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Vito

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PostSubject: Re: Broad problems   Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:24 pm

Natch wrote:
...he said it earlier in regards to political parties and an (then) upcoming presidential election.

Guess only the color of the mud slung changes?

Natch
Precisely true, Natch. Mud is still mud, regardless of its color. In the end, we're still reduced to a choice among mudslingers, all of whom are unqualified to rule because they seek to do so. Those who still believe that "their guy" can fix the mess have a great deal to look forward to in the area of losing their delusions.

The popularity contests we call "elections" have nothing to do with actual government. They are an artifact of the well-intentioned but obviously success-proof attempt of the founders of the U.S. constitutional republic to replace hereditary monarchy with elected polyarchy.

The effect was to distribute the despotism across a broader range of institutions, but it did nothing to de-institutionalize it. Replacing the despots via elections does not eliminate the despotism itself, the result being that legislated stupidity is more deeply entrenched now than it ever was under His Majesty the King.

As far as I can tell, the differences between the candidates (especially in presidential elections) are trivial. They all lie, none of them keep the promises on which they get themselves elected, and in the end, everything they do results in more political laws, which reduce personal freedom and solve nothing.

It still comes back to the mirror. In the end, the price of freedom (which everyone thinks they want) is true self-governance. But that requires responsibility for one's own thoughts, words, and deeds. It's still possible to cultivate it individually...but alas, our culture doesn't encourage it any more.

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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: Broad problems   Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:06 am

I heard someone complain they couldn't text in their Prez candidate vote, like they could for their talent TV show participants. It was a very serious complaining jive, too. I kind of laughed. Then got told I was a jerk for not taking it seriously.

Fair game. *shrug*

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Vito

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PostSubject: Re: Broad problems   Sat Oct 27, 2012 6:43 am

Right...I'm sure the person who said that to you was completely serious, Kyle. And that's precisely indicative of the problem. Perhaps that's an example of the kind of thing that led beetlejazz to make the observation about humanity "not working properly" in the first place.

"We" (by which I mean the vast majority of humanoids to whom phones that "only" make phone calls are primitive objects, and to whom life without Facebook would be unthinkable) have become an Instant Society™—15-second sound bites, texted one-liners, instant mashed potatoes, instant messaging, instant gratification.

In my darker moments, I tend to think that it's all coming to a head. We've managed to avoid nuclear self-extermination (so far), but the jury's still out as to whether we'll survive what Kurzweil calls "the singularity". When machines can think, they won't be machines any more. What will they learn from history...from us? Kill or be killed?

If so, we will no longer have to worry about whether humanity is working properly. Or anything else.

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alfredo_buscatti

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PostSubject: Re: Broad problems   Thu Nov 01, 2012 12:53 pm

Hi Vito,

"Battlestar Galactica," one of my favorite sci-fi's, depicts man-made machines killing humans in large number, and somewhere along the line nukes happen; and as the series moves along we find that this has happened on multiple planets, leaving them a nuclear wasteland.

I too believe that personal responsibility is the gateway to freedom. I think people are loathe to accept it. That means looking at the self critically when things go wrong. Though it may be hard to understand, when things go wrong, we are more than probably at least partially culpable. But admitting this makes us feel vulnerable, while if we get angry and blame the environment for our problem, we feel empowered because what is at fault is outside of ourselves; and we adopt this "I mean business" attitude and set about trying to change the environment. The problem is that the environment has a mind of its own, particularly if approached in a blaming, hateful fashion.

Aframericans are my favorites for pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. However when considering poverty Dick Gregory said "We need more boots!" Maybe. What I do know is that a few people born into impoverished circumstances and all that this implies, are able to leave that life. Fortune may have allowed that upward movement, but I'm betting on a great attitude; and part of that attitude, I am convinced, is taking responsibility for everything that is wrong in their lives.

When you blame the environment you cannot change the environment. When you get angry and assign blame, you don't find the hooks inside yourself that drew you to that experience. As Vito said, these hooks are our thoughts, words and actions.

