In the midst of our global economic turmoil, and particularly our economic weakness in the USA, Iíve reflected on just how long I have known what we needed for fundamental, as opposed to artificially stimulated, national success. I have also reflected on actions by government and business that were/are guaranteed to result in our destruction. I decided to mention a few of these thoughts in an article to indicate that if I, a common man, can understand the effects of the larger issues and develop rational solutions, then those more intelligent and more experienced than I should have had, and should have now, little difficulty moving our society in healthy directions. But this, as all of you must know by now, turns out not to be true, so after I share my "minor" personal reflections it will be appropriate to look at the much larger issues and "reflect" on those future probabilities in realistic ways.
I present my reflections as examples of how I developed my belief structure, from childhood through adulthood. As I present each personal reflection I will describe the essentials and then use an example out of nature or out of personal experience to illustrate my point. This process really isnít very complicated so it will be rather easy for all to follow.
My earliest memories of "Aha!" came as a child. As I looked at the leaders in our schools and churches I recognized that structure and hierarchy trumped rational conversation on any topic that potentially could undermine the basis for the hierarchies, the structures within them and the decedent procedures followed blindly and imposed on the weak (children and adults of questionable intelligence). When I would find an obvious issue or subject producing cognitive dissonance and bring it to the attention of anyone at any level of authority in the hierarchy, I was shot out of the saddle. Perhaps that was most often a matter of me being a child, but often I sensed or experienced otherís anger based on their insecurity. I was an unexpected threat to the status quo, though in my childhood ignorance I didnít realize, at first, that reality.
I will simply mention two of those "Aha!" moments to make my point. As a child I was told of the fantasy aspect of the Easter bunny. Oh dear, why had I been misled into believing that fantasy? I immediately drew a parallel and indicated that Santa Claus must therefore also be a fantasy, for the key point was that neither of these imaginative creations could ever be produced in the flesh. It was all talk and no substance. My projection was confirmed. Alas, had I kept my next thoughts (instant ones I might add) to myself then all would have been well. But no, I had to project the fantasy implications into dangerous territory. I said, "Well then that means Jesus is a fantasy also." I was immediately rebuked.
A second trivial example I will use is the day I questioned the health class teacher in my senior year of high school about the reason why we had to copy verbatim what he wrote on the chalkboard into our notebooks without ever thoroughly discussing the topics. We filled/used up all of our class time simply recording what he wrote. So one day I asked him, "Why do we have to write the information into our notebooks verbatim?" I was immediately threatened with a likely trip to the principalís office for being "insubordinate." I might have expected that response given numerous earlier experiences where an innocent question received negative response from teachers. I noted the uniform response of the teachers was to attack as if I was threatening their authority instead of them simply providing any reasonable answer to my question(s).
The net effect of my childhood experiences shown by example above was to develop the belief that power or authority lacking relevant knowledge, or having innate insecurity, was misplaced authority. That clearly meant I would have to be on my guard throughout my life both to sort out the useful facts from the bullshit and to avoid really pissing off people in power who could and would hurt me. Alas, throughout my life, as I am now old, I decided to openly question authority at every turn, regardless of the power of the subject individual within whose domain I existed, but only when I perceived a glaring error in their logic or practices. Sometimes I paid a dear price Ö
Why did I do that? The answer is simple. If I lived lies by promoting that which I believed to be untrue or misleading, even after honestly seeking explanations, then I was disrespecting myself. I concluded then, as I do today, that tolerance of incompetence, dishonesty and predominately self-serving actions was not going to happen to me.
The primary product, given a continuously screwed up nation and world, was and is an utter lack of respect on my part for our structures and hierarchies, based on their dismal performance and continuous dissembling. As I lacked the power to change them I elected to avoid them to the extent possible. So I have, but the damage they have done now impacts me badly as it does billions of others, so now the problem must be dealt with directly. There is no avoiding it. The principals who characterize the three bad areas stated in the last paragraph must be unseated and more often than not punished. I am ready to do my part. But I fear I will fail.
