Thursday, November 29, 2012

Acting

I was watching TV the other day, while waiting on my car to be repaired, and it struck me that many people spend all day every day in a state of suspended disbelief.  They think of the characters on their shows as more or less real, despite knowing that just off-camera there are all sorts of other people.

What is the cultural effect of being mesmerized daily by people whose job it is to pretend to be someone else, to assume the role of another human being?  Do we put on roles then more easily?  Do we become more likely to mistake falsehoods for reality?  Did this play a role in electing an empty suit (if we deduct political malignancy) twice?

Have to run, but wanted to put that out there.

Me

I would like to nominate myself as the most influential blogger no one has heard of.  Once tabulated, the winners will not be announced on January 1st at 4pm. (It would be contradictory.)

That's my version of humor.  Ridiculous and SMALL as that irony is, it made me laugh.  I remember this Simpson's episode where they were making fun of Garrison Keillor, and Homer kept hitting the set saying "Stupid TV, be funny."

On a more serious note, I have been playing with an idea that is very helpful: God is everywhere.  He is in the darkest tunnel.  He is in the worst nightmare.  There is no place in this universe, anywhere, that is not suffused with a near infinity of light.  I only get glimpses of it, but the notion is worthwhile.  Some day I may see more.

Alienation

I was thinking about all the lonely people out there disconnected from the seas of people around them, Riesman's "Lonely Crowd".  What connects people?  Is it not culture?  In a final sense, is this not the DEFINITION of culture: that which enables people to join a common wavelength and feel connected with someone like themselves?  Let us insert the word "connection" in phrases in which we would normally use "culture".

The first obvious one is "Cultural Revolution", the Chinese version.  I saw some Chinese propaganda posted in a local library the other day, literal propaganda, written by professionals, from that period.

Call it the "Disconnection Revolution".  Was that not what happened?  Did not a sizable minority, backed by the police power of the State, turn stark raving mad and start attacking people who had done nothing except, perhaps, not voice the idiotic slogans of the executioners loudly enough?

Or "Culture wars".  This becomes "Connection Wars".  How do we connect?  We don't.  I personally have been evicted, banished, exiled numerous times from places on the "other side", while trying to establish dialogue.  I believe and continue to believe that the issue of monetary reform, of the fact that banks are stealing our money legally, should be a bipartisan issue.  But once you admit to a side, your views are discarded, regardless of their merit and strength.

Is decadence not formally disconnection, dis-integration?

The more we become disconnected, the greater the manifest market need for constant connection. What else is Twitter?  It is a salve for empty people, who don't know who they are in silence, and who feel more alone the more they try to reach out others.  This is the role that violence in media plays.  There is something in sacrificial culture that binds people together. That was my principle interest in graduate school, explaining what sacrifice--particularly human sacrifice--does that is culturally useful.

Or take High Culture.  High Connection.  It is a means of weeding out the undesirables, and a way of connecting with people who have similar training and thus similar tastes.

Think of culture as a standing wave in the air.  If you tune into it, as in a radio frequency, you get connected with everyone else on that channel.

This is what religion does, and what the leftist cult does.  There are numerous reasons cities breed Democrats.  One of them is that the very complexity of the cities, and the planning that is needed to make things work, fosters a belief in central planning, since their experience is that it works.  The trains run. The lights come on.  Water comes out of the faucet even on the 50th floor.

Another reason, though, is that in that ocean of diversity, you MUST, to keep your sanity, have SOMETHING you can rely on as at least a base common ground.  That something is politics.  I have said this before, but it's worth saying again here.

American Culture: What connects "Americans".

This is a useful heuristic, in my view. What one sees is that attacks on culture are attacks on connection, making it extremely ironic--and regrettably typical--that those most concerned with "alienation"--Entfremdung--are those most vigorously working to (not for,. to) create it.

I will add that the identity, the connection, Socialism/Leftism enables is not one that works to individual self fulfillment.  It does not make people happy.  It assuages an anxiety that is made necessary by their rejection of individualism.  It is a mutable creed.  The Big Idea of the month will differ from last month.  There is no rest.  There is no completion to the project, like, say, there is in Buddhism.  There may be different versions of Buddhism, but you can pick one and run with it.  If you are a leftist, you have to tune into the frequency every day to know who you are that day and what you believe.

And God forbid they ever lose Conservatives.  They will have to invent a new enemy, or begin the process of cultural--connective--catabolism, as their souls dissolve.

Tradition versus Narcissism

The following is more or less out loud musing.  Do not expect coherence.

In traditional societies, children are expected to adopt and internalize social roles.  They are expected to do what their fathers and mothers did.  This idea is horrifying to many moderns, but I want to explore it.

Asking someone to adopt a role is not the same as asking them to be EXACTLY like you.  Two different people can wear the same coat in entirely different ways.  If you read the Bible, the characters of the Old Testament were all Jews, but had very different personalities.  And this was and is OK.

What they had were duties.  But they also existed within a framework where everyone else had adopted the same duties.  To the extent everyone behaved as expected, they knew what to expect from others and from life more generally.  This might seem confining, and no doubt was for some, but particularly if you know no different, it seems to me to have been a recipe for peace in most cases.

This whole system, though, depends on a larger context, on a belief in something larger.  There are no cultures of which I am aware which were both stable over a long term, and atheistic.  One sees, obviously, traces of atheism throughout history. 

The Indians [on an unrelated note, it is hard from me to use this term for such a diverse group, although this just occurred to me; if I expand it, and increase my historical knowledge, perhaps such antipathy to national abstractions will become more common] had the Carvakas.  Their creed?  Live for the moment. Go chase that big breasted babe and drink your fill of wine (Smodee odee).  Such creeds can't last.  The Rock and Roll lifestyle is a Carvaka creed. 

Functionally, our national hedonism can only be characterized as lacking roots in something larger.  We are beyond the point where fixed traditions can be watered in the earth of something larger for most people. That is why so many have chosen to stop thinking and seeing.  They see destruction and punishment, but think that some "time warp" will save them, so they can do it again.  Stopping the fun is just too daunting a thought.

But what I wanted to do--channeling "Alice's Restaurant" as I tend to do--is compare a narcisssistic family with a traditional family.  In both cases, you are expected to play roles, but in the former case, the role is MUTABLE.  Who you need to be, how you need to be, depends on the whims and moods of the narcissist.  When you "graduate" from such a family, you have no internal compass, no moorings.  Without that other person, you are lost.  You were lost, of course, before, too, because there was no "you" at all.

In a traditional family, within the constraints of that tradition, it is understood that many different personalities are possible.  If you look at the supposedly conformist culture of Japan, there are still ways to arrange flowers, do caligraphy, perform the tea ceremony.  Their culture is one of nuances that are missed by most outsiders.  That is my outside opinion, at any rate.

