Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What Does It Matter Who the Writer (Speaker) Is?

What does it matter who the writer (speaker) is? What is important is her very important insight into how caring members of the profession feel -- and how they are frustrated and stymied by the system, so no improvement is ever possible, and we are deliberately distracted instead onto trivial issues like "Who is the writer who dares to speak?"

I'm stunned that even such an honest appraisal of the department of education was not censored/ edited by the conspiratorial agents within the newspaper -- not allowing anybody but the union spokespersons to speak for everybody else.

That's what the education professionals have given up -- the right to bargain and speak for themselves -- instead of being treated like the students they teach, who are told what to think, instead of how to think. And that is the grave problem of Hawaii -- that people look for the seal of approval from the union or Democratic Party before they can say for themselves, "That makes a lot of sense. Why shouldn't the teachers be allowed to have a voice and control in how they can best do their job?"

That is the right they vote to give up by deciding that only the union spokesperson can speak for all of them -- and in that way, leverage their bargaining position for more pay. But as any professional knows, what makes them truly a professional, is the right to do their art their own way -- by how they determine is best, because they can think for themselves in their field of expertise.

But if they nullify those rights in thinking that only the money is important, and not the freedom to do their job as best as they themselves can determine, then they've turned themselves into mere cogs in the machine who have to obey the right of might, and the majority rules -- and not what is best for themselves as individuals.

That destroys the whole rationale for education -- of discovering the potential of each student rather than the teacher determining beforehand, only and all that it can be, because it is only the teaching that is important, and not the learning -- beyond the instruction, where any real learning and usefulness takes place.

And thus so many people are produced in the Hawaii education system, who are only capable of repeating what has been taught to them, instead of discovering the unknown -- which is the future, and not merely repeating the past endlessly, as though nothing else is possible.

And so the problems of Hawaii can never be solved -- because they haven't been in the past, and the leaders don't know what to do when the beaches and parks become overcrowded with the homeless, and the crime overruns government and society, the sewers and roads break down, and nobody in government feels accountable and empowered to speak and do anything with any initiative and their own judgment.

And reporters are bullied and intimidated if they try to report the truth, and are censored and edited themselves in so many ways, because nobody wants to hear the truth anymore, or allow it.

And that is why life is very hard and frustrating now, particularly in Hawaii. It doesn't have to be that way -- but that's the only thing they know, and will allow.

That is the importance of freedom of speech -- and not just the right to force people only to say what the powers that be allow them to say.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What the So-Called Health Reform Does/Doesn't Do

What is overlooked is that there are a lot of people who are very healthy -- and seldom need to see a doctor -- who now have to pay $15,000 a year for services (insurance) they don't need.

They're subsidizing the people who think the doctor and medical care facilities and insurance are primarily responsible for making them healthy, and they are the drain on the health care system, who are usually on disability/welfare to begin with.

So in effect, the so-called health plan does the opposite of what a sound health strategy would do -- which is to reward the healthy for not needing the medical care facilities, which if they do, they pay for, because it makes sense to do so in that manner.

They've never been the problem. The problem are the few who overuse and overtax the health care facilities disproportionately -- because they don't have to pay for it, because they are either on disability, or get it as tax-free compensation as government (union) employees, who think they aren't getting their money's worth unless they max out their sick leave and medical benefits.

This health care program just further enables that.

No amount of money is going to make up for the negligence of people first taking responsibility for their own health (not health care), as their own primary caregivers. And then we need a system to insure "catastrophic" health incidents -- but to require everyone to pay for health care insurance regardless -- punishes the healthy, while rewarding those who don't care. That is the real problem -- and not just adding the healthy to subsidize the unhealthy practices.

Our society is so biased into thinking that the natural state and condition of people is to be sick -- rather than to be healthy, and the latter is the only society worth creating -- and not the randomness of not knowing any difference and thinking it can be any different than dysfunctional model. We need to create a healthy society of healthy individuals -- and not simply pay for disease and dysfunction -- as the "normal."

Monday, March 22, 2010

Knowing and Being Known

The overarching imperative of communications is to know and to be known.

But mass media's paradigm was to control and manipulate, which is something else entirely, and so the device of "anonymity" is obviously not to be known, and to let another to know all the information and to maintain that advantage.

So in the world and wave of personal computers and personal communications, mass media will obviously be the big loser, because its whole machinery is designed to make people anonymous -- except for the editors, columnists and reporters -- who then become "famous," and powerful, often for no good reason. That is the cult of "celebrity," which the mass media machinery used to control, but now obviously, there is something beyond mass media to control.

That's problematical for the people of that old mass media mentality whose purpose is designed to create those tollgates and hierarchies -- of people who then "speak for the people," but now, people can speak for themselves, and so we have a very different picture of humanity than when a self-designated few spoke for everyone, so they could remain anonymous, and told them what they should think as the socially and politically correct -- even if only by editorial manipulations.

When the World Wide Web was first getting started, a few recognized that the power of the Internet was that everybody could now become as famous as they were capable of being -- but not, as always, that everybody would be or become equally famous. Being known, is not enough, if one doesn't have the talent worthy of that publicity, otherwise, one is just known as a fool or a mediocrity -- and people feeling that, obviously would prefer not to be known for it, but will choose to adopt avatars or advertising images as the "MagnificentOne, or the "AllKnowingOne," along with "SexyBabe."

It is really the old mass media that derives its power in promoting anonymity, or keeping everyone but themselves unknown, while they promote themselves and their "anointed" ones as the proof and exercise of that power.

