Archive for the ‘A different perspective’ Category

Debt: Destroying us with money.

2017/03/14

“Money and debt make it possible to influence people without having public executions.” Justin Michael Barnett 2017/03/14

Money has been fundamental to human development. Debt has been an instrument of mass destruction, which is ravaging our society, our entire planet right now. Debt is funny money, money which has not been made yet. However, debt can be recorded in American accounting as an asset, increasing the monetary worth of the lender, even though collection of a certain percentage of debt is impossible. Debt is the American contribution to the world, a slavery made possible by using material things as a basis of our self image.

Americans probably were not the ones who came up with the idea of a company store, where employees can charge food and other goods to an account. The company never paid quite enough to get by on, so most of the employees were in debt to the store. But if they quit, they would have to pay off the company store. American companies went into Nicaragua, bought up most of the countryside, and planted bananas. Then the locals were offered employment with the banana company, (Day-O! Daylight come and me want go home.) or they could starve. Or move.

But that was not the worst. In order to keep consumerism from collapsing due to the American public having spent their savings completely, easy credit was introduced. Debt. This was a creation of the banking industry, the idea that someone would be allowed to purchase something with money that they had not earned yet. The idea of individuals being able to borrow money is exceptionally recent, compared to the immense history of banking. But then, so is the economic model of consumerism, which is the structure of the American economy.

As consumers, we are expected to consume. However, we are not making enough to consume very much, in spite of how cheap everything has gotten. Things are so cheap because they are made from American materials shipped half way round the world, processed into goods by people making a dollar or two a day, and then shipped back to the United States. That is a simplistic generalization to illustrate the insanity which prompted manufacturers to abandon a labor market which demanded health care benefits, retirement benefits, and vacation time. Calculating the worth of products in money makes it seem worthwhile to ship materials to China to get finished goods back. There is no monetary way of calculating the value of jobs, health care, extended families, and happiness.

Those are some of the things that we have lost because of money and materialism. We should also include the environment, courtesy, patience, and sharing. Money allows us to live outside of the community, not dependent on group resources to survive. Debt shackles us to the past, destroying our future.

Keeping the sky from falling

2017/03/06

Most people seem to have little interest in space.  They perhaps believe that nothing that goes on off-planet will affect them.  Yet, it has been shown that rocks falling on Earth can affect us.  Most recently, a city in Russia, Chelyabinsk Oblast, was nearly hit by a meteor large enough to destroy a building, and the shock waves damaged hundreds of buildings.  There are geological remains of impact craters kilometers across, and photographs of the results of a meteor blast which leveled trees for kilometers around.

Detecting these rocks from here on Earth can be very difficult, because they are dark and do not reflect very much light.  Also, some of them spend most of their time between the Earth and the Sun, so they are nearly impossible to see.  Back in the early 1990’s, a rock over a kilometer across passed between the Earth and  the Moon, and no one knew it was there until it was between the Earth and the Moon.  A rock that size would destroy an entire region, and could potentially cause extreme weather which would make life on Earth very difficult.  An impact of a similar size 65 million years ago is almost certainly what ended the long reign of the dinosaurs.

From outer space, rocks are much easier to detect, because they reflect some of the thermal energy of the Sun.  A satellite close to the orbit of Venus would be able to detect any large rocks with orbits near the Earth’s, and could also detect any intruders from the outer Solar System.  A few hundred million dollars for such a satellite does not seem too expensive to insure that we do not get blind-sided by a big rock.

 

Are community and society evil?

2017/03/06

There is a lot of talk about how ‘socialist’ the Affordable Care Act is.  To me, socialism is society at work, the caring for of the individual by the group.  If we ditch society, what have we left?  The individual?  Individuals die, leaving behind nothing except what they have created that is of value to the group.  Society, the group, may survive, but the individual will not.  The group, the community, is what our effort should benefit, because if we make things better for everyone, they will get better for us, too.  But ‘community’ is very close to ‘communism’ in some people’s dictionary, and communism is the mortal enemy of capitalism.  Except in China, apparently.  Any talk of ‘sharing the wealth’ brings out rabid, growling conservatives, bound and determined to protect everything that they have acquired.

