Tuesday, November 30, 2010

On Vocabulary


I prefaced "On A Democratic Economy" with a warning that anyone who messaged me without thinking through their position might be used to further illustrate a general lack of critical thinking.

[Note: I expect many people will not agree with me in what I have to say here.  I openly admit that *this* article is my opinion, unlike some other things I have said which are provable, yet have been dismissed as simply 'my opinion.']

In being true to my word, however, I will not critique someone specifically Maddox's hate mail style.  I have no interest in bullying anyone or making an example out of a single individual.  My complaint is not against people, but against the memes in authority guarding destructive ignorance in our social realms.


The Controversy:

I received a complaint about "On A Democratic Economy", but it was not concerned with it's message, which was admitted to be of interest to the reader in question.  The source of the trouble stemmed from the fact that the article contained my one and only use of a 'colorful' word thus far in my entire blog, and the reader found this word inappropriate.  Due to this one word, the reader shut off completely and discontinuing her investigation of the materials I have put forward.

Upon being informed by the person of her reaction, my first response was to apologize for the offense, and to remove the word saying: (with hastily written grammatical errors corrected from the original): "Because I am flexible, and because if my actions causes someone else to stumble I should alter them, so I will change it out of consideration for others."

Looking back at it, I feel that this first response was good, and possibly even the right attitude to have.  In the future I will try to be more aware of readers in regards to this.  At the moment I don't think that the word was a strict requirement for getting the core message across.  But I *do* believe it provided the most accurate portrayal and the correct level of emphasis for the context, which was the reason I chose it to begin with.

At the time however, after giving my first response but after more thought on the matter, I responded again saying that I felt it would be inappropriate to remove it in the specific case questioned.  For one thing I thought it most accurately reflected the disposition of those I was talking about in the article, and I had not chosen to use the word lightly, idly, or flippantly.  **But most importantly**  I felt changing it after the fact might set in me a dangerous mental precedent.  I don't think that I should filter the core of what I have to say.  My stating this caused an argument over which I became rather agitated.



I am aware that words can, and often do, carry certain energies that one can find psychologically (or spiritually depending on your assumptions about the nature of reality) assaulting.  This is especially true if one finds these words directed at them personally in anger or attack, which is why such behavior is not generally acceptable.

Certain words are not always appropriate or acceptable in specific contexts, such as is the case for most people within their school or place of work, particularly when engaged in any form of customer relations.

There is another word related particularly with violence and racism used by many rap artists which I myself would not choose, excepting possibly in quotation of another, and then only to demonstrate something other than those usual implications.  But my refrain from its use personally does not mean I automatically censor someone entirely based on *their* use of it.  Which is not to say I couldn't become tired from hearing it repeatedly and nearly exclusively, and therefore avoid such expression much (but not all) of the time.


My Stance:

In loose reference to the J. R. R. Tolkien creation myth, as an analogy: Words are like keys on a piano.  We have an entire spectrum of words with which to express the melody that we are a part of playing.  Some people hammer away on the same key in every part of every tune, disrupting the song.  Others boycott a select key or two even when they are actually called for by their part, and refuse to participate in the song whenever someone else touches one of them, called for or not!

My perspective can be expressed by the following, admittedly imperfect, analogy:  Imagine one chose to always be offended by the color yellow.  When ever someone wore yellow, tastefully or not, they would say:

"Do you HAVE to wear THAT color?  Is that the ONLY thing in your wardrobe?  Are so poor as to be unable to wear anything ELSE?  I am sorry, but I just cannot be near anyone who would lack the fashion sense to avoid yellow at all times no matter the circumstances!  There is NEVER an acceptable time to wear THOSE types of colors!  It reveals the true color of someones heart!: That they are Cowardly!  That one thing tells me everything I need to know about a person's character, the internal corruption and state of their soul!  What do you think Jesus would say if he saw you wearing THAT color?  Do you think <insert some other person believed to be admired by the target of criticism here> would ever wear that color?  God hates cowards and yellow is a cowards color which I abhor!  Aren't you ashamed of yourself for this?  Well I will be praying very hard for you so that God helps you see our truth on this issue!"

So instead of listening to our culture, instead of addressing the very serious issues of our day, instead of working for the plight of the less fortunate, instead of combating the enormous abuses and corruption and lying and cheating and stealing and murdering of our nations leadership (who claim to be 'Christian'), instead of THESE things people want to spend all their time attempting to force contrite social delicacies onto people and filter out every message and messenger that doesn't conform perfectly to their delicate sensibilities!

This is called 'legalism' in some circles, or 'absolutism' in others.  It is enforcing the letter of the law and ignoring the intent!

"You can't use this word!  You can't crush grain on the sabbath!"  But the law was made for man (and woman)!

If a certain word best fits the needed usage, that's the word you should use!  Don't quote me about 'no idle word from your mouth', because I did NOT choose it idly!  I chose it with a very specific and conscientious intent.  It was the word that most precisely expresses what needed to be portrayed.  Otherwise I would have chosen a different word.  And even if I hadn't, that is no reason to shut off and avoid a message.

