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August 25, 2006 - Reply to 'We have to be involved; Other nations envy the US and demand our help.' - The inverted pyramid.
..and I disagree with your disagreement. All the old empires, russia, china, britain, the ottomans, could have helped third world nations across the globe, but no one expected that. It wasn't an issue for these third world countries until those empires became colonial, and started helping the neighbors of these third world countries disproportionately. Iran or Iraq, Egypt or Israel, want help when when we give their opponent weaponry, and force them to need assistance, which they often get from an opposing empire.
These third world countries have wisened up in the last couple decades to the fact that we don't really offer help, we offer blackmail, very much like credit card companies. We give them assistance (often forcing them into it by building up their neighbors) of various sorts resembling a loan with no immediate payment plan, but then we use that as leverage to insist that they allow us a military base there, trade only with our trade partners, grow the crops our trade partners require, and change their inner political system to one which is better for our corporations than for the socialist public needs of their own citizens. The third world leaders who do not accept our offers of 'assistance' die shortly thereafter in mysterious plane crashes.
Read the book 'Confessions of an Economic Hit Man' for details on how we orchestrate this modern brand of colonialism.
Countries can be like people though. Most people would expect nothing from their rich uncle who keeps to himself, but some would anyhow. They especially might if that uncle had helped their sister, and yet they were in more dire need.
We aren't as great as our media upbringing leads us to believe. Rarely do TV shows familiarize us with countries that have their shit together much better than we do, but these countries do exist. We make it look like Nigeria is full of clans of raping bandit cow herders, and never point out that they also have their skyscrapers full of rich black thriving international businnessmen. We don't point out that many European countries have found much more sustainable models for environmental and economic development, with greater public social benefits and security than we have here. We don't bring up metropolis's like Dubai where the streets are practically paved in gold.
Americans have huge egos and like to think of themselves as global models of attainment, so theres not much demand to produce shows or news stories which may indicate otherwise. Americans know less about the rest of the world than any developed nation out there. It's cheaper and simpler on our corporate/political/media infrastructure to have us imagine that we are the top dog in every respect than to let us know this isn't exactly the case, and have our public demand change.
Much of the food on our grocery shelves (genetically modified) is illegal for sale in Europe. When some of it accidentaly gets shipped, the rest of the world goes on alert in the same fashion as we do over avian flu.
Our standing in the world perspective in recent years has shifted from that of being a blooming innovative empire, to simply being a formidable insidious dinosaur, much as we felt about the USSR in the early 80's. Not only that, but it is also predicted that we will collapse, as the USSR did. That perspective is only recently making it into our own media as we inevitably shake our blinders of familiar cultural assimilation, and begin to realize that something isn't working. What is wrong is that our domestic economic model was built on covert global colonialization, and now the rest of the world is tiring of playing by our rules.
Our debt is a fraction of the debt that the USSR folded under. We live on imaginary money now (for half a century) just as they did, and the only thing which kept either of us alive was our faith that our imaginary money was real. If you look at just the physical state of the globe, you'll find that we are kept going by the exploitation of third word geographic and human resources, that in fact, we are indebted to them rather than the other way around. On paper, using our imaginary currency, we are in control, but if the rest of the globe decides to stop honoring our play money, we are sunk.
One component of the Iraq war was that the Euro was thinking to tie into oil deposits. That would create a 'real' currency, much like the gold standard we had more than half a century ago. The rest of the globe would then likely adopt a real currency over the one that we print at our whim, and consequently take to dishonoring our paper control of global resources.
Oceania is in the news lately as planning to create a trade agreement equal in size to that of Europe and N. America's trade agreements. This is one step closer to our global currency failing.
If our currency does fail, we will look something like the USSR does now, ruled by a hybrid of mafia and unregulated big-business.
While we apppear to be a dominant world leader, there is a growing unwatched under-current making our position as imposing, yet as precarious an un upside-down pyramid. Europe went through this same colonial empire boom and bust over the past couple centuries, and is wisely reengineering their geographic, social, and economic infrastructure for independent sustainability. While we have a chance to do that still, most indications are that we remain on the same 'or bust' path as the USSR.
We use six times more oil per person than Europe. The planet is running low on oil, yet emerging developing nations and empires are about to pentuple global demands on oil. There is hardly a part of american life which does not rely on oil in several steps along the process. Food is a huge one. There are no viable alternatives to replacing our dependance on oil yet still maintaining our standard of living. To shift to bio-fuels we would have to pentuple our agricultural production, yet already we have become dependant on global produce.
For americans, the world will inevitably be a much different place within 20 years. This whole talk of jealous nations will appear absurd then. If it weren't that the rest of the world is becoming more solidified, america would likely evolve to becoming a defense industry mafia nurturing anarchy amongst other nations, but I think the rest of the world will out-evolve us before then, forcing us to reinvent sustainable protectionism too. It would be much more pleasant, of course, if we didn't have to collapse first, and fall prey foremost to unregulated domestic corporate mafias
August 13, 2006 - New jump on 'founding fathers vision' dialogue in replies below this reply.
I agree with upper part of decline there. The fall of the Roman empire (read the book How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill about the monks on the rocky shores preserving all the records of civilization during the dark ages.) was interesting. The pattern over centuries was the same the US has done in two centuries, becoming a world force of Imperial conquest, relying on leveraged utilization of third world resources to live a decadent life of interior core deterioration. Eventually the conquest territories merge with the citizenry and there is no one left to exploit disproportionately. By this time the government and infrastructure have become so bloated that the populace becomes has to become tax collectors to support the senate. (in our case, consumers paying credit companies and middle-managers for the last details of exploitation). When the taxes aren't met, the senators become independent land barons and turn their tax-collector citizens into indentured servants. In our case, we get stuck in the modern equivalent of the company store, forced to work to catch up with the bills for all our power, telecommunication, and consumer-credit-coops. In contrast, the vision of the early 20th c. was that most of this would be free for people, and that we would live lives of publics arts and leisure (kinda like the greeks). Instead we ended up indentured to corporate barons, whose incomes are easily 100:1 over the general public.
I was thinking earlier about the social system that existed prior to taxation, that of church tithing. Of course most everyone in the communities belonged to the church, and richmen and beggars alike gave 10%, but all, while not exactly voting, contributed to an understanding of which hardship and grandeur merited investment of the church funds. Essestially it was church administrated communist-socialism.
As to government dependency, that has always been the case everywhere in some
form; only a brief phase of anarchy could run contrary to that. The system of
barons and serfs wasn't necessarily a bad one. The celtic chiefs would operate
as a socialistic whole. Every year the steward would rotate which land the people
would tend, and they would still have their ceilidhs, dancing till dawn with
the chief as the guest of honor.
People always accomplish things as groups, and even in shaman counsels or greenland democracys, have some sort of leader, official or sublimely implied, and these leaders affect everyone else unless the people gather behind them and oust them. Such is the nature of humanity. It's not about government per se. Now the US started off as anomaly in the last few millenia of history. It provided an opportunity to homestead the new frontier on ones own. Except for the trappers and cowboys, people still preferred settlements though. While harboring different political forms, these settlements are the closest the world has probably seen to anarchist nests in quite some time. That lasted about a century, and ended entirely when there was no place to get away and form a settlement with it's own rules.
