Some people live their life by the grace of formality. They don’t question their motives, their whys and whens. They do what is expected. We all do so partially and in certain cases it’s a life saver. My mom is forgetful but she has been brought up in such a way that she is an excellent judge of social situations and she still reacts appropriately. If there is a slow fluidity to these situations, nobody would notice what ails her, and that is a thing to be grateful for. However, some of us live against the social clock, having a child too young, being a widow too young, refusing to act our age to the degree that even red hats and purple clothes are out. Who, at the end of the ride, will have known more happiness is hard to tell but it is easy to know that for (authoritarian) leaders it would be easier if everyone played by the rules, like my last week’s guests who live by the old traditions & laws, customs & agreements. Of course, a society based solely on this kind of attitude, does not offer a lot of openness. The defense of diversity or the defense of fundamental human rights like freedom of religion or philosophical conviction, the non discrimination according to gender, race, or sexual orientation, freedom in personal ethical choices like euthanasia or abortion. Of course the homogeneity within a society can seem safe, safe like a gated community, safe like a prison, safe like a straitjacket. Even if the path to follow seems clearer, quieter, seems to lead in a mysterious way to acceptance and contentment for many, I cannot walk down that road. Several people during my life have tried to decide “for my own good”, because “all they want is my happiness" or "the salvation of my soul”. When authorities – on the personal level or on state level –start deciding where one’s happiness lays then freedom and self-determination, self-reflection & tolerance of what is perceived as deviant by the dominant culture will go down the drain. Justice and creativity are shackled and silenced. Boredom, stagnation, permanence of injustice would be the norm. That is what happens under state communism, neo liberal global capitalism, fundamentalist religious opinions, be it Catholicism, rapture, creationism, evangelical or muslim extremists. People in power like Bush, Pope Benedictus, Chomeny, Ian Paisley are just a few examples who illustrate the loss of fundamental freedoms along with the ban on stem cell research. I want to live in an open society, based on dialog, blogs and freedom of opinion, and mutual respect.