Saturday, January 8, 2011
Tom H. Hastings, Ecology of War and Peace: Counting the Cost of Conflict, 2000
I think it’s pretty clear that the US has been a nation in a state of kakistocracy for quite some time now. This term explained a lot to me. For one thing, we now know we aren’t alone in history to put the worst possible people in power. That’s good to know. Isn’t it? No one wants to be alone in misery.
So, we may be stupid, but at least we aren’t precedent settingly stupid. I, for one, would feel far worse if I knew ours was the first and only country in world history to have voted its enemies into power, those who would destroy rule of law and a government of the people and by the people.
And we are in good company with the Ancient Greeks. Besides amazing art and architecture, philosophy and mythology, the Greeks gave us the term, democracy. So, they did know the difference between rule by the people and by the people's enemies.
But, at least, it is good to know that we are not anomalies. We are simply flawed creatures guilty of having what is, probably just an inherited human condition, the desire to vote against one's best interests, or for Kakistocracy, “government under the control of a nation's worst or least-qualified citizens.”
I know there are countless governments in power now and throughout human history that are/were definitely kakistocractic. But, those are/were probably forced upon the people, more than they were popularly put into power. This handing the keys to the car over to the obviously falling down drunk, is more what we have practiced in our elections.
I’ve referred to our current system of government variously as a plutocracy, an oligarchy, a moneocracy, and a corporatocracy. Very often, I simply tell people we are literally living inside Norman Jewison's 1975 film, Rollerball. Maybe even The Body Snatchers.
But, now that I have discovered kakistocracy, the term just seems to sum it up succinctly. Not the why one would do that, but the fact that it has been done.
Now, whether our current kakistocracy is due to mass ignorance, in part from our less than stellar educational system; or whether it’s due to mass hypnosis from the constant din of misinformation that is thrown at us in the corporate-owned media’s planned disinformation campaign, I don’t know. We could, probably, also, blame rigged and/or hacked electronic voting and ballot counting machines. It could, also, be due to the huge cache of corporate election funds spent buying pet puppet politicians who will push their self-aggrandizing agendas.
Or maybe our kakistocracy can be blamed on the large percentage of American citizens who are simply suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. That’s one of my favorite choices. Though, I think there is not one simple cause, I think it’s clear that it has been a concerted, if concealed, effort by the rightwing “conservative” (whatever it is they think they are conserving, certainly not the economy or the environment or the Constitution), power base to take “their” country back from the fools who they think unjustly stole it from them. They are the reverse Robin Hood. Regardless of where total blame lies for our kakistocracy condition, the electorate put the wrong people at the helm, again. They’re back.
And those wrong people in power are steering US right back off the edge of their flat earth. We veered away from it for a short while. And just when we thought/hoped, that just maybe, if we stuck together, we could affect a sea change, too...
Does anyone in the rightwing notice or care that this country is being controlled by the same mindset that brought us our first Great Depression, those greedy, self-serving, myopic plutocrats who crashed the economy then? Do they ever stop and ponder why we are on the brink again? Don’t worry. That’s rhetorical.
See, here’s the thing. I do think too many here in this country have Stockholm Syndrome. And then there’s those poor people who actually believe they will win Lotto and be stinkin’ rich one day, too. So, they don’t want the government to mess with their future success by taxing them like they do the poor and middle class now.
So, they fight to keep the top 2% of the population, who have more wealth than the bottom 98% combined, from paying their share, which if they paid would get us out of the debt the rightwing brought us, after those on the politically left got us out of it. They do not seem to see that the now rich are rich at the expense of the now poor and the now middle class. They bought the bird in the bush and pie in sky trick. But, the sky is falling and the bush is burning.
And then there’s the Christian connection.
That’s been a real magic, bunny out of hat trick, by the rightwing. They’ve convinced Christians that Jesus would hate the poor enough to give what little they have to the rich. You kind of have to hand it to them for that one. They’re good. Logically, you can’t, on the surface, even imagine that that one would go over. But, it did and continues to work for them.
And they are not even close to what Jesus preached, love thy neighbor as thyself. They are about stealing from thy neighbor to make thyself richer. And yet, it’s the supposed Christian base that, by and large, votes these “worst of men” into public offices. Go figure. Huh?
