Blog of Sara Jakša

Why Are There Psychologist in Schools?

In our school, there was a physiologist, that was supposed to help us become even better, for the good students, help with school for the not so quick students and help with any problem in school.

Some of the people in school joked, that she spent half of the time dealing with me.

I know some of the teachers stopped dealing with any abnormality in the class. They sent students to psychologist for every little detail.

Forgetting homework. Talking in the class. Chewing the gum. Not listening. Talking back. Siting on the tables. Having a bloody nose (from fight or not). Asking questions. These are just some of the reasons, that people got sent to the psychologist.

And if the psychologist thought, that she can't handle the student alone, then she would call another teacher, so if one of them loses any idea, what to preach about, the other can start.

Because that is what they did. They preached about, how we have to conform (or at least they did to me), without any valid reasons.

“Because I said so.” or “It is in the rules.” or “People smarter than you decided that.” or “People older than you decided that.” or “People have to be normal” or “People should listen to authority” or “People are to be obedient.”

These are just some examples of their reasons why they are on the right. But you find these reasons satisfying, than congratulation to you. The education system did their job in your case.

But that is all she ever did. Some people asked her for help, and then decided to never do it again. She couldn't be that helpful then. The only reason people liked her, was because they could skip lessons, if they went to her.

But even to this day, I do not understand. What was she trying to accomplish?

Do We Really Know, What Most People Think

Most women wants to have equal chances of work. Most people think, that security is better than privacy. Most people think, that we had landed on Moon. Most people think, that eating vegetables is healthy. Most people think, that eating meat is healthy. Most people think, that they are the smartest person in the room.

Do we really know, what do most people think? I mean, no matter how wide anyones circle of acquaintance is, there is no way anybody is the world, can know most people. That would include knowing over 3 billion people.

Yet this is what most people base the their opinion of normal. Based on their acquaintance, and the media we all make the picture of the most people inside our head. Let me give you an example.

In the recent NSA reveal, they asked the great amount of American, if they think, that government went to far in their spying. The number of people thinking, they were on the right was 53\%. Yet, if I would just make my opinion based on the news I am reading and the people I was talking to, I would think that the number can not be higher than 20\%.

The similar people usually find each other and by associating with their own group, where the opinions are more or less similar, we get the distorted picture of our reality.

They say, that in a year time, a person weights close to the average weight of the 5 people the associate with the most. And it will look normal, because the people around them will have similar weight.

Also, since I am eating vegan food, you could guess, that there is a lot higher possibility, that there is a bigger amount of vegetarians, vegans or people that feel strongly about their food among the people associated with me. And you would be right.

People absorb the influences from around them, from the media consumed, including the internet, from the environment. It shapes us into who we are and because of that, we can be blind to some of the people, exposed to the different influences.

Candy

I was sitting on the tram and was wondering, if I am feeling hungry or not. Just as I have came to the decision and looked around, I saw a candy on the floor.

At first I thought, that it had fallen down from the girl, that was sitting close by. But I was wrong.

I saw the girl look down, but she did not picked the candy up. She left the tram, leaving it there.

There was nobody else around, so I took it. After all, I do not like to waste food.

It was too sweet for me, but the caramel made it worth it. I didn't realize, that even after not eating for more than a year, I still love caramel.

Now I have to figure out, what caramel is made from and how, to see if I can use it in my kitchen.

But it also got me thinking. The only time these days, when I am eating things, that I can describe as food, is when I find it on the ground. Just like this candy today.

Hypothetical Scenario: Waking Up In A Bad Place

One day you wake up and you find yourself in a peculiar situation. You wake up as a seriously obese man in a small and really messy apartment. In a foreign country (but one, where you understand the local language).

You look around and on the floor next to you, there is needle, candle, a spoon and a small open bag, with some white powder in it.

On the other side of the mattress, there are some clouding, but they smell of sweet and some urine.

You can see the ants freely walking around. You thought you saw a rat and a snake as well, but you aren't sure. There is some half eaten toast and cheese on the plastic table, that looks like it is about to collapse.