Yoda in 'The Empire Strikes Back' was brilliant character design precisely because he illustrated the fact that one should never judge a book by it's cover!

Finally, my illustration was not using the word in question in any of the ways which I have conceded are inappropriate.  I choose it precisely because I, being capable of choosing any word that best suited the circumstance, believed it most accurately represented the views of those with the disposition I was actively scrutinizing in the discussion.


Supporting My Argument:

I feel inclined to respond to this issue using the words of Lao Tzu:

True Virtue is not virtuous.
Therefore it has virtue.
Superficial virtue never fails to be virtuous.
Therefore it has NO virtue.
True virtue does not "act" (pretend or 'behave')
And has no alterior motives.
Superficial virtue "acts" (pretends and 'behaves')
And always has alterior motives.
Propriety "acts" and if you do not respond they will roll up their sleeves and threaten you.
Thus, when the Tao is lost there is virtue.
When virtue is lost there is humaneness.
When humaneness is lost there is rightness.
And when rightness is lost there is propriety.
Now Propriety is the external appearance of loyalty and sincerity, and it is the beginning of disorder.
-Lao Tzu (Tao te Ching)

This means that being so focused on external formalities causes one to miss what is truly right and important.  Sometimes what is 'right' is socially 'wrong' and vice versa.

If you look at the behavior of the classic western example of morality, he would have rolled somewhere between neutral and chaotic good, right next to Robbin Hood, when created using a dungeons and dragons character sheet; he was apposed to the strictly 'lawful' (despite quotes of his not destroying a letter of it).  And speaking of the western example, since the 'The Tao' is not the usual frame of reference for most people with so strict of a of language filter, lets examine what the 'chaotic to neutral good' version had to say, shall we?  Personally I prefer Lao Tzu in this case to the Western equivalent, but:

You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.

The reason I prefer Lao Tzu in this case is because, as quotes such as the latter indicate, the almighty was clearly not present the day Dale Carnegie was passed out, and thus his rude way of speaking was completely ineffective when it came to winning opponents to his point of view.  (Or as one of my producers once told me: "A sh** sandwich must always be served on complement bread.")  The direct result of his insolence was, by all written accounts, even less pleasant than it's recent recreation by a certain, now infamous, anti-Semite in his film: "Passion of the Guy who rudely pointed out all the lies and hypocrisy of the authority in his culture while defending the rights and humanity of the foreigners, outcasts, untouchables, and poor."  I don't want anti-semites making snuff films about the results of my indifference towards socially intelligent communication, so I am in this case giving preference to Lao Tzu over 'the only standard that we need'.

On the other hand, I had the Bible crammed down MY throat for 25 years!  I was keep locked up in the house, home schooled, and brainwashed with audio tapes played to me in my sleep!  For which facts, combined with our economic status due to the illegitimate teenage pregnancy (me), I have grown up constantly humiliated, ostracized, and socially stunted.  The upside of all of this is that unlike most people unable to defend themselves against the mainstream use of it, I actually KNOW what it says!  Well meaning as most individual Christians might be, the Christian religion 'group think' as a whole is today exactly the same as the one that its 'standard' was arguing with 2k years ago.

So "God" told you before I was born that I was going to grow up and tell people the truth they didn't want to hear did he?  Well guess what!  It is not "the world" that needs a double barrel full of the truth!  It is you!


The Koran says:

Do not tamper with the property of orphans, but strive to improve their lot until they reach maturity.  Give just weight and full measure; we never charge a soul with more than it can bear.  Speak for justice, even if it affects your own kinsmen. Be true to the covenant of God.
-Koran Sura 6:152 (Penguin Classics 1995 edition)

Or the TRUE meaning of it all, again from the Western frame of reference:

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
James 1:27

I understand this to mean: Look out for the less fortunate!  For the underdog!  And don't get caught up in the lies, hypocrisy, greed or mere social appearances of righteousness (such as choosing to take offense over a single word)!



After discussing many of the issues above with her, I was dismissed with: well I understand that you have been under a lot of stress lately.

I think that is an understatement!  My whole Universe has been turned upside down.  In the last few years I have come to realize:

1) My inherited Religion, Nation, and Political Party are not the force for all that is truthful, righteous and just in this world as I was brainwashed to believe, but are in fact a cover for lying murdering thieves and hypocrites, the local and even international bullies!  All of this is in line with its history of slavery and genocide!  Some know it, some ignore it, some refuse to acknowledge it, and others just write it off.

There is in practice no actual 'black and white'!  Many of the 'bad guys' are actually good, and many of the 'good guys' are actually bad.  But mostly it is all just self assuring exclusive social clubs that assume the worst of anyone that doesn't act and talk and express beliefs that are just like theirs.

2) Marriage is not an unbreakable vow that one must take or stand beside because it is the 'right thing to do'.  It can be a horrible and abusive institution that should not be tolerated by anyone.  I learned this the hard way.