That's one place where you and I probably agree. I am a firm believer in the 10th amendment, which makes guaranteed some bottom-up state confederacy anarchy over top-down federated jurisdiction. I was fond of a hippie settlement out on a mystical hill in the desert of Arizona where people kept to themselves to make arts and restore copper mine architecture. These people were fond of smoking herbs, and one middle of the night in the late 80's the federal DEA stormed in and turned over the beds of every woman and child in the whole town.
While you might not appreciate drugs of any sort, the point I'm making is that for us to be free to live as we wish, whethar it be as amish, hippies, technophiles, or racists, that are only hope to do so is through community autonomy and leaving each others communities in peace. So while I find your preference for segregation distasteful, I also support your right to do so, so that others may live as they choose. That sounds great in theory, but doesn't work in practice because people end up sitting on disproportional resources. Also, people who do leveraged trade with foreigners (the US is an example of this in the world context) build up disproportional economic resources, and it's not fair for them to shut out those they exploited to gain their prominence.
I don't think Bush is the hero you are hoping for regarding your position on immigration, and he definitely isn't mine eitther (my coming from different sentiments). He has a golden tongue, applying to those with your sentiment, but his objective is continued economic leveraging on behalf of business relying on lower cost labor. Essentially his policies don't prevent immigration, but rather just designate them as a separate slave labor class, welcome to work here, but not to share the benefits of citizens who work here. It's unquestionably unchristian.
Bush speaks in a golden tongue in general. While I don't go for much of what he promises, even what he promises (for those it appeals to) is not what he offers. He speaks of things like liberty in enterprise, but unlike the old days, he's not referring to middle class opportunity, he's talking about giving the public to the corporate barons, letting Target take homes through eminent domain. In the 1930's there were maximum interest rates by state, usually around 6%. Such regulation is entirely against his doctrine. He who controls the oil, the power, the meds, the media, the prescriptions, controls the life-blood of the world. The left trys to democratize the corporate barons, the right nurtures their reign. I don't think the general public right really wants to do that, but that they have been subverted to imagine that what applies to the corporate barons applies to their hopes for prosperity as well. That's pretty much not the case because we have lived though centuries of big-business writing law precedent with more expensive lawyers against their small business contendors and cheaper lawyers.
btw, you get to honor me with my name (almost, Kristal Rose Phoenix McKinstry), and I'm stuck addressing you as L.
To touch back on spirituality, I'm wondering if your religious upbringing factions touch on the 'Born Again' paradigm. I'm guessing not, otherwise I'd enjoy the opportunity to discuss what it means in mysical terms.
One thing I enjoy about thes exchanges is that when talking about God, I get an opportunity to channel god, and to channel the raw archetypal forces of the person I am talking to. Usually this is an exchange of understanding towards some advancement, but in your case, I'm encountering concepts like 'white fear' too far out of my range to know what to do with. We live in our own contexts, and generally consider our own understanding to be the best, or at least a contendor for best, even if we respect others understandings. If you had been brought up on the california coast, you would find different concepts comfortable and objectionable, and it wouldn't really be any better or worse.
So many christians fail to acknowledge that Christ was a radical socialist, but worse, they fail to realize that his lessons were deeper than that and could have been taught as a reactionary conservative as well, although socialism makes a better metaphor of what he was trying to teach of the spiritual realm.
Really, the immigrants resemble our founding values more closely than what us citizens have become, as they too come here seeking economic frontier resource liberties. I'm reminded of people who move to new communities, where tracts are formed from prisitine forests, then object to others moving in to turn their small town into a big town with little forest at all, not seeming to see that they were guilhy themselves of the exact same ideology, and were wanting to cut things off just after they got their own chunk of paradise.
People are us, not us and they. The world is an evolving society. It has become too small a place to imagine that changes outside our national borders won't be reflected within them. If we wish now to steer what happens within our borders, we have to establish likewise what we want things to be outside of them. If it's acceptable to pay seamstresses 7¢ an hour in Korea, then even if we close our national borders, and had some all coucasian citizenry, we should expect that we too would eventually being sewing shoes and shirts at 7¢ an hour. The global corporations increasingly have no national affinities, so this suits them just fine, just so long as there also those everywhere who can pay $60 for those shoes. Bush is part of this plan. It's cheaper to bring 7¢/hr employees into the country and force them to stay at those wages than it is to rely on those less legally captive in other developing third world nations.
I'm sure your sentiments are for the small-town america paradigm, but the policies that are nurtured towards that end are not about small town america at all, but about unfettered corporate america. The progressive liberals have come to terms already with the demise of small-town america public/family values (which might make them appear to be the enemy of your values) and have moved on to concerning themselves with how to instill public/family values within that inevitable increasing corporate america framework.
Because you seek security, you seek to restore systems that have become obsolete. You would be better off I think to distill your values, take an objective look at the changes that have come to stay, and work instead with steering the new systems with your values, otherwise you waste your energy on an irrelevant battle. If, for instance, it became apparent that the borders were inevitably dissolving (which I don't actually see to be the case for another 20 years), then your efforts would be better spent on ingenuity in how to best preserve your values within that new system rather than fighting the inevitable.
To your credit though, there is one virtue I see in your religious culture. At the moment, I define your religious culture as one that takes O.T. scriptures to memory. The virtue in that is that even as the internet evolves to edit text wholesale across the globe at the push of a button, your kind preserves a durable historical reference. The old testament universe may be gone and obsolete, but you keep alive it's memory as a reference for comparison in the dialectic of emerging new societies. Likewise, I think your US founding fathers sentiments achieve some of the same. Clearly some things have become irrelevant. For instance private gun ownership was a defense against tyranny, but now tyranny takes the unforseen form of black-mailing by the league of economic utility services (escape any one debt and lose your complete credit, and thus all your utilities, internet right to free speech, etc.).
I would like to know how the MinuteMen and Birch society are positioned on the Homeland Security and Patriot acts. I'd like to imagine that their one chief virtue in my book is the preservation of the four constitional ammendments which Bush has stomped on, but I fear that they have likely fallen for Bush's rhetoric, and not the tangible facts of his administration, and their implications.
When I speak of applying founding values to an objective look at the new paradigm,
an example would be free speech and libraries (equal public access to knowledge
and learning). In light of this, rather than going with the Bush paradigm of
auctioning the internet bandwidth in proportion to what corporate mouths could
pay, I propose that the internet be run by a national coalition of librarians,
with free (tax-payer) standardised internet connection for everyone, and a staff
of library programmers who ensure that search engines are available which find
the knowledge people seek, and aren't preferential to what organizations have
paid for the public to find. They could for instance provide equal access to
candidates platforms, rather than our being subject to economic media war campaigns.
I think the current administration has lost any creative insight or even philosophical interest in furthering any 'we the people, by the people, for the people' paradigm. It's all 'We the elite, by the elite, for the elite' now. Our founding system of checks and balances did not foresee corporate america, the defense industry, or lobbyists. Even when these pivotal junctures were recognized along the way, it was usually money and not democracy which won the decision. That is the fault of the our aristocratic founding fathers who instilled economic enterprise as an american value, not seeing that while their generation of learn-ed economic aristocracy was one with high-minded philanthropic philosophy, that subsequent generations of ruling economic aristocracy would not perpetuate those values. In their time, wealth within their small-town system was generally an indication of being a respected citizen with good communication skills. It wasn't the abstract anonymous crafty system of holding consumers hostage that we find today, where the public is for the most part powerless through it's intangible collective intuitive democracy to chastise ruthless entrepreneurs within the community. At times we still get national boycotts resembling that old-world system, but it becomes increasingly unlikely as the media aristocracy is in cahoots with the rest of corporate america, and we will never learn of whom to boycott.
