Friday, April 3, 2015

I Prefer "Philosophical Freedom" Instead

    I am really interested in the very hypocritical banter around the "religious freedom" laws being introduced.  I would like to start out, right off the bat, that I support the spirit of these laws.  What I do not like is that they are calling them "religious". Too much exposure to the assault on the ridiculous opposing ideals of western Christians.  I think the better term would be philosophical freedom" legislation. Religion, after all, is just organized philosophy that is shared by a group of people.   Likewise, the "meaning of life" since life first sparked on Earth is to pass not only genetic, but philosophical traits to the next generation.  Battles between species and or inside the pack, is one where the strongest get to breed.  This has been the driving force of evolution for humanity for nearly 200,000 years. 

   Like an experiment in "selective attention".   One where the media, and even the bills creators, only focused on one possible application.  I think this is the case here.  The focus is on homosexuals being rejected by some business owners.  But what if I was Buddhist?  What if I don't believe in carrying weapons for self defense. It violates the first precept.  To a Buddhist, to leave the house with a tool designed only to kill, not only designates intent, but to do so contaminates ones mind and invites hostile Karma.  So, welcoming weapons into my place of business would violate my sanctuary.  Since Buddhist believe all actions as well as all speech support their path, their journey.  But not only would I have to deny guns in my establishment, but I would have to deny homosexuality.  The 3rd precept is abstain from sexual misconduct.  This refers to sex just for pleasure. In fact the actual translation is "sensual pleasure" which refers to over indulging in any act without purpose.  So, according to my Buddhist religion, I would be obligated to deny service to people who were requesting it if they were carrying guns or openly displaying homosexual behaviors. I should have the right to support my policy.  Just as any customer has a right to patronize somebody who supports theirs.

     This society in the past, has repressed people solely based upon genetic/ biological traits like skin color, eye shape, gender, and or age.  There is no doubt that this kind of judgment is detrimental to the well being of humanity.  That is not to say that certain roles in life are necessary and should be equally compensated.  If it is a trait that would require surgery for you to change or not to display, then it is clearly biological.  Despite the attempt for more than 40 years to pin some behaviors on biology, they have all failed.  The mere notion that a movement wants to have a behavior designated as "biological" and thus "not a choice" means that we understand that things that are a "choice" are subject to social criticism.  We should  not sit in judgment of things that are not in the control of the individual. 

      Behaviors are created by environmental factors, by the "message" we send people about the pleasure or pain involved with making a decisions.  Today, we still have laws that "reject" behaviors. As extreme as killing and raping, but as debatable as carrying guns, smoking pot, taking drugs, eating too much, selling our bodies, having multiple spouses, acquiring too much, or how we educate out children. We even force people who would otherwise not hold insurance, to do so. 

   This existence was created by living entities that could  not "talk". They have a philosophy that pass onto their young by their actions.   Most people who have a child understand that the words they say only embrace a small portion of the lesson they learn.  (Preaching against smoking and drinking has little effect with a beer and a cigarette in your hand.) That doesn't stop just because we are grown. Likewise, the "golden rule" of teaching children also still applies as adults. "Always condone good behavior, Always condemn bad behavior" . I can love a person and many of the things they do, but I should be allowed to demonstrate my opposition to the things I do not.  (I could get into the underlying failure and reason for so much emotional distress in the US being caused by endless mixed messages, but that would be an entire book.)  But believing you have a philosophy worth passing on to your peers and your successors is the very reason we live. Or it should be.  "Environment" is simply a complex network of social "dos" and "don'ts". I should be allowed to teach my child with words and actions, in my own empire, what I do expect and what I don't.  Even inside of a family, there are traits a parent will promote about a family member while discouraging another. Sometimes those lessons are taught ini respect to a family member. We are complex individuals.  Healthy emotional stable people can see the shades of grey in the people in their lives.   It is a crazy borderline type personality  that sees a parent as all good or all evil. 

   How about I put it this  way.  What if I am on my sailboat.  I am in California waters, so it is legal to smoke pot.  What if my young daughter is on board and a friend, all the sudden whips out a joint or a bowl and starts smoking.  Do I not have a right to make them put it out?  What if they start watching porn on the TV I have installed.  Do I not have a right to force them to stop these "behaviors". I certainly believe these are examples I do not want my daughter to deal be exposed to.  I want her to know that I do not approve of them.  So, on my own ship, I should be able to set that example. 

