Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"To whom much is given, much is expected."

The wealth one accumulates in life is the gift that must also provide to others -- and that is where most people have no idea of the implications: all they know how to do is acquire more, and they can never get to that point in their lives in which they realize -- they now must be the ones to create the gift of future society, beyond more than how they can benefit from social interactions over others.

There is an all too familiar case of a couple being accused and prosecuted for "stealing" $300,000 over the course of ten years, or roughly $30,000 a year -- by a couple who took over the complete caregiving of an elderly individual -- for which it is never mentioned that they were ever compensated or given consideration in any other way. That has to be worth something, and to my mind, that kind of complete caregiving from unrelated people, has to be worth at least $20,000 a year in consideration, which is the amount allowed to be transferred by any individual to any other individual without an employer or tax consideration necessarily being triggered. With family, those limits are even more generous because it is difficult if not impossible to itemize and distinguish the actual beneficiary.

That would be a wise thing to do for anybody with sufficient assets to actually begin to spend them for that purpose -- and not as a vague promise of compensation when they are dead, when a lot of people then expect to be extremely generous -- or even fair to others in this regard, after they have enjoyed that wealth to their exclusive benefit. Thus, many think that no money should be exchanged unless it is to a complete stranger engaged in that "profession."

Most people in our society, have developed an "entitlement" mentality -- rather than a fair exchange or market mentality, in which they realize, to get value, they have to exchange value -- and not that they are simply entitled because they are old, entitled and rich.

That is the part of the retirement equation that is never discussed -- how does one spend that nest egg they've accumulated to good effect? In trips around the world, acquiring more wealth for themselves, exploiting and living off of the generosity of the poor and compassionate, or by their proper regard for other people's time, energy, thought and efforts, they create the best possible network of supportive people in their lives -- not just for monetary considerations, but neither exploiting the good will of others unilaterally and exhaustively.

The reason a lot of people become vulnerable as financial prey, is because they look or develop exploitative relationships -- and thus, at the moment of their own vulnerability, they become the prey -- because they have not effected previously, an understanding of what is mutually fair and advantageous, with fair and trusted people. Many people's fairness is simply to get as much as they can, while giving as little as possible, or nothing in return.

If one looks at the craigslist, there is usually someone advertising for another to give 24/7 caregiving in exchange for "free rent." However, that person, must agree not only to be at the beck and call of the individual cared for, but all the relatives connected to that individual, whose sole function is to "conserve" the estate of the "dying" individual, of which they, the "tenant" is therefore expected to pay the ultilities, insurance and mortgage because they are getting "free rent."

This is a far more common greed than a few hucksters preying on the elderly as though they were their exclusive cash cows, especially if it is one individual involved with another individual, as opposed to those living off of many as an enterprise. That's where I would draw the line between overarching greed and simply the innumerable bad and exploitative relationships many have without even thinking about them until they realize, they are no longer the predators, but the prey.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Great Divide

Sadly, Hawaii is divided now into two classes of citizenry:

Those who can and choose to leave Hawaii for better prospects elsewhere -- and those who have no choices but to resign themselves to the fallout from the struggle between the powerful self-interests attempting to increase their share of a shrinking economy and revenue base.

That has finally become the fate of Hawaii -- unlike every society that has now designed its culture on the premise that that society is to be shared as equitably among its citizens as possible -- rather than only by those who organize best for the sake of their own narrow interest group, and can grab and hold on to that advantage, they now regard as their entitlement, of irrevocably being in the ruling (upper) class.

Fate and history are not kind to those who think they are entitled to permanent paradise and privileged status. They have all fallen -- including those who thought they could build lasting monuments to themselves that the people throughout history, could never forget them by. But eventually, those monuments to themselves, turn back to dust and mud.

Life in Hawaii was very good -- as long as it was for a privileged few; but when everybody wanted to be in the "upper half" without anybody leaving, that would be the undoing -- and then the only ones who could improve, were those who could leave that overcrowded society -- not because it was inherently so, but because there is never enough room for everyone to be at the top, and nobody can be disqualified.

As long as there is growth in the economy, that fact can be obscured, but when there is no growth or stagnation, the problems become obvious, and obviously what to do. Those who can, explore and exercise other options -- and are never trapped in ultimatums in which they have long ago given up any other alternatives and choices. They then become victims of their own paradise gone so horribly wrong. They had adapted to only one vision of life evermore, and now could not adapt and grow themselves beyond. They were like prisoners who had adapted so well to their lives, that they no longer wished to leave -- even if they could now, and if freed, would do everything that was necessary to return. It is not a healthy attitude but that doesn't prevent a few from becoming that way.

Most, after struggling with denial, resistance, anger, and bitterness, come to resign themselves to the new realities, and in time, recognize that it was all for the best, all that was necessary for them to grow beyond -- which they would never have chosen to do unless absolutely forced. That is the point of no-return for everyone -- celebrated as the foundation of Western civilization as the dying to the old, so that one can be reborn in the new, and in that way, experience life everlasting.