As I imagine some of your old-world values to be, I respect them, but find them impractical in light of the new world order. We the people need to run the new world order, and not let it be run by the economic aristocracy. Where we differ, even within that precept, is that I feel that 'we the people' is whomever wishes to be here, and that we must pull ourselves up as a collective whole, whatever we concieve being to the benefit of everyone alike.
Consider the possibility that your liberal brothers and sisters share much of the same founding values as you, but are not lulled by Bush's sentimental panderings to those values while enacting something entirely different.
August 8, 2006 - Response on christian values and anti-immigrant patriotism.
The judeo/christian foundation may be tumbling here, but that's not because of pluralism, it's mostly because of post-industrialism. The pluralism would exist with locked borders, as long as there was free media, especially global internet chat. All the pluralism creates is homogenity, everything becoming wishy-washy. That is quite the opposite of a clash of cultures. Really, now that I think of, the immigrants are closer to traditional judeo/christian values than we are ourselves.
By post-industrial (and definitely post-agragarian), I mean that there is no need for the extended family (grand-parents and the cousins living at home), people are mobile consumers, fewer can afford homes. None of that, including the ability to buy homes, is directly the result of immigration. If by judeo/christian, the Amish are your model of society, modern culture has made it obsolete.
Big business (motivated by greed) is all for this homogenity. They want consistent consumer sheep with no variety of independent cultural ambitions. They want to sell cars, cell phones, and video games to everyone.
If you mean belief systems, we should be grateful that there is variety to choose from. It means that those whom choose a faith, really choose to believe it, and aren't there simply because their parents and neighbors are. For that matter, I believe religion has become a tower of babel over the millenia, and that every faith is holding an aspect of the ultimate spiritual truth which belongs to the whole, thus a convergence of faiths is helpful in maintaining interpretation of the scriptures. Without mystical church-goers, mystical biblical scriptures would be abandoned and their meanings lost. Bring some sufis or kabbalists into a christian church, and those ignored scriptures will come back to life. Bring some communists to the american christian churches, and Christs teaching of socialist values will regain prominence.
If the kernel of spiritual wisdom found in judeo/christian scriptures is true, it will hold true regardless of how the cultural-socio-political structure of the globe evolves, even if we all became test-tube cyborg hybrids with no concept of marriage. If judeo/christian is merely a life-style though, what's to say it is superior to any other life-style. Do not confuse physical life-styles, nor even philosphies or psychologies with spiritual life. While godliness will affect all of these within the present context, it also transcends all these aspects. A devoted godly spiritual life would not be hindered born into a life of test-tube cyborg hybrids with neither concept of marriage nor access to scriptures. The holy spirit will always be available to us, even if we evolve over the millenia into some singular life-form with no flesh body at all.
You look to your mind and following laws of culture to be comforted that you are on a holy path. I suggest to you that you begin to consider what matters of mind, heart, and spirit lay behind such superficial and ever-changing constructs. Your thoughts come and go, and constantly change form, lusting one moment and being devout another, but beyond that lies the observor in your mind which is always present and intuitively feels the presence of god in every instant of life. And likewise, behind all the forms creation takes, lies the omniscient and omnipotent force which animates every molecule.
To think that mortals dictating the structure of culture preserves holiness is to deny the omni-present, omniscient, omnipotent force of which we and all creation are comprised. Take away the veil of mortal ego, and you will find god within and around you. This is the purpose of activities like prayer, meditation, and gospel singing, and for brief periods we see the light of god within and around us, but we confuse these methods for allegiance to some particular faith, when faith in god of any sort, and any method of quieting the ego will unveil god to anyone. This is one reason why spiritual awakenings are so common during personal catastrophes. The ego is forced to surrender, leaving us with the eyes of spiritual awakeness.
The ego is the god of confusion. God is everywhere, but like Adam in the garden of Genesis pretending not to hear God, or like Lucifer falling from heaven, our ego likes to believe that we are something quite separate from god, even though nothing but God exists.
~ ~ ~
You want to live in peace. Bush is setting his sights on Iran and Syria. Potentially India, the rest of Arabia, and even parts of Europe and East Asia may take sides in this. Basically WW3. It is not a religious war, nor even a war against terrorism, it is an economic war, originally between the westernized (capitalism) and traditional mid-east. The fear of the prospect of unified economic dominance of the region is what would force other nations to take sides. Curiously, many nations appear to be allying with old enemies, while old allies are becoming divided. This makes sense, as it is the old allies who once collectively prospered, but now stand to lose by allying. Before it was mutual colonialisation; now it is an all or nothing grab.
- This is an instance where the kernal of spiritual truth in the scriptures holds true regardless of cultural form. If everyone shared global resources with their neediest global brothers, seeing no differences, judging not, then there would be no war, but instead, the US wishes to perpetuate using six times as much oil as Europeans, who use god knows how much more than africa or asia, who in turn are recently wanting to use as much as us, just as supplies are running out.
That the US even relies on third world resources is basically our indication that we are collectively a people who live above our means at the expense of others, not exactly a very christian thing to do. The thing is that most of us aren't really at fault because it never even occurs to most of us that this is the case. If this were a small village, we'd see that we aren't paying the baker fairly. In this society we are isolated from even seeing the costs our life-style. Business relies upon our ignorance or lack of compassion, so they won't be informing us. Those who would inform us can't afford the media.
I'm reminded of the peace activist sign 'Who would Jesus bomb?' Alas, some Christians would actually attempt to justify an answer to that question.
Peace begins around one's own presence, so peace to you and those you meet.
August 8, 2006 - Continued response.
Well, I just read your addendum. I'm sorry to hear you're a MinuteMan. While I have nothing personally against you, I do disfavor your current ideology. Jesus said that what we do in our hearts might just as well be what we do in our body. Karma, or in christian terms, either 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you', or 'As you reap, so shall you sow' apply to what is in your heart, and tend to be paid back in great multiplicitly. Your vigil (and your addendum text here), while technically peaceful, are at the heart confrontational. I realize that within your ideology is protecting your kindred, but that can't be at the expense of others who are doing likewise. Look for answers that are beneficial to 'everyone', and you can't go wrong. If you must be partisan and patriotic to your geology, culture, race, or faith, then think only towards the constructive good you can create, and not the destructive harm you can do. This is one of those places where that kernel of spiritual truth holds. We can not help but take some toll on the earth, particularly when it is our ego that finds the answers, but when service to christ and not our ego or patriotism is our yoke, answers beneficial to all humanity naturally arise in supernatural manner.
Get sensitively in touch with the spirit that surrounds you. If you are adamantly standing on a street corner (in some stand-for-your-rights conception of the jesus warrior pose) about to be beat up by thugs, chances are that with some refined attention, you'd realize that you had strayed from the flowing generosity of christ, before it even came to a confrontation.
I have a deep spiritual connection, and know through visions that, while mostly in dialogue with God, that Jesus also had a mortal ego, and learned as he went along. Particularly he learned that transcending the physical in a warriors stance to reach the spiritual was not nearly as important as bringing a heavenly spirit of brotherhood into the physical plane. His resurrection was the ultimate juncture of learning this lesson. Because of this though, and his followers having known him at varying stages of his own spiritual development, and it taking some 50 years for his teachings to be documented, both his earlier and latter teachings have been propagated. While there is something of learning of god in all his teachings, some teachings are considerably more advanced than others, both culturally and mystically.
