Saturday, November 17, 2007

Where We Are Today

It should come as no surprise to learn that events do not take place in a vacuum, and is actually the result of the greater cultural context, than the will of individual ambitions and aspirations of a previous historical context. There is millions of years of momentum and evolution -- that makes improvement and greater order inevitable, despite some demagogues warnings that things were never so bad, and getting worse. That is not the reality but the opinions of a few -- who only know how to breed and generate discontent and dissatisfaction, as their only motivation, no matter how false and deceptive that might be.

They would have us believe that we have no mass transit system -- rather than we already have one of the best in the world -- even if most people choose not to use it. But that doesn’t mean that there is none; it is just not the much more expensive one that they think will cause everybody to use it -- forcing everybody to go where it is going, rather than wherever they want to truly go.

In some places, the places everybody goes, is to the same place -- while in other places in the world, the place everybody likes to go to, is different -- and that is the lure of such romantic locales as “Hawaii.” If everybody has to do the same thing, going to the same places, then that is not the romantic getaway (paradise), but the treadmill of crowded cities that only longs to get away.

You can’t turn one into the other -- but millions of lives and years, have made each uniquely what it is, which is not necessarily what only a few “experts” should now determine, is what it should be. The world has not changed that greatly, that now, only a self-designated few, should once again make these decisions for everybody else -- because presumably “they know better.” Such experts have been wrong before -- because that’s not how the fate and destiny of world evolution is determined -- by the deliberate and systematic suppression of all the other alternatives, and the financing and dedication only of their own vision of man's purpose for immortality, no matter how great and impressive one thinks the pyramids was worth the sacrifice of so many lives and resources to immortalize one person's vision of their place in the pantheon.

In all probability, everything that life now tells us, is that we are on the verge of a great divergence and expression of choices -- rather than the “One size fits all, no matter how badly," of contemporary popular culture and its handmaiden media. All the tools mankind has developed, has brought us to the point of the uniquely custom-designed optimal life for everyone -- which is much more than just the triviality of “doing one’s own thing,” just because one can.

Now the choices are very meaningful, and the ultimate expressions of fulfillment -- that nobody should decide for another, or should decide for every other. Yet that is still the mentality we see strutting out before us as government and “leadership” in Hawaii, that really awaits this transformation in consciousness and awareness -- that doesn’t begin in the legislature, but is the last to recognize the new realities.

Good representatives really know how to follow where society is heading -- and is not forcing it to conform to its own will, no matter what the tide of unlimited human choices will determine is the best for itself.

The people will lead, and its representatives should follow the lead of the people -- and not unilaterally dictate as the tyrants of the past.


At November 20, 2007 7:22 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Winning the War Because of the Will to Win:

Paris counters strike with bikes, taxis, and scooters
By MarketWatch
Last Update: 8:50 AM ET Nov 20, 2007

LONDON (MarketWatch) -- Residents and tourists in Paris have had to adapt rapidly as a strike by transport workers has cut service on the city's famous Metro subway system, and curtailed much of the bus service.
The strike has begun to bite into France's economy and is spreading to other industries and as well. See related story.

But in a country that once sent its soldiers into battle by taxi -- at the battle of the Marne in 1914 -- improvisation is still frequently the name of the game.

For city residents and tourists caught in the economic and political crossfire, a number of alternative forms of transport have emerged.
First, of course, is simply walking. Sidewalks have been crowded with pedestrians making their way to and from the city's major railway stations having either just gotten off, or hoping to board one of the intercity or commuter trains that still operate.

The city's new free bicycle system has also proved popular. The Vélib' system lets users ride for free for the first half hour, and charges a fairly modest rental fee from then on. Riders can pick up the bikes at one location, using a credit card, and drop them off at another.

Another alternative, albeit a relatively expensive one, has been the Batobus, a boat service that runs along the Seine from the Eiffel Tower on the west, to the Jardin des Plantes on the east, making stops at the Louvre, Notre Dame, and other locations in between. The daily fee includes on-off privileges, making it especially useful for tourists.

