragadja a rendező szándékai mentén azt, ami a legjobban kirajzolja a rendező fejében összeállt eredeti és speciális történelmi látképet, Sigmund Freud-tól, Edward Bernays-en át, Anna Freud-ig, Hitlertől, Clintonon át, Blair-ig. Az egyén tudatalatti folyamataitól, a mesterségesen felkorbácsolt vágyak kiélésén át, a kavargó vágyak spártai elnyomásáig. Az eladástól, a kiirtáson át, a kiüresedésig. Döbbenetes évszázad van mögöttünk. A film a zavarodott “self & ego” története. A sorozat minden híres emberi oszlopa tehetséges, befolyásos és súlyosan sérült. Engem személy szerint, Anna Freud személyiségtorzulása taglóz le legjobban. Merje nekem valaki azt mondani, hogy jól mennek dolgaink. Őt egy férfi tette tönkre. Egy életre. Ki tudja, hogy ő hány pácienst, állampolgárt, és kollégát tett tönkre?

Amit az emberek keresnek, az Önmaguk, de ”önmagunk” nem megfogható entitás, nem lehet megvenni. Önmagunk egy koncepció, egy érzés, amikor egy egészséges közösség egészségesen működő részének érezzük magunkat, vagy amikor magányunk alkotással telik meg, és áramlatban vagyunk. Önmagunk a tanulás és alkotás állandó folyamata. Bármit is alkotunk önszántunkból, a ne árts parancsszavával, kreatívan, és jókor, az örömet okoz. Ha nem így (vagy egyáltalán nem) alkothatunk, akkor elveszünk. Ha azonban megfelelő módon létezhetünk, akkor megleszünk.

A filmsorozat angol nyelven itt tekinthető meg (watch the BBC series in English on this link below):

The Century of the Self



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Regina Saphier: Worldview, Intuition and Depth of Field


As I promised, I am working on transferring my old freeblog content to wordpress. I am doing this with the help of The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine and my old laptop, because unfortunately the service provider took the servers offline without notifying users and without providing a generally usable transfer method of the latest content that thousands of people produced. I already posted my live TED conference blog posts via my TED blog. On my Virtual Humanism blog I am starting with two quotes from Virginia Woolf (“The room of one’s own” and “Orlando“). In addition to her words, I will explain what I discovered while transferring these lines below. Finally, I am adding an old letter to an old friend.

A room of one’s own

All I could do was to offer you an opinion upon one minor point—a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction; …”

“There was another ten–shilling note in my purse; I noticed it, because it is a fact that still takes my breath away the power of my purse to breed ten–shilling notes automatically. I open it and there they are. Society gives me chicken and coffee, bed and lodging, in return for a certain number of pieces of paper which were left me by an aunt, for no other reason than that I share her name.”

“Food, house and clothing are mine forever. Therefore not merely do effort and labour cease, but also hatred and bitterness. I need not hate any man; he cannot hurt me. I need not flatter any man; ...”

(Virginia Woolf: A room of one’s own)




at which Orlando woke.

He stretched himself. He rose. He stood upright in complete nakedness before us, and while the trumpets pealed Truth! Truth! Truth! we have no choice left but confess—he was a woman.

The sound of the trumpets died away and Orlando stood stark naked. No human being, since the world began, has ever looked more ravishing. His form combined in one the strength of a man and a woman’s grace. As he stood there, the silver trumpets prolonged their note, as if reluctant to leave the lovely sight which their blast had called forth; and Chastity, Purity, and Modesty, inspired, no doubt, by Curiosity, peeped in at the door and threw a garment like a towel at the naked form which, unfortunately, fell short by several inches. Orlando looked himself up and down in a long looking–glass, without showing any signs of discomposure, and went, presumably, to his bath.

(Virginia Woolf: Orlando)


Regina Saphier: The Writer’s Epiphany (my notes on April 6, 2014)

As I was preparing to repost these two posts on my Virtual Humanism blog, I had an epiphany while reading this line here: “Chastity, Purity, and Modesty, inspired, no doubt, by Curiosity, peeped in at the door and threw a garment like a towel at the naked form which, unfortunately, fell short by several inches.

When you first look at it, you think that the Virtues were unable to cover the body with the garment:

Chastity, Purity, and Modesty, inspired, no doubt, by Curiosity, peeped in at the door and threw a garment like a towel at the naked form which, unfortunately, fell short by several inches.

Vita Sackville-West in her twenties, by painte...

Vita Sackville-West in her twenties, by painter William Strang (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


But when you read it like this, a completely new message appears:

Chastity, Purity, and Modesty, inspired, no doubt, by Curiosity, peeped in at the door and threw a garment like a towel at the naked form which, unfortunately, fell short by several inches.

Nine years ago, when I became a blogger, when I read this text in 2005, I only “read” it. Of course I understood that this was about a gender transformation and that it was related to social criticism and women’s frustration with a male dominated society. It was all completely clear to me.

However, now, in 2014 I had a completely different automatic process of observation for the same text. I did not only read the text and imagine the character described by the writer. No. I imagined the writer standing in front of the mirror and I used empathy for the writer herself, not for the abstract character. I imagined Virginia observing herself, seeing her masculine characteristics and feeling like she was missing something, a few inches, a male body part that would make her a complete man, and a favored member of society that she could not be without those inches. I was blown away by the simplicity of this message “hidden” in plain sight, not even really hidden, yet it is not something that you immediately grasp while reading the text, not even with an understanding of her psyche and life story. I never came across an analysis of this text that pointed out this double meaning. When I read the text with a writer’s eyes, instead of a reader’s eyes, I could see the message jumping out of the text.

Why is this important to me? It is important because it demonstrated how my brain changed after 9 years of regular writing and an increased level of introspection and during a more withdrawn and more introverted life period. My worldview, my intuition and my depth of field has changed fundamentally and I am happy about that. 

And here is an old and relevant post from 2007:

Regina Saphier: “Room of Their Own” (based on my letter to a friend)

Is your marriage in trouble? I hope you find a solution. In my life marriage does not work as a formula (I never wanted to be married). I was just thinking about Frida Kahlo, Virginia Woolf, Amrita Sher-Gil, and Simone de Beauvoir. They all had “room of their own”, you know, as Virginia wrote it. Amrita, an Indian, Hungarian (she was actually born in Hungary), Jewish (her mother was Jewish) bisexual (I read her letter to her mother and she denied this) modern painter was married and probably a miscarriage killed her at age 28, or her husband… or an STD, or some other illness… we don’t know. What we know is that she had many affairs (for example with Malcolm Muggeridge). And Frida, the Mexican, German, bisexual painter, loved and married (twice) Diego, who fucked around all the time (even fucked Frida’s sister, and in turn Frida also had many lovers), but she still wanted a child from him, and lost her pregnancies (due to the earlier accident at age 18)… they had two houses and a bridge connected the two. Their initial creativity was increased by their extramarital relationships. I read an article about this. Boring marriages and estranged partners come alive, and creativity increases just by thinking about infidelity (it’s measurable)! Simone never wanted a husband; she explained her opinion this way: marriage is an obscene bourgeois institution. She was infamous of her bisexual love triangles with Sartre (the third person was always a woman with no income of her own). They wrote cynical letters about their affairs and were lifelong soul mates (when she died, her adopted (!) lover, a woman, published the letters, and unfortunately many were still alive among those who were involved with her or him). Sartre basically kept a few vulnerable living sex toys in close proximity to his apartment, and spent his income on them. And Simone used them too. One of the most famous existentialist feminist writers, Simone used young women to satisfy her need for love and sex, probably because she knew that this is the only way to keep Sartre in her life; this is the way they were sexually connected… She turned into exactly what she was against: she has become a man, who was using women. Virginia was married, but probably never slept with her husband; she had powerful sexual traumas caused by her brothers. She was also bisexual, and just as the existentialists in Paris, she also felt encouraged as a member of the Bloomsbury group in England to have sexual encounters with several people, especially women. She expressed these feelings in Orlando, which is based on her love to Vita Sackville-West. The book is basically a love letter to Vita. Later Virginia killed herself, because she heard a bit too many voices in her head. No doubt, these women were extremely creative and hugely deviated from the so called “normal” in every possible way. But were they happy? Who knows? And is happiness a goal if you are meant to be creative? Is creativity a goal, if you are meant to be happy?

So, when you tell me about your sulky husband and having no time of your own… tell me …, is the previously drafted alternative list better? You are a creative woman or a happy woman? Can you really be both? You have a loving husband. You have two wonderful kids. You have a normal life and extremely high intellectual power. Can these things go hand in hand? Would you like to be free and alone? Haven’t you been that? You can have your freedom, you can work. But why did you choose to have a family if it is not a good match for your abilities and personality? I wanted to believe the theory that a highly talented woman can also have a family. Is it only a theory? Could be. Marriage is a tool to “approach” or “pretend” safety for the sake of ones children, and so for ones financial and genetic future. It is said to be safe emotionally, but based on what I see… I have my doubts… If you keep wanting to be free, prepare to leave the nest as soon as your kids are grownups and live their own lives. Build your future so, that you have your savings and space to become free and highly creative again. You don’t have to spend your life being a mother. It is clear that your husband loves you (even if this is not the kind of love you need or find satisfying), and that your children need your love and empathy, but there is a reason why many highly talented women search for deeper soul mates in women and sometimes, or more often than we think, the spiritual closeness turns into a love affair, and they never have kids to be able to use their time and energy in other ways. You know about Eleanor Roosevelt… she had her share of such relationships. Other talented women find feminine male partners, to be served, and cared for. Men become the women, and women become the men in such relationships. These men are often feminine to the point of impotence, but they are much more caring, than machos. Human life is much more complex than we know about it with our very conservative upbringing, no matter how open-minded we think we are. I know that in your case it looks like its all about time, space, and creativity. But trust me: there is more to your problem than meets the eye.

The question: Is the own room or the own creative space a good omen? Did feminism step over its own shadow and did we come to realize that we need a partner and a family for a normal life, and it is not such a good thing to be alone… If we can not shut the door, are we able to create? I look at these extremely talented and creative women (listed above), and I can clearly see that they were men and women at the very same time (and not just some women, but incredible ones regarding their gender, or “social” sex), but none had children, and I see my friend in Budapest, who followed the expectations of our society and married, had a super little girl who is hyperactive, so this woman is unable to finish her PhD. She feels empty, drained and cold. So, perhaps it’s impossible to be professionally creative, have kids and be a mom and wife… She used to be extremely lively…

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Regina Saphier: Weapons of Mass Construction: Leila Janah’s Samasource

Regina Saphier: Weapons of Mass Construction: Leila Janah’s Samasource

We arrived in a new era, when america deploys “weapons of mass construction” in international social and economic development. Development work and nation building now could come without wars at the beginning of the process, and we could witness “individual citizen building”, instead of “post-war rebuilding of infrastructure”. Let me show you the woman who made my subconscious come up with my blog title very suddenly. Leila is a true lady, a first generation american. She is highly intelligent, courageous, diligent, humble, and a great speaker. She is a maven. By the way she is also beautiful and she is using this natural gift to promote her cause in a charming and elegant manner. She is a people’s person with a mission.

Jet-setting social entrepreneur Leila Janah is SOREL’s face for the Get Your Boots Dirty campaign

When I first read about Samasource that Leila Janah created, I knew that it was something brilliant, as important as Khan Academy or Coursera. In fact I see these types of initiatives as parts of an emerging global system. Leila tells her story beautifully, so instead of writing it down for you, I recommend, that you click and watch her narrative online (skip the first 10 minutes and go to Leila’s talk directly). What I want to talk about is my reaction to her approach.

First let me tell you what Salman Khan spoke about at TED 2014 (All-Stars Session 3: Where Are We Now?). I have been writing TED live conference blogs for years, but this year I much rather write essays about many other things, like Leila’s story. However, what the founder of Khan Academy mentioned at TED 2014 in Vancouver is relevant to Leila’s work. Salman reminded the audience that 400 years ago only 10-15% of the western European population could read (that was at the time the most literate region of the world). If you asked those literate ones: “what percentage of the entire population would be capable of reading”, they would have responded that “if you had a really good education system, perhaps 30-40% would be intellectually capable of learning to read”. But today we know that the answer is closer to 100% (my note: of course not counting people with severe cognitive and physical developmental issues, but hopefully science in the future will be able to help us prevent or heal such illnesses). Salman went on asking: What percentage of people are capable of novel research, understand genetics, computer science, or robotics?  You would get an answer, like 5 or 10 or 15%… but what if that answer is actually a 100%? He believes that during the next 50 years we will see that this is true and go even beyond what we could imagine today. For that we must turn quality education into a fundamental human right. I completely agree with Salman. I believe if we go from educating people to letting people learn on a global scale in ways that fit their learning styles and achieved level of understanding, we will see a much better world in general.


What is Leila up to?

