Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Progress Through the Miracle of Brute Force

In some cultures and societies, nothing but brute force is recognized as a reality; an understanding and good faith are regarded as nothing -- if not concurrently beating the other over the head to make sure they are doing what one wants them to do. Societies like that are not very efficient -- because they require another to supervise what the other is doing, and another to supervise the first, on up to the top. So while there is presumably full employment, one person at the bottom is doing all the real work, while all the others, which may be considerable, are supervising to ensure that the job gets done “right,” according to each level’s “administrative” rules, which may actually obscure the original purpose of the actual worker.

In civilized countries, we know this as bureaucracy in all its manifestations -- of arbitrariness, just because one can. The flaunting of such power, is an end in itself -- as proof of one’s status -- that he can get others to do the most ridiculous things, just because he desires it. It is the madness of the abuse of power, weak and ignoble people cannot resist -- but great leaders rise above. Ultimately, that is the only way one can tell them -- and not from anything they want us to believe about them. The most power-mad often go to the greatest lengths to convince us otherwise. Hypocrisy is confused by many reporters as “genius,” while honesty is reported as “stupidity.”

It is thought, if he is so smart, one isn’t he abusing and exploiting everybody else -- as they themselves would, if given such a position of trust and honor? Surely, to their way of thinking, that shows a lack of ambition. They have been conditioned to believe that life is an eternal struggle and competition, of each against every other -- and that is what gives them this great feeling of being "alive" -- to control everybody else. That -- and eating everybody else’s share is what one must do, before others have a chance to do it to them first.

All the other animals do it -- so it must be right and natural; that is the natural order of things, they like to rationalize. If they do not grab more than their share, somebody else will think of it first -- and they will lose out. So thoughtful and intelligent people ask, “Can this vicious cycle ever end?” “And how?”

Awareness of the problem is the answer -- and the leadership of those with the greatest exercise of understanding -- and not the leadership of those who are the most ruthless, brutal and partisan. Leaders must choose wisely among themselves, foremost. What helps is to rotate that leadership so no one becomes entrenched in the permanence of it. That in itself, is a great part of the problem.

Without change, improvement is not possible; things can only stay the same -- without change. It is obviously a self-evident truth. Yet people complain mightily and lengthily, as though that was all that was needed to bring about change -- which is no change. The complaining becomes a substitute for changing. And so a real response, is deferred farther and farther into the future. That is progress through the miracle of brute force -- to deny and suppress it can be otherwise.

Understanding Conditioning(repeat) FOCUS (Channel 49, Honolulu, Hawaii) 1/2/2007 2:00:00 PM A revolutionary new way of looking at exercise. Environmental/Health

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A New Kind of Governance

People still ask me what are the hot topics in local politics, to which I name three, (1) education, (2) transportation (the rail issue), and (3) the cost of living, which are really interrelated, and the same problem -- of a lack of effective information. Inefficiencies of information is the source of most profits -- as people pay a lot for that which they could pay less, or even pay a little, for that which they could get free.

Once people have a certain amount of money, usually the median income, what determines the difference in the quality of life are the individual choices people make -- all things being equal. The lack in this world is no longer the lack of resources as it is the lack of information about those resources -- just as there is not a lack of jobs so much as there is the lack of knowledge by the right people about those jobs.

Which really should not be a problem in the Age of Information -- unless we’re still trying to maintain the Age of Ignorance of a previous time, when information was hoarded and manipulated for tremendous profits -- because of the inefficiencies of market information. The difference in quality of life can be huge -- on the same sustaining income, because one person could be investing his to multiple effect, while the other is merely consuming theirs.

The skills one cultivates also is a potential source of value and exchange -- that doesn’t have to be exercised until there is urgent need to actualize those values. That is, one does not have to convert goods and services into exchange currency unless there is an actual need for it. That is a totally different kind of economy -- and society, than the compulsion to maximize income under all circumstances.

That is the way investors think -- about making these decisions to actualize income or let it lie unrealized until some more beneficial and auspicious moment. A previous generation called this delayed gratification -- or deferred compensation -- paid at the time it is most advantageous to actualize it.

The mass market economy has evolved so that most things are accessible to the “average” person if they decide that is their greatest need and desire to have. What that can be for every individual, varies greatly.

For many people, increasingly larger proportions of those expenditures fall into the category of “entertainment,” whether they call it a vacation or merely recreation, or that portion of a car beyond the actual function of transportation.

The most productive of such activities would be processing information as a valuable pastime in itself -- which is really the evolution of modern man. Rather than it being an arduous and unpleasant task, it becomes for many, the organizing principle of their lives. Formerly, there was no excess time and capabilities for doing such things -- but now it has become the essence of leisure and re-creation -- that changes the whole problem of government.

