Analytic Vision

Archive for the ‘The Art of Respecting Others’ Category

This category includes a series of 11 articles as a paraphrase of a work of Mircea Eliade from the ’30s. It also contains other articles centered on the respect for the other people surrounding us.

What Gifts to Buy to a Romanian

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 02/02/2014

Occasions to buy gifts

Romanians are very welcoming, occasionally (but not as a main trait) generous  and they buy lots of gifts to each other on different occasions. Usual such occasions are:

– birthdays

– name days – usually, most of the Romanians are named after saints, which means they have at least one “name day/ziua numelui” or even more, if they have more than one name, if their saint is celebrated more than once in a year or for a certain name they have more than one protector saint – though there is one main name date in each case, when, usually, a gift to be offered is practical and congratulations required . For example, my name is Ştefan (Steven) and I have three name days throughout the year: Saint martyr Steven (27th of December), St. Steven the Great (2nd of July) and the new Saint martyr Steven (28th of November). I receive congratulations and/or gifts on any of these three days. My sister is called Alexandra and she celebrates “name day” both on the Saints Alexander (30th of August, 29th of May, 10th of June) and on Saint Alexandra (21st of April). People called Ion/John and Ioana/Joanna celebrate their name days in all of the three holidays which honor St. John the Baptist. There are also a lot of other saints called “Saint John”, although their holidays aren’t frequently seen as actually “name dates”. People called Cristian or Cristina celebrate their name day on Christmas, Easter and on St. Cristina (24th of July). It is appropriate to congratulate and offer gifts on these occasions only to the Orthodox believers. If a Romanian is an atheist or from another religious confession, you need not congratulate them or offer them gifts on these occasions. The most important holidays of the year are marked with a red cross in the Orthodox calendar.

You can find out when is the name day of someone by looking up the name and its derivatives in the Christian-Orthodox calendar (available from a series of different websites and from most Orthodox churches).

– Christmas

– New Year

– Easter

– for women: Christian women’s day (the third Sunday from the Orthodox Easter), 1st of March, 8th of March.

– for couples: 14th of February (Valentine’s day), 24th of February (Dragobete). Please remember that “Valentine’s Day is not a Romanian or Orthodox holiday. Orthodox people celebrate the actual orthodox saint Valentin (different from the catholic one) on the 24th of October and that’s not related in any manner to couples. Also, some Romanian people frequently discard the meaning of “Valentine’s Day” as a commercial celebration and prefer to celebrate the lovers’ day on Dragobete, which is also not an Orthodox celebration (but a pagan one), but at least it has a centuries-old tradition.

– marriage – the gift for marriage must be consistent or in cash and usually if you are invited to the wedding.

What gifts to buy

Romanians aren’t pretentious. Usually, a symbolic, creative or unexpected small gift is enough. Sometimes, if you are artistic enough, you don’t even have to spend money on a present. I sometimes offered a poetry or a handmade pop-up personalized card as a most welcomed gift for a friend on any occasion. For some women, a cheery e-mail written from the heart and a beautiful flower will do the work.

Something traditional from your country/city which can be offered as a souvenir is also very appreciated. Romanians are crazy about foreign souvenirs, especially from places they’ve never been to.

But this is not always the case. A regular, nice gift, is a specialized book, or a book written by one of the favorite authors of the person you are giving the gift to. If you wrote a book yourself, it might also be an excellent gift (I gave a book I wrote as a gift to tens of people) if the person in interested in reading on the topic you’ve written on. A book in Romanian language usually costs 4-8 euros. A very special Romanian book (such as a dictionary, encyclopedia, a very specialized book or a treaty) is to be expected to cost between 15-50 euros.

Other gifts may depend on how well do you know the person to make an appropriate gift. It is recommended, if you are not really close, that you don’t buy something to wear, as it might be too personal. It is also inappropriate to give money in stead of a gift (as it says “I don’t know you well enough”), but it might be preferable if you don’t want to risk a bad present or don’t have time to look for something.

Don’t offer as a gift any kind of disks with music or film (unless they are really rare and appreciated), as the Romanians are used to downloading themselves whatever they need to from the internet.

Also, practical gifts are very appreciated, especially if they have some interesting feature or some personal/funny message. Something like a teacup, a plate, a tea pot or even a cooking pot can often be top-notch gifts.

It’s not recommended that you buy anything electronic as a gift, because Romanians are very picky and versed when choosing any piece of technology – which, in Romania, is pretty cheap. If you know someone is looking to buy something electronic, it’s better that you ask how much it costs and give him/her the money to buy it themselves if you want to choose that as a gift.

If the person is an Orthodox practicant (that is, goes to church every Sunday), a very appropriate and often bought gift is a religious book or a religious item (such as a little bottle of holy oil/mir, tămâie, icons). Although, do not buy them the Bible, as any Romanian usually has one in their homes. And if you do buy the Bible as a gift to a Romanian, don’t get cheap: buy the sinodal edition published in 2001 (the Romanian translation of Septuaginta). And don’t buy any religious book which isn’t published with benediction (almost all the Orthodox books have the mention in the first pages that they are published “cu binecuvântarea I.P.S. […]”).

