Thursday, June 30, 2011

The New Declaration of Independence

Nobody has to be a government worker in the United States of America.

If they are, it is because they choose to be -- because nobody is forcing them to be a teacher, a social worker, a clerk for the government; working for the government is not a sacrifice -- it is an honor and a privilege, that also compensates more richly than the median of those performing those occupations in private industry, as well as the public at large. It might not be the top -- which should not be the comparable peer benchmark they compare themselves to in contract negotiations.

The best in any field, are the best -- and have no peers, and that's why they are the best. The union, or collective, is the average -- and not the best, or they wouldn't be bargaining as a union. These points are blurred in the lynch mob atmosphere of those stirred to believe they have been cheated and wronged because they get only more than the average, and not the most -- of which they are not deserving, or they would be somewhere else, thinking and speaking for themselves, and not having a representative speak for all because they need that tyranny and rage of the masses to coerce a contract.

A contract is an agreement willingly entered by parties free to do so -- or not. From the talk of the unions (government workers), one would think they are slaves or indentured servants forced to work for compensation that is substandard and conditions that are inhumane -- rather than the standard of the industry which is their job -- instead of merely double the median, and demand that preferential treatment for life -- as their entitlement, which is what brought about the Declaration of Independence from that exploitation -- that a self-designated few, were entitled for life to the bounty of those who actually produced the goods, services and intellectual capital.

That declaration of freedom, was not so that another group of self-appointed "nobles," should demand that they alone were now entitled to all.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Freedom to Know (Be)

When the world wide web was just becoming popular in 1995, I took one of the early introduction courses on what could be done with this new possibility -- and realized right off, the opportunity it represented, for alternative voices and viewpoints -- although the class was not taught that way.

They still insisted that one had to be as anonymous and secretive as possible -- so that nobody would really know who they were -- which I realized was a terrible mistake, because the problem was not that most people were too well known, but they were not known well enough -- by others, as well as themselves. The great advantage of the World Wide Web, was the ability to be known by others, and to know others -- and by that process, to know oneself, because one doesn't really know oneself, except in the actual relating with others.

Otherwise, one can have all kinds of delusions about oneself -- and demand that others believe that, rather than as they actually are, and manifest in the relating. The actual relating, is the relationship, and not what one calls it, or wants another to believe it is -- with certain expectations, obligations, wishful thinking, etc. In that way, many could demand that "friends" behave in a certain manner to them, while they exploited, deceived and manipulated everyone else in the name of that "friendship" -- which was obviously something else entirely.

That was the norm before the World Wide Web made other (alternative) "visions" more commonplace. Still, some organizations and institutions insist, they have the only truth that should be known -- just like in the (good) old days, and they should be in charge of editing, censoring and suppressing everything that does not conform to their truth (political correctness), which invariably, and not coincidentally, put them at the top of the flowchart of authority and "entitlements."

That part of human conditioning dies hard -- the desire to attain an unfair advantage, and retain it for life -- despite what it costs everybody else to maintain those "privileges" -- which they think is the reason for everybody else's existence. It's not that those tendencies never existed before -- but now they become more apparent and obvious, because alternative viewpoints are more often seen -- than the one a self-appointed few, demands that is the only thing that can be known, and it should be dangerous to hold any other viewpoints -- even if they have to teach and enforce it themselves.

This is most commonly seen now, in the discussions of the government workers, that the government should exist, solely for their own benefit and well-being -- because they have "sacrificed" themselves for everybody else, and one has no right to believe anything else.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Nobody Lives Forever

Death will be the great challenge of the 21st century -- and the meaning we give to both death and life.

Mr. Haugen (Oregon Death Row) wishes to regard his death as a "sacrifice" and service to society to reflect on some issues we would not otherwise, and in this way, is making his own contribution to society -- with his life.

And now a group of people want to rob him of that dignity and opportunity by declaring that he is incompetent, and his sacrifice is invalid -- because he does not subscribe to the political correctness (beliefs) of those self-appointed to make these judgments for everybody else, as to who should live and who should die, and whether individuals have a right to their own lives -- and death.

The matter of death becomes increasingly important as more people live lives that can be extended beyond what we have traditionally thought to be a viable and meaningful existence -- just because they have the medical insurance to pay for that, as a few do. Others will decide to climb Mt. McKinley or Everest -- or die trying. People die everyday, in many ways.

In many cultures, the old, weak and dying, were often banished to the wilderness -- realizing they were sacrificing themselves in that way so the rest of society could survive and even flourish. That is even the myth of how civilization began, and a theme in a pioneering heroic age, in which a few individuals declare, "This is as far as I go; the rest of you go on without me," because the chances of success are much greater without them -- or all will fail (die).

Death doesn't have to be that traumatic ultimate "penalty" but can also be a going to sleep and not awakening -- dying peacefully in their sleep, having reconciled themselves to everyone else, and decided the time is right -- and they are at peace with it. A person should have a right to their best death -- as well as their best life, and preferably both -- as their essential rights and freedom of expression that defines that society and its values.

We have to stop looking at death as a penalty -- and view it as an integral and necessary part of life -- so that it can be made more significant, and not just denied as that we hope to avoid forever (and at all costs). Because that is not the essential nature of life; life is that which comes to an end (dies). It is not something permanent but temporary, so one needs to make the most of that time he has -- and that is the best anyone can do -- anyplace and in any position in society.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Living Beyond the 20th Century

The specialization and compartmentalization of thought and life in the 20th century, fragmented reality into the many parts and created many bureaucracies and hierarchies in these matters -- which are not a natural and normal feature of reality, but shatters the wholeness of that experience into the many unconnected and seemingly disparate (contradictory) parts -- often at eternal war and argument with one another.

The previous century gave rise to such divisions in the thoughts of Hegel, Freud and Marx, who saw the whole of history and civilization as a perpetual war between the opposites -- as the essential "duality" of reality -- as represented by good versus bad, left and right, high and low, inner and outer, workers against owners, men against women, white against the colored, fiction and non-fiction, etc.

Then in the latter half of the 20th century, the foremost thinkers realized that life was becoming hopelessly and meaninglessly fragmented into the prevailing personality of that generation as a hopelessly conflicted and tormented individual -- always battling within themselves just to maintain their sanity and integrity. And that word "integrity" means to be whole and undivided -- but the work of man of that era, was to produce the many divisions and specializations of one's own neuroses as the high achievement of well-educated and civilized people of that time -- celebrated in the mass media by the self-parodies of Woody Allen, etc., creating the division between the observer and the observed, the analyzer and analysis.

So in the later 20th century, there was a call for a New Age -- that would heal the divisions and restore the wholeness (holism) of life in all our activities and in our essential outlook -- not by simply regluing the pieces, but not shattering them in the first place. Many of those steeped in the thought and conditioning (education/socialization) of the 20th century, still insist that the purpose and meaning of life, is to create these divisions and arguments -- before they can "cure" or solve them by putting them back together again -- or better yet, further subdivide them into further subdivisions of specialties -- of which they can then be that department's chair.

Which means of course then, that life becomes even more divisive as the value of "diversity" in its own right -- which implies that universal and unifying laws are not possible or valid, and therefore, anything goes, or at least anything one can get away with. The cure seems to be the Information Age -- where there is virtual knowledge of what (every)one is doing, and the elimination of the division between the public life and the personal one -- which restores and reveals the integrity and wholeness of the individual -- even if that is not the image they would like others to believe.