Saturday, March 31, 2007

Learning to Succeed

It’s been true for some time now, that we don’t need MORE education -- but LESS. But we need to learn the one thing that enables us to learn all the other things -- as needed, when we actually have to -- because the old manner of learning as much as we can, in the hopes that one day something might be useful, is really an outmoded and fallacious understanding of knowledge, learning and understanding.

The one skill every person needs to learn is simply how to process any piece of information -- as in computer programming, which reduces any bit of information to a universal digital code. It doesn’t matter whether it is health, business, philosophy or technology now -- as in the traditional (obsolete) education of categorizing, fragmenting, specializing the world of experience into many jargons, jurisdictions and hierarchies -- mainly to keep out the casual learner. That has become an increasingly useless and irrelevant education.

The really useful education of these times is learning how to function optimally and practically in this world -- rather than just academically and theoretically. It used to be that people were very impressed if one could tell them all one knew. But in this age of abundant information, we all only have time for the information we want to know -- and not everything that could be known.

Obtaining just that, is really the easiest and most essential lesson to learn -- and one can learn everything else, when there is a real need to. Learning just for the sake of learning, is not a powerful enough reason and motivation -- especially for the wisest and most perceptive. That is frequently the problem with the most gifted students. They have a passion, focus and intensity for learning (and creativity) because they can see through the false and inessential.

When people are vitally interested in what they are learning, there is no limit to what they can learn -- or how much they can learn. But if uninterested, they are like the people who get on the bus each day with the same book for the last twenty years who can never get pass the first page because they always read the same line over and over again. When asked why don’t they read a different book, they insist they have to stay with that book until they finish it, before going on to any other.

And so they never get around to learning vitally, all the great things happening in the world -- and how much easier and better, life could be because of their learning all the things useful and practical to learn. We need to learn in this new way -- and not just the old politically correct way, to be “correct.” That kind of "education" has no meaning -- though undoubtedly, the professional educators can keep providing more of that same.

Life is too important to learn all those things just because somebody else says it is for our own good. We each can determine that for ourselves -- once obtaining the basic skills, for processing any piece of information -- of which the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are the fundamental orientation we need to have -- in order that we can live daily lives of our own inclination, temperament and talent -- as intelligently as possible. The great injustice is that some students begin kindergarten with that exposure to those enabling technologies and orientation -- while many others will regard that as a threat to their entire being and way of life.

We need to level at least that playing field for all our citizens -- to live the lives now possible that could never have been imagined possible even by the previous generation of "teachers."

Sunday, March 25, 2007

District 21 Newsletter (Waikiki-Kapahulu)

Changing Hawaii

For this month’s meeting (4th Wednesday), we’re getting together to serve dinner at the Kakaako homeless shelter -- established by the Administration a year ago as a definitive response to the ban on homesteading in Ala Moana Beach Park. That “first step” has gone a long way to reversing the trend of increasing homesteading on prime beachfront property -- in the absence of establishing guidelines that are necessary even for the most disciplined citizens of any community to adhere to.

That seems to be a very positive trend in society after many years of moral drift -- in which many harmful people regarded it as a green light to do anything they could get away with, with the approval of the self-proclaimed well-meaning, who usually did not have to bear any of the consequences for their “liberal” good intentions. But that did not mean nobody would have to experience those consequences -- and that nobody could ever be held accountable. “Stuff just happened,” and there was this overwhelming sense that we had to let it.

That was a very frightening trend for the world -- that required the firm responses of President Bush on the international scene and Governor Lingle on the national/local scene to reverse -- and for which, many already take for granted, that the world was always so orderly, prosperous and rational.

Many have already forgotten that Hawaii was still in the grip of a decade(s) long recession -- that was reversed only by America emerging once again as the firm hand of leadership in the world that was adrift, with no moral compass that allowed that there could be definitive “right and “wrong” -- to the point of hopelessness that anything positive could happen anymore, and terrorists could operate without fear of catastrophic consequences. Those positive developments don’t just happen because of wishful-thinking. It doesn't come free either, as the demagogic would lead us to believe..

The world is a very different place since 9/11/01 -- immeasurably and unimaginably better than it was that day when all travel and hopeful activity stopped -- despite the demagogic contention that “things are no better” now -- when they so obviously are, no matter how partisan one is. Not to admit that reality -- undermines their own credibility, especially among the independent of thought.

It was not a vision often depicted in the mainstream (mass) media and so a lot of us decided we had to create our own media and means to get our vision of the world out there -- because the old media did not serve everybody’s perspective -- but sought to impose their own -- using the entrenched political majority to enforce that status quo, with themselves at the top. Meanwhile, the great impulse begun in the last years of the previous century, reached a greater fruition in the new century -- of opening up and leveling the playing field for greater participation, especially in the dialogue and discussion.