For too long have humans been able to survive as individuals, without the aid of the community.  Being a member of a group, a community, was essential for survival for most of human evolution.  Being a member of community is also the only way that what we have accomplished, what we have learned, will be passed on, remembered, used.  But wealth has made it so that some can believe that they are above the community, that they do not have to contribute to the welfare of the group.   To these people, society is an enemy, an adversary.  They view individuals as faceless drones, of no value beyond their ability to work and to consume.  They are comfortable exploiting these workers because they are not part of the same community.

We can now look back at our home from outside, from the orbit of the Moon, for instance.  What we see is a single planet, which we all share.  No longer can we pretend that we are separate from any others.  We are all in this together.

 

Afraid of what we need

2017/03/06

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

2017/03/01

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.

Capitalistic Communism

2016/05/04

China has become a communist nation where people can’t find work.  The very definition of communism has been altered by the power of capitalistic greed.  Communist heaven has become sweatshops making goods for incomprehensible foreigners, with wage slaves toiling endless hours.  Because the workers have actually managed to improve their standard of living, they are now becoming too expensive.  The fickle finger of capitalism is now seeking lower priced labor elsewhere.

Capitalism does not care about people, the future, or the environment.  Capitalism is the exploitation of all three, shamelessly destroying them.  Without a sense of community, capitalism becomes a destructive force, denying growth, alienating the people who are essential to capitalism, the consumer.  Unchecked, capitalism will result in economic activity coming to a halt, as all of the wealth is held by a small percentage of the population.  A sense of community causes investment in the consumer, a sharing of the immense wealth that is being generated by consumerism.

Making sure that the consumer has a place to live, food to eat, and can attend school, creates a community where consumption is automatic, programmed into society.  A minimum level of survival is a product with monetary value, which adds to the Gross Domestic Product, the net worth of all of us added together.  The more we share that net worth, the more net worth we create.  What you do unto others will come back to you.  If you share your wealth, wealth will be shared with you.  Withhold your wealth, and wealth becomes difficult to find, or withers away.

Sliding into Darkness

2016/04/22

Materialism leads to greed, where an individual comes to believe that they are better than everyone else, and therefore deserve the bulk of the wealth.  Acquiring more wealth becomes the goal of the greedy, even if they cannot use what they already have.  Depriving people of essential goods and services in order to maximize profits is allowed by society,  and  ignored even when society must provide those essential goods and services.

Our materialistic culture teaches us to cherish things instead of people, and lures us into sacrificing much of our time, and our health, to a job which provides no spiritual rewards, no sense of accomplishment, no pride in the work.  We accumulate the trappings of wealth, the big house, the fancy cars, the expensive toys, but they leave us feeling empty, cheated.  The stress of holding down a job eats away at us, physically and mentally, until the stress is expressed in physical ailments.  Uncertainty about the future, fear of losing what employment we have, and emotional isolation hammer at our well-being.

People are giving up, turning their backs on life, and killing themselves in steadily rising numbers.  Murder-suicide is becoming a common thing, even to the point of someone killing their own children before they kill themselves.  The Western way of life, capitalism, consumerism, materialism, is spreading across the globe, turning the focus away from the group, the tribe, the clan, and onto the individual, me, I.  Images of young people having fun are used to tempt us into accepting the materialism, embracing the greed, the lust for things.  Media, television, the Web, these are the tools that capitalism uses to ensnare us, to corrupt us.  Our society is spiraling down into darkness.  Avoiding it is the only way to stay sane.  Turn off the TV, put down the phone, and go for a walk.  Look around you, see the world the way that it really is.

I don’t hate me! Really.

2016/03/26

All of my life, I have hated myself.  When I was a child, I would go into destructive fits, tearing apart things that were important to me, or that I valued.  I denied myself, believing that no one would be interested in me.  I deny myself, refusing to do things that will make me feel better, or to have fun.  Most of my life, I felt that I was ugly, repulsive even.  People thought that I was aloof and stand-offish, and perhaps I was, but I was avoiding social contacts because they made me feel bad about myself.

