Sunday, April 1, 2012

Burn dirt with a mind full of hurt

I really cannot express the extent of my concern. My friends, you have been swindled. We are the people of this country and we are the hostages of a rogue government.

Understanding that there is a problem is easy... The solution is somewhat more troubling. The measure of our success is dependent on changing the system. 

But first, a word on systems...

Systems, in this context, emerge as a way of regulating a group or setting. But before going any further.. we need to understand what is meant by systems. 

(Please go look up the word in a dictionary. Press 'Ctrl+T,' type 'Dictionary.com,' type 'System,' and read at least the first seven definitions.)

(Directions relevant to Google Chrome browser, other browsers may possess different hot keys.)

Abstractly speaking, systems are capable of controlling the conditions presented by any given group.  They can be found wherever order is sought.  Meaning they are basically everywhere.  Micro-social hierarchies and world governments are examples of systems in the abstract.  For the purpose of this discussion systems are related to social settings, in this context they are a byproduct of the setting. And beyond that they are a reflection of the setting they emerged from. 

Recognizing the correlation between systems and the settings they emerge from is the most important Idea here. Because this means that the setting has a direct influence on the system; this means that changing the system starts with changing the components. In short... The system is dynamic and the change we’re looking for is in Us.

As a matter of notice: We have Changed. The problem is that we have changed more than the system is ready to accept. Systems control.. and what has been happening is a power struggle. On one side is a system that wants us to stop changing so that it can remain the same and on the other side is a population that is excited about growing into a new form of communication and connectivity. 

We will continue to change. And while I'm sorry to say this, in the short term we must appease the current system, lest it take to the spurs and attempt to crush the revolution that we have waiting in the wings. In order effect change properly we must appease the current system so that it can adapt to our new ideals. Translated simply this means appeasement and opting out. 

By opting out I mean that we must remove ourselves from the elements that is uses to control us, we must strengthen our independence and wane our dependence on the systems means of sedation. This means we stop must stop exploiting the loopholes they have given us. This means no more state dependence. This means paying your taxes and not expecting a return. This means buying local. This means utilizing traditional ways of entertainment. This means taking what you need instead of all you want. This means giving what you have in excess to those who need it more. This means we work together to improve the quality of life for all the people on this planet. This means that even if we fail, we try.. and when we fail.. we try again.

Appeasing the system allows it to go quietly into that good night while opting out strips it of its control over our society. 

It sounds like an oxymoron, I know. How does giving in accomplish our goal? Appeasement reduces the need for further restrictions and opting out removes the need for the restrictions already in place. 


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Piracy, The Sea, and The Infinite Net

There are many modes of communication these days. Many facets, many nodes. Far too many to list. But there are attempts to stifle them as well.

In the last two decades we have come to know communication in ways that were previously impossible. With a mouse click we can befriend people on the other end of the globe and share conversations contrasting our childhoods. We can see the farthest corners of the Earth without any hesitation or impedance for the net is vast and its possibilities endless. But it's possibilities may end.

As a child I saw the internet as the dawning of a new era. I saw it as the freeing of mankind. How truly could democracy thrive in a network of infinite information and near instant communication? What great hopes I had. I believed in the thought that information could truly be free, that humanity could bridge the gap for a global conversation, that this one thing could inspire innovation.

I must be an Idealist, possibly even a romantic. In the two decades since the internet went public it has become so much more than I had imagined and so much less. Streaming video, constant status updates, RSS feeds, piracy, porn, wikis, news, blogs, tweets, demotivational posters, troll face, and MMOs all with a focus on the trivial. All bound to the mundane. I'm as guilty as the next guy.

Now, 2011, capable of talking instantly to people on the polar opposite of the world thanks to Skype, and yet that distance has become greater. We have lost ourselves in a sea of information. And most of what we find time for is the trivial. We could learn so much just from reading Wikipedia entries. But instead we watch hours of YouTube  videos.

Ironically, we have made a blight of one of the greatest resources ever conceived. The conspiracy theorist in me wants to say it was planned, but that's too complicated. This we've done to ourselves. And now, the fear of information freedom strikes another blow against us, our previously free resource is threatened by legislation. The fear of Piracy has brought the motive of legislation to internet censorship. If this push was against the useless information in the infinite net I would champion its coming. It is, however, against the freedom of information. It is granting an ISP the right to deny you access to a website based upon that website's content.