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MisterE
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PostSubject: Re: Broad problems   Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:42 pm

Well, the singularity makes perfect sense. We seem to always want something, or somebody else to think and do for us, lol. As Alfredo pointed out, we can then continue to externalize the blame. Skynet ahoy. Wink
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Vito

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PostSubject: Re: Broad problems   Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:30 pm

Signore Alfredo:

I'm not sure about the environment having a mind of its own. Humans have a tendency to anthropomorphize everything. Perhaps that's part of the same egotism that keeps us from looking honestly at ourselves first as the sowers of our own karmic seeds.

Anyhow, what you say is true. If the price of freedom is personal responsibility (and it is), then the human species has a long, long way to go. You can "elect" someone else to take that responsibility for you, but that won't make it happen. You'll only end up enslaving yourself to someone who can't possibly know what's best for you in the first place.

I guess that's another part of the problem. Maybe folks just don't want to take responsibility for themselves. It's easier to say "It's the government's job." OK, fine. Then you'll reap what you sow there too. And it won't be freedom.

The hell of it is that, no matter how much of what we call "bad" that happens to us and is caused by others, there's generally not a whole hell of a lot that we can do about others. We cram all the "bad" stuff into some kind of symbolism that lets us shift the blame, but that doesn't solve anything. We choose up sides for games of political football...
  • "It's the Democans' fault."
  • "Bullshit, it's the Republicrats' fault."
...but those labels are just illusions of separateness that reinforce our desire to separate humanity into good guys and bad guys. It's the age-old "us vs. them" model of human interaction. It makes it easier to believe that we’re actually accomplishing something as long as our guy wins. Meanwhile, the zero-sum game continues.

I’m not an unreconstructed idealist. The pragmatist in me recognizes that there are scumbags who will do me great harm if I let them. No question about that. Sentimental notions that all men are brothahs can't obviate the reality that not all men live that way. But notwithstanding Douglas MacArthur's practical recognition of the truth that "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance", I'm convinced that the path to freedom — not merely political or economic freedom, but genuine intellectual, psychological, and (dare I say it) spiritual freedom — lies in whatever it takes us humanoids to learn that the price of freedom is personal responsibility. That’s an individual task, not something we get by joining political clubs or other mobs.

It hasn't escaped my attention that, historically, those who brought that message have not been treated kindly. No



Last edited by Vito on Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:29 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Fixed typo.)
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Vito

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PostSubject: ...er, but people aren't rational.   Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:49 pm

MisterE wrote:
Well, the singularity makes perfect sense. We seem to always want something, or somebody else to think and do for us, lol. As Alfredo pointed out, we can then continue to externalize the blame. Skynet ahoy. Wink
MisterE:

Hmmm...if I'm understanding correctly what you mean, you're saying the the emergence of the phenomenon called the singularity will be a direct result of people wanting machines to do their thinking for them?

If that's what you mean, I hadn't thought of it in that way. But I suppose you're right. Whatever the motivation might be at the conscious level, it's certainly true that in the most general sense we've tried to use technology to make our lives easier. Whether or not we end up succeeding has a lot to do with the degree to which we anticipate the consequences of that effort. The consequences aren't always beneficial.

For example, Alfred Nobel (inventor of dynamite) was convinced that his invention would finally put an end to war. Why? Because it was "obvious" (to him) that high explosives would make war so utterly destructive that no rational person would risk going to war with such weapons.

The flaw in his thinking isn't hard to spot.

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MisterE
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PostSubject: Re: Broad problems   Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:08 pm

You made my point in your post to Alfredo, except you put it far more eloquently.

Vito wrote:

Humans have a tendency to anthropomorphize everything. Perhaps that's part of the same egotism that keeps us from looking honestly at ourselves first as the sowers of our own karmic seeds.

Anyhow, what you say is true. If the price of freedom is personal responsibility (and it is), then the human species has a long, long way to go. You can "elect" someone else to take that responsibility for you, but that won't make it happen. You'll only end up enslaving yourself to someone who can't possibly know what's best for you in the first place.

I guess that's another part of the problem. Maybe folks just don't want to take responsibility for themselves. It's easier to say "It's the government's job." OK, fine. They you'll reap what you sow there too. And it won't be freedom.


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Vito

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PostSubject: Re: Broad problems   Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:27 pm

MisterE wrote:
You made my point in your post to Alfredo, except you put it far more eloquently.
Yeah...sorry about that eloquence thang. It's a birth defect, and it gets me into a lot of trouble. I've looked into surgical correction, but lobotomy seems to be the only cure.