Because of this (and many other reasons), many scriptures are at odds with each other in some senses, and the majority of churches, rather than reconciling these scriptures and taking to heart those which preempt lower teachings, opt instead to take on whatever scriptures best fit their own constituency.
As an exercise towards reducing the veil of ego, and to better know your scriptures, I suggest that whenever you have a firm interpretive belief in scriptures, that you momentarily adopt a contrary view (change your whole perspective, philosophy, and sentiments, like the deepest of actors), and find scriptural evidence to back that up as well. When you find something that is true to a faction of any mind-set, then you have probably found some real truth. The same exercise works as well without using scriptures, using people as your book. When you can wear the eyes of any other person, grokking deep down their fascination with math, hunting dogs, sparkling earrings, or bubble-gum, with zen, agnosticism, fundamentalism, or mysticism, that which remains consistent between all of this is the true spirit of god in man.
August 8, 2006 - more continued response.
I just wrote a huge response to you, then my browser crashed because of another site I was visiting.
The gist of it was that the future will look much like a century ago. Mansions surrounded by coal miners indebted to the company store for their coffee. The only difference would be that the CEOs might put their mansion anywhere on the planet, and their employees will be all around the globe. National borders won't mean a thing. What matters is if you are born into a college degree, entrepreneurial grooming, and investment money. Techtnology makes globalization inevitable. The classism won't change unless those born into relative privelege surrender it. Global business won't care about race, religion, or culture.
Life born into a third world country is like starting a Monopoly game with $300, when half the people start with $3000. You'd want to move to Canada if this became a third world country and they were thriving. I brought up a liquor store owner who complained about the asian immigrant family working long hard hours at reduced markups to equalize the wealth. While you can live like this too, don't fool yourself that its global christian justice when it's self-interest.
While I think cultural preservation of ones jigs, oktoberfests, and volcano dancing is great, we should appreciate each others cultures as musicians appreciate painters.
I wrote a ton, and don't recall what all now. ..so on to the new reply..
Working women wasn't planned. What we planned was socialism, starting with the WPA hiring artists, moving on to a huge defense industry, and from there, a pyramid scheme of escalating production and consumerism. It just ran away with the war, and the call for Rosie the Riveter, and briefly worked for a new economy of international exports until we glutted the market. After that, industrialization had reduced the need for employment, labor was worth nothing, and both partners had to work just to pay the rent. If partners took turns staying at home, buying just as much, labor would be worth twice as much. Alas, no one wants to volunteer to live on half their income to begin the trend.
Some presidents half a century ago fought to prevent the country being run by business and the defense industry, but now they control politicians and the public. Of course that was in motion even when the railroads gave voting representatives free stock shares.
Ah, I recall another subject now. Patriotism. The US is a brief blip in history. The zeal came from liberation from foreign nations, and new frontiers, circumstances which don't exist anymore. Liberals and conservatives alike destroyed our original political values, and the forethought to prevent business from going unchecked against the three houses of government, while imagined, was never written into the system. As Jefferson said, when a system doesn't respond to changes, it's time to replace it.
Back to the subject of ego. The ego thrives on identity. This means not only being something, but not being something. People always find a way to create an outside group, even over the subtlest differences. It seems you want to identify as someone with the power to help the unfortunate, and not to be the less fortunate, nor probably even to be on the par with everyone else as christ would suggest.
I have had friends of every one of those nationalities you name. I can't say that it confused me any, but rather expanded my perspective on life. If you're not talking with them and are fearful, that's your own doing.
I don't think I have much hope of getting through to you on how the Birch society is adverse to the essence of christianity, or conversely, how modern society and lives of much work (which we've always had) and entertainment are not obstacles to a continual connection with God, so I'd better sign off now.
August 8, 2006 - more continued response.
Honestly I don't get your issue with pluralism. Living next to hispanics doesn't separate me from my irish and german roots. I may have to visit family to visit those roots, but otherwise I see it as akin to my wearing mini skirts while not having a problem that my neighbors wear jeans instead. If they all wore mini skirts, I'd probably find something else to wear.
I do have a problem with my next door hispanic neighbors taking their trash out and leaving it at their front door, which I nearly have to step over to leave my own apartment. While not all hispanics do this, I recognize that it comes from a heritage of living in mexican haciendas with no garbage service. For a couple years we had many blacks in the neighborhood, and i found their tendency to yell across the alley instead of walking to a door annoying. That I suspect is rooted in a heritage of working the cotton fields. On the other hand, I admire some traits of theirs too; both of their cultures have stronger family values and are more neighborly, and dance in public, rather than quietly living alone and commuting to any social life. The occasional pinata party with accordians spices things up around here.
I dated a gorgeous young Iraqi woman for a couple years, mostly prior to the war with Iraq.
I realize prejudice is found all around the planet, russians against jews, hindus against pakistanis, etc etc, but as I see it, homogenity is both inevitable and desirable. In another generation of living here, we won't see hispanics leaving trash on the porch, or blacks yelling across the neighborhood, and if we're lucky, we'll see euro-descendants having barbeques with the neighbors, dancing in public, and hosting pinata parties for the neighbor kids.
In california at least, I'm guessing the immigrants and minorities have a far more religious life than the caucasians. That's catholic and christian for the hispanics, baptist and moslem for the blacks, and christian and buddhist for the asians. Oh, we also get a lot of hindus, and jews of international origins around here.
My spiritual studies have taken me to many churches of many international faiths, hindu, buddhist, etc, where usually I can step right in and be revered as an interpreter and counselor, because I've had the opportuntiy to know so many faiths and better understand and recognize a common teaching in ethics or mysticism when I see it. I wouldn't have had that opportunity to become as wise and knowledgeable if our cultures had been partitioned.
I think you are missing out on what you have to gain, and fear losing things that either can't get lost unless you choose to lose it, or were superficial in the first place. You will be the same person with the same spiritual values if you attend pinata parties or listen to hip-hop. If you aren't, that's not the fault of the culture you become immersed in.
Some people prevent wars in the name of faith, others go to war in the name of faith, so, while god and prayer are good things, these groups you belong to being faith based tells me nothing about them.
You probably won't like to hear this, but I have met murderers (one was a navy seal, the other killed over getting screwed in a $60k cocaine deal) with some of the strongest spirit of god I've ever seen running through a person. The latter was like a saint for me and taught me much mysticism and love-of-life ethics, in spite of the fact that he also housed a huge history of ethics I find abominable. My point here is that to a fair extent, spiritual lives and civic lives are different affairs. Text book christians insist they overlap, but I find this not to be the case, but rather that the people in communion with God are as diverse in philosphy and life-style as those who aren't. My more exact point being that while your groups may be both religious and socio-political, that is not to imply that their socio-political beliefs are spiritually superior to other socio-political beliefs, even if involvement there leads to an improved spiritual connection. I bring this up because I see that you are eager to use their faith to justify their cultural beliefs, when I assure that you that there are deep faith christians next door who are aghast at your groups beliefs. Therefore, I recommend that you choose your church for it's spiritual merit, and your political groups for their political merit. You may end up in the same place, but at least you'll have gotten there for better reasons.
