Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Blind Ambition

Highly competitive systems often favor those who are the most ruthless rather than those who are the most good (best).

That is the problem of places like Hawaii -- where now, the only way people think they can win, is to lie, cheat and steal.

Eventually though, you have nothing but a culture and society that rewards and promotes that -- and all the good people leave.

And so everybody remaining preys on everybody else in a final vicious cycle -- until people become desensitized to the brutalities of people getting battered in the streets and every court decision is an outrage and violation of all one's sensibilities.

Generally, the best and the brightest see these things and refuse to cooperate and play these games. It is the very mediocre types who think they are the best and the brightest and think they will win at these games not worth winning -- because they don't know any better but to conform to the established pattern.

That's what the great heroes of cultural lore do -- transcend the present rotten establishment and create something better -- and not like the countless technocrats, think that it is just enough to rise to the top of a rotten system.

That kind of striving is worthless -- but seems to be the problem of life in Hawaii anymore. It's sad and hopeless.

So it really doesn't matter who is on top -- as the fact that such a society really needs to be challenged at its very premises in this day and age, with all we know about human institutions and behaviors -- instead of maintaining the old feudal and tribal ways, and primary concern of who is at the top, and then, how ruthless they are to remain there.

That's what the regimes of Saddam Hussein were essentially all about -- or Al Gore's presidency; If he could not be at the top, that he would do his damndest to see that nobody else could be, nobody else could have the prize he coveted and thought he was destined for.

That is the sickness of ambition without talent, ability and insight.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Take Nothing For Granted

The beauty and value of times like these, is the reminder that one should take nothing for granted, because the change you want, may be worse than what you already have -- and could at the least, be very different than what one expected.

The world is a very different place from what it was only a year ago. Then, oil and other commodity prices were still heading up in what seemed like an unending forever, and then last summer, began to fall with no resistance. By late summer, the real estate industry finally admitted that the imminent resumption was actually nowhere in sight, and then at the beginning of fall, with the kickoff of the election push, the bottom fell out from the financial institutions that were the bedrock of business and the economy all over the world.

Those who up to then had been seemingly the most prosperous and affluent, saw their fortunes vanish into little, if not nothing. In a span of a few weeks, people who had worked and built up their fortunes over a lifetime, saw them become pennies on the dollar -- with such suddenness, that many are still in denial about those realities. The rules of the old game have changed -- irrevocably and unfamiliarly to those who thought they knew “the only game in town. “

So now, everything they know is wrong, and they may not know how to learn the new rules, or learn anything at all -- because their original programming wasn’t to learn -- but to conform and obey. They were not given the luxury of a real education to do their own programming -- and so when old values, knowledge, and realities shift, as they have done for eons of time, they are left with only an empty despair -- wondering if they have been hopelessly left behind, merely to relive their memories of times in which they were with it.

That’s how it’s different this time -- for virtually everyone. Change is not gradual but sudden and thorough, not just laying off keypunch operators but entire industries formerly regarded as the foundations of American life. What is it Americans do now? Do they build cars, houses, computers, financial institutions?

Probably one of the most telling signs of the times is that our institutions of information, the mass media, is at the center of reformulation and reconstitution of society at this time. That is how most attain their own sense of anxiety, uncertainty and even fear -- which is largely transmitted now in these viral networks, rather than from one’s own actual experiences with their own realities.

So the great advantage in these uncertain times, are those who derive their sense of being from the actuality of their own experiences, rather than the mediated ones of mass publishing and broadcasting, by which we had the illusion of shared cultural experiences that were only implanted false memories.

But now that these institutions of repetition and reinforcement are no longer around to reward and punish us with their presence, the advantage goes to those who have real lives -- and not just the false memories of implanted knowledge and memories.

Those are the only things that were ever real.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Homeless in Hawaii

Sand Island is probably the perfect place for the homeless.

It makes a whole lot of sense rather than the previous governor's plan to relocate Waikiki to Sand Island.

Obviously, that was a mistake. Sand Island is perfect logistically -- close to all the social service agencies and nobody else wants to be there. It's already a campground at the end there -- with showers and bathrooms.

They could put aside some land for the homeless to grow their own food or steward the land, and make something out of that place. I'm not just for putting the homeless there so they can trash it. I think they could create a viable community and lifestyle out there.

It shouldn't be a place that is lawless and without rules. The residents are going to have to make some -- and become socialized and human again. That's the worst part of homelessness -- is that there is no community and all those people are living in isolation from one another.

I have nothing against the camping lifestyle -- as a way of living -- but it should be a superior adaptation than the dregs of homelessness and despair. All that kind of survivalist lifestyle -- camping, hiking, bicycling, farming, fishing -- can be done at the highest end of human ingenuity, as many are doing already.

Many of these people realize that if they used their disability checks on rent, they'd have nothing to live on. So instead of paying rent, they use that money for things so they can live a meaningful existence otherwise. You don't need a mansion in Kahala or Diamond Head. A tent will do -- as long as you have a viable community, which they need to develop, and in doing so, the homeless won't be a problem in Hawaii anymore but may actually be the answer to a people that don't know how to create any value but begging from the federal government for handouts.

It’s not healthy for any society/community to have lost its sense of self-reliance as Hawaii has and become totally dependent on other cultures and societies to provide everything for them -- while they lose that connection that the reason there is the present abundance is that somebody saw the need for it and created it with whatever they had to work with. Those are sustainable and viable societies -- and not just chanting in the old ways and remembering traditions of the past, to remain in the past. There are problems that can be solved in their present living -- if they are allowed to do so, unbound by the suffocating tradition of conformity to the old and conventional.

It takes a fairly high degree of resourcefulness to be “homeless,” but they shouldn’t be wasting all that resourcefulness just in preventing themselves from being wiped out by the mainstream culture, as is the emphasis right now. In many areas of the world, the nomadic lifestyle is respected in that way. Not everybody should be required to buy an overpriced house just to remain on the island.