I was thinking today, though, about the strange intersection of past and fluidity we are at now.  In a culture which is changing--dis-integrating in a formal sense--what is the role of parents in raising their children?  What cultural habits remain needed?  Do you need to teach your kids to be just like you?  Is it desirable in any way that they feel entitled, unempathetic, and individualistic?

I don't think so, but the question is worth asking.  As I ponder it, it seems to me that in chaos, the task is to provide order not by imposing it directly through stasis, but through orienting principles.  That way, both motion and relative order are possible.  If this is a useful idea, then I would submit that my Goodness system is as good as anything out there at teaching the negotiation of the mutable seas we face, without losing things worth keeping.

Elitism

Imagine how different our country would look today if only those who paid income tax were allowed to vote.  This would eliminate most students--whose experience of the world is purely theoretical, and thus prone to large distortions.  This would eliminate unemployed people who sit home every day and watch TV.  The people who the Montel Williams ads target, black and white.  This would eliminate the working poor.

Does it not make sense that the people who FUND our nation, through their taxes, should be the ones to decide how we spend that money, through their decisions on who represents them in Congress?

We look back on our Founding Fathers, and the elitism implicit in only giving the vote to land-owning men. Yet, we need to remember that education, then, took both time and money, both of which were in short supply back then.  A great many Americans could not even read (although then I do think we were one of the more literate nations, since one must read to read the Bible).

And the thought is reasonable: what benefit accrues from lowering the intelligence of the discussion?  What benefit accrues from moving the amount of understanding of the average voter to the left on a Bell Curve?  We want good decisions, and good decisions in turn flow from intelligence.  Logically, the more intelligent the electorate, the better off we will be.

But what if the elite uses its power to PERMANENTLY keep everyone else down?  This is a valid question, and the reason we have continually expanded the voting franchise.

But as things stand, people who do NOT contribute are in a position to vote themselves money and goods from those who DO.  It would literally be no different than if we granted the right to vote, in America, to Guatamalans, who could be expected to support candidates who promised foreign aid to Guatamala.  Economically, the money is wasted.  The Obamaphones will accomplish no economic good; nor does any serious person really expect them to.

This problem would be eradicated with my solution.  If you want to vote, get a job, then make enough money to pay income taxes.  If you want that group to be larger, then we can expand the pool and bring the taxes down to your level.  You may quickly wish for less taxes, like the rest of us.

If the top 50% of the country ran things, everything would be better for all.  We could still have social welfare programs.  No one would go hungry or homeless involutarily.  But we would get a rational public dialogue oriented around our actual problems, and a responsible concern both with the well being of ALL Americans, as well as our posterity.

And for those who would scream at me: I ask again, do you or do you not understand that our true annual debt increase is something on the order of $5 trillion a YEAR, and that that cannot go on much longer?  If you do understand this, why are you not discussing it?  The economic crash that is a CERTAINTY will hurt the poor the first and most.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Numbness

Can you remember when you became emotionally numb?  I don't think it is possible.  It would require remembering an extinction of something--feelings--that you no longer recognize.  Were you able to feel what you felt before, you would still not be able to pinpoint a moment--although perhaps a period, perhaps one triggered by an event.

We are surrounded by references to numbness.  I have posted many of them.  Here is another, from Linkin Park, in which I think they are wrestling creatively with it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXYiU_JCYtU

What I would submit, is that the pervasive anger and emotional stunting we see around us is a direct result of the Baby Boomers trying to "find" themselves.  Put another way, of their historically unprecedented selfishness and vanity.  These things have consequences.  If you spend all your time looking in one mirror or another, you are not emotionally available to those around you.

In this song, I think they are making reference to that.  I don't have time for a more complete analysis.

Here are the lyrics:
I'm tired of being what you want me to be
Feeling so faithless, lost under the surface
Don't know what you're expecting of me
Put under the pressure of walking in your shoes
(Caught in the undertow, just caught in the undertow)
Every step that I take is another mistake to you
(Caught in the undertow, just caught in the undertow)

[Chorus:]
I've become so numb, I can't feel you there
Become so tired, so much more aware
I'm becoming this, all I want to do
Is be more like me and be less like you

Can't you see that you're smothering me,
Holding too tightly, afraid to lose control?
'Cause everything that you thought I would be
Has fallen apart right in front of you.
(Caught in the undertow, just caught in the undertow)
Every step that I take is another mistake to you.
(Caught in the undertow, just caught in the undertow)
And every second I waste is more than I can take.

[Chorus:]
I've become so numb, I can't feel you there,
Become so tired, so much more aware
I'm becoming this, all I want to do
Is be more like me and be less like you.

And I know
I may end up failing too.
But I know
You were just like me with someone disappointed in you.

[Chorus:]
I've become so numb, I can't feel you there,
Become so tired, so much more aware.
I'm becoming this, all I want to do
Is be more like me and be less like you.

[Chorus:]
I've become so numb, I can't feel you there.
(I'm tired of being what you want me to be)
I've become so numb, I can't feel you there.
(I'm tired of being what you want me to be)

Goodness, added thought

In the simplest possible sense, Goodness is for me emotional maturity, which includes the ability to grow and ripen in understanding across a lifetime. It is a progressive increase in the capacity for emotionally engaged work, the expression of empathy, and a capacity for emotional fulfillment.

I posit no strict rules.  In fact, I have defined proper moral judgements as "local, imperfect, and necessary".  That needs to go into my essay, but I keep forgetting, and I stay busy.

This is, in my view, a globally adaptable paradigm.  I personally might question a decision, say, to have orgies in the town square, but the Taoists apparently did it in China, and it may well have been a source of personal and communal well being that was consistent with emotional growth.  I wasn't there, and I don't know.  And to the point of my system, it is not necessary for me to render judgment.

Goodness

I have defined Goodness as an emergent property of a system in motion characterized by the rejection of self pity, persistence, and a desire to learn, in the broadest possible sense.  Self evidently, motion, per se, is the defining quality of freedom.  You are not free to the extent there are fences and barriers saying "go not here".  You are make less free if you can't allow smoking in your bar.  You are make less free if you can't smoke pot legally.  You are made less free if you can't opt out of social programs you want no part of.

Self evidently, Socialism--as the empowerment of a small oligarchy tasked with homogenizing culture--is antithetical to freedom, and hence goodness.

It is a strange fact of my own experience that as an inhabitant of a land still largely free that I know the feeling totalitarianism, coming as I did from a family in which the expression of individual emotion and initiative was banned, not explicitly, but in that dark place where all emotions one wants to hide live freely until they are seen.

As I struggle with freeing myself, my world is going darker.  The DESIRE for freedom is waning, and being supported tacitly by countless thought leaders who are exhausted.

With regard to academics, I want to point out how this works.  Every journalist, every doctor, every lawyer, substantially every politician, the teachers of our children, our psychologists, our ministers: they went to college, and were exposed to the ideas on display there.  It is not not that bricklayers care about what Antonio Gramsci had to say, but that his or her Grade School teacher may have been taught by someone whose learning came from a texbook written by someone who was.  It trickles down.