The windows are tainted and it is hard to look out. But there is a sound from the outside. Somebody knocks and you hear: "Open up. Police."

What do you do?

Are We That Different? [Fiction]

They entered the restaurant. There were tall candles in the table and the light in the restaurant was a bit dimmer than usual. The room was mostly in a different shades of green, like the dark green tablecloth and the really light one on top of it. There were small bouquets of flowers on the table.

Mina was following the waitress with confidence. He steps might not be long, but it was firm. Her eyes did not look around, but she was just walking, smiling a little. She looked at her date today as she called his name.

"John?"

John looked at her, too quickly, like he did not expect the question. He wiped his hands to his trousers. His mouth was partly open. But he did remember to close them, after Mina chuckled.

"It is an impressive place."

Mina looked around in interest. There was a smile on her face. But she did not answer.

The waiter stopped in front of the table and he waited until Mina came closer and he pushed the chair in, after she sat down. John just sat for himself, as the waiter excused himself.

Mina turned to John, who was staring at the table now. Mina sighed. She started to tap on the table with her fingers, as she was becoming a little annoyed.

She saw the owner of the restaurant coming closer. She stopped tapping as she put a smile on her case.

His smile feel a little, as she saw the owner stop and rudely stare at their table. The owner came closer, with quick steps and he was shaking.

"Who gave you the right to come back?"

His voice was sicking, but it was also quiet. It could freeze the blood of the people that could actually hear it.

Mina blinked as he saw the John's head move with remarkable speed, and there was a surprise written on his face. But it was soon replaced with anger. He narrowed his eyes.

"If I would have known, you were here, I would not have set a foot in here."

John's voice might not be as cold, but it had the same am mount of anger in it. His whole body was shaking from it.

"Says the freak of the family."

John jumped up and he looked at the person in front of you with condemn.

"You think I am proud you are my father?"

He turned to Mina, his voice lost some anger, but his body didn't.

"I am sorry Mina, but I will have to cut this short."

He stood up and just left. Mina smiled as she stood up and went after him. She had to remember to thank her mother. Maybe this time, she did find her an interesting person to spend time with.

Cooking Is Not An Exact Science, Right?

I have probably read at least 1000 recipes in my life and had a pleasure to have other people thought me cooking as well. And there was always the big difference between these two ways of teaching cooking, that I was surprised and it got me thinking.

When I try some new recipe from the book or internet site, there are always exact measurements of all ingredients. They are usually written on the beginning, exact amounts and sometimes even a really exact ingredients. Like specifying even the type of flour to use.

They continue with exact order to cook, going from step 1, through step 2 and step 3 and ending with the last step.

And every single dish. I have a book, that does muffins in 50 different ways, and there go through the same process every single time. Instead of learning us the basic principles and letting us experiment, they just give the exact way of how to make 50 different types of muffins.

On the other hand, when there are people teaching others how to cook, there are never exact. Probably because most of the people who cook, that I have met do not normally use any measuring device. They do not know the weight of the ingredients.

Instead, they told me what to look for. Like adding flour into the dough, until it stops gluing on my fingers. Or mixing the goulash, until the texture thickened enough to stick on the pasta, polenta or anything else that goes along.

Also, instead of doing just one dish and perfecting it, they tend to give more general instruction as well. Like adding more moisture ingredients when baking with nuts like walnut, because the tent to grain the moisture out of the ingredients, meaning they need more of it. Or after cooking rice it usually go to wait a while for the rice to absorb some more moisture.

And I tend to find the second way much more useful as far as my cooking goes. The first part is rigid and it discourages the experimenting or any other deviation from it. On the other hand, knowing the general principles and seeing how other people are not exact in their cooking, I can get more confidence to try something new.

Since I consider cooking as a form of an art, the creativity plays a great role. The mixing of ingredients, adding additional ones, using substitutions, removing some of them, changing the mixing order, changing the appearance... there are countless ways to use our creativity.

But a personal instructions came with the cost of time. It is a lot easier to just look the recipe on the internet and try it.

As long as we realize, that the recipes are not the law and are ready to change them, they can have the vital place in our cooking path.