Usually, it can be appropriate to spend on an individual gift for a Romanian up to 10-15 euros. Anything more is considered a special present, appropriate for a close friend or a very special occasion. If you buy an expensive gift for a Romanian, it might actually hurt your relationship with that person, as it might get wrongfully interpreted.

If – and only if – you are invited to a wedding, the regular sum of money to offer as a wedding gift is either the equivalent sum of the menu, or 100-150 euros, whichever is higher. For example, if the menu is 120 euros, than an appropriate wedding gift would be 120-150 euros. If the menu is 70 euros, than the lowest gift sum would be 100 euros.

Generally, these are some basic consideration which I can offer from my personal social experience in Romania.

Posted in The Art of Respecting Others | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

The Ultimate Gift

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 11/09/2012

Many of my friends tell me I always make either the most original gifts or the best personalised congratulations on different celebrations and anniversaries. So I decided that today I will share with you what I consider to be some of the greatest gifts to give or receive.

I have recently seen a beautiful film, called The Ultimate Gift. If you treat the story as a modern fairy tale, you can skip the fact that it’s a little bit pathetic in its tear-jearking mission. It’s about a young man who discovers what are stated to be the most important 12 gifts one may receive or give.

The Ultimate Gift, which won over the hearts of critics and audiences during its limited release this spring, is now available on DVD. Starring Academy Award nominee Abigail Breslin, Drew Fuller, James Garner, Ali Hillis and Brian Dennehy, and based on the best-selling book by Jim Stovall, The Ultimate Gift is an unforgettable, involving story that has already created a strong grass-roots movement of giving and inspired millions of dollars of donations to charity. Visit the official website to learn more about the movie and the causes it is helping.

I will elaborate on that and I will illustrate some of these with examples and some of my own experiences.

  1. The gift of work.

My first job was a dream job. In June 2001, I had my first job in Iaşi. I was hired by a young entrepreneur as a film critic for the local publication “Nopţi Albe” (White Nights). That was a great honour for me, because I have always been a film fanatic. My job was to write a little something about each of the 6-8 movies which were running in 4 screens/cinemas: Victoria, Republica, The Students’ Culture House and Dacia and choose one film to make a one-page review each week. The print run of the publication: 5000. The publication appeared each Friday.

After 3 weeks, I have been promoted to cultural editor – that meant doubling the number of pages I handled and covering all the cultural events in Iaşi: theatre, vernisages, exhibitions, concerts, books, launches, etc. My job was to document and review each of them. I was credited officially as “redactor” (editor).

This was a great experience to me. I worked mainly independent (there were 4 people in the team), sometimes intersecting my activity with the colleague from advertising. 25 % was field work: gathering information from the sources. My boss taught me, a few years before I learned it in faculty, how to use advanced formulas for finding specific information on Google. I can proudly say I have had a great example receiving the gift of work from him. Thank you, Cosmin!

A challenge in this job was dealing with the office for films, which allowed me to see films for free. They wanted me to push certain titles, and I wanted to choose others. I guess they didn’t feel so good when I downgraded blockbusters like “Jurassic Park 3”. In the end, nobody dared enter my field. All that I was writing was getting published and I kept my privileges even if I made a mistake and even after being fired.

The initiative was avant-la-lettre and the review magazine was followed a few years after by B24Fun (also in Iaşi), Şapte Seri, and Tot O Dată. But in august 2001, “Nopţi Albe” was shut down and everybody was fired.

  1. The gift of money

After I finished highschool, my mother agreed to materially support my status as a student and she allowed me to follow multiple specialisations, to subscribe to many faculties and to finally decide in my III year of faculty what fields I wanted to approach. During those years, I have made lots of mistakes, I have wasted a lot of resources, but it seems I have learned my lessons and the investments proved themselves worthwhile. Added to one another, all the faculties and trainings and formations I have done were more than 10.000 euros just in taxes and admissions – which is huge, for Romania, even more considering it was the first decade of the century. If my mother wouldn’t have agreed to pay all of my these, I wouldn’t have the higher education which currently allows me to make such elaborate comments that you enjoy reading from me and I wouldn’t have been able to have the clients I had, for the consulting services that I provided.

So I am who I am thanks to my mother. Thank you, mom!

  1. The gift of friends

One of the most successful gifts I have ever made was a cup of coffee. In 2006, I used to spend quite some time on the internet, with Yahoo Messenger (Romania’s favourite instant messaging service is YM). One of the many friends I have made virtually over the years is Iasmina Iordache, who has been specialising in translation between Romanian, English and French. Back then, she lived in Timişoara. We have never met, but I made her one of the most memorable gifts she ever received, not in content, but in form.