    If I create something, a house, a business, a social group, with my time and effort, I should be able to speak that belief with my whole being.  My physical voice and my action. If the government through law forces me to engage in actions that I do not condone, they take away my guaranteed right to "free speech."  How does the saying go, actions speak louder than words"? 

 Now, obviously there are lines drawn as part of our overall social identity of this society, that certain behaviors that either manipulate children or force harm on anybody are rejected by all but the few who do it.  Even most of them say they don't condone it, but that isn't what their actions say.  But, one thing is clear to me, it is my right as a person, and especially as a father, to speak with my actions, protect my philosophy by making sure all know it, and the government should not stop me. from doing so. THAT is a violation of free speech.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fast Food, Capitalism, and Illegal Immigration: The Dots That Connect Them.
It is said that "and army runs on its stomach". This is true of slaves as well. Feed somebody and they will be indebted to you. You have covered one of their basic needs and with the time they don't spend pursuing food, you can guilt them into doing labor for or at least supporting you. (This happens in a microcosm at work.)
So much labor is involved in growing, harvesting, cooking, and bringing food to a table, that it is a core sources of systemic functionality (The reason people work so well together.) that defines a reason humans made it to the top of the chain. What many people who both profess the wonders of global capitalism and then complain about the influx of illegal immigrants into this country don't seem to grasp is the connection between the two in Central and South America. As the US has dumped cheap food on these communities in those areas, a few thing happened. First, the food is high caloric food that expands the physical and psychological "need" for more and more. As the documentary "Food Wars" put it, We are predisposed for gorging ourselves with calories when they are available in preparation for "the winter" but we live in a world where "winter never comes". That feeling is never turned off. However, when once a village or even a family needed a large percentage of their population dedicated to just doing one of the tasks associated with feeding, now a small crew can feed thousands (or billion and billions served) of people. Add to that a reality that the food comes from far far away where much of it is not done by the community, and you have essentially eliminated the functional need for more than 3/4ths the community/ family/ country. (This is the passive aggressive nature of capitalism.)
So what do you do when so many people no longer have lost their function their historic role in society? Send them to work in your dangerous factories for low wages. Break up their families by making it so both mother and father have to work to make ends meet. A place where the kids will not see their parents hard work and only see the meager fruits of their labor. Expose them to the dangers of the influence of the violent drug cartels. Drive the very value of the producers down and then call them lazy, worthless, and beggars when they can not establish a respectful living and lifestyle.
A long time ago, when I had more "conservative" leanings, thinking it to be funny, I used to say, "if you want to take over a country, don't send troops, send McDonald's and Walmarts. In no time they will depend on your hand to feed them." I still "say" it, I just don't think it is funny anymore.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Why College Cost So Much And Tuition Risen So Fast And We Still Pay

There has been lots of talk about the cost of education and how to pay for it these days. Obama has made it part of routine talking points.  It is sure to come up in the election campaigns.  However, nobody is talking about what caused exaggerated tuition increases in the first place.  With my love of the use of analogy to lead the reader to reason, here are two scenarios (one building upon the other) that explain, crudely, what happened.  ( hint, in all the stories in that Bible book, only one type of person made that Jesus character angry enough to take to mild violence.)   Read, enjoy, comment..

The first scenario starts with a "producer" who produces this product called "education". His target market it a group called "the people". Because market "value" is set by the equilibrium point  derived from the price "The People" are willing AND able to pay for the "education", the price is set at $5000 per education. (using numbers only as example.) The truth is that The People would be willing to pay more because they believe education has special powers to grant financial stability. But because of income levels and costs of living among The People they are not ABLE to pay more, the Producer can only sell education at 5K. So the question is "Where is the power to value 'education' under this scenario?" A secondary question would be "How much does it cost?" The answer, to me, is clearly in the hands of "The People" and tied rationally to their actual income.

