Friday, June 27, 2008

Something For Nothing

Many people, especially in Hawaii, think that "the truth" is anything they can get away with -- and rely on the local media to repeat it as the "conventional wisdom," because they don't know, and are too lazy to check.

When times are good, it doesn't matter -- but when times get a little more difficult, wishful, partisan thinking gives way to the harsh realities, and what is "nice to have" when the monies are unlimited and paid for by somebody else, becomes a tremendous drag on daily living, so that paradise becomes a purgatory. At times like this we need "real" leaders rather than just those who manage to fool some of the people all the time, and all the people some of the time -- especially around elections, and at the newspapers.

Hopefully, they will not betray us again by writing their pompous editorials about the need for integrity, vision, and change and then as usual, proclaim the status quo and the way it's always been done before, as the only choice one can/should make.

I guess the handwriting is pretty much on the wall right now -- that we’re seeing the end of affluence as we have known it during most of the last century and for the last hurrah of the first years of this century. But all the admonitions for a more enduring, sustainable daily living of meaning and purpose rather than endless diversion and entertainment is now upon us as the choice we make that determines our fate in this unfolding century -- which very obviously, will not just be the continuation of how it “always” was before.

Such conditions require the skills of adapting to change, and not as our education and conditioning has been, to perpetuate the status quo -- if now only in their minds. The props that would have allowed further delusions and fantasies are now gone -- revealing the new realities of our time.

And that is, that there is no “money to waste,” or simply consume because one has an excess of it -- only requiring the demand for “More,” to turn on the spigots. The “cost of living,” is not so much a concern as the “quality of life,” obtainable anywhere. That is the resourcefulness of individuals, as well as the larger culture and environment they live in.

If everyone is just a consumer but not a producer, then it doesn’t matter how much one has to spend, because nobody is producing anything of value. The only exchange, is to get something for nothing, and everyone operating in that manner and intention, ensures that nothing of value can be acquired, no matter how much they demand.

Any economy must be based on values more than just getting money from somebody else. One first has to be able to create value -- and then one can exchange value for value, instead of just endlessly worthless dollars, with somebody hoping to get something for nothing.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A State of Mind

Few places are changed as effectively in the age of the Internet, as Hawaii has been in the last decade -- because while its geographical distance remains the same, it has been brought much closer to a wider community around the world -- who still feel some bonds with the Islands’ culture and society. Nowhere is that more evident than on the discussion forums of the daily newspapers, where many of the comments are identified as coming from “Hawaiians” all around the world. In that respect, they may make a quantum leap towards a universal consciousness -- from a formerly provincial (if not tribal) one.

At least some will. They will be those who are plugged in to any affinity group they feel comfortable in -- which will ebb and flow like many subcultures do. One of the initial successes that brought many to the Internet to stay, was the boom and success of online investing -- and when that busted, they remained and wandered onto the other areas of special interest -- including and especially, the politics and world developments at the beginning of this millennium, because they obviously had such a tie-in and impact on world markets and their personal fortunes.

A lot of things used to go on in Hawaii because the newspapers controlled what information the people in Hawaii were aware of and allowed to see -- often censored (they’ll claim it never was) by the powers that were or wanted to be -- or thought they were, since nobody could tell them otherwise.

Governors would often proclaim that the universal laws and principles in effect everywhere else in the world, did not apply to Hawaii because this was “paradise,” which implied that they were perfect and beyond criticism because it was the will of the ancients (gods), that it must be so. It simply “MUST” -- and there was no use arguing about it, or even questioning it.

Eventually those who were too adamant in their refusal to “go along to get along,” were exiled elsewhere so they no longer had a voice and presence in this “local” affairs. Surely, their interest would wane with the embargo produced by the inherent difficulty of obtaining information and maintaining contact with the Islands -- as had been typical of the past.

But the Internet changed that -- and made “Hawaii” just another local community like many others. Geography was no longer a boundary that mattered. Every "community" became just a voluntary association of people.

That’s also what destroyed old politics -- rooted as it was in geography rather common interest. One is no closer to a neighbor one has little in common with -- than someone on the other side of the world that one sees the world familiarly with. That is a very strong and compelling involvement and engagement -- that is anyone’s, anywhere community.

Community’s are shared values -- more than they are just shared spaces. That’s how the world changed -- and few noticed it, but everything had already changed.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

This Matter of "Culture"

"Culture" is about knowing what is going on right now -- and not simply keeping alive the memories and traditions of what went on centuries ago.

What every generation has to learn, is as much as what is being discovered currently at the frontiers of thinking presently -- and not what people thousands of years thought was the limits of the understanding of their world.

There's just only so much time, energy and resources to devote to life in every time, and I think rightly, education shouldn't just be for its own sake -- but must have a practical end of preparing everyone to be the pioneers and creators of state of the art information and communications -- rather than valuing "knowledge" for its own esoteric sake to parade inappropriately that one is a very "learned" person -- who is invariably failing miserably at living their daily lives.

A new kind of learning is required -- in things that actually matter and what they actually use -- instead of academic generalizations of presumed cultural enrichment and distinction.

The most revered yet also the most progressive cultures in these times, are China and India. Those cultures and societies have been so successful and withstood the test of time over the millennia, that they feel secure enough to regard their present responses to the challenges of these times -- as what their culture is all about and defines, rather than cultures that have long ago lost their meaning, purpose and reason for being -- to mere repetition of the rituals practiced long ago in a different time and age, as though that is all that is necessary to fulfill life in any age.

Therefore, they have a preference for the solutions of the past and solving problems only in hindsight, rather than pioneering and creating for humanity, the state of the art of living in these present times. For such people, all their references are about what they should have done twenty years ago, a lifetime ago or even yesterday -- and never giving the proper attention and relevance to the possibilities and opportunities available right now -- that create an even greater world of possibilities and opportunities for the future.

Instead,their culture, is simply all about preserving the past, as thought those must remain the limits of the future. Such cultures and societies, have no future.