She created Samasource to provide acceptable “Microwork” to people globally who are otherwise earning less than 2 dollars a day with jobs destroying their dignity (like getting a dollar a day to protest for a politician… slave like conditions). By giving work and so income, she wishes to give opportunity and dignity to poor people. Her non-profit organization has a self developed software background managing the digital work process. Initially she could not find funding, because donors would not believe her that poor people in Africa would be able to do accurate digital work via a computer and the internet.

This is why I added Salman Khan’s relevant ideas from the TED 2014 stage above. Shockingly even the most educated live under the false impression that poor people are mentally retarded. And those “western” people think of themselves as enlightened? How tragic is that!? In many ways we live in the “Dark Ages” today.

Leila was able to demonstrate that many poor people in african countries are fluent in English and are perfectly capable of completing data entry, and data & image review tasks (when personal project management is taken out of the equation). Plus, people are obviously able to learn and complete even more complex tasks! Samasource is able to break the tasks down into highly and easily manageable tasks for entry level digital workers. In developing countries where there are no jobs, young people, especially women are now able to work via Samasource for companies like LinkedIn and Google, earn money and support their families and their own education. There is also SAMAUSA, for low income community college students in the US, directed by my fellow Columbia University alumna: Tess Gilman Posner.

In a way I hear Leila tell people to make global work opportunities and earning a basic income a fundamental human right. So, today we must think of clean water, healthy food, safe shelter, health, appropriate work/income, and quality education as basic human rights. These should be our goals to achieve for everyone. If you think about it, at this rate, one day sufficiently challenging intellectual activities, a basic income that sustains us beyond the basics, or a healthy body and mind will be fundamental human rights. We have a long way to go, but some of us are already able to envision and explain this future. Some of us are able to imagine it. Some are already building that future. 

We need Samasource in Hungary and in Europe too

Now that is what jump-started my phantasy. As I described on my blog about Coursera over a year ago, I feel that Hungary (where I live) is not really a developed country. This is a country of 10 million and over 3 million people live in poverty. Every few weeks I walk into a small grocery store nearby (in an upscale neighborhood) and have a nice chat with a young and intelligent woman there. She is roma (a visible minority in a racist country), she completed high school where she studied English too, but has to spend her life selling fruits and vegetables on a low wage away from her family and has no hope for further education and a better income. She is alway nice to customers, she tells you when something is not fresh enough for you to pay for, and she gives recipes. She is doing her job really well, and at the same time she is bright and curious about the world. I like that she is so good at what she is doing, it is good for me as a customer, but at the same time I feel frustrated that she does not have opportunities to grow, to learn, and to have a better quality of life. (In fact in this country it is also true for many middle class intellectuals… even those people would need Samasource to help them become skilled digital and global income generators!)

I keep telling her about the online learning opportunities: Coursera and Khan Academy, TED and things like that, but she has to spend her days in a small shop alone with no internet access (I know that at home she does have internet). I keep thinking how she could get an education and a job that would move her beyond this stage in a country where the economy is not doing well and most people (especially the digital immigrants who are older) don’t speak English, and a large number of high school graduates are jobless (even when they speak English and have computer skills). At this point 5% of Hungarian citizens live and work in more developed countries and send home over 500 billion Forints a year (the top three source countries are Germany, the USA and Canada). So, if Leila’s motto is this: “Give Work“… My motto is this: “Send Work” or “Donate Work“. It would be interesting to gather expats online and explain to them how important it would be to “send work”, beyond sending money. Where there is sufficient work to let expats live, save and send money home, there most be enough work opportunities too to “send home”… One possibility is for expats (from less developed countries) to get in touch with their employers at the leadership level and motivate them to partner with Samasource and channel work into their own country of origin.

Missing jobs, hidden tasks, online work

As I kept waiting for a Coursera like initiative for years, I have also been waiting for global and online work opportunities for anyone, including myself, because most local jobs here just don’t require brains, skills, knowledge and creativity, and women are not likely to be employed at the highest levels of leadership in Hungary. So, jobs are missing here on every possible level… while technology is also destroying more and more human jobs on a global scale. A major for profit initiative that I noticed as possibly useful to me and to people like me in the future is the Google Helpout service, but it has yet to reach its full potential among the educated middle class globally. (Unfortunately, this service was discontinued in 2015.)

Possible surfaces that could become sources of work and income from Hungary via the internet in the future are: FlexJobs, oDesk and Elance. (Since 2015 oDesk and Elance are one brand, called Upwork.) Samasource, a non-profit organization, is the income generating channel for the lower classes, globally, and it is growing. SAMAUSA in fact does train its microworkers to use TaskRabbit and Upwork.

As I quickly mentioned before in one of my blogs, I have an elaborate flow chart with all the possible components that could change the education and work related mindset of leaders in Hungary when it comes to young people’s goal setting, but since politics is so ugly and shortsighted in Hungary, I do not yet see anyone to actually talk to with the feeling that anything good would come out of a discussion. When I was Leila’s age, I was much more optimistic and idealistic. Today I am more of a realist, but I am still able to maintain an idealistic narrative, so I am still generally optimistic. The difference between Leila’s attitudes and my attitudes is not related to age, it is related to geographical location, networks, the culture embedded in those networks and day-to-day experiences. When I returned to Hungary from the US in 2002, I had her energy. Nowadays I am an indirect leader via my blogs, but it would be nice to reawaken that dormant direct leader in me, in a more mature and more experienced incarnation. The inspiration is there.

Unconditional income?

Now that the election is coming up in Hungary, some politicians mentioned the “unconditional basic income for all” idea. And while I believe that technology one day should make this possible, by generating enough profits, goods and services, I also believe that today it is still important for people to feel needed, to do something, to have a reason to develop skills and to have goals (will be still important for a long time). These are basic components needed for mental health, social acceptance and survival. Millions of people are being judged for not having a job and not earning money even when there are clearly no jobs for them. It is clearly victim blaming, a form of abuse. Also, due to the shrinking economy, our GDP or more importantly our GNI won’t be able to cover the cost of an unconditional basic income for all in Hungary. On top of it, why would we want rich people (with a lot of income and assets) also get the unconditional basic income? I feel it is morally wrong! If you have a lot, give a lot, and don’t use community resources if you do not need them, especially when others desperately do need those resources. At the same time I dislike aid (much of it appears to get stolen) and I would prefer people getting their income based on different kinds of tasks or jobs completed. Perhaps we need “unconditional basic work” that generates income, but still permits growth, learning and self actualization (depending on the person’s capacity and health). What we must keep in mind is that people should not get stuck in one mindless position, there should be perspective in the process.

My example for turning “volunteer work” into “donated work” and so into “basic income” for skilled and jobless people

For example, why not make it possible for the best TED talk translators, reviewers and transcribers (or even TEDx volunteers) to earn money with their volunteer work? I imagine an opt in program, where a question would pop up during the OTP registration or before starting a new subtitle translation: “Would you like to earn money with your TED volunteer work?” And people with no income, no jobs, but good language skills and top work ethic could make money this way to pay for food, accommodation and utilities. When you start earning good money some other way, you could graciously opt out as a volunteer who earns money to permit others to get your money, and you could opt in as a volunteer and/or a donor. Those who are donors could indicate that their donations are supposed to sponsor excellent volunteers in need. Now that the super rich are giving their money to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to actually and measurably solve problems in the world, I believe that giving income generating work to TED volunteers would be money well spent on people spreading good ideas in dozens of languages. It is a form of global teaching.

Picture this!

So, I imagined the young roma woman (in the small store nearby) starting to work online from home via Samasource Hungary (yet to be created… it could be similar to SAMAUSA)… I imagined her English developing while working and reviewing English social media surfaces for example for a social media monitoring service called Venuelabs (an actual Samasource partner), or entering university transcript data for Degreed (a possible SamaUSA partner), and gradually she could transition into an online education program in English and for freeInternationally educated people like me could train her. This woman, soon with experience in technology, and with better English, and with top Coursera and other courses on her LinkedIn profile could be employed indirectly (on the job market) by the next, yet to be created project Samasource would license to global partners or she could find direct employment with local companies… Samasource will grow and redefine itself as its customers, partners and supporters become more diverseThe possibilities are endless. We definitely need to find jobs for jobless high school and college graduates within Hungary, the European Union and beyond. We also need to give a way out of poverty and a way into the world of learning and self improvement.

This blog post reminds me of a dream of mine: I observed people floating in an upward spiral lifting each other up one-by-one, hand-in-hand. If we would take the responsibility for just one person who is less fortunate but willing to grow, and lift that person just a little bit higher, our lives would literally be more uplifting.


TED and TEDx video subtitling could be a source of independent and global micro income

for the educated and the skilled during hard times (even retroactively)





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Regina Saphier: Redefining Success and The Elite

Tom Perkins wrote something really misguided and misleading, used the wrong comparison between two totally unrelated historic/social events (racial genocide in Europe decades ago and anger against the rich, “the 1%” in the US today can not be compared) and his reputation was destroyed in his early 80s recently. He had to go on television and apologise, but even that appearance did not do much good.

Why is this interesting?

It is interesting, because one of the key investors of Coursera is Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Perkins was one of the original founders of this famous venture capital (VC) company. Coursera is the startup that provides high quality free university courses globally to anyone who likes to learn, and the social entrepreneurship company I have been blogging about from the early days. As I was listening to Perkins and reading the comments, I felt I had things to say in relation to the situation, so I developed my comments into a blog.

Demonizing any group is wrong (that is a social psychology issue), as is bragging about your super expensive watch while you are being questioned in front of millions of people by Emily Chang about your previous bad judgement that probably ruined your reputation at the end of your life (that could be a mental health issue if you are not really known as an idiot, but rather as a talented business man, even if obviously arrogant and living in a bubble… still, unusually reckless behavior could be Alzheimer’s over 80… things just become a bit confusing… you even pick the wrong words… if that is the case, we need to look at this differently…). Whatever the truth, Perkins displayed low levels of emotional maturity twice in a very short period of time. There must be some reason for that, but we just don’t know what it is…

Should KPCB drop the “P”?

So, apart from the possibility that this man is perhaps ill or immature at 80… should we from now on say that instead of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (or “KPCB”) it is rather “KCB” that gave millions of dollars in venture capital to Coursera to educate the “99%” of society for free (that includes the middle class and people living in poverty too), and not only in the US, but globally (even in developing countries)!? How in Tom Perkins’s mind is that a sign of problems at the VC firm he created in the past? In his anger that KPCB distanced itself from him, his controversial ideas and word choices, he referred to his own negative opinion regarding KPCB’s contemporary management during the interview. I would say, at least the Coursera investment was definitely a good decision.

I know there are many issues we could examine (internal issues at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, income inequality in the US, technology making people jobless all over the world, expensive housing, low quality of education, etc.), but to me Coursera is the shining example of financially smart and socially conscious decisions made by investors, mostly by people of the “1%”, providing high quality, free courses to anyone who is willing to learn. That is the best kind of business: everyone has a chance to win something! I believe we are going to see more and more such VC decisions especially as Coursera becomes more successful, not “only” in terms of attracting millions of students and millions of venture dollars, but also in terms of profitability. It is possible to make money and do good at the same time. The most successful and the most creative groups in society are those who make these ventures possible, be it the investors, the founders, their smart teams, and those people who embrace and utilize the services of such companies.

Still, joblessness, quality of life, and income inequality, even total lack of income, and so individual vulnerabilities have yet to be addressed on Earth. We need unconditional basic income, because people are being made jobless by technologies, and when you have a jobless and increasingly educated majority with no income and a rich minority facing each other, that can lead to terrible social tension. But it is also the increasing level of education that makes it possible for the educated middle class to use well structured arguments and intellect based advocacy instead of violence. We must create the solutions together.

Who knows, for many the Google Helpouts service could be a solution, a way of international job creation. For others it could be the vibrant startup culture all over the world. There are and will be many ideas and solutions, as more and more enlightened business people and venture capitalists will be looking for business solutions that are also good for societies (in their own best interest). Let’s keep an open mind and keep thinking about and working on these solutions. Let’s focus on the things that move us all to a higher (and optimally reachable) ground where people understand each other better. Some need to move financially, some intellectually, some emotionally, some morally…

There are people who think that nations were created by “the 100%”, others think it was all done by the “1%”. Both are wrong.

Perkins originally (and admittedly) does not come from “the 1%”, he worked his way into that heterogenous group. This can only happen if someone has an “appropriate” personality mix, often containing arrogance, egotism, lack of deep empathy for individuals, and the most financially successful are the charming sociopaths interested in money and things (not people, nor the community). These individuals are so interested in fitting in as rich, that they spend a life compensating and that impacts their fragile self image further. The unconscious goal in their minds (no matter what they say) is to insulate themselves from the old self and the origins of the old self, and the social strata that self comes from. (Note: Not all of them are like this, but most forget where they come from and fail to see that, due to changed reference points, like new friends with new values.)

