Friday, June 29, 2007

The Problems of Hawaii Seem Endless

But really they are only one -- the will and desire to think clearly. The culture is one of endless distraction, diversions and entertainment -- beginning with the usual sources of “information,” which serve largely to propagate misinformation, rumor and innuendo. With the wrong information, people invariably have to make the wrong choices -- that they wouldn’t make if they simply had the right information. So the whole battle is getting the right information in the first place -- which information and communications officers’ job is to insure that we don’t.

The simple,unvarnished truth seems to be the one thing information officers cannot allow -- or they think they wouldn’t be doing their jobs, which is to spin it so that it is no longer comprehensible to the average person. And then, where would that leave them -- if information was easily intelligible and accessible to everyone? Certainly there would be no need for information specialists. So this function of the middle man, moves closer to the source -- before they are reverse-spun by the larger mainstream media editors. What comes out is the familiar garble that is unintelligible to anyone -- which they hope creates an even greater need for information and their own job security.

There is the insistence by bureaucrats and technocrats that the “public” has to learn their jargon, rather than that they should have to learn to communicate effectively with everyone else -- and in fact, they are encouraged in their specialties, to be as incomprehensible as possible, as proof of their intelligence and great intellect. Many are intimidated and coerced in this way -- not having the confidence to think for themselves and trust in their own judgment that what is unclear, is deliberately made so -- and not that they are incapable of grasping it.

I guess that is what people like most about my writing -- that it is so simple and clear that even a fool can understand it, and if that is the case, what is the need for teachers and other intermediaries of learning? Undoubtedly, a lot of functions that might have been helpful in the past become hindrances when there is an insistence that the aid now becomes the objective -- and meaning and purpose for that activity.

So in education, the problem is job security for teachers, rather than what is learned by the student. In fact, they are now appalled and offended that that should have to be a consideration. Don’t we realize that “teachers” have more important things to do?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The State of Health

The availability of health care or health insurance is not an indication of “health” in a society -- except for the financial health of the insurers and health care providers; that is the biggest misconception.

The greatest indicator of health is the actual robustness and vitality of those we see around us and encounter daily -- and their self-perception. While the “average” level of activity is high in Hawaii, that is because a few people get a lot of activity, while many other people’s major exercise is putting on and taking off their seat belts each day -- and struggling mightily to do so.

I’d say we have more than our fair share of overweight people -- and the disturbing thing is that they regard it as a symbol of high status and achievement, rather than the health risk it is. So that misunderstanding is troubling -- as part of the health/fitness equation. Another distinctive feature in the appearance of the people is a preponderance of a bloated look -- seen even in medium weight people that swells their features -- particularly in the face, hands and feet, so that wearing regular shoes is impossible for many, or regular clothes for that matter.

When one goes to the neighbor islands, one is struck by the fact that almost nobody walks anywhere -- and for that reason, they don’t even build sidewalks to get from one place to another. If one asks, “How does one get there walking?,” people seem perplexed, as though one must be out of their minds to even ask such a question.

As for the tax burden, Hawaii is the only state I’m familiar with where the income tax liability begins substantially lower than the federal levels because of the refusal to raise the standard deduction and personal exemptions to at least the federal levels -- like most other states define the poverty levels.

Why our legislators think that we can afford to buy them several plate lunches each day on that level of income can’t be shifted onto visiting tourists.

Healthy people generally don’t see doctors.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Thinking in Generalities

The unfortunate thing about mass education (indoctrination), is that it makes us “think” in generalities rather than investigating the specifics -- that may defy the generality (abstraction). Thus we think that simply labeling something, is understanding it, and think that if we classify someone a “Republican” or “Democrat,” “liberal” or “conservative,” “black” or white,” “rich” or “poor,” we presume we know all there is to know about that person -- when we in fact, know absolutely nothing! -- except our generality.

That is the spectacular failure of mass education -- and why that failure has to become more spectacular in the future -- most notably, at its highest end of achievement, when one hopes to be able to process higher volumes of information expediently in this manner. The most spectacular failing, is in the understanding of people -- as unique individuals, who are not merely living up to their stereotypes, and ideas of conformity to the political correctness they must embrace to earn the highest grades and acclamations -- “as they ought to be.”