But of course, I am getting ahead of myself, for I have yet to present reflections beyond high school. So now I will do that. The first one that comes to mind is a hard realization while in college, having studied philosophy, religion and psychology as well as sociology, along with my major science and mathematics courses, that I would far rather work for or with a very smart criminal than endure working for or with dumb or misdirected people, regardless of motive. It was a binary choice in which intelligence combined with experience on the part of a leader trumped even character in importance if one had no other choice than to promote an incompetent into power. Alas, I had seen too many examples of incompetent people being granted limited power, and all that did was screw up the society/schools/churches.
A later reflection after college, having worked all of two years, came during a conversation with a work associate who happened to be what we usually call a conservative republican from a fairly wealthy background. I also came from a conservative republican background, though not a wealthy one. Whatever our subject matter I perceived that most of our wealth distribution problems occurred not because the wealthy actually earned their wealth but because they created business structures and compensation practices that took too much advantage of the labor or potential income of other contributive people, or helpless customers. I proposed the concept of forced wealth limits, which at that time, some fifty plus years ago, I placed at one million dollars. The idea was that no individual could eat, screw, drive, fly or do anything else that required more than one million dollars of net worth. My work associate was appalled and the discussion quickly came to an end. But that realization on my part was only half of what I needed to consider. Read on.
That time in history was marked by racial tension, demonstrations, violence and poverty, and I had a few Black friends at work, a few of whom were truly good and intelligent people. We discussed the plight of the Blacks and how to solve the problems of racial bigotry and poverty that resulted in dismal unfair lives and in ghettos. It was in that environment that I perceived a part of what was necessary to alter the ghetto reality. I said to my associates that we needed to extract all children born in the ghetto and support and educate them in successful foster homes, never letting them get ruined in the first place by enduring ghetto life. In a mere generation or so the ghettos would disappear because all the remaining occupants would die out. My idea was well received as humanitarian but relegated to the bin of the politically impossible. Hmmm Ö and we still have the problems with now far larger populations of very poor people, drugs, violence, etc. Politically impossible? Hell no! You either do what I say or the problem will become ever worse. And so it has.
My limited idea certainly did not address larger issues like absolute mandatory control of reproduction, for I needed more years to develop my thoughts in that area. I also was too young to conceive that technology was quickly making less capable people obsolete, white or black. Unknowingly, I was destined to "live in interesting times," with idiotic socialism pouring out from the federal government in the form of programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Welfare. Add in the Feminist movement and some generations of truly destructive republican administrations led by greedy businesses and it was a formula for national, if not global, disaster. And we are there now.
A few years later I reflected on the business practices of my employer while taking a post lunch walk around the college campus like atmosphere where I worked. I was annoyed realizing that I was working on developmental research for commercialization of a product that I absolutely knew would fail in the marketplace. How could it be that a minor young employee could see all the way through the idiocy of very high corporate management, in which hundreds of millions of dollars were being squandered? A second realization was that most of the work we were doing/assigned to do outside of that area had little or no chance of adding to the bottom line of the corporation. Yet we college graduates represented a tangible expense, so I humorously concluded that the corporation was so wealthy from previous successes that they were operating a welfare system to keep recent college graduates off the street. Alas, the germ of an idea formed, that of the incompetent living off the residue of the truly intelligent predecessors. From that time on I approached every environment within the company with a nose for identifying and avoiding the incompetent, wherever possible. I evolved through the years to become my own hidden company within the larger company, and my customers loved me, and I was always in high demand, though my direct and higher management frequently disliked me intensely. What a hoot! Thank God they couldnít fire me!
The reality of the business issue discussed above was that the department in question added the most to corporate profit at that time in history so the vice president of that business had immense political power. His decision to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in a fruitless venture, when other corporate business areas could well have used the cash creatively, was simply a matter of political power, and that became one example in my later thinking about limiting power. He had received his appointment as vice president without having first been a fundamental creator of the research, development and successful commercialization of that business, and hence his power was able to result only because of the applied intelligence of his predecessors. That realization on my part surely supported the tenets of my youth regarding structure, hierarchy and resulting power and practices. If you cannot avoid having bad leaders periodically then the very least you must do in business and government is to severely limit their exercise of power. This was, of course, the genesis of my hard line declarations later in Destiny about forcing distributed power. When the domain is that of immense power and not that of some minor school teacher then a corresponding degree of control over that power is mandatory. It is in fact the inverse of what we actually do.
