Omertà

Omertà is a popular attitude and code of honor, common in areas of southern Italy, such as Sicily, Apulia, Calabria, and Campania, where criminal organizations like the Mafia, ‘Ndrangheta, Sacra Corona Unita, and Camorra are strong. A common definition is the “code of silence”.

Omertà implies “the categorical prohibition of cooperation with state authorities or reliance on its services, even when one has been victim of a crime.” Even if somebody is convicted for a crime he has not committed, he is supposed to serve the sentence without giving the police any information about the real criminal, even if that criminal has nothing to do with the Mafia himself.

Within Mafia culture, breaking omertà is punishable by death.

Omertà is an extreme form of loyalty and solidarity in the face of authority. One of its absolute tenets is that it is deeply demeaning and shameful to betray even one’s deadliest enemy to the authorities. Observers of the mafia debate whether omertà should best be understood as an expression of social consensus surrounding the mafia or whether it is instead a pragmatic response based primarily on fear. The point is succinctly made in a popular Sicilian proverb “Cu è surdu, orbu e taci, campa cent’anni ‘mpaci” (“He who is deaf, blind, and silent will live a hundred years in peace”).

OODA

800px-OODA.Boyd.svg

The OODA loop (for observe, orient, decide, and act) is a concept originally applied to the combat operations process, often at the strategic level in both the military operations. It is now also often applied to understand commercial operations and learning processes. The concept was developed by military strategist and USAF Colonel John Boyd.

zen habits: How to Simplify When You Love Your Stuff

Here are some thoughts that might be useful.

1. Look around your house now.

Walk from room to room. Do you see things that you never use and don’t really care about? Why not give them away or sell them? Clear physical and psychic space by removing the “dead wood” in your environment. Someone else might really need these things.

2. Examine why you are hanging on to something.

Is it truly useful or meaningful, or does it feed your ego in some way? Are you holding on to it just to impress others or to make yourself feel better or more important?

3. Look at how you spend your time.

Do you have things you own for hobbies that you never pursue? Do you have a kitchen full of gadgets but you rarely cook? If you truly think you will come back to a hobby or activity, box things up and put them out of sight until you do. Be realistic about how much time you have to use your extraneous stuff.

4. Are you in a career that is thing-focused?

Decorators, car dealers, retailers and others involved in creating, buying, selling and marketing merchandise, can have a hard time detaching from material things because they are always surrounded by the newest and best. There is beauty and art in many things, but consider this: you don’t have to own them all to appreciate them. Eckhart Tolle once suggested to Oprah Winfrey that she not buy everything she likes or wants — just savor it for the moment in the store.

5. Consider experiences rather than things.

On the whole, experiential purchases provide far more pleasure than material purchases. The memory of experiences improves with time, but material purchases are harder to think about abstractly. Experiences also encourage social relationships which provide long-lasting happiness. If you are itching to spend, spend on a great experience with someone you enjoy.

6. When you think about your things or want to purchase something new, consider these parameters:

* It brings beauty into your life and stirs your soul.
* It supports a passion or hobby.
* It helps bring family and friends together in a creative, meaningful way.
* It educates and enlightens.
* It makes life profoundly simpler so that you can pursue more meaningful things.
* It helps someone who is sick or incapacitated.
* It is useful and necessary for day-to-day life.
* It’s part of a meaningful tradition or a reminder of a special event.

7. You will know you are buying mindlessly if you:

* Buy on a whim.
* Buy to impress others.
* Buy because you feel you deserve it.
* Buy when you can’t afford it.
* Buy just to update something that still works or looks fine.
* Buy because someone else has it and you want it too.
* Buy because the advertisement seduced you.
* Buy because you are bored.
* It’s purchased because buying soothes you.

Source: http://liveboldandbloom.com/

More Ayn Rand

aston_martin_one_77_images_001

“In the name of the best within you, do not sacrifice this world to those who are its worst. In the name of the values that keep you alive, do not let your vision of man be distorted by the ugly, the cowardly, the mindless in those who have never achieved his title.

Do not lose your knowledge that man’s proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach.

Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.”

~ Part Three / Chapter 7 This is John Galt Speaking

Ayn Rand

“The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours. But to win it requires total dedication and a total break with the world of your past, with the doctrine that man is a sacrificial animal who exists for the pleasure of others. Fight for the value of your person. Fight for the virtue of your pride. Fight for the essence, which is man, for his sovereign rational mind. Fight with the radiant certainty and the absolute rectitude of knowing that yours is the morality of life and yours is the battle for any achievement, any value, any grandeur, any goodness, any joy that has ever existed on this earth.”

~ Ayn Rand’s last public speech (New Orleans Nov 1981)

Success in Life

Here’s a funny TED video by Richard St. John on the 8 drivers of
success in life. Remember CRAP – criticism, rejection, assholes and
pressure.

http://www.ted.com/
http://www.richardstjohn.com/

Black Operation

A “Black Operation” or “Black Op” is a covert operation typically involving activities that are highly secret due to questionable ethics and legality. The term itself is often used in political, military, intelligence and business circles. Agents or persons who specialise or are involved in a black operation are typically referred to as a “Black Operator” or “Black Operative.”

Black Ops missions often fall into the deniability category, where no government will claim responsibility for the action, or where responsibility is shifted to another actor in the case of a “false flag” operation.

False flag operations are covert operations conducted by governments, corporations, or other organizations, which are designed to appear as though they are being carried out by other entities. The name is derived from the military concept of flying false colors; that is, flying the flag of a country other than one’s own.

Randy Pausch

Randolph Frederick Pausch (October 23, 1960 – July 25, 2008) was an American professor of computer science, human-computer interaction and design at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and a best-selling author who achieved worldwide fame for his “The Last Lecture” speech on September 18, 2007 at Carnegie Mellon. The lecture was conceived after, in summer 2007, Pausch had learned that his previously known pancreatic cancer was terminal.

Pausch delivered his “Last Lecture,” titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” at CMU on September 18, 2007. This talk was modeled after an ongoing series of lectures where top academics are asked to think deeply about what matters to them, and then give a hypothetical “final talk,” i.e., “what wisdom would you try to impart to the world if you knew it was your last chance?”