Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Right to Know -- and to be Known

Yesterday, I participated in a discussion at http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1591081/posts , that I think is the most important discussion on the Web to have at this time. It was about the value of anonymous free speech -- which accounts for practically all the irresponsible and unaccountable abuses of speech while those with legitimate gripes, claims, insights, are usually not reluctant to divulge their real identity, and revealing their true identity gives added credibility to their statements.

But we had the usual defense of those who are primarily anonymous abusers -- that it removes their cover and exposes them to retaliation in the event that they have to reveal a great truth -- which none of them ever do. They just want to assure their inviolable rights to visit child pornography sites, attack anybody they please anonymously, and shield them from other antisocial behaviors -- while those of good faith, integrity, credibility, usually don’t hide who they are because their behaviors, thoughts and words are nothing they would be ashamed of -- and in fact, is a source of great pride to record to their credit, as the Internet will do now by default.

That’s how the world has greatly changed in the last ten years. It is now a world of virtual publication -- when formerly, it was very difficult to get published. Now, the tables are turned, and everything one says, is a matter record and so one has to go through the more laborious task of covering their tracks and identity, rather than having them available to whomever may be interested.

Not only do these denizens of this deceptive underground assume an anonymous identity, they frequently create many of these aliases -- in a similar fashion that career criminals do -- to escape detection, responsibility, accountability, as well as to manipulate in creating a supportive "majority," in their favor. However, as a response, it has caused a powerful capability to recognize, identify and track their movements -- by security agencies surely, but also by many casual participants and witnesses. In the case of public forums, and any literature, for that matter, a powerful reading comprehension had to evolve as a necessary response to detect the illicit from the authentic.

So it became possible for many of the best readers, to see through the many aliases and deceptions to detect the essential pattern and style of communications, what was previously called modus operandi. Not everyone developed these skills but enough did so that the 90% who were anonymous but not criminal or antisocial, could understand what was going on.

Thus the 5% criminal element and 5% vigilant, swayed or used the 90%, which is historically throughout the ages, the ratio of the good guys to the bad guys and everybody else. The bad guys try to convince everybody else is like them -- a crook, a liar, cheater, robber, totally dysfunctional -- while the vigilant few at the other end, keep the sociopaths in check -- in addition to the official law enforcement agencies.

But by and large, the conduct in any society, is largely off the books -- and not within the jurisdiction of government regulation. It is what people voluntarily decide to do -- and live their lives.

So while it is not illegal to be anonymous and a “nobody” -- from a practical standpoint and societal efficiency, it would be better for everybody to be known -- as the person they truly are -- and in that process, come to know themselves, which as many wise people have advised, is the meaning and purpose of life.


At March 08, 2006 9:38 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The 5% is the statistically significant in the consideration of any set of attributes. There is always the 5% that differentiates itself from the pack, and that is what the discriminating consumer/observer looks for -- and not just thinking that every book is as good as any other, every teacher is as good as every other, every athlete is as good as every other, every opinion is as valid as every other -- as the proponents, of non-discrimination, political correctness will mandate that everyone believe. The inability to make any valid discriminations has no survival value and ensures extinction and before that, interminable dysfunction.

So once recognizing that there are significant differences -- rather than no differences and so one has to rely on experts (technocrats) to tell them what to do and what to think, it remains possible for life to be an extraordinary event -- rather than just the tedium of existence that one welcomes an end to as soon as possible, once they think they’ve gotten back at society for such a life. For once one can determine the 5%, and further refine the 5% of that, one has discovered the 99.9%-tile, which is the genius in every field of activity. And that is the delight and joy in living -- rather than merely hanging on for as long as one can -- hoping to reach the highest seniority by merely out surviving everybody else. And then if one doesn’t, one will have “wasted” their entire lives -- which obviously must be the fate of all but one.

That is the underlying mentality of the old spoils system in which there is only enough for one -- and so society is organized around competing one against every other for it. When that which had been scarce now becomes abundant -- which is attention, many people’s response is to destroy that abundance because they are only familiar with scarcity -- and have no response for life in abundance. Thus we often see in providing luxurious bathroom fixtures or public art, that many people’s first impulse is to destroy and deface them, rather than be inspired and uplifted by the best others make freely available to them.

And that is what the many anonymous do, and feeling they cannot thrive in a world in which everyone is known; they desire to drag everyone down to their level, demand that everybody be anonymous -- or at least mediocre. That’s what one sees so much in the editorials, the letters, the public communications -- the desire to drag everyone down, rather than uplift all. By that logic, defiling great leaders is what the debased think as “leveling the playing field.”

In the ir interminable rants, things can only get worse -- and never better. It is the language of self-abnegation, the belief that everybody is nothing, life is a cruel hoax, nothing matters, nothing can be better -- “why should one try to make a difference?”

At March 08, 2006 11:12 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The mainstream press is not the best source of information -- if that is what one is looking for, though arguably, they may be the easiest source of information to locate -- but usually of things one doesn't necessarily need to know, what somebody else wants them to know, and think they know better.

