Archive for the ‘coping strategies’ Category

Can We Afford Net Neutrality?


People seem to believe that the internet/World Wide Web exists independently of society, a magical system which is just there, without anybody having to do anything to make it be there.  They are apparently unaware that all the activity in the cyber world requires machines to make it possible,  Lots and lots of machines, racks and racks of them, filling buildings the size of Wal-Marts, connected by hundreds of thousands of miles of fiber optic cable and radio links.  All of this costs money, which comes out of our pockets.

And some of us cannot afford premium Web service, but we still need access to the Web.  Schools now communicate with parents via the Web, students get homework assignments over the Web, and have to turn them in via the Web. Many companies request that applications, orders, returns, and other business be conducted over the Web.  Banks often charge customers extra if they want to do business in person, or severely limit the opportunities to do so.  Web service can be more important than having an automobile, and can serve in place of autos by allowing so much to be done electronically.

My internet provider is constantly improving the download speed that their system runs at, in part to justify charging more for their service.  However, they do not offer tiers of service levels, instead insisting that one size fits all.  So I am charged the same amount for my occasional YouTube videos, text content, and emails as the guy down the street who is streaming several hours of video every day, downloading movies, and online gaming.  Sure, it is nice to have blindingly fast Web service, but I would rather pay less and get slower access.

Sure, it will take longer for my video to load, but I would tolerate that if my bill could be cut in half.  Web service is becoming as vital as electric service, an essential utility, and it should be assured to everyone, not just those who can afford top-of-the-line bandwidth.  Toll roads are beginning to charge more during high-traffic periods, when demand is highest.  Electric companies sometimes charge more for energy during peak demand times.  Allowing Web service providers to charge more for faster access is part of making ever faster service possible.  But we don’t all have to use it.


We need each other


Thinking about socialism, and socialist countries got me to consider the countries in the far North, like Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Canada.  These are places where people have to count on each other for survival, and work together to get through winters.  In more temperate climates, people exist without having to share, and can get by without being checked up on by a neighbor.  Going off the road in a car does not mean danger of freezing to death in most of the U.S.

The less we feel part of a community, the less we will sacrifice for that community.  As we become more wealthy, we are reluctant to share that wealth with those we do not consider part of our group.  We have got to realize that we are in this together, and that we will need each other at some point in the future if we want to pass anything on to  generations to come.

The contribution that we make may be small, perhaps only a moment out of a lifetime, but that moment will be a critical one for everyone.  We all have worth, and we need to be reminded of that, frequently.

Wanting Change


Americans by and large want to see changes in their country.  They see many problems that should be addressed, they see large amounts of money disappearing into government treasuries, and they wonder if they will be employed in six months.  Change is happening, but not very often for the better.

The changes that we need are ones that deal with our selves, our expectations, our hopes, our strengths, and our weaknesses.  Understanding that we need to work together to achieve things, so that we can combine our strengths to counter our weaknesses.  We have been trained to crave physical, material, monetary rewards in lieu of all else, yet we need spiritual rewards as well;  the pride of a job well done, the thrill of achieving a goal with teamwork, the feeling of being included when part of a group working together.

Even more so, we need the emotional and spiritual energy of sharing good times with others, excitement and novelty to inspire creativity, and affirmation and recognition to develop self-esteem.  We need to open up to our spiritual side, the side of how we treat each other, and how we treat ourselves.  All of us have worth, all of us contribute somehow.  Treat yourself like you would treat a good friend.  Do not fear change.

Living in the cloud


A friend has gotten me to think about the difference between studying to gain knowledge and learning how to access knowledge quickly.  ‘In an era when I can look up practically anything, why should I spend years studying different subjects so that I can be tested upon them?’ is a paraphrase of what he said.  He also once talked about living in an “effluent society”, but that is neither here nor there.

Human knowledge has far exceeded the ability of any one person to grasp.  We need to decide what are the fundamentals that we must teach each other, what skills are so essential that we should group people together for hours at a time so that they can learn them.  Simply knowing that knowledge exists is not the same as having the knowledge, and knowledge affects our actions and thoughts.  But not all people are going to be receptive to the same knowledge, so we must choose a way to convey it that is flexible, with those who are interested being able to pursue something further.  The ‘classroom’ has become one of the biggest impediments to education, in my opinion, because it stipulates that everyone is going to learn at the same rate, and in the same way.

Treating us as individuals means stepping away from the industrial ‘assembly line’ method of instruction.  Focusing on a persons strengths, helping them to overcome weaknesses, developing their personalities, these are the role that the public school system must fulfill.  We can have a room full of students, but we should not view them as a ‘class’.  American society has gutted the family, destroying the network of relatives and friends that were responsible for the raising of the young for thousands of generations.  Nurturing means showing the world to someone, while helping them to cope with it.  The world is a vast mix of ideas, cold realities, and ignorance.

