Friday, July 28, 2006

Are You Looking for Me?

I decided to run for Representative, District 21 (Waikiki-Kapahulu), Hawaii State House, and so started a blog at to focus my thoughts and writing for that purpose. There, I still consider the whole, big picture, but with a specific application in mind, in exploring, discovering and rethinking that process.

As in most other activities of human concern, people don’t usually stop to consider that it could be done any other way than it’s always been done before -- and since the party was desperate for a candidate, they pretty much gave me carte blanche authority to do things my way, which immediately makes anything possible. Then I systematically and methodically make it more probable, and then, inevitable.

Eventually, we share that logical conclusion. It will be enlightening writing about it and sharing with others the entire process of becoming an elected official. And we certainly need it in this country because the media reporting makes it seem so contentious and aggravating that people don’t want to have anything to do with it -- when it should be one of the ultimate participations of every citizen -- no matter what the outcome.

I think in this, it is most valid to say that it doesn’t matter whether one wins or loses as much as it does how one plays the game. If one thinks they can only win by lying, cheating and stealing, that will be their legacy in life. What bureaucrats and technocrats fear most, is the challenge from a consummately creative person -- because they can’t control where that person is coming from, and dictate the rules of engagement.

The downside is that many creative individuals are not well-organized and disciplined, and so can be frustrated and overwhelmed by all the rules, not realizing that they set a lowest limit of expectations -- and not the highest, or only That same confusion pervades many other activities -- and professions especially. That is what standards and standardization hopes to achieve -- a common language for discussion, and not the limits of knowing. Many people thus, confuse what they know, for all that could be known -- and therefore assume, that is perfect understanding -- once they obtain their degree or certification. And so they regard that they now have a license not to ever have to learn anything again -- and possess a right to force everybody else to know what they know, as the only truth.

That has been a major theme of Thinking Hawaii -- on a general level. But I’m not the theoretical and philosophical person many people think I am -- categorically and exclusively. My real talent is manifesting and embodying the intellectual -- often described as integrating mind and body, thought and action. That’s usually been a divide that has reached unhealthy levels of extremism in promoting a specialist’s advantage in life and society.

Fortunately, that trend seems to be reversing -- as many more realize that in today’s life, one can do it all -- or as much as they surely want to, but preferably, one thing at a time.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

District 21/22/23 Newsletter (Diamond Head to Kakaako, Moiliili to Pawaa)

The 2006 election is about the governor’s race -- but it also isn’t. Not only is it the first time ever that a Republican governor is up for re-election, but every indication is that it’s a “no-contest” from every angle one can dissect it -- with a well-known, obvious favorite against opposition even their own party admits is overmatched and out of its league. It would be the same with anyone -- because it’s just Linda Lingle’s time -- like Tyrannosaurus Rex once ruled the earth. That’s just a fact, and not an opinion, preference, bias.

Sometimes, one just has to accept those facts --and change those things that can be changed -- rather than thinking that one can stand fast and hold one’s ground against a tsunami. So that is the great advantage the Republicans are working hopefully with -- rather than against. While the Democrat opposition is obvious, less so is it that the Lingle campaign can also be competing against fellow Republicans for scarce resources -- and may inadvertently be sucking up all the oxygen in the room.

As the media covers the so-called governor’s race, it is less likely that they’ll be giving more coverage to other races more deserving of their time and interest -- because the governor’s campaign releases may get published, while others deserving of attention will be ignored. It’s unfair but that is the reality one has to work with. And while one can complain loud and long about those injustices, one is better served devising strategies that acknowledge those realities and create new ones to their own advantage -- and in the case of the media, creating one’s own, and linking all one’s efforts into a critical mass and momentum.

Specifically, I think every Republican candidate has to link their own campaign to the governor’s in some complementary and mutually advantageous way. With the fall of the influence of mass media, it’s not easy to draw a crowd or a following anymore, and one of the few who does, is the governor. So I would think that those running for statewide office particularly, would be at those same venues -- if conspicuous for no other reason than for their ubiquitous nametags.

It’s amazing the number of people who think that “everybody” knows who they are, when often, these people don’t even know who they themselves are. Running for office, like everything else we do in life, is one way of learning who it is we actually are. A large part of it is defining, redefining and refining who we are -- in the campaign messages, until something sticks. It may be a witty campaign slogan, biographical piece, a ditty one can’t get out of their mind, etc. I know the Party sums it up in one word, “Hard work,” but it also has to be the “right effort,” as the Buddhists of antiquity were the first to point out and codify.

In Hawaii, we often forget that condition, and assume that “any” hard work pays off -- with the “desired” result -- rather than just “any” result. Regardless of what they are doing, I think everyone works as hard as everybody else; I think the real and decisive difference is how smart and efficiently they work -- rather than being the genetic exceptions, who the more energy they put out, the more energy they seem to have. With most others, energy is a limited resource -- as are all the others.

