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THE UPSIDE OF THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN

Across the globe, chaos is unfolding at unprecedented levels.  Every day, a new country goes down, a new scandal unfolds, and yesterdays’ are forgotten.  It’s so hard to keep up! I am aware that people are suffering, and things are bad and getting worse in a lot of places on this planet, so please don’t jump to your pitchforks and torches when I, quite sheepishly, say…

Maybe this is a good thing?

Yep, sorry to say folks, but this level of absolute, complete and total breakdown is our only chance at this point… the faster and more wide-spread the better.  We’ve proven, as a species, that we’re not going to respond to minor, isolated incidents and uprisings (You know – little things like destroying entire oceans, mass global revolts and revolutions, epic natural disasters, nuclear meltdowns and the like).  We’ll continue, apparently, to pretend nothing major needs to change.  Just print some more money, bail out some banks and all will be well in the world.

We’re conditioned now to pick up a paper and go ‘hmmm, look at that, Spain collapsed today, that sucks for them,’  as if this is an acceptable and reasonable scenario.  And while the perpetrators fix the very rates that ensure their wealth, while stuffing trillions into offshore accounts, I say… fine.  Let them. Speed it up.  Bring on more.  The bigger, and more flagrantly damaging to us all, the better.

Because the only remedy for what ails this species is a complete discarding of currency and economics as it currently ‘operates.’ Personally, I always embrace the theory that you can’t have a renaissance without the dark ages. Which brings up one more consistent, routine human behavior that should be momentarily illuminated.

What is the one time that human beings set aside currency and economics and do the right thing?  What makes them behave morally and decently, en mass? What is the one, single thing that has proven will make humans stop the childish, selfish behavior this monetary paradigm demands and promotes?

Disaster.

In the wake of disaster, for a brief period of time, people do the right thing.  They stop for a minute and forget about costs, budgets, stocks, rates and profits.  They pause, for just a second, and ignore bail-outs, bankers, politicians and that guy in the office next to you with the annoying tie that totally doesn’t match his socks.  For just a small period of time, they get together and do good things… because they’re good things to do.  All the bullshit melts away, and it’s clear as can be that none of that other nonsense matters, what matters is helping out people in need.  What matters is behaving morally and decently.

Forget about the cost, just get these people food, medicine, shelter and re-unite them with family and friends.  Re-build. Share. Care.  Basic stuff.  Volunteers clamber to help.  Cheque books open, wallets pour out, millionaires work for free to help out some people who just need some help.
Well guess what.  We all need some help.  Food, medicine, shelter.  Billions of people need some basic things.  Economically, globally, it’s a disaster, and getting worse.  On a massive scale, we need to behave like we always do during a disaster.  Time to put aside all of that meaningless crap that we have given value to that has none and listen to that engrained decency buried in all of us.  That real, genuine part of you that knows unequivocally what is needed.  You know what’s wrong.  You know what’s good and what’s just plain shitty about this world.  We all do.

And it won’t happen because of a rallying cry, it will happen because it’s a disaster, and we’ve got no other choice.  We’re still trying to dice things up into hundreds of individual disasters, but the reality many are realizing is that this is one, big, all-encompassing, human disaster.  In the wake of this realization, we will have to get rid of the corrupt banks, the ruthless corporate greed, the smarmy, rhetoric spouting politicians.

Not even violently.  We’ll just ignore them.  Just phase them out.  In the momentary clarity of disaster we’ll stop pretending any of this makes any sense.  We’ll start to talk to each other, find out we all feel basically the same way.  We all knew it was false and immoral and wrong all along.  We’ll stop fighting with our co-workers and friends and family because we’ll know what we’re really angry about.  Deep down.

Once this disaster hits full force, things are going to start disappearing.  And it’s a good thing.  There’s a lot of stupid, primitive crap we still give fake, assigned value to that has none.

  • The Fashion Industry
  • Jewelry
  • The Stock Market
  • Gossip Columnists
  • Political Punditry
  • Night Clubs

But it’s okay!  These things need to die off.  This is a good thing! These things need to be phased out.  And they need to be replaced.

“Well that’s all fine and good Mr. Writer Man but what will we care about instead!?”

And here’s where I think I’ve got a decent thought… SCIENCE!  Holy crap, if you want to find a little ray of sunshine in these crazy times, have you seen what science has been up to lately?  With barely any support at all, science is landing rovers on Mars, creating synthetic molecules and uncovering gigantic mysteries of our past.  They’re working on eradicating diseases, they’re out selflessly trying to warn us about upcoming problems and find viable solutions to them, studying ecosystems, gathering data, publishing findings.  Well shit, it’s almost as if those crazy people are doing it just for the fun of it!  It’s almost as if just the sheer advancement of human knowledge and understanding is motivation enough for them.  Surely they aren’t in it for the money and the fame.  Your nearest gated community is much more likely chock full of CEO’s, investment bankers, traders and real estate moguls than it is scientists.