The electronic world offers us near instant feedback on our efforts, if we are strong enough to pay attention.  Living in the cloud means being aware of each other in near real time.  This promotes a group consciousness, a multi-mind, which can occur when a number of people are thinking about the same thing at the same time.  We may be evolving into a single sentient organism, if some science fiction writers are correct, but we still need to get along with each other in the meantime, and schools are where we will learn how.  People have to be taught how not to get caught up in emotions, how to say ‘no’ to themselves, and to others, and how to believe in themselves as people, with intrinsic value.  We have to care about ourselves before we can really care about others.

Afraid of what we need


People are expecting many changes in the near future, some are hopeful, some are fearful, and many are hoping that things will go back to the way that they were.  Trying to stop change is fruitless, because change is inevitable, and perpetual.  We can deflect it sometimes, channel it in ways that are beneficial, or slow the change down, so that we can cope with it more easily, but stopping change is impossible.

We must learn to ride the change, as a surfer rides the wave, or a kayaker rides the current.  We can draw power from change, when we direct the change in ways that benefit us.  We are constantly presented with decisions that will allow change, or deny it.  When we repeatedly deny change, our choices dwindle, until we are left with none.  The change will happen without our input, our guidance.  Knowing what is important is critical to guiding change, because we must look ahead and see what is coming.  Without a sense of where we want to go, of what we need, we are lost when suddenly confronted with a choice.

Often, people complain that they are detoured away from their objectives, diverted from their chosen path.  We must understand the difference between plans and goals.  You can plan how to reach a goal, and sacrifice everything trying to do so, or, you can keep your goals while navigating the convoluted, winding path that appears before you.  By holding on to a goal, we have guidance in our riding the flow of change.

A new gender type


Perhaps it is time to admit a new gender to the human race, ‘womyn’, the male version of women. Because some men are behaving as though there was no difference in the sexes. They are masculine without being macho; empathetic, sensitive, nurturing, resilient, compassionate, and many other traits that have been traditionally considered feminine. This is essential, because it is the male of the species who must change, not the female, if true equality of the sexes is to occur. Of course, as men change, so will women. But the changes in society that must occur involve men being able to act more feminine, not women becoming more manly.

Even big, hunky men can behave as gently and compassionately as a women would, and they naturally would, except for programming from their society that such behavior is unmanly. In repressing women, men have repressed themselves, denying themselves the outlet of emotion, the renewing effects of nurturing, the vulnerability of displaying affection for another. By admitting that men can behave in feminine ways, we admit to a blurring of the lines between male and female. Our society insists on maintaining very definite roles for men and women, That must change, we must recognize that gender and social roles are not set in stone.

Do you believe?


We Americans are being asked to believe in something.  The people behind the new administration want us to accept that we are not all broke.  No matter what, they say, there will be money to spend.  They can build a wall to keep out the real money, just like the Soviet Union did.  They can censer the news, make sure that you only hear what they want you to hear.  But who are they, and why do they want us to pretend that we have money?

As long as we buy into their illusion, our debt remains real.  As long as we are convinced that we can spend, we will try.  Because the economy no longer is based on reality, we can say “Charge it” and walk home with it.  What the people behind the scenes want is for us to continue to think that money has value.  Even though it can be created without work, without effort, money is still supposed to represent something of value.

Money not only is supposed to represent value, but it also represents debt.  The money that was spent and not repaid is still in existence, in some computer somewhere, waiting to be taken back, with interest, fees, and fines, of course.  As long as we imagine that we are not all broke, that debt can live on in the shadows, in some ‘bad bank.’  They had to create banks that were different from real banks, so that they could keep track of the debt without letting it destroy the economy.

There is no money to spend making America great again, there is only more debt.  The wall will be paid for with money that does not exist.  This is why the stock market is going through the roof, because people expect to make money from the deficit spending.  As long as we all agree to believe, we can spend and spend.  You had better believe it!

When ‘I love you’ hurts


during a period of conflict with my roommate, I kept repeating “I love you”.  Somehow this avoided, so far, a very threatening harassment.   Explaining that I was aware of the person’s self-rejection, frustration, and anger brought even more anger.  Finally, I admitted that this person is important to me, on a personal basis, because I value them, and what they can and have done.  Any time we are confronted with hate or anger, saying “I love you,” is the only response which is not invading their space.