As science, academia and education was optimized mostly for male Asperger’s (idea, data and systems oriented people), so was business optimized for male Sociopathology (money, dominance and material success oriented people), and sometimes vice versa. (Note: Asperger’s is a problematic term, covering a very diverse group of people who are not neurotypical. Some “Aspies” are people and feelings oriented, especially women Aspies. Approximately 25-30% of Aspies are female.) Just as an interesting side note, today I came up with the formula for the stereotypical scientist: OCD + Aspergers + Very High Levels of Cognitive Intelligence + Preference for Rigid and Safe Academic Institutions + Lack of Social Skills (beyond academia) = Scientist. I am talking about past norms and tendencies. Lately, I am noticing some changes. However, women are still less likely to make it in academia and in the business world. If you make it, you probably are part of the smaller female Aspie group with idea orientation (but you probably don’t know or don’t care). Until systems are “male optimized”, societies (including men and women) will suffer from the lack of female leadership.

Also, it is important to mention that “the 100%” is not 100% productive on an individual level. Some are phenomenally creative, but most people don’t produce anything and are bored out of their minds on their repetitive jobs, mostly “created” by the superficially money oriented sociopaths (and the conformists who follow them) who are often bored aboard their yachts. Creativity (my definition for this blog: originality that produces something fundamentally new and useful on a large scale) is unfortunately much less valued as you might like to think. Business and academia are more related to scale, money, low cost of labor and replicas, and less related to true creativity.

What might change the old school attitudes and structure is the global network of people on the Internet. Kickstarter, Indiegogo, LinkedIn, Google Helpouts, WordPress, Coursera, growing telecom networks, the startup and the open source culture, all these and more technologies and services will make it possible for almost 100% of societies to collaborate more and have more equal access to knowledge, networks, information, services, markets, funds and opportunities, be it academic or business related, or something else. It is also important to mention that social media and the availability and accessibility of telecommunications technologies make it possible for women to make a much more noticeable business and academic impact.

Self-made Men

Controversy can happen to anyone, it is the seriousness that matters. For example, even if today’s TED was recreated by the new management, it was still originally created by Mr. Wurman, who is also a newcomer among rich Americans (not that I am familiar with his exact financial situation but he lives well, even if not as rich as Perkins…), so it could be that he is part of the “5%” or the “10%”. Still, a true self-made man. Some people like him, some don’t. He is not a listening type on a personal level, but he is a listening type when it comes to ideas, even if his ADD prevents him from paying attention for long. His curious mind created the foundations of TED. I respect his initial input. He made the best move when he sold TED. His critical remarks of the contemporary TED Conferences a few years ago resulted in the breakdown of communications between him and the team. Still, today he is planning to attend TED conferences again. You can make communication related mistakes, it happens, and later you can aim to repair your relationships. Also, Richard remembers where he comes from. He in fact told me that he comes from a very poor background and he is a first generation degree holder. While he remained personally accessible, his money and networks created a kind of bubble around him. Again, this happens when your reference network changes. His most wonderful feature? His ongoing willingness to learn. He will be 79 during the spring of 2014.

Perkins has a much more serious problem. He offended people on an entirely different level and he lives in his own isolated world (he looks kind of unhappy). Still, don’t forget that KPCB would not be around without his skills, abilities, motivations, personality and personality disorders. I wish I could still respect his initial input… I know he is not involved with KPCB any more (this is not a recent development), but he used to be. I would not be surprised if the VC company dropped his name… but what happens if 10 years from now it turns out that Perkins did indeed have Alzheimer’s at the time of the controversy? During the interview with Emily Chang he did not appear to be consistent, his reactions were sometimes even childish. Is this his usual behavior? I don’t know. If it is, how was he able to become so successful? And if this is a successful man in America, what is wrong with the definition of success?

A new definition of the “elite” and “success” among the 1%

We need more “self-made” women to change the reference points of today’s leadership networks. While I am likely to question the 50-50 gender composition in leadership in the short run, generally 20-40% appears possible to me in the long run, especially when quotas are used.  Let us redefine the meaning of success together.

You can keep your ego, just do not let it harm others. If you can not live without the word “elite“, I am telling you, only these people should be considered as members of the true elite (independent of their financial situation): working, learning, investing, doing business in order to make the world a better place for as many people as possible on your own level. This should also be the definition of success among the “1%”. You can call me an idealist all you want, because after all we need ideals and possibly constructive ones.



More blogs by Regina Saphier:


Regina Saphier: Elementary

Regina Saphier: Elementary

If you don’t know, let me tell you that many US TV series have some excellent writers and advisors and the content is often effortlessly educational. The series “Elementary” is a perfect example of the popular being educational as well. Former medical doctor Joan Watson, the first ever female Watson in a TV series, phenomenally played by Lucy Liu, is first the guidance counselor of addict Aspie Sherlock Holmes, exceptionally portrayed by Jonny Lee Miller. Dr. Watson becomes Holmes’s highly appreciated associate during the first season. I have to say their dynamic on screen is really entertaining and completely believable, plus I really enjoy the atmosphere, the spaces used in the series, that unfolds in New York. Romantic interest in not part of their interaction, it is purely intellectual and collegial. Their libido is perfectly normal, but between them it is about solving crimes and finding criminals. We constantly witness how Mr. Holmes struggles with the neurotypical environment, how he stands out with his sharp observations and painful lack of social skills. Ms. Watson on the other hand is the mostly well adjusted female Aspie, passing as “normal” (mostly, but at some point her friends begin to assume that it is not “normal” to be fascinated by criminology on Holmes’s side), while exhibiting many of the observational and synthesizing abilities as Holmes…

Ms. Watson and Mr. Holmes in Elementary

In season 2, at the end of episode 9 (“On the Line”) Holmes explains to Ms. Watson that he is not a nice man, and he is making an exceptional effort to accommodate her, because she is exceptional:

I transcribed the dialogue (intentionally skipped a few lines here and there):

Sherlock Holmes: There is unquestionably a certain social utility to being polite. To maintaining an awareness of other people’s sensitivities, to exhibiting all the traits that might commonly be grouped under the heading “nice”.
Joan Watson: I think you would be surprised how easy it is to earn that designation.
Holmes: No. I am not a nice man. It’s important that you understand that. … There is not a warmer, kinder me waiting to be coaxed out into the light. I am acerbic. I can be cruel. So I am. … I am neither proud of this, nor ashamed of it. … And in my work my nature has been an advantage far more often than it has been a hinderance. I am not gonna change.
Watson: You have. You are not the same person I met a year and a half ago. You are…
Holmes: Good to you? Yeah… For the most part. I consider you to be exceptional. So I make an exceptional effort to accommodate you. But you must accept that for as long as you choose to be in my life there will occasionally be fallout from my behaviour. That must be a part of our understanding.
Watson: No one can accept something like that forever.
Holmes: To thine own self… Watson…
He means to say: know thyself or know yourself. Basically know who you are and be yourself. In full, the last sentence is (originally): “To thine own self be true“… it is from Hamlet. Sherlock wants Watson to understand that he finds his professional performance more important, but because she is instrumental in his professional efforts, he sacrifices parts of his automatic behaviors and uses mental energy and concentration to accommodate her. In his asocial mind this is a rational decision, he needs her so he accommodates her perceived needs. He gives up something cognitive to gain much more, because it is logical. She on the other hand has an emotional reaction to his words. You can see it on her face. She feels that Sherlock is developing as a person. He rationalizes his own growth, while she perceives emotional development in him. In a way both are right.
Here the writers show us how Holmes believes that he only changes to accommodate an exceptional person for purely rational reasons. What he is unable to consciously realize is that she cares about him, unlike most others, and he unconsciously appreciates that. At the same time we regularly witness how Watson’s presence and more developed social awareness often helps to balance Holmes’s asocial behavior. Note: I really dislike when people mix up the meaning of asocial and antisocial. Aspies are asocial, not antisocial. If they are not pushed and bullied over the edge by their neurotypical and ignorant peers, and when they grow up in an accepting and loving environment, they are as unlikely to become antisocial as any of the neurotypicals.
I am listing some other films for you if you are interested in Asperger’s (or in Autism):
  • The first major film on Autism: Dustin Hoffman as Raymond, an autistic savant… in “Rain Man”. This is NOT a film about Asperger’s!
  • Also by the writer of “Rain Man” (by Ronald Bass), an Asperger’s movie (the characters are in different places on the Asperger’s spectrum and are highly asocial): “Mozart and the Whale” (not as well directed as “Rain Man”, but still entertaining and educational).
  • Claire Danes in “Temple Grandin“, very well portrayed, and Claire’s spouse
  • Hugh Dancy in “Adam“, also a very good movie (about a lonely Aspie who develops a unique relationship with his neighbor: Beth).

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (film)

  • The director of “The Hours” (Stephen Daldry) created another wonderful film: “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” … The director “… stated in an interview that the film is about “a special child who is somewhere on the autistic spectrum, trying to find his own logic – trying to make sense of something that literally doesn’t make sense to him.” When asked how much research was necessary to realistically portray a character with such a condition, he answered “we did a lot of research,” and that he “spent a lot of time with different experts of Asperger’s and talked to them.” In the film, Oskar reveals that he was tested for Asperger syndrome, but the results were inconclusive. As Daldry explained: “Every child is different on the autistic spectrum, so we created our own version of a child that was in some way – not heavily, but somewhere on that spectrum in terms of the fears and the phobias.” (
  • Lately Abed in the series “Community” provided a perfectly believable Aspie. It turns out, the creator, Dan Harmon discovered he has a form of Asperger’s while doing research for the Aspie character Abed. As Abed would say, Cool cool cool. :-)This brings me to my key point: Many writers, stand up comedians, actors, actresses and film directors have a form of Aspergers. And these people have exceptional observational capacity, and for that you need deep empathy, high level of cognition, and special analytical skills. I believe that many Aspies are deeply empathic and have a very creative fantasy world, and e.g.: writing helps to “defragment” their massive emotional content.

Neurodevelopmental differences are probably much more common than we like to think. What makes the differences less apparent is enormous social pressure. Just think of religious people. Have you ever listened to a religious person quoting the bible word by word again and again and have you ever observed people’s religious rituals or the rigid social structures they feel forced to maintain? Don’t you think that many of them would fit the criteria of Asperger‘s with OCD? Focus on a single topic, repetition, rigidity, rituals, inability to assume the point of view of other people of other religions, and so on… Today, as people are more and more educated, religion is less and less dominant, and individuals discover new beliefs online that fit their personalities better. The mass scale of need for social “shelterdness” goes online and becomes much more individualized and globally remixed. At the same time people learn faster and more than ever before in human history. At this rate we might as well become a more understanding and more compassionate species, especially if we are willing to admit our shortcomings and do everything in our power to change to the better.

I think that the title Elementary might come from Sir Ken Robinson’s book title and theme: “The Element” (How finding your passion changes everything). He says that in order to be in your element, you must discover what you are best at, what you enjoy doing the most, and you also have to find the people who are like you, who appreciate you, and they are in a way your tribe. It is a beautifully idealistic human goal to be in your element, and some people are able to achieve this. Holmes and Watson enjoy their two person tribe and they are in their element together. Their personalities are different, but their elementary process is the same and they participate with passion. Seeking your element and passionately being in your constructive and positive element is the ultimate human goal for men and women equally. Aspies are probably born with a higher sense of their element and it often annoys “the seekers” (and remember, being “a seeker” is already a higher level of consciousness). When they are forced to adjust to rigid social norms they are denied their freedom to be in their elements and it is enormously frustrating. I mean, imagine that you just woke up from a flying dream, and you find yourself hovering above your bed… and suddenly you would be told to stop it, because it is not polite to levitate. How would you feel? 😉 Many Aspies “levitate intellectually” and are constantly told to “land politely”… Shouldn’t more people learn “mental levitation”? Of course they should! It is in fact the only kind of levitation a human is able to do without any instruments at the time of real action. 

This post grew out of my previous blog post: Curb Your Testosterone!

Regina Saphier: Curb Your Testosterone!

Regina Saphier: Curb Your Testosterone!


Do Aspie Men Feel Less comfortable with Women?