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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: Broad problems   Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:11 pm

Ahoy, Rubber Room, pull up anchors, away we sail... Razz

...I like preaching the good word, that of disbelieving the lies and questioning everything. It starts to make sense when I often am only repeating things to myself after a while, or others of common ilk and manner of observational thinking begin singing the same tune. Guys talking about how great it was to wake up early and witness the dawn, sometimes keep talking about it in the afternoon, perhaps the next day. I shrug, and move on to look for a taqueria.

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beetlejazz

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PostSubject: Re: Broad problems   Fri Nov 02, 2012 2:21 am

Ahem.

I do view karma (at least when borrowed into Western cultures) as the ultimate thought-trick to avoid the pains of feeling empathy.

And I do view "freedom" also as "freedom from worrying about thing X while I concentrate on other things".

Also, coming from a socialistic country, I don't see how letting a firm, whose main aim is to maximize value for its shareholders, make me hop through increasingly crazy hoops to keep myself insured would make me more "free". Just an example.




Kyle, where is that skull-and-crossbones-flag??
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: Broad problems   Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:12 pm

I had a neat skull and x-bones sticker on my truck for a while, but the weather peeled it off... or more, the sun. Laughing

Where insurance/healthcare is flawed: when government or corporate interest runs the game. Because the two are synonymous, one might, just might, start looking at what else has been sewn together with those naughty two that causes so much trouble. Nature, even (and especially) human nature, is a balance of things. Going outside those balances means trouble.

And here we are.

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sand18f

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PostSubject: Re: Broad problems   Fri Nov 02, 2012 1:36 pm

Folks are gonna be about like they have always been.
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the rev

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PostSubject: Re: Broad problems   Fri Nov 02, 2012 2:20 pm

having worked among those that are considered lowest on the status totem pole for twenty five years I feel I must suggest that personal responsibility is a great thing to have, however, when there is a concerted effort to systematically hold you down, and oppress you, there is only so much you can do. A lot is made of those that "make it out" and how anyone can do that if they work hard enough. Well I know people that work harder than anyone I know, and they are destitute and will continue to be destitute. When mom and dad are both working multiple jobs to try and pay the bills, when one medical emergency destroys the household, then what happens to the kids? Unsupervised kids, who do not get their parents company much less guidance are at a sever disadvantage. Ect Ect.

The system is tilted in favor of the wealthy. It will continue to be titled in that direction because they are much more influential in the corridors of power. More influence, more ability to affect your own way. I am firmly, and devotedly a Christian anarchist in the tradition of the Catholic Worker, and the Simple Way. I believe that the government will not answer our problems, but truly empowering people is the answer. So while I agree with almost everything I am hearing here, I think there is an illusion about power being available to all.

rev
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: Broad problems   Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:26 pm

Ah, but power is available to all, dear Reverend. Power is a rather personal matter when it comes right down to it. We gather it, produce it, find it, steal it, accumulate it or borrow it. What we do with it is very important. The funny thing about power is almost scientific: all reaction having an opposite and equal, that is. Having scraped the bottom of the barrel, whether we choose to build more barrels in which to scrape the familiar to continue the process or find more positive and productive uses of our energy and time are still power, one is simply more efficient. Some people get it, some never do.

C'est la vie.

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Hermit

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PostSubject: Re: Broad problems   Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:18 am

the rev wrote:
having worked among those that are considered lowest on the status totem pole...

"Low man on the totem pole" is actually a place of honor. Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Broad problems   Sat Nov 03, 2012 4:57 am

There's a difference between what's right and what's legal.

That's where the Rev is coming from, if I mistake not.

At one time, the church was on the side of right.

With some minor exceptions, that's pretty much changed.

Where was "the church" when World Wars I & II started ?

Where is it now ?

