Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Boxing Day

I count myself among those who have no idea what Boxing Day is about, but it does appear to be the day gifts were given to the less fortunate members of society; sort of a gifting day from those who can to those that can't shop at Macy's or Williams Sonoma. But I simply cannot limit it to that, so today, I have decided to take the gloves off, as well.

We are indeed a very stupid species, and I will attempt to explain and bolster this contention. It may have beeen De Tocqueville who said, "those who learned nothing yesterday, will undoubtedly repeat the same mistakes as they did yesterday". It seems to me that, as a species, we have gone day after day making the same mistakes. I will offer a few noted examples of yesterday's lessons to illustrate my point.

Money is the root of all evil

As I'm sure you are aware, belief is the mortal enemy of all things worthwhile. Money is actually not the villain here. It is our blind belief in its use and value that is the source of all things bad. It was bad enough when money was backed by gold, but now we place our misguided faith in worthless, pretty paper, and multi-sized, metallic discs (made you might note from our most worthless metals). It is almost belly laugh funny that we have accepted these trinkets (no less worthless that the beads traded for Manhattan) as the ultimate goal. The fortunate among us work all year for 100,000+ pieces of paper, whose worth is determined by the people we work for; by the people who dictate the quality of our very existence. I'll trade you Baltic Ave for Boardwalk if you can tell me how this makes any sense. That we assign arbitrary value to the costs of anything is ludicrous. The stuff it's made of was already here; we simply have to put it together. And the notion of scarcity as the driving force of value is almost schizophrenic. Anyone whose been to western Oregon can tell you that there is no scarcity of land in the US, yet you can easily shell out a million scraps of paper for shelter, which should be a basic human right. It should be ok... if I want to build a log home on the median strip of Route 128. Where does the 'Commonwealth' of Massachusetts get off telling me that they own that land. But I digress. Let's look at money for a few minutes. We sold the 'messiah' for a few bucks, yet given the scarcity of messiahs, he should have been worth a lot more. In strictly monetary terms, you average slave from west Africa was worth a whole lot more than the son of god. Shit, we fought a war over their 'value'. And automobiles amuse me as well. We are going to run out of gas sometime. And don't bring up the Prius, or the Volt. They still need oil, or the motors seize. Yet many of us will still spend the equivalent of the GNP of many of the world's countries on something that will be obsolete in this century. We have always taught our children to defer their gratification. Unfortunately, we are not setting the best example. So I will ask...why is it that we adopted such a ridiculous economic model, while maintaining that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few? While most of you don't share my belief that we should dismantle all governments, perhaps you would consider this. Make government service volunteer. I mean, it's good enough for the kids we send off to die in useless wars (unless you consider the acquisition of more money a noble cause). Let's simply start over...and make shelter, food and medical care fundamental and cost-free human rights...world fucking wide. Let's throw heat and electricity in there as well. Guarantee each and every human being a standard of housing with land... a healthy needed-caloric-intake-level diet...the most advanced medical care. There need not be any monetary outlay. Take only what we need from the earth, and leave the earth what she needs. Yes, we have to chip in some labor, but we needn't assign any monetary value to it. We could simply say that it was the right and kind thing to do.

Look at it a different way. We are running out of things to do. We don't make things anymore, and computers can take over what manufacturing we have left. We need doctors, although we could use a few more who give a shit about their patients, and care a little less about their Mercedes (and maybe a few who seek cures that don't kill you). How many could that add up to?And yes we need software engineers, and trash collectors. And that's it. If we get rid of government, we get rid of lawyers, soldiers, spies. We get rid of religion, we get rid of differences. We get rid of countries, we get rid of boundaries. Most of us will be left to create what we can, create what we want. We might even find the happiness that seems elusive to all of us disconnected by trying to make more than the next guy.

Quantum mechanics, which most of us will never understand, leads logically and mathematically, to an phenomenon known as entanglement; where two particles, no matter how distantly removed, are connected across the multiverse. If such a thing exists, and it does, at the most fundamental level of our reality, then how can anyone deny that we are connected in even broader ways. It is simple construction. I, personally, know that this entanglement thing is the real deal, and I am a much happier pauper for it. Across the vast expanse, I learned that I have something of value to say...and should say it...even if everyone else thinks I'm a fool.

