Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Why Should We Care?

”Who is John Galt?”, begins Ayn Rand’s fulfillment of the novel genre that can never be surpassed in its epic vision and proportions of the timeless human narrative of society's basic impulses -- fleshed out in individual thought and action.

Newspapers try to convince us we should find what they think is so important, important too, and when nobody responds in that predictable manner, the realization doesn’t happen and take hold. It takes another to validate what one wishes any other to “see.”

In times past, those who controlled the printing presses, controlled the agenda of what could popularly be thought -- and they would suppress every other “alternative” thought they did not want exposed, let alone given equal time. In the age of the Internet, such absolute control and suppression is no longer possible -- as readers search the world for the best and the brightest, not limited to the political and geographical favorites. Few can be convinced anymore, that what a self-chosen few want us to see, is all there is to see -- just because they will grade us highly for knowing only what they want us to know.

That has always been the limited world of knowledge -- and now it is possible to understand both the known and the unknown. Thus, there is no longer the fear of the unknown -- as though that was the worst of all possible fates. One simply finds out about an area of life and experience they did not suspect before. But it is reality that thrusts that focus on us, and not the endless speculations and anxieties that unchecked, became the source of one’s mental and emotional imbalance.

We should care about what is really happening -- but not all those things people merely want us thinking about -- distracting and diverting from what is really going on. Then, the wrong problems are solved, while the right ones are ignored -- and even denied being a problem. Ultimately, real problems are solved not in the urgency of the present moment, but in some far away time in the future -- which means that they never will be solved but only pushed further into the future with each subsequent generation.

Therefore, each generation must sacrifice themselves for that glorious future and future generations -- who in their time, must sacrifice themselves for the future generations once again. Each generation’s happiness is sacrificed for this future that will never arrive.

In this manner, politics and political solutions make a clean break from any reality and becomes wholly a myth about some theoretical and abstract “community” -- in the future. Transportation systems are built where the people don’t live -- but government wishes they will. Garbage is loaded on barges and taken out where nobody can see, and dumped into the ocean. Discussions and forums can be canceled if there is the slightest threat that its organizers and officers might lose control. And the newspapers will suppress, censor and alter, to ensure that they alone will be “the smartest guys on the island.”

Who is John Galt?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Beyond Government and Politics

If one reads the newspapers, one gets the impression that the only thing happening in society anymore is what is happening in government -- when it was never more true that most things happening in society and life, are beyond government -- but most people don’t hire lobbyists and public relations staff to announce everything they are doing -- as though they are the ONLY ones doing anything.

People living on the creative edge, are too busy creating and manifesting those possibilities, to send out announcements of what they will be doing -- and of all the things they’ve done, as a matter of public credit (record) -- they expect to be handsomely rewarded for, in this as well as the next life eternally.

Some “public servants” will even "dedicate" their lives to erecting massive public works monuments to themselves to enshrine their memories and names indelibly in the public history for all time -- as the ancient pharaohs did, so that generations into the future will wonder, why were so many lives and all the wealth of that society sacrificed to that monomaniacal splendor? What possible use and purpose could it have served? -- even in another time and circumstances so far removed.

Governments build enduring monuments and institutions to themselves to fix themselves in the public memory for time immemorial while the living being of society, is always recreating themselves with fresh purpose and renewed sense of meaning. That’s what it means to create a more perfect society, and not just enshrine the present status quo, with themselves permanently affixed at the top.

Public service was meant to be shared by all -- and not just be a few people’s lifetime sinecures and entitlements. That is the underlying problem of government in Hawaii that turns people off and away from government -- because they don’t get to serve equally but are increasingly shut out from that participation by the powers that wish to remain always so. Thus a public service becomes a private and personal aggrandizement -- and everybody else is discouraged or sent on wild goose chases to wear themselves out in the tedium of perpetual arguments and pettiness that have become the people’s forums..

But they’re hardly the only game in town anymore -- as people have abandoned such wastes of time, to create more meaningful societies and forums -- quite without the government and newspapers knowing what is going on. If they did, they would want to control them -- just as they want to control everything else they know about, and so the people no longer let them know, for justifiable fear that they will ruin it just as they have ruined everything else -- learning, health, recreation, expression -- into something tawdry, trivial and petty, so some government official can be “in charge.”