One day, she was a little bit upset and down on the morale and I asked her: what would make you feel better? She said: “A coffee. But not any kind of coffee” and she described in detail how she expected for that coffee to be prepared. I then asked her address, then I contacted another friend of mine, Andreea, who also lived back then in Timişoara. I gave her the description of the coffee and the address and I asked her a crazy favour: “Would you, please, take this coffee to Iasmina, at her place, and say it was from my part?” and, ta-daaaam, she said: “yes, Ştefan! With pleasure”. Andreea was absolutely charmed of the idea. So she prepared the coffee, together with her boyfriend, Andrei, and they took it straight to Iasmina. Iasmina’s mother opened the door and they said: “We have a coffee for Iasmina. It’s from Ştefan!”. You can imagine the surprise.

They sat down, they talked and they told the whole story. A few moments later, Iasmina posted on YM the status: “incredible” and I asked her: “How do you find the coffee? :) “. She Answered: “Thank you so much! It’s exactly how I wanted it!” and she went on enjoying her coffee in a memorable day, which I could have only made with the help of friends, for another friend. It’s the gift I made with the most of joy, that I can remember I my whole life. But it wasn’t the coffee. It was the gift of friendship.

  1. The gift of learning

I have spent so much time learning in the way I thought I was supposed to. But once, in 2003, I have found that there is a great Romanian professor who taught his students to read faster. It sounded intriguing for me, so I went and I found him. Unfortunately for me, the course that fall was already booked up and started. But I started participating in some other free trainings that professor held: creativity. My life is divided in teo parts: before I met one of my greatest mentors, inventor pr. eng. Radu Budei, and after. Everything in my life, in my mind, transformed after that. He taught me how to learn. How to read effectively and timely. How to concentrate. How to memorise. How to organise my learning. His gift for me and for hundreds of others has been to learn how to learn in order to remember and practically use whatever I learned. Using his methods, I have improved the quality of the questions I made and helped me to develop my creativity beyond any expectation. Thanks to him, to his training and his constant emotional support, I have attained the speed of 10.000 words / minute. Now I am an expert in efficient learning and I have trained others, paying forward what I have received from my mentor. Thank you, mr. Budei!

  1. The gift of problems

In my life, until now, I have:

  • been hit by a car;

  • had 3 biking accidents and broken 2 bycicles;

  • had food allergies;

  • had eye problems. I wore glasses for 11 years;

  • had general electricity breakdown where I lived (in one place, the whole electical system had to be re-done; in another, there was actually a fire from a socket);

  • climbed a mountain of 2700+ m;

  • walked on fire 3 times;

  • failed in business;

  • failed in research;

  • lost all the money I made;

  • been robbed several times;

  • been lost in the rain and the dark, in the middle of nowhere;

  • heartbroken, betrayed, dumped;

  • been humiliated in public on several occasions;

  • sorrowed the death of all my grandparents, two uncles, one aunt and one close family friend;

  • suffered a surgical intervention on which my life depended;

  • been thrown out without proper justification of I can’t remember how many groups and institutions;

  • lacked a place to stay (only for one night);

  • made a fool of myself while publicly speaking;

  • been humiliated on the internet;

  • moved over 10 times (I lived in four cities);

  • been restricting my diet for health reasons.

Thanks to God, I overcame each of these difficulties which would seem so uncomfortable, horrifying or depressing for many and I am now healthy, strong, experienced. Even more, I do not consider them any longer as problems, but as challenges. I learned from them and I moved on.

  1. The gift of family

Both my mother and father come from big families, so I have a lot of aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews and one step-sister. Although some of these relatives are quite insane, most of them are very well-intentioned, who can be quite affectionate to their family members, caring and helping, like a family should be. Even though my parents have been divorced for almost all of my life, the big sense of a larger family still exists and it can be great joy in meeting some of them from time to time. There can be certainly a sense of security and comfort in such an environment.

  1. The gift of laughter

Laughing is a healthy expression of joy [en, blog]. Joy is such a great emotion, that it’s also a common name [en, wiki]. The ability to laugh with all the heart, to enjoy life and to make fun of the difficult happenings is one of the key to happiness and long life. Making people laugh activates a pleasure center in the brain, which neurologically positively affects the health. It’s a great quality to make people laugh and feel good without necessarily telling them jokes. It is even more a challenging task, as each person finds different things amusing. So, are the people who you are trying to entertain In the Target? That Is the REAL Question… If so, then you can make them a wonderful present.

  1. The gift of dreams

Oh, yes, the dreams. Vision. Inspire. Think Globally.

  1. The gift of giving &

  2. The gift of gratitude

One of the greatest gifts I can make to all the people who helped me is to thank them, by giving myself to others what I have learned from them. It is a manner in which I can make a difference for all those who are interested in having a difference made in their lives, in their careers. I am thankful to all those I have worked with, from which I learned, I spent quality time with and found inspiration from. All of their gifts make a better me than I would have been otherwise. I fully enjoy the gift of giving to others in such a manner that would be useful, like through the articles I publish and make available through the blogs I am writing on.