Can anyone explain that to me? Or better still, can someone, please, explain it to them? The FAUX News that permeates society has left their heads so far up their posteriors that they can’t hear the truth. Can someone free their ears, please?
We all know power corrupts. Thus, we really do know, even if only subconsciously, that those who crave power are the exact opposite of who should be in power. The power hungry sycophant class is too easily corruptible. And those who would do the corrupting, for their own gain, know exactly whom they can corrupt the most easily.
If you would work a man, know his desires and his weaknesses, to paraphrase Francis Bacon. The corrupters know who will sell out their mothers for fame, fortune, and power. And they do know very well how to how to work them.
Those we would have to drag, kicking and screaming, to be in the public and in power are those who should run our government. Those are people we can trust. They don’t want the limelight. They know it’s bad for their complexions. They don’t want the power. They know their rewards are not in material possessions or physical power. Their hearts and minds are above the fray. They know power is an illusion, if not a delusion. They would just rule by law for the benefit of all to live in peace and harmony.
The problem for us is, we can’t find those kind of conscious and solid citizens. They don’t want to be found. They know better. They know they will not be repaid for their sacrifice to serve the people with gratitude and understanding by the masses, but rather with the reward of thrown stones. So, the stone age minds continue to rule this age, too.
So, here we are, stuck again with the bottom feeders, entering by default, into Lord of the Flies time. The criminally insane continue to run the asylum.
When we handed the biggest gavel to the biggest baby bully crying out the loudest for power, we knew we were headed into the waterfall at edge of the universe.
So, hold onto the boat and for dear life, my dears… We are charged with nothing less than keeping the light of sanity shining. We will be back.
You really can’t keep a good “man” down… Good will out in the end. So, keep the faith. And remember what Jesus would do: Have a big fish fry for all and keep the wine pouring.
Saturday, May 1, 2010
I think, as with life itself existing at all in the universe, the odds of a relationship making it at all are about one in ten trillion. Nonetheless, we find ourselves alive and relating to each other, for better or for worse.
Relationships are work, we always hear. Or maybe it’s ourselves we hear saying, bitching that. But often, they are more like a bloody war than just a mere job.
Why can’t we all just get along? Why do we prefer war to peace in our relationships? Why do they often seem like more of a competition than a cooperation? Wouldn’t it help people in a relationship, as well as the survival of our species itself, to cooperate with each other?
Doesn’t it make more sense, that if everyone cooperated for the greater good, things would go along far more swimmingly for all involved, on all levels? For instance, wouldn’t not capturing, torturing, or killing anyone, but instead giving the other a helping hand, thereby helping ourselves with our own hands, make for a better world?
Why, instead, does it feel that there is some goal we think we must reach, passing Go and grabbing the cash, before the other can? Why do we need to beat the other? Where are we going? Are we proving something? Dog eat dog relationships? Last guy standing is not that rotten something or other?
Everything in life is relating. Right? Everything and everyone relates to everything and everyone else. We don’t materialize out of thin air. We are born through another. We need the other.
As with the Acacia tree and the ants, life is inter-woven, inter-active, and inter-dependent for survival. Scratch my back. I’ll scratch yours. Or in the case of the ant, I’ll keep pests off your limbs for some good eats.
We would not have even evolved if plant life had not developed first. Without the oxygen plants give off as a bi-product, we wouldn’t be breathing here. Life is simply symbiotic. No one, nothing survives alone in a vacuum.
It’s the Indian myth’s web of gems, with each one reflecting the next into infinity. We are all gems and part and parcel of that web of life. We’re all in this kitchen sink together, that Mulligan Stew of existence.
So, why don’t we take better care of our essential connections to each other and to every living thing instead of acting as if some god put the other fauna and flora here to serve us?
Countries, companies, religions, gangs, races, genders, and individuals all seem bent on bringing the other down while running off with the other’s flag toward some illusionary goal line in the sand. They argue, point, criticize, correct, and condemn the other to make themselves better than.
And this happens even within loving personal relationships, not just in the competitive world of business or in a war zone or gang turf war, or in a courtroom. Or maybe we have made life all one big court case. The People vs. People trial of the ages.
Are we all just stuck in an unconscious circular rat race, playing a game of steal the flag, or chess to the death? Why, shouldn’t it be more like Alice in Wonderland’s, Caucus Race?
