Saturday, April 22, 2017

You rebel you

I am often told that I think too much.  When in my mind people do not think enough.  I am told I feel too much.  When in my mind people don't feel.  They are emotional, perhaps, but lie about what they actually feel.  Or they play the role that society has chosen for them.

All of this is part of how we allow society to assign a niche for who we are.  If you are a white male, in Western society you are said to receive privilege.  If you happen to be emotional and artistic, however, you are said to be a fag.

We might be individuals, we might be.  But in our lives we follow paths others have trod.  Doing otherwise makes you a rebel.  And rebels usually die at the end of their quest, earlier than the natural life span they might have lived.  So is that wrong?

“Awake, arise or be for ever fall’n.” John Milton  Paradise Lost

Jesus Christ was a rebel.  Gandhi was a rebel.  Buddha was a rebel.  Laozi was a rebel.  These examples are not the norm, they are the abnormal.  That they existed and were allowed to speak to various peoples, is not the norm. "K'ung Fu-tzu" or Confucius gave out life wisdom that was meant to harken back to principles that humans should live by according to Ancient conceptions in China of society.  Communism, Socialism, and Fascism all can be measured by the way they attempted to remove the individualism from society and aim efforts toward become the mythic volk, or society that lives as one unit.

I am not saying rebels are the best of society.  I am not saying all forms of Communism, Socialism, or Fascism are evil.  I am saying that most people believe themselves to be an individual, but are clearly not.

Being a rebel isn't always the best path.  Various rebellions came from abject discord, and led to horrible tragic loss of life.  Not every rebel is a saint, not every leader of society is a sinner.  It is important to have context in the path you walk.

But never assume that life means doing ________.  It doesn't mean anything other than you breathe, eat, shit, sleep, and only perhaps do more.  You are the captain of your own ship, never let others determine your goals or destination.   A vast number of great achievers in the world began life being educated for a different path than the one that they ended up walking.  We are all units of an enormous group, we are human.  But the best part of humanity, is that we can determine our own goal.

Oh Great Ares, How we worship you

 “When the rich wage war it's the poor who die.” ― Jean-Paul Sartre

 “War is what happens when language fails.”― Margaret Atwood

The Greek God Ares represented Victory in war, by any means.  His attributes included bloodlust in battle and slaughter.   The people of Earth know that war means death.  They know that there is enormous costs, financially and physically.  Every weapon made results in a theft, because the weapon was made rather than an investment in education, libraries, clean energy, removal of pollution, feeding the starving people of the world. (paraphrase of Dwight D. Eisenhower).

“Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die.”― Herbert Hoover

When I say humans worship Ares, I do not mean every human, nor do I mean that they are aware of the worship they do.  But despite war being an end to some situations, humans resort to war not as a final option, they prefer it as an option.  (See the Iraq war, and the refusal to allow inspections to prove there were no WMDs. ) 

“Only the dead have seen the end of war.”― Plato

Being an American I was taught to be grateful for the sacrifice of lives in past wars.  They had died, it was said, for the defense of freedom and country.  I believe that some did.  I believe others died due to the incompetence of leadership, false believes about the enemy, and the fact that America has gone to war, sometimes, for bad reasons.

“Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.”― Ernest Hemingway

Dying for a commodity is beyond bad, unless the commodity is oxygen or water.  Just as a person who steals food due to having no money elicits sympathy if not acceptance, a person stealing lawn chairs or drive offs at a gas pump are simply bad.  The wars fought by Americans have often been about expanding or strengthening the country.  That is somewhat reasonable.

“All war is a symptom of man's failure as a thinking animal.”― John Steinbeck

In ancient Greece, Ares is said to have been hated by the other gods, and few humans worshiped him.  But they continually made war.  Here the Greeks can be seen as another group of people who paid lip service to one value (Athena, Goddess of wisdom, and honor) but lived by another.

From Homer, author of the Iliad and the Odyssey 

Then looking at him darkly Zeus who gathers the clouds spoke to him:
"Do not sit beside me and whine, you double-faced liar.
To me you are the most hateful of all gods who hold Olympus.
Forever quarreling is dear to your heart, wars and battles.

And yet I will not long endure to see you in pain, since
you are my child, and it was to me that your mother bore you.
But were you born of some other god and proved so ruinous
long since you would have been dropped beneath the gods of the bright sky."