One notices this “enforced” conformity in the public communications of forums and publications -- where the intent is no longer to gather to share information but to very deliberately mold every other person’s thinking, and so those most aware of these manipulations and deceptions, feel no obligation to subject themselves to such brainwashing -- since they are no longer required to since graduation from their respective institutions of highest learning.

There will always be those of course, who think “conformity” is the end -all and be-all of society -- because that is the only thing they learned in their schools, along with all the meaningless clichés to obscure that fact. The more isolated a community is, the more effective such indoctrinations can be -- even when that isolation is self-imposed, as it often and mostly is, in a world of virtual communications and information -- which means that people have to deliberately learn to resist and reject information that does not conform to what they already know.

That is the learning culture in Hawaii -- of rejecting all ideas that do not confirm what they already believe -- summarily rejecting all information that is new, which of course, defeats the whole purpose of seeking information. Again, such close- and narrow-mindedness is most advanced at the highest levels and institutions of such “learning” -- that in the new environment of virtual information, places them at a distinct disadvantage, which few will be able to overcome. It is like having an advanced disease -- rather than just an infection that the body is valiantly resisting.

So one notices in this new world environment that those having the most difficult time adjusting, adapting and adopting new behaviors, are those who have been the most successful in the proficiency of the old propaganda techniques, and why they so spectacularly or abjectly fail, in these new modes and paradigm. The peculiarity of that attainment was the rise of the “authoritarian personalities” who could effectively exploit mass media in that way -- but are totally powerless in an age in which the appeal must be to the intelligence of the other, rather than their ignorance, gullibility and susceptibility. They have no strategies and skills for dealing with such an environment. So of course, they don’t want the world to change -- leaving them hopelessly behind and irrelevant, when formerly, they were society’s self-proclaimed Most Important People.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Putting Things Into Perspective

A “fact” without context, tells one nothing. That is the major problem of news and information in Hawaii (and anywhere, for that matter) -- paradoxically offered as its great strength and value -- that it has no relationship to anything, anywhere else, no context, no perspective, when really, that is the significance of any piece of information -- deriving the context that gives it meaning.

Thus, when a person asks, “Is the number of deaths occurring in the War on Terror in Iraq, acceptable or not acceptable?”, most people are inclined to say, “Any deaths are not acceptable.” The propagandists know this, and why they offer to find out for us, what response people will provide us in such biased and loaded questions. People have always died for one reason or another, and so for there to be no deaths at all, would be a remarkable achievement, under the most optimal conditions.

Somebody would have an accident -- often because of an overconfidence that “nothing can go wrong” -- which are the proverbial last words. But something fails, and something always will. To reduce that possibility to an impossibility would not only be impossible but raise the cost of attempting to reduce risk to impossibility would consume all the wealth and resources of any society and ecosystem.

So one has to make that determination when one has provided for 95% of the risks to get 95% of the rewards in making that choice. Only modern demagogues and con-artists will guarantee that nothing can ever go wrong, and the dream scenario will play out exactly as they want everybody to believe -- with of course, no intent or obligation to have to honor their words. They can just say something else -- until one becomes frustrated at attempting to hold such persons to their words -- because they are totally meaningless and unrelated to any reality.

That is the ultimate achievement in not having any perspective -- no connection to any reality, and one then can feel free to say whatever they want -- as much as they are allowed to get away with it. They know that the entire bureaucracy has been set up to provide them cover for whatever wrongdoings they attempt -- rather than that it will provide assurance to the consumer/client, of any genuine intent to honor one’s agreement. In fact, the supposed agreement, tends out to be no agreement at all, but an intention to defraud, deceive and manipulate all along -- and the betrayed, are then chastised for being so naive, innocent, simple-minded and gullible -- while the offender swells with pride that he has once again been able to “beat the system,” as the truly smart in that society, are deserving and entitled to.

If no precedent is established for honorable behavior, then there is no context (standard) of what it should be like, and then anything that the most devious and dishonorable can get away with, is the standard and expectation of behavior. So it is very important to develop that context as the reality that provides the perspective of reasonable and decent behavior -- as an actuality of reality, and not just a wishful thinking that nobody has ever achieved before, and thus, there is no reasonable expectation that there can ever be good and honest behavior.