What if those minds were applied sociologically?  What if we freed them from the shackles of currency and allowed their own existing systems of logic, examination and co-operation to take over?  What if the currency of the future was information and advancement of our systems of life?  What if the richest man in the world was the guy who solved the biggest problems and improved society?  Imagine that!  Holy shit folks, we live in what could so easily be the greatest time to be alive on this planet.  Why does it have to be so doom and gloom?  Why is collapse and war and poverty the only outcome?  Am I seriously the only one who takes a look at science and sees what truly matters?  Isn’t that the answer?

It’s an economic disaster, worldwide, no doubt about it.  Can’t we all get together and put aside the stuff that doesn’t matter and focus on what does?  The advancement of human knowledge and understanding… isn’t that motivation enough?  It could be.  It’s enough for me.  I’d happily shed my allegiances to country, to salary to social status if I could get up in the morning and know I was actually working towards the future!  Working towards a sustainable, socio-economic model guided by scientific principles, tangible results instead of greed and oppression for the social advancement of a few gambling addicts.

Wouldn’t you?  Wouldn’t all of us really?

Isn’t that what’s eating away at all of us in the end?

The knowledge that we could be doing so much more, so much better, and yet we’re still playing this same old game with the same old rules we know for a fact don’t apply to us anymore.  The knowledge that the majority of the things we do for money have no real, tangible benefits and completely fail to accomplish something meaningful.  That our ‘leaders’ do not remotely speak the same language as us nor share our goals or desires.

Do you want to go to war with China or go to the moons of Jupiter?

Is there a single human being who answered war?

Let’s be honest… right now, it’s looking bad, terrible even.  Hopeless.  Inevitable.

But it’s also the one chance we have to cut the bullshit and do the right thing.

The question is… Will we?

The answer is…  Likely not.

But we could

And that will be the defining decision of this era in humanity.  Will we?  Or won’t we?

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September 3, 2012 Posted by | General Society Ramblings, Humans, Solutions!, The Great Collapse | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Dollars, Debt and Standard Galactic Credits (A Collapse Net Exclusive Article)

Hello (tens of) readers, some good news!  The good folks over at CollapseNet have accepted my words into their midst as a regular guest writer.  Rather than cross post the full articles here in my blog I will instead be adding more detailed additions to my articles on my blog to act as supplementary additions to the pieces over at Collapse.  Please read and share the articles, and then come on over here for more in depth discussion or debates or add-ons, and some stuff that they reject (hasn’t happened yet, but surely will eventually.)

FIRST COLLAPSENET ARTICLE:

DOLLARS, DEBT AND STANDARD GALACTIC CREDITS

http://www.collapsenet.com/free-resources/collapsenet-public-access/item/8166-dollars-debt-and-standard-galactic-credits

So I quite like the heart of this piece but I was a bit concerned of two things, but they liked it at is was so we went ahead and ran the article.  I’ll elaborate on my concerns here, because I can!  And also hopefully to round out the idea some more and get into more detail.

The basic idea was that in all science fiction novels (and movies for that matter) currency is depicted with ‘Credits’.  As my friend and fellow comedian Carter Hortie observed, in a lot of ways we are now more advanced than early science fiction.

With all of the insanity around the globe in the last decade associated with massive flaws in our economic system, it seems to me that we ought to just go ahead and fast track to the seemingly inevitable “credits” found from Isaac Asimov to your average Schwarzennegger affair.  And what better time than now… when our current system is collapsing entire nations, and companies, and massive amounts of, you know, people.

My concern with how the article was written is two-fold, as I said.

1. I wasn’t sure if I was making any sense with my positive alternative example of the internet as the beginnings of a model for a system beyond the current parameters of currency.

and

2.  I didn’t have enough time to spend articulating how such a system of ‘credits’ would actually work, and thus had to resort to what felt like a bit of an empty, rhetoric and platitude filled conclusion with no real solutions (Something I hate in other people’s writing, but that is the reality of writing blogs and articles… there’s no time for a full blown, iron clad political thesis.)

But, if you’ll allow it, and if you care… and even in the likely event that you don’t… I’ll try and come up with some basic parameters as to what a futuristic, monetary system of credits would have to entail.  And I fully encourage any input in the comments, as always.  Don’t criticize my ideas, show me that you’ve got better ones!  It’s the only way we’ll move this confounded thing forward.  (We totally won’t.)

SOME THINGS THAT WILL MAKE OUR FUTURE CURRENCY BETTER (HOPEFULLY):

1.  The Future Global Currency (Hereafter referred to as “Credits”) will first and foremost need to have an adjustable Total Variable Amount (TVA), this is a whole-sum numerical value that is tied directly to population, energy, resources, economic activity, trade, etc.  A constantly evaluated and updated algorithm will have to be developed and perpetually fine tuned by a serious team of dedicated, specialized mathematicians.  Like the old system of the gold standard, this will keep a real, definitive salary cap on global economics.  Unlike the gold standard, this will be based on several tangible factors and real, measurable, useful items rather than some piles of shiny rocks cut into rectangles.