  1. The gift of a day

Sometimes, the most wonderful gift you can find for someone is an experience to remember for a lifetime. Therefore, I salute the initiative that a Romanian website has for those interested to make such a wonderful present. Originalo.ro [ro,php], through tens of partnerships across Romania, offers a great opportunity, addressed both to individuals and to companies [ro,php] interested in creative, memorable experiences, as a gift, for adventures [ro,php], trips [ro,php], romance [ro,php] and spa [ro,php]. One affordable experience to make at least a great day for everyone, and, for some, a perfect day. How would it sound for you to have the possibility to experience rafting, climbing, trekking, bungee jumping, karting, flying, scuba diving, rappel, paintball, dancing, biking, and many, many more others? Just imagine the effect of such an experience over a friend! It’s great, because it offers you the possibility of choosing between so many activities, things to learn and experiences, that would cover any kind of expectation. Certainly something to at least bookmark as a great resource for wedding presents.

  1. The gift of love

This one I definitely received the most from my mother, throughout my entire life, as her love for me has been a clear model for me to follow in loving. For most children, the love of their parents is often the first model of love they encounter, one which would shape their conceptions and their emotions on their path into developing as a full grown adult. My mother taught me love is patient, just, forgiving, persistent against all odds and difficulties, hopeful, caring and protecting. The most important way I can “pay her back” is to love as she taught me. I hope I learned well.

So, if you are looking for one special gift, choose among these I have mentioned in this article! They are the heart of any wonderful present you may think to give or receive!

May you have an inspiring giving experience!

Posted in The Art of Respecting Others | 8 Comments »

The Art of Respecting Others, by Ştefan Alexandrescu

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 27/08/2012

This is the original series of 11 articles that make up the paraphrase of Mircea Eliade’s work from the ’30s. It is titled the same way as the broader category: The Art of Respecting Others (20 articles)

 

The Art of Respecting Message

Actually Living Communication. Between investing and spending.

The Modern Buttons of the Digital People

“Soul” File is Write-Protected. Are You Sure You Want to Delete It?

Across-Messages Communication

The Art of Listening Others. Version 2.1.

Transcending Patterns of Communication

The Windmills of Your Mind

Less is more. Until it becomes nothing.

“The Art of Personal Branding”, or Sometimes, a “pen” is Just a pen. But Sometimes It Isn’t.

Posted in The Art of Respecting Others | Tagged: , , , | 13 Comments »

Chişinău

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 03/05/2012

I long wanted to write about a charming city I have visited twice in 2010 and hope I will get the chance to further explore in the future. I wish I would have not lost all the pictures I have made there, to illustrate all these ideas. It’s amazing, and I don’t know where to start from, maybe this is one of the reasons I have postponed it so much. I must say that these are my subjective impressions and they might not reflect reality, but only the perception of a topurist passing a few days by.

As a Romanian, I was glad to find what I consider as more respect for the culture. That is something I can see almost everywhere:

  • in the central park, there are statues of great authors, which I have not seen cherished in Romania as I have seen there
  • unlike most parts of Romania, the classic architecture has been maintained, and the new façades and buildings have been decently integrated in the urbanistic landscape
  • at the statue of Steven the Great from the central park, there were flowers all the time and people came in the morning and bowed to the statue
  • the respect with which strangers communicate in public transportation

To me, Chişinău seemed more like a city frozen in time. It seemed as like I would have made a trip back in time, to my childhood, and I say that in a very nostalgic way.

This perspective was perfectly integrated with the modern technology:

  • THEY HAD SOCKETS IN THE CENTRAL PARK. Not only free ultra-speed wireless, they had SOCKETS! You could actually stay all day working on your laptop out in the park
  • The info-kiosk near the park offered you instant access to all the cultural events in the city. You could actually pick up the phone and talk to someone from the philarmonic, or from the museum, or from any cinemas!
  • The newspaper stands had video commercials on display and ATMs.

From the marketing & PR perspective, it seemed to me something close to Disneyland, compared to Romania

  • all the salespeople were nice and smiling, even if you bought just a winterfresh mint
  • most the BTL billborads contained simple & enthusiastic commercials
  • many BTL billboards had patriotic messages
  • on some BTL billboards I have seen quotes from great thinkers

I was totally impressed with the quality of the pavages and roads (that is, in the city). I went with two couples to the Dneister and I joked about a recently re-done road to one of the colleagues:

– How much do you think this road is gonna hold?

– 10 years.

– 10 years !?, I said

– Yes. Here, in Moldova, we don’t do roads like you, Romanians do. When we have money to build a road, we might as well do it properly, because we know for sure we won’t have any other money for this in 10 years.

Generally speaking, after you pass the customs office between Romania and Moldova, you know you’re in a different country, because of the terrible roads. But thos which are re-done, are re-done well. Otherwise, another great advantage was, in my opinion, the large roads from the center of the city, with a walking board on the center and the opposite lanes separate.