The Big Bang Theory

If you are like me, you enjoy, lets say: classical music and well written US TV series as well… I mean you are not a snob, you have an open mind for the popular as well. If you know “The Big Bang Theory“, you know how awkward the nerdy science guys feel around women. I also like Star Trek, particularly “The Next Generation” and the “Voyager” seasons. In the futuristic “Voyager” story professional crew members enjoy gender equality, the captain is a woman (she takes command in over 300 years from now…) and everyone knows what their duty is. (I hope you appreciate the geeky female in me…) This is what I am going to talk about this time: men feeling awkward around women and how this will change in the future. If you don’t know these series, rest assured, the women who survive around the boys, the women who make it around men as equals are well equipped with tomboy features, it is not necessarily about how sexy a woman is. Ok, Seven of Nine is both smart and sexy, but she is also the most “Aspie” like female character in the “Voyager” series… you know, “Asperger’s Syndrome“, a neurological difference, that often comes with very high cognitive capacity and low social skills… Tuvok from Vulcan, the eternal believer in rationality and self control is probably more like male Aspies. In “The Big Bang Theory” Amy is the female Aspie, Sheldon is the male Aspie, and together they are the socially highly awkward “ShAmy”. Amy is typically much more aware of the social nuances compared to Sheldon, but even Amy experiences the social elements cognitively, not intuitively. It is not her social instinct that helps her, it is her cognitive skills, her powerful intellectual capacity. “The ShAmy” perfectly represents the differences between Aspie men and women and I keep believing based on my experiences with humans on this planet that this has to do with testosterone too (and with social expectations, and with the more effective corpus callosum in female brains, connecting the two hemispheres better, and with other structural differences, like men having more gray matter, causing them to be better at math, and women having more white matter, that makes them more skilled in social situations). Men and women come in all shapes and sizes, with all sorts of personalities and brains (with diverse hormonal, neurological, genetic and social profiles) in the world and we have to learn to live with that. I believe that cognitively powerful Aspies are key leaders of humanity, and sadly neurotypicals (people not on the Aspergers spectrum) find it really hard to understand them or accept them.

Voyager Crew of Star Trek Voyager

Voyager Crew of Star Trek Voyager

I am known for my interest in talented people with Aspergers (whatever it is), and I believe that many change-makers are part of the group… at the same time I keep thinking that the trouble is, many male Aspies feel really happy online, love technology and science, but have no social skills, particularly no abilities to connect with women (even Seven of Nine has to learn how to behave with men.. she is human, but having been a Borg Drone for too long did not help her social skills…). Some have social skills or are skilled at pretending and are obsessed with topics that fit the business world, banking and politics. I keep thinking that in fact women are not common in high leadership roles because Aspie men feel less comfortable with women (they are too demanding for them emotionally and in social terms), and because only one in four Aspies are women (or more specifically, four times more men get diagnosed because women are better at fitting in and pretending to be neurotypical… by the way this means that Aspie women often suffer in silence)… Women with Aspergers have equal or better social skills and empathy than neurotypical men (men without Aspergers)…

Here is a speaker from the second day of TED 2013: Mary Lou Jepsen, screen engineer. This is what I wrote about her talk (while as usual live blogging a TED conference). “She had a brain surgery many years ago. A key part of her brain was removed and she had to experiment with some powerful chemicals, hormones, in really small doses, and she felt how just a small amount of change impacted how she felt, who she was, her temper, her self, her intellect. This talk reminds me of a radio show on This American Life about testosterone. She is actually showing us technology that can tell what you see in your head. I have heard about this before, but now I must really face it, because it is coming…” What I did not emphasize in this quick summary of her talk (that actually contained two topics) is that she also explained how her hormonal imbalance changed her understanding of men. In fact she also explained, that it was impossible to recreate her original personality due to the delicate balance having been ruined by the surgery. But amid her drama she emerged with a much deeper understanding for men, because her new brain chemistry is now closer to the male hormonal mix. And in a men’s world, until the circumstances change, and leadership requirements expand to emotional intelligence, empathy and the like, today women like Mary Lou are more likely to make it professionally. This will hopefully change, but for now lets focus on the women who are most likely to find their ways into leadership positions in technology and business and meanwhile lets gradually change the definition and toolkit of leadership, for more women to be able to become high profile leaders.

Lets face it, there has to be a reason for the fact that even in Norway, where companies that were active on the stock market were forced to appoint 40% women onto their boards, this did not result in other entities suddenly or even slowly having 40% women at the top. So, I have to ask this controversial question: Is it possible that today, the natural thing would be to set a 25% – 30% goal for women in the highest positions and see what happens? I know that leadership skills can be developed, but for example it might be that women with Aspergers are more likely to become high profile leaders in politics, science, banking and in technology, and still the gender stereotypes hold them backThey don’t need to force themselves, leadership comes naturally to them, but it is not expected of them… They have to adjust to male behavior, while also must appear (pretend to be) neurotypical to be socially accepted. Now that is really confusing and draining.

In other fields women (not necessarily Aspies) are intelligent conformists, who are more likely to become successful leaders in education, community development, childcare, social services and the like. These women are less hindered by the stereotypes, especially when the prestige of their field is low (so men are less likely to compete for those positions and those women are more neurotypical, need less effort to appear “normal” to their environments).

I keep thinking that Aspergers and androgyny are linked, as are humor and androgyny…

There is an interesting marker that shows division between men and women, and that is humor. Men and women both prefer male humor. However, if you dig into the standup and entertainment world, you will find some hilariously funny women (often noticeably androgen types, many of them are lesbians). But wait, there are in fact fewer females in standup and that might be because: 1. women are expected to be less funny by both genders, and 2. because in fact humor has a lot to do with aggression and androgen hormones (like testosterone).

Whitney Cummings, stand up comedian, talk show host, actress and producer

Here is a key and revealing idea for you to understand the problem with 50-50 male and female leadership: No matter how much you want the standup shows to consist of 50% funny males and 50% equally funny females, if the 50-50 audience just won’t laugh 50-50, you would not be successful at reaching your 50-50 goal. You can not force it. Also, low testosterone women will just never be as funny as low testosterone men. And when high testosterone women attempt to be aggressively funny, gender stereotypes make it less acceptable, even when they are really really funny. As in many fields women have to fight harder to be accepted, and that fight goes against the visceral reactions of people. Keep in mind that the normal female testosterone range is below 2 nmol/L and the normal male range starts above 10 nmol/L! And you don’t want to mess with people’s hormones, believe me!

So while I am arguing that society needs to do something about the testosterone dominance of men and of course gender stereotypes need to be removed as roadblocks of healthy human development, I am also suspicious about the 40% rule in Norway and the 50% expectations of social scientists and politicians. It is true that those companies did not go under with the 40% female leadership in Norway, of course they did not, but: did they become supersonic and viral examples? No.

Competitiveness is also driven by aggression and testosterone (while cooperation and empathy has more to do with the female sex hormones). Testosterone plays a role in: leadership, competitiveness, humor, aggression, sexuality, motivation, and so it looks like testosterone has a major role in entrepreneurship, science, politics and sports as well… It is interesting to note that in the show about Testosterone on NPR’s “This American Life” (beyond bringing us interesting human stories about the impact of testosterone) the studio team had their testosterone levels tested, and guess what, the only homosexual male in the group had the highest testosterone level among the male colleagues (and among the women a pregnant and not at all shy female editor). Now, the fact that testosterone drives our societies today, does not make this fact ok for eternity. In fact it is this recognition that makes it possible to change this by conscious analysis and decision makingIf today’s leadership styles are running us into a deep canyon of darkness, perhaps we need to look at compassion, empathy, encouragement, vicariousness, and the like, that are not driven by testosterone, but are nevertheless important leadership skills and styles.

At the same time, I enjoy wit and humor, so please, don’t you assume that I have anything against testosterone. However, in a modern society its impact has to be balanced. I might say: Curb Your Testosterone!

While reading the New Yorker article about Peter Thiel, I kept thinking, here is a clearly Aspie man, with lack of emotional maturity running a lot of business shows in his own way… and at the end of the article I was reinforced, he knows.

Peter Thiel

As cognitively brilliant but emotionally infantile Peter Thiel (venture capitalist) put it: “You can say the whole Internet has something very escapist to it. You have all these Internet companies over the past decade, and the people who run them are sort of autistic. These mild cases of Asperger’s seem to be quite rampant. There’s no need for sales—the companies themselves are weirdly nonsocial in nature.” But, he added, “In a society where things are not great and a lot of stuff is fairly dysfunctional, that may actually be the thing where you can add the most value. You can say that’s an escapist impulse of sorts, or an anti-political impulse, but maybe it is also the best way you can actually help things …”” Peter, you are good with numbers, strategy, logic, but that is only half of the human tool kit… Like Peter Arvai of Prezi or Tim Cook of Apple, Peter Thiel of PayPal is also an openly gay entrepreneur (there are many gay entrepreneurs who don’t want to risk their positions) and surrounds himself mostly with equally autistic men who think that everything is and has to be “rational” (as if there is anything rational about our existence in the universe). He is the most typical example of the problem, why women can not be part of the highest leadership. It’s because Peter and his friends (a boy’s club) feel uncomfortable around women. It is their own limitations, their values that make it impossible for women to be part of the leadership elites in technology and in science R&D, and also the limiting and distorted social values that women can not be leaders in these fields. Trust me, they can be, only the people who are part of the game must recognize their own limitation and counterproductive rejection of “the other”, the female, the more “emotional”, the “complicated”, the perceived “irrational”, the connected, the socially often more adept, the ones with more empathy and consideration for others (not all women are like this, and of course there are men who are like this). If you are blind, it does not mean that there is no visible space around you. If you are blind to the values of women, it does not mean that women don’t have real value in your field at your level.

Open your mind’s eyes cognitively: Aspie men (as well as Aspie women) have the ability to somewhat successfully substitute for lack of empathy, social skills or emotional intelligence (note: not all aspies lack empathy, social skills and EI) by using their enormous cognitive capacity to understand their own shortcomings and recognize new layers of human reality. Yes, you can! Trust me, I know men like this and those men were able to learn. At the same time women also must learn to speak “the male language” to finally meet in the middle and to go from there together.

Update from March 15., 2014: If you think that men and women have an equal opportunity as entrepreneurs in society, you are at least ignorant. If I consider the fact that VC money is mostly controlled by men, and if I add the results of the new MIT/Wharton study: Does it mean that male venture capitalists unconsciously and overwhelmingly prefer to invest in very handsome men? Does it mean that latent or undisclosed or open male homosexuality governs VC investments? Does it mean that the majority of women have no chance of making it as entrepreneurs due to this bias when competing against men in front of male investors? Is this happening in other fields, like science or politics as well? Obviously it is.

Let me recommend more posts on my TED and my Coursera blogs as well (I am dealing with a range of different topics):

On “My Coursera Blog” about Coursera:

What “The Digital Skeptic” of “The Street” Forgot to Mention in His Article

Gross National Income… “Developing” and “Developed” Countries… and Coursera

Coursera “re-Members” in Larger Numbers?

On My TED Blog about China, about our microbiomes and big data, and about the founder of TED: 

The United States of China

The United States of China (Part 2)

TEDMED or Your Gut Feeling and Big Data

The Smithsonian National Design “Lifetime Achievement” Award goes to Richard Saul Wurman

The Wurman Project

I wrote more about Asperger’s and gender differences in my next blog post on My “Virtual Humanism” Blog: Elementary

And I also have a post in Hungarian with English audio that I recorded for English speakers to give you a summary of my post: (A Nők meg a “Startup” Ápolás Művészete) Women and the Art of Startup Maintenance

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Saphier Regina: A Nők meg a “Startup” Ápolás Művészete

For English speakers I have a self made audio behind the English title here (38 mins 36 secs): Women and the Art of Startup Maintenance  This is my first podcast, so please be patient with me. If something is unclear, have a quick look at the Hungarian text for names, titles, images and links for example. I used the free resources of The Internet Archive in San Francisco, in the US to offer you an online streaming opportunity.

Saphier Regina: A Nők meg a “Startup” Ápolás Művészete


Magyar Billentyűt Ragadtam → Az egyetlen ember, akinek két Nobel-t adtak, két külön szakterületen: Marie → Néhány Gondolat a Tesztoszteronról → A “Gazella” Program Négy Nyertese (anyagi helyzetük, honlapjaik, és a nők helyzete a cégek felső vezetői rétegében) → Prezi, Szellemi Tőke, Vándorlás és Szexizmus → Daphne Startup-ja: Coursera → Sheryl és a Malőr → Mire Jó a Szakemberek Vándorlása? → Péter és a Férfi Önérdek → Kigolyózott Nők → Vezetés, Cégek, Nők, Inkubátorok és Gyorsítók → Releváns cikkek

Magyar Billentyűt Ragadtam

Évek óta nem írtam magyarul blogot (a TED és Coursera blogjaimat rendszeresen angolul írom, mert a célközönségem globális), de most a téma megköveteli, hogy magyarul fogalmazzam meg a gondolataimat (jó lenne, ha minden magyar tudna angolul, de sajnos nem ez a helyzet). Nagy cirkusz van a “Szilícium Völgyben”, Vivek Wadhwa Silicon Valley’s Anti-Social Network” címmel a Twitter CEO-jával folytatott nyilvános online vitájáról írt. A lényeg az, hogy az egyik férfi (Vivek), azzal vádolja a másik férfit (Dick Costolo-t), hogy annak nem érdeke, hogy több nő legyen “A Völgy” cégeinek felső vezetői között, és azt állítja, hogy ez társadalom-, piac és profit (tehát befektető) ellenes hozzáállás. Igaza van, de én közben azt is látom, hogy két becsvágyó pasi a nőkről vitázik, a nők feje felett, miközben valójában mindkettő azzal van elfoglalva, hogy nekik mindenképpen jó legyen. Vivek pl. el akarja adni a témába vágó könyvét, világos, hogy nekimegy egy jól látható CEO-nak, aki különben gyaníthatóan valóban egy hím-soviniszta, elitista, “harvardista”, “völgyista”, fehér férfi. Nagyot néznénk, ha pl. indiai nő lenne, aki mondjuk nem a Harvardra járt. Még nagyon sok dolga akad a kisebbségek és a nők, illetve a nem pofátlan (értsd, nem önző, nem erőszakos, hanem empatikus, önvizsgálatra képes) férfiak érdekeit védő, a társadalom sokféleségének fontossága mellett érvelő csendes és hangos csoportoknak.

