Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Sustainable Society

The key issue is sustainability. 

Obviously we can't pay people as much or more NOT to do a job -- all their lives, so that eventually all government does is pay a self-chosen few lifetime entitlements -- while the citizens no longer have any government functions and services -- which are now only a distant memory of why those few are entitled to everything while the rest of the citizens  just have to pay for it.

Even when the median of those pensions exceed the median of all the incomes, obviously, those NOT working, are being paid more than most of the "working" people -- which hardly seems fair to most impartial mediators -- except that the government mediators are usually vested in that same inequity, and of course want it to continue, and can see no wrong with that.

That is the history of all the civilizations that have risen and fallen -- because they weren't sustainable in that way.  That is due to the unfairness of that compensation system -- that maintains those inequalities until finally, they have to fall -- on the sheer weight that all the money in society cannot be diverted to the least productive segment simply demanding "more than the rest -- for life, with nothing in return."

An idea that makes these pensions sustainable as well as fair -- is to pay all retirees the same minimum pension, and not more to those who have always had more.  But beginning at age 65 -- everybody just receives the same basic retirement stipend, because the basic lifestyle must be maintained for all -- rather than continuing the injustice of the privileged continuing that advantage, as we see obviously in the government pensions, but to a lesser degree with Social Security -- which is much more equal in this respect.

In a sense, one is just guaranteeing everyone in society -- a base level of support, and assume that those who in their working lives made much more, have saved some in addition to enjoying a much more prosperous lifestyle -- which usually continues beyond their retirement, because they don't have to be acquiring and accumulating it at that point in their lives -- but actually should be beginning the process of downsizing and eventually divesting, and not just going to the grave at the high point of one's hoarding.

Then, essentially, one has the base for an indefinitely sustainable society -- rather than just a permanently entitled "nobility" claiming legality despite its gross unfairness and injustice, because they are the status quo and defenders of those institutions (inequities).

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Living As Though It Mattered

That kind of downsizing is presently underway -- in that one of the great trends of these times is the senior and disabled populations moving into more efficient spaces and designs -- of about 500 sq. ft. (which is spacious/luxurious in the most populous and expensive cities in the world). It doesn't seem to be by Oregon (suburban/agrarian) standards but as the population further ages and retires (grow older and wiser), they realize that a multilevel house is torture and dangerous -- no matter how much their certified personal trainers advise them they should run up and down them as many times each day as possible.

And then rather than have two car garages, they'll probably want a place close in where they can bicycle to most places they have to go -- further lowering their fixed costs as well as maintaining their mobility in a very useful and tangible way. All these economies and efficiencies become more apparent and obvious in time -- and don't require legislation to mandate for everyone, or even to conform to the "political correctness."

The great challenge of these times, led by the (retiring) Baby Boom generation, is the downsizing of their lives and living spaces -- because industries and libraries can now be run with only a computer or a smartphone replacing all the relics of their past lives -- and the need to store them beyond a chip.

Schumacher's ideas predate the development of the personal computer and not only have those already come to pass -- but gone thousandfolds beyond that, so that we know people can live in space shuttles, submarines and even cars and tents (yurts) adequately and even luxuriously -- because we now have access to shared spaces like Starbucks and senior (community) centers. That's all happening already -- but dependent on knowing about and accessing these resources that are so much more than a larger private space -- as the houses of yore represented.

We don't all need to occupy Portland, or Wall Street to make it happen. People just need to be aware of all the options -- and not just the one the vested interests advertise, promote and occupy -- as the ONLY way possible, for EVERYONE.

We no longer live in that mass conformity world which was a product of the old mass media model of broadcast journalism -- because there too, intelligent ideas are evolving by individual "natural selection" -- which is not the bad thing many demagogues make it out to be, so that everyone will follow their one idea as the only one now allowable. Hopefully, that world has passed -- and that there are many great ideas, and not just the one.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

It Doesn't Take Much

People have been conditioned to think that the best way to make things easy, is to make them impossibly hard (and difficult), so that the actual doing of it, seems easy by comparison -- rather than to make things as ridiculously easy in the first place, so that it doesn't take much to do them at all.

This is particularly important in exercise -- as the tendency to find even the easiest things difficult in time, so that eventually, one no longer even attempts to do anything any more, because just the thought of doing it anymore, discourages them.

That is especially unfortunate for those who can no longer do very punishing workloads any longer -- because their bodies just can't take it anymore, and recover for the next.  So one of the key concepts in retaining this lifelong ability to keep on doing what one has been doing, is to actually discover ways to make it easier -- and not as many people erroneously do, make everything in life as hard, difficult and complicated, so that eventually, they just don't even try anymore -- or even think about it.

