Archives for April 2011

Obrigado, Marcos

19 March 2011, Istanbul, St. Joseph’s Party

Learned helplessness

The American psychologist Martin Seligman’s foundational experiments and theory of learned helplessness began at University of Pennsylvania in 1967, as an extension of his interest in depression.

A person should be able to walk away from an abusive relationship, for example, or voluntarily quit a stressful job.
A psychological condition known as learned helplessness, however, can cause a person to feel completely powerless to change his or her circumstances for the better.
The result of learned helplessness is often severe depression and extremely low self-esteem.

Learned helplessness can be seen as a mechanism some people employ in order to survive difficult or abusive circumstances.
An abused child or spouse may eventually learn to remain passive and compliant at the hands of his or her abuser, since efforts to fight back or escape appear futile.

Learned helplessness results from being trained to be locked into a system. The system may be a family, a community, a culture, a tradition, a profession or an institution.

Initially, a system develops for a specific purpose. But as a system evolves, it increasingly tends to organize around beliefs, perspectives, activities and taboos that serve the continuation of the system. Awareness of the original purpose fades and the system starts to function automatically. It calcifies.

Some experts suggest learned helplessness can be passed on through observation, as in the case of a daughter watching her abused mother passively obey her husband’s commands.
The daughter may begin to associate passivity and low self-esteem with the “normal” demands of married life, leading to a perpetuation of the learned helplessness cycle.

Child abuse by neglect can be a manifestation of learned helplessness: when parents believe they are incapable of stopping an infant’s crying, they may simply give up trying to do anything for the child.

Another example of learned helplessness in social settings involves loneliness and shyness. Those who are extremely shy, passive, anxious and depressed may learn helplessness to offer stable explanations for unpleasant social experiences.

A third example is aging, with the elderly learning to be helpless and concluding that they have no control over losing their friends and family members, losing their jobs and incomes, getting old, weak and so on.

(to read more about this subject: Leaned helplessness in Wikipedia
An interesting article by Ken McLeod on how to fight the symptoms)

Europe talking about African problems

A potential rift in the international coalition behind air strikes against Muammar Gaddafi’s forces has emerged after Britain and France demanded the intensification of military action in the key battle fronts around Ajdabiya …(Guardian, 12 Apr 2011)

“One of the more astute commentaries on the situation in the Middle East comes from Greg Sutcliffe, a British ad man based in Hong Kong, who put subtitles on a viral video of toddling twins talking to each other in an utterly unintelligible baby language.
In Sutcliffe’s imagined dialogue, one of the diapered duo is big on “stomping” Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi (complete with appropriate sumo-like gesture), while the other frets about the lack of an exit strategy and the possibility that arms will fall into the hands of al Qaeda.
The baby-talk dialogue is circular, inconclusive, and, even without the subtitles, a pretty good reflection of what you’ll hear from pundits and politicians all over the map “(Chris Dickey in Newsweek)


Four countries, four #1

First it was Brasil (published in August 2010)

Source: Jornal O Globo

Then Portugal (published in Feb 2011)

Source: Bertrand


Source: Idefix Online

(click in the images above to see full size)


And now Hungary

Source: Libri.HU

And I am sure that my readers in the next countries where ALEPH will be published will also support me. Publication dates at the end of this post

(NOTE: The publication dates are not decided by me, but by the publishing houses)

28 JUL 2010 Portuguese (Brasil)
11 FEB Portuguese (Portugal)
19 MAR Turkish
11 APR Hungarian
JUN Latvian, Bulgarian
JUL Serbian
AUG Dutch. Espanol (TODOS los paí­ses de America Latina, America Central y Mexico)
Slovak, Arabic (worldwide)
SEPT English (USA, UK, Canada, Australia. New Zealand) , Italian
Finnish, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Lithuanian, Romanian
Espanol (Espana), Catalan
OCT Franí§ais, Estonian, Czech, Korean, Greek, Polish


India ( 8 languages), Hebrew, Russian, German, Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian, Urdu, Thai, Croatian, Slovenian

11/04 Magyarország: Alef



Update 22:30 hr First day of publication, #1 Thank you Hungary!