This may incite more hate, more anger, because people will fear the implications of being vulnerable with others.   If we truly care about our fellow passengers on this Earth, then we should express that to each other often.  “You are important to me, because you are a fellow living being.  Your existence makes mine easier.”    By being here, you are able to respond, to take action, in the struggle of the Life Force.  We are the highest expression of that Life Force we have encountered so far, the most complex concentration of Mind and Body, matter and energy.  We can love others,  which is essential to the tribe surviving.

Our ‘tribe’ is humanity, because we are all the same on the inside.  Working together, we can overcome the challenges facing all of us.  All of our resources will be needed to make sure that the tribe survives.  Everybody is important.  Everybody has something to offer, an ability, an insight, experience, knowledge, energy, awareness, the list goes on and on.  We are all important.  I love you.

Fighting the darkness


Today, I purchased a couple of LED light bulbs.  When I got them home, I was amazed at how much the LED light bulb has evolved in just a few years.  In 2013, I relamped my entire house with LED’s, both to save energy and to help invest in this new, highly efficient form of illumination.  Many of the bulbs I purchased cost in the 20 dollar range, but then, most of them are still in use in my house, three years later.  There have been a few premature failures, but mostly with off-brand bulbs.  I still am using the first LED bulb I bought, way back about 2003.  It has been on nearly constantly since I got it.

The bulb I bought today was a 100 watt equivalent, which produces 1500 lumens, or light units, using 14 watts of energy to do it.  I used it to replace a bulb three years old which was still working, but was dimmer than I wanted.  It was a 60 watt equivalent, which produces 860 lumens, and which needs 13.5 watts to do it!  So the industry has nearly doubled the output while using virtually the same amount of energy!  And the bulb was less than $10.00.  Half the price of the 60 watt equivalent, and for a name brand bulb, at that!  In addition, the new 14 watt bulb was much lighter than the 13.5 watt bulb, and had much less heat sink surface.

This is the science of civilization, the learning how to beat back the darkness without using tremendous amounts of energy.  Old incandescent light bulbs produced more heat than light, and had very short lives, at that.  Replacing old lights with LED lamps can reduce lighting costs, both in energy and in bulb replacement.  They are worth several times their cost, in durability, as they are much more difficult to break, and in life span, which measures in the thousands of hours.  Air conditioning costs will be lower if you use LED bulbs instead of incandescent or florescent, as those generate much more heat.  And the spectrum of LED lamps is much closer to the white of the old bulbs than the Compact Florescent Lamps.  Plus, they have no warm up time, even in cold weather.

LED light bulbs and fixtures are worth getting excited about, because they represent a fundamental advance in making light, which promises to reduce energy requirements substantially.  Thank Science and Investment for making more light for less.


A harvest festival for America


The United States has no harvest festival celebration on a national level.  Most other countries with an agrarian past recognize the importance of the annual harvest, the joy of abundance, and the fruits of shared labor.  Oktoberfest in Germany, Thanksgiving in Canada, these are holidays with ancient roots, based on the relief and happiness that harvest time brought, when the crops were in, and the hard work was done.

This was the one ancient festival which enjoyed a broad menu, because so many products which were not suitable for long-term storage were available.  Fresh fruits  and vegetables were a true luxury for our ancestors, and diets were often monotonous.   Music and dancing were enjoyed during harvest festivals, a rarity in a time without recorded music.  For many, this would be the last social event they would participate in until the Yule Tide.  Autumn was a time of conserving resources, hoarding food and fuel for the long winter months ahead.

America’s only nod to a harvest festival is Thanksgiving, a totally artificial, contrived holiday with no historical basis.  Too late in the year for the outdoor festivities of harvest time, Thanksgiving is meant only to be the recognition of the saving of the Pilgrims by the generosity  of the Native Americans who saved them from starving to death.  Somehow, this supplanted the more traditional harvest festivals, although some are still held locally.

Perhaps the worst thing about the American Thanksgiving is that it now juxtaposes two conflicting concepts, Death and eternal life.  Death is represented by the harvest, the cornucopia, the autumn colors.  The sacrifice made so that Life can continue.   Eternal life is represented by the Yule Tide colors used in the commercials advertising the Black Friday sales.  And Thanksgiving does not mark the start of the ‘Holiday Season.’  At least, not in my book.  No, Thanksgiving falls at a time when we are genetically inclined to be less active, so that we may conserve our resources.  Thousands of generations have survived by hunkering down during autumn.

Some how, I would like to see a revival of the ancient harvest festival, held in late September or early October, as a time to recognize the importance of working together, sharing the abundance of the Earth, and of community, without which none of us would be here.  This would be a completely natural holiday, one rich in traditions, and intuitively understood.