Wednesday, April 24, 2013

a liberal branding problem

The search for the truth can be time consuming.  Tedious, even.  If you don't at least put in the effort though, it can be difficult to discern it from a lot of the very compelling nonsense out there.  The interweb is rich with facts that turn out to be less than entirely factual, under scrutiny.  Scrutiny which most people can't be bothered with.

Doesn't seem to stop them from thinking they know what's really going on, though.  Maybe even trying to do something about it.  How much havoc have we wreaked upon each other, in the name of shit that isn't even remotely true.  Not on differences of opinions or even power struggles, but causes built upon utterly nonsensical imaginary foundations.

Humanity seems always to be caught up in a struggle, an ideological survival of the fittest, where it doesn't matter who's right, so much as it matters who can more successfully convince others.  Which worldview propagates more effectively, eventually changing the direction of society, and even humanity itself.

Truth has a liberal bias, as they say, which does give progress the upper hand, but that isn't to say it's always enough.  There's so much bullshit out there.  In these days of viral marketing, crowdfunding, and everyone sharing their opinions about everything, I wonder if we could do better.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Egocentric Selflessness

I want to leave a better world. The reason you should do things for other people is selfish. There’s no difference between selfish and selfless if you understand how the world works. We’re all tied together. We live in an interdependent world.
~Bill Clinton, on the Colbert Report,  4/8/2013 

It's funny how this new age sounding nonsense turns out to make a whole lot of sense, after all.  In Buddhism, the term is Pratītyasamutpāda.  Not simply that all things are interconnected, but that there is a causality to everything, and that causality is an ever-flowing process of interdependence.

Cooperation is about becoming more than the sum of your parts.  A society that grows more effective than the sum of its individuals working alone.  From science, to war, and even to commerce - contrary to the sort of communist ideology it might seem to resemble, it makes for much better capitalism, as well.  It's a concept that can be applied to all different sorts of government and social structures.

It isn't about forcing people to work together, so much as helping more people do exactly what humanity's been doing naturally, for thousands of years.  It's more about cultivating a society which is ever more conducive to that.  Getting as many people into positions where they can be a part of that, as possible.  I think it's pretty clearly in our nature to be that way.  If you look at statistics on people who don't contribute,  it's decidedly slanted towards people who are impeded from contributing.

Like myself, of course.  All that potential I supposedly had, but just too many roadblocks growing up in a culture that overwhelmingly didn't give a damn.  I'm inclined to leave that out, pretend I'm being totally objective, but of course not.  We share what we can, what our own experiences have taught us.  Bias doesn't make a person wrong.  It makes us who we are.  I think it is potentially the most valuable thing any of us really has to offer.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

imperative for cooperation

why is it one person believes in helping others, and another believes 'survival of the fittest' means leaving others to fend for themselves?

i think it might be the very same instinct that drives all living things.  the instinct to survive and prosper.  some of us just have the sense that our best bet is to work together, to help those in need for an ultimately stronger society.  which, in turn, increases our own chances of survival and prosperity.  it isn't just about bleeding-heart empathy.  on a deeper level, that's really just a mechanism.  it's also very much about what's the most practical overall.

we want to be strong enough to deal with whatever comes our way, but for some reason, others seem content with just being able to defend their own caves.  yet can't see that they'd still literally be in caves, if not for all the people working together to do better than that.

maybe evolution just doesn't work fast enough.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

how's this for a conspiracy theory..

