Thursday, December 27, 2007

Not the Only Game in Town

One living in Hawaii for any length of time, will after a while, think that it is the only reality anymore, and that there are no other options but living in “paradise” -- even when the cost of doing so, seems prohibitively expensive. One is convinced that that is the “price of paradise,” thinking it is all cost and no reward -- and it is the rewards, that define a paradise.

There comes a time, when the costs (rewards) no longer justifies the rewards (costs) -- and there may be other places and other choices rather than being captive to the thinking that there is no other game in town -- when in fact, there were never so many choices, and one should feel free to shop among those choices (economies) until a better value is received.

Most people everywhere else realize that because they are less indoctrinated to believe they live in the only and best place in the world -- and the only other option, they are familiar with, are the crapshoots of Las Vegas, which is an amusing diversion, but in the end, one loses and expects to lose all their money -- as not an attractive, viable alternative. But there is much more -- if one chooses to avail themselves of those choices, rather than complaining that the choices they made, could have been better.

That’s not how economies and realities work -- that one wishes his choice was better, but still makes the poorer choice. And if one is not going to exercise any real choices, then they have made an overriding choice --that they have to live with, warts and all. Or choose differently.

Yes, the price of gasoline may be 10 cents a gallon less elsewhere -- but for practical purposes, that is totally meaningless unless one exercises the option of going there, buying all one wants -- and coming back. However, that is a very real and practical consideration if one chooses to move to Oklahoma and take advantage of a lower cost of living -- which is unique to every environment. But to pick and choose the statistic of one’s fancy out of context, is just deluding oneself that one knows anything of any consequence and value at all.

Communities become cheap and expensive relative to all the others, but it is especially true among the citizens of the US that they can choose to live in the community that gives them the greatest chances for happiness and success -- rather than to stay where they are, and moan and complain about everything that is wrong and not to their liking. That is merely immaturity and dysfunction, and when it becomes the predominant mentality and culture, they won’t succeed at much that they do.

Elsewhere, people will be resourceful and overcome every obstacle, and ponder their difficulties just long enough to solve and eliminate them -- rather than institutionalizing them as a way of life -- and proclaiming that the best of all possible worlds. Then, everything that is done, is to perpetuate that delusion above all else, manipulating the perception rather than the realities.

That manner of doing led to the terrible malaise and hopelessness of the ‘90s in Hawaii from which there was the beginning of a recovery only from the depths of despair of 9/11/01, in which even Waikiki became a ghost town.

Because of the bold and firm response of President Bush to the terrorist threats that had hung over the world for the last quarter of the 20th century, the civilized people of the world could emerge out of their bunker mentalities and live their lives in confidence and freedom from those anxieties and uncertainties. Economies everywhere boomed -- but those that did best and could build sustainable cultures on those foundations proved themselves, while others could not handle the flush of success and quickly worked to undermine their success because failure was all they knew and felt comfortable in.

And that endgame is now being played out.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What’s Important

The more one gets to know people in Hawaii, the more one is amazed at what each thinks is important. For some, it is not spending any money at all -- as their ultimate value, which is achieved of course, whenever they can get something for nothing. That “deal” is often not the best, but if something for nothing is the only criteria, that is the only thing that matters to such people -- regardless of whether it is what they truly want or need. It might be the source of all their problems, but if the money is free no matter how much one has to destroy themselves to obtain it, that is their only measure of “success.”

The opposite, is to spend as much as possible -- regardless of whether one gets any value at all from that expenditure, because the spending of the money, is the value in itself, and the highest attainment, is to waste as much money as possible -- and get nothing of value in return.

Rather than being the opposite, they are two faces of the same coin -- which is not to exchange value for value, and therefore, to believe that there is no such thing as value, other than getting an unfair exchange of either type.

Both are disastrous in that one never learns the fair value of anything -- and that some things are good, better, and worse. To these, only the lopsidedness of an unfair exchange, is what appeals to them. If they play any game or sports, their objective is to gain an unfair advantage -- as what it means to win. Thus the most ruthless and unscrupulous, are highly favored in such events -- and the trick then, is to convince everybody else, that it is the only game in town, and everybody must play it, even if they have no chance of winning.

In the old days, most people were convinced that whatever the “authorities” told them (usually their teachers), was the only game in town, and that was that they were the unquestioned authorities and deserved to be elevated and rewarded more than anybody else. Often it was not because they worked harder and better than anybody else, but because they no longer had to do any work at all -- as proof that they had reached the highest pinnacle of the socioeconomic pyramid.

Such hierarchies were fashionable many centuries ago before the revolutions of the 19th century liberated people all over the world. A few still wish to restore the monarchy and that sociopolitical hierarchy, as their idea of a fair and just society for themselves permanently and exclusively at the top.