Judge (evaluate / recognise) the tree by its fruit.

cat What a Face study
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the rev

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PostSubject: Re: Broad problems   Sat Nov 03, 2012 6:16 am

When seeing the black youths in my neighborhood constantly harassed by the police, usually for the crime of walking while brown, I would say that your ideas about power are true, but only in the Viktor Frankl sense. When my homeless friends, many who are so because they lost their jobs do to the recession can't get a job because they have a p.o. box for an address, struggle to have the same appearance as someone who has a shower and washing, or constantly get tickets that the cops know they cannot pay... well this again requires Frankl power, but the ability for these people to effect their situation has been often taken away. In my opion the answer to these problems is not as simple as, give them money clothes, support ect. But rather like Desmond Tutu said, "we must walk alongside, and become truly one with the oppressed, to the point that their liberation is our own". Or, seek to come alongside of and see the empowering of others, rather than encourage the disempowering.

As a straight, white, middle classed, Christian man, I too often get to accept power that I neither earned, nor deserved, and often at the expense of others.

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PostSubject: Re: Broad problems   Sat Nov 03, 2012 8:49 am

Its when people give up that they loose completely. Sayings just the lucky get a chance and riding the system , your place in the world is never going improve. Luck is definitely part of it but unless you work to get yourself in a situation where a little luck will make a difference , nothing is going to change.

I'm not saying the system doesn't suck, but there is opportunities to be made they just have to be fought for.
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J Soshae

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PostSubject: Re: Broad problems   Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:30 am

Show me a time in history when life was not a struggle?

We only need the freedom to choose our own paths. I often feel most comfortable in a more humble path, but I am not ignorant of the struggles of those more "wealthy" than myself. I choose to redefine what is truly valuable.

People who are born in poverty can become wealthy, people born with great wealth can die poor. Time is the great equalizer! What am I doing with "today"?

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PostSubject: Re: Broad problems   Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:17 am

J Soshae wrote:
People who are born in poverty can become wealthy, people born with great wealth can die poor. Time is the great equalizer! What am I doing with "today"?

All you can do is love the moment you're in.
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: Broad problems   Sat Nov 03, 2012 11:39 am

I learned about what masquerades as power when I learned to survive at the elemental level. Suddenly, I had no more problems with cops, food, or money. This country is a joy to be homeless in. It's not Sudan. It's not Mexico. It's not Cambodia. The difference is, people accept a certain status when in These United States, and take much for granted. Especially those down on their luck. It's like being in an orchard in constant autumn, with no one to run you off.

I learned creativity and decisions are what separate those on the skids and those enjoying the lifestyle. I saw them both. I feared the latter. I have seen no worse humanity can offer than a predatory grifter, who preys on the mentally incapable, the drunken and drugged, and the families on the streets. They literally walk up and take. Humanity does not change at this level, it gets more focused.

I learned that power is walking away from the expectations and building a personal path. It is not about cleaning up, getting a job and filling the gap that is lied to us each and every day as the TVs, opinions and polls roll, it is merely carving out the space in your own head to exist, and transferring that to each footstep, breath and motion you make. People = problems. Self-sufficiency at any and all levels solves this, as much as possible. Asking for help isn't an issue, nor is dependence on others, relying on it is. Hope for the best, expect the worst, and work your ass off within your ability.

This is not a list for people to follow, these are facts I've gathered. They are things I cannot help, and few will agree with or adhere to. I'm likely a hypocrite and not a philosopher in that light. I'm no saint, and I'm not special. I just opened my eyes out of necessity, and can't unsee what I've seen. Returning to the "real world" after my few years of ascetic teenage life, the only thing that's changed is cleanliness and how much sh*t either I or my neighbors around me can buy. Lord of the shopping bags or corporate CEO... different figs...same tree. Same baboons, different reach.

The difference is recognition. I cannot fight any nature, human or otherwise. Just do the best I can. Most people can't, don't or won't do that much--let alone achieve a "status." That's what I pity: the shallow worlds people buy, sell and fight over.
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PostSubject: Re: Broad problems   Sat Nov 03, 2012 12:54 pm

Y'know, Kyle... I sometimes wonder what your WPM is. Razz
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: Broad problems   Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:49 am

Clickin' in on about 130 on a good day, most days, about 110. Smile

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sand18f

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PostSubject: Re: Broad problems   Sun Nov 04, 2012 4:09 pm

Ya'll should put this into a form...it could be printed on the back of everyone's birth certificate...oh, and down at the bottom, should be LOVE YE ONE ANOTHER.

Wow! cheers cheers cheers

JMHO
Bill
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