Friday, March 26, 2010

The Greater Reality

You people still watching TV?

All the greatest performances ever recorded are now available on the Internet (YouTube) -- for free.

Last night, I thought I'd compare the various renditions of "I Dreamed a Dream," and came away feeling TV peaked and missed a magical moment in the performance of Susan Boyle, when they awarded the top prize in Britain's Got Talent, to a break-dancing team that has already gone down to obscurity.

Maybe Sarah Brightman and Kiri te Kanawa and a few others may have been just as good technically, but nobody in the history of (televised) performances ever electrified an audience as much as when Susan first stunned everyone with her rendition of that song. In that moment, the world of possibility/reality, was transformed -- and while the judges were appreciative, they missed the much greater significance of it -- that a complete nobody, could walk off the street, and "own" the world.

But the judges couldn't give her the prize because it would have been surrendering their control and power -- to arbitrarily make those decisions for everybody else, even in spite of how the rest of the world felt and recognized.

That's when the "Idols" of the world started to descend and become more and more a fraud for even the manipulated mass audiences.

This is the same reason many other mass oriented media are passing into history -- including the newspapers, who basically give us the same thing everyday, rather than the whole world now possible to discover, and when people do, they never go back. It's not a matter of price -- or even media, as much as it is the real range and diversity of the world, not just as determined by one person who has spent their entire lives in the cocoon of the protective powerful media.

The authoritarian perspective of self-designated experts, is no longer sufficient in the era of access to all the information -- and not just that controlled by any autocratic thought-enforcer.

When the people don't have the capacity to discriminate for themselves, the good from the bad, the significant from the trivial, then they get the kind of lowlife Hawaii has lately descended into and is being reported in many of the discussions -- of people camping anywhere they please, urinating and defecating anywhere they please, destroying the bathrooms and public facilities, and now, killing off each other, so that they can have the sidewalks all to themselves.

But instead, what you see on Hawaii news, is the unreality of life there -- that all the bad guys are good, and the good guys are bad, and leadership/citizenship is only about winning elections and jobs, and once they do, they never do a darn thing worth doing anymore.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Libraries of the Future

Libraries are about information, communications and community.

To say that libraries are still about books, is like saying that news is still about newspapers. It's the content and not the form that is important -- for transmitting information and interactions in the best manner possible.

I think future cultural institutions will be integrated into community centers -- which are a more recent phenomenon. It used to be that the community center was the saloon, schools -- or the church. And then there was a separate building for every function and purpose, but the future is obviously the integrated community center.

The (Salvation Army) Kroc Centers are the prototype for this development -- everything under one roof but the saloon.

You can probably run most of government on an electronic bulletin board now -- but bureaucrats don't want to give up their control (and power), and to create as many high-paying jobs for their themselves and their allies, insist on doing everything the most labor intensive way -- rather than being capital-intensive, which is the one thing that can serve many, if not all, purposes.

That was the problem that eventually caused the newspapers to fail -- because they didn't want to give up their editorial and publishing control, and so the people went electronic as soon as they were given the chance -- which made many more readers and writers without even thinking about it as a separate activity anymore. Education is also the same way -- just a function along the way to some greater purpose, and not the end-all, be-all in itself -- as many career educators would have everyone believe.

If one can operate a computer and do MySpace, you have all the literacy one needs to do anything else one wants to do. We just don't have time and space to learn just for learning sake -- as though that was an intelligent to do.

If you can find the answer when you actually need it, that's all you have to do. So to revere books -- rather than the thinking it should inspire to solve today's problems, is like worshiping statues and buildings -- thinking that is God.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Should People Apply for Welfare on the Internet?

People on welfare should use the Internet. Children in schools should use the Internet. As much government as possible, as well as information and communications, should use the Internet. When the Internet is used, costs go to zero.

The whole problem with Hawaii is that money that should go to the people on welfare, or students in the public schools -- instead go to government workers purportedly providing these services, instead of the programs/people that they were ostensibly designed for.

Instead, you need to provide the means with which they can do that -- for themselves as much as possible, so that those on welfare can help themselves primarily, children can learn to learn on their own -- instead of becoming more dependent on government workers to do the thinking so that they won't have to.

The purpose of government should be to increase the competence of all the citizens, and not just secure more, higher paying jobs for government workers. Students can clean the schools.

If we really rethink government (as we have to), the welfare office seems to be the logical place to staff and train welfare recipients so that they can go on to jobs in the private sector -- and even create their own jobs with that expertise. Government should play this role of being the employer of last resort -- and not a permanent job where people don't learn intimately about the problem and then go on to offer their expertise in the private sector to solve the problem -- but just enable it.

Likewise, all education does anymore, is CREATE the need for more education -- when its whole purpose, is to empower everyone to learn on their own -- and not become dependent on government workers to solve for them -- which is cost prohibitive, just like the cost of taking care of patients who won't first take care of themselves, and enabling the cost-prohibitive dependence.

First thing government has to do, is get the people to solve their own problems first -- and not never, so that the problems keep growing out of control.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Significance of the Past (and the Now)

Far more important is understanding what is going on right now -- and the personalities and forces trying to influence and impose their perspective on everybody else.

I once was required to study a book written by two scholars who had used old documents (archives) to reconstruct what they thought was actually going on two hundred years ago -- as though that was the most important use of scholarship and intelligence at that time.

Even in the present moment, witnessing events as they're happening right now, it's not really clear what is actually happening, or what the observer/reporter thinks is important and significant. But then to reconstruct a culture and reality two hundred years ago, or two thousand years ago, doesn't seem to be a wise use of one's so-called intelligence because the presence always implies the past, and thus, one can learn more about the past from the present, than to imagine what it was actually like in the past.

