Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

Change the world by shutting up!

Everybody is only interested in themselves; I’m the only one who sometimes thinks about me. – Wim Kan

Yes, it is a bit paradoxical to talk about listening, but I think that you understand what I mean when I say: There is so much to be gained by listening to others, and I don’t mean to me – necessarily.


  • Helps us learn
  • Gets us closer to others – against loneliness, danger
  • (When we listen to ourselves, we can get close to who we are)
  • May help others to start listening too – do not burn-out

The world and the written world are often run on the assumption that all everyone ever should do is hear what we have to say.

Speakers and writers run our news and are our leaders.

Some have said: Politics should not be run by generals. How about: Our leaders should be therapist, experts in listening and hearing.

Some people know how to listen well. But often they lost their own voice, or at least, don’t find others who listen enough to them. How about training our kids and students (and first ourselves and friends) to listen and to share – by exchanging time.

Wonna improve any friendship or potential connection? Take turns listening to each other, without interruptions, or talking to each other. Swap three minutes and change your day. Do it every day with almost everyone and change your relationships and life.

Begin by taking turns with the people who are easiest for you – not the most hopeless or dangerous people, who would only drain or endanger you. When you pay enough attention, they will become personal and stop playacting and speeching – unless they are drunk or stoned.

Don’t compel people less powerful than you to listen to you. Just listen to them. They will tell you when they want to hear what you feel and think. Still, try not to talk to them about stuff that would shut them down or up.

Developing the following skills can help your listening:

  • Empathy
  • Patience
  • Smiling
  • Seeing the good (optimism, appreciation)
  • Humility
  • Shutting up, don’t interrupt (keep your clever analyses to yourself)
  • A chance to talk (after being listened to, it’s easier to shut up)

However, the best tool is to shut up and pay attention, no matter what you feel, think or want. That will improve the whole above list as you go.


  • Learn to listen, if you don’t already.

Check out tips from this TED talk.

  • Learn again to talk, if you don’t already.

Check out ideas from this web site.

  • Set out to advocate this dual approach.

Let me explain the last point. Listeners know, that it does not satisfy enough to only improve our own private circle of family, friends and acquaintances. Listeners are going to conquer the world – not by stealing it from anyone but by giving it to everyone. No one needs to be left behind.

And what about people who are good at bossing others around, spreading hatred, and making money from wars?

  • Most bosses can be retrained to work together with people who know how to cooperate and how to lead based on the best of what each person in the group thinks. They’ll feel more relaxed.
  • Most spreaders of hatred can be retrained to use their passion for love of others. They’ll feel happier.
  • And most of the rich can regain security by focusing on connecting instead of hoarding. They’ll feel safer.

Giving everyone a vote is not enough. Give everyone a voice. It doesn’t get more political than that.

Good listeners also tend to be more honest than good speakers. That will change the face of politics!

And why do I blog this today? Because I had this call ready today. Isn’t it high time that someone said it?

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, previously a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and educations contribute to his visions. * This year, he will prioritize getting his unpublished books published rather than just blog posts. Next year, he hopes to focus on activism against human extinction. To find less-recent posts on a subject XXX among his over 1400 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe, here: or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. However, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people when don't deserve that. (Yet, we all make honest mistakes, which is just fine and does not justify losing support.) He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight reality), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * Chronologically, his most influential teachers are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. This short list doesn't mean to disrespect others who taught him a lot or a little. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. When he can, he loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. Read his blog on how he attempts to bridge any tensions between those ideas or fields. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to his parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too, and decades more to admit to being a genius. But his humility was his to keep. And so was his honesty. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. He hopes to bring new things and not just preach to the choir. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, powerful therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.