Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Quality (and Meaning) of Life

The only true indication of one’s quality of life, is not how much money they make -- but ultimately, how healthy and happy that person actually is. One usually doesn’t have to poll a person or run scientific studies to determine that -- because that quality is evident even to the untrained eye -- if they haven’t been conditioned not to see it. Obviously, people who are angry, envious, resentful, bitter, and complaining all the time -- as the only people featured in the newspapers, are not good indicators or role models -- which may have some validity when the actualities of scarcity validated those perceptions.

But nowadays, that one is not holding the nation's highest office or the most celebrated person in the land, is a cause for great grievance -- as an entitlement to be there, regardless of any distinguishing and noteworthy qualities -- because the role of the union organizer is to keep them dissatisfied and feeling wronged and thus entitled -- no matter how much they have. There is always some comparison that will show them at some disadvantage to some others -- if they look hard enough.

And so that becomes the disease of contemporary life. I’m not talking about the people who really have nothing -- but of the many now who despite making substantially more than the median income, feel that life (society) has betrayed them because they are not the richest, of whom they condemn as well as envy. Newspapers do endless propaganda for these generators of discontent -- feeling that their advocacy somehow helps their own cause -- instead of betraying everyone else by setting off another round of this hopeless catch-up and cycle of increasing disparity.

So it is appropriate that the conditioning apparatus of choice for these people is the treadmill -- by which they can go as fast as they can and never get anywhere, while feeling they have “done a lot.” One gets good at what one practices, and if it is to operate a treadmill, one will become a master of it. But is that a worthwhile objective in life -- to constantly compare oneself with every other endlessly, until one realizes he has wasted his entire life doing so -- without doing anything significant or meaningful with all the blessings they had been given all along?

What is relevant is not what people in other communities pay or earn compared to oneself -- but how much those living in the same community is paid or earns, that determines the cost of living for everyone living in that community. So for the newspaper’s business writers to have no understanding of that, is to have no understanding of anything worthwhile, while quoting many facts and statistics designed to mislead.

It is the understanding of those facts and statistics that have meaning -- and not simply how many facts and statistics one has, as though the mere accumulation of them was enough to give one richness of understanding. That is the real failure of education.

Statistics don’t lie, but those with only an academic familiarity with them, think they understand far more than they actually do -- so while being wary of that which sounds "too good to be true," are entirely taken in by that which sounds "too bad to be true" -- in the training that only bad news and information is news. And everything else is not on their radar screen -- especially the news that one should be grateful for all one has more than once a year.

Quality of life, is the appreciation of life -- rather than the perpetual devaluing and demeaning news that more and more people simply get along without now. For those without that quality, there will always never be "enough." There will always be somebody that has more than they do, has more imagined happiness and fulfillment -- for which they will be eternally resentful and complaining.

But is that all there is to life in their world?


At January 27, 2007 10:14 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Anybody who's ever had money, will tell you that it's true, that while necessary to some extent, once one has a little, the major difference between people is their ability to obtain maximum value from the expenditure of that money -- and not that money itself is a reliable indicator of the joy, health and happiness one obtains from it.

So these people who think they're only worth what they are getting paid (as the unions work tirelessly to convince them), don't realize that it is how much they value their own efforts is really the value of the lives. Many, unfortunately value their own lives at nothing -- and so are particularly susceptible for others to determine those values for them.

Every great artist, inventor or creator knows that nobody can recognize the value of what they do -- more than they can themselves -- because others are not even aware of that existence, or possibility. That's what makes these people artists, inventors and creators.

That's also the work of the philanthropist -- who if they don't value these things before the rest do -- don't create (subsidize) it for everybody else -- eventually.

That's how the rich plays a very necessary part in the evolution of society. There needs to be a few people of wealth, leisure and discrimination, to try the new -- and buy the first of these prototypes at exorbitant prices. Then as more people buy them, the prices come down so that eventually, everybody can have them as standard equipment -- as has become the case with microwaves and cell phones. People forget that the first ones were $10,000 and only the rich could afford them. They have the time and money to test them -- before they eventually stand the test of time.

That is the value of art -- that it eventually becomes the commonplace because it makes so much sense. That's how ideas come into being. Otherwise, we can't do this and we can't do that -- because nobody's thought of it before, and that's that.

At January 27, 2007 10:20 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

In these times, the "rich' means something else more than money, and that is the richness of judgment and proper discriminations of value and usefulness. Many products will turn out to be premature -- because they have not withstood the challenges of time, use and experience. That's how products evolve -- rather than are conceived perfectly. Only people who have no idea, think that's how the world evolves -- from perfect hindsight.

One is always taking intelligent guesses -- and seeing the consequences and ramifications of that. Only the editors of the newspapers and commentators on talk shows have this "perfect knowledge" they demand of everybody else -- as presumably they possess themselves.

At January 27, 2007 10:48 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Where are the academics in all these discussions?

These are the people who have been most intimidated by the Information and Communications revolution because it strikes at the very basis of their claims to superiority -- in the traditional manner of knowing more than everybody else -- in their specialty.

However, the world of thought has moved beyond those barriers and limitations to value the integration of diverse knowledge and experience -- so that narrow specialists who cannot integrate knowledge in this comprehensive manner, seem irrelevant. Nobody is interested in knowing how much one knows -- as an end in itself.

The value is in how it leads to further discoveries and insight -- rather than being a static game. Process has always been problematical for the defenders of the status quo -- because once one understands truth as moving, dynamic, changing and evolving, one is part of life, and not the observer apart from it.

That undermines the whole concept of the objective observer, which even the physicists early in the 20th century recognized was a physical impossibility. When the observer recognizes he is also the observed, understanding takes a quantum leap in which one's being is one's doing.

Thus the fragmentation, specialization, countless divisions of the 20th century consciousness (paradigm) moves effortlessly and inevitably towards increasing integration and wholeness -- which were the problems of the 20th century caused by the 20th century mind -- of creating more divisions and specialties (jurisdictions) we regard as the old turf wars -- of land-based consciousness (territoriality).

Understanding belongs to all -- equally.


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