The internet is a global resource. And governments are hard at work censoring and stifling it. I can't help but think there are bigger evils they should turn their attentions to. Another time perhaps.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I Want You.. Entertainment!

First, I need to make fun of Miriam-Webster. When preparing for this discussion, I first Googled the word “entertainment,” a nice million or so hits for E!entertainment news, nothing useful. So I amended my search criteria to “entertainment concept,” the result was a plethora of budding, aspiring, and failing entertainment companies. A switch to Google Scholar provided dozens of documents relating to various business aspects of the entertainment industry. I gave up. Moving on to Miriam-Webster online, a quick search for “entertainment” here provided me with a jewel of dissent in what is a clear violation of the first rule of vocabulary; never use the word you’re defining in the definition of that word.

Definition “1: the act of entertaining,” the later definitions are less disappointing. Oh the agony! If you take the time to click on the definition of entertaining, it provides a regrettable “providing entertainment” as an answer. A quick stop by Wikipedia shows the greater value of an open source encyclopedia, though the article does not meet Wikipedia’s quality standards, the first sentence sums up entertainment in far better terms than all of the other venues I attempted on the internet.

However, all of this is far from the actual point. Our culture is one based on a need to be entertained. And that may be an understatement. What drives this? Marketing, the wheel of capitalism is turning. It demands that you buy more, buy bigger, and buy faster. While I would make no secret of my disdain for the capitalist system, I have yet to see anything that works any better. But I find it troubling that the method of fiscal advancement is now based solely on owing money. I borrow from you, you from him, him from them, them from the others and so on.

I wonder where this system becomes terminal, I mean, at what point does the money I owe guy two become the money owed me by guy eleven? It doesn’t, but one can wish right?

Returning to the point, why all the effort to entertain? Haven’t we become apathetic because of overexposure? I mean really, don’t we just lose interest until something more exciting, racy, or intense comes along? What’s the point of it? The cycle has to become finite at some point.

Think carefully on this, before you lies the greatest archive of information ever yet conceived; the internet. You want politics, try CSPAN.com. You want trivial information, try Wikipedia.com. Video feeds, Youtube.com. Need new music, Pandora.com. Anything else, try the variety of search options Google provides. The possibilities are endless; and I have a challenge for you. Use any reference group on the internet and observe the progression of entertainment over time.

For this experiment we’re grouping all the mediums together, through the internet we can just as easily call up Shakespeare’s Macbeth as we can last week’s episode of The Daily Show; and with approximately the same amount of effort. There is something that I think should be seen here, and that is that with each generation the lines blur, the scenes become more graphic, comedy more crass, the gore more real, and so on.

Spend a few hours watching children’s cartoons, take notice of the innuendos. There are allusions to addiction, sexuality, and a whole variety of deviant behaviors. Not that any of this is new, just that in a modern sense it is becoming more commonplace. I know as many potheads as I do five year olds that get a kick out of SpongeBob. But that, in and of itself, is not the point.

The point is that we are reaching a terminal state; a point where we can no longer back away from the bombardment. And it is our duty to do something about it. I say this because we do affect things. We are the power core that drives this society. We need to pay attention. And we need to stand together.
-James C.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Walk Out On The Debtor Cycle

Welcome to the world, 2009. With economic recession, complacency, factory closing, layoffs, government dependence? Welcome indeed.

We’ve all seen the commercials; most Americans now suffer from credit trouble. For those of you who don’t, we’ll be with you shortly. If not, then you’re extraordinary or lucky. What I wonder these days is if this is the rational path for capitalist expansion. Sure, credit is a valid idea, I want something, I agree to pay and you agree to give it to me for a fee. If I fail to pay you get it back. That’s all well and good. It helps the economy to continue moving when buying power is low. Since the system continues moving, then manufactures continue to see profit, so the job market remains healthy and companies expand.

This is all assuming we all continue to pay. But what happens when we fail, or worse, when so many of us fail that the industry becomes defunct.

Think about this, every American goes out and buys a car on credit. The Auto Industry seeing a sudden jump in demand expands their production. Then months down the line, the Americans all default on the loans. The Auto Industry and the Banks would be caught with the excess product and the returned product. Furthermore, all the profit margins the Industry believed were there suddenly disappeared.  Sounds a bit like the ‘never count your chickens before they hatch’ adage.