Such “democratization” is not justification that the majority is always right -- or even mostly right; the value of democracy is that it may allow the best not to be suppressed and ruthlessly eliminated. It does not guarantee that the status quo is always right.

That is the most misunderstood concept about a democracy -- that it guarantees the best government. It merely guarantees that the best may be heard without persecution. That’s what one should look for when observing the legislative proceedings or any forum of self-governance. The best part of a democratic republic, is the right to govern oneself foremost -- and not as the least consideration. A lot of problems are solved just by having this perspective -- that people will solve their problems because that is their whole purpose for being -- rather than that they have to be told what to do by powers who would like be their masters. A lot of these people, ironically, call themselves “Democrats,”” liberals,” and “progressives” -- which they think gives them the right to be autocratic and domineering.

Many are quite understandably turned off by the political process because of this unfairness and futility -- which some are making inroads to correcting in the traditional manner. What is often unrealized, is that their is more to (self-)government than just the formal institutions of government. By far, the largest part of it, is voluntary participation -- not just in political activities, but in all the ways people come together to define that society.

As Republicans, voluntarism is a particularly important and essential element to our vision for a more perfect society -- of people wanting to make it so, rather than people having to do so -- under threat of law and coercion. The government that governs best, is that which governs least.- -- and not what governs every aspect of our lives so that there is no freedom anymore. -- Mike Hu, District 21

The Party needs volunteers to serve dinner at the Shelter next Wednesday from 6 to 7:30 pm. (5:30 for early set-up). Anne Stevens suggested we participate in the shelter dinner as our monthly meeting, which is a great idea. So let's do it! This is an opportunity to do something for the neediest in our community. And the shelter is in our district.

The Kaka'ako Shelter is located at Pier 1, makai of Ala Moana Blvd. Turn at Forrest (Comp USA), proceed along the chain link fence (ewa of the medical school) to the warehouse where the shelter is located. Parking is available.

Let's all turn out to support this Party event and do something for our community at the same time. I hope to see all of you there at 6PM next Wednesday. Call me if you have questions.

Bob Kessler
Chair, HD 23
Ph. 922-6188
Or: Contact Eliza Talbot 593-8180 at Republican Party Headquarters.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

“Making Things Worse”

When the net result of all one’s expenditures and efforts is that the problem gets worse every year, requiring more money, expenditure and efforts -- it should be definitive proof that the solution is worse than the original problem -- and one needs instead to find the “right” solution that actually works in eliminating the problem -- rather than simply, as has become our culture and tradition, doing the same things over again, expecting different results. In all probability though, one really expects the same, predictable results -- and so one can demand even more money -- for doing the same job, or less, as the situation disintegrates into hopelessness, futility and despair!

What is not obvious, is that not only should such people be doing less -- but they shouldn’t even be doing what little they’re doing at all. In the world of counseling and therapy, that mode of behavior was recognized as “enabling the dysfunction,” rather than empowering optimal (healthy) functioning -- which is the elimination of THAT problem. It shouldn’t strike fear into the hearts of all unionists that THAT problem and the resultant jobs that enable them will be eliminated -- because time, energy and resources will be freed to solve the next level of challenge in the progress of human society towards a more perfect and happy condition.

But such a state of dysfunction has become institutionalized as our “government,” media, and other agencies that profit from the perpetuation of those problems and conditions. One would hardly expect them to want to change those cozy arrangements that place them at the top of such social organizations and pecking orders -- and so the struggle for most, is just securing a position higher up on the organizational ladders -- rather than living happily ever after on solid ground.

Unquestionably those former will be more insecure and hang on evermore tightly and fight off evermore desperately all those they consider as threats to their lofty perches -- thinking that is the only way up, and the only way things can ever be. All they have been taught in life is this struggle of everybody for everything -- as though that was an intelligent and wise way to be. A rare few escape that conditioning (education) and find a better way, which they hope to announce to the rest of society as at least another possibility, and are invariably shouted down by the powers that be, who wish to remain so under the present circumstances.

While many will “talk” about the unattainable hope for improvement, they like things fine just the way they are -- with themselves at the top, in charge, and in power. That is the well-observed “hypocrisy” of the self-proclaimed liberals. They are always self-proclaimed because their intentions are not evident to anybody else observing their actions, and in fact, it is a mark of their own cleverness to be able to say one thing and do something else -- and seeing how many people they can fool this time.

They are particularly attracted to certain occupations that loudly proclaim their "ethics" and pride themselves on their “professionalism” -- as the fact that they will be willing to do anything for money, fame and advancement. Towards these ends, they are likely to regard everyone else disdainfully as “amateurs.”

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Awakening of Intelligence

The meaning and purpose of communications is to awaken the intelligence of others -- and not as it has become in mass communications, the systematic design of suppressing intelligence to one’s will -- through persuasion at best, but more often than not, coercion, intimidation, ridicule, testimony, “correctness” -- and all the other well-known practices for molding the public opinion to one’s desires.