Also, the public transportation is fast, cheap and reliable. Even the taxi is cheap.

Generally, even though poorer than Romania, the people from Chişinău seemed to me a bit more cheerful, accepting and empathic. They seemed to me more polite, more independent, less talkative and more inclined to enjoy the silence and to listen.

Another place which I loved, and where I consider the civilization is also prominent is the Church. By that, I refer to the central mitropolitan church, where I assisted at a mass. The church is in the middle of a oark, which has a lot of benches, so that old people can listen to the mass at the outside speakers. The church was well-aired. If you felt the need, you could take a breath outside and return, without disturbing anyone. The people were not crowded, but maintained a respectful distance, leaving other to pray in silence. All the icons were protected by glass. Photographing and filming were forbidden and this rule was respected. Recently canonized saints were painted on the walls. I have seen no beggers.

I appreciated the parks. Although not comparable with the parks in Bucharest, which are excellently  taken care of, I have liked the landscapes which can make you feel in the middle of the nature, right in the city. There is less concrete and more grass in the parks, then in Bucharest.

I know Chişinău can’t be compared to Luxembourg, but from the point of view of respecting culture and mixing tradition and technology in a functional, discrete way, this is the city Chişinău reminds me of. And Brussels.

Romania, in the past 25 years has regressed. Moldova, in stead, froze in time. Economically, culturally and psychologically. Always, a stagnation is better than an involution.

Posted in The Art of Respecting Others | 3 Comments »

Benefits of Forgiveness

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 27/04/2012

We are all aware of the preached necessity of forgiving. Starting from a personal development material I got from a training concerning the benefits of forgiveness, I asked myself the following questions:

  1. which are the causes of forgiveness? (what determines people to forgive?)
  2. what are the benefits of forgiveness?
  3. what are the barriers in forviving?

I intend to share with you the results of 24 researches in this field.

1. what supports  forgiveness?

  • religious commitment
  • low levels of neuroticism
  • the level of interactivity within the community (social network involvement)
  • the offender and the victim’s willingness to consider resolution
  • the victim’s perception of change in the offender’s behavior
  • personal values
  • the degree of seriousness of the offense
  • identification of forgiveness-related concepts
  • low hostility
  • evidence more adaptive coping in terms of the forgiveness categories of self, other, and situations  (details here [en,pdf])
  • psychotherapy

2. what are the benefits of forgiveness?

  • Forgiveness appears to free mental and/or emotional energy that helps people sustain good performance, even on tasks completely unrelated to the forgiveness situation. (details here [en,pdf])
  • reduces anxiety, anger, depression,
  • reduces illness symptoms, stress & fatigue
  • improves perspective taking
  • increases self-esteem
  • self-control
  • it is currently better understood in relation to pro-social behavior than religion.(details here [en,pdf])
  • prevents future violence
  • the first study to look at how forgiveness improves physical health discovered that when people think about forgiving an offender it leads to improved functioning in their cardiovascular and nervous systems (Van Oyen, C. Witvilet, T.E. Ludwig and K. L. Vander Lann, “Granting Forgiveness or Harboring Grudges: Implications for Emotions, Physiology and Health,” Psychological Science no. 12 (2001):117-23)

 

3. what are the barriers in forgiving?

  • the fear of being hurt again  (details here [en,pdf])
  • a strong sense of narcissistic entitlement- that is, those who believe that they deserve a lot of good things and are highly invested in collecting all that they deserve  (details here [en,pdf])
  • selfrighteousness, in which people cannot see their own potential for misdeeds  (details here [en,pdf])
  • lack of preparedness to be responsive and to seek pathways of reconciliation and resolution   (details here [en,pdf])

The results of these researches are objective. I have not taken into consideration for this article the spiritual and personal development advatages, but merely the psychological aspects of forgiveness.

 

Posted in The Art of Respecting Others | 6 Comments »

Saint Steven the Great or Why Europe Has Such a Diverse Map

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 03/07/2011

Yesterday, the 2nd of July, Saint Steven the Great [en, wiki] was commemorated in Romania.

There is a large amount of information, mainly in Romanian, about Steven the Great (we call him Ştefan cel Mare), but I am sure zou all know how to use the “translate” function of Google Chrome.

It is rare in the history of a country to find a character which has defended an entire continent. Half of millennium ago, Ştefan cel Mare has fought with the Otoman Empire, which was to date the greatest threat for Europe. You can understand the effects of the otoman danger in Europe if you notice what happened on the territory of the former Yugoslavia. A lot of small countries and peoples divided among them by criteria of religion , always fighting, always having an isssue for war. It is something characteristic in the inner essence of the people. The whole Europe might have been the same if the geostrategical point of the Romanian countries, back then, Moldova (which encorporated what is now 3 other countries: Bucovina[en, wiki] region from Ukraine and Basarabia region where there are nowThe Republic of Moldova[en, wiki] and Transnistria[en, wiki] a.k.a. Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic), Transylvannia and Muntenia (which also had the Cadrilater[en, wiki] region now appartaining to Bulgaria) would not have stood in the way of the Ottoman empire.