The phrase "Monster Fertilizer" came into my head this morning.  Often what happens is the phrase pops up--in the spirit of Freudian word association, but spontaneously--and then I analyze it.  If you watch, and if you practice, you can take nearly any initial input, and reach some conclusion your unconscious was looking to make conscious anyway.

Here, I have had the vision from time to time of monsters remembering themselves.  Joining the leftist cult is a sort of magical spell that people allow themselves to fall under.  It is a congenial cult.  It promises a bright future, no matter what present circumstances seem to contradict that possibility.  And it demands no original thought, no personal development: nothing but the willingness to yell what everyone else is yelling, when they are yelling it.

But spells can be broken.  A rose-colored or white mist can sweep through and cause everyone to take that breath of life they have been holding in their suspended animation, and remember who they once were, what they once loved, before the forgetting began.

And the masks of monsters they wore can be cast down and made into a root fertilizer for something new, some new society actually worth living in.

It is an infelicitous metaphor, but I think sometimes of Hitler dreaming endlessly of the cities he was going to build in the Russian Steppes, even as bombs fell on his bunker.  I think that perhaps my dreams are the same, and failure is inevitable.  But why?  Why not dream simply because it appears impossible?  Why not allow out ideas which are made at least more possible through expression?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Silence

I often sit in silence for hours, usually while drinking.  Last night I couldn't sleep, so I just sat on my couch and listened to the breeze outside for a couple of hours.  There is a point where silence almost becomes a companion.

If I could pick ONE thing that is most wrong with America right now, it would be the fact that we are bombarded with idiocy and babble all day every day, in many cases literally from awaking to going asleep.  How can you think when the TV is on?  How can you settle into deeper thoughts when you never stop listening to music, checking your Facebook and Twitter, and texting?

I remember reading Erich Fromm some years ago, and I think it was in "The Art of Loving" that he opined that if they were simply denied their daily paper for a week, some percentage of the populace would lapse into acute MANIFEST psychosis. Sanity is taken for granted, but need not be.

What would happen to kids nowadays if they had to go a week with NO electronics of any sort?  It would certainly generate HUGE anxiety, and some percentage of them, likewise, would suffer some sort of MANIFEST breakdown.

Unstable systems can be propped up in motion, but fall over when asked to be quiet.

"Who can wait until the dirt settles in the water?" said Lao or Chuang Tzu approximately.  But that is what it takes for clarity.

The Gordian Knot

The interesting question is why it became known in the first place.  What is the point of rope?  To tie things together, to connect them.  Was the rope in the knot able to do this?  Of course not.  It became revered for its uselessness, and the challenge it presented.  Time spent unraveling it was wasted.

This is a species of idolatry, which is what you get when you forget what is real, and what the purpose of your activity actually is. Swords have their uses.

Tax hikes

I want to say again that the fight to avoid tax hikes is likely useless, and even if successful will lead to an effective propaganda campaign in which Republicans are blamed for an economy entirely the creation of Democrats and RINO's.

Obama wants this economy.  I say give it to him.  Given the extent of our borrowing, the taxes won't make a dent, but Obama can't blame 10% joblessness in two years on anyone but himself IF we give him what he wants.

In many cases, this will likely fall on deaf ears, but that is my feeling.  The American people want to be lied to, and only suffering will make them listen to anyone but the Pied Piper.

The Back Side of Abstraction

This has been an emotionally productive week for me.  I got behind my waterfall of abstraction, and interestingly found ANGER.  Anger, in no small measure, drives me.  This may be obvious to readers, I don't know, but it was surprising to me.  Obviously, I get angry.  It was the standing nature of it that surprised me.  It was SEEING it.

And I was standing on a ladder today, thinking of Woody Allen and George Bernard Shaw, both warped, awful human beings in their own ways, but also gifted with a talent for wit, and psychological insight.  We speak of Shavian Wit.  Allen has been a steady feature of our cultural landscape for, what, 40 years?  Both are intelligent.  Both understand people.

But both have (had) something deep inside of them that drives them, that is unnamed, unacknowledged, hidden.  When we see Woody Allen being neurotic, what we need to see is someone who goes through the motions of caring about others, who goes through the motions of emotions, but who in my view is really quite cold and calculating at the core of his being.  So, too, was Shaw, who called for the invention of a poison gas to kill undesirables, all while smiling genteelly.

Constant abstraction, perhaps, is often a smoke concealing a fire.

I will add, actually, that I had a dream some time ago, in which I climbed down a ladder, into an underground area, where Noam Chomsky was cajoling people to jump off a cliff into a pool far below, saying "the water's fine".  Many jumped.

My interpretation then was that he was convincing people to lower qualitative levels, to lower, less desirable emotional and intellectual states, which I certainly believe he did and does.  But now, when I apply the idea that ALL parts of every dream contain an element of me, I see that he symbolized for me the state of concealing abstraction.  He symbolized for me the power to avoid emoting through thinking, and in so doing reducing myself, lowering myself.

This is interesting to me, at least. If your existence is the thorn which pricks you, what do you become when it disappears?

Socialism's Advantage

I have never seen it put quite this way, but a core advantage socialists have is that they are preaching decadence.  They are preaching walking downhill because it is easy.

A coherent, non-decadent society depends first and foremost on duties, on everyone carrying their share.  The core contention of socialists is that no matter how lazy and stupid you are, you deserve to be cared for, and it is the DUTY of SOMEONE ELSE to do it.

Quite literally, the only duty they demand of those who support them is that they vote for them, and campaign for them.  That's it.

Decadence, though, is when you think first and foremost about yourself, and only secondarily about others, the society as a whole.

And I want to reiterate that Capitalism--if we ignore the Monetary Mercantilists--is a system in which greed can ONLY be satisfied by providing something people want at a price they are willing to pay, and doing it earlier and/or better than anyone else.  The only exceptions are when government steps in to protect monopolies, when it uses taxpayer money to buy political support, and in cases of outright graft and fraud, which are both illegal, and which WOULD be prosecuted by a non-corrupt government.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Ideas

"I have always fought for ideas--until I learned that it isn't ideas but grief, struggle, and flashes of vision which enlighten." Margaret Anderson

I was looking at my bookshelves this morning.  I purge them from time to time, but I still have at least 500 books, many of which I have not read [this is off topic, but some are what I call "eternity" books, by which I mean that I would read them if time were endless, but which I can't justify reading now, when I have so many projects that--rightly or wrongly--I feel warrant my attention and execution].

What I was thinking is that all of them are portals, gateways, to something else.  They have no meaning in themselves, except in terms of what they do to you, to how you think, how you feel, how you interact with OUT THERE.  Books are not and should not be an end to themselves.  They are meant to support action, doing, daring, feeling, discovering, failing, succeeding.