Because our greatest resources here in Hawaii have been free -- the sun, sea, air, nature, diversity -- we have not developed the greatest skills at valuing them properly and efficiently, just as we think the more federal monies we waste, there is no end to the largesse that our congress people can secure -- even to the disastrous effects both environmentally and psychologically. It breeds a kind of irresponsible and unaccountable personalities and supportive culture that eventually explodes onto our consciousness with predictable, disturbing regularity.

The underlying intellectual and cultural infrastructure is that nothing is related to anything else; “stuff” just happens. “Liberal” studies foster the notion that randomness is the underlying explanation for everything. If one simply goes through the motions long enough, mechanically, mindlessly, a miracle may happen. Miracles happen because one systematically makes them more likely to happen.

That is the reason for laws and government, and before that, more informal meetings of those who assemble to discuss these possibilities among themselves. Of course, many people’s ideas of what such occasions are about is to tell everybody their information -- without the realization that it might be even more productive, as opportunities to take in new information. And so these forums have often become quite contentious and unproductive -- rather than conducive to the free exchange of information, without a particular agenda.

Hopefully and confidently, you think that if you get a few intelligent people together, they can figure out what needs to be talked about -- without having to overly ritualize the discussion by Roberts Rules of Order. Everybody has their unique concerns and perspectives that one doesn’t learn about until one has such direct exchanges with others -- unlike the old mass media paradigm in which we trusted the media to report faithfully what was going on. That used to be the best way we had at finding these things out.

But with new technologies and new media, we evolve to an even higher level of information availability and reliability not controlled by the “media” itself. That makes the humble meeting of actual people once again the king of all forums -- like our monthly meeting this Wednesday, July 26, 6pm at the Hawaii Republican Headquarters.

Friday, July 21, 2006

"Paradise" is a State of Mind

The problem with being Paradise is that people assume that nothing could be better -- which is the familiar Island mentality of complacency and indifference -- that because things have always been done that way, they must go on that way forever, even if it makes no sense at all, and eventually, gives no meaning to anything we do. We simply go through the motions, repeating every day like every other before it, and the editors of the newspapers, and other transmitters of conventional wisdom, will knowingly proclaim as though upholding the gods, “History always, and only repeats itself” -- as the self-fulfilling prophecy.

When every appeal to truth and justice is met with that unfailing “wisdom,” it can drive many people crazy -- and particularly those most steadfast in maintaining their own sanity. The cultural institutions will embody denial -- “No, everything your senses tell you is wrong; you must believe us.” In an earlier time, these were called shamans, but these days, are likely to be called “experts” -- the many priests of secret knowledge, the general public was forbidden to. But such ignorance was bliss, and why this place was paradise. The people were all freed from having to think for themselves. They only need follow the directives of the self-appointed royalty, to ensure their good standing.

Then came the age of awakening -- in which many more people decided they wanted to think for themselves, but they were beaten down mercilessly -- by the powers-that-be, who always wished to remain so. And so there came the Great Directive, “Everybody stay in their place! When we die, you can have it all.” But until then, they will have it all -- in custodianship for all the others who would not know what to do with the power of freedom and choice. They, God forbid, might make a mistake -- and then, this would not be paradise anymore. Anything could happen. So the world of possibilities had to be sacrificed to the certainty that things could never change -- even if it were for the better, because we didn’t know for sure if they really might be better, because it was not guaranteed, like trusting the experts.

A certain fate was to be preferred -- over that of any uncertainty, no matter how great. Finding out anything that was not officially certified and taught, was the Great Prohibition; all other intoxicants were tolerable, as long as in their inebriation, they did not upset any apple carts.

People were warned that even if this was not paradise, there was no other place to go; at the horizon, people who ventured beyond, simply dropped off the face of the earth -- never to be heard from again. They were convinced that anywhere else in the world was worse, if not unlivable -- and never the possibility, that life elsewhere might actually be better, beyond one’s wildest imagination.

Paradise is knowing that there are unlimited choices that haven’t been considered beyond the few choices that have been imposed upon us -- as the only possibilities of what life must be.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

“How Would I Define the Lingle Campaign in 250 Words or Less?”

Linda Lingle, Governor -- The leader for all the people of Hawaii.

In four short years, the Lingle Administration has turned Hawaii around from being at the bottom of most lists on achievement, and even the awareness of what was wrong -- to the top of most lists of where people want to be, with all the promise of life as it can be in the 21st century -- a greater society for all.

Perhaps nobody else has such a ready mastery of the skills our Governor impresses us with daily -- of fresh and new ways of looking at our age-old problems -- and always seeing a way out of them. That is the only kind of leadership that will overcome the challenges of these times.

Now that we’ve seen what a New Beginning can be like -- we need to take that success to the next level of ensuring that experience and reality for all. The Governor and the people she has recruited to serve, have inspired that trust and confidence in the integrity of our government leaders to want to solve problems, rather than just perpetuate them for bureaucratic careers -- while the difficulties grow more severe, demanding evermore money from the taxpayers -- who have a right to ultimate accountability for all government does.

The manner in which this is all accomplished is the hallmark of the Lingle-Aiona Administration of going beyond politics and partisanship to accomplish.

Vote to continue the exceptional leadership of Linda Lingle!

