Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas is the Gift Everyone Gives Themselves

What is the universal theme of all the heartwarming stories emanating around this time of the year? It is that Christmas is what every individual makes of it -- for themselves. For many, it is about more things -- which of course leads to great disappointment, “Is that all there is?”

It’s not that nice things are not good to have -- but it’d be far more enjoyable if it was spread out over the course of the year, or a lifetime, rather than bunched up all at once -- at which point it becomes a celebration of gross excess rather than appreciation and gratitude for the richness of daily living, and all the little surprises.

The great anticipation usually leads to that kind of great disappointment rather than great fulfillment. For many adults, Christmas has become nothing more than an eating contest -- to see how much they can stuff themselves -- way beyond the enjoyment. That is just their tradition.

One also reads the story of those who feel life should be endless guilt and a sense of unpaid obligation -- ot others, as though that made all wrongs right. So we hear such platitudes as, “I’m giving back (what I should not have taken in the first place),” as high praise for themselves, in endless self-service and promotion.

For really, true charity is not running a public service announcement to proclaim that fact, as though they really care. They have their reward, for whatever that is worth -- but it is not in Heaven.

Just the use of the word “giving,” already connotes the idea of a benefactor and a beneficiary which is damaging, because the true spirit of Christmas would be the idea of “sharing,” because the former is about the transfer of ownership and title, rather than the recognition that it is a gift for everyone -- to be shared.

It is that feeling that creates the abundance in the world -- which is also the recognition of the realities of this world, if it was not truly so before this time. When everyone thinks that the objective is to secure as much as possible for their exclusive use and enjoyment, or to have more than anybody else, there is never enough to go around, no matter how much they have. But when there is this feeling of sharing, whatever they have, it is plenty.

That is the lesson of the multiplying of the loaves and fishes.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Road to Nowhere

Obviously, the major purpose of building a rail to the suburbs -- which has never been proven to be a good idea anywhere else in the world -- even in metropolitan areas where inner city rail is an unqualified success, is to create high paying jobs of the construction sort. In the meantime, they don’t want to solve the problem for the next 15-20 years because that would eliminate their argument that the only way to solve the traffic congestion problem is to build a rail, and so real solutions have to be ignored and discredited as being too simplistic.

Chief among them would be developing a state of the art electronic bulletin to facilitate car and van pools, and to get people in existent mass transit -- which is the only sure fire solution of having fewer cars on the road. That was one of the major solutions that brought an end to the energy/traffic crises of the ‘70s and ‘80s worldwide. The limitations to that success was that it was in the age before electronic bulletin boards were invented -- giving universal access of information to everyone, from anywhere.

In those days, carpooling was done by actually having to go to an actual physical bulletin board at which people filled out cards offering to share rides, or requesting rides -- and were matched in that primitive fashion.

Because of the present campaign of disinformation, the present bus system is no longer referred to as a mass transit system but is now derided as a primitive notion unworthy of these sophisticated times, in which nothing less, than the most expensive option, will allow us to hold our heads up high with those from New York, Tokyo, and London, etc. We must be world-class too -- which is equivalent to thinking that the only thing preventing us from being New York City, is building the Empire State Building. And then all the high-paying jobs would follow.

The proposed route is a city planner’s wet dream -- of how and where they’d like to see development take place, and admittedly, not where it already is. In the entire history of the civilization of mankind, none of the places that ended up being the most populous places were conceived in that fashion -- while many places thought to be the next great center of coming civilization planned in that meticulous fashion, never turned out that way.

Centralized planning of that sort became very popular in the 20th century -- of which it was thought that communities would develop in the ideal manner that city planners meticulously envisioned. Virtually no community has emerged in that way -- just like the dynamic development of any phenomenon is not subject to the projections of its academics or even shrewdest businessmen.

Every action and decision produces a response so that projecting 30 years into the future thinking that is how it must end up, is usually a sure-fire prescription for disappointment. Meanwhile, doing the best with what there already is, is the best predictor of future success -- in solving any problems and difficulties that actually arise. Devoting all society’s resources in preparation for the theoretical 100-year flood, is never as productive as preventing one person from actually drowning.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Understanding Primitive Motivation

In a free market world, people transact and interact with one another on the basis of free, uncompelled choices in their own best interests, rather than being dictated by the will of another.

In reading the letters and editorials in the local newspapers, their offerings are almost exclusively of the mentality that simply presenting the authentic facts and letting people make up their own minds, are not an option or their purpose. The autocratic editors pre-select only those articles that make people do/think whatever it is they want them to -- usually under the mistaken notion that they are more enlightened than everybody else. They are the Boss, “the experts” (bureaucrats)-- so if people don’t do as they say, they get punished and disciplined until they have the right attitude of accepting their proper places and the “right” authorities, which are invariably themselves.

