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

One evening a week, no entertainment

A steady way to put more meaning into our lives and get more out of it

Israel is doing very well with one meatless day per week. It’s time to take activism for the average citizen to the next step.

One evening a week, no matter how tired you are, you will cut out whatever keeps you passive. For most people, that will be TV time. But there is also screen time on smartphones and computers to pause.

Many people work hard so that they can go on vacation. And at the end of their workday, they ‘deserve’ TV, Netflix, Facebook, coffee, you name the junk, to keep them a little happy. Cut out one evening. That won’t kill you.

Such a cut-the-fun evening is not to take up sports or learning. If you don’t do these things, make space for them too, but separately. If you’re a workaholic, take some time off on another day. You’ve been too stingy and self-centered? Your charity work must be at another timeslot. Do you need to learn good activism? At another time, you’ll shore up on effectiveness. Want to become active in politics? That could be great but not instead of mobilizing us, the people. Activism evening is not some free time to stuff with neglected jobs. It is reserved for real systematic change work.

One evening without novels or bubble baths, radio or POD casts, music.

What fun! There are so many areas that urgently need hands-on activists. You get to choose, in accordance with your talents and awareness.

You will discover real life. Just like real food. The best whole-wheat bread doesn’t need toppings. The best time-use doesn’t need pampering and prizes to feel good. An evening spent on activism has built-in satisfaction. As a bonus, you’ll make acquaintances and friends you otherwise would have never met, across all kinds of divides, enriching your life forever.

Most politicians will not effectuate the changes that will save the planet, will feed the 0.8B people hungry every day, eradicate addictions, etc. They need us. They need us to learn to smile and show our optimism, speak our minds, organize, stop infighting, unite and organize, demonstrate, etc.

There is so much wrong in the world, the need to do something about it gets clearer and clearer to many people. That’s good. Just don’t get desperate. Don’t believe all the discouraging frenzy of the media.

To be effective, we need to change both our lives and the rest of the world. But not consecutively because we will never be perfect so, we’d end up milling about ourselves forever. We must do both at the same time.

To be effective, focus on what there is to accomplish, not on what’s wrong.

To be effective, we need to make sure that we don’t burn out. That means that we need to keep looking for people who can do our activism jobs so that we can take on the next thing to do. We also need to reserve some time to cry about setbacks and disappointments to refresh our fitness.

To be effective, we must team up with others, sometimes over generations. Persistence and long-term vision will come in handy.

If a stranger helped us just when we were in trouble, we’ll be grateful for a few days. But, when we’ve helped a stranger, we’ll feel good about it forever. Just imagine how it feels when you help the whole world.

Make sure to be extra respectful to those who kept the world going while you were trying to improve it. The babysitter, the bus driver, etc.

There’s never been a time so good to become an activist.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, an almost daily blog contributor to the Times of Israel, and previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. * 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 about what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and education contribute to his visions. * To find less-recent posts on subject XXX among his over 1550 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: https://mmvanzuiden.wordpress.com/. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. Yet, 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 who don't deserve that. 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), 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. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) 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. * 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. 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, anti-elitism, anti-bigotry and supremacy, for Zionism, Intersectionality, and 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. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), born in 1953 to 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. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. * 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, empowering therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids non-violently. 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 being a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. He lives with his library in Jerusalem. Feel free to contact him. * His writing has been made possible by a (second-generation) Holocaust survivors' allowance 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.
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