A main reason for the fight of Ştefan cel Mare against the turks was the religion. The greatest part of Western Europe (Romania is in the center of the continent, if you consider the actual dimensions of the continent, which geographically speaking spreads from the Gibraltar to Kazachstan [en, wiki]) was Christian. The Otoman Empire brought the Muslim religion wherever it reigned (see former Yugoslavia). There were a lot of historical alliances between Moldova and Poland, Moldova and Hungary and Moldova and Vatican, in order to ensure the safety of the Christian nations inside the continent. In those times, Poland was neighbouring Moldova, being a power in Central Europe.

Ştefan cel Mare has raised tens of churches and monasteries, in all three Romanian countires, and was cousin with Vlad Ţepeş, the legendary ruler of Muntenia.

The many storytellers which have written about Ştefan cel Mare have neglected the history facts and invented a lot of relationships that Ştefan cel Mare allegedly had, out of which only one can be established for sure: his son, Petru Rareş [en, wiki], conceived outiside matrimony was also the one who succeeded him in leading the country. Besides this oficially historically recognized fact, Ştefan cel Mare was a family man. Two of his wives and five of his children died. A tragic history, a heavy personal cross to bear for such a leader.

Ştefan cel Mare lived for 40 years with a wound at one of his legs, which provoked him great trouble. Even in those circumstances, he had won impressive battles against the Otoman Empire, proving the advantage of tactical strategy and using the ground for his benefit, even though the foreign armies were 2 or 3 times bigger then his.

http://www.peteava.ro/static/swf/player.swf?3

Ştefan cel Mare has been declared a saint in 1992 [ro, htm] for the following things:

  • he defended the religion and his people to death
  • he fought with grave difficulties and dangers to ensure a greater freedom of faith
  • he has lived according to moral and religious principles
  • he has heroically defended and served the Church
  • he has won the appreciation of people without any pressure

Ştefan cel Mare has been voted in 2006 as the the greatest Romanian which lived ever in the history, by the vote of a people, after a national ranking and research being done for more than a year by the Romanian National Television.

The fact that you are free to do what you do right now, is due to this historical figure.

When I went to Chişinău [en, wiki], I was totally impressed when I saw that in front of the statue of Ştefan cel Mare (see picture in this article), in the Ştefan cel Mare central park (the one where they have wireless AND sockets for laptops near the benches) there were always flowers, and each morngin, people came and bended in front of the statue, as a sign of respect. It was one of the most touching things I have ever assisted as a Romanian. I have never seen such a respect for history and Romanian tradition as I have seen in the Republic of Moldova. If you want to study about the values of Romanian, go there. It is a land of respect, much more than Romania is today, for its own values.

After Ştefan cel Mare, streets have been named in all Romania, but I haven’t seen one called “Ştefan cel Mare şi Sfânt“. But the most important street in Chişinău mentiones the quality of saint that Ştefan cel Mare has earned almost 20 years ago.

I sadly found there were only a few dosens of people at the Church, when I went yesterday. Where were the rest of Romanians which now enjoy the fact they can live in a free world?

Alas, a people forgetting his heroes is a people with no history.

Yesterday, as usual, only three people wished me “happy anniversary”. My name is also Ştefan. And I have two onomastic days: the 2nd of July (Saint Steven the Great) and the 27th of December (Saint Steven).

Ştefan cel Mare – the film by Mircea Drăgan [full version]













Read more about Ştefan cel Mare (in Romanian):

Saint Steven the Great’s official website

Saint Steven the Great’s akhatist

Laurenţiu Dumitru

Sinaxar *1 (The Orthodox Church’s entry for the day of July 2nd)

Sinaxar *2 (The Orthodox Church’s entry for the day of July 2nd)

Saccsiv

The historical data and facts, chrnologically

Saint Steven the Great’s Mass [pdf]

Alexandru Stanciulescu Barda

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“The Art of Personal Branding”, or Sometimes, a “Pen” is Just a Pen. But Sometimes It Isn’t.

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 15/06/2011

Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar

Sigmund Freud

According to Alfred Korzybski [en, wiki], the greatest epistemologist of the XXth century, in his work “Science and Sanity” [full book, en, html index, pdf chapters] for example in the case of the word “pen”, when I take it in my hand and I say: “This is a pen”, actually THAT which I am actually holding in my hand is NOT  a pen, as for the word “pen” is simply a limitation for all of the possibilities of that object to manifest its functions. Naming it a “pen” gives it a specific use and determination, therefore, a limitation. By the words we use, we pattern the reality, we map across meaning according to context, according to pre-determined neuronal pathways. For example, for the same object defined by the word “pen”, a teacher could use a word as “space ship” to explain a time-space continuum concept, or the “pen” can be in fact labeled as a “weapon” and registered by the police in the case of a murder. Any specific object carries in it all its potentiality of meaning, which is inherent to the structure it determines it, but is only limited by the imagination of the user of the “pen” ’s potential.