I think the failure to understand this is perhaps one of the root failures of our intelligentsia.  Far better the carpenter who reads to relax than the academic who does nothing else.  The latter quite literally sucks intelligence out of the room, since he has abandoned the project of improving the world, outside of the politics he attaches to himself as an ersatz conscience.

When you look at "writers" like Jacques Derrida, the text is literally and specifically made the end.  He reveled in his very uselessness.

A true Liberal Arts curriculum would support businessmen, politicians, and manual laborers in guiding our nation into the future.  What we have is systematic deception, intellectual corruption, and systematic failures in synchrony between thought and action.

I was dreaming yesterday of a time ten years from now, or so, when thousands of men and women would converge somewhere to build a literal old style stone cathedral to Goodness, to a renewed sense of national--global--identity, purpose, and wholeness (which again in my iteration includes countless room for individual expression).  We would have to relearn stonemasonry.  We could use doctors and lawyers, and academics.  It would be a grand adventure.

I am likely ridiculous, but so too was the  person who dreamt up Notre Dame.  Castles in the mind become castles in the sky become roofs and steeples that shelter one from the rain.

Benghazi--SigInt

According to the well known reference source "Good Will Hunting", the NSA is something like 7 times larger than the CIA, making the CIA a good front for our intelligence apparatus, but largely irrelevant.  Some long time ago it was decided by the powers that be that capturing electronic transmissions was much preferable to using human beings in the gathering of secrets held by our enemies, friends, and everyone in between.

It seems to me likely that cell phones would have been used in the coordination of the Benghazi attack.  What did we capture?  What did we know?  Would the calls not have started long before the stinky mobs in bathrobes started showing up?  This is a question worth asking.

Is it possible that we were allowing Libyan Intelligence--perhaps with CIA supervision--to operate torture chambers in the back of the Embassy, without telling Christopher Stevens, that he found out, and that he was killed because he was going to tell people?  It sure seems like nobody in Obama's inner circle was concerned about his death.  It also seems likely that Obama and Clinton would have been willing to do nearly anything to make their Libya policy a success, or at least seem that way.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Religion

I don't think more than about one in a hundred people who claim to adhere to a religion of any sort--certainly Christianity in our country--REALLY believe everything they are supposed to believe.

Most Christians are taught social conformity through a sort of Pavlovian conditioning.  In many Protestant sects they are taught to fear hell, and learn to more or less behave through fear and social reinforcement.  Catholics are simply born into a community, and if you want to remain in that community, you do what everyone else is doing.

Many Christians remember the fate of the Sodomites, but not "judge not lest ye be judged", and "take no thought for the morrow; sufficient unto the day is the evil therein".

This article is interesting, and I will quote bit of it at length:

Many years ago, a team of researchers at the department of anthropology at the University of Minnesota decided to put this association to the test. They studied certain fringe religious groups, such as fundamentalist Baptists, Pentecostalists and the snake-handlers of West Virginia, to see if they showed the particular type of psychopathology associated with mental illness. Members of mainstream Protestant churches from a similar social and financial background provided a good control group for comparison. Some of the wilder fundamentalists prayed with what can only be described as great and transcendental ecstasy, but there was no obvious sign of any particular psychopathology among most of the people studied. After further analysis, however, there appeared a tendency to what can only be described as mental instability in one particular group. The study was blinded, so that most of the research team involved with questionnaires did not have access to the final data. When they were asked which group they thought would show the most disturbed psychopathology, the whole team identified the snake-handlers. But when the data were revealed, the reverse was true: there was more mental illness among the conventional Protestant churchgoers - the "extrinsically" religious - than among the fervently committed.

A Harvard psychologist named Gordon Allport did some key research in the 1950s on various kinds of human prejudice and came up with a definition of religiosity that is still in use today. He suggested that there were two types of religious commitment - extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic religiosity he defined as religious self-centredness. Such a person goes to church or synagogue as a means to an end - for what they can get out of it. They might go to church to be seen, because it is the social norm in their society, conferring respectability or social advancement. Going to church (or synagogue) becomes a social convention.

Allport thought that intrinsic religiosity was different. He identified a group of people who were intrinsically religious, seeing their religion as an end in itself. They tended to be more deeply committed; religion became the organising principle of their lives, a central and personal experience. In support of his research, Allport found that prejudice was more common in those individuals who scored highly for extrinsic religion.
The evidence generally is that intrinsic religiosity seems to be associated with lower levels of anxiety and stress, freedom from guilt, better adjustment in society and less depression. On the other hand, extrinsic religious feelings - where religion is used as a way to belong to and prosper within a group - seem to be associated with increased tendencies to guilt, worry and anxiety.
To my way of thinking "religion", which comes from a root word meaning "to bind", is unhealthy.  It is too monolithic, too large, to impersonal, too inaccessible.  I have tried to come up with new words, but the best I have at this point is "Wholotropic Telearchy", which is unwieldy.  "That" would be a good substitute, when referring to something existing and organic. Names are only needed outside the circle.

I think a proper spiritual unit is about the size of a classroom, roughly 24 people.  24 people can know one another well.

What the goal is, though, is shared understanding, shared commitments, to one another, and to everyone else.

As I think about it, somebody came up with the word "holons", which I will spell "Wholons'.  That is not bad.  I have proposed "bohannon" for reasons which frankly are opaque even to me.

What I would propose is the obvious thought that what is ALIVE, MOVES.  Things that don't move, that don't grow, that don't interact with the world at least through a need for food and oxygen, are not alive. 

Something driven down into the ground with a stake, and to which an endless array of ropes is attached, is not alive, not spiritual, not Good.

I am moving.  Interesting things may be on the way. 

Matthew, Verse 6

This is really quite wonderful, and worth the read in its entirety.  I of course have something to say at the end.

1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;

18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

I woke up this morning thinking "seek ye first the kingdom of God", and started crying.  I don't know why.  My detractors (sundry) will likely term me whiny, or mentally unbalanced, or [does it really matter?].  I try to tell the truth on this blog.  God only knows how rare full sincerity is in on this Earth.  People are like hardened Earth, having forgotten rain.  I certainly don't tell all, but what I tell is my truth, relatively unfiltered. And it helps that while I don't exactly hide my name, I don't put it out there either.

Heaven is on Earth.  Heaven is a state of mind.  It is an openness to experience, an emotional strength that enables you to persists in the face of grief, heartache and disappointment.  None of those things is real, in the end.  All of us are granted access to infinite light at the end of our days if we just soldier on as well as we can.

I watched "Cold Mountain" last night for the second time, and after having forgotten some of the plot twists.  What I had not forgotten was the old lady in the woods, who even while loving her goat slit its throat because someone needed to eat to live.  She did not harden her heart, or engage in useless sentimentality because it pleased her. She did what had to be done because it had to be done.