Thus, the real work of a historian is not about explaining the past, but explaining the present -- that will come to pass. If one cannot understand the times one is living in, then obviously, they're not going to have keen insight into behavior in another time -- and so the valid history, is understanding what is going on right now, as best one can -- and writing that history as one is actually living and experiencing it, and the rest is just a fabrication.

I know the justification is that one cannot understand the present unless one first understands the past, but it is likely more true, that one cannot understand the past unless one first understands his own present because that is actual and verifiable reality -- and that present, implies not only the understanding of the past but the whole totality of reality -- including the future, as one acts with that present knowledge.

The past is always being created -- and recreated, in each present moment, and so those archives, become much less important, just as we've all gone through many personal computers now, and at first thought it was important to retain everything -- until we've evolved to realize that it's not so important what we wrote 20 or 40 years ago that is so important, as it is what we are writing right now -- which implies everything we've ever known before, and evolved us to this point.

Thus we can let go of that past because most of it is not needed, but that which is, is the DNA of the present reality -- which is not lost, but knowledge actualized in today's reality, and not just a flawed, outdated and irrelevant understanding of reality in some forgotten (contrived) past.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Is there No Hope for Hawaii?

Well then, how about the notion that every person should do their own thinking and not let anybody else tell them what to think and do?

That revolution is long overdue in tribal/feudal Hawaii.

Maybe that would be the ticket to better government in Hawaii.

Obviously, the present course and system is hopeless and offers a better future for fewer and fewer people -- who think that the objective of government, is to win all the spoils for only themselves and their clan, and impose their will on the minority, or at least, a majority that is not allowed to assemble and organize for their own interests -- while allowing themselves to be victimized by those who operate as gangs.

That is the culture and society indoctrinated from the earliest days on the school grounds -- that might makes right, or that the majority rules -- even when the majority behaves with total disregard for decency and fair play. If others are being brutalized and exploited, they are taught to look away, and see nothing, do nothing, if they want to get along.

It was the same way in Nazi Germany, and how every totalitarianism came into being -- even when proclaiming themselves initially, as the "Democratic" republic -- when "Democratic," simply meant, the right to impose their will on a minority that thereupon, must surrender all their "rights" to a ruthless and dominating majority. Why else could the "Democratic" legislature of Hawaii, send their respects and Aloha to the most brutal dictator of the times -- against a US president desiring their freedom and liberation to determine their own destiny?

Don't be fooled by the words, or the clever arguments of those paid to propagate and defend that
status quo -- with themselves permanently entrenched at the top of the social-political hierarchy. And so status, and not equality, is extremely important in such societies -- in which some are thought more equal than others, best exemplified by the conviction that the government employees (defenders of the status quo), are tireless, underpaid members of a rightful ruling hegemony (party -- that only they can be legitimately for the people, and the others should be summarily dismissed as all the evil in the world).

It is this manner of thinking (nonthinking) that allows the abuses and travesty of government in Hawaii to continue year after year with people wondering futility, "Why is government so bad?", presented biennially, as the best of all possible worlds -- and the only choice allowed. That's how Saddam was able to obtain 98% of the votes to continue his tyranny -- as the popularly elected leader of his "democratic" country, and the "Democratic" leaders of the US and a few others, to insist he was the duly elected choice of the people.

A democracy is more than just the rule of the majority -- but a system that allows all the voices to be heard and considered, before making a decision on the proper course for a community. But in Hawaii, that has been perverted to legitimize the tyranny of the majority, which is simply a tyranny in any time and place.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The End Is Near

About ten years ago, one of the daily newspapers was about to go out of business, but survived another ten to realize that conditions weren't getting better, but probably getting worse for all but the strongest and most competitive -- in the world.

In the Internet age, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin is not just competing against The Advertiser -- but every newspaper in the world, and beyond that, every publication in the world, and every book ever written. It is no longer a monopoly source of information -- and while the same can be said of the schools and universities, they usually don't have the luxury of being government institutions dedicated to providing tenures and sinecures in addition to public employee unions doing propaganda for them relentlessly -- especially in Hawaii, where the only game in town is government funded work.

Thus their representatives pride themselves on obtaining "more than their fair share" of government grants, earmarks and pork barrel, as their mark of accomplishment -- which is fine as far as the money goes -- but it is not parlayed into developing useful skills and products that would be validated in the private markets. People just learn to be government employees -- and private enterprises become gutted if they are successful enough to become big -- if the unions don't get to them first.

So the dynamics are not hopeful -- but the people remain hopeful that the real estate speculations will kick up once again and they will be able to cash out/in this time, rather than hang on through another prolonged cycle of diminishing hope. And so the newspapers proclaim hopefully from time to time, that a median price for a house of a million dollars is imminent in ten years, without considering the income required to support such prices.

The economy and society now runs on "wishful-thinking," that sometime in the future, things will become perfect again, just as they remember as a kid, when they had no such worries.

Meanwhile, many are suspecting that those who can, take the first opportunity to leave the Islands while they are still viable and not entrapped -- usually by their illusions of paradise, that are not borne out in their daily lives of now endless anxieties and preoccupation with a future with no prospects.

The difference this time, is that being on an island in the middle of the vast Pacific, is no longer isolation from what is happening everywhere else in the world -- from earthquakes to recessions, and the shift from 20th century mass (media) culture, society and economy, to 21st century individualized realities, for which the general and generalization, is not worth knowing -- which is all the mass media mind "knows."

And that is not reality -- but just what they want everybody to think -- that the mass perception is the real, and individual and actual, is false, when in truth, the only reality, is the individual -- which is the whole of each individual's actual experience and life. Thus we move closer to actual experience and end the speculations of what we think it ought to be -- or was.