2. As is already happening, all of this new system will be digital, and paper/coin money will be obsolete and phased out.  The technology for this is already in place, and most people already use cards and digital online money over cash.  Once we fully move in this direction it will simply be more incentive to strengthen the technology and enhance it.  Right now it is still in the very early stages, but the basic idea is there with credit cards, online banking, etc.

3.  Money lending, interest, and the practice of making money by playing with numbers, trading, and manipulating money must be eliminated.  Sorry folks, but this concept is long overdue for a good, solid, tossing in the garbage bin marked ‘primitive.’  Credits should be earned, for work, trade, value and goods.  Day trading, money lending, debt, interest, derivatives, precious metals, stock trading, put options, housing bubbles… time to put these cancerous activities to rest.  Short, lucrative gains for a few, at the expense of the masses.  It’s not a moral or acceptable way to operate.  It’s the source of all of our problems.  Get rid of it.  No ifs, ands or buts.

4.  There must be an incentive built into the new monetary system for innovation and advancement of the species.  Personally, I would think that you would identify key areas of social and technological advancement that are either exempt from the constraints of the figures, or since we’re making the new system up, it has to be built into the algorithm somehow that scientific advancement and improvement of social systems are of extremely high value and should be incentivized accordingly.  Think this is utopian nonsense?  Consider that in our current system the people who are the best at manipulating others, taking advantage of the most people and exploiting the most resources mindlessly and with no intelligent oversight are rewarded with the most money and it is wasted on personal luxury items.  Wouldn’t you much rather the smartest people who have proven to have the most positive benefits for the advancement of the species, and have proven themselves to produce positive results are rewarded and can be supported in pursuing more solutions and greater problems?  Wouldn’t rewarding groups that solve problems be better than rewarding groups that sell more potato chips or find cheaper sweatshop slaves to make cheaper shoes?  Shouldn’t doctors that selflessly travel the world be rewarded greater than those who perform plastic surgery on rich, stuck up socialites?

5. Here’s a fun one.  No More Taxes!  That’s right folks, get rid of ’em.  Don’t need them.  No more parking tickets, no more fair hikes, tax raises, tax cuts, sales taxes, toll roads, toll bridges, toll booths, sin taxes, IRS, tax collectors… read my lips.  No.  More.  Taxes.  This is where we need to completely re-define our political system, and of course can’t do that in just this little blog, but more or less it works like this.  Rather than trying to ‘collect revenue’ by taxing, punishing and fining your civilians, you’ve got to have a microcosm of the Total Variable Amount and have a determined amount or percentage tied to Basic Social Structure (BSS) and then have room  to allocate more resources for more advanced levels of social infrastructure should it be plausible, possible and a proven benefit.  The key to all of this is that the infrastructure and the endeavors of the working class is born out of science; out of fact-based, peer reviewed engineering, not politics or revenue.  The whole process of taxation is outdated and in need of a serious re-examination.  As is the function of government.

6. Corporate Personhood… gone. Wall Street… gone.  The largest issue with our current monetary structure is that the pursuit of profits has completely destroyed any relationship between common sense, morality, honesty and all of that shit Jesus used to talk about and our currency structure.  If future humans are going to adapt and change our current trajectory, it can only be possible if individual rights, freedom and at the same time basic common decency can be made tantamount to the blind pursuit of profits.  Numbers and graphs are not real, people are.  The earth is.  Resources are.  Pretty basic stuff, but we’ve clearly proven that we’re willing to ignore all of the above in favor of blind pursuit of profits for a few at the expense of the rest (and the planet).

Alright, as always, I’ll probably update this later and add more detail and would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.  One thing’s for certain, our current system of money is fucked, and a lot of people’s lives are being needlessly ruined because of it.  Many are dying, many more will.  Pure evil is being tolerated and accepted for the simple fact that people want to make a cheap, quick dollar at the expense of their fellow man.  We all know the deal, and the sad reality is, it’s pretty obvious that most people aren’t going to acknowledge it and fight for something different, because they’ve been successfully scared into a state of apathy, fear and mental paralysis.

As always, I don’t think this blog will change a thing, I don’t think anything will change anything at this point.  It’s more just therapy for me.  Therapy and a deep understanding that a lot of you are having the same thoughts, and know that we’re headed for some pretty rough times… and a lot of you are already going through them, and looking for a better way.  I don’t profess to have any of the answers, nor to be an expert on anything.  Just making my fingers hit some plastic keys and some letters pop up on this here computer screen.

And I’ll keep doing it, because I think it’s important, and I hope you’ll do the same.  Sharing thoughts has created all of the best things in this world.  Keeping them inside has never accomplished anything, neither has stagnating and not trying to change things for the better… despite what so many will tell you to the contrary.  (With no basis in fact, no precedence and no instance in history to support this outlook.)

June 6, 2012 Posted by | Collapsenet, General Society Ramblings, The Great Collapse, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Could we just not do that this time around?

Hello humans, it’s me again.  I know we don’t always see eye to eye on a lot of things.  Okay, most things.  But this time I think I’ve got a pretty decent idea, point, argument, thing… so if you could just hear me out this once, I think we’ll all be better off in the long run.  Granted, you’ll probably go and ignore the fuck out of me, but I figure it’s best to just give it a shot just in case.