If you ponder the whole of the plotline, there is a theme of destiny, not less weak than in Forest Gump (which is in many respects as profound a meditation on love as any I've seen).  As Maddy put it:
See, I think there's a plan. There's a design for each and every one of us. You look at nature. Bird flies somewhere, picks up a seed, shits the seed out, plant grows. Bird's got a job, shit's got a job, seed's got a job. And you've got a job. 
The Kingdom of Heaven is your job, your duty--your dharma, as the Hindus would put it, and as the Buddhists would put it with a slightly different meaning.  It is accepting whatever hand you were dealt with grace and even pride.  That is all God wants, in my view, all He needs: your destiny.

Work hard and be well.  Perhaps that is the whole creed.  And when that doesn't work, repeat.

And with respect to the verses above, is it not obvious that if you are simply erecting a facade, it will blow over in any wind?  Build something worth building.

And if you place your trust in work and sincerity and in a desire to be good, this does not mean you will be fed. It does not mean you will be clothed.  It means you can ACCEPT this.  Is it not better to be poor in sober self respect, than the richest man on Earth who hates himself?

The things that matter cannot be weighed or laid next to a ruler.  Death is no end, unless it starts in your heart; and it continues until you remember life.

Rumi

The light in Your eyes fills my cauldron and sparks fire to warm it.
Its boil illuminates and perfumes my room.

Drink and be well, You say.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Nice Quotes

From my planner.  I'm cleaning up, so it's type 'em up, or not.  I obviously went with A.

"Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage.  The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict."  William Ellery Channing.

"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little".  Edmund Burke

"Remember, a person who wins success may have been counted out many times before.  He wins because he refused to give up."  Kemmons Wilson

"It is the character of a brave and resolute man not to be ruffled by adversity and not to desert his post."  Cicero.

"Believe it is possible to solve your problems.  Tremendous things happen to the believer.  So believe the answer will come, It will."  Norman Vincent Peale.

"Only those are fit to live who do not fear to die; and none are fit to die who have shrunk from the joy of life and the duty of life.  Both life and death are parts of the same Great Adventure."  TR

"A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral".  Antoine de Saint-Exupery

"Real difficulties can be overcome; it is only the imaginary ones that are unconquerable."  Theodore N. Vail.

Gratitude and a Yellow Hat

I have had a very pleasant morning listing to selections from Handel's Harp Concertos, and some of Bach's Suites for Solo Cello.  Now, some Nina Simone, then some Steven Reich.

And it occurs to me that if I had to give thanks for one thing today, it would be music.  Think about how restricted the best music was just one hundred years ago.  Now, you can wake up and download things that are beautiful and make you feel better instantly.  You get the best of the best.

Yellow Hat: in de Bono's Six Thinking Hats method, you analyze issues in 6 ways: determining what the goal is; putting all the information you have on a figurative or literal wall; figuring out what is bad or risky; figuring out what is good and safe; determining how you feel about things; and generating creative alternatives.

We tend to focus on the downside, on what bad COULD happen.  That is the Black Hat.  It is the hat par excellance for engineers.  You don't want optimists designing bridges.  But it is not inherently a creative hat.  It is not one that leads to building, but to risk remediation.

The Yellow Hat is the good side.  It would be the preferred hat of entrepreneurs and sales people,who either don't start or don't last long if they can't access a well of optimism.

I am frequently a "nattering nabob of negativism" (I've always liked that phrase, not least because nobody says "nabob) any more. I talk disaster.  I talk Fascism.  I talk waves of evil and darkness.

Today, though, I am going to spin things in a positive way, to the extent possible.

First off, Obama's real intentions.  The owner of my company went to a talk with Mitch McConnell, and what he said was that Obama and his inner circle want to recreate the French system, their approach to social welfare, unemployment, the environment, etc.  This is not Communism.  The French, in point of fact, have had a robust Communist Party since Ho Chi Minh and others founded it just after the Bolshevik coup in Russia.  Yet they have never had gulags.  They have never had labor camps, or even murders.  Yes, the government has come a play a large role, but they also get at LEAST 4 weeks off every year, and work fewer hours than most of the world.  If we could get that to happen somehow, that would be good.

As far as our debt, it may be that we can go a lot longer than we supposed without disaster.  Obama's reelection will mean continued high levels of unemployment, but the reality is that 90% or so of the Americans who want to work can do so, even if not at jobs they like.  And it also means that because banks will likely still not be making many loans, that Ben Bernanke's handouts to member banks will not likely lead to significant price inflation any time soon.  I predicted significant inflation if Romney were elected, since businesses would have started building again, and banks loaning, generating a significant increase in the money in circulation. 

And with regard to our surveillance state, the simple reality is that it does in fact make terrorism much more difficult, and in terms of its practical inconveniences, it is not that big a deal.  What we fear is what COULD happen, not what is happening.  Even the TSA does not molest the vast bulk of people coming through.

We now have a large, and permanently energized conservative movement.  I want you to think back to the Reagan era, when there was NO Fox news; when you had NO internet; you had NO talk radio, no Rush Limbaugh; when if memory serves the "Fairness Doctrine" WAS in effect, such that you couldn't say something conservative without immediately contradicting it; and when if you wanted to get news from a conservative or even reasonably impartial perspective, you had to subscribe to one of only a handful of magazines, like the National Review.

It is my strong feeling that the Democrats NEVER expected such a large and persistent conservative resurgence.  Given that support for conservatives is geographically widespread, and support for Democrats much less so, coming mainly from big cities, I think we can expect to hold on to the House for quite some time, which will make any further social engineering much more difficult.

As far as our debt, plans do exist. There is the Chicago Plan, there is my plan, and there is the "move all the old people in with their children and cancel the aircraft carriers" plan.  We are not being intelligent, but this does not mean that we cannot keep some decent standard of living.

Obama may not be a monster.  Nobody around him seems to think he is.  He is just a college academic with no common sense, someone who tends to view people as abstractions, and someone enchanted with his own world view.  It is a damaging world view, but need not be a catastrophic one.

All of our fears, all of our hyperventilating, consists in assuming the worst. The worst may be what we get, but practically, historically, things usually swing within a range between the worst and best.

We are not powerless.  We are not speechless.  We control the House, and can likely continue to move it to the right.

And Obamacare may well get us a conservative in the White House in four years.

I'm not getting squishy, but the simple fact is that all of these statements may well be true, and being diligent as a thinker requires me to point this out.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Journey's End

The end of the journey is realizing that the journey is all there is, and accepting this.

In my metaphysics, I never stop creating.  I never stop being.  It's all a great and enjoyable adventure, even when I am getting the shit beat out of me.  I'll win in the end.  Then start again, hey: is it not a great game?

Laugh: the universe appreciates it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fabianism

A smile with a knife.

In one form or another, it is clearly still with us.

I will add that most people don't know the song "Mack the Knife" is an adaptation from a Bertolt Brecht play in which a literal knife-killing gangster is used as a figurative moral equivalent to Capitalist exploitation.

Brecht, of course, was a Communists of sufficient piety that he was allowed to come and go from East Germany as he pleased. They never had cause to doubt his loyalty, and were never disappointed.

