Monday, January 18, 2016

How is not why...

Oh, Economist, sloppy scientific rationalism once again. I was hoping for a stimulating philosophical discussion only to be disappointed and bored by the physic and linguistic discussion of how. Nowhere is the answer to the question why addressed. The confusion between how and why is truly endemic.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Ideas for my Self Help book for others...

Choose any three, five, seven or 12 steps and create your own way to get you somewhere other than where you are now:

1. Get lost. No, really, go for a long trip and don't tell anyone where you are going and when you'll come back, if ever.
2. Forget past bad relationships. They ended for a reason, stop beating yourself up, move on.
3. Burned bridges are just that, burned bridges. If you wish build a new one, if not, walk along the bank until you find a safe ford across, find another bridge or turn around and walk away from the water.
4. There are users and abusers out there as well as the used and abused, sad but true. It isn't going to change.
5. You are who you are, nice person, bad, axe murderer or Saint. Stop being so self involved. People will either like you or not.
6. Other people are who they are, nice person, bad, axe murderer or Saint. Stop trying to understand them so much. And don't try to change them. If you like them, good, get to know them, if you don't like them, let them go, forget them.
7. Stop reading self help books. They just make the obvious even more so, the authors know no more than you do, they are just better at selling their thoughts than you are. Instead make your own.
8. Don't wait for Devine inspiration, there is no such thing. Figure it out yourself.
9. If you are a sheep follow the herd, if you are not then don't, just remember predators are after you either way.
10. If you are a predator don't expect a lot of folks to be too chummy with you, especially other predators.
11. The world is a nicer place than it is bad, you are a nicer person than you are bad. At least I hope so.
12. Insincere apologies are worse than no apology at all. Use apologies sparingly and with meaning.
13. Avoid aggressive people, they have a knack for starting fires and burning you in them.
14. Better to share than hoard, anything, especially things deemed valuable.
15. Sports is not a mirror of life. Sports is fun, life is much more risky, dangerous and fulfilling.
16. Walk away from people who talk too much.
17. Run away from loud and hysterical people.
18. Economists have little idea what they are talking about, a fortune teller is just as good.
19. Lawyers can often both talk their way in to and out of trouble, and always at someone else's expense.
20. Politicians lie and obfuscate the truth to suit their situation, don't be surprised, it's in the job description.
21. In the main teachers teach as they were taught - the once oppressed become the new oppressors.
22. Society is not nature and nature is not society, anyone who says so has no idea what either is, mean and how they work.
23. If you want something get up and get it, do not make someone else get it.
24. Everyone is allowed their opinion, even the uninformed.
25. Applaud the losers for without them there would be no winners.
26. Yes, Virginia, there are bullies. Out in the open and in hiding.
27. Admire the poor for without them we would not have the rich.
28. Planning is good, being quick of mind and foot is better.
29. The act of capitalism is necessarily morally cold, no wonder some capitalists search for warm spots through philanthropy.
30. Morally good is superior to ethically good; so, do what's right, not just legal.
31. Capitalism means that some people are more economically equal than others and most seem content with that. The sooner you square that away in your head the more will be revealed to you.
32. Democracy means only those who want to play have to, making some more politically equal than others and is a hairsbreadth from dictatorship.
33. Sometimes the most exotic places on earth are right next to you.
34. Keep your eyes forward, looking back tells you where you were and precious little about where you're going.
35. Things weren't better in the good old days, just different. In the good old days you couldn't  wait to have things move on and change. Keep your mind on today.
36. Strange how the more people there are the lonelier it gets, keep life simple, live small town.
37. You remember yesterday and dream about tomorrow all the while doing today.
38. Death happens almost as often as birth, the two ends of the journey of life. It is what it is.
39. It's okay to fail, it's not okay to quit.
40. However, if you fail time after time, give up and try something else.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Private Education

"I agree about the challenges you all face but would you for a moment consider the fact that private education is getting quite a bit of momentum - that bother you?"

Private Ed is getting traction, because those in circles of power and wealth, and those who wish to climb to that, no longer value inclusiveness and equality. We will go back to Ed of 100 years ago where only the wealthy will have good schools for their kids to go to. The voucher system has done just that in the U.S. More institutions will be needed for the disadvantaged kids, parents will pay more to get them even a basic education. What we have in society, a gross inequality of wealth, will be mirrored in our education system. The point of compulsory public education was to create an equal basis for all kids and creating a less combative public space based on merit rather than wealth upon their graduation. This effort had inefficiencies and costs, it was known, anticipated and accepted. This has all been supplanted by the reawakening of classical liberal ideology. What was once accepted to make a better society, equality, has now been made to seem unacceptable and that inequality and the struggle to achieve more is what makes people stronger. This struggle between modern liberal collectivism, with public education seemingly its last bastion, and classical liberal individualism is now at play in our schools. Does the move to private education bother me? Not at all. A few generations of privileged wealthy cutthroat graduates getting into the economy creating an even greater class division in society will bring about a convulsion that Karl predicted in 1850, not ending the way he thought, but the event will occur. If anything I wouldn't mind private education, I don't have kids so my taxes will fall by 50% and who wouldn't want that!