3) My 'Dream Career' is not as advertised, it can be a very abusive environment, and it is totally centered around making more money for investors at whatever cost.  (Although I am grateful to my current employers for a much needed break.)

4) Evolution looks pretty real to me after I successfully wrote a software application that simulated it and revealed that intelligent behavior CAN emerge naturally from randomness.  And it just makes sense once you take the time to understand it.  (Although I always knew something was wrong with the account of Genesis.)

5) My youngest Brother who was good at everything and loved by everyone, and the one person in my family who seemed to truly see a lot of what I what I see, decided it was better not to live and therefore abandoned all of us, including me, greatly reducing in the process the solid security I felt remaining at least within my immediate family.

And these are just *some of the highlights.

As an adult I am forced to completely rebuild my internal map and understanding of absolutely everything about the world from the ground up.  I am neither secular, nor religious, yet just enough of each to often offend the other.  I am prone to social discomfort due to many unpleasant social experiences starting even in early childhood due in part to professing the limiting perspectives I inherited without question.

I have bouts of depression that can last for days to the extent I can't be bothered to get out of bed, or sometimes eat or drink, let alone leave the apartment.  (As if I know where to go and what to do when I do.)  And for desert I just had a helping of kidney stones over the summer, I suspect due to lack of liquids on said such days.

So yeah, I have had some stress lately!  But none of this has anything to do with whether or not everything I am saying is actually true.  I recall a similarly vocal hero of hers being dismissed in the same manner, with the accusation that he was 'possessed by a demon', when his telling the truth didn't conform to the expectations of his society.  I guess his being conceived a bastard in a deeply religious culture that stoned adulteresses to death, and his being a child prodigy (recognized early by even their own scholars), helped him develop unfashionable perspectives of society that have since been plastered over with more palatable explanations such as: blind faith guarantees pleasures in the afterlife; manifest destiny; or even that we are fighting for 'democracy' against the 'axis of evil'.


In the end I did finally decided to change the word in the article.  Not because I believe it was inappropriate for the context, but because fighting against peoples stubborn insistence to choose arbitrarily to be offended over a single word was not worth obstructing the message I was putting forth there.  I think that preoccupation and petty squeamishness over vocabulary and other such closed minded and hard hearted social trivialities is a poisonous cancer which should be actively fought against.  But one must choose their battles, and this was not one I valued enough to disrupt the other issues I was trying to bring to light in that article.  Since many are unable and unwilling to hear anything not phrased just exactly to their liking, I have altered the format just so that the message might be heard even by those that limit themselves by thinking Jesus would be terribly offended if they ever sat through an 'R' rated movie.

So if you now visit 'On A Democratic Economy', the sentence containing the controversial word has been changed from: "**** off!" to "Forget it!"

From now on, do everyone a favor and ask yourself: Do I filter messages I don't want to hear simply because of the messenger or their format?  Or because it doesn't fit nicely with 'my' reality?  What you don't know can hurt you!  The truth does not conform itself to our preferences or preconceived notions about reality or propriety.  And this is a fact of which I myself am all too bitterly aware!

On the other hand, you can close your ears.  You can shelter yourself and most especially your poor defenseless vulnerable children.  Create a bubble, and spin a web of 'better' reality to trap them in so that they will stay and hide with you there forever from the real one.  Wallpaper over the rotting walls and the corrupting darkness with happy looking 'kid friendly' / 'family friendly' wallpaper.  Stay in the metaphorical 'Matrix' spun up by the networks and politicians and even your clergy.  Let them tell you who your enemies are, divide you against yourselves, and destroy you!

Crazy, but that's how it goes
Millions of people living as foes
Maybe it's not too late
To learn how to love
And forget how to hate
I've listened to preachers
I've listened to fools
I've watched all the dropouts
Who make their own rules
One person conditioned to rule and control
The media sells it and you live the role


I don't promise I am perfect.  I don't promise I will always get it right, or never make a mistake.  I don't claim to hear or be the voice of God.  But I have been actively seeking truth no matter where it leads me, and trying to do what I think is right as best I can by seeking out and reading the greatest minds in history on the strategies of war, on religion, and politics, and economics, and the sciences, the great poets and myths...  I try to see the truth put forward by all the greats that most only know by name (if that).  And thus far it all forms a big consistent picture.  It is ALL connected.  My aim with this blog is to display the connections I see, and reality as best as I can see it!

I don't see any group of people as my (or our) 'enemies'.  I don't see 'God' (however you see him / her / it), nor 'Satan' as my enemy.  Nor belief in them, or not...  My (our) real enemy is the destructive sets of memes being run in active simulation over the distributed social network of human consciousnesses, some of which run with the God memes and some not.  Either way, *this* is all a virus check!

I know that you're afraid... you're afraid of us.
You're afraid of change.
I don't know the future.
I didn't come here to tell you how this is going to end.
I came here to tell you how it's going to begin.
I'm going to hang up this phone,
and then I'm going to show these people what you don't want them to see.
I'm going to show them a world without you.
A world without rules and controls,
without borders or boundaries.
A world where anything is possible.
Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.