Freedom

Freedom is only of value in a diverse society.  If everyone thinks and feels and does the same things, there is nothing that one could want that is not there. In Islamic nations, you could only want freedom if you wanted to do something not sanctioned by the Koran.  If you accept as valid all the Koranic teachings, the Haddith, and the wisdom of the Umma, there is no value in freedom.  This is why Muslims tend not to do democracy well.  That is why most of North Africa will likely soon be controlled by people our media will call Islamic extremists, but who are really just taking their faith at face value (and in so doing stepping backwards morally, in my view: there is a God, and he has placed a conscience within us for a reason).

Leftists don't feel like they are missing anything.  When someone protests when the Ten Commandments is taken down, they feel that is the way things should be.  If someone says abortion is murder, they ignore them, since babies are not morally different than any other organ in the woman's body, making a mastectomy and a late term abortion morally equal.  They are fine with this because they lack that foundational virtue of truly Liberal culture: empathy, the ability to see things from the perspective of other people.

As I noted a few posts ago, empathy levels in one student population, using one standard test, have dropped 40% in thirty years.  This seems like a finding that one could apply across the country.  I say this based on dealing with these creatures often in their own environments. [Someone asked in a comment how I do it.  The answer is simple: I've been under attack all my life.  Nothing they can dish out holds a candle to what I've been through countless times.  And I like sparring, because it makes my mind stronger.]

They are like members of Saddam Hussein's tribe in prewar Iraq: they thought things were pretty good because they and their were in charge.  This they called freedom, and it was plenty.  You don't screw with Saddam, but why would you?  He's got your back.  As long as you take care of Obama he will take care of you (this is the feeling, but the population for which this is ACTUALLY true is much, much, much smaller than it realizes).

Cultural homogenization and autocracy go hand in hand. This is the root of my objection to gay marriage.  I could care less on many levels, not least of which is the fact that I'm not gay, so it doesn't affect me.  But what I don't like is the effort not just to reach a legal framework for gay marriage, but the thinking behind it which feels NO empathy for the religious sensibilities being trampled on, NO remorse for attacking them violently, and which in the end lacks a coherent morality outright.

What we need is a reason to live.  Getting legal recognition for men kissing in the chapel does not serve that purpose.  Fucking is not living.

Interviewing

I don't deal well with purely reactive situations.  I don't like waiting.  I prefer to do what I can in all situations to dictate the terms of engagement.  The best defense is completely destroying your opposition.  Temperamentally, of course, this would make me an effective leftist.  The problem is, I still have moral values that are not negotiable via opinion polls and peer pressure, and I possess the understanding to realize they are steadily making the world a darker and worse place, which is the categorical opposite of the what I intend in my own work.

What I wanted to say here, though, is that I have long thought that conservative politicians should play offense as well as defense.  We know that virtually all reporters for all networks and all news mediums are looking to create usable gaffes and errors.  You can only NOT screw up.  You can't win.

But here is an idea: they approach you, proposing an interview.  Make it a condition of the interview that for every two questions they ask, you get to ask one.  You get to interview the interviewer.  You get to try and figure out who they are.  They sit there as if they are impartial information discoverers, but of course this is a patent lie in most cases.  What ACTUALLY characterizes the situation is passive aggression.  They smile and laugh while they attack you.

But in my solution, you get to ask questions like: So, Ms. Maddow, it is my understanding that if we factor in Social Security and Medicare funding that should be getting put away, but isn't, our true annual budget deficit is $5 trillion.  Do you agree?  If not, what do you think it is and why?

Or: at what point, if any, does abortion become murder?  If the baby is born, and the doctor sets it out in the cold to be eaten by wild wolves--which is not morally different than simply letting it die, which Barack Obama voted for--is that wrong? 

Or: you opposed the existence of Guantanamo Bay as a holding center for hardened terrorists when Bush operated it.  Has your opinion on the wisdom of Bush creating that base changed in the last four years, and if so how?

Or: can you honestly say you understand how the Federal Reserve works?

Fair is fair.  Fuck things up if you want to win.  Do not play by other peoples rules: they make them that way for a reason.

Edit: hat tip to Demo Dick Marcinko there.  I did read a number of his books, a number of years ago. Whatever else he was--and I've talked with people who worked with DevGru and heard there is some diversity of opinion--he was himself.  Saying "fuck you world, I am me" has some value, in a great many cases.  I'm not a Randian, per se, but I like freedom, and I like people who use it creatively.

Adventures in IP Blocking, Continued--Updated

Well, the HuffPo is letting some of my comments through, which is positive.  I do want to point out a little trick that pencil dicked losers sometimes employ: it is possible to have multiple displays, such that a person with an identified IP Address sees one thing, and all others see something else.

As an example, my comments on the Guardian were finally let through, on another computer.  On THIS computer, though, no comments are visible.  Here is the link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/nov/14/derrida-biography-benoit-peeters-review#start-of-comments

It may be a technical glitch, but I have refreshed multiple times, and can't get any comments to come up.

I know this is possible because I remember reading some years ago that the San Francisco Chronicle was using this technique to censor conservatives WITHOUT THEM KNOWING IT.

We all remember, don't we, what we were taught in school?  To respect the opinions of others, to engage with them creatively and substantively in the hope of a synergistic improvement in the views of both of us?

What happens when people get into universities, now, is they become ILLiberal.  They become little fascists, who want to kill all thoughts that take them away from their new and improved identities as pod people.  And some of these people have high IQ's, which means that they can deploy their destructive emotions effectively in the intellectual realm.

When you look at people like Paul Krugman or Barack Obama, what you need to see is a little child inside, raging against a world it doesn't control and furious about it, and just wanting to smash everything.  And I will readily grant neither is likely aware of this.  As I have said, that is the role their politics plays: an effective cover for their real intent.  It hides it from them, and from onlookers.

Update: Sure enough, I got home and comments were enabled.  What they have likely done is hide either all comments--which seems to be the case--or just mine, which would be more work, I would think.

Fuck you Terry Eagleton, you power mongering, morally vacuous cowardly piece of shit.

Tyranny

I think I read this somewhere, but wanted to share it:

Once made fit for tyranny, a man is soon fit for little else.

Corrollary: Once you have accepted the loss of your identity, from where would the desire to rebuilt it come?

This is very abstract, but I think there is something there.

What is the point of freedom?  Historically, it has almost always arisen as a desire for RELIGIOUS freedom.  Religion and identity are closely intertwined.  The freedom Americans sought cannot be understood apart from the desire to practice religion freely.  The need for freedom depends upon the fact of intellectual and behavioral diversity.  Obviously, if everyone thinks and does the same, there is no need for freedom to be different.

William James, at the beginning of his lecture series published as "Pragmatism", pointed out that virtually everything worth knowing about a man can be known if you understand his sense of the world, of how reality is constructed and what his role, if any, is.  Do you believe in God?  This is a big question.