“The nuclear arms race is like two sworn enemies standing waist deep in gasoline, one with three matches, the other with five.”  ― Carl Sagan

I just cannot remember...

“Every man's memory is his private literature.”  Aldous Huxley

Memory is vital to experience. Without memory, we are not us. If we could not remember past events, we could not learn or develop language, relationships, nor personal identity (Eysenck, 2012).


There is a concept in brain science that humans have a limited memory.  That makes sense, the amount of information taken in, on a daily basis, is more than many people in the deep past took in a year.  Some people argue that they have a photographic memory, but, every person's memory lies to them.  And many do not see how it could do such a thing.

“Our memory is a more perfect world than the universe: it gives back life to those who no longer exist.”  Guy de Maupassant

How is this possible?  For one thing, we remember what is important, but our memories are biased by our life views and beliefs.  It is certainly true that one remembers what they do for different reasons.  Remembering a horrific event is generally more clear than a happy one, because of the manner in which it is recalled.  We are less likely to remember specifics if they do not matter.

Eyewitnesses of crime have in the past been given a greater sway of importance than a theory of motive, chance to act, likelihood of committing of a crime by the offender.  The reason was that the victim or the eyewitness have a desire to see the right person penalized, and only a fool or asshole would wish the Justice system try an innocent person for the same.  This is based upon a truism, but that doesn't mean it is correct.  There is evidence that eyewitnesses have a memory of the event also colored by what they know before the event, and by the event, and later by their reasons for reporting it.

A prime example of eyewitness failures is found in rape events where DNA proves another man did the deed.  (I say man, not in any assault of males, but in the de facto truth that they are the majority, by far, of such crimes.)  DNA has changed the results of numerous criminal results where the previous convictions were arrived at by eyewitness reports.

"I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don't have complete emotions about the present, only about the past." Virginia Woolf

We remember because it is part of creating our overall self, this is important.  But our memories are rarely true, so much as they are truish.  Someone I knew remembered for a fact that a certain baseball manager was the one who took a team to the World Series.  The person was rather unwilling to learn the difference but upon being lectured toward, I went and photocopied a page from the Baseball Encyclopedia.  I found the exact dates, the events, and made a presentation to the person.  That person called me an asshole, and 10 years later I heard them repeat the same falsehood.  The manager was a good one, and he did take two teams to the playoffs, but he never managed them into the World Series.  It honestly didn't matter to me until I was lectured upon his version of the truth, so it isn't important what manager, what team, and who held the falsehood.  The truth was that he liked this manager, and didn't prefer to know the truth.

“Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were.”  Marcel Proust

When you are certain someone is wrong, because they remember it being true, you might be right.  But, your memory itself might be at fault.  Before debating learn a fact, and return to the debate armed for battle.  Facts are just pieces of information, neither positive nor negative.  But your memory is biased. 

“Memory is more indelible than ink.”Anita Loos

Do not assume you have an unbiased memory, because everyone's memory is biased.

Popular versus Quality

I've known many people who have given voice to idea that Popularity equals Quality.  It is true that we all have individual tastes, and those tastes affect our ability to objective.  But that doesn't mean it is true that popular bands are the best, nor the fact that to like something means it must be great.

When a person expresses the fact that the quality of a creative item or event has nothing to do with quality it becomes a war cry to some who refuse to accept the opinion of others, even experts.   It could be true to suggest that while popularity is not a function of quality, the perceived charisma of a person influences how others perceive them.  I was watching the Olympics Figure Skating, and one of the skaters did average, but she was gorgeous.  She received about 25% more of the grading score than I think she deserved.  Another woman did better on the ice, but she was not a nice looking woman.  And she scored a great deal less well for doing a better routine than the previous skater. 

A commentator on the radio spoke about he had listened to all the singers for American Idol, since he is blind, found certain performers to be just ok, and others to be great.  But his views didn't match up with other commentators.  He couldn't be moved by the charisma of looks, therefore the popularity of beauty.  His picks for who would win were not bad, but he said if we all listened instead of looked, in adoration, we might have a great deal many more great artists, and fewer "stars".   Scientists of the human brain have said that humans are hard wired to think beauty equals being smarter, being a leader, being special.

Quality can be unpopular.  Popularity can still be without worth.