The truth is between what you know and what you do not know lies all which you can assume.  The need to cover anything with a rule, a structure, an explanation, will determine you to draw a wrong conclusion when you limit your imagination. Now if you think this kind of theoretical conceptualization cannot influence your life, think again.

A year ago, when the WHO swine flu pandemic hoax [en, html], it was actually based on the fact that WHO (World Health Organization) changed the definition for the word “pandemy”, so that any kind of flu (regardless of the rate of mortality) can be covered by the definition in meaning, thus enforcing the governments throughout the world to take measures against the “pandemy”, as mandated by their contracts with WHO (please read “World Hoax Organization”). The explanation? Although the meaning of the word was changed by WHO changing the definition, the references in all the written contracts and laws around the world remained the same. Those reading in the laws the word “pandemy” did not check weather the definition of the word remained the same as when that document was written. It was not. But the mere term “pandemy” certainly got a lot of people scared, and without real basis, without checking the information at the source.

Today, for digital people, the loss of attention to true meaning, the lack of true presence in communication (as a form of respect) actually explains a lot of weird things specific to digital man. It explains, among others, his/her lack of awareness concerning communication. It explains, more above all, the digital people’s drama, which cannot escape the communication activities except through vacations, sleep or drugs.

The direction of a communication is its result.

The essence of any communication lies in its meaning.

But, as we cannot fully experience what is regularly defined as a “pen” for all the quantum possibilities it has for its meaning, we cannot experience transcending time while in time. We cannot see a person from all the possible angles and contexts at once. We cannot comprehend what actually the “true self” means. We operate with bits and pieces of information, holographically regenerating the image of that person in our mind. And sometimes, most times, it is only when showing just a few aspects, a few personal brands traits, you have determined the viewer, the spectator of your show, to buy. As long as the promise of your brand lives up to the buyer’s expectations, you have done a great job.

The process of virtually mapping over contexts one’s details from one context can be correct, presuming you use the proper patterns, and the predictability is proven according to the patterns that you know, which you have presumably depicted. But did you? Did you really? Please remember that some people have curtains as thick as a sheet, but some may have the curtains as thick as a wall. Why do you think the very good actors get payed so well?

Watching at a cube, from a fully perpendicular real-space vision, makes it look like a square. Are you at least aware of those images you look at, seeming a square, that they are, in essence, cubes? So, what really holds the meaning for a certain vision?

Please also check, concerning this topic, “Mindhunters HR”[en, video, blog]

I have a more important, self-reflected question. As saying that when looking into an abyss, the abyss will look back at you, what do the patterns which you mapped across the others say about yourself?

The true experience of self and respect of others implies lack of mental and emotional projection. Presence in essence. Presence IS essence.

The art of respecting others starts with the art of respecting yourself.

It lies written in the Bible, for all who wish to discover meaning, vision and wisdom: “Love your neighbor as you love thyself”. But what if you don’t (know how) love yourself? What if you don’t even know yourself?

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Photo-Reading People

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 10/06/2011

I have once seen a man in a grand library, sitting at a table, with a piece of paper and a pen in front of him, without doing anything. All around him, there were tens of busy people, with book piles on the table, notes, charts and all sorts of written, colorful papers. And of course, as an extension of their bodies, their laptops.

All working, all mind lined to that ineffective vocal subconscious reading (below 1000 words / minute), all typing now and then some attention-grabbing ideas they came across their mind patterns, wasting away the communication, typing away meaning [en, blog].

Only my man wasn’t doing anything. But he wasn’t dreaming either. He was playing around with pen on paper, drawing something from time to time, like a circle, or a square, or a parallelepiped [en, wiki] or scribbling without writing any words restraining meaning, then we was leaning his looks against the hall. He did this for a few hours.

He seemed nor fatigued, nor bored. He was simply dissipating communication, paying attention to all lack of communication surrounding him.  I had then the impression that man was an extremely wise man.

I have met him a few days ago, and then I realized my impression was correct. He was, truly, a great wise human being, one which deeply understood people. In those moments, in those instants of communication, between instances of communication wasting, he was actually dissipating communication, while playing with his little pen on paper or looking at the students and scholars all around the library.

Just visualize him into an ocean of possibilities, dissipating communication. He did not follow a thought, nor was he being swept away by any mental movies, photos, sounds or emotions. That man was respectfully letting all those shapes, figures, tics, gestures, words around him to come closer, to naturally enter into the specter of his communication.

He was receiving it all without any catalog classifications [en, blog], patterns, tags, types, captcha, lists, groups, directories, folders, networks, accounts, may they be mental, drawn, drafted or virtual.

He probably gave up, in all those moments for dissipating communication, of all certitudes, to all his mental rigors, enforced by the mind-clipping technology of the digital man. That is why he did not delete, distort or omit anything. That’s why he naturally, respectfully took into consideration all that happening around him. His view was totally defocused. He was being present.