Az egyetlen ember, akinek két Nobel-t adtak, két külön szakterületen: Marie

Azoknak, akik szerint a nők másodrendű emberek és csak arra jók, hogy gyereket szüljenek, itt egy kis info: A Nobel Díj-at eddig csak négy embernek ítélték meg kétszer, de közöttük is csak egy ember volt, aki két tudományterületen is megkapta: egy nő! Pár éve olvastam Maria Salomea Skłodowska-Curie egyik életrajzát, amelyiket lánya, a 2007-ben, 102 éves korában elhunyt újságíró és zongoraművész, Ève Denise Curie Labouisse írt.

English: Marie Curie (born Maria Salomea Skłod...Az a rész különösen megmaradt bennem, hogy Marie reggel rendszeresen feltette főni a levest, és otthagyta a lángon, elment otthonról, hogy a laboratóriumában dolgozhasson a férjével… remélte, hogy nem ég le a házuk, és lesz ebéd. Pierre Curie, Marie férje soha nem tett fel levest, nem szült két gyereket, és “csak” egy Nobelt kapott, mielőtt egy lovaskocsi halálra gázolta. Érdekes kérdés, hogy mi lett volna, ha nem Marie-nak (a szorgalmas, rendkívül tehetséges, és kétségtelenül mazochista lengyel bevándorlónak) kell feltennie a levest, és ha nem lett volna elvárás vagy társadalmi kényszer, hogy feleség és anya legyen. Lehet, hogy három Nobel Díjat kapott volna? (Marie az első Nobelt még férjével közösen, de a második Noble-t már évekkel a férje halála után kapta, önállóan.) Mellesleg a másik lányuk, Irène Joliot-Curie is Nobel díjas lett (a férjével közösen). Persze a nőknek nem a Nobel a cél. A nőknek az a cél, hogy egyenrangú emberi lényekként kezeljék őket a férfiak.

Néhány Gondolat a Tesztoszteronról

Hogy ne csak a levegőbe beszéljünk férfiakról és nőkről, szerintem érdemes egy pillantást vetni az egyik legfontosabb hormonra, az egyik olyan tényezőre, ami nagyon is megkülönbözteti a nőket és a férfiakat. Egy kérdés: Tudta-e az olvasó, hogy az agresszió és normális motiváció (nem egyetlen, de az) egyik legfontosabb alaphormonja a tesztoszteron? Ezt lehet, hogy tudta. Azt azonban kevesebben tudják, hogy a vérben, tehát a szérumban található normál tesztoszteron intervallumok esetében az “egészséges” nők és az “egészséges” férfiak laborleletein nincs a két “normál” halmaznak metszete: a nőknél a normál intervallum felső (!) határa valahol 2 nmol/L alatt van (ez a nőknek, a saját komplex hormonális profiljuk alapján, más egyéb hormonokkal karöltve, elég a normális motiváció fönntartásához, de nem véletlen, hogy kevésbé hajlamosak az agresszióra), míg a férfiak esetében az alsó normál érték kb. 10 nmol/L felett kezdődik, és 30 nmol/L körül van a férfiak egészséges felső határértéke. Tehát az “elférfiasodó” nők és az “elnőiesedő” férfiak valahol 2 nmol/L és 10 nmol/L között szinte külön gender, avagy társadalmi nemi halmazokat képeznek (és ők speciális diszkriminatív, korlátolt viselkedésekkel találják magukat szemben). Érdekesség: ha egy nőnek tesztoszteront adnak, eltárgyiasul a szexualitása és agresszívabb lesz, míg ha egy férfinak annyira leesik a tesztoszteron szintje, hogy már a normális női szintet közelíti, akkor teljesen motiválatlan és apatikus lesz (míg megközelítőleg hasonlóan alacsony tesztoszteron szinttel egy nő teljesen normális és stabil érzelmi állapotban lenne, alkotna, sportolna, élné az életét).

Ugyanakkor a kiemelkedő intellektuális képességeket mérő teszteknek bizony van közös halmaza az egészséges nők és férfiak esetében. A nők oktatásának elterjedése mára oda vezetett, hogy a nők intelligencia szint átlaga immár meghaladja a férfiakét. Az is köztudott, hogy a mostani fiatalok mérhető intelligencia hányadosa, a fejlett társadalmakban meghaladja szüleik és nagyszüleik intelligencia hányadosát (miközben az USA-ban, egyelőre felderítetlen okból a férfiak átlagos tesztoszteron szintje folyamatosan csökken… képzeljük el a kevésbé intelligens, de agresszívebb apák, és lényegesen intelligensebb, de sokkal passzívabb fiaik interakcióit…). Ennek ellenére a primitívebb, zsigeribb alapokon nyugvó társadalmakban (ma még szinte mind ilyen a Földön) mégis inkább a férfiak jutnak vezető szerepekhez (bár a nők fokozatosan egyre több vezető pozíciót töltenek be, talán mert könnyebben értenek szót a kevésbé agresszív, de intelligens férfiakkal). A nőket nem az teszi alkalmasabbá egyes dolgokra, hogy helyből jobbak valamiben, hanem meglehet például az, hogy sokszor tisztábban képesek gondolkodni, másokra is gondolnak, hajlamosabbak az együttérzésre másokkal, és kevésbé hajlamosak vakmerően dönteni, mivel például kevesebb a tesztoszteron a szervezetükben (természetesen még számtalan meghatározó különbség van, de ez a hormon hihetetlen mértékben befolyásolja az agy működését és a személyiséget). 

Nem biztos, hogy a ma előszeretettel mutogatott felső vezető nők ideális példák arra, hogy milyen is egy nő, ha vezet. Amint egy intelligens nő elkezd a férfiak tesztoszteronban igen gazdag közegében a vezető szerepekért “harcolni”, azt tapasztalja, hogy az agresszióért felelős extra hormon mennyiség lendületet és önbizalmat adó, gátlásoldó, individualizáló, “praktikusan” empátia csökkentő hatása mellé a férfiaknak elég kevesebb ész és tudás is, hogy előrejussanak. Tény, hogy vannak agresszív nők, de pl. a fizikai agresszió sokkal gyakoribb a férfiak körében. Ehhez adjuk még hozzá a megrögzött rossz társadalmi beidegződéseket, melyek szerint a nők fogják be a szájukat, mert tudatlanok, nem elég okosak, és nem elég rátermettek (az a legszomorúbb, amikor ezt még a nők is elhiszik). A férfiak nem azért töltenek be több vezető pozíciót, mert okosabbak, hanem mert agresszívabbak és kevésbé “zavarja” őket más emberek érzelmi világa… ha nem érzed, hogy belerúgtál valakibe, akkor nem zavar a haladásban, hogy helytelenül viselkedtél (értsd: kevésbé empatikusan).

Bár nekem nem tetszik, amikor egy nő anyagi érdekből beházasodik egy gazdag férfi vagyonába, de ha jobban belegondolunk, lehet, hogy még manapság is: sok nőnek ez az egyetlen esélye, hogy ő és a gyerekei jobb társadalmi helyzetbe kerüljenek. Meglehet, hogy egy kevésbé férfijogú társadalomban ezek a nők is inkább az önállóságot választanák, de most erre még nincs meg a lehetőségük, mert még az “elit” is zsigeri szinten vezérelt, nem ésszel él. Alább majd mutatok egy szép példát arra, hogy milyen egy okos nő és egy okos férfi egyenrangú és produktív házassága (bár hozzá kell tennem, hogy a feleség, arcvonásai alapján a magasabb normál tesztoszteron szintű nők közé tartozik… az arc, az áll, a szemöldök, az arccsont, sokat elárulnak egy férfi és egy nő hormonális arányairól).

A siker titka, a jövőben, hogy a férfiakat meg kell tanítani agressziójuk kordában tartására, a nőket pedig meg kell tanítani arra, hogy hogyan legyenek asszertívebbek. Mivel a tehetséges férfiaknak ott van a zsigeri agresszió (ennek van egészséges és szalonképes mértéke) és az ész, a tehetséges nőknek is kell valami az ész mellé, és esetükben ez csak egy tanult, agresszivitást pótló társas magatartás lehet: az asszertivitás avagy a tanult önérvényesítési képesség (ez azokra a férfiakra is vonatkozik, akiknek szérum tesztoszteron szintje a normál férfi tesztoszteron skála alsó értékei körül szóródnak statisztikailag… bár tény, hogy van, aki tesztoszteront szed, hogy határozottabb, agresszívabb, bátrabb, potensebb, motiváltabb, vidámabb, soványabb és fittebb legyen… tehát, hogy megfeleljen a vélt vagy valós társadalmi elvárásoknak… de van, hogy elég ha a D vitamin szintjét teszik helyre, és azonnal megemelkedik a tesztoszteron szintje is).

Ha egy nő egymaga, társadalmi rétegváltással, a társadalom kevésbé kedvezményezett részeiből, beházasodás nélkül akar előrejutni szakmailag, pl. az üzleti életben, komoly stressz éri a szervezetét, ha nem élhet személyisége és biológiája rá jellemző vonásaival, és ha fel kell vennie bizonyos “férfiasnak” ítélt viselkedésformákat (természetesen erről is hosszan lehetne elmélkedni, hogy mi is az a férfias és nőies). Szó szerint belebetegedhet a rá alapvetően nem jellemző viselkedésbe. Ma már a fejlett társadalmakban több nő hal bele súlyos (a torzító életforma miatt kialakuló) szívbetegségekbe, mint férfi. Sok nő ma férfiasnak aposztrofált betegségekbe hal bele, amilyen a szívroham, és sokkal nagyobb eséllyel halnak bele, mint egy férfi, mert az orvosok ritkábban feltételezik egyelőre, hogy egy nőnek szívrohama lehet. Aztán ott van az a szomorú összefüggés is, hogy a nagyon nagy stresszel járó munkakörök hatására (melyek nem önmagukban, hanem az egyenlőtlen közegben nyomasztóak), a nők magasabb tesztoszteron szintje elősegítheti pl. a mellrák kialakulását is. Csak azért taglaltam ezt a témát, hogy legyen némi tartalma az olyan fogalmaknak, mint elnőiesedés, elférfiasodás, agresszió, és motiváció. A háttérben ott vannak a kognitív, hormonális, biológiai, fiziológiai, kémiai, genetikai, neurológiai és a “microbiome” által meghatározott folyamatok. Nem elvont, hanem nagyon is egzaktan mérhető tényezők vannak a háttérben, a mélyen ható társadalmi tényezők mellett. Konkrét tesztoszteron hatással kapcsolatos életszerű emberi történeteket ezen a linken hallhat a kedves olvasó, a This American Life 2002-ben készült műsorában, angolul. Nagyon érdekes!

Mindeközben Magyarországon a NIH (Nemzeti Innovációs Hivatal) által kiírt “akkreditált technológiai inkubátor” (avagy a Gazella) pályázat négy nyertes cégét megvizsgálva azt találtam, hogy hivatalosan, a közzétett cégadatok alapján csak az egyik cég igazgatóságában szerepel egyetlen egy nő.

A “Gazella” Program Négy Nyertese (anyagi helyzetük, honlapjaik, és a nők helyzete a cégek felső vezetői rétegében)

Szandrocha Kamilla (ügyvezető partner) CEIS, (igazgatósági tag) Aquincum Technológiai Inkubátor Zrt.

Ξ Aquincum Technológiai Inkubátor Zrt. (Bejegyezve: 2013/09/25)

Nő a felső vezetésben (4/1 avagy 25%): Szandrocha Kamilla, igazgatósági tag, együttes döntésre jogosult az igazgatóság másik három tagjával, akik: Duda Ernő, Lepp Gyula, és Várkonyi Attila Miklós… Amikor nemrég rákérdeztem, Duda Ernő nagyon pozitívan nyilatkozott a hölgy szellemi képességeiről, nem azért tagja az igazgatóságnak, mert Kóka János felesége, hanem mert tehetséges. Egyelőre nincs honlapjuk, ami meglepő, viszont rendelkeznek a pályázathoz szükséges 40 millió Ft-os jegyzett tőkével, a nyilvános cégadatok alapján. Részvényesek: Alder Vagyonkezelő Zrt., Central European Investment Services Tanácsadó Kft. (Szandrocha Kamilla cége), FastVentures Zrt. (melyben az egyszemélyes részvénytársaság tulajdonosának húga, Várkonyi Enikő, együttes képviseleti jogkörrel rendelkezik, ami örvendetes, ha tényleges befolyással bír), Graphisoft Park Ingatlanfejlesztő Kft. (ennek egyetlen tagja, nem meglepő módon a Bojár Gábor féle, hatalmas tőkeerővel rendelkező Graphisoft Park SE Ingatlanfejlesztő Európai Részvénytársaság, melynek képviselői között sajnos egyetlen nőt sem találunk), és a Qualinnova Consulting Kft.