Every legitimate, talented and honest person would of course prefer to be known for precisely those reasons -- as who they really are.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Transformative Experience (Back to the Basics)

Home gardening is probably the single greatest activity a person in Hawaii can be engaged in -- to teach them the lessons of cause and effect, consequences, and the rewards of meaningful work.

With no industry or agriculture to speak of, people think that if they want something, all they have to do is sign-wave down at the Capitol -- and then like magic, planes full of money from the federal government will arrive -- along with rich Japanese tourists.

So the people have lost a vital connection to productivity -- and think if they want anything, they just have to demand it from their government (legislators), and not that they can provide these things for themselves.

That's an important experience in the development of cultures, societies and civilization, and lacking that, one has the experience of the vandals who think that the reason for the wonders of human ingenuity, is to destroy them -- because they don't know how to create anything, but only know how to destroy them -- as the activity they are familiar with.

So giving such people more, does them no good -- because they always transform something into nothing, instead of learning how to create something out of nothing -- or very little. That is the transformative experience that makes progress possible, and not just "giving" more to people who have no appreciation or understanding of how it came into being.

That is the education even, and especially the educators need, to be productive and useful human beings -- instead of people who think they shouldn't be working for "free." That's how nothing becomes something.

Many of Hawaii's problems are connected to the simple lessons of recycling wastes -- to produce rich organic material that the sandy soil of Hawaii is poor in, and so they cannot grow despite the abundant sunshine.

Even plants don't just happen -- automatically, but have to be planned and cared for, by people who know what they are doing because they learn it doing it -- and not just in the useless academic way that deceives people to think they know anything useful.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What If We Forget (Lose) the Past?

Far more important is understanding what is going on right now -- and the personalities and forces trying to influence and impose their perspective on everybody else.

I once was required to study a book written by two scholars who had used old documents (archives) to reconstruct what they thought was actually going on two hundred years ago -- as though that was the most important use of scholarship and intelligence at that time (or any).

Even in the present moment, witnessing events as they're happening right now, it's not really clear what is actually happening, or what the observer/reporter thinks is important and significant. But then to reconstruct a culture and reality two hundred years ago, or two thousand years ago, doesn't seem to be a wise use of one's so-called intelligence because the present always implies the past, and thus, one can learn more about the past from the present, than to imagine what it was actually like in the past.

Thus, the real work of a historian is not about explaining the past, but understanding the present -- that will come to past in time. If one cannot understand the times one is living in, then obviously, they're not going to have keen insight into behavior in another time -- and so the valid history, is understanding what is going on right now, as best one can -- and writing that history as one is actually living and experiencing it, and the rest is just a fabrication, rather than a greater truth.

I know the justification is that one cannot understand the present unless one first understands the past, but it is likely more true, that one cannot understand the past unless one first understands his own present because that is actual and verifiable reality -- and that present, implies not only the understanding of the past but the whole totality of reality -- including the future, as one acts with that present knowledge.

The past is always being created -- and recreated, in each present moment, and so those archives, become much less important, just as we've all gone through many personal computers now, and at first thought it was important to retain and transfer everything -- until we've evolved to realize that it's not so important what we wrote/recorded 20 or 40 years ago that is so important, as it is what we are writing right now -- which implies everything we've ever known before, and evolved us to this point.

Thus we can let go of that past because most of it is not needed, but that which is, is the DNA of the present reality -- which is not lost, but knowledge actualized in today's reality, and not just a flawed, outdated and irrelevant understanding of reality in some far away or imagined time.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

The Challenge of Responsibility

There was a time when holding public office was a great honor and responsibility -- but now it is just about staying in office for the rest of their lives -- usually doing nothing because the people's expectations are so low, they just don't want their elected representatives stealing TOO much, and if they can maintain those minimal expectations and allow the voters to get over every now and then, that will be enough to get them re-elected for the rest of their lives.

Meanwhile, life and everything else in the world changes at great speed now -- depending on where one is in the information chain -- because it is already happening somewhere in the world by the first adaptors, the first to accept new information -- rather than simply learn the old, repeat it and even defend the old, long past when everybody else has moved on. Those are the people charged with protecting the rear -- who will inevitably be convinced they are at the front, among the first to know what is going on. But assuredly, they are among the last.

It usually doesn't take much to keep them fighting even when there is no prize -- or it has long ago been snatched up by those who are pulling everybody else's strings -- usually with promises of the wonderful world that will come to be if they just do this one final "sacrifice" -- for the keiki, kapuna, ohana, party -- when obviously, the party has long ago been over that they have only now been invited to.

They just think "a mistake has been made" -- that their invitations were misplaced (as usual) and they are not seated at the head table at the banquet, next to "Jesus."

One wonders what keeps such people motivated to continue on in that manner -- feeling that their lives ought to be sacrificed for the Great Leader -- for which they always demand reparations and justice at the next negotiations for their just compensation, which they always feel, they have been cheated out of, and should be rewarded as the top 1 or 2%, they feel their blind loyalty and sacrifice have entitled and earned them.

That of course, are the familiar refrains of the contract union negotiations, at which their members ask resentfully, "Do you expect us to continue to work for free!?" -- as though their twice the median incomes were not enough for prostituting themselves so shamelessly and selling out themselves so cheaply and disgustingly.

As lady MacBeth would say, "Cannot all the water in the world, wash the blood from my hands?!"