Life

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
Hunter S. Thompson

The Man in the Arena – April 23, 1910

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
– Theodore Roosevelt

Self worth

As long as you try to impress others,
you are not convinced of your own strength.
As long as you strive to be better than others,
you are doubting your own worth.
As long as you try to elevate yourself by lowering others,
you are doubting your own greatness.
Who is in peace with oneself doesn’t have to prove anything to others.
Who knows one’s own worth doesn’t need validation.
Who knows about one’s own greatness lets others keep theirs.
-Gabriele Ebbighausen

Human consciousness

“I think human consciousness is a tragic misstep in evolution. We became too self-aware. Nature created an aspect of nature separate from itself. We are creatures that should not exist by natural law. We are things that labor under the illusion of having a self, a secretion of sensory experience and feeling programmed with total assurance that we are each somebody, when in fact everybody’s nobody. I think the honorable thing for our species to do is deny our programming; stop reproducing; walk hand-in-hand into extinction.”
– Rustin Cohle (True Detective)

Beyond GDP

Society as such has reached a point of transition. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was a useful metric last century but now it causes more harm than good. GDP is harming our society and planet because as a metric it is unable to capture the different shades of the contemporary society. Like it or not, we belong to a society, and therefore it is our responsibility to push politicians to upgrade the metrics they use.

The shortcomings of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) are known and documented. The GDP only computed the costs of the market activities leaving out less tangible elements such as the environment. Moreover, GDP it is not a reflexion of an individual person, but it is instead the aggregated value; thus preventing the assessment of individual’s welfare. The Gross Domestic Product is not able to capture the non-economical transactions (e.g. volunteering or substance agriculture) and in the non-market related activities there are the resources extracted from the nature. For example, there is no measure of the social and environmental impact of an open-pit mine including the depletion of natural resources and biodiversity loss.

There are some initiatives from the european union to take into account non-monetary metrics: Better Life Index, Regional Well-Being Index and Social Progress Index. To overcome this problems in 1972 the term Gross National Happiness (GNH) was coined. And during 2008, Bhutan set the GNH as a institutional goal in their constitution; thus leading the movement to move beyond the old-fashioned GDP.

The Gross National Happiness metric is composed by 9 domains: psychological wellbeing, Health, education, time use, cultural diversity and resilience, good governance, community vitality, ecological diversity and resilience, and living standards (Fig 1). All the domains are weighted the same. However, there are 33 variables which have different relevance on the final outcome. As a general rule subjective indicators have been assigned lower weights than the objective (factual) ones.

The nine domains of GNH
The nine domains of GNH, Source: Provisional findings of 2015 GNH Survey, p. 11

Each of the domines consist on several questions to asses the interviewee on the specific domain. For example, regarding the education the interviewers ask about literacy, schooling, and knowledge about different areas. The living standards are measured through the indicators household income, assets, and housing. Whereas the psychological well-being is measured based on the life satisfaction, positive emotions, negative emotions, and spirituality.

All of these sounds tremendously appealing but Bhutan may be hardly comparable to the “west”. There the literacy is low and the GDP per capita is far beyond any European country. So, in conclusion, this is a metric that needs to be studied. It is also unsure whether happiness will make the world work but what it’s clear is that some more empathy and happiness in our society is not going to do any harm.

Easy install of OpenVPN in Ubuntu

Sometimes it is useful to tunnel your connections through a server. Because it is located in a different country or simply to add an extra layer of security. What it is not always easy is to create the infrastructure. But that is solved now.

So to create the credentials we simply need to run this line
wget https://git.io/fj3wZ --no-check-certificate -O openvpn-install.sh; chmod +x openvpn-install.sh; sudo ./openvpn-install.sh

The previous line downloads a bash script and then executes it to create the necessary files.

Happy tunneling! 🙂