Ξ Digital Factory Zrt. (Bejegyezve: 2013/09/06)

Nő nincs a cégben, és hivatalosan Valner Szabolcs az egyetlen részvényes, illetve az egyetlen képviselő (pillanatnyilag). Reméljük, hogy hamarosan legalább egy női részvényes és/vagy CEO lesz a cégben (ahogy Amerikában mondjuk, emiatt “ne tartsd vissza a lélegzetedet”). Valner úr a technológiai területen tévesen a “meritokráciát” véli felfedezni a férfiak szakterületi dominanciája mögött. Azt vallja, hogy győzzön a “jobbik”, mert hiszen szerinte az esélyek egyenlőek, és képtelen belátni, a nőknek igenis extra biztatás és mentorálás kell, hogy egyáltalán gondolni merjenek arra, hogy IT céget indítsanak. A cikkekkel, melyeket látókörének SOS bővítése érdekében küldtem, semmit sem tudott kezdeni… mit érdekli őt, hiszen ő férfi, és neki minden úgy jó, ahogy van. Ráadásul mindez, szerinte, nem rajta múlik, pedig bizony immár rajta is múlik. Fel kellene nőni a felelősséghez! A cég rendelkezik a pályázathoz szükséges 40 millió Ft-os jegyzett tőkével, a nyilvános cégadatok alapján.

Ξ ACME Labs Zrt. (Bejegyezve: 2013/09/20)

Nő a felső vezetésben a honlap szerint: Farkas-Tolnai Krisztina Mária CFO, feltehetően a CEO felesége… saját jogán, a cég önálló képviseletére a hivatalos cégadatok alapján nem jogosult, de az amerikai CTO kézbesítési megbízottja. Reméljük, hogy hamarosan az okiratba is bekerül, önálló döntési jogkörű CFO-ként, mert úgy tűnik, a képességei megvannak ehhez. A cég a blog írásának napjaiban még nem rendelkezett a pályázathoz szükséges 40 millió Ft-os jegyzett tőkével, legalábbis a nyilvános cégadatok szerint.

Ξ iCatapult Technológiai és Üzletfejlesztési Zrt. (Bejegyezve: 2012/12/19)

Nő a felső vezetésben a honlap szerint: Takács Zsuzsanna COO, de a cég képviseletére a hivatalos cégadatok alapján nem jogosult, a közzétett cégadatok között nem is szerepel a neve. A hölgy korábban executive secretary volt, LinkedIn profilja alapján nem tudunk meg többet. Reméljük, hogy ez a helyzet hamarosan változik. A cég a blog írásának napjaiban még nem rendelkezett a pályázathoz szükséges 40 millió Ft-os jegyzett tőkével, legalábbis a nyilvános cégadatok szerint.

Kérdés, hogy például Árvai Péter, a Prezi CEO-ja és a “Gazella” zsűri egyik tagja mennyire látja át, hogy különösen a social media korában, nők is kellenek az IT felsővezetők szintjén (talán annyiban más ő, mint a többi férfi CEO a kaliforniai völgyben és itthon, hogy Svédországban született és cseperedett fel… esetleg hamarabb belátja, hogy mit kell tennie). Egy tehetséges nő, ha megfeszül sem képes a hülye előítéleteket legyőzni, ha nincs rájuk külön felkészítve, illetve ha nincs része hozzáértő támogatásban, pl. a felvilágosultabb férfiak részéről (és az áttörést egyedül egy nőtől nem is lehet elvárni, sok nőnek kell demonstrálnia, hogy képes valamire, és jogosan várja el, hogy szakmailag, emberileg és anyagilag megbecsüljék… és azt is tudjuk, hogy itthon általában a férfiak munkáját sem becsülik meg).

Prezi Logo

Prezi, Szellemi Tőke, Vándorlás és Szexizmus

Az is kérdés, hogy a “boldoguljunk itthon” szlogen mennyire autentikus (a különben kiváló katalizátor) Árvai Péter szájából,

– miközben ő nem Magyarországon született (valójában nem ebben a közegben létezik, akkor sem, ha sokat van itt, ő sokkal inkább globális karakter, igazi vérbeli kozmopolita), és

– miközben a Prezi alkalmazottai igen nagy számban külföldiek, akik Budapestre jöttek a Prezi miatt (ami különben nagyon jó, mert fontos a nemzetközi mozgás, és helyes, hogy sok közöttük a nő), és

– amikor a Kft. és más “magyar” startup-ok nem létezhetnek a San Francisco-ban vagy más amerikai városban található irodájuk és cégük nélkül (mert az amerikai befektetők elvárják, hogy ott is jelen legyenek)… és

ha még ott is hím-soviniszták a CEO-k… mi lehet ugyebár itthon…!?

Gyors elemzés után világosan látszik, hogy a Kft. egy relatíve kis tőkéjű cég az amerikai Prezi Inc.-hez képest (még akkor is, ha az eredménykimutatásuk alapján az értékesítés nettó árbevétele 2012-ben: 1 333 378 000 Ft volt, és ezt gyaníthatóan bőven meghaladja majd a 2013-as nettó árbevétel). A 2011-ben 14 millió dollár tőkével ellátott amerikai cég, amely ma már a kb. 50 millió Ft törzstőkéjű Kft. tulajdonosa, 2013 második negyedévében 26 millió felhasználót számlált (és ez a szám állítólag havonta több mint 1 millióval nő).  A két fő felhasználói csomag ára évente 59 és 159 dollár. Ha ennek a két díjnak az átlagát veszem, és mondjuk azt feltételezem, hogy csak a user-ek több mint fele fizet rendszeresen (tehát vélhetőleg, sőt remélhetőleg alulbecsülöm az összeget), akkor is dollár milliárdokra rúgó összeg folyik be az amerikai cégbe, már most: a befektetett kockázati tőke többszöröse, dollárban, miközben a cél minimum 200 millió user. (Ezek természetesen csak az én spekulációim, belülről lehet, hogy teljesen másként néznek ki a pénzmozgások…) Sajnos, feltehetőleg ennek az összegnek kis része szivárog Magyarországra, ráadásul a Kft. alkalmazottai sokkal olcsóbbak, mint az amerikai alkalmazottak (lehet rajtuk “spórolni”, még akkor is, ha a Kft. alkalmazottait rendesen megfizetik a hazai viszonyokhoz képest, mert a személyi jellegű ráfordítás 2012-ben: 941 387 000 Ft volt). Sajnálatos, hogy a magyar és az amerikai cég legfelsőbb (a cégek hivatalos, publikált regisztrációs dokumentumaiba bejegyzett) vezetői egytől egyig, kizárólag férfiak (az alapítók, a legfelső vezetők és az igazgatóság minden egyes tagja férfi). Nem elég a nőket programozóként és menedzserként alkalmazni. Már a kezdet kezdetén is szükség lett volna nőkre, az alapításkor. Nem véletlen, szerény véleményem szerint, hogy pl. a Kft. hazai CSR (társadalmi felelősség) projektje méltatlan a Prezi Inc. árbevételéhez. Sokat dobna a cég megítélésén, az avatott ember szemében, ha gyorsan felvennének egyInternational Head of Corporate Consciousness“-t (ezt ebben a pillanatban találtam ki, mert a CSR elcsépelt és kiüresedett fogalom), és lehetőleg egy nőt kell választani, aki érti a dolgát és ismeri a különböző közegeket, melyekben a Prezi mozog. Az első felső vezető nő pozíciója a Prezi-nél lehetne mondjuk ez: “Chief Social Consciousness Officer” avagy röviden: “CSCO“.

Láttam az egyik PR filmet: a Prezi alkalmazottai egyszerre vettek részt csapatépítésben és önkéntes programban, amikor egy roma telepen szegény emberek házait tatarozták. Először is, a romák is be tudják építeni az ablakokat, nem 5 éves gyerekek. Másodszor, képtelen vagyok elfelejteni a hóban húzgált beltéri, földeletlen, nem vízálló hosszabbítót… ami életveszélyes. Munkavédelemből 1-es. Harmadszor talán egy tech cégnek jobb ötlete is lehetne, mint egy ilyen eléggé gyermeteg és nagyon low tech program. Olyan nemzetközi, társadalmi, oktatási, technológiai programra van szükség, amely ezeknek az embereknek nemcsak reményt, hanem fejlődési, kitörési és önfenntartási esélyt ad. Ez lehetne a Prezi Inc. féle “Moonshot”… hiszen a Google[x] követendő példa. (Instead of “shooting yourself into the foot” with low tech PR, go for a “Moonshot” in social and educational terms with the available technology, money and intellect that you have.) Ötletem annyi, mint a tenger.

Hadd emeljem ki ezt: ha számomra természetes, hogy Árvai Péter és a Prezi támogatják a melegek társadalmi pozícióját, akkor Árvai Péternek természetes kell legyen, hogy én szót emelek a társadalmak felének egyenrangúságával kapcsolatban, a legfelső vezetésben is. Meleg férfi cégvezetőkből nincs hiány, nőnemű cégvezetőkből hiány van a legfelső szinteken. Tessék már észrevenni ezt az anomáliát. A norvég tőzsdei cégek igazgatóságában kötelező a nők 40%-os reprezentációja (és ezt egy konzervatív férfi politikus tette kötelezővé). Lássuk be, az, hogy a legfelső vezetők között nem nagyon vannak nők, az sokszor a férfiak kényelmét hivatott szolgálni, csakhogy uraim a “férfi kényelem” a nők rovására, nem társadalmi szempont egy intelligens és felelősségteljes ember számára, a 21. században. A Google Inc., bár nem norvég cég, hanem egy globális vállalat, mely a Szilícium Völgyben gyökeredzik, ennek ellenére igazgatótanácsában a nők aránya immár 30% (10/3).

Daphne Startup-ja: Coursera

Szándékosan keverem a szezont a fazonnal, tartson ki a kedves olvasó, a hazatérés lehetetlensége egy tőről fakad azzal, hogy itthon a nőket alsóbbrendű lényekként vagy dísztárgyakként kezelik, és nagyítóval kell keresni a nők által vezetett startup cégeket. Hol vannak a magyar Daphne Koller-ek például? Ő a Coursera fenomenálisan tehetséges társ alapítója, aki mellesleg mesterséges intelligencia kutatással foglalkozik, és családjában immár a harmadik olyan generációt képviseli, amelyik doktorátussal rendelkezik. Érdekes, hogy a Courserát amerikai startupként ismeri a világ (2012-ben alapították az USA-ban), miközben mindkét alapítója bevándorló, nem született amerikaiak. Daphne (aki egy MacArthur Fellow) Izraelben, Andrew Ng Angliában született. Daphne kettős (izraeli és amerikai) állampolgár. A Coursera tartalomszolgáltatói és felhasználói oldalról, már a második évében, valójában egy globális startup, hiszen a világ legkülönbözőbb pontjain vannak a partner egyetemek és a professzorok. Diákjaik pedig különösen globális tömeget alkotnak, online. Nyilván az sem ártott a Coursera sikerének, hogy Daphne férje, Dan Avida az OpusCapital IT cégépítéssel és befektetéssel foglalkozó partnere. Ez a nő saját jogán, szinte bizonyosan egy zseni, ennek ellenére, még neki is jól jön, hogy a férje befektetési tanácsadó! Ha a férje mondjuk festőművész lenne, vagy Daphne nem lenne férjnél, akkor lehet, hogy a Coursera nem lenne ennyire sikeres, pedig állítom, hogy a felsőoktatást világméretekben forradalmasító vállalkozás (mindentől függetlenül). Tehát ha a zseni és az időszerűség mellett nem lenne ott az üzleti tapasztalat, akkor nem lenne Coursera, pedig Daphne intellektuális családi háttere kiváló! Még neki is különleges támogatásra van szüksége, hogy a briliáns társadalmi vállalkozása átütő és megérdemelt globális siker legyen. Ezt jegyezzük meg! Továbbá a Coursera felső vezetői megoszlása az első pillanattól kezdve, egészséges módon: 50-50%. Daphne egyelőre nagy ritkaság a maga nemében, és olyan körülményeket kell teremteni, melyek között a nők nincsenek férjeikre és a férfiakra szorulva, ha sikeresek akarnak lenni. Ettől függetlenül azt gondolom, hogy Daphne helyzete ideális, és nincs azzal semmi baj, hogy a férje képes segíteni neki, mivel ez a nő 100%-ban autonóm, kutató, anya, vállalkozó és feleség. Ha a férje féltékenyen őrizné és elnyomná, akkor sem lenne Coursera. Ezt is jegyezzük meg! Mindketten autonóm lények, és ebből a fajta emberi kapcsolatból születnek a legfantasztikusabb dolgok a világon. (Jó lenne tudni, hogy Szandrocha Kamilla is ilyen helyzetben van.)