That is the conditioning we know as "aging" -- or finally reaching that point at which we just give up trying -- as perfectly acceptable and justifiable, because it is just too hard, difficult, and impossible anymore.  In exercise, we call that increasing the "resistance" or workload, until finally it crushes you, and then one has a perfectly good reason for not doing it anymore.  Your permanently crippled and disabled body is proof enough that you don't have to do anything anymore, but just let nature take its course to the ultimate end.

So it's really a mind-boggling, and earth-shaking proposition, to make exercise increasingly easier -- so that one can always do them -- with no excuses for not.  That's not what people want to hear -- who are conditioned to the excuses for not doing anything anymore.

All those movements that can be done with weights or on weight machines, can be done even more effectively, without weights (resistance) -- better and longer without them!  That's been known for a long time -- that the lighter the weight, the better the form in performing that movement -- and it is the movement itself that is important, and not any amount of weight or added resistance -- that makes that movement difficult and corrupted.

And as people age, doing the movement itself -- without any weight, is often difficult or impossible anymore -- and in most cases, even imaginable anymore.  Thus obviously, just being able to perform a movement as lifting one's arms overhead would be quite an achievement -- and doing that for 50 times, would be enough to retain and even improve that movement -- without danger of injury because no extra-ordinary resistance or load is imposed -- that simply adds to the risk of injury, while doing nothing to increase the benefit in perfecting that movement.  In short, the reward-risk ratio, begins at zero and proceeds to negative -- until there is only the certainty of injury, death or disability, and at that point, the wise person retires, or withdraws from further competition.

One simply recognizes their limits -- rather than taking it to the ultimate end.  There is no shame in that.  One should explore their abilities until they reach those limits -- and then move on to explore and develop other aspects of their potential in which they haven't reached those limits but still can double their gains daily.  And that obviously, would be in doing those things one hasn't done before -- so that in going from zero to even one, is a tremendous improvement, and then up to fifty (50), is most people's point of exhaustion -- in any movement, even without any resistance.

It doesn't have to be a particularly difficult movement to begin with -- but in doing it for 50 times, will require one to develop a proficiency and efficiency of that movement, that simply doing it once, twice, ten or twenty times, won't necessarily require.  Yet adding weight (resistance), ensures that one will fail before 50 repetitions of a movement have been accomplished -- which is self-defeating, if the greatest value of that movement, is achieved at simply the ability to perform that movement for a minimum of 50 times -- which is the indicator that one has mastered the movement enough to persist at it indefinitely longer, if an occasion should require it.

This persistence of movement, is what makes "work" possible -- or the capacity to endure at anything sufficiently long, as to be meaningful and productive.  One revolution on a bicycle, or one stride, doesn't mean much or get one far, but 50 is likely to be sufficient in getting from one place to any other in the normal organization and layout of their lives -- to accomplish most everything in the normal course of their day.  In that scheme of relevance, a marathon would necessarily be a once-in-a-lifetime event -- if at all necessary, and someone in a large pool of people, would likely volunteer for that task -- in notifying the capitol (next town), that the invaders had arrived but the locals had prevailed -- as one's ultimate sacrifice and act of valor.

More often than not, one wins by being the only person to show up -- after recognizing what really needs to be done, while the masses are doing what everybody else is doing, in a typical duplication of efforts, leading up to the cancellation of everybody else's efforts in a competitive event simply to eliminate everybody else.  That is the ultimate resistance, or workload -- that everybody's efforts are worthless, but only the one -- and everything else was in vain.

Most, therefore, grow out of that competitive mentality at some point in their lives, and have to create a meaning beyond the competition -- for their ultimate fulfillment, as individuals and unique destinies.  That is every person's study of their own lives -- and personal fulfillment not dictated by anybody else, but just deciding to do what is right for themselves -- uniquely.  That is what one person cannot decide for another -- find out for any other.

But the practical and productive movements are not infinite -- and in fact, are surprisingly few.  They are the movements at the extremities of the human body -- of the head, hands and feet -- to do the essential tasks of being human, where we uniquely differentiate from all the other animals and life forms.  The human head, hands and feet are like no other.  All have similarly functioning hearts, lungs, digestive tracts, internal organs.  That part has been perfected for all.  Where we really differentiate and distinguish ourselves uniquely, are at these furthest extremities of evolution -- the farthest reaches of life so far.

And that is what we need to exercise, master, and perfect -- throughout life.