Objective quality has to have a standard, and certain arts are without a means to be properly judged. The reliance upon subjectivity is an obstacle to knowing quality beyond the popular.

Therefore the truth is, it takes a higher level of thought to find what is best.

Mickey Spillane:  "Those big-shot writers … could never dig the fact that there are more salted peanuts consumed than caviar."

Greed Fall before the feet of Mammon

Source Wikipedia, from the Movie "Wall Street".

"Gordon Gekko: Teldar Paper, Mr. Cromwell, Teldar Paper has 33 different vice presidents each earning over 200 thousand dollars a year. Now, I have spent the last two months analyzing what all these guys do, and I still can't figure it out. One thing I do know is that our paper company lost 110 million dollars last year, and I'll bet that half of that was spent in all the paperwork going back and forth between all these vice presidents. The new law of evolution in corporate America seems to be survival of the unfittest. Well, in my book, you either do it right or you get eliminated. In the last seven deals that I've been involved with, there were 2.5 million stockholders who have made a pre-tax profit of 12 billion dollars. [applause] Thank you. I am not a destroyer of companies. I am a liberator of them! The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms: greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge, has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA. Thank you very much. "

The system of Capitalism has existed, more or less, since the advent of money.  When barter and trade and all other forms of distribution of wealth and commerce were used the idea of greed surely existed.  But the idea of making a killing in profit has a the quality about it that only money in purchase can relate, otherwise the deal is seen not as "the way it goes" but a bad deal.  The origins of the market have deep long buried roots.  As long as Caveman Ogg had something that Caveman Zig wanted, they would decide a price in goods or labor, and the transaction would be done.  But when manufacturing and money are involved, all the areas of cost, labor, time, investment are brought out in full view.

This is not saying anything is wrong.  I do not seek to gain knowledge only by moralizing it and casting it aside.  Capitalism is a system.  It has potential to enrich the wealthy further, and steal from the laborers or others in inequitable dealings, but, it is also a means by allowing simple, untrained individuals to utilize their labors to bring back more than they put into it.

"No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money."  Matthew 6:24 ESV

The concepts of the path of evolution, as laid out by Charles Darwin were taken up by social and economic thinkers.  By applying them to the market, the term survival of the fittest rightly suggests that it is a natural and organic response to the market, that making the most money is the best way to remain healthy.  This could also include how good quality of work is valuable, and that treatment of workers is important to have a healthy and productive work force.  Survival of the fittest can be aimed in many directions.  Some of these approach racism, and others talk about how those who do not strive do not deserve a safety net, that any government support weakens the group.

There are, of course, numerous views on this.

Adam Smith explained that when all have a desire to advance, capitalism allows all to invest energy into a plan, and make a better life for all by the mutual desire to succeed.

Fernand Braudel suggested that capitalism is not a fair exchange, but rather, the means by which people gain by deception.  He said it was the weakness of capitalism to assume it moves without distinct winners and losers in the exchange.

Since my goal is not to find a way to criticize Capitalism or those who partake in it, I want to say that there are many areas of truth to both arguments.  But those concepts are by no means fully true.   It might be true to say that people can be dishonest when money is involved.  But I've lost my wallet a couple times and when returned every cent remained in my wallet.  I think some people have no honor, but I doubt it is the majority of people.  And it would be true to say that people value their labor more than those responsible for the payment of money.  This doesn't constitute theft or cheating.

"But even a medicine man like myself has to have some money, because you force me to live in your make-believe world where I can't get along without it.” John Lame Deer

I attend comic and book shows.  If I see a price that is too high I have a right and responsibility to my personal budget, to not buy it.  Or, I could barter with the sales person.  But if I buy a comic that is over priced, it is not the seller's fault, as an informed buyer I should be willing to say no, if the book is overpriced.  Also, there are instances of fraud.  In the comic book world there are counterfeit works, and being unaware of them might get you paying 300 dollars for a comic that is photocopied. While this suggests that the seller is cheating, it might not be the case.  Many sellers have no idea whether their comic in hand is genuine or counterfeit. That can be the nature of collectibles and the buyer should make himself aware, or it is his fault for not doing what is best for him.