The real objective of government is to prepare its citizens for the day when government is no longer necessary -- and not to perpetuate itself for life everlasting, for the greater glory of themselves, and to make its citizens increasingly more dependent on government, and needing to ask permission, for everything they do in life. Government exists to serve its citizens, and not citizens, to serve the government.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The World is “On Sale”

Local economies/communities fluctuate in relative value to one another -- and so when one becomes overvalued, there are other places relatively undervalued -- and where those looking for the best value in the cost of living (opportunities) migrate to, if they can and are willing to.

At no time in history, has that been more true, as the world anticipates the retirement of the post-World War II baby boom generation -- that has pretty much dominated life as we know it for the last 50 years. With an outsized and accelerating generation bump looking to spend their retirement years in a desirable location of their choosing, if not fantasy, it should be obvious that certain destinations will become too popular for their own good -- while many will languish despite being more optimal places for those living on a retirement (limited) income.

Some places become prohibitive for that purpose because by design and intent, attracts only the wealthy, who could afford to live anywhere they want to. Many, undoubtedly, will choose the remote islands of Hawaii, as well as the popular destination of Honolulu. The competition for resources, particularly housing, quite naturally will drive up prices so that only the wealthy (retired and independent) can afford them, and so the less established people have to move on and away.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Not all things that happen in life, turn out as we would hope they would. People get divorced, disabled, die, gain and lose fortunes, change jobs, and just plain change -- especially if they’re healthy and open to changes and challenges.

Many people will find it incredulous that Hawaii was tremendously underpriced relative to most places in the United States in the 1990s until a definitve response to the overhanging threat of terrorist uncertainty was halted by President Bush at the dawn of the new millenium, but few thought that could be true because in the ‘70s and ‘80s, they were famously overpriced. Economies and communities are like stocks: they boom and bust, are at the top of their game, and bottom out too. That’s happened everywhere, and with virtually everything

The astute, shop the opportunities of the world as their personal supermarket -- limited only by their knowledge of relative values, and how they can assess them meaningfully to their own sense of values. Cheap is not everything -- if there is no quality of life, so paramount, is one’s own ability to determine “quality” even when everybody else can’t. Such people are also first to realize when things no longer are worth the price people are asking for what they are willing to exchange of value.

When everybody is on the side of demanding “something for nothing,” nobody will get a fair exchange because the only criteria is finding somebody to exploit -- until they all move away. Slowly, people come to realize that they have to offer a value as great as they hope to obtain to effect an exchange.

But merely complaining that the cost of living is too high, is meaningless, unless one is prepared to do something about it -- like living and shopping elsewhere where the bargains are plentiful.

The worst thing is fearing to find out.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Power of Arrogance

Real power is not arrogant; phony power is -- and inevitably betrays itself in total humiliation and annihilation when left to go unchecked, unimpeded, and uncorrected, and so when realizing such phoniness, it is best to let it run its ruinous course by their perpetrators -- because that is the only cure for their affliction, and not convincing them otherwise to be more humble.

That never works with the arrogant. They cannot self-correct but must be humbled by more powerful others, as well as more ruthless and arrogant others. That is their fate and destiny.

Arrogance is the power of people who cannot deal with success (or failure), and so will turn every silver lining into a dark cloud -- and live in perpetual darkness because they really don’t want to see -- especially their own reflections in the mirror anymore. If they take a good, hard look at themselves, it is obvious that their features are pulled in a thousand different directions all at once, looking like a person on the verge of exploding in a thousand different directions at the next appropriate trigger.

When victory is near, they claim it is they who are wholly responsible; in defeat, they claim to know nothing of what happened but are avowed to find the right person to blame. So when things go wrong, they do not look for reasons why they went wrong -- but only who to blame because they have no idea what went wrong. Neither do they know what went right -- and how to replicate that success -- if they had to, starting from nothing. That would require the ability to manufacture something rather than simply steal it.

What seemed like good fortune was thrust upon them -- and they interpreted that to mean they were favored by the gods. If good fortune continues, they think they are the gods -- and never that they are fortunate, blessed and lucky.

Winning all the time is not necessarily the best thing that can happen to anyone -- because they never have to learn to deal with failure as well as success, and that makes them callous to those who are not as “successful” as themselves. The truly powerful learn what it is like to experience and deal with both failure and success, so they can recognize and deal with each appropriately, realizing how they can change one into the other. The arrogant, merely and always go into denial, rage and self-loathing.

That is what makes them powerful -- and not like the many fools, trembling in trepidation that they will revealed, for what they really are -- and even passing laws, edicts and societal conventions, that nobody should ever be able to tell the difference.