A long time ago the states decided that there was a strong need for a strong central government. That strong central government is what has made us the strongest nation on this planet. Why these idiots are trying to tear all that down is beyond comprehension.
~some random internet comment i read somewhere 

out of context, which idiots could he possibly mean, right?  yeah, the very idiots who are literally, intentionally, doing just that.  it's what the sequester essentially is, isn't it?  are we even sure this wasn't someone's plan, all along?  it does seem beyond comprehension, until it occurred to me, maybe it is exactly what they're going for.  this isn't political incompetence anymore.  they're pawns in what appears to be an outright attack on the very foundation of the country.

so much talk about small government, washington's "spending problem" and how it needs to be downsized, yadda, yadda, but what does that mean, really?  a lot of them are just gullible tools, and i know what they think it means, but it's utter bullshit.  they've been duped.  large countries do not balkanize because it's in the best interest of the people.  they do so, because they fall apart and local leaders are power hungry.  they'd rather be at the top of a small hill, than merely helping build a much larger hill.  a barbaric antisocial urge for power that has nothing to do with what's best for anyone.

small governments do not make for great nations.  they don't become superpowers.  they languish and fall way behind the rest of the world, while their general populace wallows in inescapable poverty.  but, if you're born rich in one, you can pretty much do whatever the fuck you want, because the whole system is too broken to do anything about it.

maybe this is what some of the more influential among them might actually want. the wealthy puppeteers who've chosen sides based entirely on which one is more easily bought.  they may not have any sort of plan to obtain it, it may not even be conscious, but somewhere in their crazy heads, this is what just might be motivating them.  especially now, that they've 'lost the country' as glenn beck put it. they literally do want to tear it down.

i know how it sounds, but i'm starting to think, this might be what this country is really up against.

for now, they're just chipping away.  trying to make it smaller.. it all feels way too stable to even consider things changing all that much.  hopefully, they'll just marginalize themselves and fade out of relevance, allowing our big government to get back on track.

..but i get to thinking, what if this goes the other way?  seems like it'd be political suicide, to keep going the way they've been going, but that could take a while.  they're poised to do a whole lot of damage, in the meantime, if they just keep obstructing everything.  to my knowledge, this country has never completely failed to pass any budget at all, before.  just how badly could this go?

especially considering global warming.  climate change.  such gentle sounding terms, but it's going to get a lot uglier than most people realize.  we've also got increasingly partisan politics driving people into marginalized desperate corners, fear mongering media inciting extremism.  if i'm right, all too soon, we're going to need a strong government more than ever.  it could become an issue of opportunity, and lately, not only have those idiots been sabotaging our economy and infrastructure, but they've been stockpiling guns like they're expecting another civil war or something.

i know, i know, but i'm just saying.. some of these trends i'm seeing are a little scary.  otoh, bill o'reilly is endorsing marriage equality these days, so who knows.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

brave new world

The internet is a rapidly growing force in modern society.  This may seem like old news, but it continues to gain momentum, to permeate the human condition, and I think we're still just beginning to see its long-term effects.  Not only in this country, but in the world, even in tyrannical countries doing their best to keep it out.  As technology advances, it gets cheaper, easier, more available to everyone.  It grows more difficult to stop it, or ignore it.

While some may be worried about the effects this has on our privacy, I see a flipside to this unprecedented level of transparency it's creating.  We're seeing more and more corruption, for example, not because there is more of it going on, but rather, because its growing increasingly difficult to keep hidden.  Much of the internet may seem to be little more than a cesspool of rampant idiocy, not because it breeds it, but because we're hearing the voices of the most stupid among us like never before.

It is the lack of information exchange that stalls progress.  The places that are the most isolated are naturally the most ignorant.  As this conduit of super-communication reaches into even the most backwater corners, we become all too aware of just how ignorant they are - but so do they.   Maybe not at first, but these things take time.  Probably generations.

As the technology moves towards ever increasing accessibility, I wonder if there will soon be a time when we won't even need to go through an ISP.  The information is out there, all over the planet.  How long before it's so well integrated, that it's just there, for anyone anywhere to wirelessly plug into it?

This is the nature of humanity.   We've been getting better and better at communicating effectively, and this is just the latest leap in that direction.  This is the very heart of all human progress, and how we cooperate.  It is how truth is tested, how what works flourishes, and how failure is laid bare, and how we're able to learn from all of it.  The more efficient the process is, the more profound its effects become.  The internet is an extraordinary leap in that efficiency that I suspect may really be just getting started.