All the creatures run around in a circle. There is no beginning, no end. Anyone can begin wherever he is and leave off wherever he is. And in the end, everyone wins and gets a prize. Now that makes sense.
That’s life. It’s simply a circle and yet, we run around like we are going to get somewhere first and be looked up to as some great conquering hero. Is it all ego and hero worship complexes?
But, really everyone is already a hero. We have each chosen to take this death-defying journey of life. And we need each other along our routes to keep us on track and off cliffs.
So, why do we not understand that there is no such thing as winning alone? If survival is our goal, why don’t we know that that desire to be on top, produces it’s opposite effect of all those you trampled to get there, pitching rocks at you to bring you down hard?
Did this need to conquer begin with early man and its need to survive when food was short? Maybe, but all life takes life in the process of surviving. And within species, members kill their own to make sure their genes are passed on rather than the other’s. Each individual thinks it is the best combination of that gene pool ever created and that it must replicate itself over others for the future good of its species and life.
Now, I’ve read rules of engagement for relationships to work. I’ve read Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements. I know that we should not take ourselves too seriously or accept another’s criticisms without realizing he is probably projecting his own feelings of inadequacy. I know we should reflect before we project or deflect our lousy day off on to the other, too.
I know we should respect and treat each other the way we wish to be treated. Jesus’ Golden Rule is the best and simplest ground rule for the world to co-exist. But, do we abide by the rules, especially the golden one?
Not so much really. People are constantly at war with each other. Sun Tzu’s 6th Century B.C., The Art of War is still a huge seller, and recommended to executives for business dealings. We learn to live by the rules of engagement in war.
And the divorce rate in the US, according to the Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri, is 50% of first marriages, 67% of second and 74% of third marriages. According to enrichment journal (whatever that is) the divorce rate in America for first marriages is only 41%, second 60%, and third 73%.
Those third marriages are really under siege, endangered species. If at first you don’t succeed, give it up already… Huh? And marrying between the ages of 20 and 24 seems to doom it even more. Why is that worse than marrying at age 17? Too much time being free, know the difference, and thus harder to adapt to the compromise a union requires? My way or highway thinking? Longer in individual egg rather than as two broken into omelet?
And look at all the drivers yelling at each other on the road. People are ready to battle complete strangers at the drop of a hat, or the cutting off of a car in traffic.
And countries. People in mass are a mess? Mob mentality rules? A country will declare another country the enemy and then objectify the people as different from themselves, and all as one big bad seed, so they can feel justified in trying to destroy it or take its property or resources.
Hate and fear and label branding are camouflage for motives. I’m not trying to steal their oil or water. I’m trying to stop their evil ways from hurting themselves any longer, and introduce them to Democracy and Jesus. I want them to go to heaven. Yeah. Sooner than later, too, if they happen to be sitting on resources we need.
And far too often, the same thing seems to apply in a romantic relationship. Instead of cooperating in love to make their union work for the best for both parties in that omelet, it’s too often a competition. Seems we often plunder rather than embellish our significant other.
One wants to control the other. One wants to dominate. One must be right, the other wrong. Is it all just deep insecurity and/or fear of being abandoned, losing the other, being alone, again, naturally? So, instead, we drive the other to run screaming away before they wake up and decide they are better off without us, so that we are still in control?
Is it just a matter of seeing one’s own faults in the other and familiarity breeding contempt? Don’t we put people on pedestals only to then try to knock them off later? Or do we just look up to people we don’t personally know. Never a prophet in one’s own land theory.
I don’t know. But, I do know that when you bring two different, unique human egos together, all hell can break loose. It would seem that with all our same human genetic make-up, we’d be more on the same page.
And then, again, maybe we are. Maybe we are all on the same competitive, knock the other guy off the mountain to claim it as our own page.
What if we just dug beneath the surface a little deeper? If we can spill oil by digging, couldn’t we spill no man is an island consciousness and our deep connections by digging into ourselves more? Water represents the mind, after all. Dig, baby, dig. Spill love and oneness.