I reflected as a young man that the primacy of the individual and not the business, the government or the church was most important, for it was and is and will be individuals who bring humanity growth through creative invention, not power structures. So it is that there is an inherent logical conflict between the necessity to make decisions and the quality of those making the decisions, for those who are most creative are typically not those who seek power. What an "Aha!" that was for me. I thus came to realize that hunger for power was a form of madness and fundamentally responsible for the larger problems of humanity throughout history via war. I also realized that the scientists might create or discover but they would never take the reins of society actively to best implement what was discovered for the benefit of all humanity. What a thorny set of issues we face(d).
This morning I wondered why I felt the need to write an article about my reflections. I then realized that a brief description of a few of my experiences would serve as the foundation for me to look at where we are globally and nationally and predict what will happen and then also look at what we have to do to survive. It turns out that my last article covered the survival subjects. Thus, what I want to do specifically is to tell you what I think will happen moving forward in time for the next five to ten years. I do this not out of actual knowledge of what will happen but out of a lifetime of experience questioning the realities around me and looking at the results of similar periods from earlier times in history. In this process of moving forward you will either be an activist trying to help lead us out of financial and possible military disaster or you will be only a victim.
First, my wife and I love to watch the wonderful variety of birds come into our property and feast on or around our many feeders. We have come to know the individual families of birds of certain types. They are a delight. But along with the beauty of nature comes the bad side. We have two types of birds that are troublemakers, Blue Jays and, earlier in the year, Cowbirds.
Knowing the practices of Cowbirds in laying their quick hatching eggs in the nests of other birds we realized that Cowbirds actively destroy other lives. For that reason they are unwelcome. Seeing the brutal behavior of Blue Jays in gang control of the feeders and killing of other birds, eating their eggs and nestlings, we realized that we had to eliminate the threat or lose the other beautiful and peaceful birds. I have thus become a killer of Blue Jays, reducing their numbers to the point that the other birds have a much safer environment. Natural Selection, my ass! When you identify a destructive force you destroy it.
You might not know it but I hate ever having to kill anything, so my behavior with the Blue Jays Ö and next year with the Cowbirds Ö is certainly atypical. I donít even hunt. It is borne of the realization that if I do not take an active role in problem solving then my world will decline in beauty and fairness. Unlike some of the tree huggers and wildlife oriented environmentalists I believe in direct absolute control as the only sensible response to out of balance conditions. Nature is not kind and there is no master plan for the Universe so we have to create and maintain what we want through our own efforts, with a focus that considers the extreme importance of the future.
With that preamble I will say that the Blue Jays of government and the Cowbirds of business/banks have done much to undermine our lives so we will endure many years, perhaps a decade or more of substandard living, and it has yet to start for most of the citizens. There will be war in many areas of the Earth and the USA will be a wholesale participant. Many, actually millions, of our young people will die. Our country, that has not seen a foreign country attack us since the British in the War of 1812, will be pockmarked badly, much like we wrecked much of Europe in WWII.
In less active war times Free Trade agreements will be contracted to include only countries involved with the USA in mutual economic and military support. This is good, but the necessity for change points to an earlier period from 1980 on that must never be allowed to repeat. We will have pogroms within the USA with racial and ethnic/religious consequences involving internment and many deaths in the streets. Democracy and especially the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness will become dusty memories for an indeterminate period of time, perhaps many decades. We will not return to anything resembling what we were socially as a nation prior to 2008.
This horrid forecast is something I truly wish I did not have to make, but history tells me we are out of control globally and that tribalism and ethnocentrism will be the determiners of our future for a long time to come. You can spend some time mourning the death of America as we once knew it, but you best get done mourning and get on with steps for your survival. I will say at this point that war is probable within five years or less as repeated business and diplomatic efforts continuously fail.
We are now in the period of history where the essentiality of the individual will determine actual matters of life and death. It is, however, almost impossible to see directly, as it has been small and has yet to gain momentum from segments of the populace resorting to violence in the face of hunger and lack of shelter, transportation, etc. War will be used to redirect that anger. The deaths will be blamed on war. The resultant society will be far less stressed, but at a hideous cost in sacrificing lives.
Ah, reflections on things that have yet to happen isnít appropriate. I will let the future speak for itself. If I am still around I may reflect, or not. It is damn depressing having to face this ugly future. For once I hope I am totally wrong.