That is the old control of the producer -- over the consumer. All that is changed because the consumer now has the information advantage in being capable of accessing many more sources -- rather than just those that can afford the newspapers and newspaper reporters.

I have freerepublic high on my list of news filters -- before I go to the newspapers and learn what they want me to believe. Information processing has moved to a permanently higher level, which few of the traditional publications are accomplished at, and despite all their lamentations and despair, the audience and market for hearsay, sensationalism, biased partisanship, pointless controversy, manipulation is gone, outgrown, obsolete. That's just a fact and all their whining and moaning is not going to change that. They have to change -- and not demand that the public has to return to the behaviors of the good old days of their preeminence.

We're looking for the best and the brightest, and they're just not to be found in the usual suspects of the past -- when that was largely all that was available. Once we were able to see everything else, it became quite obvious that the reason for their esteem was not because of superior understanding and insight but it was the monopoly forced on us -- by the powers that wished to be, and always remain so.

At March 08, 2006 12:58 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Case in point:


"NEW Economy Hurting People in the Middle the Most
The Washington Post ^ | 3/8/06 | Steven Pearlstein"

Obviously, that's not true.

The people being hurt the most in the present economy are the people at the lowest end; that is the self-evident truth. One of the arguments that is very popular and spread by those obviously not living in poverty, is that those living middle class lifestyles are now those living "in poverty" and therefore should get the money intended to help the truly disadvantaged.

It's really quite unscrupulous of these people to rob the poor to pay themselves generously. They feel that is their entitlement and the really disadvantaged are really the ones living high off the hog. These people have lost all sense of fairness and decency -- while running public service announcements telling us of all the tremendous sacrifices they are making "for the children."

At March 08, 2006 1:02 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

They think by publishing an untruth and repeating it often enough, it comes to be widely accepted as the truth -- which nobody can recognize anymore.

One hopes that the newspapers would be the first of line of defense for these misinformation, disinformation and ignorance campaigns -- instead of the source of them.

At March 08, 2006 1:04 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Of course, the columnists "stole" those ideas from the union president/lobbyist/Commission on the Status of Women, etc.

At March 08, 2006 1:07 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Whether the source is anonymous or untruthful, doesn't make a difference because the effect is the same.

That is deception.

At March 09, 2006 11:32 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

One of the great dichotomies and fragmentations of contemporary life, is the separation between experience and knowledge -- that what one knows, is not from direct experience, and what one “experiences” is not from knowing, but what has been planted in to his consciousness as the collective experience of conventional wisdom -- which a few self-serving hierarchies claim as their exclusive jurisdiction. That message is reinforced by repetition -- and no alternatives are allowed to be brought into the realm of consciousness of possibilities. The restricted experience is proffered as the only reality -- or simply, reality. The mass media of the past century, was well-suited for this purpose of achieving unanimity of the “correct” experience and knowledge for everyone -- and few raised in that environment, thought there could be anything else beyond what they were told, because it was assumed that the personalities one saw, were anointed by God Himself, rather than their own self-aggrandizement of their career ambitions.

If nothing else, such personalities learned to seem authoritative -- to those less confident and secure in their own knowledge and experience. That was particularly true of the curricula of the professional schools -- which taught that the purpose was to out-intimidate all the other competitors in their field. Some fields were entirely about book-learning as the entirety of the universe itself -- unrelated to actual, real events -- and especially those things happening in their daily lives.

The mediated reality was so imperative that it came to supplant actual, highly unique individualized experience as the real -- and one’s actual experiences had no validity, was dismissed derisively as merely anecdotal, inherently inferior to the Great Truths learned under laboratory conditions (contrived and artificial). Often, the conclusion of the study was not verified by the experiment or experience -- but nobody was interested and motivated enough to seriously review the work. It was often deliberately described in a manner that an independent verification was impossible to reconstruct because it was not clear in the writing, what was being said -- but only to suggest that something was being said. More often than not, what was tested had no implications for practical use -- and that became a benchmark of distinction -- that one’s findings were beyond use and (commercial) exploitation. One was a pure truth seeker of the noblest intentions. They learned for truth’s sake rather than for base useful ends. In that manner, the academics became irrelevant -- because it did not matter what they discovered and proclaimed -- it did not make any difference in the world of living actuality and experience.

In such a cultural climate, anything could be said, as long as it was said by the properly designated persons -- even and especially if they did not know what they were talking about. There would be no test to verify it. In fact, the new political correctness was that everybody would be prohibited from making any discriminations as to the truth of anything or not -- ever again. The proper self-anointed persons would decide that for everybody else. Those were, in descending order of authority, the information specialists in the media, schools, universities, unions, trade associations, government, etc. It was not to be attempted at home, unsupervised, by anyone not duly certified to perform such activities explicitly -- by the proper regulating body.

These organizations and agencies were tireless in promoting their message that, “The individual is nothing, only the collective is real and powerful. Reality is, what we say it is.”


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