It's time to move on to your deeper issues here. You are motivated by fear and insecurity. That's a sad place to be. I'm guessing you've lost much in the past or had a rough or outcast life. Trust in god not to change the world, but to change your immediate sphere of life for the better. One of the wisest pieces of spiritual advice ever handed to me which changed my life, was to always be aware if I was operating out of love or fear. It can be very subtle and hard to discern. For instance if you are making a sacrifice then you probably aren't including yourself in your love, and might be generous out of fear for anothers welfare (thus attempting to reduce your own empathetic vicarious hardship) rather than out of spreading kindness. A fantastic spiritual life can simply come down to living in a field of love. As you love without ego, so to do you become surrounded by love and lose all need for fear based motivation. To let down your guard as such requires great faith, but the reward is heaven on earth. I don't see that you are on that path, or probably even aware of it. When you are there, those strangers of different cultures will come to you like saints and return only the love in your eyes for them. You need to see them as the hands of god, and not as subjects for some political order ego-construct. Only then will you be truly protected. In the spiritual realm it is our job as God's children to be the eyes of love, not the hands of justice. God can and does take care of the latter part. It is easy to make the mistake of confusing ego-justice activity for actions which come from the heart. Our heart is often missing, and the ego often kicks in to take it's place, but with much practice, your ego can learn by example from the times you are genuinely operating from the heart. The heart is unpredictable. It can operate with a wisdom that finds solutions lost to the rational mind of the ego.
With your insecurity comes the need for an orderly life. Let me tell you, the divine life is not orderly, or rather, it is perfect order orchestrated by god, in a fashion too random and chaotic for the rational ego to follow. In this divine flow, you don't even know why you brought oranges to work, but then a co-worker mentions that they want to make an orange salad for the party tomorrow, then tells you out of the blue that they are shopping after work at a new place, and that yous should come along, and when you get there you find the thing you were unable to even find on the internet in your pre-divine state. In this state, your ego drops out of the picture, few decisions need made, yu just go with the flow and a beautiful life of splendor and service comes your way. It is your ego which comes in to destroy that, demanding that it struggle with hardship and make it's own decisions rather than letting god's orchestration take care of such things.
If you get tired of trying to find security through religious order, give a life of flowing in divine love a try, and stop needing to defend yourself.
August 8, 2006 - even more continued response.
I was beginning to think as this dialogue progressed that rather than a religious debate, you could use some help (not like serious mental problems, but rather that you had some issues you could work on, like the rest of us), but I've spotted that you're a mississippi grandmother, and that too changes things considerably.
I'll make my points anyhow, as I'm sure you have some good years left. You keep bringing up confusion. Little kids going to Disneyland for the first time aren't confused, nor have been the worlds explorers encountering entirely new geography and cultures. The bulk of the population isn't confused either, although I have no doubt that you find congregations whom do find the turning of the world confusing. I'm aware that there are faith based cultures attempting to make a rock of their culture, but christ taught anything but, rather teaching that God was the only rock (if any rock even exists) within the fluid sea of worldly events. The buddhists teach this better, suggesting 'cling to nothing, the only thing constant is constant change'. Confusion is an internal state, and not something to blame on external conditions. You are probably looking for relief from confusion in places where such relief does not lie.
I'm guessing you seek comfort in routine. While the ultimate in redundant routine, prayer practices of different sorts, can get the mind to escape concern with the physical plane and wake up spiritually, for the most part routine in our lives becomes a center of focus which grounds us and keeps us asleep. ..we know what's what. It's the ego that insists on knowing what's what, defining our little world, and shutting out the hidden mysteries.
'Jesus walking on water' is a powerful metaphor for how we can be. When we get past the worldly we see around us the mystical animation of God like water, where there is nothing firm to hold on to, the ego is gone and you are adrift. With much experience of living in that realm, but operating in a worldly realm, you become a rock in the water, akin to God, knowing that all shall pass around you like a dream, but that that that which is really you remains eternal. Christians, more than any other faith I know, take mortality way too seriously, even though their words should suggest the very opposite. Seeing mortality as a precursor test to the afterlife prevents those aspects of the spiritual afterlife from becoming manifest in their worldy life. Life is seen as one thing, and 'then' another.
From this framework, your confusion is one of two things, a confusion about the purely worldly, and perhaps your purpose with it; or difficulty in reconciling the mystical and eternal with the fleeting material. In the latter case, your confusion is between you and god, and not cause to be concerned with steering external circumstances. In the former case, it's purely a matter of your physical security given your cultural upbringing, and not something to be confused with a spiritual issue.
Still though, I might have missed some perspective, so feel free to express the nature of what you believe confusion to be. If you can identify it's source, why it exists, and it's effect upon you, you are a huge step towards finding your deeper spiritual self in the scheme of things.
A spiritual path is a life's work. God put's us through an infinite set of lessons for both the ego and the non-ego. For instance, while my lesson may be on completing things one day, the next week I may be asked to surrender my attachment to completing anything, denying my ego it's self-delusions of purpose, and becoming aware that God's creation is always a work-in-progress to be experienced, and not some meaningless project for project's sake. If I were to make completing projects my rock, I would have the carpet pulled from under me when I became disabled or died.
I noticed the wisdom you passed on to your grandson, appropriate for teenagers whom are in a station in life given to battles. These lessons exist in relative worldly contexts and are not ultimate truths. As you pass on lessons, new ones will be passed on to you. We are always growing in our understanding, and things which once seemed paramount become irrelevant, and sometimes are even reversed (which is not to lessen that that they once served an important purpose in one's development).
Well, I've given you much to ponder. That is my job as a minister, and not to spell out any understandings which may not even apply to your station in life. I do wax on heavily about mysticism, but I've come to understand that we all serve different roles, and that lives of mystical understanding are no more or less important than any other life roles and lessons we come down here to experience. I do think though that it can play heavily in the life of anyone suffering confusion and seeking to understand meaning and purpose.
I can spill the beans though on one behind-the-curtain truth, to possibly save you agony, and that is that we seek such answers with the ego, and yet the ego is incapable of encompassing any such answer. We have to placate ourselves with tokens of answers devoid of true understanding until our consciousness learns to reside in a place beyond the ego, where the question as such does not even exist and only deep understanding takes it's place.
Am I getting too deep for you, or is this helpful? I came originally to address your desire for a political-theocratical debate, and moved on to the sphere of spiritual guidance, which may be more than you were prepared to tackle for the time being. That you bring the dialogue back to it's tangible content suggests further your need to be grounded, and perhaps that is indeed what your life requires. I sort of play the role of a devil's advocate, grounding those too ethereal, and liberating those too grounded. On the other hand, you may have not responded to the last post simply because you maintain your views and we are at a détente there, calling for a mutual surrender; and I am crafty word-smith opponent, in which case I apologize for shutting out the validity of your position. Bear in mind, all mortal positions are ephemeral and shouldn't be taken too seriously. The best option I see is to delight in their diversity as a testament to God's kaleidoscopic creation. That perspective might ease your confusion as well. Recall that scattering the Tower of Babel was God's preference for this world. It is for our egos to seek the answers, not to find them, for finding them would be our undoing.
August 1, 2006 - Defining the Peace Movement.
[Response to awareness that Iran was in the war scope.] I thought I'd mentioned that. From day one NPR and other sources were positioning the whole Israel/Lebanon situation as cause to go to war with Iran. This and Syria I predicted a few years back. What I did not predict was Arab complicity including Israel. It appears that a rift is opening between westernized mid-east, and traditional mid-east, with westernized mid-east prepared to set aside religious squabbles in favor of mutually beneficial external resource gains.