These people have anointed themselves as the leaders because they are “enlightened” -- or “liberal” for short. How one makes such people have an insight into their own behaviors and the understanding of others, is the problem of cultures and individuals dealing with those they presume share the same values of freedom and independence that they do -- and why they cannot understand that it is not sufficient to just insist that one be “reasonable,” to ensure one’s safety and security.

People who believe that it is proper to force others to their own will no matter what, think lying, cheating, and killing others is justified in achieving those ends. Such people have to be controlled and monitored -- but fortunately, they are not most people. They are roughly 5%, who because of their destructive behaviors, have a disproportionate impact on the rest -- and disproportionately highest effect among themselves.

That is to say, violent (criminal) people, inflict the greatest destruction among similarly violent people -- and in that fashion, tend to self-regulate their own influence. While it is true that criminals victimize innocent people, they tend to victimize those who share similar values -- of also being inclined to abuse and exploit the people they fraternize with.

So one of the great and necessary skills, is to be able to discern that manner of motivations and orientation in others -- and remove oneself from that exposure and proximity, in favor of those one can transact and interact in good faith and a high degree of confidence in sharing an understanding. Rather than being “politically incorrect,” this is what all life forms do -- find and create those conditions that favor their survival, rather than allow themselves to be extinguished or live their lives under great hardship, duress and disadvantage equally randomly.

Treating each appropriately, is not having double-standards and being contradictory, as the guilty will accuse, but having one standard for the fair treatment of all. Responses that are inappropriate to the event, is not consistent with the overall objective of creating a “more perfect” (better) life, that should be the right of everyone, and not just the right of a self-anointed few. That is what one is discerning and discriminating for -- and not heed the demands and commandments, that one should not determine these matters for themselves, in their own best interests -- even making it illegal to act in their own self-defense and better judgment, claiming that they voted to surrender those “inalienable rights” -- fairly and squarely, in a democratic process.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

It’s Not Rocket Science

Generally, those who look badly out of shape, are out of shape -- and those who look in good shape, are in shape. One doesn’t have to do fine-testing to determine that; one just has to be able to see the obvious -- and in seeing the obvious, the solutions are also apparent. Thus, the difficult part for most, is just admitting what is obvious to everybody else -- that one is badly out of shape, unless there is this agreement that nobody will admit to it, and what they see is the “normal,” acceptable aging process.

However, there is enough evidence around that not everyone ages in that “normal” pattern of increasing deterioration and accumulation of bodyweight -- which is obvious, unless the culture demands nobody see it. And so that cultural blindness is what is politically correct and socially acceptable -- that people just become grossly out of shape, and nobody can say a word in judgment about it.

However, there will be a small band of mavericks who will not accept that consensus reality -- and for whom life will be very different. They will continue to improve throughout their lives -- rather than exhibit this marked disintegration that even former world-class athletes are not unconditionally immune from. In fact, often the most drastic cases of deterioration occur in those who at one time were indefatigable and invincible. They frequently drop off from superhuman regimens to virtual zero activity -- along with losing their motivation for any improvement or involvement -- since to them, it represented total dedication and devotion, or nothing else was ever offered as an option.

For most people though, seeming to be in good condition, is for all practical purposes enough to be in the modern sense of it. One doesn’t need to be running a marathon every weekend, or setting a new bench press record, in order to consider oneself in “good shape.” It’s not a fine line between being in good shape and bad, that one needs precision instruments monitored by a team in white lab coats, to determine one is in good shape or not. Usually, just putting on one’s clothes, or taking them off, for that matter, tells them whether they are or not.

But even in this, one can come to deny reality -- and then blame everything else for one’s problems, including and especially, the President of the United States, for everything going wrong in one’s life -- as we see daily in the media. Rather than changing themselves, these people will insist that everybody in the world change to accept them as they are -- “perfect,” and so they need do nothing to improve their own situation, perspectives and attitudes.

However, the rest of the world better shape up to their approval -- or there is “no hope for the world,” when that is just the projection of their own fitness and prospects for the future. That is mostly the problems reported in the media these days -- of projections of the reporter’s own despair and ineptitude.