The girl from Yemen

by Tawakkol Karman

The revolution in Yemen began immediately after the fall of Ben Ali in Tunisia on 14 January. As I always do when arranging a demonstration I posted a message on Facebook, calling on people to celebrate the Tunisian uprising on 16 January.

We agreed that we could not let this historic moment pass us by, and that we too could spark a peaceful revolution to demand an end to a despotic regime.

After a week of protests I was detained by the security forces in the middle of the night. The pressure on the government was intense, and I was released after 36 hours in a women’s prison, where I was kept in chains.

After my release I continued to demonstrate .

Around the country, tents sprang up for vigils, copying Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Hundreds of thousands poured into these “squares of liberation and change”. With the inclusion of all sections of society, the revolution had outgrown the student movement.

In five years my country has witnessed six wars, but now the people’s guns are silent; they have chosen peaceful change. Despite the fact that hundreds of protesters have been killed by the regime, not one police officer or security agent has been killed by the masses.

When snipers killed more than 50 protesters and wounded 1,000 on the Friday of Dignity, it was the young who arrested the culprits; not one was attacked or injured, despite the anger and the blood that had flowed in the streets.

For the first time people in the south stopped calling for separation, raised the national flag and demanded an end to the regime. It’s been truly historic. The country is united in its aim to rid itself of the regime through public vigils and rallies, civil disobedience and slogans instead of tear gas and bullets.
This is a regime that carried out 33 years of rule through blood and corruption.

We cannot let the bogeyman of al-Qaida and extremism be used to stall historic change in our country; Saleh invokes this threat in an attempt to cling to power, as if he is the only one capable of bringing stability and tackling terrorism. It would be foolish to believe his lies. .

If the US and Europe genuinely support the people, as they say, they must not betray our peaceful revolution. It is the expression of the democratic will of the overwhelming majority of the people of Yemen.

Tawakkol Karman: This 32-year-old mother of three is an unlikely activist. But as the chair of Women Journalists Without Chains she has been protesting at Sana’a University, in the nation’s capital, every Tuesday since 2007. Her aim: to pressure Yemen’s President of 32 years, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to step down. Though she’s been arrested several times, she remains an advocate for peaceful change.(TIME magazine)

(excerpts from the article published today, April 9, in the Guardian)

Dos Bendiciones Celtas

En el momento en que mi ciudad sufre con el asesinato de niños en una escuela, en el momento en que nos damos cuenta que un sólo demente es capaz de esparcir tanta tristeza alrededor, encontré estas dos bendiciones antiguas en un libro de mi biblioteca. Y quiero compartirlas con ustedes:

Una Oración Celta

Que Dios nos dé
Para cada tormenta, un arco iris
Para cada lágrima, una sonrisa
Para cada acto de ternura, una promesa
Y una bendición en cada momento difí­cil.
Que siempre tengamos un amigo fiel
para compartir nuestros problemas.
Y que cada oración siempre sea escuchada y respondida.

Una antigua bendición celta

Que la carretera enseñe el mejor camino
Que el viento sople siempre a tu espalda
Que el sol ilumine tu rostro
Que la lluvia fertilice tu campo
Y hasta que nos encontremos de nuevo
Que Dios te guarde en la palma de la mano.

Aleph, the video

On April 01, 2011, crossing the barrier of 5.000.000 friends in Facebook, I asked what I should do to celebrate it.
The vast majority suggested a prayer, and we prayed together on Wednesday, April 6, at 6:00 PM

Working together was the second most suggested idea, besides a great meeting (which is impossible, due to logistics. Can you imagine if 100k decide to attend? We would never have permission from the authorities without a lot of guarantees, from security to emergency).