Did anyone notice that Israel launched direct 'passenger' flights to and from LAX, home of American industry, after the bombing started?
I've had some thoughts lately, the latter is actually serious:
Send the Zionists to Jamaica and let the dope smoking, reggae jamming, Rastafarians run the holy land for awhile.
IWB (Incendiary Weapons Ban): In this proposal, weapons of any chemical nature would be banned in all countries, except for that carefully monitored by UN arms inspectors for UN Peace keeping purposes. The concept here is that there's nothing to enforce nuclear build up except nuclear arms, but preventing guns and bombs with a few guns would deescalate the entire global weapons scene. And while the defense industry would balk a bit, imagine the people they could employ developing spring-loaded intercontinental trebuchets. While the notion sounds preposterous, it really isn't too different from one of the best military enforcement policies the modern world has had, that of arming the English police with a cascading network of whistles and batons.
The goal of the peace movement is to disable the war mongerers. The problem is that we haven't even identified who they are. Whomever they are, they are deeply seated in the global media, politics, and industry.
In this world, I don't think we can possibly hope to end the causes of war. There will always be someone who wants something that belongs to someone else, or even if we became global communists, someone who wants more than everyone else. Or, they simply don't want certain things to exist.
We can however curtail some motivations and rewards of wars, and deescalate the industrialized scale of wars.
Borderless communist-socialization of the planet is impractical within our lifetime. However, if it weren't that there were dictatorial racist and classist regimes, I would suggest that one step towards this would be the immediate surrender of all nations warred upon. You can't fight if you have no enemy. Likely, the worst outcome is that victors would not come to the aid of their new citizens, and abandon them as we abandoned Katrina victims.
The more immediate practical step, hardly a social reconfiguration at all, is to put an end to the entire global weapons industry. As I've suggested before, they can be put to work building useful infrastructure, otherwise, we simply need to eliminate their budget. Alas, this means that we'd have to make sure that we weren't out militarized by other nations. Like global election inspectors, I don't think the world would have a problem with a network of global armies of spies looking for any cue that explosives or munitions were secretly being manufactured or distributed for non engineering or UN peace keeping purposes.
There are warlike people, and I don't think we will ever change that, but I'd rather see them in hand to hand combat than filling the skies with missles.
Going up against goliath, we would require vast public support, a clear message and a clear simple plan, and would have to be willing to negotiate. If goliath is the military and the defense industry, they might be willing to give up mass slaughter, but they would not be willing to give up power or money. That power is measured in dominance, ranks, and commitment. If power were measured in how many troops one could force to do jumping jacks while watching cartoons, or how many soldiers one could capture and force to watch bad spaghetti westerns, generals would still seek that power. Look in any business or NGO, and you'll find middle-management factioning and building their own employee troops. We can't change this paradigm.
If it is our position to say when too much damage has been done within that paradigm, so be it, let's write the standards. If we're lucky, one day we'll be able to outlaw humiliating rubber chicken bashings in the Geneva Convention.
Not only must we identify who our enemy is, we must identify what our enemy is. Is it industrial slaughter, unjust force, physical discomfort, or domination of any sort? If we are against all war, then what defines war? If our definition turns out to ultimately extend to economic conquests, then what are we to do about that half of the population which embraces such conquest? Perhaps we only wish to protect the innocent whom never chose to play in competitive battles. In that case, we should go up against deceptive recruiting, and return to the days when civilians could safely watch battles while eating picnic lunches. Clearly, eliminating guns and missles is a step towards protecting the innocent bystanders.
Ideally, we'd create a world where no one does harm to others. Defining harm could be tough though, as it extends into psychology, political justice, and deprivation. Whom are we, for instance, to deny people entrance into their preferred planes of consciousness attained by smoking or ingesting flora and fauna? Why is it that some people work harder than others yet have no private swimming pool?
Amongst my favorite notions is the building of communes, interspersed within communities, which operate as a zone free from exterior competitive pressures. Entire nations may already play this role to some extent.
Perhaps the peace movement is about defending the innocent. While there is something to be said about defending civilians in Iraq, it remains true that factions in Iraq were suppressing and aggressing internal and external factions.
While one could read all this and become lost in the abstract, or even disillusioned with the peace movement, it is my hope that we each answer these questions for ourselves, and know just what it is, idealistically and practically, that we hope to eliminate, and hope to nurture.
People's answers will vary. I suspect though that the largest common ground amongst us will be found against industrial slaughter, and inequitable means of justice. Put another way, we simply stand up for any under dog. That in itself is an amorphous yet sustainable concept, as new under dogs and unjust dominators will continue to arise, and continually keeping them in check as tables turn is a worthy vigilance.
However, not all the world shares this concern. I think though that you would find a majority concensus against the persecution and industrial slaughter of the innocent. There is no objective focus in the elimination of persecution which takes on evolving forms. There is however an objective focus in the elimination of industrial slaughter, and that is the industrial tools of slaughter.
'End industrial slaughter of the innocent' is a course which few of any political or religious persuasion can find fault in. It's target is clearly identifiable, arms manufacturers, distributers, and owners of the world (including the militarys). It is a formidable target, more so than any single impeachable politician. We need to keep in mind that while it is a widespread and powerful force with hooks in all aspects of society, that it is made of people, controlled by key people, and allowed to exist by general and key people. As people, they are part of us, and deserve our reverence, but like unruly children, drunken spouses, or violent senile elders, they need escorted to greener pastures.
The tough part in such a movement would be in swinging all these people to see better alternatives, to see that deescalating global weaponry is not contrary to being a hand for international justice, nor the demise of the careers of millions of people.
Persecution and subjugation are a separate issue. They exist sublimely as cultural norms. We will all die some day, and who is to say that the threat of being bombed is worse than being denied a lifestyle. Recall 'Give me liberty or give me death'. It seems we accept liberty on a sliding scale before adopting the latter stance, and indeed, liberty is relative and can be found within a prison as it can be found in any other constraints of surviving within the world, for instance working and socializing.
Peace as the absence of suffering and injustice may be an insufficient definition. If peace is to be defined as good will, the calm after a storm, and new found solidarity, then suffering and injustice is it's eternal foundation. Those same qualities can be found also in shared commitment and response to overcoming strife and obstacles towards constructive ends as well, however.
It is interesting to note that like minded historical liberal leaders have promoted both grand territorial unifications, and anarchist diversifications. While entirely opposite in scope and structure, they both serve to glorify the spirit of mankind. While defining utopia is an excellent exercise in understanding human nature, it also helps in the realization that no socio-political structure is the ideal source of utopia, but rather that utopia is a personal experience, independent of cultural premises, propagated interpersonally.
Towards that utopia, all that we have to do is be is be free ourselves, and
thus pass on that experience of freedom to those we meet. If we haven't found
that ourselves, how can we hope to define and create it for others? If we are
oppressed and vigilant, that then is the best we can hope to pass on to others.
July 8&9, 2006 - On the abstract nature of economics. On democratized grass-roots libertarian communist-socialism.
There is a method of visualizing socio-economics that I wish people would take up. People look at what they want done then immediately ask how will it get paid for. The Keynesians almost broke from this. I think instead that if one really wants to know what we are capable of achieving, we have to ignore the question of where the money will come from, or that it exists at all.