What is seems like these days, is a cycle in which one person’s job is dependent upon another person’s ability to have credit. And since the “credit bubble burst” less and less people have maintained good credit, therefore, less people have jobs. Those people then lose credit and the cycle continues in its downward spiral.

So my question is when did we become credit dependent? Why is it that no one pays cash for a big ticket item anymore? I mean in all seriousness, why doesn’t anyone save up to buy a car anymore?

The theory as I see it is, in order to wrestle with diminished spending power we have given the country the ability to pretend they still have spending power. What does that solve? Well, in the short term, it causes a rise in demand. That means that manufacturers need to increase production, meaning more jobs. The problem is that the demand is real in terms of product, but false in terms of profit. The manufacturer is being paid with IOU’s granted by banks. The long term is that when an individual exceeds his limitations, and that bank has to take back that product, someone is left holding the ball. So what happens when a large percentage of the population exceeds their limitations? I think we all know how that turns out, I mean we’ve been living it for a little over a year now.

At this point it seems that this cycle has pushed us to an excessive point of production, on a rather feeble amount of true buying power. And when the bubble burst, the profits all turned into dust and the company had exceeded its budget.

So now what? No one wants to be left with the bad debtor.

What it comes down to is that when buying power is down, production should also go down, not up, as the credit glitch has allowed. What I mean is that supply and demand should be based on actual demand, and not just demand.

The big question is how do we fix it? No clue.

I’m open to suggestions and discussions.

Drop a comment and lets address it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

We the People

There are times when I feel it’s important to draw attention to the matters at hand, rather than the matters we are all guided to talk about. The immediate bull rancor of the bureaucrats, the politicians, the CEO’s, and the media is the economy.

Now, I’m no economist and I have no intention of dragging anyone through a mind numbing explanation of how spending money essentially can aid our economy. While it is a factual statement, there are restrictions on it. The biggest is, the only way to help our economy is to spend money within our economy. Meaning we should reduce our dependence on imported goods. All of this, however, is grossly distant from the point I wish to make.

In the 1978 radio series “The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy,” Douglas Adams drifts by several uniquely factual ideas. Most relevant of which is the point late in the series when the impetuous Zaphod Beeblebrox contacts his great grandfather Zaphod Beeblebrox the 4th. The ornery elder then points out the simplest premise in any democratic government.

“The president’s job is not to wield power, but to draw attention away from it.”

Within the series Zaphod, Arthur, and Ford Prefect eventually do find the one man in the universe that actually does wield the power. The existentialist gentleman, who theoretically rules the galaxy, is a rather detached man in a cabin who has named his cat “the lord.” This too is unimportant.

The idea I’m trying to reach, in a rather eventual sense, is that our government, while considerably more real than its fictional counterpart is essentially the same sort of smoke and mirrors.

John Locke, in his essay “Two Treatise on Social Government,” discussed the idea that the power of a government to rule was vested in the consent of the people to be governed. For those of you who aren’t avid historians, the founders of our country were profoundly influenced by the writings of John Locke. Those works were written nearly 100 years before our war for independence.  Again, I’m moving away from the point.

Ultimately, the government that leads us is based on our consent to its rule. Now, I in no way encourage abolishing our government. I would rather encourage the people to recognize and utilize our role in process.

The premise in theory will work unilaterally across all fronts. The government’s power rests solely in us, without us it has no purpose. Therefore we must discover ways to show our dissent. The problem with this is quantity. As individuals we all have the ability to write congressmen, to march on capitals with signs, and yes, to record our opinions on blog sites and editorial columns. But in these forms we fail to gather a large enough cohesive group to effect change.

We, ourselves, are partially to blame for this. Our culture is a vast mixing pot of immigrants. From the four corners of the Earth we have brought different behaviors, religions, ideas, and colors. Eventually, when we trace the power of the government we will find that these differences are the mechanism by which they keep us complacent.

Understand this; if a large enough group of people came together against a specific policy, there is no lobbying group that could save that policy. So the vested interest of the special interest groups is to stay stronger than the people, thereby supplanting their voice for ours. They do this by keeping us divided.

Have you thought about your division today? What separates you from the people you work with or interact with on a regular basis? Are you really that different?