From a personal perspective I am well aware that not everyone has extra money to spend.  Many people, similarly to me, are not motivated by money as a means of liberation or success.  Society and governments are often pushed to create social safety nets for the people who fail in the world of making money.  I write books.  I make very little money.  I write from home, I get paid for my sales, but if it weren't for my wife's success in the world, I'd starve.  Not every job equals payment. Not said with pride but totally accurate, I am unsuccessful in many different areas, and my work history is cluttered with failure.  When becoming a writer that changed.  I work, tirelessly, often performing 80 hours of writing every week.  My goal is different than most, I would be content to die, so long as I've written and made my vision known.

"Maidens, like moths, are ever caught by glare, And Mammon wins his way where seraphs might despair." Lord Byron

My point is, money does motivate some, but, despite the offerings of the world, not everyone is motivated by a need to consume.  Materialism, more than Capitalism is the road to hell.  Anyone with a 120 inch television and sends pics of that to family at Christmas instead of the kids and the dog, is a Materialist, and they worship the god Mammon.

“He beheld Lourdes, contaminated by Mammon, turned into a spot of abomination and perdition, transformed into a huge bazaar, where everything was sold, masses and souls alike!”  Ă‰mile Zola

I am a Christian.  My point is not about the world's love of money, as opposed to the love of God, but that we should be clear what we are attempting, in life, to do.  Is it to love others?  Is it to own shit? Is it to work, sleep, enjoy yourself while being kind to other?  Or do you see kindness as weakness and steal your grandmother's social security check?

“It was not curiosity that killed the goose who laid the golden egg, but an insatiable greed that devoured common sense.” ― E.A. Bucchianeri  Gordon

Now that I've made my point I want to say, to know who is your master is vital.  It guides your existence.  Written eloquently, and disturbing is the song Head Like A Hole by Trent Reznor

God money I'll do anything for you.
God money just tell me what you want me to.
God money nail me up against the wall.
God money don't want everything he wants it all.
No you can't take it
No you can't take it
No you can't take that away from me
No you can't take it
No you can't take it
No you can't take that away from me
Head like a hole.
Black as your soul.
I'd rather die than give you control.
Head like a hole.
Black as your soul.
I'd rather die than give you control.
Bow down before the one you serve.
You're going to get what you deserve.
Bow down before the one you serve.
You're going to get what you deserve.
God money's not looking for the cure.
God money's not concerned with the sick among the pure.
God money let's go dancing on the backs of the bruised.
God money's not one to choose
No you can't take it
No you can't take it
No you can't take that away from me
No you can't take it
No you can't take it
No you can't take that away from me
Head like a hole.
Black as your soul.
I'd rather die than give you control.
Head like a hole.
Black as your soul.
I'd rather die than give you control.
Bow down before the one you serve.
You're going to get what you deserve.
Bow down before the one you serve.
You're going to get what you deserve.
Bow down before the one you serve.
You're going to get what you deserve.
Bow down before the one you serve.
You're going to get what you deserve.
Head like a hole.
Black as your soul.
I'd rather die than give you control.
Head like a hole.
Black as your soul.
I'd rather die than give you control.
Bow down before the one you serve.
You're going to get what you deserve.
Bow down before the one you serve.
You're going to get what you deserve.
You know who you are.

A Numbers Game

According to Thomas Malthus (An Essay on the Principle of Population)  "The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man"

He believed that population grew exponentially while resources grew arithmetically,  and the amount of land was finite.  Therefore, the human species would one day face an enormous catastrophe of more humans than food.

The world expanded its population by a factor of ten in 270 years. 

1750 AD  700 million
1804 AD  1 billion
1850 AD  1.2 billion
1900 AD  1.6 billion

The world population in 2017 7.5 billion humans

The question then is, when will we run out of food?

If humans are a social people, and live mostly together, the amount of land is itself not going to show the effect of overpopulation, from towns and cities.  The number of humans on earth if living in one area would take up a relatively small amount of space.  But when one calculates the amount of resources per person, the world use expands almost beyond comprehension.  That isn't because one group uses too much, necessarily, but the world is facing two very different issues with food.  The world's obesity rate is enormous, and outnumbers those facing starvation.  But starvation still exists in a world where food production could in fact feed the planet.