As an example (say from the perspctive of a Martian telescope, unaware of such a thing as money), is it possible that we feed and educate everyone, build public parks and space programs, and invest in new energy research and tidal generation aqueducts; much like the reconstruction during the WPA era? Sure it is. The resources exist, the people exist. Who will pay for it is a remote abstraction. People could be doing all of this now. The Keynesians were halfway there in that they realized the work could be done now, but halfway not there, in that they borrowed money from the future to achieve it. That money was fictitious, and had no bearing on society's physical capacity to achieve that work through better immediate management of resources. Countries like Argentina have had to wake up to the same realization that their debt servitude was counter-productive.
'Can it be done?', and 'Who will pay for it?' are questions from two entirely different realms. The latter realm has been grinding the globe to a halt for at least half a century, and yet it's a pure abstraction doing little but maintaining the relative token power of institution leaders. While this sort of power was responsible for creating competition and enterprise half a century ago, it seems to be more occupied now with shutting down competiton and enterprise, maybe not by intent, but just as a natural evolution of a glutted global market.
Alas, that whole list of 'promoting the general welfare' activities is not the motivation of any capitalist institution, aside from any degree to which a paying customer can be created to siphon a percentage of monetary flow. 'By the people', 'for the people', is not how our system works; It's 'by the people', 'for the institutions', where 'for the people' is seen as the ancillary abstraction. No wonder public infrastructure is decaying.
We need a new brand of Keynesism which goes yet a step further reformulating economic infrastructure. The only answer readily apparent to me is democratic socialism of corporations, although other solutions may well exist too. To use a Manopoly game as a model, the current economic infrastructure has stopped working. It did fine when the leaders were putting up homes everywhere and a few hotels. It fails when they now own all the property and have no sustaining motive to provide homes, their relative dominance assured without the further investment in providing services. This is how Rome fell. Americans have already forgotten the 'for the people' slogan, brainwashed into imagining instead that 'for the institutions' somehow equates. To some extent there was trickle-down effect in imperial conquest, but that too spelled the end for the Roman empire. Eventually the external leveraged conquests become internal colonies. Eternal conquest is not a model for self-sufficiency and the U.S. is running short of new frontiers.
Back to the 'Who will pay for it?' question, our other problem is that we are living in a post-industrial civilisation. We don't need to set every person to work to supply our food and shelter. To really picture the difficulty with our current outdated economic model, imagine the extreme, that some giant automated factory machine produces everything we could possibly want, while there is no cause for our employment. Yet this machine is owned by the Mega Corporation who only pushes the machine's production button when we have something to pay.
'Who will pay for it?' should be an obsolete question in developed countries. Meanwhile the masses occupy thmselves in frivolous jobs lacking a global vision to pay a machine which lacks any vision. At the very least, we should be painting and playing baseball, taking breaks to improve the machine ourselves, instead of paying someone else to run it with money we don't have.
The deficit isn't really anything tangible to worry about. It's simply an indicator that people with no employable purpose have bought production goods and paid whomever owns the machine. The money was printed out of thin air with no meaning; backed up credit bankruptcies, paid government employees & contractors, briefly had tangible meaning which dispersed to keep activity amongst the masses; and ended up in the coffers of billionaires (the machine owners) where it's street value has evaporated back into thin air.
People get confused, imagining that money represents the production of the masses, the GDP, or something. That hasn't really been the case for half a century. When we lost the gold standard it became a pure abstract token, having differing degrees of meaning depending on what tier it's operating at. At it's highest tiers, it represents the relative allegiance of mass consciousness to institutions.
Even if you were to imagine this token power as being tangible, such as in the ownership of companies, yachts, and mansions, even this is actually a philosphical abstraction. While a person may command companies and yachts, how much do they really touch at any moment. Their employees have their own sphere of consciousness, their own relative ownership. If possession is 9/10ths of the law, it's the factory employees and yacht captains who own all the wealth. That these people respectfully defer their position is where the token power comes from. People could instead defer that empowerment to a Gandhi or MLK, and the token money/ownership would become meaningless.
Power (through wealth, media, respect, ownership, etc) is ultimately a measure of the consciousness diverted to it. Consciousness is created out of thin air, less tangible, more abstract, in one respect than any token currency. It's no surprise that power sructures rise and fall like sand castles. Consider the USSR, considerably less bankrupt than the US. It collapsed because of a lack of faith. If word spread here that money has no meaning, we too would plunge into economic collapse, then undoubtedly money would be meaningless.
Back to your post, the Iraq economic boon is over. Haliburton employees are spreading their paychecks. I suppose some investors in McDonalds may spread some money around too, but how much blood can you squeeze from a turnip. Profit of oil companies is not contingent upon supply and demand, only relative profit between companies. That's our modern subscribership economy. Who you pay for your phone or tv, and what service they provide won't really affect the economy in itself. Supply and demand again needs examined as if there were no such thing as money. We could as a nation afford to put a cell phone in every hand. However we price the service such that it is not as accessable as regular phone service, to exclusively price it for now.
Money exists to represent relative power. Power is ordained by the fickleness of public consciousness. Without such relative tokens, the world's resources will continue to persist and have utility.
Well, i'm probably just babbling on now. Hopefully I've exhibited a new perspective as food for thought.
I think you're not accounting for the motivation that money provides. People could do the work to build infrastructure, but what you're suggesting is essentially a socialized system. Along with the work, resources (like food and shelter) would be needed to keep the workers happy and healthy. Where do these things come from? Then, since you're creating a system where such resources are being given out, there will be abuses (people who use them yet provide no work and people who horde these resources and use them to have power over others). Finally, since the workers are not paid, or essentially are paid all the same, the best workers will lose motivation. etc. This is all Ayn Rand crap, but I think she was right about it all. Socialism has a lot of flaws, the most insidious is the way it crushes the human spirit. The USSR was a miserable place to live, it will take them decades to recover from what the Socialists/Communists did to it.
I have answers for all that quite unlike the USSR or any other communist-socialist gov't has ever tried, but it's time for me to sleep. Roughly though, my motivation would be prestige and creative power in a culture of independent contractors graded by their peers. In this age we can afford slackers. The same people who work in security and telemarketing now would be down-graded by their peers, clients, associates, and managers to jobs as career-counseling clients. You can get a job as a harmonica polisher or chess player, as long as long as you can find people who value your effort. The more desirable jobs like librarian require greater commitment, while those taking less desirable jobs like garbage collection get to work fewer hours.
Basic food, shelter, and education would be given to everyone, just as we give those things to people on welfare or in prison now anyhow. Even with only 10% of society working, we could provide that much. What I'm going for is that with work a requirement, and income no longer a motive, people will choose the careers that are most suited to them. People who are gardeners now might take up medical science, while people who are doctors now may prefer to be gardeners.
I don't think it was communism per se which crushed spirits, but people not having much say in their life path. I propose a democratic bottom-up local concentric model, not a centrally administrated top-down hierarchy. I even plan on some abuses of the system, which is to say that if people really like the video game company you run, they'll vote your company a huge budget, and you'll have a swimming pool in the companies rec room. A good musician will have nice instruments. Technically they'd be public resources, but so is the saxophone player who enjoys his custom sax. Have you ever seen toy libraries? Our neighborhood park had one when my brother was a kid, and they could check out things everyday like stilts or Monopoly boards. That concept could be extended, such that production could be guaged by how many people were checking out guitar amps or illuminated globes. hmm.. bet i could figure out an eBay version of that too. anyhow, that's just a new distraction I thought of.