In the second scenario, a "money changer" with extra capital to invest, sees the situation above and devices this plan. He recognizes that people are "willing" to pay more, and with time he can squeeze that extra out of them.  He approaches the "Producer" of the "education" and says, "how would you like to double the amount you can get for each of your educations? The only caveat is that while there are currently 100 "The People" consuming your Education per cycle, next cycle you will only be able to serve 90. But you were getting $50,000 per cycle, you will now get $90,000 per cycle. You will be able to lay off staff and a few other fixed costs with the reduced overhead. Of course the Producer wants to boost his income. But he explains "$5000 is market value, I can not get anymore. I have tried to raise my prices in the past and people did not buy." The money changer says, "leave that to me. Just raise your rates to double." The money change then approaches The People a few days later, who have been informed of the increase in price of Education. He, passing himself off as a "good guy" says, "I have good news. I will pay for 90 of you the $10,000 to purchase Education. In return I only ask that you pay me back $15,000 over then next 10 yrs and not until after you get out of school." Now The People are in competition with each other for a product that may or may not have the value they believe it to. They, caught in this competitive market ignore the many things that could happen. They could fail, they could die, they could become disabled, and other life events, and still owe the money changer. The question is the same, "Where is the power in this new scenario?" The Producer COULD choose not to raise his rates and make more money. But in a capitalist market, that is unlikely and if he did, somebody else will take advantage of them.  The People, believing they need Education for themselves, their kids, and all they love for safety and stability feel trapped. They, wanting to maximize potential for their and their children's future, feel inclined to buy this education at any cost.

  The message of this experiment is that the control over the economy was taken from "The People". It was taken from them by the deliberate method of the "money changers".  While the reality is that many bankers and "investors" are not so deliberate in their intent, the result is still the same.  Good intention have paved the way to places best left untraveled before.  Anyway you care to view it, the real power is with the Money changer. AND THAT is the problem with many economic issues in this country. The people with the money, in a very passive way, hold growing control over those who do not.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Here are the LAP New Year “Revolutions”

  Being this a advocacy for political change blog, It is only fitting that I set some points for change that I would like to see us work towards in the coming years.

A Different Type Of Marriage Authorized 
1) It is time to marry the ideas on the "Declaration of Independence" and the "Constitution".   It is time to acknowledge that the document that men looked at and agreed it was worth risking their lives for, the ones the soldiers of the revolution signed upon committing service, is just as valid and important as the ones politicians in a time of slavery, sexism, racism, and treating natives like animals crafted in a political environment with not much different than exist today and with less than half of the voices we consider to be valid today. What that means is the laws of nature (for which we have discovered much about since 1776) and “God” (for which we have found a lot of flaws in the idea since 1776) should be reassessed and added to the constitution.   The line “Life, Liberty, and Happiness” should be seen as more than just ideas, but considered the “mission statement”/ the “product” for which our legislators are to be guided by.  The statement “that all men are created equal” doesn't mean that they remain that way.  That this is an acknowledgement that we are born “blank slates” and that the things both public and private influence the behaviors of “men” between that birth and their death.  By mentioning this in this context, it means that the community/ government/ policy makers have an obligation to be vigilant of those things that influence the people they become, to make sure they are equally enlightened and therefore free.  The point, in plain English, too many US citizens are born into the inequality associated with poverty and other social ills. Place of birth, method of education, and family environment are all means of creating inequality. An obvious understanding that Paris Hilton has a far great chance at success than a kid born to a crack addicted mother in the projects.  These inequalities make it harder to attain “life, Liberty, and happiness” for all.  

Guns, Slaves, and Paranoia
2) It is time to throw out the 2nd amendment for the barbaric, archaic and destructive piece of …… legislation that it is. As pointed out above, we are only granted rights given by either nature or god that make us equal.  Since none of us are born with guns, it is safe to assume neither nature nor god intended us to have them.  They gave us a voice, so it seems freedom of speech makes sense to some extent.  Guns, do not. There is nothing “god given” about a gun. The reason for the 2nd amendment was to that militias could chase slaves down and being them back to slavery.  We ended slavery because it was ludicrous, might as well end the “enforcement” policy that enabled it.  The Buddhist have a philosophy that states basically that “if your mission is one of war, then bring tools of war and close your mind to enemy assault. If your mission is one of peace, then bring tools of peace and open your mind to compromise.” Since we have adopted the mission statement of “domestic tranquility” it means that weapons and paranoia are wrong and even adversarial tools for the goal. Time to start working them out of our society. Deaths, rapes, robbery, intimidation, suicide, and assaults are all negative results of our access to guns. The fact that we, not living in 1776, where a drive across a state line took days and had a risk of life and limb, anymore and the ability to get guns into a "gun free zone" is simpler than an Asian Carp getting into the Great Lakes. Time to wage war on war. 

