Monday, May 01, 2006

Notes From Reality

It’s good to see so many people riding bicycles these days; it should be regarded as an act of intelligence and patriotism to do so -- as well as walking and all the many other exhibitions of ingenuity and efficiency. Most people’s lives could be greatly enhanced not by government edicts and programs -- but by exercising the road not taken.

There’s something wrong when people think the government must solve all their problems for them -- rather than being the solution of last resort. If the people are intelligent, it doesn’t take laws to do the right things. But in order to do the right things, they need to know what all the choices are -- and not just what the political establishment wants them to know, as the only way they can do things. Then of course, intelligence cannot be manifested because intelligence is that exercise of choice and freedom -- and not merely repeating the answers those in control want them to give.

So all these deviations from the norm, breaks from the conventional, are a very promising sight -- that people aren’t just going to lament the passing of the old and hope for its return but have decided to adapt to the present circumstances in whatever matter is best, given knowledge of the options. And that’s what the media, schools, universities should be doing -- making known the new alternatives, and not just their old one in which they control the information so there need not be any choices.

Then politics/government is no longer about showing who is boss -- but the leadership of the wise, fair and honest. Leadership should be of the most creative, resourceful, innovative -- and not those who think that maintaining the status quo with themselves at the top is the whole purpose of human striving. That’s just a waste of energy -- ensuring that nobody can get ahead but themselves -- and why nobody moved ahead, because all the energy was consumed in seeing that nobody got ahead of themselves.

So the understanding of human purpose must be clear -- before any effort becomes meaningful. If the design for a mass transit system is for everybody else to take, in order to leave the roads clear for oneself, then such thinking will obviously not be the answer. But if one is the first to take the bicycle, he is already the solution.

If one travels anywhere in the world, he would shocked to discover that bicycling, walking, alternative forms of transportation are so underutilized here in Hawaii. The lack of individual initiatives is mind-boggling. There is this culture in feeling that nothing can be done unless it already has been done -- or that government must pass a law to do what makes sense doing, sanctioning intelligent action or it is wasted, for naught.

This is particularly troubling in learning (education) in which people will not do anything unless they are rewarded by somebody else to do so. Learning must be rewarding in itself -- as the greatest gift one can give to themselves. That spirit of learning is what education is about -- and not about teachers salaries relative to those on the mainland or compared to whatever other group they should be respected as much as. Where does all the money go?


At May 03, 2006 11:22 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

That’s why the great promise -- as well as the challenge of these times -- is creating viable alternative sources of information, rather than allowing the self-selected, self-interest group to maintain a monopoly on information into perpetuity. Ultimately, their pronouncements are what is “politically correct,” and broadcast through the popular media, as though there can be nothing else. That manner also specifically forbids listening to anything else -- which of course is intellectual/cultural suicide. They have drunk the Kool-Ade of their own propaganda.

Members of the status quo support each other -- and a threat to one is considered a threat to all, that is a clarion call for all to mobilize to justify the old ways, the old hierarchies, the old power matrixes.

The first response is to send in overwhelming and intimidating show of force -- a successful ploy against the merely uninformed, deluded and confused. When that doesn’t work, they go to pull out their facts and supporting documents, and realize the drawer is empty, and what they presumed they knew, was only what somebody told them to. This happens a whole lot in every field of study -- that everybody else assumed that somebody else really knew what was going on, and so they went along.

The “information” professionals know how to exploit those vulnerabilities -- that trust and confidence. That is the skill of the marketers of information (propagandists, public information specialists, lobbyists, political demagogues, etc). The story they tell is often not the story the original source intended -- but has been vastly “improved” to be something else, sometimes something else entirely. That is compounded at some institutions by only having certain designated persons empowered to speak to any other organization or agency -- who may not have a full understanding of the issues, but must act as though he does -- in the scheme of the bureaucracy they have become.

One obvious response is that entirely new organizational structures become manifest -- eliminating the layers of bureaucracy that prevent the intrusion of outside interactions. Meanwhile, the new organizations mine the value of these interactions as information, as the relevant. There is nothing more important that they have to do.

The primary value of past information and knowledge, is simply to prepare the foundation for what one is learning now -- and is capable of learning. Those full of knowledge who cannot or will not learn anything new -- are the useless bloat of institutions that eventually suffocate them.

New and different ideas are always these kinds of challenge to the entire status quo -- while meaningless “more” information and knowledge, poses no such threat, but reinforces and reconfirms the existing status quo -- which has become the categorical imperative of that organization, to perpetuate itself at whatever cost, whatever it takes. It becomes ultimately ruthless in that suppression, repression, and oppression. Eventually, even its staunchest defenders want out -- as the remaining few can only pick and prey on one another. That is the natural rise and fall of organizations, cultures and societies.

Embracing radically different information is this kind of revolutionary action -- because all our thoughts are related to all our other thoughts. What we’ve assumed to be true our entire lives -- turns out to be not, but the new truth, turns out to be far simpler than we could ever have imagined it being!

At May 04, 2006 10:20 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The 1800s was a great time of discovery in many areas; it was the culmination of the renaissance and the scientific revolution -- the steam engine, light bulb, telephone, Standard Oil, etc. The American Civil War, the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, the transcendental movement, the golden age of literature (Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Whitman, Thoreau), while the great contribution of the 1900s was making those discoveries the common experience -- in the process, often standardizing on one model and then mass-producing that one only. What was often inadvertently lost many times, was the best and the better, because they could not be so easily replicated -- or unfortunately, was not as profitable to do so. That is a major dilemma for those on the cutting edge of research and development -- that in eliminating the problem, one destroys the market opportunity, and so the strategy often adopted, is to perpetuate the problem.

This is particularly true of the major expenditures of society/government, which have become education and health care -- even though those expenditures have grown astronomically out of control. In anything in life, one would eventually regard that the solution they have chosen to solve the problem, is the wrong solution -- or maybe, even seeing a problem where none exists -- oftentimes, anymore. But because societies become creatures of habit, tradition, pomp and circumstance (status and power), it may have long outlived its original purpose and intent.

So now, modern “education” must create the perception of ignorance -- when learning is an inevitability of contemporary life. A study may point out that only 40% of the population knows where Iraq is -- as though that was some great failing of society that we need to hire many highly-paid government experts to rectify. And next year, the question will be, “How many know where Uzbekistan is?” -- as more proof of how far Americans are falling behind in “critical” knowledge. Undeniable proof that we need to hire even more highly-paid government experts/educators.

The fact is, with modern information/communication culture and technology, it is virtually impossible not to learn something new all the time; the problem is filtering out the bad education, or propaganda, that is likely to be distributed by the mass (mainstream) media, because of the confidence and trust they built in the past as frequently the only sources of information readily available. But when information becomes abundant, those traditional sources of the past may fall down the list of useful, reliable and credible information. Because while the mainstream media of the past may have been the best in the past, given the technological limitations in which it evolved and flourished, when the technology is no longer that limit, its own traditions (conventions) may now be revealed as its limitations.

In the newspaper world, the convenient and expedient excuse was that due to deadline pressures, they couldn’t do a thorough job of “vetting” the information. In the age of Internet publications, the only pressures and limits are the ability to create quality, original content -- 24/7 -- at any time, all the time. In other words, there are no excuses; you have to get it right -- which is another game entirely.


Post a Comment

<< Home