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Maria Milojković, MA on Medium

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Psychology & Self

About Me


I’m Maria, a storyteller, Serbian-English translator, content creator, kids’ author, and a mom.

I write about everything that makes life worth living: our souls, the past, how we are connected, and how we communicate. The only things I don’t write about are productivity and self-improvement hacks because life doesn’t work that way.

My column in the Big Self school is called The No-fluff Self. …

And inspired Elon Musk and Larry Page

Nikola Tesla circa 1890
Nikola Tesla circa 1890 | Image from Wikipedia, altered by the author

If it weren’t for Tesla Motors, the world still wouldn’t know about the man who gave us electricity (AC).

He also predicted inventions a whole century into the future. According to BigThink,

“Tesla is (…) responsible for a variety of ahead-of-their-time inventions that have stoked the public’s fancy. We are talking about wireless technology, including wireless transmission of electricity, early cellphones, self-driving, and flying vehicles, as well as thought machines and death rays.”

Nikola Tesla is the author of more than 700 patents and innovations. Here are some of them:

  • the Tesla coil — a transformer which produces high-voltage AC…

Socialism in Yugoslavia was more appealing and less scary than you think

The Flag of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
The Flag of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia © by FDRMRZUSA is licensed under CC0 1.0

For many Americans, Socialism equals the Soviet Gulag — an agency in charge of labor camps where a million people died. They imagine this system looks like in Orwell’s 1984: We love Big Brother in our shabby homes and he is watching us all the time.

But there was this little country in Southern Europe where most people had a nice life in a benevolent dictatorship. Its President Tito balanced between the East and West in the middle of the Cold War. Yugoslavia wasn’t a typical communist country. Tito broke off all relations with Stalin. …

Zeno’s paradoxes can drive you crazy.

Zeno’s theory of the illusion of movement depicted by the Caryatids of Erechteion in Athens, Greece
The Caryatids of Erechteion in Athens, Greece | © by Rygrech

Can you imagine our world today without logic? It is at the core of our civilization. It rules mathematics, physics, engineering, and chemistry. We use it in biology, medicine, psychology, philosophy, even linguistics. But can logic go too far? Can it make things seem illogical?

The Greek philosopher Zeno knew how to beat every argument. His opponents ended up scratching their heads and hating him. Aristotle called him the father of dialectic. And Bertrand Russell described his paradoxes as “immeasurably subtle and profound“. Eventually, this skill put him in trouble. Who was this guy?

The Story about The Smart Sicilian

Zeno of Elea was born in the 5th century BCE. Like those Sicilians in Coppola’s movies, he was smart and seemingly dangerous, so he didn’t live until old age. As a young man, he made a huge impression on philosopher Parmenides. He was a teacher’s pet in his Eleatic School. The 25-year older mentor practically adopted him. Whether it was Platonic or they were more than friends, we’ll never know. …

Don’t let the hardships break you

My beautiful mom holds me as a baby
Photo of author in the arms of her mom, summer 1979

My mom’s life was everything but easy. Still, she stayed sane through it all. But she wasn’t born resilient. A personal tragedy made her finally stop stressing about the small stuff. My granddad died unexpectedly during a Christmas break at the age of 55. Through her grief, my mom finally learned what isn’t worth her energy.

Sadly, with this new knowledge, her life wasn’t getting easier. From that year on, tragedy was swelling around her. Granddad’s death symbolically ended the good life in our country. Everybody was getting poorer until the civil war started in the former Yugoslavia. It brought us the new rich — lawbreakers with big money. Mom worked for $3 a month and waited for milk in a line. …

Lepenski Vir was strange and beautiful

Lepenski Vir displaced site under glass roof
Lepenski Vir displaced site © by Philipp Weigell is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Prehistory was pretty urban in Serbia, Southeastern Europe. People didn’t live in caves but in houses. They didn’t only hunt, they were also farmers. They had an economy, art, and complex burial practices. In fact, the man from Lepenski Vir had many characteristics of today’s European man: These people were the first on the continent to tame animals and make sculptures. Also, this little place by the river Danube is the origin of the family, street, square, and village — the concepts that later spread throughout the Old Continent. And their genetic material still exists in many Europeans.

At this place from 1965 to 1970 archaeologists found this little center of prehistoric Europe. They discovered fine-quality artifacts in remarkable condition. The village was constructed so precisely that architect Hristivoje Pavlović called it “the first city of Europe”. The settlers built it according to an urban plan. As the number of inhabitants rose, the village was spreading, and everyday life was getting more complex. …

Their passionate love ended in a tragedy

Actress María Casares and Nobel Laureate Albert Camus
Actress María Casares and Nobel Laureate Albert Camus, altered by the author

How does a man get to cheat on his wife? To start an affair with a young woman… Such a cliché. What kind of person leaves the mother of his children? Why doesn’t he end the affair before things get out of control? Why does he keep on sitting on two chairs? If you can’t live without the girl, why don’t you leave your wife then? Is he a pathological narcissist? An insecure man who pretends to be a decadent intellectual? Who ends up misleading two loyal partners?

It can happen to anyone. There is something magnetic about adultery. …

Prehistoric Europe was more than caves

Djerdap lake on the river Danube with a prehistoric sculpture of Progenitrix from the Lepenski Vir culture
Progenitrix arising from the Djerdap lake on the river Danube | Photo by Wikipedia altered by Nabil Alouani

When they discovered an ancient culture on the banks of the Danube, everything changed. Prehistoric people in southeastern Europe weren’t just ape-like cavemen. But we were clueless about it all until 50–60 years ago. Then unknown civilization in the Balkans rewrote history.

The Powder Keg of Europe has always been at the crossroads of different ethnic influences. It wasn’t any different in the Mesolithic as well (15,000–5,000 BP). Of course, they discovered Lepenski Vir completely by chance.

In August 1960 farmer Manojlo Milošević found strange pieces of ceramics on his land. They were by the river Danube, near the Serbia-Romania border. Very close to the location where the government planned to construct a hydroelectric power plant, the Iron Gate I. …

And why you should let yourself be instead

This is Part 5 of a 5-part series about toxic habits that trigger your anxiety. The other parts are 1, 2, 3, and 4

Image for post
Photo by Ilya Shishikhin on Unsplash

As we said in Part 4, very often you don’t know what you are anxious about. Anxiety can arise for innumerable reasons. It can overwhelm you to the point you can’t think rationally. Still, you are never completely helpless. Here are a few solutions when you feel your apprehension is building up:

  1. Remember your list of fears. The current situation provokes your angst. How grounded in reality is it? Fear is fine if the object threatens your life. But if it doesn’t, comfort yourself with this thought: You will survive it. …

How to decrease your rumination

This is Part 4 of a 5-part series about toxic habits that trigger your anxiety. The other parts are 1, 2, 3, and 5

What if you don’t know what makes you anxious? A guy burying his face into his hands
Photo by Doğukan Şahin on Unsplash

As mentioned in Part 3, you can neither control what’s happening to you, nor how you feel. Anxiety will often light up spontaneously. You can’t stop it from occurring, but you can respond to it adequately so it doesn’t escalate. There are a few ways to do it:

  1. As you feel the tension is building up and your thoughts are running like crazy, breathe slowly into your clenched fist to calm down.
  2. Remember anxiety looks just like your aunt Susan and call it out. …

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