~Neo; The Matrix; 1999


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

On The Federal Budget (for Dummies)

People often have a hard time grasping or relating to talk on the news in which money mounts in the 'billions' or 'trillions' of dollars are being discussed.  Without an understandable frame of reference it is easy to see why most people don't really understand what is really going on in the world. 

So to do my part, I figured I would cut through the confusion and do the math for you using a skill I mastered somewhere on the road through my Minor Mathematics Decree: It is called 'Division'.

Below is a human relatable 'scale model' if you will, of the amounts of money spent on some recently controversial items.

[Note For Other Math Geniuses Such As Myself:  You can recreate my model by simply dividing any number you hear on the news by 1 $billion.  For additional reference, $1 trillion == $1000 billion.]

So without further ado, here is how your taxes are being spent (in human readable form):


Keeping Iraqi's from accessing their own oil at gunpoint (or from forming their own democracy) so Haliburton can have their oil instead:

* Over $1,000 *

Paying off the rich banker who still took your house:

* $1,300 *

A one time check from Obama to your gramma to buy *either* food or medicine (the only item the 'liberal' media debates whether we can really afford):

* 14 bucks *

Pulling one over on the American Public in broad daylight and robbing them blind:

* Priceless! *


I hope that was helpful. ;-) 

Remember: We are the number one spenders on defense (that means war), spending more than the next 15 countries combined! Our education system produces students that average 27th best in the world across all subjects!!! (I guess it is easier to convince someone to drop bombs for you if they are not all that bright.)

Team America! F*** YEAH!

Happy 'we repayed the Indians kindness with genocide' day!


On A Democratic Economy: An Example Of Our Failing Education

[Forewarning: I am planning my own entrepreneurial endeavors and aim to be a small business owner myself.  If you privately email me in response to this post to call me an 'extremists', or to parrot smart sounding opposing statements without being prepared to defend them in serious debate, or subsequently become unable or unwilling to acknowledge my points or counter points on your statements, be grateful I am not the type to make a posting of our conversation 'Maddox Hate Mail style'!  The whole point of this article is to show that you, or at least the general population, have accepted blatant lies with unquestioning faith!  Advance further evidence for my thesis at your own risk!  That said, *CONSTRUCTIVE* criticism and *CIVIL* debate are always welcome!]



Before diving into more specific future discussions about education, I would like to use the topic of Socialism as an example to illustrate how people in our society generally have been programed with what to think, but not with how.

To start with, YOU, and I don't care who you are, YOU are a socialist!  You heard me!  That's right you!

But what is that you say?

"Not ME!" you exclaim?  "I am the Treasurer of the 'Socialism is Evil Club' and Vice President and Fellow of the 'League of Private is Always Better!"

Well then Please!  Accept my apology!  That is, just as soon as you make me eat my words by kindly proving your dedication to principle by example!  Just immediately forgo use and protection from all existing public and social services, included but not limited too: Schools, Libraries, the Police and Fire Departments, Roads, in some cases mass transit, and the Mail!

If you think such a demand preposterous, that society depends on such services, or that you are entitled to these in exchange for your contributions to society, then congratulations!  YOU are a Socialist!  The only difference between You, and those 'usually' labeled Socialists, is the degree of quality, and to lesser extent quantity, of specific services you expect should belong to this set of commonly accessible resources.

[Note for my Christian Readers: Jesus taught that there was a special place in hell for those who did not look out for 'the least of these' by giving food and drinking water, (yes, 'teaching to fish for a lifetime' is proper implementation) and health care to poor kids, and also visiting the incarcerated (maybe in Guantanamo).  But he didn't mean that Crap Democrats call health care!  Democrats are financed by the same Multi Billion dollar Medical, Insurance, and Pharmaceutical companies as the Republicans so it is no wonder their so called 'health care' is making people buy private insurance.  That doesn't relieve us of the duty!  If you happen to be a Christians who DOES feed the homeless, is involved in prison outreach, etc. Good job!  You still lack though, so please kindly help peer pressure our fellows to stop harassing economically challenged teens and women in need of the pill or an aids tests outside of planned parenthood!]

[Cultural Reference Note: In spite of the military structure of Starfleet Command, the United Federation of Planets depicted in 'Star Trek' is a model Socialist society.  They have also completely abolished money, excepting as the occasionally needed plot device demands it for interaction with the Ferengi race, the shows satirically (yet forgivingly) viewed token extreme Capitalists.]

Anyway, without further ado, here are some common memes about Socialism, that with even a tiny bit of thought, are obviously non sequitur bullshit.  To this day people I would ordinarily consider intelligent continue to parrot these things back to me without thinking.  Don't be one of those people!


Fallacy #1: Communism failed.