Do We Need To Apologize?

I am sorry. I apologize. Just some of the words, that express our guilt, our sorrow and our regret at what had happened. Some of them are use, no matter who is responsible, but some of them, like ‘I apologize', are only used, when we were the ones, responsible for the result.

But does these words actually help anybody? Lets look at the person apologizing first. With apologizing, the person can get the feeling, that they had at least partly make up for what they did.

But do not let that deceive you. By apologizing, you are actually giving your power away. For a chance of instant gratification and a possibility of getting something of your chest, can lead to addictive behaviour, where you do not think about the consequences, since you can apologize later, making worse decisions.

Also by apologizing, you are giving the apologiee the control over a part of your life. After all, you well-being is depended on the person's reaction to you apology. After all, can you get your dose of a good feeling, if the person does not accept your apology?

On the other hand, the person, that is being apologized to, only have the feeling, that the person acknowledge what they did. There is no guarantee, of not happening again or any help that they would get with the worse situation.

It is true, that they get some power over their emotional state, but most people do not know, what to do with it, or are not even aware of it. Thought, if misused, even by accident, it can lead to some unfavourable consequences.

So instead of apologizing, try making up to the world. Do not speak the words of being sorry. Just do something good for anybody, if you have to get that feeling of goodness back.

It is a principal, that I like, but the best description that I saw was in the book titles ‘A Question of Power' by Bessie Head. The main character is wondering how to apologize, but before even uttering the word, the answer came. "You will make up for it."

Since you are doing what you want to do (I never said you have to help the person, that you wronged), you are not giving the power away. You can always decide, to do it or not to. There are no expectations either.

But since we are all connected, you are giving the world and all of us your time and energy. In a way, making up for it. And the world can become a better place, instead of the place, where people give their power away on social protocols.

Book Review: Bessie Head's A Question Of Power

Being a part of the series, featuring the African women writers, I had expected the feel of Africa to rick from the book. But I was pleasantly surprised. Bessie Head’s book, while being staged in the Africa, it is not the main question of the book. It is the balance of people’s spiritual power and the fight between good and evil. The title ‘A Question of Power’ describes it really well.

While being a really practical book, it does have the themes of religion as well. Not one particular one, since there are mentions of the Islamic religion, the Buddhist religion, Christianity, and the only Egyptian religion. Not only that, there are mentioned of the groups, like black activist groups and Ku Klux Klan. While they are not the main part of the story, they could bother somebody, that is strictly against religion.

I distinguished the two themes in the book. First was the battle between good and evil. The second was that we, as people, are the ones, that create reality and we are the ones, that have the most power, because God, in all his importance, does not have the innocence and naivety, that help us connect and understand each other.

Book is divided into two parts, describing the mental and spiritual pact of two people on Elisabeth. The single mother of the mix rase, that has the biggest spiritual power, but she is unaware of it. Sello on the end remarks, that he will never let her discover it, because he know, what the power can do to people.

It starts by showing Elisabeth at her worst, putting the time frame of the scene on the end of the book. Both people are next to her, and she know, that they brought her there. The tone of that, mixing the time frames, is present throughout the book, but not as much as to impede the reading.

Sello and Dan, the two people, represent the two forces in our world. Sello is a person, that is fundamentally good, but since he believes in people, he can push them through suffering, if it is for the greater good. Dan, on the other hand, is a person, corrupted by power, where he destroys everybody, that does not comply into his godly vision.

They are the ones, that occupy the mental space of Elizabeth, but they are also showing her other people, like The Father, the poor, the prostitute, and so on. By introducing Medusa and then records that Dan puts into her head, she ends up in the mental hospital and later almost committing suicide.

But the people around her, the carefree nature of her son Shorty, the thought of Tom, the niceness of Mrs. Jones, the stability of Kenosi are the ones, that after getting the lavage out of hell, brings back her sanity and energy.

What I liked the best, was a quote in the end, where Elisabeths is worried, so to apologize and she hears: ‘You will make up for it’. No matter what mistakes we do in life, there are always chances to make up for it, to ourselves and to other people.

