Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Critical Path

The wise and observant have pointed out that the essential human problem is the difference in the perception (understanding) from the actuality (reality), and that the essential human work is, reconciling that difference. Because the technology has become so formidable at creating whatever images they can conceive, the differences between the image and the actuality, can be immense for the undiscriminating and unwary -- but it also makes it glaringly obvious, to those who can discern these differences -- if they merely want to.

For those who don’t want to notice these discrepancies, the manipulated images and deceptions, are all they want to see, and they want to look no further. It becomes the cultural blindness that everyone agrees not to see -- no matter how much it is the glaring error that distorts everything else so that nothing can be resolved satisfactorily because the source of all the problems, cannot be altered.

That manner of problem-solving is called the critical path -- of finding the critical element that causes all the other problems, and not being able to make that determination, merely causes all the problems to remain unsolvable. Then no matter how much the culture or organization does, all their efforts just reinforce the difficulties. It’s a fairly common phenomenon in dysfunctional societies -- in which the major work, is to create more problems because it creates more jobs -- to “solve” them. “Solve” becomes a euphemism for creating more problems -- and more jobs, and so the reports in the newspapers, are invariably about society’s problems becoming worse and more dire each day.

In the reporting of it, the newspapers (media) hopes to sell more newspapers. So the investment is in things getting worse. And so that is a huge problem built into the institutions of the past -- which have as their imperative, the perpetuation of themselves -- even at the expense of the society it was created to serve.

Thus it is very important to define the objective of our institutions as being more than just their own reasons for being and self-aggrandizement. People have to be willing to sacrifice themselves to the greater cause -- and not just serve their own personal ambition at the expense of everybody else.

One would hope they teach these lessons in schools, but they obviously don’t -- and in fact, often teach precisely the opposite -- especially in the “professional” schools, of which personal success must come against all one’s peers. That is simply the reality of their profession -- and those who will not comply to that ethos, are weeded out for not having enough “drive” (ruthlessness) to succeed, which is also the shared cultural blindness of not seeing that which would distress “outsiders” as the critical flaw.

In the land of the ignorant, the teacher is king. In the land of the wise, there is no need for teachers. In the land of the criminal, the lawyer is king,. In the land of the just, there is no need for lawyers. So the cultural blindness and the critical path, is the complete elimination of the problem -- and not just a better solution that multiplies the problems and perpetuates them.

Friday, April 20, 2007

What's A Job Worth? (A Primer in Economics -- and Reality)

Once people have obtained the median income (making as much as most other people do), the biggest difference in “quality of life,” is not more money than everybody else is getting, but the amount of satisfaction they get from their work -- which is widely variable and unlimited. “Job satisfaction” is the greatest compensation one gets from work -- all other things being equal.

Therefore, one would expect to have to compensate those who don’t have as satisfying jobs, more -- to do it, and that’s how the unpleasant and unglamorous (unprestigious) work of society gets done.

That’s why very intelligent people realize that the most important undertaking in their lives, is to find the work/job they best love to do -- because that is the fulfillment of their lives, and defines their baseline experience of everything else they do.

It’s mostly the unions that convince their members that society doesn’t value them for what they’re worth (even though they’re getting paid significantly more than the median income already), and so these people come to regard the amount they’re paid, which is usually more than fair as government employees, as the ONLY compensation they get from their jobs.

One of the reasons people get higher pay is because of the uncertainty that comes along with such propositions -- which are not guaranteed lifetime security independent of performance and accountability. So while rare individuals may receive higher compensation, it is usually because they fill one-of-a-kind positions that are hard to duplicate.

I know the teacher lobbyists insist that as teachers, they should all be paid more than the top center in the NBA because the work they do educating children is more valuable to society than playing basketball. But there is nothing stopping them from openly competing for that same pay -- against the best, day after day.

But if one can do a job that a lot of others can also, your compensation will be understandably less. But just like the NBA player, it makes sense to discover what one does best in the world -- which is likely to be that which they enjoy most, and who they are. They are “lucky” in life to be doing what they enjoy doing. That is what one makes money, to do.

So let’s not gratuitously repeat the mind-rot the propagandists want us to -- unthinkingly, as though it is some profound insight.

You figure if these people are truly intelligent, with the same income as everybody else (the median), they will find a way to maximize it to a much greater extent than those less intelligent and deserving. But to complain endlessly about not getting enough because one isn’t getting MORE than everybody else, is the unintelligence is that is the cause of all society’s problems.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Big Picture

In following the melodrama over at the state capitol more than I really like to (in all honesty), one comes away with the impression that the major objective of everything they do -- is to make a mountain out of a molehill, and that the chief themes emerging, is to figure out a way in which the governor, who is the singular competent person, can also do nothing.