True Socialism depends on atheism, on the sense that the notion of quality is empty.  All men are equal because all are composed of atoms that will one day be somewhere else.  There is no nobility of soul, because there is no nobility, and there is no soul.

ONLY once these basic postulates are granted does their project make sense.  What it is is a controlled collapse, a controlled descent, a prolongation of what the adherents of this doctrine feel is the eventual certainty of moral nihilism and the necessity of suicide.

And as I say often, this whole thing rests upon an empirically false foundation.  There IS a God.  We can research these things in scientific ways, through investigations of mediums, through studying psi, through personal experience in altered states.

I sometimes imagine a sane society, one with beautiful cathedrals filled with the sincerely pious, worshipping based upon UNDERSTANDINGS built from personal experiences.  We can create, even now, the sorts of ceremonies seen in Avatar.  We can create Lothloriens.  We can bring Spirituality into the universities.  Other than the piggish and brutal bigotry of academics, there is nothing to oppose it.

We will all be held to account one day for what we should have seen but didn't.  This will be an unpleasant experience for many.

Basic Economics

Seriously, everyone should read Sowell's book by the same name, Hazlitt's "Economics in one lesson", and Hayek's "The Fatal Conceit".  If after reading these books you don't feel like punching Paul Krugman in the nose you are an idiot or a malignant asshole.

Because it may not be clear to some, I thought I might follow up on the previous post.  What leftists do is look at who is paying how much taxes, and then make empirically invalid assumptions based upon this analysis. Let us say that all the millionaires put together made $100 billion, and paid $25 billion in taxes.  Your typical Democrat looks at this and says, "hey, if we raise the tax rate to 60%, we will get $60 billion in taxes."  This is LITERALLY what they do.  That is how they run their numbers.

But this ignores the obvious fact that what made financial sense at a tax rate of 25% does NOT make sense at 60%.  Let's say, as one example, you sell some stock and have some cash.  Make it one million dollars even.  Do you put it in bonds to earn a reliable 3% income, or invest it in a carwash?  Running a carwash is a pain in the ass.  All employers will tell you that having employees is a pain in the ass, but of course a necessary one if you want to make a lot of money.

Let's say the carwash generates $100,000 in net income, and you pay $25,000 in taxes.  You pocket $75,000. 

If the tax rate is 60%, though, you only pocket $40,000, despite major headaches and a lot of work.  So you put your money in bonds and wait for tax policy to become rational.  You pay

At 25% taxation, it's worth the risk.  At 60% it isn't.  So in Scenario One the carwash is built, jobs are created, and taxes are paid on higher revenue.  In this case the taxes collected are $25,000.  In Scenario Two, you put your money into bonds.  You make $30,000 in passive income, which is taxed at 60%.  That generates $18,000 in taxes.

So in scenario one we collect more taxes, and generate more jobs (and of course the employees pay income taxes and FICA, so I am estimating on the low side). In Scenario Two we collect less taxes and generate NO jobs.

In a nutshell, this analysis is why California has been turned from the most prosperous State in the country into the one with the most poverty.  I read a couple weeks ago that even prior to the bottom 60% of Californians voting for the top 40% to pay more in taxes, some 4,000 high net worth individuals were leaving PER WEEK.  These are the people that spot opportunities to provide goods and services people want and need, and figure out ways to deliver them at prices they are willing and able to pay, and who is so doing generate both jobs and tax revenue.

Self evidently, if job creators leave, so too do jobs.  Self evidently, if tax payers leave, all that will remain are tax takers.

And all of this is unnecessary.  It is brought about by hate, and hate does not build. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Daily Krugman

His newest thing is bringing back the 91% top tax bracket.  This is just one more symptom of many that the true passion of leftists is punishing the rich, and not asking what policy benefits everyone the most.

The salient question, obviously, is "how much money did the government collect at the 91% tax rate"?  I'm sure the answer is "not much".  Back in the 1920', Andrew Mellon demonstrated clearly that if you cut tax rates on the wealthy you get economic growth, and they PAY MORE, both in absolute dollars and in terms of a percentage of the whole.

Yes, this is because they are getting richer, but SO IS EVERYBODY ELSE.  We would not have had a crash if the Fed had not pursued inflationary then deflationary policy, and we would not have had a Depression if first Hoover and then FDR had not tried to engage in social engineering.

Leftists love punishing the rich so much that they are willing to suffer generalized poverty to do it.  This is a moral malignancy.

Cultural debt

In a well functioning society, there is a stream of energy that makes things work, makes life felicitous. I will describe that as Goodwill.

Some time back in the 1960's, large numbers of people starting drawing on that Goodwill, starting using it for their own purposes.  I don't blame the poor, but rather the people who USED the poor for their own aim.

I do blame the hippies, in part, since their claim was that they need not participate in civil society to enjoy its benefits.  And when they eventually put on suits and ties, they brought with them a sense that they were entitled to a certain quality of life, and that their principle aim COULD properly be to enjoy life, rather than to build, and take joy in building.

When they raised their children, they taught them that they could have anything, do anything, and that their satisfaction was a proper aim in life: that selfishness was a virtue, in so many words, and this while robustly rejecting Ayn Rand.

Then of course you had the political cultists, whose sole aim in life was to use goodwill, to use the space given them by fundamentally liberal-minded people, to engineer destruction.  No political cultist builds.  Their whole aim is to destroy.

All of these things drew down our pool of Goodwill.  They have caused mistrust, and hate.  I have been chronically angry lately, even though I able to beat it back.  I go through periods of acceptance, then see something like a handicapped person who is plainly just lazy, not hurt, throwing fits because they have to walk an extra 20 yards because somebody parked in their space.

We are not a nation of dignity, of reserve and calm.  We are whiny and petulant. All of these things draw on our social fabric, make it less robust.

And if we look at this as a debt, it is every bit as large as our national debt.  I have a plan to pay our national debt.  How to pay our cultural debt, though?

My only idea is generalized deployment of Grof's Holotropic Breathwork, in countless little circles of 24 people, who use that work to regerminate seeds of true communal awareness and personal responsibility.

That, or we may react in creative ways to a general economic collapse.  We need to remember Argentina did not disappear as a nation.  It merely went from being a prosperous nation to being a poor nation, entirely due to the idiocy of its people and leaders.

Definitions

I was going through some notes yesterday and found this: the most basic fact is the definition.  Now, self evidently definitions need not describe a given phenomenon, but they categorically DO describe how you think of them, and to the extent that reality and concept overlap, definitions are useful.  The following are in my view useful definitions.

Liberalism is when the freedom to express yourself creatively is checked only by regard for the rights of others.

Socialism is when the hatred of  the rich overpowers concern for the poor.

Communism is when that hatred wins.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Progress

I have from time to time used the analogy of wave/particle duality to speak metaphorically of the social/individual natures of our selves.  We could not individualize were we never to socialize.  Babies brought up in isolation become more or less permanently retarded.