Working together is not easy: a writer must bear full responsibility for his work. However, I found a way for a collaborative project, using a book that is not yet published all over the world to implement it (ALEPH is only in Portuguese and Turkish, with other editions being launched later this year )
Meaning: you DON’T have to buy the book to participate.
The contest is open to friends in all my three communities ( Facebook, Twitter and blog)

The Aleph, a point that condenses space and time. Jorge Luis Borges describes it: The Aleph was about two to three centimetres in diameter, but all of cosmic space was there, with no diminution in size. Each thing was infinite, because I could clearly see it from every point on the universe.

This is what I experienced in my Trans Siberian trip: love is time and space in a single point, the Aleph, in continuous change.
You can use your imagination at your will. Cartoons, photos, film, etc. As the book is not yet published in many countries, you have to speculate in the magical universe.
Duration: from 1:30 min to 3:00 min
The structure:
1] your vision on what Aleph means. Please don’t use words, as this video is intended to be for an international audience, with different languages, except
2] at the end , 15 sec where ALEPH / Paulo Coelho appears, followed by
3] 10 sec with your name and the link you want to use to promote your work.
1] I will select, with my team, six videos
The video selected as # 1 will receive USD 4.000 + one 1 HP Pavilion computer p6780t series
# 2 will receive USD 3.000 + one 1 HP Pavilion computer p6780t series
# 3, #4, # 5 and # 6 will receive USD 1.000 + one 1 HP Pavilion computer p6780t series
2] I wil post them on all my social communities. Besides the 5.000.000 friends in Facebook, at the time of writing this I have 1,4 million in Twitter and over 2 million monthly visitors in my blog – which means over 8.300.000 friends online.
This will give to the winner, besides the prize, also a lot of visibility for his/her work
Any friend from any of the three communities mentioned above can participate.
4] The deadline for presenting the video is July 1, 2011. The winners will be announced on July 25, 2011.
5] If there is no winner (meaning, I did not like any of the submitted videos) the USD 11.000 will be donated to Instituto Paulo Coelho
6] You must upload he link to the videos in YouTube, and then sent it to [email protected] You may upload the video at your earliest convenience.
7] The title of the video on YouTube must be ALEPH by (your name here)
8] You are fully responsible for the material you will use. I mean, if you use copyrighted material, you have to ask permission
9] If it moves beyond Youtube (TV ads, etc), the publishing house using the video will eventually pay you an extra fee.
10] Only videos with the structure mentioned above will be accepted
11] by participating in the contest, you agree with all the conditions mentioned in this post
12] You can participate with as many videos as you want
Some useful links:
My transiberian trip (This material is my copyright, and you may use it if you wish)
Aleph (Category in this blog)
O Aleph (Categoria neste blog)
You can google the word, and there are several images and references to this point that contains the eternity in itself.

If you have any doubts, please use “Comments” below

Paulo Coelho

Aleph: video contest

This is the first entry I received for ALEPH, THE VIDEO CONTEST
It is not participating, because is not doesn’t comply with one rule (max time 2 min 30 sec), but I believe this is a good demo of the general idea
Please note that in this video my name and “Aleph” appeared too early. The rules require that you first express your vision of this magical point, and then, only at the end, Aleph/Paulo Coelho appears.
Looking forward to your participation (click in the link above to know more about the contest)
Related posts:
Aleph: four countries, four # 1 (includes publication dates)


History of The Claddagh Ring

(thanks for the link, KEALAN MOORE )

The Claddagh Ring is believed to have originated in the fishing village situated near the “shore” or “Claddagh” of Galway Bay.

The Claddagh outside the City Walls, and further separated by the River Corrib, was exclusive community or fisher-folk forbidden to use spade or hoe and ruled by a periodically-elected “King” whose sole distinguishing mark was his right to use a white sail on his fishing hooker.

The ring shows two hands holding a heart which wears a crown. This motif is explained in the phrase: “Let Love and Friendship reign”, and ideal poesy for a wedding ring used by a small community for over four hundred years.

This distinctive design is associated with one of the Tribes of Galway, the Joyce family. Margaret Joyce married Domingo de Rona, a wealthy Spaniard, who, when he died, left her his fortune, which she subsequently used to build bridges in the Province of Connacht.

