Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Tyranny of The Press

I think it was Ronald Reagan who made the observation popular, “that it wasn’t what one doesn’t know that is dangerous, but what one knows to be true -- that isn’t,” which is the role mass (mainstream) media has appointed itself as the exclusive guardian “for the people.”

Most people assume there must be some basis in fact or legitimacy for their doing so -- but it has to be demonstrated and proven freshly each day (word), rather than becoming just a habit because there are not more convenient sources to turn to. That was largely true up to the last century -- and then became less true in the age of the Internet, whereby one no longer had to walk down to their newsstand or to one’s doorstep to learn the mantras for the day, or even have to turn the pages and dirty one’s fingers.

But that made other sources as easily accessible too -- if one could recognize and wanted that input. The others, still operating in the old mentality, continued to force their “information and opinions” down everyone's unwilling throats -- as though people had no rights in resisting them.

The Old Mentality was not used to the idea of communications by agreement between peers -- but still subscribed to the notion that there was those who dictated and those who were merely told what to think, and what “thoughts” to repeat as though they were one’s own, and came by one’s own conclusions after carefully investigating the facts.

Instead, such people were directed to apply pressure to their elected representatives or whatever target, by whatever devious means and deceptions they had no qualms inflicting on their friends, neighbors and relatives. Usually these dictators (demagogues) had no friends or willing listeners either -- and their writing and speaking were of that quality of soliloquies (talking to oneself as the ultimate pleasure in their lives).

In that world, they were masters over everybody -- including mere mortals as the president, governor and pope -- they imagined chastising each day personally. It’s kind of sad to see people acting out their fantasies in such a public way -- of another age and era they hope to perpetuate just by the repetition and revival of those behaviors. They are not capable of recognizing that time has passed them by -- in the last century.

They are still ranting and raving as though everyone still has to listen and obey them -- or be at their unlimited mercy, constrained and mollified only by one’s willingness to relent to their superiority of thought, deed and character.

It’s time for these people to be retrained, redeployed, resocialized and recycled into the great stream of humanity -- in which they will have all the rights of every other, and are free to distinguish themselves on whatever they choose in open competition and forums. But ruthless and terroristic insanity, no longer rules the world. That is the success of the war on terror, intimidation and brutality -- in all the forms it cloaks itself.

Friday, August 17, 2007

“Island Insights”

Last night there was a presentation on PBS Channel 10, discussing the rail system the City Administration insists is the ONLY thing that can be "successful" -- because they’ve failed at everything else. That’s hardly a good recommendation and track record for being entrusted with $10 billion -- because their previous attempts to “do something,” resulted in ten people carpooling. Other than that, they have no previous success at doing anything else.

Usually, one entrusts more money to proven successful project managers -- rather than those with long, well-documented histories of futility and, as the university professor on transportation pointed out, lying as their only qualifications. They couldn’t make the BRT work, they couldn’t make carpooling work, they couldn’t increase mass transit use, they can't maintain existing roads, they create bike paths that end abruptly in hazardous traffic, etc. -- yet all of a sudden, if we give them enough money, they will be overnight successes.

I don’t think so -- but then I’m not the mayor.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Reality of the Present Moment

The only reality is the present moment and how we actualize both the past and future in it. Because knowledge is of the past and a remembered thing, it is not the present reality we are encountering but attempting to classify the entirely new into a previous category of understanding (generalization), and in that way, nothing new can ever come into being -- if we insist that it can only be a repetition of that which has happened before -- which is a confirmation of our “knowledge.”.

It’s an obsolete manner of thinking -- that life (history) can only repeat itself, which then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. That is the worldview of many tribal (closed) societies -- that maintained a rigid social order (hierarchy) to maintain themselves at the top. And so the kupuna (seniority) could never be challenged, or even questioned. That was also characteristic of Western civilization in the Medieval Ages -- or its Dark Ages.

The “truth” was simply whatever those at the top told everybody it was. In modern society, government and law also gives highest value to precedent, as though nothing could be better (or possible), and that what was right in the past, must be right hereafter.

That’s the underlying difference between traditional societies and today’s state of the art cultures and interactions that always break new ground -- and why it is so problematical for Old Media to report on it. Journalism itself is rooted in the old worldview that there was an objective reality apart from the subjective reality -- rather than just the reality in which one’s actions and perceptions affect one another. That was a very empowering realization.

Interactive forums represent this quantum leap from the old publications of the past -- that many old media are still insistent on imposing on the new -- which is much more vibrant and powerful, when actualized in its fullest possibilities. That’s also true for most other forums and interactions (society), and are energized and transformed not by the categorizing (generalizing) of these truths to the categorical past, but in the actual expressions of these freedoms that summarize the past up to this present moment while manifesting the reality of the future.

It’s not inherently a “Hawaiian” problem but an individual choice and predisposition that confronts every society (individual) recognizing the challenge of change -- and its unlimited opportunities, if it can be grasped as such. The divide could just as well be the Old Media and the New Media -- or just the old and the new. The old insists that everything that is old, is the new, or the “news.”

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Limits of Freedom

The limits to freedom, is also the limits to thinking. In a place that many consider paradise, what is peculiar about the "culture" and some (dictatorial) personalities, are these people who want to act as the limits to thinking by requiring that everybody else must think only what they say should be the limits to thought and behavior. It is the authoritarian (totalitarian) control/dominance mentality of human relations and society.

Following is a fairly typical "published" letter to the editor of the Honolulu Advertiser -- which among all the letters they receive, very deliberately chooses those which are the most shortsighted and guaranteed to promote divisiveness, conflict and ill-will within the community -- as their perverted sense of “community service” -- while suppressing, oppressing and repressing the only thoughtful, insightful and intelligent letters they receive.

TRAFFIC (Solution)

In car-crowded Honolulu, bicycles would be a welcome alternative to cars were it not for our narrow streets — and the often arrogant, ignorant attitude of bicyclists who hold up traffic in their lane, especially on main thoroughfares during rush hour.

Bicyclists need a designated lane and prohibitions from using busy roads like Ala Moana, Nimitz, King and Beretania during peak traffic times.

Laws are needed when aloha and common sense are ignored.
Mark Yasuhara

Why don’t we just ban all cars during the rush hours?

A favorite tactic is to get one hopelessly embroiled in these "straw man" arguments rather than into the the original discussions of the larger ideas of intelligence, freedom, justice, credibility, integrity, etc. -- and bogged down into the endless quagmires of pettiness, published almost exclusively in the mass media these days as what we ought to be concerned with.

It’s a power trip just to see that one can control the dialogue (thinking) in this way. So instead of discussing the actualities of transportation success in Hawaii, it is about how successful other public transportation systems in the world are -- although it is a shame that people there, they don’t use theirs enough either, or that the only thing separating Honolulu from preeminence among all the cities in the world is (whatever) they want us to think -- and they should control all the information on what to think.