The entire thesis of Karl Marx's 'Communist Manifesto' was that the powerful will always exploit the poor and working classes, and therefore working people must unite (unionize) to collectively balance the powers wielded against them.  The Manifesto ends after a long list of grievances with the famous call to action:

"Working Men of the world, Unite!"
~Karl Marx  (Communist Manifesto)

Now I was in Berlin this summer and one of the sites I visited was the uprising of June 16th 1953.  East German workers tried to go on strike after having their hours extended and wages cut, but they were put down with military force.  This is only one example that illustrates: Communism didn't fail!  It never existed!  Governments claiming to be Communist have in fact been totalitarian military dictatorships.  They have not even pretended to tolerate collective citizen organization and action, the most basic principle of Communist theory.

So how can you claim that a system they never implemented has failed?


Fallacy #2: Communism would never work because anyone that managed to overthrow the existing system would never give up their power.

This one was very crafty in design!  If you take off the part that says: "Communism would never work because" and keep only the part that says: "anyone that managed to overthrow the existing system would never give up their power", then the statement is so obvious as to be a truism, leaving little to no reason to even think of questioning it.  Thus most people don't.

But the logical fault here is that the situation being described has absolutely nothing to do with Communism at all.

Again remember that the thesis of the Manifesto was that normal working people must work together to secure our basic rights from the most wealthy and powerful.  That has nothing to do with a small group of people taking over the government, or any expectation of their subsequent and unlikely altruism.


Fallacy #3: Communism is a recent invention that was created as a reaction to Capitalism.

I grant you that Karl Marx desire for, and plan to implement, Socialism came about that way.  But Socialism in general is far older and more widely advocated that most realize.

Again, because of my American Christian upbringing, and the extreme illogical fear of 'Socialism' by the American Right, I will chose an example uncomfortably close to home to demonstrate this:

According to the Old Testament (OT), the Jewish people were chosen by God due to a promise made to Abraham, the historically recognized father of Monotheism.  But what were they 'chosen' for?

According to the OT, the Jews were chosen to demonstrate the superiority of 'Gods laws' to the surrounding nations.

But what laws were those?

i) One of particular consequence was the 'Year of Jubilee' which was to occur every 49 or 50 years.  In this year all land was to be redistributed along ancestral lines, all debts canceled, and all slaves freed.  Wealth distribution!  Or Socialism if you like!

ii) A second notable aspect of this society that was supposedly given and designed by God was this: There was no king!  To quote: "Every Man did as was right in his own eyes!"

It is recorded that the first king of ancient Israel (Saul) was eventually appointed because the people grew jealous of the palaces and harems that they saw in foreign countries.  The prophets of the day warned people saying:

[paraphrased]: "Look, You *really* don't want a king!  He will make your sons fight and die in the front lines of his army for wars just to increase his personal wealth and glory!  He will take your daughters, that should have married your sons, and make them his sex slaves in his harems.  Understand that YOU will not have those palaces and harems you covet!  They will come at your expense!"

It reminds me a lot of Bill Mayer doing stand up and saying: "The GOP is fat cats convincing people who could never be fat cats that someday they might."

But here is a million dollar question: What kind of government was ancient Israel prior to King Saul?  It wasn't a kingdom, or an empire, or any kind of military dictatorship!  It was not a democracy, or a republic.  Their government was... well no government actually.  By modern definition, ancient Israel was an Anarchy.  A Socialist Anarchy to be precise.

Now I am not Biblical literalist, but I think one of the greatest ironies of our time is that the Conservative Right in America claims to be Bible believing Christian literalists, in spite of the fact that according to the Old Testament, 'Gods' preferred style of society for mankind is a Socialist Anarchy.

I guess to 'fair', they do *claim* to be for less government.  The trouble is in practice 'less government' means: no laws that restrict large corporations!  Property laws, Copyright laws, Patents, Estate Exemptions, bills for massive big business subsidies, and anything that keep new people from competing with our established powers, those laws we want in droves!  But Citizen or Consumer protection?  Regulation?  Forget it!


General Observations:

I think it is useful at this point, to point out that in a way, the message of the Manifesto is very much the same as that of the United States Declaration of Independence:

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The claims of of both documents are basically the same:

i) That power must come from the people
ii) That the current system is abusive and exploiting them
iii) It is in their collective interests to collectively abolished the existing rule, and set up in its place a system which is beneficial to the masses instead of benefiting just, for example: a king, bankers, land owners, large Corporate CEO's, or stock holders short term gains.

The most immediately obvious difference between these two is that in the Declaration of Independence was a successful case of specific colonists throwing off rule of the English Crown in the 1700's, whereas the Manifesto is the yet to be realized act of all working people throwing off upper class rule everywhere for all time.


If you think about it, the only type of government which could probably have a chance to be truly Socialistic is a direct (or true) Democracy.  True Communism is basically democratic control of economic resources, of production, and general infrastructure.  A true Democracy is citizens acting collectively to enable and enforce the majority will; and to throw off and hold off any particular person, class, or faction from acquiring to much power.  Arguably you also cannot have true democracy without some form of Socialism because money is ultimately power.  If you can limitlessly acquire money you can limitlessly acquire power until eventually you control everything via the financial side.