Lawyers Validating Lawyers Is Like Liars Validating Liars
3) It is time to disband the Supreme Court. The idea of lawyers reviewing the decision of other lawyers seems to be counterproductive. They are going to come up with the most lawyerly decisions.  Which, most of us understand means the highest paid and most self-serving decision.  While separation of church and state is a good idea, and necessary for common good, the combination of science and state is in the best interest of public and future well-being.  In its place, we should establish a board of science and philosophy.  One that addresses policy issues based not on the outdated documents of centuries ago, but of one that considers the most up to date understanding of what brings peace, life, health, and prosperity to the community as a whole.   Using the latest understanding of biology, sociology, psychology, economics, ecology, diplomacy, and physics they access the logic and reasoning behind the intent of each policy.  Individual rights are theirs and theirs alone so long as those rights remain inside the house of the individual and those they are responsible for or answerable to.  When those behaviors spill outside those walls, they must be considered for the full impact that they example plays upon the community as a whole.  If a policy is deemed to be supportive of behavior that inhibits life, liberty, or happiness will gain no public endorsement.  In many cases, that doesn't mean punishment or repercussions for it, just no endorsement.  We understand that screaming “fire” in a crowded theater takes away from liberty and happiness, so should other public proclamations that are not scientifically sound.  Enabling or encouraging individuals to continue bad behaviors, is not in the best interest of the community, certainly not openly. The staple of determining what is dysfunctional or bad behavior should be that if you wouldn't condone your teenager to do it in front of you, then it is something that you know internally that it is wrong.  That sense of "right and wrong" is naturally instilled in most of us by nature or god.  The science and philosophy board is to apply the science to the mission statement on all policies challenged. Lower courts are determined legality of issues.

   I would say that these are big enough for one year.  We will see how much headway we make on them by next New Year.   The core of these “revolutions” are that we acknowledge that it is no longer 1776 any longer.  That we no longer live on self-sustaining family farms and/ or small communities.  We no longer live mostly silent, individual lives, where we were all stay at home parents, passing our philosophy on next generation free from media, school, and ever changing peer groups.  That the effects uncovered by Zimbardo in the “Stanford Prison Experiment” about “group think” has a much more powerful role and influence than it did back then.  The things we say and do in public have a direct effect upon the children of other hard working parents.  When we come to terms with the fact that we now live in a global commune, we can start working to repair the damage denying that reality has caused.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What Do We Openly Value In The US? Dispoble Heros?

(This was written to my FB connections.  The message still resonates even without that connection.) 

This post will be by far the most offensive one I have ever written. But most of the people reading my FB posts are friends and family who are stuck with me. That being the case, you can still make donations to buy my a newer 48' Hans Christian. Make donation checks payable to “Foundation for ridding American psyche of cognitive dissonance by casting out logic, reason, and science”.

Ok, do me a favor. Look over your FB feed for the past 48 hours. Look upon it not as yourself, but as an outsider to this country. Judge what you see to be an extension of the things we value. “What do Americans value above all else?” Judge the people that get mentioned or pictures posted by the reason they are mentioned. (Hint, a lot of pics of soldiers that last couple of days.) Judge their job not by the warm emotional feelings associated with the term, but by the job description.. I'll give you a second to go do that...... OK, what would an outsider see about about US society and its values? Would they see it value its engineers and their dedication to advancing life saving technology? Would they seen scientist valued for expanding our understanding of the world and reality. Would an outsider see us commending the dedication of a doctor, who sacrificed 12 yrs of his life to , not getting drunk and foreign countries and buying hookers with his buddies, but endless boring study, labor, and constant threat of failure. For a few years the doctor even works for free! When he is done he has a bill bigger than the 3 times the cost of most of our houses. Do you see that in your FB feed? How about fire fighters or police officers who run toward danger with a mission to bring everybody out alive, no matter who they are? How about the teachers. We contribute DNA to create our children's bodies, but they contribute knowledge and enlightenment that creates their personality. Often in a teacher is a life raft in a sea of malice, bullying, and of social Darwinism that exist in the hallways of our public schools. When was that last time you saw somebody post a picture of “My Teacher”. How about the factory worker, a good one, who is a iconic example of dedication and hard work. Ideas are great, but you need somebody to make them a reality. How about the architect and carpenters who build these things where all your great memories are made. As a government employee maintaining a very important information system, I save lives every day. We have a < 0% acceptance of loss. So it is mundane and hardly seems worth is on most days to take care of the backup system to the backup system. We have only the safest NAS in the world to kind of reflect our efforts. 

