Necessity no longer drives us. Expectations do.

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November 8, 2016

American Monarchy

I was wrong: The Kingmakers were better than the Queenmakers Blog posted hours before the election was over http://www.areyoustupid.us/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Rethinking-the-Presidency.pdf Regardless of their political choices (red, blue, alternative ...

November 15, 2015

A new way of thinking and acting

Paris, September 15, 2015 Terrorist attack in Paris—the second in 10 months. Refugees storm Europe’s borders. Ebola. Market crashes. Inter-racial strife. To such crises, the best ...

September 18, 2015

The next wave of refugees

The next wave of refugees will be 3 to 4 million, not 350,000. After that, 10 million (and growing). Desperation is a powerful driving force; ...

September 1, 2015

Immigration and refugees: more of the same is not the answer

The equation of immigration is simple. A child born in the Western world costs over one million dollars in order to become a productive participant ...

July 29, 2012

Olympic kitsch—nothing more

The price of the extravaganza was outdone only by its bad taste, which was worse that what propaganda experts churn out for their totalitarian rulers.

December 15, 2008

It’s the user, stupid . . . or maybe not

Digital technology is pervasive and makes so many things possible: from the ubiquitous e-mail to movies downloaded to one’s computer. Computers are part of our ...

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American Monarchy

11/08/2016
I was wrong: The Kingmakers were better than the Queenmakers Blog posted hours before the election was over http://www.areyoustupid.us/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Rethinking-the-Presidency.pdf
Regardless of their political choices (red, blue, alternative parties), Americans just voted in the spirit of an obsession with dynasty and monarchy that is baffling. The Revolution was supposed to have brought royalty to an end in the new land. This is not about the candidates (love them or hate them), but about a frame of mind. What kind of government do Americans really want? Monotheism was meant to do away with the many gods (and the interest groups associated with them) of idolatry, in favor of a unified divinity. The success of this endeavor is still uncertain. The Catholic Church appointed numerous saints (each with a specialized sphere of influence) in order to compensate for the idols that the new Christians were ordered to give up. In other creeds, idolatry is alive in a variety of traditions that monotheism has called pagan. Furthermore, the idolatry of celebrities (actors, athletes, singers, and just plain media sows and hogs), of plutocrats, and of politicians fully proves how difficult it is to wean human beings from idol worship. It is a conceptual leap not managed by the majority, but also not owned by those at its lower levels. There is idolatry in science, the cult of machines and mechanistic determinism, as there is a lot of it among the well off. Profits are made by cultivating idolatry, not by debunking it. The American Republic is again longing for monarchy and dynasty. Offspring of politicians make their bid for the highest office. A former smooth-talking King was voted in as the “first Gent” (with the aura that womanizers tend to have, even within a society of women’s emancipation). The former first “Lady” fulfilled her dream to become our Queen. (Will the Royal parents feel that their daughter is entitled to rule one day?) The out-going monarch (who suggested an end to term limitations on the presidency) set a precedent for more power through his lèse majesté (oops, executive orders). Even those less religiously inclined might be singing “God Bless America,” in the hope that another power will do for us what we should do for ourselves: save the Republic (if not democracy). “…if you [italics mine] can keep it,” was Benjamin Franklin’s reply to “What have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Let’s repeat with him: if we can keep it! Comment »

A new way of thinking and acting

11/15/2015
Paris, September 15, 2015 Terrorist attack in Paris—the second in 10 months. Refugees storm Europe’s borders. Ebola. Market crashes. Inter-racial strife. To such crises, the best that the advanced nations do is to react. Action – reaction beautifully describes physical phenomena—Thank you, Newton. The living—individual human beings or society—is defined by anticipation: the current state is influenced not only by a past state, but also by possible future states. Think: terrorist attacks, regime breakdowns, disease, water shortage, flooding, power outages. Reaction is expensive, and in the long run useless: the problem returns. It focuses on the past and how to contain the damage. An anticipatory perspective—think immune system—is holistic. It looks not only at the isolated event, but at the whole of which the event is part: human body, society, political system, economy. It is focused on the Why?, that is, on meaning. There is a Why? to be acknowledged in addressing terrorist attacks, the refugee crisis, an epidemic, each drastic change that affects destinies. The change of perspective, from reaction to anticipation, has to happen now. Unless we want to continue to replace knees and hips, like we replace defective car parts, instead of seeking genetic healing. To react to mass migration instead of anticipatory action to remedy what prompted the massive uprooting of people, is surrender. Reaction is swift. Throw good (taxpayer) money after bad. It makes the political class look like it is doing something. It saves governments from the embarrassment of having to answer why surveillance failed to prevent an attack. Anticipatory action requires the patience of natural processes—sustainability will not be reached from one day to another. Education, like healing, takes time. A replaced knee is a spare part that might have to be replaced again. Floods or droughts, not only in California, are no less subject to a holistic understanding of everything involved. So are epidemics, and so is terrorism. As long as we remain married to the mechanistic view of seeing everything as a machine that can be fixed as each part breaks down, the next crisis is inevitable. In the diabolic equation of terrorism, reaction is part of the desired return. We gave anticipation away to terrorists—and they use it quite successfully. The determination to pursue an anticipatory action perspective can be achieved only if we think about the living in its complexity, not as the machine that governments want each of us to behave like. Such a decision involves a long-term commitment. It is time to make it. Comment »

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