But until that moment of triumph in every life, is the intense, dark struggle against oneself and every other -- to retain the life one has always known -- as the only life they could ever know. Such moments are celebrated in these enduring great civilizations as the realization that a flight from the known, is their only hope and savior.

Some come upon that time sooner than later.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The New World Tyrants (Demagogues)

Unquestionably, today's rapidly evolving technology, has greatly empowered most lives, and certainly impacted everyone's. But any tool, no matter how powerful and useful, can also become one's (and society's) undoing if not used responsibly and wisely.

While the Internet and the many forums now make possible the publication of many more thoughts and expressions not heard before due to editorial space and attention limitations, in the hands of a few, whether properly designated and authorized to do so, can become the tyranny of unwanted and uninvited intrusions into the thinking and lives of a community, by the new tyrants and demagogues of our times, who think that First Amendment rights, is their entitlement to IMPOSE their thinking and opinions on everybody else, usually with whatever deceptions they can imagine and devise.

That is unfortunately what many of today's forums have devolved into -- where the petty tyrants of the world, get to tell everyone else, what to do, how to live their lives, and what they should unquestionably value -- as though they had a right and duty to do so. Often in their self-designed crusades, they think nothing of fabricating claims and assertions that they DEMAND must be subscribed to by everyone -- as the new rulers of the new world, just as they aspired unsuccessfully in the old world order.

But those realities really haven't changed that much. The petty gossips and tyrants of previous times can just seem more numerous if not ubiquitous because they are invariably a few or even one person, pretending to be the entirety of the whole world -- and speaking as such, even if they have to create all the parts, roles and aliases in the new elaborate "reality" shows of these times -- with themselves, in their real names, as the ONLY hero and person of value and distinction in the world, while disparaging and ridiculing all others, including and especially, those duly-certified to act so.

The First Amendment freedom of speech, is everyone's right to express their OWN thoughts and opinions -- and not as it has evolved to in some people's minds, only the right to hear only their opinions, and to shout down everybody else's. A minor variation, is grabbing the microphone and droning or ranting on endlessly as though that was the only reason everybody else showed up -- and that is what the present contest is all about.

Which is the reason nobody else will otherwise listen to them and associate with them, and so they spend ALL their time DEMANDING that everyone MUST.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Mo' Bettah

Hopefully, one lives long enough and richly enough, to realize at some point, that "more" does not make better, if one does not have a wide ranging selection from which to choose from, but the purpose of life itself, is learning of all the different possibilities, from which the right one chooses itself.

It is this constantly selecting process, that is the history and evolution of cultures and societies, and not simply the maintenance of unchanging cultures as they were largely imagined to be be before, repeated forevermore. The living is the summation and meaning of every culture, and not dead things and rituals brought to life once more.

That is probably the misunderstanding that is Hawaii's greatest handicap, and why it cannot move forward to lead the world -- as every culture could, but instead, finds itself at the bottom of every measurement that can be devised, to show it at the bottom and regressing. And people are even cheering that regression, stagnation, and greater inequalities, and learn from the past only to repeat it -- and take it no further.

The Natatorium, the Convention Center, the Rail, is Hawaii being the last to jump on the bandwagon thinking in that way they can eventually be the first -- if they just hang on long enough and move to the top of seniority. Meanwhile, they dare not take a chance of doing what nobody else has done before -- which is what leaders have to do. Instead, they are selected precisely because they won't rock the boat, don't step out of line, wait their turn. So it is no surprise that in times of great crisis, their only prayer is that the people of the world prosper, so they can come and visit them and share their wealth as tourists.

If that is not the definition of hopelessness and despair, I don't know what is. Somebody else is going to rescue them. The federal government has endless money, and our delegates have proven they can get more than our fair share. And so there is no sense of fair exchange or fair play, but only what each can get away with.

Islands in the Pacific are at the mercy of unfavorable terms -- since everything must be shipped in from elsewhere, and that society has long forgotten how to provide for themselves. If they had started a comprehensive bicycling system, they would be the envy of the world now -- instead of purchasing the last rail system.

Hawaii was once known as a place where fruit trees grew on every property. It should be a lush tropical garden where every homeowner is growing their own vegetables and replenishing the soil and culture with knowledge of composting their own waste into rich soil again. Instead, they have to ship it off island, because that technology is beyond them. All these natural advantages lie fallow and undeveloped -- in favor of technologies that will obliterate all that was unique and special to these people.

The reason for this is because it is going to create high-paying jobs, to pave over the Islands with concrete. It is like the previous generation installing wall-to-wall carpeting, before tastes shift back to the realization that the natural wood beneath, is so much prettier and more functional -- just because they could.

And so now, the people are in a panic -- with no idea what to do, or how to even begin contemplating the challenges before them, other than to wish everyone well, so they can bring their good fortune over and share it with them. That won't make a better culture, and that is the problem, no matter how many government workers they hire to increase their own salaries.