What is Pareto Optimal Decision?

Pareto optimum position is a concept in the economics, that describes the position, where the overall welfare gain is the highest. Where the as a country or a society can function on the best level. While it was originally mostly used in the materialistic sense, there are also applications for our daily life.

The Pareto optimal decision is the one, where the group, doesn't matter what kind, comes closer to the Pareto optimal position. But to do that, there are criteria, that have to be fulfilled, for the decision to Pareto optimal.

The first criteria is, that at least one person or sub group of people's well-being have to improve. This usually refers to the person or group, that make decisions or have the power to influence decisions. The second criteria is, that none of the people or sub groups are to be worse off, than before.

If there is no decision, that can satisfy both criteria, then the so-called second best solution is implemented. Making one group better of, at the expense of the other. The situations like that are rare in the real world, even when it seems like they are not.

Lest go through the example, to see it in action. There are two friends, lets called them Mina and Sasha, that are not speaking with each other, because they are both angry at each other (you can imagine any reason here). Then Sasha remembers, that they still have a school paper to present in school. But person Sasha knows, that Mina will not remember it, because Mina counts on her to remind her.

So the person A have a couple of decisions, that she could make. She could apologize and do the paper together, she could ask the teacher to make the paper herself, she could ignore the situation, she could prepare the paper herself and explained to teacher, that Mina did not help. There are other decisions, and they are only limited by the premise of the situation and the imagination of the decision maker.

Lets analyze this possibility. No matter what she does, she can't be worse off. But the third option (ignoring the situation) is actually the one, that does not improve the situation either. So this one is out.

But 2. (asking the teacher) and 4. (making the paper herself) put Mina in the worse position than before, since her grade will be lower, counting on the reminded, that will not came.

That leaves the 1. solution (apologize) as the best one, because it is the only one, that improves the Sasha's position, while not hurting Mina's position.

Most of the time, the situations are more complicated than that, so seeing the consequences could be harder. But as long as we let the two principles guide us (somebody profits, and nobody suffers), I am sure we are going to make a better society.

Recipe: Green Tea Tapioca Pudding

When I bought Tapioca pearls, because I did not find tapioca flour, I was unaware, that there are not a lot of recipes around using tapioca pearls. The bubble tea seems to be the only thing beside the tapioca pudding, that is even made with pearls.

But as I like experimenting, and I do have to use them eventually, I decided to try to make green tea tapioca pudding and see, if I could use it as pie filling.

I started by soaking the tapioca pearls in two cups of green tea and two cups of water. I used the mate tea, since it was the only one I had on hand, but since it is similar to green tea, I do not think that it makes any difference.

I went back to writing, until a couple of hours later, I remembered that I am technically still in the middle of cooking. I went there and put the pot on oven. I heated the tapioca pearls in green tea, first on the high medium fire, but when it came close to boiling, I lowered it down to low medium setting. I mixed it all the time.

I was a little worried, that the mixture become a dark green colour, reminding me of the spinach. But I just shrugged and continued mixing, until the pearls were transparent.

I was also a little worried, that the pudding was not thick enough. I had some tapioca flour, so I thought: “Well, they are both made from tapioca. That can’t go wrong”.

Wrong thought for me. I tried to add some tapioca flour in the mixture, but it only got tangled in the mixture, leaving the white lumps, and it didn’t thicken the mixture at all. I am never again trying that. Lesson learned, keep the tapioca pearls and tapioca flour away from one another.

But on the end, the mixture was not really to tick. I guess I am more used to ticker puddings, but after pouring it on my plate (have no bowls), and trying it, I change my mind. I quite like the texture.

The taste was like a green tea. I sprinkled some sugar on top, because as much as I like the taste, eating three plates of pudding that tastes only like green tea was not a lucrative idea.

Some of it was left over, and over the night, it thickened. The taste was actually a little stronger than in the evening, but the structure was right, to be used in the pies.

Now I need that cacao and coconut flour, and maybe some nuts, to make that pie crust, that I wanted to try to make.