Here is why this is so important to me that I risk public and family ridicule. “You all”, and the commune (aka community) are all purveyors of a massage that is creating my daughter's personality whether I want you to or not. Already she knows “Michigan sucks” and “The Steelers suck”. I didn't teach her that. Social forces taught her that. She doesn't even know what it means. She now has a predisposition against Michigan. What if a school or a job later in life calls her that way. Yes the subconscious it that powerful, especially to those who believe it isn't. The people reading this post are very close to me and thus her. I want my daughter to value education, technology, science, hard work, dedication, all human life (enemies included), non-violence, and independent thinking for herself. I want her to reject blind faith and “patriotism”. But she will never go to a football game and hear, “Let's have all the psychological researchers stand up! We thank you for teaching us about ourselves. To move towards a more peaceful and enlightened society.” She will never be at church and hear, “Let's pray today that the engineers that are working on life saving tissue and organ replacements are safe and successful.”. In our society she will never witness those traits I value being publicly highlighted. It is rare we see things like life long commitments, nonviolent sacrifice, or compassion honored in grand format. “The parade to commemorate the people who never got divorced.” We all seek social acceptance (well except maybe me. Blame it on my ADD... sail.), and we all look to mimic those we see getting it. So I need, feel obliged for the success of Cecelia’s growth, to chastise the US as a society. You are threatening to misguide my daughter. Stop it. I know this is a losing battle, but I have never fought any other kind.

Here is a truth about a capitalist society. If you create something, it cost money. If something cost, you now have a vested interest in using it. We have to be able to justify the cost, to get an ROI. Often times we seek to make sure our investment is justified. If that investment is your son or daughter's life, you seek even more intently. So if you create a soldier, you have a vested interest in creating an army. If you create an army, you have a vested interest in going to war. If you have people paying you and you are just sitting around, people start to wonder why they are paying you. (Ask any of my prvious and current bosses.) The reality is that if we spent as much on creating doctors and hospitals to combat health problems, we would save millions of American lives each decade and solved nearly every physical and emotional ailment. If we spent half the money we do on defense on training engineers and scientist, we would have our energy problems sustainably solved and be working on a way to reach another planet. Instead we train soldiers, build armies, and facilitate war, then claim we are a peaceful “Christian” nation. Then we honor the mess we made as if it were something unavoidable.
OK, like I said, all those who think, “This dude should get out of this country if he doesn't like this one!” (Thus missing the point but, oh well). Send me a message. I will tell you where you can post the donations to. I am currently $996,345 short of the money I need to get the boat and stock it to get underway. :D

Saturday, October 12, 2013

“Doomsday Preppers”, Self-Fulfilling Prophecies, and Shutdowns.

Oh the places we will go... 
      This is one of those post that I am not sure which place I should have included it.  I have two different approaches to writing to each of the two blogs.  Both are hoping to get what I rarely do, which is comments. But, "The Human System" is written in a way that is meant to be observatory, insightful, and invite comments. Here, on LAP, I try to be inciting, aggressive, and very opinionated. Under the current conditions, I realize this is a very political issue, and the level of insanity has become a problem, not merely and observation.  So, it ended up here. 

"Shut-Down, Go Ahead and Give It To Me.." 
     So as I write this, we are again in a government in "shutdown" status. Now I would love to be my normal dismissive self and say this is just an overstatement, people making a large mountain out of something trivial.  But, the bigger danger here is making something trivial out of an entire mountain range. For good or for ill the US has a unique role in this world. What it does has impact beyond even its population and voters. The world isn't watching the GDP of Tunisia to determine how their markets are going to go.  No one is measuring the the rupee against the shilling. Countries falling into civil war are not calling upon Russia, China, or even Great Britain or France.  They call upon the US,  and that is the position we have obligated ourselves to take.  For years we have beat our chest as being a "Super Power" and then "the only remaining Super Power". Well what is the quote from "Spider Man".  "With great power comes great responsibility."  Guess what? We are not acting very responsible.