What's wrong with philanthropy?

Having often thought there was something wrong with philanthropy, I couldn't ever put my finger on exactly why. I think I have it now. Capitalists use the notion of philanthropy as a justification for capitalism in the first place, 'see how wonderful the wealthy are as they donate huge sums to the poor, education and the arts - no government does that without raising taxes', or so goes the mantra of the haves. I stumbled on something that began to open that door, 'people should stop being good in the way they distribute their money, they should try being good in the way they're making it'. Carnagie, Gates, Haskayne, Werklund have all 'given back', but why? Was their 'share' too big to begin with? Are they feeling guilt at their success at the expense of others? If they are to give back, why not to the workers who actually made their fortunes? Why not give each employee their share rather than donating it to 'cultural' edifices and organizations that cater to the wealthy, such as grand music halls or whole faculty wings of universities. Having expropriated the surplus labour from the workers in the first place and amassed it, why not give it back to them? Why? Because of the basic need for inequality in the capitalism sandbox, labour simply should not get its fair share. But if that notion is true it is interesting the idea of sharing should still surface. There is something innate in us that looks askance at the outrageous accumulation of things, money included, and this seemingly rings throughout human history and regardless of culture. Somehow we know it's not morally correct. It's as though in the core of our being we are more sharers than hoarders. In the end philanthropy is to alleviate the embarrassment of riches, to forestall negative sentiment and to outwardly look good to the general public. I found this vid

Monday, November 30, 2015

Dogmatic Repression

Repression comes in many guises, but none so vehement as that from dogmas. The struggle between the great religions and New Atheism claiming its base on logical science is a case in point. Both, now, use practically the same arguments for and against each other. New Atheism is being hailed as 'the' answer in much the same way as religion has. In their extremes they are equally wrong, both can be considered religions as both rely on the same principles, that is belief and faith. Both are constructs of the human mind and as such open to the same degree of critical analysis. The response to this critical analysis is the curse of dogma, blindness to itself as it uses any and all tactics to disprove the other. The more entrenched the other the more extreme the attacks of the first. The near delusional self belief, the self righteous indignation and the scoffing between the dogmas is ridiculous.

Power and Freedom of Speech

It's ridiculous to believe people ever had freedom of speech and privacy. Power never allows this and pays nothing but devious lip service to these ideas to placate the masses. Freedom of speech and privacy are direct threats to established power, even democratically elected power. Power fears the loss of power and so will do anything to preserve itself, particularly in the name of 'the people', especially the 'chosen' people. Living, sharing, thinking and doing collectively can not be tolerated and must be stopped at all costs. The definition of community has become so narrow in our individualistic world that it's left us insular even where we live, alone in a crowd of homes not knowing our neighbors other than only in a very superficial way. The silly notion of 'rugged individualism' has crushed our natural sense of small group community and its sense of safety and security in being able to depend on one another. If that ever develops too strongly, power comes along to either crush it or ostracize it.

Conservatives, in general, have a negative view of humanity. It's in their history. Progressivism includes an ongoing and developing belief that people, in the main, will make the right choices if given the opportunity. For Conservatives that's too much freedom for if given the chance people will choose to help each other, the unfortunate or the disadvantaged none of which Conservatives care for, there's no profit in it. So, in their eyes to be more 'individually free' people must be controlled by authoritarianism and kept individual so that the outcome will be more predictable and in the favor of those in power. Simple divide and conquer.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

More isn't necessarily better

Sept. 20, 2015.  It's exhausting living in this 'more is better' society of ours. Both economically and socially this attitude is ultimately unsustainable. Again, as Alberta Education, and subsequently school boards, seeks to change, it does so by piling on more stuff rather than thinning it out and making what remains better. More and more is being asked of both students and teachers, more and more is being said about a competitive environment, more and more about being ahead of the curve. This philosophy, or attitude, will do nothing to increase our success rates, keep kids in school or make us smarter. The more intense the competition, the more losers there will be - simple. Just look at any competition in any activity. If all we desire is the 'best of the best' then be prepared for more of the 'worst of the worst' as well, it's as thunder following lightning. Our efforts at increasing the number of winners and decreasing the losers has failed for the past 30 years, if anything it has consistently worsened. More isn't the answer and neither is competition.