Margaret, who later married Oliver Of Ffrench, Mayor of Galway 1596, was providentially rewarded for her good works and charity by an eagle which dropped a gold ring into her lap. This fanciful legend had a more factual opponent in the story of Richard Joyce, or Joyces.

Richard en route to the West Indies, was captured by Algerian corsairs and sold as a slave to a Moorish goldsmith who trained him.

Released from slavery in 1689, at the demand of William III of England, Joyce, in spite of substantial inducement to stay, returned to Galway and set up as a goldsmith. His work marked with an anchor signifying Hope and initials R.I. still exists.

The Claddagh Ring motif is attributed to him.

The Claddagh Ring became popular outside the Claddagh about the middle of the last century, especially as it was the only ring made in Ireland worn by Queen Victoria and later by Queen Alexandra and King Edward VII.

These rings were made and supplied by Dillon of Galway to whom the Royal Patent was granted. This tradition has been carried on to this day.

The tradition of how to wear this ring is very distinctive. If the owner of the ring wears it with the crown pointing towards the finger nail, he or she is said to be in love or married. To wear the ring with heart pointing to the finger nail, he or she is said to be unattached to anyone.

Duas bení§í£os celtas

No momento em que minha cidade sofre com o assassinato de crianí§as em uma escola, no momento em que nos damos conta que um só demente é capaz de espalhar tanta tristeza ao redor, encontrei estas duas bení§í£os antigas em um dos livros de minha biblioteca. E quero dividir com voces:

Uma oraí§í£o celta

Que Deus nos díª
para cada tempestade, um arco-iris
Para cada lágrima, um sorriso
Para cada gesto de ternura, uma promessa
E uma bení§í£o em cada momento difí­cil.
Que tenhamos sempre um amigo fiel
para dividir os nossos problemas.
E que cada oraí§í£o seja sempre escutada e respondida.

Uma antí­ga bení§í£o celta

Que a estrada ensine o melhor caminho
Que o vento esteja sempre em suas costas
Que o sol ilumine seu rosto
Que a chuva fertilize seu campo
E até que nos encontremos de novo
Que Deus lhe guarde na palma da mí£o

traduí§í£o: Paulo Coelho

Two Celtic blessings

EN ESPANOL: Dos bendiciones celtas
EN PORTUGUES: Duas bení§í£os celtas
(to read the story of the ring you see above, please CLICK HERE )

A Celtic Prayer

May God give you…
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.

An Old Celtic Blessing

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Tango & creativity


Os dois escultores

por Cleo V. Swarat

Sonhei que estava em um estúdio
vendo dois escultores trabalhando.
Em lugar de barro, tinham como matéria prima uma crianí§a
e procuravam trata-la com carinho

Um dos escultores era uma professora
e as ferramentas que usava eram livros, música e arte.
O outro era um pai
tendo nas mí£os disciplina e carinho

Quando finalmente terminaram
ficaram orgulhosos,
já que todo o esforí§o daquele trabalho
ní£o poderia ser comprado, vendido ou destruí­do.

Ambos concordaram em uma coisa:
se um deles tivesse trabalhado sózinho, ní£o teria conseguido nada.
Mas ajudando o pai, estava a escola
e ajudando a professora, estava o lar.

traduí§í£o: Paulo Coelho

Daqui há cem anos

(trecho do poema “Within My Power” de Forest Witcraft)

Daqui há cem anos

ní£o terá a menor importí¢ncia

que tipo de carro eu dirigia

qual o tamanho da casa em que vivia

quanto dinheiro tinha na minha conta bancária

ou qual o estilo de minhas roupas

Mas o mundo será um lugar melhor porque

eu ajudei a educar um jovem

(traduí§í£o: Paulo Coelho)

10 sec reading: body and soul

In the middle of a storm, a pilgrim reaches an inn and the owner asks where he is going.

“I’m going to the mountains” he answers.

“Forget it,” says the innkeeper, “it’s a risky climb, and the weather is awful.”

“But I’m going up,” answers the pilgrim.”It is my dream”.

“If my heart got there first, it will be easy to follow it with my body.”