Daphne Koller (Coursera)

Aki ismeri a szakmai múltamat, az tudja, hogy az egyik legfontosabb kérdés, mellyel tartósan foglalkoztam, az a hazatérés lehetősége és lehetetlensége. Biztos vagyok benne, hogy a külföldön élő százezrek, akik a magyarországi gazdasági válság elől menekültek el innen, boldogan hazajönnének (hiszen, az emberek alapvetően nem szeretnek külföldiek, idegenek lenni egy másik országban, mert a velük szemben létező előítélet igenis fájdalmas… persze ha sok pénzed van, ha munkahelyeket teremtesz, vagy hatalmas eredményeket érsz el, nem tekintenek “annyira” idegennek)… Ha reális esélyük lenne arra, hogy itt ép ésszel, egészségesen és méltósággal boldoguljanak, visszatérnének a szülőföldjükre (lesz idő, talán, amikor ez már teljesen lényegtelen lesz, amikor az emberek a Földet tekintik majd Szülőföldnek). 5-10 évvel ezelőtt éveket áldoztam erre a témakörre, és ma nem véletlenül: teljes visszavonultságban élek. Ismerem a belső emigrációs állapotot. Angolul az “Internal Exile” kapcsán “Internet Exile”-nak szoktam aposztrofálni a jelenlegi életformámat. Az egyik ok a visszavonultságra, hogy itthon a társadalom lehetőségeihez képest a legrosszabb természetű, legkorlátoltabb, és “begolyózott” férfi vezetők mérgezik a közeget (tisztelet a nagyon ritka kivételnek). Ez a torz, hím-soviniszta vezetői réteg is oka annak, hogy nagyon sokan elvándorolnak innen, de térjünk vissza a nők problémáihoz, melyek nemcsak a nők problémái.

Sheryl és a Malőr

Nemzetközileg, a vezetés, a gender kérdések, és a technológiai cégek témakörében olvasottabb körökben közismert az a kis story, hogy Sheryl Sandberg (a facebook COO-ja) nőket motiváló “Lean In” könyvéhez a kiadó “önkéntes”, azaz nem fizetett gyakornokot keresett, miközben a könyvben ugyebár arról van szó, hogy legyenek a nők aktívak, meg esélyegyenlőség kell, meg ne féljenek a tárgyalóasztalnál kinyitni a szájukat (“Lean In”, azaz hajolj előre a tárgyaló asztalnál, passzív hátradőlés helyett, és hallasd a hangodat, és ne üljél kukán az életed fontos pillanataiban), és követeljék meg a munkájuk anyagi megbecsülését… szóval a könyv kiadója, mint kiderült, nem fizetett “intern”-t keresett (nyilvánosan kereste, tehát meg sem fordult a fejében, hogy szembe megy a könyv üzenetével) a könyv szerkesztési munkái során… Nagyon kellemetlen… mert ugye ingyen csak olyan ember képes dolgozni, akinek van kellő anyagi háttere és kapcsolatrendszere, ami ezt a vállalást lehetővé teszi, és akkor ennyit az “esélyegyenlőségről”… meg az anyagi megbecsülés “megköveteléséről”… az USA-ban… Nem is mennék bele, hogy itthon mi folyik… na de egy kicsit azért belemegyek. Itt egy nő (vagy éppen egy férfi, aki nem pofátlan, nem gátlástalan, hanem pl. szerény, és nem dől orrán-száján a tesztoszteron) hiába is követelné az anyagi megbecsülést, mert alapjáraton kihasználják, kiröhögik, ízléstelen megjegyzésekkel illetik, üvegplafon alá szorítják, akadályozzák, nem engedik információkhoz, mert pl. nem jár sörözni, nem trágár, nem részegeskedik, nem drogozik vagy nem szereti a focit, vagy csak simán egy autonóm lény (jaj annak a magyar alkalmazottnak, aki autonóm). Ráadásul sok nő (és sok férfi) itt nem is tudja (mert nem volt alkalma ilyen téren fejleszteni önmagát), hogy meg kellene követelnie a tiszteletet, sőt természetesnek veszik az alpári hangnemet, a kiszolgáltatottságot, a minősíthetetlen stílust, a röhejes fizetést, vagy azt, hogy egy vasat sem fizetnek nekik, akkor sem, ha nagy tudással rendelkeznek és nyilvánvalóan tehetségesek. “Megköveteled a megbecsülést? Dögölj meg.” Ez a hazai alaphangulat. Ilyen körülmények között aztán kialakul a 22-es csapdája, mert módjuk sincs kellő ritmusban és tempóban fejleszteni a felső vezetői készségeiket (most a nőkről beszélek, de folyamatosan tartsuk fejben a férfiak igen népes csoportjának érdekeit is), mert esélyt sem kapnak, mert nincs tapasztalatuk, mert nem engedik őket a kormányhoz… és ez így megy…

Mire Jó a Szakemberek Vándorlása?

Leading in a Complex World - Sheryl Sandberg

Leading in a Complex World – Sheryl Sandberg (Photo credit: World Economic Forum)

Ha valamiért hasznos lehet az, hogy most százezrek vannak kényszerből külföldön, akkor például az öntudatra ébredés hasznos lehet. Lassan egy kritikus tömeg keletkezik, amelyiknek van véleménye, összehasonlítási alapja, megújuló kultúrája, frissített morális érzéke, haladóbb tudása, mert belelát más, sok tekintetben fejlettebb (sok tekintetben azonban szintén válságban lévő) társadalmak értékrendjébe, működésébe, hétköznapjaiba, politikai, szakmai és magánéletébe. Közben nemzetközi kapcsolatokra is szert tesznek. Továbbá ott vannak azok, akik az interneten keresztül folyamatosan érintkeznek a világgal, akkor is, ha fizikailag itthon vannak. Igaz, hogy Magyarország a sok millió szegény országa, de az is igaz, hogy van legalább 1 millió ember, aki most tempósan frissíti a világnézetét, a világlátását, az önképét, és ennek pozitív hatása is lesz (nemcsak negatív). Negatív, hogy családok vannak szétszakítva, de pozitív, hogy amikor a gyerek hazatér, sokkal tájékozottabb lesz. Negatív, hogy a szülei ebből nem értenek majd semmit (hacsak közben szorgosan nem művelték magukat online), de pozitív, hogy majd találkozhat magafajta emberekkel, egyre többel, akiknek ugyancsak megváltoztak az elvárásaik önmagukkal és a közösségeikkel szemben. Igyekezzünk hinni ebben, maradjunk optimisták. A social és digital media, a globális social network-ok pozitív változásokat is hoznak.

Péter és a Férfi Önérdek

Ha jól emlékszem, a “Péter és a Farkas”-ban a fiúcska szembeszáll az agresszorral, hogy megvédje a többieket (és persze önmagát). Reméltem, hogy Árvai Péter világosan látja majd, hogy itthon milyen iszonyatos elmaradottság van a társadalmi egyenlőség terén (a nagy társadalmi szakadék, a minden szinten érzékelhető társadalmi és anyagi egyenlőtlenség a legmérgezőbb dolog, az ítélkezés borzalmas attitűdjeit erősíti… a legmegbetegítőbb nem fizikai jellegű emberi, társadalmi reakció a másik ember felé az ítélkezés, kifejezetten megnyomorító és halálos, mert szörnyű fiziológiai stresszel jár, és a stressz genetikai szinten rombolja le az emberi szervezetet). Reméltem, hogy okosan befolyásolja majd pl. a “Gazella” (az akkreditált technológiai inkubátor pályázatokról döntő) zsűri kiválasztási szempontjait. Lehet, hogy az egyik csapat, melyet egy önálló vállalkozási és startup tapasztalattal rendelkező nő vezetett (saját cége is van), nem teljesítette az összes kimondott vagy kimondatlan feltételt, de ennek ellenére érdemes lenne neki és a csapatának is esélyt adni a jövőben. Örvendetes, hogy a négy nyertes egyikének elnökségében láthatóan van egy nő, de biztosra vehető, hogy a négy nyertes felső vezetői között nem sok a nő (beleértve a részvényes befektető cégek vezetőit is). Mi itt a probléma? Nézzük.

Kigolyózott Nők

Vannak pl. azok a nők, akiknek kivételesen sikerült beverekedni, beügyeskedni, beházasítani magukat a felső vezetői szintre… ők gyakran elférfiasodnak az alkalmazkodási kényszer miatt (tisztelet a szerencsés kivételnek, együttérzésem a kevésbé szerencséseknek), sőt eleve inkább az agresszívabb, tesztoszteronban gazdagabb nők képesek eljutni a legfelső szintre, ők meg aztán nemhogy segítenének más nőket, hanem ott nyírják a nőnemű gyakornokokat, beosztottakat, középvezetőket, ahol csak lehet… hogy a saját kivételes, gyakran iszonyatos áldozatok árán kivívott helyzetüket védjék. Azt hiszem, hogy “a fejétől bűzlik a hal” ebben az esetben így is hangozhatna: Amilyen a felső vezetői mag, olyan mentalitású a HR-es “gatekeeper” a cégnél (hiszen valaki őt is kiválasztotta), és egy nő érdemeken alapuló, cégen belüli előrehaladási esélye (a legfelsőbb szintig) fordítottan arányos a legfelsőbb vezetők rangsorában megszámlálható “golyók” mennyiségével, ha érti a kedves olvasó, hogy mit akarok mondani… (általában esélytelen egy nő, hacsak saját kezűleg meg nem “számolja” azokat a “golyókat”, és gyaníthatóan még akkor is…). Arányaiban minél több a “golyó”, annál kisebb a női esély… Az ilyen cégeknél csak iszonyatos társadalmi és sajtó nyomással lehet változásokat elérni.

Azt is látni kell, hogy ugyan a Prezi-nek pl. volt a melegfelvonuláson kamionja (és erre ők nagyon büszkék, majd szétveti őket a meleg büszkeség), de nincs nőnemű CEO-juk (erről szót sem ejtenek, mert nem érzik szükségét). Árvai Péternek nagyon fontos a homoszexualitása és a melegek ügyének képviselete (megértem, a társadalmi kisebbségek érdekei fontosak). Mindeközben nem fontosak neki a nők… az emberiség felének érdek képviselete? (Ezt nem értem meg!) A Prezi világpiaci termék, sok millió felhasználóval. Ennek a tömegnek optimális esetben a fele nő. Akkor a Prezi felső vezetői csapatának a fele miért nem áll nőkből? Magyarországon hivatalosan négy férfi vezeti a céget, míg az USA-ban legalább hét férfi (ebből három a magyar céget is vezeti). Hol vannak a nőnemű cégvezetők, ügyvezetők vagy igazgatósági tagok? Ha évente lenne “Nőket Cégvezetőnek” vagy “Le az Üvegplafonnal” vagy “Nőket az Igazgatótanácsba” felvonulás, akkor a Prezi-nek nem lenne “kamionja” az eseményen… hiszen fura is lenne…

Tehát ilyen téren a világ szeme Árvai Péter-en és a “Gazella zsűri” döntésén… volt… Tudomásom szerint a pályázó csapatok 10%–át vezette nő… de persze (még) nem látok bele minden pályázó alapító okiratába (főleg a nyerteseket vizsgáltam). A kiírásban nem volt kizáró feltétel a nemzetközi inkubációs tapasztalat hiánya, ennek ellenére az egyik elutasított csapatnak (egy startup-nak), akik éppen egy nő vezetésével prezentáltak (volt bennük bátorság, hogy így tegyenek), azt hozták fel indoklásul, hogy nem tudnak nemzetközi inkubációs tapasztalatot felmutatni!? Nem állíthatjuk, hogy Magyarországon hemzsegnének a kiváló, sikeres és tapasztalt nemzetközi technológiai inkubátorok (a nyertesek közül nem mindnek van direkt inkubációs tapasztalata, van, akinek “csupán” saját vállalkozási tapasztalata van), főleg nem hemzsegnek a nők által vezetett technológiai startup-ok… Akkor honnan lenne és honnan lesz itt egy friss csapatnak, egy nő vezetésével, nemzetközi startup inkubációs tapasztalata?