[Note: I do NOT believe that in practice this should necessitate the destruction of small businesses.  In fact I am lead to believe that even Capitalism as laid out by Adam Smith in 'The Wealth of Nations" assumes ALL businesses are small and locally owned, and that Capitalism is unstable and breaks down otherwise.  Modern Capitalism claims it can make all men kings of their own private empires.  In reality there is a convergence of all industries towards monopoly (or duopoly) preventing all men from being kings and establishing only a few the rest must serve.  Otherwise democracy, as well as a form of self organizing socialism, would likely coexist surrounding a Capital society consisting solely of small local businesses.  (Imagine a Socialist infrastructure jelly with small private business berries in it that all contribute to their local community.)]

Anyway, if you can limitlessly acquire money you can limitlessly acquire power until eventually you control everything via the financial side.  This is easily demonstrated in practice by pointing at the Corporately controlled United States Government, especially the recent examples of our Occupation of Iraq, and the Bank Bailouts.  These are only the most superficially obvious examples.  But it boggles the mind that in full view of everyone they can publicly subsidize Haliburtons oil field acquisition and protection, and private Banks control our money supply, using such volumes of public cash as to make most social programs look like pocket change, yet the public doesn't even consider THOSE things as the cause of, or rightful target for, 'tightening our belts'.)  "Spectacular Achievements of Media Propoganda", no joke!

But the 'money is ultimate power' philosophy was probably best spelled out by one of its best exploiters:

Permit me to issue and control the money of the nation and I care not who makes its laws.
~Mayer Amsched Rothchild


In Conclusion:

I think this is good time to mention that our current education system was designed during the industrial revolution.  Historically, schools were deliberately designed to be factories that created factory workers.  They wanted a uniform product that did not think, but only obeyed.  The ideal product of schools did not question authority, did not strike, only memorized the 'facts' handed down to them, along with number tables, and assemble things to spec without question.  They should behave as a cog in the machine, as Citizens of 'Metropolis', and as a harvest-able work crop that never question the reality of 'The Matrix'.

In the information age, being able to regurgitate answers from the book and memorize times tables are nearly worthless skills.  We need people who can think critically!  Producing and processing information, solving advanced problem, these are the required skills for the next level of the ideal civilizations development.  Such systems are known to require self organization, freedom, critical thinking, and freedom from financial concerns (RSA Animate - Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us), which is theoretically possible with wise use of available resources.

In a previous post I mentioned that Einstein had lamented the lack of Great minds and Great Artists in proper proportion to our population.  If you compare the educations given through out history to most of the government leaders, and to many of the greatest minds of the sciences, the religions, the political systems, and military's, you will see that it embarrass the crap out of our public school systems even in the 21'st century.

With the vast majority of people being programmed for prole-hood, designed to be Delta's and Epsilon's or at best Gamma's, is it any wonder we suffer the lack of great minds that Einsteins lamented?  It is any wonder we face global warming, the end of oil (and thus the majority of the worlds food supply), that their is no cure for cancer, or aids, or faster than light travel?

A mind is a terrible thing to waste!

Yet we are wasting the vast majority of 6.5 billion of them by design.

What can you do to help change that?  If you don't know, isn't that a conversation we should be having with everyone in our various circles that we come in contact with?  We have been given so much by those who came before us, should we not give back something so little as this, for those yet to come?

Think about it.


**Appended Dec 1 2010**

I recently saw the film version of 'The Shock Doctrine ' which pointed out that there *have* been successfully working 'Socialist' governments in the 20'th Century.  One was in Chile, which was focusing heavily on getting a good health care and education system that people were increasingly happy with.  Unfortunately for the Chileans, there were some American companies who had private financial interests within the country, and for keeping things the way they were.  As a result their government was forcibly put out, and their economy destroyed.

While watching this film, specifically during the footage of a Chilean being removed by security for his protests to Milton Friedman receiving the Nobel Prize for Economics (for work that led to, and his involvement with, the destruction of Chile), I recalled the words from the Poem by Alan Ginsberg, and sung by the band 'Rage Against the Machine':

It had to be rich and it had to be powerful
They had to murder in Indonesia 500000
They had to murder in Indochina 2000000
They had to murder in Czechoslovakia
They had to murder in Chile
They had to murder in Russia
And they had to murder in America

~Rage Against the Machine; Hadda Been Playing On The Jukebox (Alan Ginsberg)

I would also like to point out two additional things:

1) That we ALREADY HAVE systematic wealth redistribution.  (Mostly in the forms of bailouts and subsidies)  It just goes up instead of down.

2) In many parts of the world (outside the US), Socialism and Democracy are seen as the same thing.  Ironically the United States has neither Socialism nor Democracy, but rather a mere pretense to representation as a so called 'Republic'.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

On Patriotism

There are those who say that many of the really good ideas have been thought of already.
Since I *mostly agree with this statement, but mostly because you will probably think he is smarter than most other people, I figured I would start by seeing what Albert Einstein has to say on the subject:

[Note: The following comes from the book "The World As I See It" by Albert Einstein.  He had personal and direct experience with extreme patriotism having escaped Nazi Germany.]