     Part of the reason there are those who can irresponsibly hold the government hostage is because we are bandaging the effects of what would really happen if the US government, a government over a people who have no concept of what it means to be "self sustainable", no idea of what the world looks like without a government, without civility of a real "shut down". As in turn the switch off and go home.  The problem is that, like a steel furnace or a nuclear reactor, if you shut it down completely and for too long, you can not restart it.  But like children unaware of the consequences of playing with matches, there is a faction in congress and politics in general that are like undisciplined children.  They are ignorant to the possibility of the things that they do.  They test the boundaries of what they have been told.  Striking match after match and saying, "see the house didn't burn down."

"Dooms Day Preppers" and Cognitive Dissonance
  This is were the debate over which blog this post belongs on stems from.  The utter lack of understanding of the situation we are put in by not continuing and fixing as we go along leave me wondering "what psychology is driving this doctrine? It is most obviously dysfunctional."  Turns out I don't have to look any further than myself and my family to gain that understanding.

   I remember the first (and last) time I saw an entire episode of "Doomsday Preppers".  I thought, They made a show out of my childhood?  For those of you old enough to remember the movie (I think they just remade it too.) "Red Dawn", that was more like a documentary of events not yet happened to  me. I think I was 10 yrs old when I first realized that not everybody had a gun in their front door, loaded and ready... for, you know, when the Russians come.  We canned, and planted, and fished, target practiced, reloaded our own bullets, and stored things in bulk. My dad watched (and still does) every episode of 60 min. We watched "the day after" as if it were a biblical prophecy, and speaking of which Armageddon was the most commonly quoted text in the bible. I didn't help that at school, I started at the end of the "duck and cover" campaign that just scared the living crap out of us. My parents generation was the first to totally leave the home, go to work, and send us off to that jungle of public school to get trained in social Darwinism .  They worked hard and did make our lives better than they had it.  But that came at a cost of not teaching us to be bested, shake it off, and win the next time.  We had to win every time! We were guarded from reality of life and that didn't teach us to think rationally.  The media we saw was flooded with this ever present reminder of "The Russians" and the cold war, and the nuclear threat. So we got transferred (which is often amplified) anxiety from our parents experience in 1945 and combined with this artificial protection from consequences for our actions.  The connection of humanity to each other and how our actions impact the lives of everybody from coast to coast and around the world was diminished. Instead we started this "us and them" and "enemy" mentality.  First against other countries and now against each other. If this were the psych blog, "The Human System" I could go on into the depths of this a very long post. But for LAP, it is just gonna have to be enough to say we have a section of people who are unable to accept a political loss and move on, that view these losses as "The end of the world" and fight as if some movie plot against all hope, to the bitter end, even evoking irrational and immoral tactics to "win".

  Watching this "doomsday Preppers" show, I was amazed that people like that still not only exist, but are not mocked and ridiculed into obscurity. It turns out that this paranoia is good business.  Not just the small potatoes stuff of a few people overloaded with guns and ammo, growing a few vegetables in their front lawn, and thinking that will suffice for survival when the zombie apocalypse comes. There is money in selling RV's and water makers. But the real money is in the politics of these people. What happens a person who makes a public assertion as if it is truth it is that from the moment the first one utters a paranoid conspiracy about poor people or the end of the world, to the moment they buy their first related item, to the moment they are support a political candidate is a progression.  One driven by the"Self-fulfilling prophecy" as Freud called it.

The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Doomed To A Dysfunctional Ideology
"A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive feedback between belief and behavior." Now a self-fulfilling prophecy requires at least two people. The Believer and the perceiver.  The Believer can hold a belief all he wants. Resolution of cognitive dissonance is easy if the belief is not known outside the believer's mind. They have no more constraints than a dream as long as nobody else knows. (Yes this is going to get that heavy for a second. Bear with me.) But, once the believer states it publicly they now have a set of constraints that must be observed and held in check by the perceiver if the believer is to remain valid. In a nutshell once you say something out loud, you then have a bias to encourage that to happen so people don't think you are a liar or crazy.  Nobody wants to be wrong, and as I pointed out above, we are not teaching our children how to be wrong, admit it, accept it, and move on. The attempt to rectify cognitive dissonance in an attempt to prove our beliefs to others, results in some pretty irrational behaviors and assertions. This comes by way of exaggerating the benefits and minimizing the consequences and opportunity costs. (Hopefully I didn't lose too many of you there.)