Politicians are the ultimate middlemen, in an era of disintermediation -- which is the elimination of the middle man. People can govern their own lives best -- when merely given all the information and freedom to do so -- to make the best choices for themselves.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Making A Difference

Unlike many other candidates, and many party leaders, I think winning elections is not the only objective of waging campaigns. Some do it because they want to give exposure to their platforms (or blogging sites for that matter) -- which is a great ideal, in the finest tradition of American politics. In fact, such campaigns really give legitimacy to the others. However, many who begin with such noble intentions and purposes, can quickly lose sight of them -- in the heat of their desire to win.

I’m of the opinion that everybody ought to run -- if they truly desire to do so. It doesn’t require (a lot of) money to do so -- for that purpose. As a candidate, one is already granted the esteem of that office -- that doesn’t have to end with the election. It can be a new beginning -- just like everything we do, can be a new beginning, also.

Leadership is not limited to election of such office -- as it is the actual exhibition and exercise of manifesting and embodying leading edge ideas. Many elected officials will be nothing more than followers -- which others like because they can flatter such “leaders” into thinking and doing what they want them to. That’s why the media likes people more easily swayed to their way of thinking than those who aren’t -- because they feel that it is “they,” who should really be in charge. So they require the most complicit and conformist to achieve those ends.

There are a lot of interest groups that wold like to run the government for their exclusive benefit and self-aggrandizement, but they are a highly visible and well organized minority -- rather than the majority they purport to be. The majority are less attentive and disinterested, and so can be easily deceived and manipulated -- particularly if it is the cultural conditioning to be so. They will call those rigid social (political) hierarchies, “democracies” also. They may say something like, “Might is right,” rather than that true representation, makes right. That was the genesis of the American Revolution -- that there was taxation without true representation; it was imposed by a few, on the many.

The critical quality of democracy is not which party is the majority and controls the government, but whether that government is a true representation of all the interests -- and not just the dominance of a few over all the others. That is the danger inherent in democracies -- that Plato warned about -- that a strong, ruthless faction takes over and dominates and suppresses all the others while claiming it was in the best interest of all, who no longer had a voice, although a great show was made to convince everyone they did.

That is the impression one gets looking at the public access hearings on the The Rail Option that must be the only solution we arrive at. There are some pockets of resistance that are quite contrary to the reporting of them. Nobody disputes anymore that it is not a real solution. But the majority has the votes to pass the project that will solve nothing -- because the builders demand it, even to convincing people who have never taken public transportation before, that they would if it was just rail, instead of the demeaning buses. An expensive rail, is the only way they could see themselves taking mass transportation -- they are convinced.

The rail is where they would like to see development take place -- rather than that there is an existing demand for it in actual use of mass transportation options that are already underutilized.

They’re talking as though mass transit is an idea never thought of before -- and doesn’t exist until they build a rail. What are all those empty buses running around for? Sure they run slow because they get caught up in traffic -- that wouldn't be there, if people rode the buses.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Transporting Hawaii

I guess people are finally waking up to the realization that the proposed rail system is not a panacea but actually a Pandora’s Box of problems that threatens to disrupt every facet of life in these Islands -- beginning with the one, that simple truths can never be honored and taken at face value henceforth. If powerful interest groups desire to, they can pack the testimonials with any number of people who will be flattered at their opportunity to convince everyone else of what is not true -- as a testimony of their personal power and status.

Having lived in most of the major metropolitan areas in the country, the obviously successful rail systems are east of the Mississippi, in which most of the inhabitants do not own a single car in their household -- which a lot of people living west of the Mississippi, find hard to believe. The notable exception is San Francisco -- where public transportation works because there is no other means of viable transportation, even including biking, because the city is famously hilly, with the hazards of rail everywhere, in addition to not owning cars. They have a larger population packed into 49 square miles, 7 X 7, rather than dispersed over 600 square miles -- which is the hub that draws on a population ten times larger.

New York City is the same way -- only ten times larger. And curiously, what is most successful at getting most people outside the city in, is bus transportation, and not rail. Rail is effective, for those already living in the city -- but for moving people from the suburbs into the city, even New York, London, Tokyo, Paris, know it is not cost-effective -- despite their great success with inner city modes.

The density is which rail is unconditionally successful is with densities of 20,000 people per sure mile -- rather than 2,000. With 20,000 per square mile, one can go to the same station at the same time daily, and not recognize any familiar faces -- nearly all one’s life. In 2,000 people densities, one can go to the same bus stop every day at the same time, and see the one other person waiting for the same bus each day -- as we do in Honolulu.

One just can’t create a pattern and tradition just because one wants to. The far more appropriate thing to do would be to hire someone like Jeremy Harris to coordinate and run a car, van pool and alternative transportation system based on an electronic bulletin board that could be the foundation for use in the 21st century in which information and communication become more important than transportation.

Transportation considerations are the remnants of old society and culture. We don’t need to get more students to Manoa for them to be informed. We don’t need to congregate people anywhere, for a discussion and dialogue to take place. That should be obvious by now. We just need to want to share information -- and not hoard and manipulate it to the advantage of a few, in the old way.

