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

Why do we team up with friends, partners, in clubs, communities, and nations?

What are some good reasons for crowding, and what disadvantages must we tackle?

Upon contemplation, there are several reasons and several problems.

Safety—More Power—to Survive

Animals and even plants often team-up. A major reason is survival. There is power in numbers. Even elephants live in herds. Small animals move in flocks or schools (and zebras also in stripes) to confuse predators. I don’t think that humans do the same because “we’re basically animals or plants.”(Speak for yourself, my father would say.) Rather, we humans instinctively know that there is power in numbers. And, the greater problems we face in survival, the greater our intuitive urge to huddle.

However, it seems that whatever power there is in the universe comes together with vulnerability. A rock or water can’t procreate but it also can’t die. A brick can fall but not collapse like a brick house. A plant can’t walk around but it also doesn’t have an instinct that can go bunkers and kill them (a moth in a flame). An animal can’t plan, but it also can’t make and maintain disastrous plans that threaten world survival.

City life is wonderful for viruses. Just like flocks of birds that may literally drop from the sky when infected. But, we can mask up. Even before a pandemic strikes. That will also keep out some of the car fumes that make life in a city so unhealthy. Over the last hundred years, many gigantic cities have been built on shores. With the rising seas, we must begin to relocate endangered cities. We don’t need to wait until people drown.

Yet, the Mishnah tells us having friends is even better on the smallest scale. “When one falls, the other can pick him up.”

Connected—The More the Merrier—Against Loneliness

Together’s more fun. Loneliness is very problematic for humans. The Hebrew Bible is quick to mention it as the first problem in the world! It’s not good for humans to be alone. And the first commandment [advice] is, especially for men, to leave their parents and become a unit with a wife.

Why humans? Our nakedness worsens the problem. Touch becomes sexual quickly. So, we dress up. And that only exacerbates the isolation.

But, certain apes are sexual a great part of their day—what’s the problem? The problem is that we’re not apes. (Excuses to biologists who so much want to be relevant for humans.) We have ambitions. Recreational sex is very addictive. We only have to look at people who have the urge, means, or power to have sex all the time to see how detrimental that is.

So, we team up to deal with our loneliness. Kids are raised and bond for 15-20 years before they gain independence—the most infantile animal around. They further unite in schools and with friends. Grownups with a partner. If their relationship is deep enough, their sexuality can cement it (if the partner has the right gender for you). That best undoes existential loneliness. If you’re single, it’s good to check your phone as soon as you wake up. Yet, make sure it won’t be instead of non-virtual friendships.

If you ever belonged to a true community or huge wider family, you know how sweet that is. That undoes isolation as nuclear families. And it also enables singles to connect. Just be aware they’re more vulnerable. They depend more on cohesion of the group than partnered people.

Pride—An Identity, Home—Against Oppression

Most of us are oppressed in several ways. To be with fellow oppressed is a good way to develop an identity which we do to regain our pride.

Pride is natural, often impeded. Deep self-dignity is a basic need. Not to be confused with arrogance, which is detrimental, a power grab and isolation.

The human races are cultures, and political parties and nationalities just are attempts to protect those identities. Nationalism exploits this rational goal into readiness to have fights and wars (for the profit of the super-rich), but in and of itself, group cohesion and culture are wonderful things.

This can backfire when groups are played against each other. We must be smart enough to overcome that. If inhumane oppressors are smart enough to divide us, warm humans must be smarter and capable of uniting us. Not to smudge the differences but to meet each with our identities and group cohesion intact. Intersectionality and seeking allies are great ideas.


Last but certainly least, our meat consumption is through the roof. Keeping birds, cattle, and what not people eat is asking for trouble. Besides the destruction by greenhouse gasses by animals and their suffering, they breed zoonoses for us that can seriously impede us. Their antibiotics we also don’t need in our food. We must consume less meat/milk/eggs.

Mono-cultures from here to the horizon are also very vulnerable (and boring to look at) to any bug that multiplies in them. And we also don’t need the insecticides used to prevent or cure such plagues. We need to feed billions. But we also could invest enough money to do that in a more natural, beautiful, and sustainable way.

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 1500 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.
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