What’s puzzling are the many “liberals” and “progressives” who think that is a wonderful idea -- not unlike their idea that if all the people in the world were eliminated, the world would be so much a better place.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

In Order to Improve, One has to Change

Real change is the hardest thing to see -- because everything changes rather than that everything stays the same, while only one thing changes. That is not the nature and hallmark of real change -- which is so pervasive that everything has to change in relationship to that one thing that really changed -- everything.

Change that is shallow and superficial, changes nothing else, and so everything stays the same, except that a few people may make a little bit more money, by ensuring that everything stays the same.

That is the problem with a lot of our problems -- that they stay the same, rather than disappearing and eliminating itself as the solution for a problem that no longer exists. That is the problem in professionalizing and institutionalizing problems that would otherwise be temporary conditions; we make it a permanent condition so that a self-designated few, can have lifetime job security.

That is the problem of the poor and those who need help: We may perpetuate the problems, to ensure more professionals and higher pay for those who provide those “services” (solutions) -- rather than eliminate both the problem (and the solution.)

One of the most familiar, is the system of education -- that quite predictably, requires more education -- not because there are more uneducated, but because the education produces a requirement for even more education -- in an escalating spiral. Obviously then, we have to create a more ignorant and inadequate citizen -- who “needs” education and those to tell them what to think, rather than that they are fully capable of thinking for themselves, even at a very early age. Those in fact, who come into schools too well prepared, have to be convinced that everything they’ve learned before, has been rendered useless because of a totally different “grading” system.

That, apparently, is the only thing that has changed -- and everything else has stayed the same, including one’s bewilderment at a world of such arbitrary judgment and rules. For unfortunately many students, that’s what education largely means to them -- and not any universal practical mastery of the workings of the world. Instead, they come to regard the arbitrary abuse of authority as the education one has to get “used to” -- as though that was the best and only preparation for a better life -- or a life at all, in more barbaric times and societies.

Many growing up in Hawaii suspect nothing else is possible -- that not only are there no other ways for doing things, but that it is the ONLY way it can ever be done! Whenever there is talk about improvement and perfect societies, it is always of some long ago past -- from which we have changed, and so change is the ultimate evil and cause of all our problems. With that kind of conditioning (education), it is no wonder that the desire for real change and improvement, is considered the great transgression -- and the only “changes” allowed, is MORE pay and jobs for doing the same things that make these problems worse each year.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Doing Anything, is Not the Same as Doing the Right Thing

That’s the biggest misconception of those who wonder why despite how much they do, nothing ever seems to turn out the way they had hoped and intended it to -- and they can’t quite figure it out, despite how much more they do.

Understanding that distinction, is the mark of an enlightened person -- from a prehistoric one -- or person who hasn’t figured out, that there’s a reason things happen, and bad things don't just happen, but is caused -- including the pettiness and meanness in every society.

First there is that recognition in one’s own life and surroundings -- and then that understanding can be enlarged to a greater worldview -- but not understanding that in one’s own life, makes any comprehension impossible of anything else. “The world” is most importantly of all, what each individual directly acts on -- and not some theoretical understanding that has no consequence in their present surroundings.

Without this clarity of understanding, doing nothing is preferable to doing the wrong (any-)thing, thinking it is the right thing -- and refusing to find that out, and even dying in their beliefs, that they must be “right,” regardless of any outcome. The outcome is merely information of the consequences of what one does -- and not an eternal judgment of one’s worth and (in)adequacies. Reality only cares to be impartial, fair and consistent -- despite the pleadings and entreaties that it not be so for just this once.

Unfortunately, many people have such “educations” and thus are handicapped throughout their lives in thinking that the truth (reality) of anything, is just what they can convince another of what it is -- rather than that there is a chain of irrefutable consequences, although they may be unknown to those determined not to see them.

And so it is not surprising to encounter those whose only job in life, is to convince others of what is not true -- even while convincing themselves and others, that they are spreading such propaganda (lies) because that’s what somebody pays them to do -- which makes anything right in their view of the world.

They only have to answer to that "higher" authority -- and think there is nothing beyond, no ultimate record and knowing of these things (consciousness). Life is merely a trick, in which one either deceives, or is deceived -- and to believe that an honest person ever existed and walked the earth, is a sheer fantasy and fairy tale, that no wise person should ever believe.

So it is very important at least once a year, at the beginning or the end, to remind oneself and all those they associate with, that there is always a possibility, that there can be one decent person to rise above the masses clamoring to be more like the “others,” to recognize the value and necessity, of those who can stand alone with great confidence in the goodness that gives great courage and changes the world.