Those practices and techniques in the hands of the highly skilled, are an art -- but in the hands of the unscrupulous, is the major crime of these times -- of providing misinformation and disinformation to others, to one’s exclusive advantage -- which they then use the institutions of official power, to selectively enforce against their competitors and opponents. When intelligence is awake and aware, such manipulations and deceptions are obvious to even the most gullible and naive, and so the whole point of such “communications,” is to lull one to sleep, into a state of unconsciousness and indifference to all that is going on.

It might even be advocated as society’s highest virtue and categorical imperative -- of no longer being able to tell any differences for themselves (discriminate), and so they increasingly need other people to tell them what to think on every subject matter -- that explodes in complexity and difficulty that the average person had no awareness of, until the utter futility and desperation was brought to their attention by the latest wave of experts that were now necessary just to endure another perilous day.

It is not intelligence to know all the things one doesn’t need to know -- but to be able to distinguish ONLY what one needs to know -- in an age of abundant information and the prolific means of accessing it anytime one really needs to. But just doing it because one has nothing better to do, and wants to occupy one’s time in meaningless activity, is really a mark of stupidity masquerading as intelligence.

Out of the mountains of information, the intelligent know that only a very small percentage, is actually relevant to their concerns and makes a significant difference; the rest is not even nice to know, but is the smokescreen even the earliest philosophers recognized as the deceptive shadows on the wall. Every person of wisdom, has gone on to warn against mistaking the shadow and the smoke, including words and thought -- for the real.

The peculiarity of the previous century’s infatuation with mass media, was actually to promote the preference of the “image” over the real -- that the advance of further communication technologies, seek to resolve. Chief among them is that information is no longer centrally controlled -- by the powers that in the past, claimed that knowledge as their exclusive jurisdiction. They’d even pass laws prohibiting the use of many words except for those properly certified by themselves -- or at least, try to give that impression.

The uncertain were always intimidated back into their slumber of not wanting to know -- because it was made so tortuous to their participation. That was their whole point.

Knowing the few things truly worth knowing -- rather than all that can be known -- is the distinction of an "educated" person. That is all one needs to know.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Significance of Blogs

Blogs are nothing more than “publications” -- of any sort one can imagine it to be, which increasingly, is everything one can imagine being -- because there are no limits, except one’s own limitations. It is anyone’s ultimate freedom of expression -- which may be good or bad, depending on who one really is. One can’t fake “genius,” though one can pretend to be stupider than one really is -- which is always the bait of deception.

Nobody would willingly and knowingly take on an opponent superior to their own abilities -- but will not hesitate to look for lesser prey to exploit. For many people, that is their basic modus operandi. Those are people who do not run successful blogs -- or have successful human interactions of any sort, because they are inherently exploitative and manipulative -- which was the common currency of many, if not most of the human relationships of the past.

In recent times, people have come to a more enlightened view that it is desirable to "relate"to mutually beneficial advantage between peers -- which of course, transforms the world immediately to a better place, of greater trust and confidence. However, once one achieves that “utopian ideal,” a few will even consider the possibility of reaching the greatest intelligence possible in the universe beyond even their own “supreme” intelligence that they consider to be the standard of excellence.

That is where the fun really begins -- because quite obviously, all the intelligence in the world, is greater than any single intelligence in the world. Yet the conditioning of the past, was to train for each to compete -- against every other intelligence in this world, as our education and identity (ego). In fact, it was deliberately designed to make everyone cut themselves off from the “help” of all the others -- which was chastised in the classrooms as “cheating” -- and of course, one should never question the authority of the "teachers," in anything they said.

In this new age of information and communications, that paradigm is turned completely around, and the supreme intelligence is recognized as the one that can access all the others as though it were their own -- instead of cultivating all those capabilities themselves that would be too laborious and prohibitive even for the single greatest intelligence. So the skill that enables and empowers one, is the ability to easily distinguish extraordinary ability in another -- and others, rather than in the old paradigm, to compete against every other reflexively, thinking to dominate all others, as one's initial, basic response to any other.

In a world of universal participation and access, one doesn’t know if the other person may in fact be the world’s champion at what they do -- and are, and it would be foolish to presume that one was the standard of excellence in that area -- instead of first observing and assessing the skills of all the others.

The world champions in every field recognize that approach is their most productive “action,” rather than rising to the challenge of every claim of the “fastest gun” in the new frontier. People who don’t know who they are, and don’t really have a valid assessment of their skill level, are generally used to competing with others in the middle of the pack -- of no extraordinary ability and competence -- and are usually protected in that way from self-harm, which is their greatest danger.

The significance of blogs is that if one doesn’t know who they truly are, it’s a fairly (maybe the best there is at this time) easy way of finding out -- and that will be undoubtedly valuable in everything they subsequently do. It is a record of one’s own presence on this planet -- whatever one can make of it.