Thursday, May 26, 2011

Too Bad, So Sad

When one reads the story of a 86 year old man being hit by a car while crossing the street at 2:30 am, one has to wonder what improbable set of circumstances had to have occurred, for that to happen -- and not conclude as the newspaper despairs, "That bad shit just happens -- routinely, so what is this world coming to?"

My immediate reaction, is how many pedestrians are walking about at 2:30 am, but also, how many cars are on the road at that time also -- for a fatality to have happened, to say nothing of its inevitability?

One really has to be pressing one's luck, to have to be crossing a street precisely at the time the one car on the road, is passing -- and think that is a safe maneuver to make.

When I cross the street, I try to do it when the possibility of an "accident" is not only minimal, but virtually impossible -- even in the worst case scenario, because I'm not going to trust the driver to watch out for my safety. I'm going to have to look out for my own safety first, regardless of what the other person does -- even if their intent is to deliberately injure me. It's just not going to happen -- in the first place.

You cross the street when there are no cars -- period, or when that car comes to a complete stop, with the clear intention of letting one cross safely -- and then if there are no other cars that are not fully on board with that understanding, and intent.

But when one is totally oblivious to anyone and anything else, bad things can happen. The chances of these things happening, are not random but highly probable and likely -- both good and bad. It is very important to distinguish these differences -- rather than being non-discriminatory about these things -- because they matter and make a difference, and not that non-discrimination is a virtue in itself, at all times, and in every situation. And so bad shit happens, and one feels powerless to do anything about it, but report and editorialize how life is out of control, and there is nothing one can do about it.

That is obviously a personality and culture of despair and hopelessness -- that is promoted by the media underwritten to foster such dependencies on every other but oneself -- first and foremost, and that makes the biggest difference in living one's life, and having good or bad outcomes.

A few bad things just happen -- and a few, are at that wrong place at the wrong time, but even those events, are rare -- and not the commonplace, or "could happen to anyone" -- which is the impression given. It doesn't matter whose fault it is, or who is to blame. There is something much greater that is wrong than who was right or wrong -- because there is a fundamental lack of understanding of cause and effect, and those consequences they make tragedies almost inevitable.

And beyond that, there is not to care, and not to know any difference, and want to -- and accept the catastrophes and sadness, is the way things have always been and must be. You can't design a roadway that is entirely foolproof -- when a society only produces victims in the first place. That is what is truly disturbing.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Get Off the Rock!

Those who have grown up in Hawaii and done the best, are overwhelmingly those who left the Islands -- and moved up to greater opportunities elsewhere, including countries outside of the US.

Many all over the country, are now pondering if it is possible to make it on just Social Security alone. In most places in the world, any Social Security check would go far -- already exceeding the income for the indigenous populations there. Those are not likely to be the most "advanced" societies and cultures, but the leap from where they presently are as developing countries into contemporary state of the art civilization is not that far -- as one notices when even people in "undeveloped" countries, are using cell phones and computers with same proficiency as those in the most developed countries -- where their populations may even be falling behind the leading edge, because they are satisfied with the way things are.

Not being satisfied, is a tremendous motivation, for improving one's lot, and many in the already developed countries, are prone to this complacency of merely protecting the present status quo. The emerging countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS) are not so satisfied, and so have become the new engines of growth, development and progress, in the world today.

And not far behind, are the Philippines, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Panama, Thailand, etc., where people can actually live fairly comfortable lives on even the minimum Social Security benefit -- and live like rich people, on what would be a middle income, middle class life in the US. The key is how well they can adjust and adapt to a foreign culture, or at least a different one, than the one they grew up in, and were conditioned to think is the only one, if not the best.

So one has to grow out of that ethnocentrism, to consider life elsewhere, even in these United States, because the whole conditioning and culture of the Islands, is to pride themselves on their isolation, while convincing themselves, it is much worse anywhere else. That is a large handicap to overcome -- to embrace the thought that life could actually be better somewhere else, because they have convinced themselves, that nowhere could be better -- even if they are homeless and jobless without any prospects for improvement on the Islands where they are, and expect always to remain.

Most successful people have to move in order to achieve that success -- to be in the right place, whether that be Hollywood, Silicon Valley, New York City, London, Paris, Tokyo, etc., for even with their great talent, it would not be fully recognized, developed and appreciated, in the small town they grew up in. So even the great and most talented, had to move on, to improve their chances of success. That is also why immigrants anywhere, have a decided advantage among the indigenous populations anywhere. They are naturally highly motivated to improve their situation in life -- which is no small thing. It is why they are there.

That is the significant difference, between those who do well, and those who do not. That attitude, may be far more important, than where one actually moves to, or whether they actually move. One has to cultivate that mindset and mentally that they can make it anywhere else, to make it anywhere again -- which is the state of mind of the homeless people in the US, who see no prospects for improvement otherwise.

It is not enough just to demand they have to be successful at the culture they are presently floundering in; they have to know all their alternatives and best chances for their success -- and not simply trying harder, at what doesn't interest and motivate them.

We have to begin with the right understanding, to produce right action and right livelihood.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Raising the Cost of Living

Many government leaders mistake raising the cost of living -- with raising the standard of living -- which are actually inversely related. That is, the higher the cost of living, the lower the standard of living -- because the cost for that standard, is too high for most people. But misunderstanding that relationship and concept, makes them think progress is making everything more expensive rather than more affordable -- which is what happens when they raise the costs of that manufacture (labor), instead of its value.

Ultimately, it is the value one receives for their expenditures that is the quality of life, and not simply the expenditure, regardless of any value received, of which the ultimate high cost, is getting nothing in any transaction. The other end of the experience, is getting unanticipated value and great satisfaction, for free or very little. Then one's cost of living, is very low.

But rather than being a generalized experience, it is also a highly individual one determined by each person's unique ability to assess the cost-to-benefit, or risk-to-reward ratios, in getting what they think they are getting, and is willing to suffer the disappointment and consequences of the possibilities presented to them.

Some people feel they have no choice -- but to buy the one thing the salesperson insists, is the only thing possible, or is the only thing they are selling, even if it ill-suits what the purchaser needs, and is in the market for -- which can usually be summed up as "value." So never being able to obtain any, makes the cost of living seem exorbitant, as it is never possible to obtain any satisfaction, in any transaction. One only expects to be less well off, by those exchanges -- until finally, all their money is gone, and they live in constant fear of that eventuality -- as the logical fate of living in that society.

Is that the actuality for many, or is it just the threat of that society's disapproval and retaliation for not conforming to the status quo and socio-political correctness that a self-designated few claim an exclusive right to dictate for everyone else? How do these misappropriations of rights, privileges and powers arise? -- and how can that sovereignty be restored to their rightful owners -- to determine the fate and enjoyment of their own lives.

Why should the people despair for the hopelessness of owning and governing their own lives? When did we reach that point of no return? When were those essential rights surrendered? -- and who did it for us?

Those are the thoughts one has, when one sees the media reports and wonders, when did I think that? -- and can I afford not to think that way? That's why it is so important for the powers that be, to continue to raise the cost of living -- so that obedience and conformity to it, is the only thing that seems feasible, and binding.

Finally, there is no other way but to leave that society for another, where the cost is not so high, and there a few more options -- than the only "choice" allowed.