  So, when you have a few people, that become a movement that say, "my dad said we would live to see doomsday" out loud, they now have committed to a vested interest in seeing that is accurate.. even if they have to make it so themselves. And they are.  This movement of people cling to irrational beliefs as examples of the government not working.  Then they use that to elect people to make sure the government doesn't work. Evidence can be seen in "issues" such as "the birther movement", the Patriot Act, two manifest wars that didn't solve anything, and making mountainous public issues out of what used to be small incidence such as those in Benghazi. Also not making enough out of big issues such as global climate change. Facts, science, and natural understanding goes out the window when the sole drive is to justify an unrealistic belief. This is why there is validity when people observe "religion has caused more wars than any other issue." This movement has found financiers who manipulate and control them through the media.  These financiers have monetary interest in things like fossil fuels, wars for profit, and wage disparity. These media outlets just feed this paranoid desire by giving them information (or rather misinformation) in a form that look like it is backed with science, reason, and logic. Those that want to believe get no pleasure from questioning their own beliefs. So they are hopelessly doomed to this dysfunctional ideology.

Reality, The Race Is On.
   The reality that human civility is such a fragile arrangement.  The fabric that separates us from other societies that are less civilized and from the natural world that is uncivilized is so thin its transparent. Civilization exists strictly upon "gentleman's agreements".  We agree to take sheets of cloth and trinkets in exchange for the fruits of our labor and the dedication of our time.  We agree to obey laws.  we agree to support judges and jailers when those laws are broken.  We agree to allow those that the group elects to govern us even when we, the individual, did not support that election. "E pluribus unum" out of many opinions we arrive at one agreed upon one decision.   And at our highest level of governance, we agree to procedure and  systematic tradition in order to maintain... order. But it takes men (and women) to do that. Adults, not children. The reality is that we could go on to fix things, make the system better, right the wrongs, and find a civilized, advanced version of world peace. But just as easily, if not with less effort, we could bring this system down like a house of cards.  We could fall back into a civilization that looks more like the tribal regions of Pakistan than the advance society of the US.   We could devolve. Imagine having a house of cards in a room filled with kindergartners on recess.  You spend much more time trying to protect the existing structure than you do strengthening and improving it. This is the conditions in which Washington DC has become accustomed to in recent years.  Only, unlike thousands of years ago when we were still emerging into this form of civility that we know today, we now have the ability to destroy the entire world for all living things. We have the ability to fulfill the prophecy of doomsday. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

The King, The Capitalist, and The Act Of War

A representative comes to a small south pacific island community to petition the King for the authorization to set up a commercial fishing business for his large international company. The king asks what the benefits of letting him set up business will bring to his people. I offer to pay taxes on the catch. I will offer to pay his fishermen more than they make in a day already. The rep explains with his advanced techniques, he will be able to offer the fish at market for less than the current price. The king thought for a moment and said. “I will give you 2 hours to get off my island or I will have you arrested for an act of war against my people” The business rep was confused. “An act of war, I bring nothing but offerings of good fortune to your people as I just explained."

    The king explained, “many of my fishermen have fished these waters for more than 15 generations. They are free to catch what they need to feed their family and sell at market to get their other needs met. The choice and decisions are driven by their personal wants and needs. Now you want to come in and reduce the price they will get at market by selling your lower priced fish. They will have to work harder, compete against your technology, and spend less time with their family to get the same results. Unable to compete with your technology and marketing tactics, many may feel the pressure to join your operation where they are now subservient to you. You will require them to work longer hours for you to have a product to sell half way around the world. They will earn a better wage which will cause their purchasing power to go up and create a disparity between the company fishermen and the other members of the community. The price the company fishermen are willing and able to pay for all other goods will rise and thus cause the price to rise. All of the other citizens will feel a negative impact. As my community grows dependent upon your company, you will use this to leverage lower taxes and leave my people with reduced schools and medical access. The lower price of fish will cause fish to be more affordable than the chicken, pork, or lamb that are also available to my people. Those that raise that livestock will find it harder to compete in the market. They too will have to work harder and go without. This will eventually and progressively cause a separation. That disparity will surely cause a rift amongst my people. That rift will cause unrest and possible civil war among my people. AS the place becomes too hostile for you to continue your operations, you will withdraw your business, leaving my community that had grown dependent on your technology, without traditional fishermen and economically devastated. 

    So, as I said, your offer is an act of war and you have now only an hour and 50 min to leave my kingdom. “

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