Happy Boxing Day everyone!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Eed...or the trouble with OWS

My oldest and dearest friend was often called Keed in our younger days, and since our bond hearkens to those days of rhymes and baseballs, it is with thoughts of him that I begin this post. I seldom tell him of my troubles because I don't believe he needs to be burdened with them, but I always remember his birthday. And while he has fallen prey to the Florida political mindset...a slow erosion due to time and family focus...I do love him, and do not begrudge him his float in the flow.

Which brings me to Occupy Wall Street...

While I am certain that I am going to paint them in incorrect colors (primarily because I don't know enough about them), and I am certain that their intentions are noble, their leap of awareness is clearly inadequate. That they embrace change within the current paradigm is, at least for me, the signpost of their downfall.

Those of you who follow my life understand that I am blessed to be a member of both 99s; the long term unemployed, and the have-nots. I am eternally grateful to those (my family, my friends; notably GB and PD, SL, DN, and the nun) who have generously sustained me with food, shelter and funds, and love. Yet, within my limited purview, I am compelled to view the root causes of humanity's woes as much larger than the currently demonized villains.

As evidenced by the pepper spraying of Walmart raiders, and the hindsight popularity of legislating that our political representatives be subject to the same investment rules as the rest of us, it should be clear to any right-minded human that the demise of capitalism should be at hand. Throwing a five dollar toy in a box does not absolve us of the guilt we should bear, for the gross and abject grEED we accept as the main necessity of living. Our economy is based entirely on offering the possibility of acquisition to the masses, while maintaining the actuality that only a small percentage acquire. We continue to insist that acquisition is the ultimate goal; acquisition of paper and coin that are as imaginary as judeo-christian principles. In a world where manufacturing and heavy industry are things of the past, we continue to believe that we can create new jobs within those sectors. If you really look at the basis of 'successful' national economies, you have to realize that they are based on creating the perception that we nEED things that we do not. Tell me. Whose need is greater...your child's need of an iPad for christmas, or a five year old African child's need for AIDS drugs that are actually effective? As a society, we offer token charity to groups in which we have, in the very least, a perceived, vested interest. We donate millions for the eradication of breast cancer because we suffer from it; we offer a pittance for the eradication of malaria because it does not occur here. Our generosity is based, at least in part, on the old adage-out of sight, out of mind (and heart). We have bought into (or perhaps, have been led like lemmings) the belief that what we produce (and hence is attainable) possesses some inherent value. We treat depression (as if on a global scale we have any right to be depressed) with for-huge-profit drugs whose main side effect is the onset of suicidal tendencies. Am I really the only one who sees the irony here? As long as we continue to perceive that we are depressed, despite only insignificant causes for our depression, we will produce anti-depression drugs that will result in profit and suicides. Americans no longer really believe that we are lucky to live in a country that offers freedom; we have become entitled. We continue to insist that our children die to protect our freedom. Our children die because we allow it. We allow the 1% to convince us, using exaggerated AND imaginary threats to the land of the free. The simple truth is that we are no longer really free, because our freedom is defined externally, by the 1% who do not really want us to think for ourselves. We have become a society that ignorantly, and blindly, believe what we are told to believe; and at the core, we believe that grEED is good.

Now I have always held that there are really no new ideas, but I am changing my mind. It is clear to me that as a species, it is time to move to an 'economy' that is based on the needs of the many. I am not advocating a communist approach, because communism has shown itself as merely another ideology that creates the same 1%. I am advocating, however, a communal approach, based on the needs of the many, actualized in small, direct-contact communities. This, of course, would require the dissolution of all nations and their governments. If nations and their governments have shown us anything, it is that the few cannot, or will not, do what is kind and right for the many; the many that they govern. There are reasons for this, primarily that humans cannot do big. Despite the popularity of facebook, and other social networks, actual connection is limited to small groups. No one, beyond people selling something, are friend-ed in large groups, and that only occurs because we foolishly believe that they have something we need. If the Senate, and the House of Representatives, have shown us anything, it is that small groups can take care of themselves.

So OWS. I like you, but it's time to bask in what you, as a small group, share. It's clear, that when you get right down to it, that you have nothing in 'common' with Goldman Sachs. Un-friend them today.