All of these traits, these symptoms, are the result, I believe, of not receiving adequate affirmation when I was a child of 3 or 4.  Too many times, I heard “I don’t have time for that right now!” or, “Wait until later.”  For some reason, I began to believe that I was defective, broken, inferior, or even bad.  This value judgement colored every aspect of my existence, a cage I built for myself.

You see, I am convinced that there is a genetic instinct to try to be assimilated by the elders of a group, an urge to be part of the tribe.  As children, we seek behavior that reassures us that we are important, that we belong, that someone cares about us.  When someone gives you a hug, that is a powerful signal.  But when someone will take time to listen to you, or to sing a song with you, or to interact with you in some way, that is a powerful signal too.  That kind of behavior is called affirmation, and it is the signal our genetic inheritance causes us to seek out, because individuals cannot survive.

Being a part of a group is the most important survival strategy there is, the only way we can have any hope that our lives will have meaning.  If I am not part of a group, everything I have learned, everything that I have accomplished, will all disappear when I am gone.  The trail that I made will not be used, and if it is, the identity of the maker will be lost.  Even more importantly, if I am injured, or ill, I have some chance of surviving if I am part of a group.

Group membership was so important, I believe, that we are hardwired to seek out affirmation, the only feedback we can be sure of.  To a child, ‘later’ means ‘never’, because they live in the moment.  To a child, ‘later’ is a rejection, a denial.  All of the making-up done later may have no effect if the child has rejected themselves, as I did.

 

Can you hear me now?

2016/03/15

For some reason, I have begun to feel like we need to communicate with each other using archetypes, concepts which have universal meaning, and which evoke emotional reactions.  The unraveling of our society, of the world itself, may be a result of a loss of empathy with each other, the result of our using our own distinct vocabulary when talking with others.  We may be speaking the same language, but words are drifting in meaning, being skewed by slang uses, trendy phads, txt mssg, and our own specialization.  When I speak of a duty cycle when dealing with problems, I loss 98.9 percent of my audience, whereas a person telling me about how their job makes them just chill all day leaves me confused.

Concepts like home, sharing, warmth, the sound of voices, a circle, a hearth, family, feeling needed, looking out for each other, hugging, are universal, embedded in our genetic memory.  These are things that we share, our common heritage, created over thousands and thousands of generations, the result of surviving in a hostile world, where sleeping in trees leads to fear of falling.  Not every single one of us has the exact same genetic coding as any one else, but we do share a great deal.  Standing around an open fire, eating together, laughter, these are our common ground, not screaming at a football game, shooting pool, or getting drunk.  We are all people, who have the same needs, the same fears, but different paths have brought us to where we are, and we cannot rely on our experience giving us common ground.

Communicating using archetypes is cumbersome, vague, and slow, but it proves that we are indeed similar in certain ways, and finding that bridge is essential in learning to share this existence.  Walk with me.

Why save daylight time?

2016/03/14

This year, Daylight Savings Time seems to have started ridiculously early, as the nights are still longer than the days.  The whole point of advancing our clocks to save daylight seems a bit ridiculous to me, as the era of factories is long over, and most offices are lit all the time they are occupied.  (If not longer.)  DST made sense when most of the population was working in factories, but today, there is hardly any justification for it.  No study I have ever heard of has proven that energy is saved by using DST, although that is the reason given by most people when questioned as to why we must disorient ourselves every six months or so.

Perhaps you don’t suffer from the change in the clocks like I do, but I have met many people who agree that they feel out of phase, or uncomfortable, for a while after the time is shifted.  We have  a circadian rhythm which affects our metabolism, emotions, mental state, and other aspects of our existence, and this rhythm is based upon time.  You may know somebody who wakes up ahead of the alarm clock all the time.  Well, this will mess with their inner clock.  Weeks may pass before I feel like my time sense has gotten re-calibrated, and I will face the same thing when we switch back.

We are supposedly living in a post-industrial society, so why do we have to go on living the way people did back then?  Three square meals a day was the industrial way, it is not good for us to eat like that.  Nor is it good for us to have our time sense messed with constantly.