Here’s the thing.  I’m not a historian.  I’ve never attained a degree in the study of history.  But I know a little bit about things that have happened before now.  I’ve also heard this phrase thrown around by a lot of folks, many believing it to be incredibly profound wisdom:

“Those who don’t pay attention to history the first time around are doomed to repeat it.”

Or something like that.  Anyways, here’s what’s troubling me of late.  You see, when you take a gander at the ol’ history of humans, there’s this thing they (you, we) do every few years. It’s just this little, tiny, silly little thing where we MURDER, SLAUGHTER, KILL, RAPE, BOMB, SHOOT, STAB, BURN, INCINERATE, ANNIHILATE AND DESTROY EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE ON THE FUCKING PLANET!!!!

Then we go ‘Alright! That’s enough!’  And we draw up some treaties and we say ‘Okay, that was a bit silly, let’s not do that again for a while.’  And we carry on with our usual nonsense, which is fairly ridiculous in its own way, but not quite as bad as the whole massive massacring, in my not so popular opinion.

Now, here’s my crazy little set of observations, coupled with a teency, weency suggestion.

OBSERVATION THE FIRST!  It has been a little while since the last time we all got together and decided we ought to murder everyone on a nice global scale.  This appears to have gotten people a little ruffled up wondering ‘hmmm, we haven’t done that in awhile… maybe we should give it another shot?’

OBSERVATION THE SECOND! I’ve heard it suggested several times, by influential and intelligent folks, that we have just gone through the “2nd great depression”  and that the only way to get out of a depression is to go and have one of these big ol’ rounds of fisticuffs, because then once we’re all working on killing each other, our money problems are miraculously solved.  Just look at dubya, dubya two!

OBSERVATION THE THIRD!  I’ve seen a very disturbing trend in recent months to casually suggest that we are inevitably heading very quickly to just this scenario.  Either we are going to bomb Iran, or they will bomb Israel, or something will happen in Korea, and then the Russians and Chinese will join forces and the US and Europe will join forces and we’ll have ourselves a nice big ol’ global dust up and that’s just the way it has to be because that’s just the way things are and well shucks that’s just the way it’s gonna be.

SUGGESTION!!!!!!!

Don’t.

Do.

It.

People.

Humans!

All of you! (Us even!)  Let’s try something crazy!  Let’s just take a minute here and think about maybe giving another idea a shot.  Let’s take a different path this time.  You know, the path that doesn’t involve nuclear weaponry.  The one that doesn’t lead to a country with 2 billion people in it mobilizing the largest standing army in the history of the planet and facing off with the country with the largest arsenal of nuclear and biological weapons ever stockpiled.

Instead!  Let’s do anything else!  Everything.  Oh my, would you look at the possibilities outside of getting all dressed up in uniforms and slaughtering each other for a decade.  Why there’s just so many things we could do!  Endless really.

You see I’m a big believer in objective truth.  That is, I don’t believe anything is true unless it can be proven true when cross-examined objectively, without bias or pre-conceived notions.  One of my favorite litmus tests involves imagining you are an alien spacecraft hovering above the planet and taking a good solid look at what’s going on.  Under this scenario, I find it very hard to believe that countries exist, anywhere but in our mind.  We made them up!  We killed each other a long time ago and then we decided on some borders and said ‘If you’re born here you’re different than if you’re born there” and other equally ridiculous assertions.  Some of the more popular ones include:

  • If you were born here you are superior on all counts to anyone who was born there
  • Some things happened there a long time ago so now we hate anyone born there
  • If anyone born there ever does ____ we have to kill everyone born there and I’m sure everyone born here can agree

etc.  etc.

But the reality is this.  If you floated down on your alien craft and took a look at the 49th parallel in North America.  You would see a curious, inexplicable sight.  You would see structures, fences, towers.  You would see guns, patrols, checkpoints.  If you looked closer you would see documents, paperwork, anal probes.  In the halls of power you would see debates over what to do about this line you could not see.  This line you could not measure.  This line you wouldn’t know was ever there, unless the humans told you it was there.  And no matter how many times they told you, or how passionately they argued that the line was there, that the border existed, that it was a very real and important thing.  No matter how stupid they thought you were for not understanding it, you would be right.  And they would be wrong.

There is no line.

There never was.  There never will be.

There is no here, and there is no there

There is no us and there is no them

So there’s no reason to kill each other by the millions.  There’s no reason to think it has to be.  There’s no reason to believe it is inevitable.

Not in the real world.  Not in the realm of truth.

But humans, truth is not your strong point.  I’m not saying it ever was or it ever will be.  I’m just hoping… that you’re better than I think you are.