The senate confirmation process was never intended to be another battle by each senator hoping eventually to become the governor, to get their chance to show how they can block the governor from getting people they think can best do the job in helping them, into positions of prominence. Instead, they now feel that the proper people to have in such positions, will be those who will obstruct the executive at every issue and directive -- as their job.

So the confirmation of nominations is turned into endless crisis and campaign -- when the people have clearly indicated by their failure to show up at elections, that they’d rather not be bothered -- and would like somebody in charge, to take charge. Otherwise, those who remain interested and highly-motivated to dominate the proceedings, are the self-serving special interests.

That’s why we have representative government -- so everybody doesn’t have to stay involved, micromanaging every detail. In obstructing the executive's nominations and advancing proposals to make more positions contentious in this way, these legislators never get around to doing their own jobs -- because they are too busy passing resolutions “weighing in” on all the subjects that the media can get people interested enough to pay attention to what they think is so important.

So we have government by sensationalism, demagoguery, obstructionism, a constant struggle to see who is Boss -- as the only work of their jobs, while the bigger picture objective of making society run better, is entirely lost. Those who have nothing better to do in their jobs, then proceed to prevent anybody else from doing theirs -- so they don’t make everybody else look bad in not doing anything.

That is social organization and government at its most primitive form of development -- entirely consumed with issues of dominance and who is the Boss. Larger objectives are just lost entirely to these petty struggles for dominance -- by usually petty people, made smaller at everything they say and do. These are disproportionately lawyers; in fact, it is the ONLY thing lawyers seem to do -- obstruct justice and getting anything useful and productive done.

That model of dysfunction pervades all the public discussions and forums -- so that most citizens are turned off and driven away -- but the few motivated disproportionately because of their self-interest. So the process becomes that of wearing down the opposition by pointless and petty concerns until the competent, willing and able, get frustrated and walk away. What we have remaining is Hawaii (country) state government and its minions.

Increasingly, the rise of alternatives to these “venerable” institutions emerrge to supplant them and make them totally obsolete and irrelevant -- as they already are for the younger generations despite the pleas from the older, that they have to get interested and involved -- as the only option badly-aging Baby Boomers still think are the times we live in.

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Significance of “Good Friday”

One doesn’t have to be overtly religious to observe innocent people being wrongly accused, wrongly judged and wrongly executed -- and rather than the authorities and reporters doing something to prevent it, they are the very ones instigating these persecutions. That is the eternal lesson of Good Friday -- and not that there was a single injustice thousands of years ago that has never been repeated again, that we should be hopeful will be revealed as the greatest blunder of all time -- that the person targeted, was the Son of God.

That obvious moral is missed by both the religious and the secularists. Good Friday is about justice -- and how whatever justice one metes out, will be the justice returned a hundredfold -- as a curse or a blessing, whichever one chooses it to be -- and lives their lives.

It is therefore very fitting that it takes place around the same time one has to square their accounts with “Caesar,” as well. But for most, there is no significance of anything -- but a day off they got free, for no good reason, and that is all they need to know -- before deciding on the distraction to fill an idle day.

But that is why Good Friday is among the holiest of observances, for those who do think about such matters -- as probably a defining moment and standard of their own moral lives -- which unfortunately many people in society do not think is important.

Like many “religious” observances, it is a tradition of a much more universal human significance, for which the Church made it an official station on the calendar to mark the progress of each individual soul throughout the journey of their years. It is not essentially religious or secular -- but about the individual spirit to stand alone (with God) -- even against all other men, particularly the self-serving, self-righteous, self-important people of any time.

Those are the few who rise above the crowd at such times, and identify themselves to God -- which is the all-knowing. Most importantly, that is the person each knows of themselves.

So as one reads the mainstream (mass) media on this observance of Good Friday, one is singularly struck by the absence of this reflection and spirit in any of their writing and thoughts for the day. For them, it is just another day of cowardice and insignificance, in which their best excuse is, “Everybody else does it, so why shouldn’t I.”

But such a pronouncement is never to be able to look at another human being in the eyes and in the face, without the fear of being thusly known as one who stood for nothing of any consequence or significance all their lives. And so fondly, they retell their lives and vividly relive their memories in how they would have done it over, if they had to do it again, as though they did it right the first time, until in that retelling, they convince themselves, it was they who stood alone against the crowd, and saw that justice prevailed that day.

But that’s not how God sees it.