Ha van is pár (főleg) férfiak által vezetett inkubátornak megközelítőleg az elvárthoz hasonló szakmai tapasztalata, kénytelenek leszünk levonni a következtetést, hogy ez egy jellegzetesen hazai pályázat volt, melyben már létező, de eddig nem igazán bizonyító, vagy frissen, direkt a pályázat miatt alakult inkubátorok kapnak majd előre leosztott pályázati pénzeket, főleg ha korábban JEREMIE támogatásban részesültek? (Tisztelet a kivételnek.) Pár hónapja hallottam az egyik (immár) nyertest nyilatkozni a pályázattal kapcsolatban, és az volt az érzésem, hogy ő már biztosan tudja, hogy nyernek majd (sütött belőle az önbizalom), de honlapjuk az még nem volt (akkor még hiába kerestem)… és nyertek is, pedig nem voltak benne a JEREMIE programban… (végeredményben van remény azok számára is, akik nem kaptak JEREMIE alap támogatást, nem is egy ilyen pályázó lett sikeres). Honlapjuk már van, de a csapatról nem tudunk meg semmit, hiába is keressük az arcokat. Remélem, hogy sikeres lesz a startup inkubátor, amelyik maga is egy rizikós startup (a Digital Factory egy “egyszemélyes részvénytársaság”… elképzelem az “egyszemélyes igazgatóságot”, amint Pasaréten, tőlem úgy 15 percre lázasan keresi a cégébe az embereket, a nappalijában, a kanapén, a neten…). Mindent összevetve, olyanok nyertek, akik rendelkeznek nemzetközi kapcsolatokkal és üzleti tapasztalatokkal.

A zsűri sajátos, zsűrizés közben bekövetkezett széthullásáról most nem is ejtenék szót… Ha az nem számít, hogy a zsűri tagjai nem ugyanazok voltak az elején, mint a folyamat végén… akkor mi számít? Árvai Péter lassan megismeri a hazai közeget, meglehetősen ki is merült a zsűrizés során. Meglehet, néhány nőnemű tulajdonos és CEO gyorsan finomhangolhatná a helyzetértékelését. Ha jó képességű nőnemű vezetőt látunk egy lelkes startup élén, akkor bizony pozitívan kell diszkriminálni, hogy a hátrányt, melyet a nők által vezetett (technológiai) cégek hiánya jelent, gyorsabban lehessen leküzdeni, különösen egy elmaradott, egyenlőtlen, paternalista társadalomban, amilyen a magyar. Nem azt kellett volna keresni, hogy mit nem tud felmutatni a korábban említett, jobb sorsra érdemes csapat, melyet egy nő vezetett, hanem azt kellett volna feltárni, hogy mivel rendelkeznek! Persze, meglehet, hogy ebben a körben még nem látszottak elég ígéretesnek, de hátha a következő körre kidomborítják a nemzetközi startup inkubációhoz szükséges tapasztalataikat, csapat szinten. Nekik különben már szeptemberben megvolt a 40 milliós jegyzett tőkéjük, ami a nyertesek feléről a mai napig nem mondható el, a nyilvános cégadatok alapján.

Vezetés, Cégek, Nők, Inkubátorok és Gyorsítók

Lássuk mi történik 2014-ben. Valami mocorog a startup témában Magyarországon, de sokkal több inkubátorra lesz szükségünk, hogy néhány sikeres “gyorsító” ki tudjon emelkedni közülük, akár később felhasználva a többi, kevésbé sikeres inkubátor hasznos erőforrásait, tehetséges szakembereit. Tény azonban, hogy két év alatt kevesebb mint 200 milliós inkubátoronkénti támogatásból, és inkubátoronként egy tucat startup cégből még nem alakul ki nemzetközi kritikus tömeg, akkor sem, ha egy év múlva már nyolc inkubátor lesz. Az inkubátorok mellett szükség lenne továbbá adókedvezményekre, járulék kedvezményekre, vagy adó és járulék mentességre, mondjuk az első 3 évben (különösen a kis startup-oknak), mert ha ilyesmire nincs mód, akkor az állam csak az egyik zsebéből a másikba rakja a pénzt, miközben mézesmadzagot rángat az adrenalin túltengéses startup alapítók előtt, és nagyban növeli a bukásuk esélyét, mert az első perctől tartja a markát. Ráadásul, ha egy cég nem sikeres, akkor itthon nem tud gyorsan “kiszállni”, mert a megszüntetés (és a működtetés) egy agyrém (miközben az alapítás gyorsan megy). Ésszel kellene ezt csinálni. Át kellene gondolni a folyamat minden elemét, és a lehető legnagyobb kedvezményeket kellene az ilyen cégeknek biztosítani, ha azt akarjuk, hogy 10 éven belül kihúzzák az országot a gödörből. És ezen belül mindennél fontosabb a nők startup vállalkozókedvének és sikerének támogatása, mert a társadalmi felelősségvállalás és az etikus business kulcsa az ő kezükben van.

Sokszor kérdezik a társadalomtudósokat és az érdekvédőket, hogy miért kellene pozitívan diszkriminálni a nőket pl. a parlamentbejutáskor, vagy a cégvezetés terén. Azt az álságos mondatot már hallani sem bírom, hogy “Mitől lennének a nők méltóbbak politikusnak vagy vezetőnek, mint a férfiak?”… Miközben mennyi, de mennyi méltatlan férfi parlamenti és felső vezetői ámokfutását: teljesen magától értetődőnek veszik. Nem a nők méltóbbak a férfiaknál vezetőnek, hanem bizony a férfiak nem méltóbbak a nőknél. Ennek ellenére sokkal több férfi tölthet be magas vezetői pozíciókat. Azt érdekes módon senki sem kérdőjelezi meg, hogy a gazdasági fejlődés érdekében egyes startup-oknak pozitív diszkriminációra, avagy inkubációra, tanácsadásra, kiemelt bánásmódra van szükségük, hogy a nemzetközi piacok kihívásai között gyorsan megerősödhessenek és sikeresek lehessenek, pedig semmi garancia sincs arra, hogy beválnak. Azonban, ha akár csak egy részük is beválik, akkor megérte a befektetés! Hölgyeim és Uraim: Éppen ugyanígy a nőket is, ha tetszik, vezetői inkubációban kell részesíteni, vezetői “gyorsító” programok keretében kell “érlelni” őket, és előrejutásukat kiemelten kell kezelni, társadalmaink egészséges létezése, hovatovább fönnmaradásunk érdekében. A nők és a férfiak autonóm és torzulásmentes egymás mellett létezése és együttműködése az egyetlen morálisan elfogadható jövőkép, és ehhez mind a nők, mind pedig a férfiak önbizalmát, öntudatát és tudását meg kell erősíteni.

Releváns cikkek, videók, rádióműsorok (az angol idézetekhez magyar fordítást is rögtönöztem):

Update: TechCrunch November 14, 2013: Online Presentation Startup Prezi Zooms To 30M Users And 96M Prezis, Hires Apple, Google, Flip Video Execs For Global Growth

Gender Equality Index: Hungary

This American Life: Testosterone (audio)

The Clueless White Bro Culture of Silicon Valley

Tech Scores on Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women List…

23andMe’s Daring CEO On CBS: Anne Wojcicki

Anne Wojcicki

Looking For Rock Stars and Ninjas in All the Wrong Places

“Google figured out within its first 12 people that if they wanted to truly pull the best talent from wherever it could, diversity mattered on even its earliest team.”

A Google már az első 12 ember felvétele során rájött, hogy ha igazán a lehető legtehetségesebb embereket akarják bárhonnan megszerezni, akkor a diverzitás már a legkorábbi csapatban is nagyon fontos szempont.

“Their focus on diversity in hiring was real, important and ultimately, served as a massive competitive advantage over other companies who followed the same, tired playbook. Over a decade later, Google has built the greatest Internet company of all time, on whose technical, product and business success was pioneered by a diverse team, many of whom happen to be women and people of color.”

A diverzitásra fókuszálás részükről valódi cél volt, fontos volt, és végül masszív versenyelőnynek bizonyult más cégekkel szemben, akik a régi és fárasztó forgatókönyv szerint játszottak. Egy évtizeddel később a Google minden idők legnagyobb internet cége lett, és technikai, termék és üzleti sikerét éppen erre az úttörő jellegű, diverzitásában egyedülálló csapatra építette, melyben rengeteg a nő és a színes-bőrű ember.  

It Does Apply to You: Bridging the Gender Gap in Business

Why the World Needs Women Entrepreneurs

Saying High-Tech Is a Meritocracy Doesn’t Make it So

“Only 3% of high-tech firms are owned by women, and women hold only 25% of computer occupations in the US. (Department of Labor)”

A high-tech cégeknek csak 3%-át birtokolják nők, és a számítástechnikai állásoknak csak 25%-ában találunk nőket az USA-ban. (Munkaügyi Minisztérium, USA)

“Research shows that women face persistent barriers … in the high tech industry — to name a few: isolation, a lack of access to influential social networks and mentors, lack of role models, stereotyping, unwelcoming cultures, and organizational practices that are not adapted to a diverse workforce.”

A kutatásokból kiderül, hogy a nők állandó akadályokkal találják magukat szemben, például, hogy csak néhányat említsünk: izoláció, a befolyásos társadalmi kapcsolati hálókhoz, mentorokhoz való hozzáférés illetve a példaképek hiánya, sztereotípiák, barátságtalan közeg, és olyan szervezeti gyakorlatok, melyeket nem heterogén alkalmazotti közösségek számára dolgoztak ki.

MoolaHoop Launches Crowdfunding Platform Dedicated to Women Entrepreneurs

“Despite the fact that women own 10.6 million businesses in the U.S. and represent 35 percent of startup business owners, they receive a piddling 4.2% of venture capital funding. This means women-owned companies tend to be smaller and grow more slowly than companies owned by men. MoolaHoop launched a crowdfunding platform for women entrepreneurs today to bridge this gap.”

Az USA-ban a nők 10,6 millió vállalkozás tulajdonosai, a startup vállalkozók 35%-át reprezentálják, de csak a kockázati tőke 4,2%-ához jutnak hozzá. A MoolaHoop elindította a kifejezetten vállalkozó-nőknek szóló crowdfunding platformját, hogy áthidalja a kirívó szakadékot.

7 Ridiculous Restrictions on Women’s Rights Around the World

Not only is Hungary among the countries where people are most likely to hate their jobs, but according to this article, Hungary is also among the countries where the gender disparity is very large.

Ha nem lenne elég, hogy Magyarország igen szomorú helyen van azon a listán, amely az emberek munkához való viszonyát elemzi, akkor itt van egy másik lista, mely szerint az ország szintén szégyenletes helyen van, ami a nők és férfiak közötti egyenlő bánásmódot illeti.

Why Google Wants Women (video)

“Vice President of Google[x] Megan Smith talks about the biases against women in engineering that she has personally overcome, and how companies like Google are combating the glass ceiling.”

Megan Smith a Google[x] alelnöke az általa gyerekként megtapasztalt, nőkkel szembeni előítéletekről beszél (a mérnöki szakmában), illetve arról, hogy a Google-höz hasonló cégek hogyan küzdenek az üvegplafon ellen.

The House that Helped Build Google

Susan Wojcicki saját (régebbi) garázsa előtt, melyben anno a Google “inkubálódott”… Susan ma a Google egyik felső vezetője. Egyik testvére, Anne Wojcicki ma Sergey Brin felesége és a Google által finanszírozott 23&Me biotech alapítója és vezetője.

Powerful Ads Use Real Google Searches to Show the Scope of Sexism Worldwide – Simple visual for inequality Alább egy kép abból a kampányból, mely egyszerű Google keresések automatikusan felajánlott választási lehetőségeivel demonstrálja a nőkkel szemben tapasztalható diszkriminációt világszerte… Arra, hogy “a nőket/a nőnek”, ezt ajánlja a Google algoritmusa a legnépszerűbb globális keresési kulcsszavak hatására: A nőket helyre kell tenni… A nőnek tudnia kell, hogy hol a helye…  A nőket kontrollálni kell… A nőket meg kell regulázni

“This campaign uses the world’s most popular search engine (Google) to show how gender inequality is a worldwide problem. The adverts show the results of genuine searches, highlighting popular opinions across the world wide web.” (!)

Fontos szakkifejezés: “Affirmative action (known as positive discrimination in the United Kingdom and as employment equity in Canada and elsewhere) refers to policies that take factors including “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin” into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group “in areas of employment, education, and business”. The concept of affirmative action was introduced in the early 1960s as a way to combat racial discrimination in the hiring process, and in 1967, the concept was expanded to include gender.” (Ezen a linken a magyar verzió is megtalálható

Update from March 15., 2014: If you think that men and women have an equal opportunity as entrepreneurs in society, you are at least ignorant. If I consider the fact that VC money is mostly controlled by men, and if I add the results of the new MIT/Wharton study: Does it mean that male venture capitalists unconsciously and overwhelmingly prefer to invest in very handsome men? Does it mean that latent or undisclosed or open male homosexuality governs VC investments? Does it mean that the majority of women have no chance of making it as entrepreneurs due to this bias when competing against men in front of male investors? Is this happening in other fields, like science or politics as well? Obviously it is. Testosteron, looks, objectification, big money, business, power, and men go hand in hand…