December 24, 2011 Posted by | Earth, General Society Ramblings, Humans, Solutions!, The Great Collapse, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Declaration of Independent Thought

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one person to dissolve the intellectual bands which have connected them with other human beings, and to assume a separate and equal station to which the Laws of Reasoning entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

I’m a big fan of individual responsibility, independent thinking and rational problem solving.  A quick look at history will reveal that these three things, when combined, are the basis for most of the positive and dynamic progress made by our species.  To the contrary, most of the worst things done by human beings, were done by large masses of people, not exercising either of the three.  I see no deviation from this standard in the modern world.

As such…

I hold these truths to be self evident:

– The only truth is objective, remaining true after all human emotions, past history, present circumstances and group psychology are removed from the equation.

– There is no difference between a person born in any given part of the world and a person born in another.  This is an outdated and shattered myth.  Geography has no bearing on the positives or negatives of an individual.  Individuals possess similar potential and usefulness, barring extreme mental or physical disabilities.

– Countries do not exist.  This fact can be understood by an individual, and proven very simply.  There are no lines carved into the earth.  We, quite simply, made them up.  People murdered each other a long time ago, and then stopped murdering each other and decided to draw some lines.  This is a fact.  These people were laughably primitive, and therefore they should have no control over our lives.  Simply put, countries are an irrelevant idea, holding back the potential evolution of the species.

– Institutions such as banks or corporations do not exist either.  The individuals who work for them, and the individuals whose lives and environments are affected by the actions of these abstract entities… do exist.

Much individual responsibility, independent thinking and rational problem solving is suppressed or systematically avoided thanks to the passive acceptance that countries, banks and corporations are superior to individual human beings.  This behavior is often described in positive terms, with phrases like ‘patriotism’, ‘nationalism’ and ‘national pride.’  Our entire social structure rewards those who capitalize on the backs of others.  Those with money are considered superior, even though the means with which they aquired vast wealth is nearly always disgusting and exploitative.  You would never tolerate the way your boss speaks to you and the condascending, inferior manner in which you are treated in the workplace from another individual.  You would never tolerate the things banks and corporations and governments get away with from a friend or neighbor.  A good deal of the most atrocious, evil deeds perpetrated by humans could easily be avoided if individuals understood, proclaimed and asserted that countries, banks and corporations are abstract concepts, inferior to the dignity, rights and concerns of the individual.

Independently thinking and behaving, no individual would ever believe that starving or impoverished or enslaved or massacred people deserve their suffering.  Only under the psychological umbrella of a country, or an institution, are such acts accepted, ignored and justified.  No decent, civilized, individual human being would ever willfully deny another human being access to clean water, food, shelter or a respectful and dignified working environment.

Only the group psychology demanded by abstract institutions (banks, corporations and nations), would ever allow such events to transpire.

That being said, there are positives to be had for the organization of groups for positive means, and our current western structure of government (municipal, territorial, national) does hold decent ideas and methods of execution which should not be ignored, rather acknowledged and improved upon, by the constant questioning and updating of practices.

– Certain forms of governance and social norms are more humane, decent and logical than others.  They should not be discarded entirely, rather re-examined, updated, and made to prioritize the well-being of individuals, not of broadly labelled abstract groups.

– A very select group of individuals are a whole lot more intelligent and capable of reasoning on a higher level than the rest of us.  In the world of science, discovery and engineering, this fact is understood and applied.  In social design and governance, it is not.  The greatest thinkers and problem solvers on earth are, for the most part, not solving the greatest and most complex problems we face.  The most powerful and influential decisions should not be made by elected politicians, but instead by the most proven problem solvers.

– War is a primitive activity that no sane and decent individual would ever condone or take part in.  No individual man would ever drop a bomb on another man halfway around the world.  By removing individual responsibility and accountability, it is considered acceptable and necessary. It is not.  Any individual can come to this conclusion, therefore this is a problem which can quickly and simply be addressed, should individuals choose to do so.

– Individuals will almost certainly not choose to do so.

– All religions basically have the same message: “Be a good and decent person.”  They all have their own lists and stories as to why you should, how you should, and what exactly it means to be good and decent (or obedient).   For the most part, they are all ancient, and irrelevant to the modern world.  The only good things we ought to take out of them, are pieces of morality that should be obvious to anyone with a brain and a soul.  Kindergarten stuff.  Try and be nice to people, don’t steal, cheat, lie or hurt others.  Murder is wrong, exploitation, abuse, rape, torture and treating others as inferior are all pretty shitty things to do, and you should figure that out on your own.  More importantly, if you see someone do these things, or behaving in this way, you should confront them and call them out on it, and if you are the victim of these abuses, you should stand up for yourself, and when you do, others should support you.  Individuals must learn to not tolerate such blatant abuses.  We must learn to stick up for each other, rather than abstract or outdated institutions and texts.  You shouldn’t need a book to tell you that starving children and forcing them to work slave labour is wrong… they need help, and none of us should tolerate it.  This should be a basic and understood human attitude, not a religious one.

– Individual thoughts can be deeply profound and meaningful.  In order for enough masses of people to agree on something, it must usually be dumbed down, and stripped of decency, goodness or substance.  This is why empty, meaningless rhetoric pollutes our political language.  It has no meaning.  It does no good. There are exceptions of course, but in general, questioning everything is better than questioning nothing.