Headlines like, “Are We Winning the War?,” as a poll, rather than a report of facts, are the typical reporting of the news -- that is only a test of the effectiveness of their propaganda. “Is America Too Fat?” should not be a poll question or study but an obvious answer apparent to anyone.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Awakening of Intelligence

Unfortunately many people still think that the expression of their intelligence, is the suppression, dominance and negation of everybody else’s intelligence, rather than that the greatest manifestation of intelligence, is the awareness of all the other intelligence one begins with, and in that realization, magnifies and “appreciates” it to unprecedented and unique effectiveness by customization to their own needs and preferences.

That is the fulfillment of possibilities in living in today’s world of unprecedented choices that already outstrip most people’s ability to keep up with them. That gap is compounded by the heavy promotional efforts to make bad choices -- to prefer the most ineffective but most costly option, over the most cost-effective but most beneficial to the end-user.

In many transactions of the primitive sort, the objective is to receive the most compensation from offering the least in return -- with the ideal being to receive something for nothing, and so every transaction and human relationship, has this flavor of lose-lose, and the sense that the more one does, the more one falls behind. Such participants are proud to point out how much more they are doing with decreasing productivity and satisfaction -- by valuing the cost in and of itself, as the indicator of what they are “getting.” So they know the cost of everything -- and beyond that, there seems to be very little satisfaction and fulfillment in their lives -- which of course, is to miss the whole point.

In a parallel universe, there are people who seem to have this immense joy and well-being that is not the struggle and competition against every other intelligence in the universe -- and one wishes they would teach that manner of being in preference to the present model of endless competition of each against every other student -- as though that was a manifestation of intelligence -- rather than its denial, suppression, oppression and coercion that retards human potential and possibilities.

“The world” is the interaction of the individual and their environment, which is also the “other,” and when one realizes that, recognizes that it is not necessary to change the other, to change the world -- because it is the interaction of one intelligence with every other, and so any change, including and especially oneself, which is everyone’s greatest power, changes everything. One notices this in unfortunate misunderstandings all the time -- how two brutish responses quickly escalate into tragedy that could have been nullified with an intelligent response -- which many times, will require none but the awareness of what is happening.

Awareness without the knee-jerk (conditioned) response, is the awakening of all intelligence in breaking the chain of expectations that create the momentum for subsequent unthinking behavior, which is the continuation of the past -- so that nothing new is possible. When this momentum slows or is non-existent, then all things are equally possible -- including and especially, the solution that ends the problem, instead of continuing the great chain of suffering -- as though nothing else is possible, or even thinkable. That is the great work of intelligence.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Thinking Hawaii

The value, meaning, and purpose of any culture and society, is not just to perpetuate rituals that are repeated mindlessly for eternity despite the changes in the world, but actually as a response to the greater challenges of change. One sees that in individuals as well -- as some seem capable of constantly adapting, adjusting and responding as their basic personality in life, while others are adamant that the rest of the world must change to suit them.

Our local newspapers boast of this latter captive audience and patronage -- of those who can only be happy if everyone from the President on down to the most dispossessed, get with “their” program of improvement -- but what’s in it for everybody else, is never revealed as well. Apparently, the increasing intimidation of their demands should be all that is necessary to achieve their way and their ends.

In the days when information and communications were scarce, newspapers often provided a useful service of keeping people informed -- until a few realized they could betray that trust more profitably, so it has largely devolved into the propaganda mechanism for the most devious in society, including unfortunately, the very ambitious people drawn to work in the media.

Quite notably, their language is the struggle for dominance and superiority, as opposed to sharing valuable and authentic information. One reads their “public service announcements,” wondering what lobbying agency wrote it for them to submit in their own name. In this way, the mainstream media became a victim of its own success -- in delivering an unsuspecting, undiscriminating and trusting audience, who if they never awaken, become distrustful of all information and communications -- rather than discovering that it can be done in other ways.

But this hostility to other ways -- is the worst part of the Island culture that drives away even those who have grown up in it -- recognizing that something is wrong about that vision of Paradise, as what it already is, as it is, with no deviation from that past possible. So for many, life just becomes an endless repetition of every day lived before, with no hope of change, discovery, growth or even respite -- except for brief vacations off island to explore the alternate realities of Las Vegas -- by which one is reaffirmed that the dreariest of absolute certainty is preferable to the vagaries of chance.

In reading the editorial pages of the newspapers, one is presented with those two exclusive possibilities of either going with the good life the editors have prescribed for us, or homelessness, destitution and prostitution, if we choose to think for ourselves. In other countries, the powers that be who wish to remain also so, send suicide bombers to enforce the correctness of their choices. But the intent and purpose is the same -- to remain dominant and in control, as the only meaning and purpose of that information and communications.

So it is quite shocking to see that information and communications can be used for quite different purposes -- that so threaten the status quo, that its denial and suppression must be absolute.