He has chosen a library for this exercise because, as he told me, only in a library, were people lost in their communication and still silent. Only in a library’s reading room can he notice so many people, without feeling burdened by them and without disturbing them in the same time.

The people working there were following so carefully the lines of the books they were reading and still so silent, that they were not hiding their true self, not controlling their gestures, while the inner dialogue was rambling, absorbed by the flow of information into their inner game [en, wiki] .

My wise friend was not observing them; observation would have required too much attention, too much rigor. He was OK with simply letting them near his conscience. He was dissipating communication, he was not observing. That’s why he ended up knowing people so fine. That’s where he learned to respect people. That’s HOW he became wise.

I only know in Romania one single man who truly masters the art of skillfully dissipating communication [en, blog], although he blogs, tweets and googles a lot of his meaning.I think this man has an immense science of people. He understands more and guesses more precisely than all psychology and ethic treaties all around the world. He has built his wisdom leaving the people talk, work, write, suffer, all around him, without him casting any judgement upon them. I think this simple mystery lays down the ground for wisdom.

I think there are more people of his kind in the world. By dissipating communication, not typing it away into distractions, they actually transcend the communication barriers, getting to the essence of the person, which they respect as is, as de facto.

Let us pay attention to some of the great communicators of the last century. To those which terra-formed  the rules and categories of communication: they were mastering the art of dissipating communication; Edward Bernays [en, wiki]; Robert Ciladini [en, wiki]; Allan Pease [en, wiki]; Leo Burnett [en, wiki]; Clare W. Graves [en, wiki]; David Ogilvy [en, wiki].

Posted in The Art of Respecting Others | 5 Comments »

Less Is More. Until It Becomes Nothing.

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 08/06/2011

We frenetically type away our lives.

We write off the words, throwing them like a depreciated currency, when sometimes less is more.

“More, more, even more”: clicks, links, tags, tweets, posts, pics, blogs, lists. More avatars [en, wiki]. More input to type away the lack of true stimuli for authentic communication.

In the end, we are left without any spare words for our souls.

We perform those pseudo-activities, sometimes “funny moments”, which we can photo, pick, post and then offer to others to click on, in order to share the emptiness of a content we reached for, but never got to truly feel. Maybe only for a scattered micro-second.

These pseudo-activities actually do a great job helping us to type away our inner meaning. Besides the mental rest – and that being approximate – we don’t take profit upon this complex communication appreciation.

Then come the red times of selling short. But who loses the transaction when you sell short of your soul? What will a man give in exchange for his soul?

It is said in the Bible the end of the world will come when there will be no path from human being to human being. We are on our way towards that, despite improving the quality and speed of technological infrastructure.

The Art of Respecting Others, Stefan Alexandrescu’s paraphrase on Mircea Eliade [en, blog]

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The Windmills of Your Mind

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 07/04/2011

We must learn not to be afraid of communication. We must learn to live without the obsession of communication. We must learn to get as much out of our messages dedicated to work, but also we must master the art of respecting others by the way of communicating to them, through deeply relating and less correlating.

It doesn’t matter if you use web 2.0. or not. It doesn’t matter weather you use the TV or not. You may be a digital (wo)man because your brain is formatted for a specific operating system, which correlates into the matrix. The matrix of stereotyping. To only add nuance to that, the quality of your stereotyping is being determined by your awareness of psychological categories (in stead of etiquetetes). And this is also being pre-formatted. “Please plug-in!” says classic psychometry, where, if you don’t compute, you are merely part of a standard error.

We easily become addicted, as the television and the movies trained us to. Addicted to the misperception and misrepresentation of an individual between grounds of behavior of a certain context, extrapolating a. If you say the truth, you are honest. If you lie, you are a lier. If you follow, you are a follower. If you blog, you are a blogger. If you write, you are a writer. It seems strange how we more easily classify someone based more on negative perceptions than on a competence perception. Your identity becomes limited like the plain surface of a cube, to the viewer’s attention and angle. It is easy to feel unlistened to, when seen from another angle.

We need a catalog system for the contents of our office desk, of our drawers. We become addicted to a catalog system for our minds. Let’s catalog what should be catalogued: pens, clips, papers, scissors, lamp, maps, chargers, and so many other concrete tools.

We often don’t use the catalogue system because we finally can.

Having the possibility eliminates the desire. Why use catalogs with our desks when we can use them on people? It is, of course, easier to catalog on the premises of predictability, a certain item which we intend to use. Item or people. Seems the same. Or are they?

Still, human essence is more complex in meaning and manifestation. When looked upon from another perspective, a pen is always just a pen. Or is it?

The original: Noel Harrison – “Windmills of your mind” (1968)


The digitally re-mastered version: Sting – “Windmills of your mind” (1998)

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Trebuie că “Dacă vrei, poţi!” [ro, php]

 

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