That new development and realization is what I hope to see in the Legislative processes of this coming year.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Some Solutions Are More Equal Than Others

Those with a bloodlust and think Democrats and Republicans should be at each other’s jugulars as their perverse form of “entertainment,” were undoubtedly disappointed that Governor Lingle’s inauguration speech did not delineate the battle lines at which the most brutal turf wars will be fought -- but instead of the familiar, claimed the frontier where we have not been before -- in innovation and new ideas.

Battles are never fought there, because boldness, courage and ingenuity is not that easy to come by. It is far more preferable to fight the familiar battles -- with the same predictable, controllable results -- than moving into new ground where only the truly able leaders feel comfortable. That is also where real solutions are likely to be found -- and not just “solutions” that exploit and perpetuate the age-old problems, which increasingly, is about age and the life never lived before.

People have lived to be a hundred before, but increasingly, is the possibility of living that life vitally until virtually the day one dies -- and not just slowly deteriorating a lifetime once one gets out of high school or other systematic forced programs to maintain growth and development. The real measure of that programming (education) is whether it can be sustained beyond the institutionalized setting and integrated into all one’s activities and life -- and not be one of the countless fragmentations, categorizations, and pigeonholing of our existences.

That’s the next step in progress -- and not just finding one more rags to riches story to report on. Once most people are off the plantations and educated, what is the new model of success? And does real estate speculation have anything to do with the homeless problem and inflation? It’s time we start connecting the dots -- that everything is related to everything else, and not just arbitrary depending on what the vested self-interests want us to believe.

If one attends these hearings often enough, one is amazed at the outrageous things that can be said, and not challenged by the reporting media -- usually because they are the most gullible and undiscriminating -- by company policy if not training and aptitude.

Of course the old status quo will maintain that nothing that hasn’t been said before, can be said now or at anytime in the future. Only the familiar and trite can be recorded and reported on -- which of course is the problem, but real solutions are the last thing they want to hear because the old problems have become so profitable to the entrenched status quo.

But at what cost to the greater society? We’ve never thought that way before -- about the Big Picture -- and not only what the partisan self-interest groups who paid for the election want. The solutions of the future will not be MORE partisanship and even bipartisanship -- but beginning and ending with nonpartisanship -- which is so mind boggling the editorialists will immediately proclaim that it is all nonsense and the politicians need to get back to the petty squabbling and turf battles that they define is the inevitable fate and destiny for politicians and government.

Thank God there are those who can see beyond.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Last Shall Be the First

The beauty of a democracy is that an election does not suppress a point of view but just doesn’t give it a vote -- but all other rights to the representation of every viewpoint is still retained, and even enhanced oftentimes, because one is not limited by the constraints of office holding -- which is the requirement to do certain things in a certain way. One then becomes free from all the other concerns that might be a distraction to one’s focus. Being the elected official does not allow that kind of singlemindedness of purpose -- unless one is well-disposed in that way because of all the competing interests for one’s attention, and if that formative experience occurs too early in life, one can never achieve full maturity of developing their own unique views.

If one does develop their own unique perspectives, then whether one is an “elected” official or not, doesn’t make that big a difference in representing that distinctive point of view. That should be the realization of others who came in second in their races -- that they can still go ahead and do everything they can to represent informed judgment and opinion, despite not having a vote on the matter. There are a lot of other tasks a representative citizen can do.

That’s why I’ve never like the promises of people who say they will deliver a wonderful world only if elected. I think true leaders make it happen regardless of their office and station in life -- unlike the countless numbers of bureau(Demo)crats running around disclaiming that it is not their job, they will not get the credit, so why should they care?

So I think Paul Smith has a great idea in convening the assembly of alternative representatives from time to time, drawn from the ranks of the unsuccessful candidates of the previous election, but also quite possibly, the candidates of future elections as well. There should be that kind of a standing body of people ready and disposed to move in to whatever opportunities present themselves. How else do we prepare leaders of the future?

At these meetings are also some of the successful candidates of elections to share their wisdom and insights into the campaign process -- as well as habituate candidates to the idea that they belong in those ranks. That’s the best mentoring program there is -- in just being willing to show up for those meetings.

Success in anything, is mainly about the confidence in doing anything. -- while the unfortunate tactic in traditional and conventional education is to undermine that confidence. So one of the great problems brought out in the campaigns is this difficulty many have in communicating with others -- in a confident, non self-conscious manner -- that is particularly noticeable of those with an Island education.

Of course that is the wrong pedagogical tactic of highly centralized, depersonalized education still offered by a few backwater states as an enlightened approach -- rather than realizing it is the problem of education, that even courses in “high self-esteem” cannot fake. But real leaders in their communities, should continue to represent alternative viewpoints no matter what the election outcome. It doesn’t invalidate well thought out ideas worthy of being heard and discussed.