So one of the factors involved in starvation becomes who gets to eat.  And beyond that, who gets to eat to the point that they have become fat.  The gulf between the cruelty of starvation and the luxury of dying due to being fat and abnormal human intake of calories is enormous.  Half of the world has diabetes and heart disease from the gorging they have done.  And 40% of the world lives in fear of losing food security.  Therefore, there is no human population problem at the moment, there is an economic disparity between the two ends of the problem.  Does it actually happen that by eating more pie the fat take food out of the mouth of the thin?  Not in so many words.  But there is truth in saying that while the various countries of the third world struggle to grow cash crops, the people growing those crops eat far less well than the people buying the cash crops.  Workers on cocoa plantations have been shown on documentaries, never having tasted of chocolate, despite spending their life working in the fields.  The money they make can only afford necessities.

21,000 people die every day of hunger or hunger-related causes, according to the United Nations. One person dies every four seconds.

Over 100,000 Gastric bypass surgeries per year are performed in America alone, to aid obese patience in losing weight before they become unable to recover from the long term health impact of obesity.

Sourced by Wikipedia

"Obesity is a leading preventable cause of death worldwide, with increasing rates in adults and children. In 2014, 600 million adults (13%) and 42 million children under the age of five were obese. Obesity is more common in women than men.

Authorities view it as one of the most serious public health problems of the 21st century. Obesity is stigmatized in much of the modern world (particularly in the Western world), though it was seen as a symbol of wealth and fertility at other times in history and still is in some parts of the world.

In 2013, the American Medical Association classified obesity as a disease."

So is there an answer?  There could be, but the armies of the poor might be numerous, but the armies of the wealthy are well equipped, well fed, and have no incentive to share.

I believe that the answer is compassion, and that until we feel the sorrow equally, the question of hunger and over population will never be addressed.


Existence is not political.  It is actual.  Politics for some represents high achievement, but to me it is as Mao said, "Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed.".  Truth is not relative.  But every side of an event, or conflict has a perspective upon the said event or conflict that will be different than the others.  In war you might even find that allies who experienced an event, even perhaps victoriously, will have views that are different from their own side of the conflict.  We are all biased.  Therefore, we cannot begin to know the truth from within it.

In the 2016 Election Donald Trump was rightly scorched for his support from white nationalist groups.  The KKK is said to have unofficially endorsed Trump.  This received a great deal of press.  The American Communist party unofficial endorsement of Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 received almost no press.  The cause of this was both bias, and a realization of the truth.  It is simple, people of extreme views have views that will fall into place with various candidates.  They support the side they hope will give them power.  But the endorsement of idiots for any candidate doesn't mean anything.  A number of porn stars endorsed Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996.  Does that mean we've given them credit for his two terms in office?  Did anyone say gee, Madame Boobsalot said Bill Clinton is great, that means I should vote for him?

The press therefore in American elections has shown itself to be biased. The media is not simply stating what has happened, but is editorializing the news as it shares the information.  Am I saying the media is wrong for this?  No.   Media has had a checkered past reporting the events of the world.  Some might suggest that it is more propaganda than news. 

But truth is not controlled by the media.  Information exists independently from the sources of news.  And truth, the ultimate goal, is not, in itself a relative thing, it is a constant.  But the means for finding the truth, for investigation of events and movements these are expanding.  But is truth itself expanding?  Do we know more now than before?

The truth is an object.  How it is approached is not consistent through media.  Some choose to hold up the truth as a sacred thing.  Others consider it an obstacle to their needs.  Media is neither the villain nor the hero in the present age.  It can help people, it can destroy other people.  But what has changed the news media is the access to alternative sources of news.  That is, not alternative facts, but whereas the preCable television era was based upon large networks with cross control of radio, newspaper and television, the post Cable and Internet era has seen the proliferation of independent and previously unrealized sources for news.  Youtube, for instance can show an uploader's video of an event.  News media has competition from sources that did not exist before.

And when we look at the previous era, we wonder, were we all so naive?  With all the information available now, are we overloading our lives with information, bias, views and eye witness reports?  How much information can a person take in, without becoming numb?  I believe that for all the development of access and information, we've poured so much information into the minds of people that they shut it out.  Every blog contributes to this, I am guilty, perhaps, of cluttering the path of the minds of those who have to think about what is the truth.

I am unwilling to give in to the fear of information.  I am unwilling to fully engage all forms of information.  I need the truth.  I hope that by posting here I will somehow find out the truth.  The path is narrow, the journey is long.  Let us begin.

You rebel you

I am often told that I think too much.  When in my mind people do not think enough.  I am told I feel too much.  When in my mind people d...