* The preceding message was neither paid for, authorized, approved, nor solicited by Linda Lingle or the Hawaii Republican Party.

My political preference is that all political statements should be limited to 250 words or less, and if it can’t be said or summarized in that space, one needs to think about it further before launching into the familiar tirades and rants that political discussions often devolve into -- discouraging and driving away participants.

In an age in which information is overabundant and even an intrusion to one’s quality of life, the ability to express/embody a message in its totality (big picture implications), is the skillset of the 21st century personality -- as well as that ability to share it with others.

The 20th century personality is essentially the authoritarian personalities (Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc.) of one individual seeking to impose their will upon everybody else. Those types are still around -- as more or less self-isolating individuals because the lure of ideologies is not that compelling. Ideas are no longer fixed -- but fluid, dynamic and ever-adjusting to the realities, and not just trying to shove reality into a convenient idea, and these days, into words that have no meaning but are merely triggers for emotional responses and conditioned (educated) reflexes, which is mostly what "liberalism" is about anymore.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Affordable Housing

Over the weekend, an email request went out from the Republican Party Headquarters for volunteers to help serve dinner at the homeless shelter, as a possible ongoing community service project -- and already the response has been so overwhelming, they’ve had to create waiting lists for this involvement. Obviously, this is an issue that ignites ready interest in a way many traditional political topics do not -- and maybe should be addressed before the transportation problem, as a community priority -- before projections of what to do if things continue on the foreseeable path.

One of the ways of addressing the housing problem in many futuristic societies, has been the very valid concept of community or co-housing -- like the Next Step Project is. I’m not convinced the prototype is not a longterm solution -- in a more evolved and graduated form. In climates like these, community housing is the preferred arrangement because one doesn’t have to be cooped up inside their personal units -- to ensure warmth. People do spend a lot more time in community areas -- not limited to just their living rooms.

The problem is the big gap between the “free” and the conventional entry-level market offerings. Many people pay a lot for very little -- actually worse than what those at the Next Step project provides, but at least they can call it their “own,” whatever satisfaction and comfort that means. I recall looking at a unit a while back in the basement of somebody’s house that actually looked like a prison cell -- and even back then, the owner wanted top dollar for it -- the same as the very attractive units right across the street.

Jobs are also the same way, as well as any other relationship/transaction between people. The quality differences in experience is not always indicated by price; the best tend to be undervalued and the worst, overvalued -- and not, as the seller may indifferently remark as though providing non-prejudicial advice, “You get what you pay for.” Top dollar will not transform a prison cell into a castle, no matter how long the lease. Many jobs are nothing more than the right to abuse another person -- or the right of everybody in that organization to abuse each other.

Those are the unreported stories -- beyond the familiar stories of drug addiction and mental illness -- the abusiveness and exploitation of the weak and vulnerable, not limited by the rich and powerful, but increasingly from the middle class who would like to be the rich and powerful. That is more highly likely in my experience than the mistreatment of the poor by the rich. The poor and the rich actually have a symbiotic relationship in that they depend on one another, and throughout history, have been associated with one another. The rise of the middle class has largely come from pitting the poor against the rich -- as their own justification for what they are entitled to, as their just deserts.

One trade association will claim categorically they are worth more than all the others -- but that all members in their organization have the same value, and only as the owner of the prison cell appraised, “You get what you pay for.”

Monday, July 03, 2006

Freedom and Independence (Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness)

The reason to celebrate freedom and independence is that they are the easiest things to take for granted -- especially by those who have never known anything else, any other way of being and living. It’s easy to believe that it’s “free,” and nobody has to pay a price for it, ever. Many even believe that those who do know and pay a price for freedom, are fools, because it is free, and nobody ever has to pay a price. Sadly that is the attitude of most of the editorialists writing these days -- who got everything free from a government program, and so believe, it is their entitlement -- and anybody who pays the price is a fool, because it is free.

But what is free and easy now, came because of the foresight, planning and sacrifice -- by others, and that’s why, it is free -- because somebody paid the price, for everyone. But countless editorialists will say, “Nobody should ever have to pay the price; it is just free -- and there for the taking” -- and taking is their only exercise of freedom.

It doesn’t take much brains to know that something is free -- but it requires great intelligence to realize it costs something. That is the price of any choice -- the choices not taken. Those who do not value and appreciate what they have, will of course, lose it someday, and have no idea how to regain it -- because it is no longer free, and that was all they knew, and thought there was to know.

Many people are independent, but very few are free -- because that means to be without compulsion, coercion, fears, anxieties and expectations -- to be as they’ve never been before. Those are not issues with those who are merely independent; their independence may even be the freedom from these considerations -- without choice, without having to make choices.

So freedom is the much more arduous path -- but also the higher attainment and fulfillment; it is not freedom from something, but freedom to be, as one is -- because the former is just a reaction to one’s bondage, and not real freedom -- to be. That is the simplicity and beauty of life -- just being, and not trying to become something other than one is. That is the celebration of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness -- that should never be taken for granted.

Fittingly, it is the celebration at the height of our summer.