If you also hold some, or all, of these truths to be self evident, that’s fine.  If you don’t… that’s fine too.

(I’ll probably be updating this and adding to it at a later date… but I’m sleepy.)

January 9, 2011 Posted by | General Society Ramblings | 14 Comments

Are you left wing or right wing?

What wing are you on? Are you a Democrat or Republican? A Liberal or a Conservative?

Here’s a wild concept. You are neither! Imagine that. There’s more to you than two narrowly defined ideologies. You are not an independent either. You’re just a person. Same as me, same as everyone else. And even if you are one of those people who rigidly defines yourself by being left or right. Even if you do envelope yourself with strictly right or left wing blogs, news sources, punditry, philosophy and perspective. Even if you are completely incapable of believing anything or saying anything you haven’t been told to by your respective left or right wing sources.  Even if you have absolutely no ability to form your own opinions, ideals and morality…

Here’s something to consider:

It doesn’t matter if you’re left or right wing when the plane is on fire and spiraling uncontrollably into an active volcano.

And make no mistake people of earth. The plane! The plane! The plane is on fire!

To this, most people and ‘leaders’ on earth reply:  “We don’t need no water, let the mother fucker burn!”

But no, I’m afraid we really do need water, and unfortunately it appears as if the only way we’ll get it is if the plane veers right of the volcano and crashes into the ocean. Then we can swim around for a bit, squabble over the chunks of floating wreckage and wait for the sharks, starvation and thirst to take us down. Maybe we can throw in some cannibalism too, just for good measure!

Please make no mistake, this is not something I am trying to prevent, or hope to curb with this blog… I’m an observationalist (I don’t care if that’s not a real word, it should be.) I try to observe the world objectively and in this case I am making a prediction, if anything. Honestly, if you are looking for comprehensive answers and solutions to the problems of mankind in a single blog entry from a 24 year old, then you are many times more hopeless than even my most misanthropic view of human beings. Which I will discuss in much more detail in upcoming posts.  So if you’re here to scream and shout in the comments “Well what the fuck is your solution then asshole?”  Please, by all means, go away and never return.

Back to point.  What is supposed to be a system of governance is now a game. Those that are supposed to be acting as representatives of our beliefs, our needs and our desires, are now telling us what we believe, need and desire. Or, more accurately, convincing us through massive amounts of advertising, blatantly puppeteered punditry and media.  Driving the wedge further between us, painting the canvass with only black and white… draining the color from our lives and our self.  There is no longer what we say, there is only what we’re told.  Just to be clear, I’m with George Carlin on many things, but this especially… let’s not pretend that the answer lies in the past.  That there was some mystical time years, decades, generations ago when things were so much better that we need to get back to.

There was no such time.

In many respects, they sucked even more.  The past and the present are important, but they far too often overshadow what should be tantamount: setting achievable and rational objectives, and taking concrete progressive steps towards them.

How many of these big problems that persist day in and day out, that we are all aware of, that get debated year in and year out, that are in every newspaper, on every newscast, on every panel and every platform… could so easily and swiftly be dealt with, by just stripping away the nonsense.  By a frank discussion of what is actually going on.  By a severe and brutal assessment of the facts, the problems and the required steps towards solutions.

Your vote doesn’t count.  Because you have no say in what you are voting for.  You are told that you believe one thing, or you believe the opposite.  You take one side, or you take the other.  If you don’t, you are dismissed and marginalized with terminology like:

fringe, independent, third party, unpopular opinion, conspiracy, wacko, loser, deadbeat, non-contributor

“If you don’t vote then you have no right to complain”  is a mindless cliche I hear thrown around all the time.  This handy bit of regurgitated nonsense is usually first heard from the lips of parents or other authority figures and embedded in a young, impressionable human brain.  It is not a useful or intelligent thought.  It is, like all cliches, a nugget that people spit out in conversations because they know others will inevitably nod in agreement as if something has been said.  “Yep, aint that the truth.”

No.

It’s not even close to the truth.  It’s an empty slogan.  It’s a new age ad campaign.  Words with no meaning.  It’s a way to feel like you belong.  There is nothing more powerful in the human species than the need to feel accepted.  The need to belong to a group.  This is exactly how and why we can be played so easily against ourselves, dividing ourselves into these two camps.  There is no ‘they’ consciously and intentionally doing this.  That kind of thinking helps no one, addresses nothing and solves nothing.  People give far too much credit to ‘them’.  They don’t exist.  You do.  I do.  They don’t.  They don’t need to, because we do this to ourselves.  We allow ourselves to buy into this left/right nonsense.  The product is bullshit, and we’re the consumers.

And no, the answer isn’t a third or fourth or fifth hastily thrown together wave of new parties either.  It’s not to weld on five or six more clumsy wing designs onto the same plane.

The plane is crashing.  That is happening.

This mechanism is obsolete.

Time to go back to the design room.

Time to build a new kind of plane.

Or maybe a new mode of transportation altogether… a new destination and a new route.