"This topic brings me to that worst outcropping of the herd nature, the military system, which I abhor. .. This Plague-spot of civilization ought to be abolished with all possible speed. Heroism by order, senseless violence, and all the pestilent nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism--how I hate them. .. And yet so high, in spite of everything, is my opinion of the human race that I believe this bogey would have disappeared long ago, had the sound sense of the nations not been systematically corrupted by commercial and political interests acting through the schools and the Press." ~Albert Einstein

He goes on to say that the advancement of human civilization, from the discovery of fire and agriculture, to the invention of the steam engine, along with advances in morality, have come from creative free thinking individuals. Yet in modern times there seems an absence of great minds in proper proportion to the population. (He proposes a theory about the cause for this, and I myself have my own which I will undoubtedly go into at another time.) A consequence of this is that:

"In two weeks the sheep-like masses can be worked up by the newspapers into such a state of excited fury that the men are prepared to put on uniform and kill and be killed, for the sake of the worthless aims of a few interested parties." ~Albert Einstein

And later quoting Emil Fischer he says:  " 'It's no use, Gentlemen, science is and remains international.'  The really great scientists have always known this and felt it passionately" ~Albert Einstein

Elsewhere I recall him saying (although I can't find it at present) something along the lines that: internationally scientists, doctors, lawyers and other such professionals often have immediate understanding with one another over and above that shared with many of their countrymen.


Now I am an American.  Since a large portion of Americans claim (falsely) that American is a Christian nation (as opposed to one of religious freedom), and because he is viewed as a moral authority by a notable percentage of earths citizens, I think it would be useful to appeal to what Jesus taught on this subject.

[For the sake of honesty I wish to make it known that much of the following comes from, or is based on Leo Tolstoy's "What I believe" and I did not think of it myself.]

Tolstoy points out that 'neighbor' as used in the New Testament is more accurately translated as 'kinsmen' or 'countrymen'.  So when considering Christs famous parable: 'The Good Samaritan', it becomes immediately obvious that Jesus claimed that a foreigner of a different religion IS your kin or countryman, and in some cases is to be considered more so than your actual 'kin' and 'countrymen' based upon their actions.

The irony of modern biblical literalism is a topic which knows no bounds, but for the moment I want to point out one specific irony related to Patriotism which I also picked up from Tolstoy:

Christ taught that one should not swear oaths.  This is quite important if you think about it.  It means one cannot swear to obey a human chain of command, eliminating traditional military service, or take any position that is 'sworn in', including public office.

[Note: Tolstoy also mentioned Christs: "do not judge" is not "don't be judgmental" as taught by churches.  He restricted one from serving as judge jury or executioner.  Christ stood by his teaching here by refusing to condemn the adulterous woman to death as was the law in the famous "let he without sin cast the first stone" case.  In a court of law society distributes and hides guilt for violence across judge jury and executioner.  Similarly in the military it is within the chain of command.  The wealthy sleep easy giving commands to enrich themselves.  Officers train soldiers to override their conscience and 'just following orders.'  Soldiers enforce the will of the humans at the top.]

When I was in Rome this past summer I was talking with an Archeologist staying in my hostel.  She confirmed Tolstoy's insight and that this was the original interpretation of Christianity.  Rome was extremely open and adopted all religions it came across.  The reason for the famous 'lions eating Christians' persecution was not for religious but political crimes:

1) They refused to recognize Caesar as a god or swear allegiance to a human government or military.

2) They also considered 'Gods law', or the 'Natural law' as higher than 'Mans law' and therefore chose socialistic ideals and the 'good of all' in the community over obeying the laws of the nation.

[Note: This Civil disobedience was the example Mahatma Gandhi followed to create his life work after reading, among other things: Tolstoy.]

So originally, Christians were committing treason and disrupting society, and were therefore considered unpatriotic traitors of Rome.  Contrast this with modern political views.

Ironically the acceptance of Christianity in Rome was spread largely by returning soldiers who related to the willingness to die for higher principles, and who were disgusted by the ways that the wealthy were abusing their sacrifices in war merely for personal pleasures.


Someone might ask me: Don't you love your country?

I am grateful and lucky to have been born in America.  Undoubtedly I have been the recipient of many tangible benefits for the fact.  But why should I wish to prevent others from attaining the same benefits (and more) regardless of their nationality or religion?  Such results are those of nationalism: a superiority complex, and a degradation of the humanity of 'outsiders'.

Most everyone in the modern world is taught to hate the Nazis, and for good reason.  Their evil carried out under national pride is well know.  What is truly dangerous though is to fail to see that the Nazi's are not some unrelatable alien 'other'.  The same pride exist within each of us, even if to a lesser degree.  If we are not wary of Nationalism and Patriotism then we have learned nothing from history.

At the present moment I feel the danger to my fellow Americans and many others in the world, is more from within my country than from without it.  Right is right.  Fair is fair.  Justice is justice.  Peace is peace.  These know no nationality (or religion).