What I would suggest is that the recent electoral disappointment brought with it a reason to disconnect our daily emotions from things which are in fact abstract, distant, and as-yet unreal.  Few if any of us are suffering from "tyranny" in any major way.  We FEAR it--rightly in my view--but there is little we can do at the moment.  So why not focus on personal growth, on "particularizing"? 

Do you reliably do everything that you decide to do?  Are you behaviorally coherent?  Are you capable of expressing great joy and empathy?  What gaps are there in your factual knowledge of our world?  In what ways can you grow your business?

As I have said repeatedly, things will have to get worse before they CAN get better.  I just signed up to donate $30/month to Freedomworks indefinitely on autodebit, and would encourage others to do the same.  Matt Kibbe is more or less trying to bring to maturity something in a few years that the Left has been building for the better part of the century. It would be an impossible project, were the facts not on our side.

I like RandPAC and Campaign for Freedom too.  Think of this as a long battle, as it will be.  I have said before and will say again: imagine you were Churchill, who had been saying for nearly a decade that Germany was a major threat, finally being put into office only to face immediate and apparently catastrophic military reversals, including mass bombing of civilian populations.  He had few resources and no allies other than the US, which did not formally enter the war for several years after the assault on Britain began.

We have no death, now.  We have no food shortage.  What we have are abstractions that cause us fear.  I feel, obviously, that they are correct, but it must be said that we may be wrong, and it is CERTAINLY the case that nobody knows what the future holds, not even those who think they are planning it.

I had some very positive dreams last night.  My defenses against my past are apparently complete.  This is reassuring to me.  And I see no reason I can't keep growing until somebody puts a bullet in my head.  I have even made plans for prisons and work camps, the notion of which of course seems ridiculous to any Leftists reading this, but the fact is I read history, and the inmates always say "I didn't think it could happen here".

The Left is MAKING it happen here every time they murder a needed truth, so all possibilities are on the table.  I see this, to be clear, and still feel like my life is working to a purpose, to a good, to something better.


Possibility of averting full Obamacare implementation.

http://www.freedomworks.org/blog/grusbf5/are-state-exchanges-our-last-hope-against-obamacar

If they are right, there may still be a chance of blocking full Obamacare implementation. We need to all understand that large systems, when disrupted in major ways for sustained periods of time, take a VERY long time to return to stable states, even if supported by helpful public policy.

Obamacare will fuck things up, fuck them up badly, and fuck them up for a long time.  For every winner there will be four losers.  Democrats will talk about the winners, and blame the losers on the Republicans.  They will figure out how when the time comes.

Verity

Churchill once said: “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.” 

As I look at the Left following this election, they seem to be a bit surprised.  I think many Democrats view the election process as a sort of game, and are quite proud to see that their side has prevailed again.  The feeling is analogous to your ball team winning on Saturday or Sunday.  You get bragging rights, you get to feel superior by identification.

And since in their world view this is a game, what they expect to see is that Republicans will learn from them, start spinning things in a way more calculated to appeal to the vast masses of mediocrity in this country, start moving to the "middle", and start pretending that our national discourse is "moderate".

We're supposed to lick our wounds, then start going at it again in a spirit of collegial rivalry.  "You got us this time, you rascals, but we'll get you in 2014."

What they are seeing instead is masses of people in complete despair, talking about the end of our nation as we have known it.  This is far beyond just a desire to return to the 1950's.  It is plainly not racismAnd it puzzles them.

The smarter ones are getting whiffs of panic.  They are wondering--or allowing just that whiff of a hint into their mind that doesn't even quite rise to the level of a conscious thought--if perhaps we are right.  But how could that be?  Everyone around them is in complete agreement that spending more money is the solution, that we have a moral duty to the poor, that the world is only made violent by violence (even though OF COURSE Obama is being responsible in the Middle East, pursuing a "middle of the road", balanced policy, consistent with his innate restraint and intelligence), and that the supposed "national debt" is just a distraction, created by corporate fat cats to keep their tax money from being used to help sick children get medicine they couldn't get any other way.

But our mourning continues.  We keep talking the same ways, even though we lost badly.  There are even signs we may move farther to the right, despite the polling indicating this is a bad idea.  How can one explain that?

What happens when that whiff hits, when your stomach momentarily contracts in anxiety, is you have to make a choice.  You can go into freefall, realizing that you have spent your entire adult life supporting ideas that were completely wrong; or you can reaffirm yet more strongly your commitment to the ideas you have held your entire life.

What do you think will be the default response for most?  Still, it is interesting to see flickers of life here and there.     

There is in fact a dichotomous choice to make.  Things are no longer on a continuum.  Now is the time of either/or. Long term lying, which has resulted in castles in the sky that must crash, has made it this way. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Past posts

I had ten hits on this post from last year: http://moderatesunited.blogspot.com/2011/09/previous-post.html  , and took a look at it.  I don't remember this post, but do remember the clear feeling that SURELY all the BS coming out of this group of ninnies has to catch up with them by November 2012.

I was wrong.  Americans are stupider than I thought.  I will say, though, that if 8 years of this shit isn't enough to wake people up, we may not wake up.  All giants sleep, all nations fail, everything that is built decays. 

Signs and Signifiers

Nah, not that kind.  It's Saturday night for God's sake.

I like this song, and most of the songs on this album.  Give it a listen: 




What I want

I want the emotional flexibility to adapt to circumstances as they exist.  I want everything from the ability to be completely callous and insensitive all the way to being completely open, loving, and compassionate.  I want a bias in the latter direction, but would submit that neither Buddha nor Jesus intended to or wanted to play a part in public political affairs.  Their creeds were ideally suited to full time spiritual devotees, but not to people with families, homes, and an intrinsic interest in issues of war, prosperity, and legal justice.

If you want to keep something, sometimes you have to fight  for it.  Fighting brings out the best in no one, but it often enables less grief in the world than a loss to someone much worse ethically would entail.

There is ZERO question in my mind that had we chosen to win the Vietnam War by helping the South in the very last stages, that at least 2 million people would either not have been murdered in the most brutal way possible, or psychologically tortured in purpose-built gulags.

You don't get the luxury of insulating yourself from unpleasant realities.  You can lie to yourself for now, certainly, but when you die, when you see what you did with your life, you cannot escape responsibility in my view.  I literally think that when old hippies die, they will see what happened in Vietnam after the sadists took over. They will see what happened in Cambodia because we abandoned them in the face of a determined but manageable enemy.

And it won't be pleasant.

To the point here, I see no contradictions inherent in me being a dick sometimes.  Most of the time, it is true that I am being emotionally inflexible and unskilled.  I grant this.  But sometimes I need to be this way.  When I have reached a much more acceptable level of skill, my reactions will generally be those best suited to the task at hand. 

The concept that you should be nice to everyone all the time, though, is one of Sybaritic leftism.  It is not one best suited to improving this world, in my considered view.