I suppose the main flaw in my system is that there would be standardised concensus on the level of consumerism. If society wanted new video games every month, 82 button hand-machined blenders, and LCD screen glass door fridges, then production would have to rise across the board, and you'd be stuck living to those standards even if you weren't much of a consumer, and if society didn't care to work for much more than food and shelter, you'd be stuck if you wanted a personal helicopter and weren't justifying that with work as a pilot.
But here's where another one of my elegant concepts comes in. I propose not just one democratic-socialism, but as many as people would like to form. They would exist as non-geographic member corporations, and they could exist here in the US while your next door neighbors were members of a capitalist corporation run by VISA and Walmart. Expatriation and trade sanctions between corporations would be interesting, to say the least. If catholic corp. was taking in flaky reject citizens of libertarian rich-snob corp., they might place humanitarian restrictions against importing libertarian exports.
Back to my original system, it's goal is to provide more freedom of choice in work life-style, though less in home life-style. As communities are built bottom up though, local communities are voting on their choice of public gardens, nudity laws, public swimming pools. The soviets were the exact opposite, administrating sea-food menus from across the country.
Have you ever met someone from the USSR? I had one co-worker on software team after the collapse, and I found him rather enlighteneng about our comparative cultures. He was stunned by how much propganda there is here and how oblivious we are of it. He was pleasantly surprised by my experiences as an actor in the Renaissance Faire, and was upon living here under the impression that we were a bunch of clones, predictibaly watching the superbowl and such. He did however describe the insidious party system, and lately I've been wary of it's possible emergence here. Essentially there are parallel hierarchies in every institiution, the official govt, and the party. The official policy may be that colleges do not discriminate, the party interpretation may be that the college will admit two jews. People report to both their govt and party supervisors. While party membership is voluntary, it starts in boy scouts; either you join or you must be some sort of dissident. All along ones career, dissidents don't prosper, so you do things the party way. I cringe when I hear 'either you are a patriot or a terrorist' here.
While libertarianism may seem the furthest thing from communism-socialism, i adopt much of it in my conceptions. For instance I propose immediately privatising schools on a per classroom basis, and having a voucher system. Teachers would lease class space and shares facilities like the cafeteria in what are now public schools. Parents can choose classes in greek poetry or whatever curriculum they prefer for their kids. However, the vouchers can only be accepted by teachers/schools that do not charge above the voucher, and students must be enrolled by lottery if they have to turn away applicants. That could happen now. Within my system though, teachers would be graded by their peers (review by other teachers), and by their clients (the parents). No official criteria would exist, so in a way the system is grass-roots in the way voting with your pocket-book is now, and it's also less hierarchical. You keep your job as a musician if your fellow musicians feel you have a gift and stay in practice. On the other hand grades by clients, for instance film score producers, or street cafe patrons will affect your rating and desirability which leads to composing film scores or getting recording contracts.
The whole 'kudos' system could be achieved with an internet cell phone text message system. Some people might end up creating jobs like advocating for those who are inept or anti-social but put in the effort. It's still a supply-side system, but the currency is different. In fact I even propose a triple currency system (aside from the kudos system) of living currency and two business currencies (for goods and labor). Business currency wold be granted by democratic process to public entrepreneurial enterprises. Someone putting on a show or writing software might buy the best employees they can, so democracy controls best utilisation of public human resources, but still the take home pay for everyone remains the same.
I hope some year to launch a commune member corporation that follows this model. Perhaps as a ranch in New Zealand, perhaps as a small business credit union here, or perhaps I'll become an advisory minister to some third world dictatorship.
Back to your post. I don't think any of the world's reknowned greatest workers were ever motivated by money. I think the worlds greatest inventors, artists, humanitarians, doctors, writers, etc etc, were always motivated by a passion for their work. I would agree though that the worlds greatest movers and shakers, the financiers, like Rockefeller and Crocker, were motivated by money, but even I think they were motivated by a passion for being movers and shakers, and my system doesn't deny that capacity either. Jobs for public speaking visionaries, political advisors, and economic consultants would still be around. The big difference, besides their 'private' wealth, would be that radio listeners or entrepreneurial leaders would have to value their services for their effectiveness in promoting the general welfare. If their concepts are of no use in promoting the general welfare, we don't really need their motivation anyhow. They could lead enterprises themselves, but then they'd be under even more pressure from democracy to provide contributing services.
Of course even our current system of representatives is subject to corruption. That is made possible by backroom deals. If I had my way, gag orders and all government and business secrecy would be illegal. The words of anyone relating to public resource management would be public record in proportion to their degree of influence. The role of the Bush administration in 9/11 would not be a public mystery. Things like surprise corporate buy-outs would not exist. We would know and decide Kodak's and Coca-Cola's environmental policies.
Part of what shaped my philosphy was my discovery that hardwork was not proportional to income. I started out flipping hamburgers for a few years and was wiped out ever night. I decided it would be fun to work on Citroens, and discovered that auto mechanicing paid thrice as well and was considerably easier and more entertaining. Meanwhile through both those careers I had been studying computers, and eventually pursued that passion, and discovered that that work was even easier than being a mechanic, and again, paid three times as much. Even within that field, I discovered that pay was disproportional to work load. If you ask me, it's the burger flippers, not the software administrators who most deserve swimming pools. Now it merely turns out that society, unbeknownst to itself, paid by age in respect for wear and tear on bodies, I could accept that, but I'm sure that's not the general explanation.
What bothers me even more than individuals trying to profit at each others expense, are corporations trying to profit at the public expense. I was quite disappointed researching think tank ads t find that none of them were concerned with product innovation (or any indirect atribute of public welfare), and all of them were concerned with finding new avenues of profit.
While equalizing incomes might serve my ideals, the same ideals might be roughly achieved by leaving incomes alone (as one is free to change jobs), but by democratizing all corportions. In fact I think that should come before any thoughts of equalizing incomes. I suppose that is somewhat similar to labor unions, except that while people may vote for the working conditions within their field, they will also want to keep down their costs as consumers.
I have a proposal to gradually introduce that paradigm as well, namely to let people disburse their own tax returns to non-profits and NGO's, where the general public would be stockholders, and a system of elected internet forum representatives would monitor things they felt qualified to monitor.
So much for going to sleep. Well, it's been good to collect my thoughts on the subject which I've let lapse for a couple years.
As always, the avatars are crazy. Where do you find such things? Was that a wet Audrey Hepburn prior to the killer zombie doll?
From the Dead Seas Scrolls - The Book of Hymns:
The spirit that lies in man's speech, Thou did'st create. Thou hast known all the words of man's tongue and determined the fruit of his lips, ere those lips themselves had being. It is Thou that disposeth all words in due sequence and giveth to the spirit of the lips ordered mode of expression; that bringeth forth their secrets in measured utterances, and granteth unto spirits means to express their thoughts, that Thy glory may be made known, and Thy wonders told forth in all Thine unerring works, and that Thy righteousness [ may be proclaimed, ] and Thy name be praised in the mouths of all things, and that all creatures may know Thee, each to the meed of his insight, and bless Thee alway.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Thou shalt not kill.
The world is a reflection of our inner-being.
Let everything flow from love.
Live with an active heart that illuminates the divine presence in everything. Bring heaven to Earth and all humanity.
Being harmony is the first step towards creating harmony.
Televise the Revolution.
The Tower ( Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.)
I love and welcome all of you.