January 30, 2010 Posted by | General Society Ramblings, The Great Collapse | Leave a comment

Things I am Not… and Neither are You

I am not a consumer

I am not a client

I am not a vote

I am not a liberal

I am not a democrat

I am not a republican

I am not a libertarian

I am not a conservative

I am not a socialist

I am not a communist

I am not a marxist

I am not right wing

I am not left wing

I am not a student

I am not an employee

I am not an employer

I am not a loan recipient

I am not a credit card holder

I am not a stockholder

I am not a potential buyer

I am not a home-owner

I am not a taxpayer

I am not a resident

I am not an advocate

I am not a member of this community

I am not defined by the places the past few generations of my family were born on this planet

I am not a pawn or a key word to drop in your speech.  I am not a useless, soulless number whose only purpose of existing is to have currency extracted.  I have more to offer this world then you and your narrow definitions could ever realize.  Imagine if you spent only a fraction of the money you do on advertising and branding, trying so hard to convince me you see me as more than a number… imagine if you spent that working on getting your people to treat me like a human being. Imagine if they didn’t need training, and they could figure that out on their own.  That’s all we can do is imagine it, because it will never happen.

What right, exactly, do your robot minions have to call me and harass me and talk down to me and tell me I am worthless?  Ask me why I don’t make more money, why I can’t make my interest payment?  Demand I set up appointments and meetings  during the middle of the day on the work week, the only time you are open.  Well, you know what, I’m kind of busy working.  Working very hard, every day, and it’s still not enough for you people.  There is no difference between this life I lead and slavery.  What freedom do I really have?  I am forced to work a job I hate, made to feel inadequate and useless there, just a bag of flesh on the end of a shovel.  I come home caked in mud from head to toe.   In exchange, every two weeks I get a pay cheque.  Not only do I not get to keep a dime of it, I actually don’t even make enough to just exist.

After rent, loan payment, food (real food, not restaurants) and maybe enough for public transit to and from work every day (often not even enough for that) that is the extent of my income.  But wait, there’s still bills to pay!  Things that were once luxuries are now necessities.  I have to have a cell phone for work, I have to have internet access to submit my pay sheet and the latest software for the occasional contract writing or editing gig I might be able to get. You know, what I actually went to school for.  A laundry card that gobbles up $20 bills like the cookie monster. Hydro, heat, phone, you can’t exist without these things and the price on all of them keeps going up and up and up.

But there is no understanding, or compassion, or humanity on the end of that phone.  I’m a deadbeat right?  Get a better job, you tell me. I sure do love getting career advice and condescending life lessons from someone whose job consists of phoning people and following a step by step sheet telling them what to say.  I also love that the people responsible for ruining the economy and there being no good jobs left… are the ones telling me I’m the problem.

Don’t worry, you’ll soon be replaced by an automated voice system, then you can be on the wrong end of the phone call. Or, more than likely, you already are.  I can’t imagine you’re getting paid all that well to sit at that desk and make those calls.  I don’t think that was your dream in life, or what you are truly capable of.  You do it for the same reason I do… to exist.

You probably hang up the phone and receive a call from the person two cubicles down, telling you to get a better job and make more money so you can pay your bills.  Then you make that same call to client #14832.

But hey, I deserve it.  It’s my fault that you put through a $10 service charge one day before the payment went through, when I had exactly the amount of money for the payment in the account.  I couldn’t afford it, had to borrow it, and you know I have trouble making the payments every month.  You don’t care though.

I mean who the fuck do I think I am?  Going to school?!  Trying to actually do what I love!??!? Trying to pursue something meaningful and fulfilling with my life.  What an asshole I am!  My parents aren’t wealthy, so I shouldn’t have borrowed the money.  I shouldn’t have tried to make something of myself.  I should have accepted that I am lower class and stayed in my fucking place.  Don’t worry, I hear you readers.  I know what that voice in your head is telling you, what you’re on your way to post in the comment section. You’re absolutely 100% right!  I deserve this life I lead.  I am a worthless, non-contributing piece of garbage.  I should feel this way, every day.

“Get off your ass and get a better job you fucking loser!”

Go ahead and say it, I know that’s what you’re thinking.  Trust me, I think it every day.  And believe it or not, I try and change it every day too.

So does my girlfriend.  So do all of our friends.  So do our parents and their friends.  As we all become more and more marginalized.  As scores of highly intelligent, useful individuals with life experience, qualifications, degrees, careers and mortgages fill the ranks at Wal Mart, Starbucks, Home Depot and McDonalds.  As we scrabble and claw and beg and plead for even the sniff of a chance to get a part-time position at minimum wage.  As the mills close, the unions die, the pay-cheques shrink, the industries crumble, the tuition increases, the degrees and diplomas become obsolete.  It’s all we’re good for right?  It’s all that’s available, so it must mean that we’re all just that useless.  We deserve to feel this way, and to live this way.

And when we’re accepted for this lofty position, they hand us our schedule and their offer for what our life is worth:

Five days a week.  20 hours a week.  Minimum Wage.  Take it or leave it.  You’ll get a ten cent raise in two years!