We want our freedom to do what we want when we want. And we want the relationship to be there as our safety net. We want sex, support, and companionship. We do need each other. We do want each other. And yet, war continues to break out all over the place all the time. Quel waste…
Maybe it’s time we take stock of our own superficial and counter-productive thinking and not only dig in, but back up a bit to get a less myopic view of what we’re doing and why. Time for Sun Tzu’s retreat and regroup plan. Not to live to fight another day. But, instead to live to love another day.
Wouldn’t that make a lovely and fine mess of the war zone we’ve created here in paradise? Love is all there is. Let’s practice it. We can get it right.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
I don’t even know what I want to say now, I just realize I must say something. Keep my hand in, as it were.
Health care legislation passed during my MIA act. I mean, if you can call it health care. Seems like another give away to giant corporations to me. But, hey. I’m not a politician.
It seems they have to sell their souls to get anything resembling anything passed and get re-elected, so they can keep their fabulous tax payer paid health care coverage.
Well, at least we may do away with pre-existing conditions being a condition of getting coverage. No a priori genetic malfunctions hanging over our heads. Or do they still hang us in the end? I think I read we can apply to some expensive pool if we want to have insurance coverage.
Did you believe that wonderful Supreme Court decision to allow corporations to spend any obscene amount of money they choose to, to promote or trash candidates? Wonderful. Wonderful.
Thank you, The Supremes. What a great group. But, really, corporations are people, too. Don’t they deserve their rights as much as the next guy? Just because they can outspend the other guy a billion to one, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be allowed to do that. Right?
Nothing like the good old United States of Corporations, business as usual. Democracy in this country is nothing but P.R. Yeah, don’t get me started about the P.R. driven media, either. I don’t have the time. They're just pabulum. Dangerous to our health pabulum. They’ve become more the inciting to riot and create mayhem variety.
Oh, well… C’est la vie…
You want justice? Dream on, Dream Girls. Life is illusion. And those who would keep their illusionary pockets lined with as much illusionary gold as they can accumulate keep you living in your own version of Lala Land. And hey… Why not? If it is all pretend world, anyway, we might as well pretend we live in the land of flowing honey.
Well, I have to don my beekeeper’s suit and go harvest… I’ll bee back. Well, at least some illusion of me will bee... or not.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
“Money is the root of all evil,” the young Armenian male bank teller said after explaining to me that he loves money.
Well, what’s not to love? I thought. As the old joke says, it’s way ahead of whatever is in second place. Well, we all know that love is the most important thing in the world and not in second place at all. But, really, when you have love and no money…? Doesn’t feel quite as first placey, somehow.
I heard about a study recently that said that most women, when questioned, chose more money a week in their checking accounts over having more sex. We've always been a more pragmatic gender.
One can buy sex. But, one can’t buy money. Gotta have it to buy it. And, as the song goes, your love doesn’t pay my bills. A male first must feather the nest with the finest to attract the finest females; I figure my young money-loving teller is figuring.
He told me he was studying to become a C.P.A. That's great, I’d said. That is a good job, always in demand in our tricky economic situation. I don’t know if he felt guilty from family influence, or a church, but it seemed he had a need, to let me know that he did know that money is bad.
I can’t imagine a parent telling a young man that wanting to earn money was evil. Maybe he attends an Orthodox church that promotes vow of poverty rhetoric. Rich man, camels, eyes of needles, and all...
Money isn’t the root of all evil, I told him. Selfishness and greed are. There is certainly nothing inherently evil about clam shells or whatever we used in our previous incarnations to pay for things. Receiving cash, clams, whatever, is just a thank you gift for your product or service.
If we lived in a less selfish society where we took care of each other and lived with a barter system, it would be better. I could give you a few dozen eggs from my free range, organically raised hens and tomatoes and zucchini and basil from my free of pesticides, organic garden for the rent. Win-win. And you are even healthier for having property to rent.
Only, it doesn’t work. We’ve grown to be too large a group. So, it’s paper, gold, silver, (copper mostly now), something concrete to hand over to say your work, service, property, is truly valued and appreciated.
If only we could get big biz to value, appreciate, and reward its workers. Instead, it’s pay as little as you can to keep your own salaries and bonuses astronomical.
What was it I heard Stephen Hemsley, the CEO of UnitedHealth, makes? I think I read $270,086.83 each month. But, I think that was before bonuses and other perks, like his retirement package. I hope he’s not covered by UnitedHealth. He earns(?) more than six times the average person’s yearly income in one month? And, again, that’s leaving out the more generous CEO perks. I heard someone say that Hemsley makes $100,000+ each hour. Wow. Now that’s greed.
