Friday, November 28, 2008

Ages in Chaos

In the Internet age, any culture and society is capable of playing and being among the best -- unless they choose not to, and judging from the barbarization of thought overrunning the mass media and the institutions of Hawaii these days, a great age of darkness is about to settle over the Islands for an unforeseeable and undeniable future.

The most revealing insight into that state of mind and mentality of any society are the unedited comments of its public forums -- relying on the participants own restraint and sense of decency and regard for others, as a reliable guide on their future prospects.

And while the comments on the pubic forums indicate something about the fairness and respect due one another, the shocking incivility and pure barbarity of these discussions have driven those with any sense of fairness and sensibilities away.

Although the newspapers will say they have no control, they led the people there in the first place -- or they would not be outdone in what people think is now permitted and permit themselves to say to/about one another. That’s how community standards are established and maintained -- in the doing, and saying.

When there is no such restraint, there is only savagery and barbarity -- even towards their highest leaders and figures of authority. There is no longer respect for anyone. -- not the children, not the elderly. Everyone just becomes a target -- for another’s hatred, anger, bitterness, frustration, resentment, self-loathing and pettiness.

No one wants to be there any longer; to remain is to admit one is a loser without options. One can still insist one is the lucky -- but deep down, they know that there is no future anymore, even for those at the top.

Societies do not all succeed; some most assuredly and determinedly fail -- and must fail. And when they fail utterly, something new may come into being that is the seed of something successful -- but it can go for many years without knowing that success, and even knowing success is still possible.

And how did that come to be in a place formerly called “Paradise?”

Every paradise has fallen from grace -- and that is the great lesson of every society and culture -- that none are guaranteed their place in heaven and grace. They must earn it and prove themselves worthy of such designation -- no matter how lofty a beginning they are given, because it is no one’s entitlement and birthright.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Biggest Losers

Undoubtedly the big losers in the recent election, was not the Republican Party (who undoubtedly will resurrect themselves) or the citizens of the state even -- but the old mainstream (mass) media, which surrendered any claim to nonpartisanship and objectivity in their mad rush for the money. They couldn’t help themselves -- with the money ratios running 5 to 1 from the Democrats and their surrogates.

It finally came to that -- but at least the Republicans and the citizens are no longer disabused that the “press” is not just another self-interest organization bent on its own aggrandizement and power. At its height and heyday, they had us convinced that the First Amendment were exclusive rights granted to the press -- rather than to everyone equally.

As long as it took actual presses to be “the press,” most were excluded from their own representation -- but with the digital revolution, for the first time in an election, it became obvious that the press was merely just like anybody else, limited only by their ability to express themselves -- rather than their former ability to suppress all the other voices, and that became clear as the last hurrah for the old mainstream media -- to do one last time.

But as often is the case in history and progress, that last fleeting success, was the last of its kind -- leading to a quantum leap for another form taking shape and poised to takeoff -- off the hulking carcass of the old.

The old form had reached its ultimate triumph -- of virtual domination of their exclusive opinions and ideas -- to the exclusion of everything else that was now available, and would become manifest now that they had won their issue -- with no (pro)vision beyond that exercise of power. There was no beyond -- no second step, no larger goal or vision but a naked exercise of power just to show they were still in charge and could still determine any outcome

And so when it was over and their victory achieved, it was their own destruction -- that they had undermined and achieved.

That -- became apparent. It was probably due to an overreaction out of fear to a challenge they had never encountered before -- to the exclusivity of their authority, and so were ill-equipped and disposed to meet that challenge except in the most crude and insensitive of ways that was their undoing -- the nakedness, the brutality and the totalitarianism of their power -- that once resorted to, could not be controlled, and destroyed everything.

As long as they never fully resorted to their full power, they would never know how destructive it could be. And once they found out, it was over for them as well.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Inherit the Perfect Storm

A lot of people in Hawaii think that winning elections is all there is to politics -- and not that one ever has to make any hard decisions -- as to where the money is coming from. They think the federal government will always have plenty to give them -- and there is no competition for those treasured dollars from anywhere else.

But even if one is successful at obtaining such government grants, one should spend it on the most pressing and worthwhile priorities of that society, and not just in the most frivolous ways possible. Then, those expenditures will have done some good and provided some usefulness, instead of just spending money with no great return that thereafter pays succeeding generations -- rather than simply needing more money each year.

That part, Hawaii never mastered in the ages of affluence -- having built its vaunted reputation on such conspicuous and needless consumption. Then one day, all that money dries up -- and nobody knows how to do anything but demand that somebody give them some (more) -- while expecting nothing in return.

In times of plenty, such demands may be met with indulgence, but when times are difficult and money is hard to come by for everyone, the underlying values are revealed. One can no longer get something for nothing. At such times, money is not everything, and may be the least significant of all considerations because it is not money one is ultimately after, but the value one can get in return for it.

Many in Hawaii, have never learned such values -- as it has always been their “entitlement.” It was always expected, that everybody in the world would want to live here -- in paradise, and money was no object to do so. Money is not the object -- but exchanging value for value, which requires being able to create something of value, and not just to demand it.

That’s a whole other way of living, thinking, and sense of values -- that people who have had difficult times learn because they had to. One seldom learns it otherwise, when everything is given to them -- by the generous hand of some benefactors, who may have been misguided in thinking to prevent them from that contact with reality.

But when they are gone, or are no longer around to ensure that carefree paradise, then the people, all at once, learn the difficulties of providing for their own livelihood, peace, freedom and prosperity. Then they have no choice, because nobody has the luxury to give it to another.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Is There Any Hope for Hawaii?

One looks at every election result in Hawaii, thinking it can’t get any worse -- but it does, and so eventually, the people have to pay the price of their bad choices -- and willingness to believe whatever an unscrupulous salesperson (politician) will sell them.

That is the price for living in paradise -- that every con-man in the world also wants to live there, and will do whatever they have to, to remain -- even long after their notions of paradise have been forgotten. They just believe then, that it is worse everywhere else -- or have convinced themselves of that.

Thus, life becomes this desperate struggle to get by -- long having lost one’s sense of pride, honor and dignity -- truly believing it is the only place in the world they can live, when really, there are many agreeable places to live in the world.

However, most have bought into the notion that this is truly and the only paradise on earth -- and worthy of paying three to six times as much to hold on to one’s substandard housing, and even homelessness, to remain.

At some point, one has to wonder, if it is truly the best there is, and could life be better (worse) somewhere else? While most are educated to love their hometown, nowhere else is there such an unquestioning and unquestionable loyalty that there can be nowhere else, and no better life than what one has presently, and must be maintained at all costs, because one has forgotten (denied) everything else.

The mere thought of improvement, is derided immediately as the arrogance of madness.

Is there no more beautiful and majestic place on earth? If one is limited to visiting Las Vegas for comparison, one thinks the rest of the world is truly inauthentic, and perilous -- with always the possibility of losing one’s entire lifetime accumulation of wealth, in one uncontrolled excursion of folly.

Thus, one learns not to have such desires, not to want anything better, but to be content with what one has, while paying three to six times what people elsewhere do -- and thinking one is the most blessed and happiest creatures to do so. That is the prison of paradise.