That’s enough to survive on, right?  Sure it is!  Don’t you dare get another job either, we have to be your number one priority.  After all, we’ve given you a job.  In this economy, that’s better than most people can hope for.  Be happy you have one.  Sure it’s not even remotely enough to feed yourself, or god forbid if you have children or a sick and injured family member to take care of. Good luck with that!

But that’s okay, I heard on the news that consumer confidence is on the rebound!

Did you hear that taxpayers?  The stock market is starting to stabilize!  Woo hoo!  Thank god almighty, I thought the CEO was going to have to sell his second Jumbo Jet.  Oh how amazing, what terrific news.  I can do my part to keep that stock price stable.   I can look at that consumer confidence index with pride, knowing I did my part.  What a glorious contribution.  What a life to lead.

After all, I have no hopes and dreams and aspirations.  I have no desire or decent qualities.  I have no ideas, no intellect, nothing to offer this world.

I’m just a liberal, socialist, democrat, marxist, republican, conservative, libertarian voter!  Who should I vote for, please tell me!?  The guy who wants to go to war, or the guy who wants to go to war?  I’ll vote for that guy, thanks for the choice! Oh boy, what freedom!  I totally see why we want other countries to live like this.  Bombs away, let’s bring freedom and democracy to those poor fools!

Sure, I’m just a student, consumer, client, loan recipient, credit card holder, employee right now, but maybe one day I can climb the ladder and into management!  I can be an employer!  Heck, that’s far better than anything I would have done with my life.  Thank you!  Thank you so much!  I’ll shut up now and get back to work.  I see the wisdom now.  I see how wrong I’ve been.  I see how fantastic this all is.  I see why people so violently defend this beautiful, perfect system we have going here.

I’m gonna work hard so those taxpaying, stockholders can one day go from potential buyers into homeowners!

I am a resident of this community, and an advocate for this way of life!

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night!

December 24, 2009 Posted by | General Society Ramblings | , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

It’s time to stick our fingers under our armpits.

The other day I was at work and it was cold. Really fucking cold. My fingers were wet from the rain and the hail and the wind was blowing colder than I can remember it ever blowing on the west coast. I tried rubbing my hands together, blowing on them, but these were just short term fixes. The cold came back quickly and I couldn’t feel my icy digits any more. Then I remembered a trick my mother had taught me as a child. I stuck my numb, frozen fingers in my armpits. Believe it or not, this simple action led to an epiphany.

An analogy leapt into my odd little head. It seemed to me, the perfect metaphor for our species and our society. Hear me out! You see, the fingers and toes are out on the edge of the body, we even call them our ‘extremities.’ When you think about it, they do most of the work. The really important stuff is almost all done by the fingers. But they are also the most vulnerable. The least protected. Do they get a nice, cushy envelope of protective fat, skin and hard bones like the vital organs? No! They’re out there every single day doing all of the hard work, while the brain sits up top organizing the body. The brain you see, is the government of our body. And when the fingers get cold to the point where they just can’t do anything anymore… the brain tries to help them out. It decides it will bail out the fingers, by pumping out bucket loads of excess body heat. But like a bail-out, none of the money, I mean heat, ever reaches the fingers… the ones who need it most.

Imagine that, the fingers, without who the rest of the body cannot be useful and fruitful. The fingers, who do all that important work that the rest of the body benefits from. The mouth would never get to eat without the fingers. The muscles wouldn’t get strong, the words wouldn’t get written, the shoes wouldn’t get tied… indeed, the fingers are vital. But they get no heat. They are left out in the cold to fend for themselves.

“I’m doing what I can,” says the useless brain, and yet the fingers remain cold.  The brain pumps out even more heat, until it can’t even function any more.  It has given itself a fever.

But, you know, with all that excess heat being pumped out of the brain into the upper body… the ruling class. There’s a lot of heat going to waste. You just have to know where to look. Maybe change how you look at things. Maybe don’t be so embarrassed about some stupid social conventions and just stick your fucking fingers in your fucking armpits!

You’ll be amazed what happens. It’s a shock to the system at first for sure. So unexpected, the overheated and the frozen meeting in this dark, sweaty underbelly of the body. But that doesn’t last long. Real quick they both realize the enormous benefit to the whole body. The armpits are cooled down to a reasonable temperature. The brain calms down and goes back to doing whatever the fuck it does all day. The fingers are given a chance to warm up and get out of the cold. Hey, it’s the least we can do after all the hard work they’ve done for the rest of us. Think of all the great things fingers do! They’re awesome!

So let’s stop treating fingers with disdain when they need it most. Let’s not push them so hard for so little and then when they come to us in a time of despair leave them all wet and cold with no real solutions. We can’t just expect them to work so hard and not share in any of the benefits of being part of the body. Let’s not drive them to the brink of insanity, let’s not push them until they ache and freeze and are forced to beg for assistance or revolt.

Come on society, let’s stick our fingers in our armpits!

December 22, 2009 Posted by | General Society Ramblings | Leave a comment