Before fighting abroad, does it not make more sense to help those exploited or abandoned in the wake of Katrina?

We blamed the Germans for not acting but claiming ignorance of the death camps.  They showed our Torture chambers at Guantanamo on the nightly news.  What have we done of this?  We don't even have their ignorance defense.  So I ask you: are we really any better?


Thanks to Wikipedia for the following quotes (if you never donated money to Wikipedia, please do):

"My country is the world, all men are my brethren and my religion is to do good." ~Thomas Paine (Founding Father of the United States)

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin." ~Kaniyan Poongundran (Tamil poet)

"I am not an Athenian, or a Greek, but a citizen of the world." ~Socrates


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hello World

[Note: "Hello World" is the name of first program that new computer programmers usually learn to write when starting to learn to program.  It simply prints "Hello World" to the screen.  (I have a slightly longer introduction.)]

Many years ago when I was going into college my mother, a devout Christian, gave me a bookmark she made that said:

"Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman than needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15"


Not long after that while tutoring in the University Math Lab, someone ridiculed the idea that one could be 'educated' if one was an expert in just one thing, even if it was a scholastically regarded subject such as Math.


A while later a fellow tutor in the Math Lab said one of the most important things I have ever heard in my life!

I don't remember what we were talking about, but I replied to something he said with: "I may not be the biggest genius in the world, but I do know that..."

To which he replied: "How do you know?"

I immediately launched into an explanation of how I knew the thing I claimed to know on whatever we were discussing.

He interrupted with: "No, I mean: How do you know you are not the biggest genius in the world? You *could* be!"

He said: "When I was in High School there where people who could tell you the make, model, year and owner of every car in the High School parking lot."

He said: "I couldn't do that. But I was really good at math. Maybe it just depends what you spend it on."


There were other factors involved in the following decision, but the above were the most memorably influential.

So I decided: I would read the most important works that mankind has created, in as many fields as I could. I would only have time for the highlights, so I did need to be picky. But I didn't want to be like most people who make up their minds on something without having thought about it from as many angles as possible.

So I set out to read (not a comprehensive list):

1) The primary texts of all the major world religions: The Bible (already had been required reading growing up), the Koran, The Bhagavad Gita, the Tao Te Ching, Confucius, (and later the Hagakure).

2) Major figures in the modern Sciences such as: Darwin, Dawkins, Hawking, Einstein... and atheist philosophers such as Bertrand Russell.

3) Major philosophers in modern political and economic thinking such as: Plato, John Locke, Karl Marx, and Adam Smith. (I also later discovered Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and David Korten all of whom I think are quite relevant in current times and going forward.)

4) Classics in literature, from Homer and Dante and Chaucer to Jane Austin, Charles Dickens and Tolstoy and more...

5) The Hugo Award Winners for Science Fiction (which overlaps with classics, such as Huxley and Orwell) (I got that idea from the behind the scenes of Babylon5. And there are some great visionaries in this field!)

6) Military and Political Strategy such as Sun Tzu, Machiavelli, and Von Clausewitz

7) Whatever else seemed really important or a legitimate controversy.


I have not finished the list above, and there are other things I have finished that are not on it. However, constantly cramming as much of this material into my brain as I can means I have a considerable number of thoughts on a variety of topics, and I am at least passingly familiar with major and diverse views on it. Sometimes the 'extremists' are more right than they are given credit for, but usually not exactly in the ways they themselves think.

I have reached a point where there seems almost no division between subjects. I see something more like an evolving continuum of knowledge that forms a single non conflicting narrative about humanity and even to a small degree, the universe. Everything is connected, and making new connections between topics takes up much of my thought process.

With so much going on in my head, I often find myself writing for hours. I wrote over 100 pages of a book over the summer, titled: "How to Save the World." I am currently stalled on that project over some thoughts about restructuring education; video games could be a key here. ;-D (I DO intend to finish it.) But also too many hours of thought and writing go into emails to whoever happened to email me, or replies on FaceBook comments that stimulated my thinking or agitation.

So today I finally started a blog so that my thoughts can be accessed by whomever is interested, and so I don't spam unsuspecting victims with huge amounts of unsolicited thoughts on whatever topic they casually mentioned in their FB posts. (Actually, I still plan to do that, but at least it will be in the form of a link to my blog posting so they can more easily follow, or ignore it.)

While this blog is currently aimed to be mostly about my philosophical and political views, I am also a professional video game developer. I expect some percentage of postings will also be about topics related to the industry, programming, and my planned independent projects, business ventures, foundations, etc as I take them on going forward. I plan to sort various posts into topics to maximize usefulness, allowing people can look at only things they find personally relevant to them.

I don't expect everyone to agree with me, and my opinions are not set in stone. So challenge me on something if you think I am wrong. (But be prepared for a debate if you do. *Most of what I think is based on lots of thought and research.) But in the end, regardless, lets look for/at the commonalities more than the differences.

That is my intro in a nutshell.

So regardless if you are starting here at the beginning with me, or backtracking through it later, welcome to my blog.