Many Parisians and some tourists as well, have adopted children's scooters as a means to get around. The "trotinettes" function well on sidewalks along the major boulevards, which are usually smoothly paved. Riders do risk falls however, on older side streets with paving stones, or in the event they overload with backpacks, as one correspondent discovered.

Adding to the confusion and uncertainty of the strike is the fact that some Metro lines have continued to operate, including the automated line that runs beneath the Champs Elysees connecting the Arc de Triomphe, to the Louvre and other key tourist destinations. In addition, a key Metro line linking train stations Gare du Nord and Gare du l'Est with the left bank also has been operating fairly steadily, albeit with packed trains.

When all else fails, the city's taxis remain an option, although waits on taxi ranks can run 15 minutes or longer and the drivers complain that civilians, unused to the city's lively driving habits, can quickly bring traffic to a standstill.

-- Tom Bemis, assistant managing editor End of Story

At November 20, 2007 10:01 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

They're striking to maintain their "Privileged" status:

French crisis generates solidarity

By Alasdair Sandford
BBC News, Paris

French drivers are sometimes not the most polite of people but there was a certain sense of solidarity on the Parisian roads this morning.

Angry horns gave way to politeness as cars edged into reverse to let pedestrians and cyclists cut across the jams. Everyone understood this was not a normal day.

"No worries", smiled the cyclist whose rear tyre I shunted accidentally in trying to squeeze my own bike through the narrow gap between the van and the pavement.

It soon became clear the best way to make progress was to filter down the middle lane and be swept along with the motorbikes and rollerblades.

Car-sharing has caught the media's attention this time, after revelations that during last month's strike the average vehicle contained only 1.3 passengers.

At least one company specialising in matchmaking commuters is having a field day.

Travellers prepared passenger-seat picnics to share with drivers whose faces they usually stare at blankly across crowded railway carriages.


Those using the successful Velib bicycle-sharing scheme were more numerous than usual.

Some thought they had cracked the transport problem only to find there were no free spaces to dock their bikes once they got to work.

At a suburban train station people had huddled round the special information boards to see which trains were running. One man filmed the schedule on his mobile phone.

Here, the disruption was not as bad as had been feared - trains every 15 minutes or so. If anything, the platforms seemed less crowded than usual.

But opposite the central Saint Lazare station, a mainline terminus serving several Parisian suburbs and the far-flung Normandy region, the queue at the bus stop was several people deep.

At the station itself, a young man I spoke to did not seem too perturbed as he stared at the departure screens.

The words "supprime" (cancelled) and "retarde" (delayed) have been featuring quite a lot.

But he had plans to avoid the hazardous daily trip home by spending the week at his girlfriend's place in the capital.

Natural phenomenon

Many mainline stations elsewhere in France have been all but deserted.

At Saint-Etienne in the Massif Central virtually no trains were running. The industrial town is known as a bastion of trade unionism.

Moustached union members marched through the streets in the fog, chanting their slogans and holding banners aloft.

At least one poodle was spotted wearing a bright red coat that sported the logo of the CGT union.

Strikes such as these are of course part of the French landscape.

The first 10 minutes of the main lunchtime television news bulletin treated the protest as if it were a totally natural environmental phenomenon.

People were shown dealing with it as they would floods or a storm.

Little green book

Power workers have joined their colleagues from the railways on strike - they too have "special" pension schemes the government says are outdated and must be reformed.

Meeting some union officials, you get a sense of the importance of history.

One showed off his little green book in front of me as if it were the Bible.

The national statute regulating the working conditions of gas and electricity workers dates from 1946.

It covers everything from public holidays to medical treatment in the workplace - hard-earned privileges that these men fear are already being eroded in an era of free-market competition.

Giving way on pensions, they argue, would be the thin end of the wedge.

Such questions may not be on the minds of many Parisians as they try to figure out how to make their way home from work.


Post a Comment

<< Home