Hemsley denies people’s health care needs for a living and he is richly rewarded for it. Now that is selfish. How does he sleep at night? He probably self-medicates, just as at least 46 million uninsured Americans have to do. He is evil.
And the rightwing puppets who are in the pockets of UnitedHealth Care and every other big insurance company and big pharma are, also, evil. They choose money over the welfare of the people they allege to represent, the people who voted them into their offices. The people who, out of their taxes, pay for their salaries and for their wonderful insurance coverage, are denied health care.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
You are what you think. You made your life by thinking it so. Nightmares are only in your mind. Mind as creator… Life as mirror. You thinking. Life reflecting.
You can say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not alone. You’re here. We’re all in this kitchen sink soup together. The world can live as one… We just need a wake up call. Pour the coffee into the sink…
Bastardizing John Lennon as my iPod plays.
Man. I miss that man. What the world could have been like if we’d had our great poet and activist to help guide us through these times… Composing and singing us into action against injustice. Who, old enough to remember, couldn’t just sit down and cry for that terrible day the music was murdered in prime time?
Why does the world kill genius? Why does it kill heroes, people who fight for right, justice and truth, and pave new paths for humanity to step up to higher levels of consciousness? Fear?
Why do we set people up on pedestals and then spend the rest of the time trying to knock them off? Do we try to bring them down to the level we think we occupy, so we won’t be challenged or have to strive to be better? Fear?
How much of the mind is genetic make up and how much formed from experience? I know fear is essential for human survival and therefore built into the brain. If we didn’t fear, we might not get out of the way of that Mack truck.
But, is fear and feelings of inadequacy mostly just learned? I mean when it’s not about survival. Can it be passed down from inadequate feeling ancestors? Or is it imprinted from bad parenting and bad experiences?
I’ve seen some very inadequate human specimens who feel far beyond their actual value. Case in point, our last administration in D.C. And I’ve seen wonderful humans totally self-denigrate and waste talents. I’ve seen beautiful individuals who apparently have no mirrors. I’ve seen very unattractive folks who also, apparently, don’t use mirrors.
Are we pavlovianly trained in youth? Is it a mind warp? Are minds telling some that they are not up to snuff due to someone's input or do genes work in there? Or are we all a mish-mash, potpourri of nature/nurture? A little of this, a little of that, and you have a tangled web of thinking guiding some minds into dark mires, and others into limelights, where others can throw rocks at them.
Due to good folks not stepping up and not such good folks thinking they must step up as a favor to all, our world is driven by the ego-driven, clueless ones who seek attention, power for their own sakes, missing the real point entirely. Thus, the shape of our world…
All priorities skewed to make the rich richer with slaves to help their selfish ends. Do the slaves need more stones? Or are they feeling too inadequate to throw them?
Where are you, John? Man. We miss you. I think we need you now more than ever. Come back! It's such a long, winding road... We just need a little truth... Please, sing us back to some semblance of sanity. Help us imagine a world with love. It's all we need.
Monday, June 22, 2009
"To call woman the weaker sex is a libel; it is man's injustice to woman. If by strength is meant brute strength, then, indeed, is woman less brute than man. If by strength is meant moral power, then woman is immeasurably man's superior. Has she not greater intuition, is she not more self-sacrificing, has she not greater powers of endurance, has she not greater courage? Without her, man could not be. If nonviolence is the law of our being, the future is with woman. Who can make a more effective appeal to the heart than woman?"
Saturday, May 16, 2009
- 884 million people worldwide, (roughly 1 in 8) lack access to safe water, that's two and a half times the entire U.S. population.
- 4,000 young children are killed every day due to diarrheal diseases throughout the world, amounting to 1.5 million children each year. That's the equivalent of every professional football, baseball, basketball and hockey player dying in one day, but repeated everyday.
- 90 percent of waste water in developing countries is discharged into rivers and streams without any treatment. This is water used for bathing, cleaning and drinking.
- The average distance that women in developing countries walk to collect water per day is 4 miles and the average weight that women carry on their heads is approximately 40 pounds.
- 2.5 billion people don't have adequate sanitation facilities.
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