"Taking himself seriously, so you don't have to."

Rambling on Politics & Quandaries (w/egoistic altruism)

The actions of many, on a daily basis, concerning what they do to earn money, where they send their kids to school, and how they do business, are generally confined to legal actions, ideally spread equally, though most often dependent upon outside metrics for which they have no control: what they look like, where they live, and existing power-structures (which are astonishingly reactive and paranoid, perceiving existential threats to itself in nearly everyone and everything).

The peoples’ ability to affect the political and economic realities of America are often confined to their individual and collective efforts in business and labor, and individual and collective efforts in politics. As a solid voting block they may be able to leverage some politicians into office to benefit themselves. However, what gains they may make through great efforts on their part to influence the political world do not necessarily justify the effort expended. Their “effort/reward” quotient is low, or rather, relatively lower than the same quotient for the 0.1%. They are not rich enough individually to gain back what they put into the system, and most groups are not populated enough, nor sufficiently organized, to secure a justified collective benefit, as the bottom 40% or so, whose “effort/reward” would be collectively high with beneficial political action as with, say, an increased minimum wage.

Thus, we have ourselves two diametrically opposed quotients, that respectively represent the traditional “red vs. blue” or “republican vs. democrat” or “individual vs. collective” or “money vs. labor” dichotomy. Each of these quotients have held great political sway, from the labor-friendly efforts of FDR’s New Deal and LBJ’s Great Society, to the “trickle-down” economics of Reagan and all successive presidents and politicians these last 40 years.

With this, we have a base from which we can simply analyze political efforts. We can also quite clearly see which of these quotients is most effective. It is quite evident, based on Picketty’s research on economic inequality, that the power is presently in the hands of the top 1%. Especially with the continued and encouraged bribery occurring at the federal level, with both lobbying, traditional election campaign spending, and the disconnected hyper-spending that came with Citizen’s United.

This dichotomy, in the general mythos of America, was ideally heralded as a balancing force that led to the compromises that ensured our freedom to pursue economic happiness for business owners, and protection from economic exploitation for workers. This is the first base, the lens through which we must look, in order to properly investigate the state of the nation at present, and determine what action would most benefit this country and its people.

The happiness and prosperity of the nation must be related to the well-being of its people. Otherwise, we have an “end justifies the means” problem. Perhaps you may think that worth it, but the truth of the matter, that we often conveniently ignore, and that is conveniently missing from most discussions of these issues, is that there is no end. Our political and economic law must follow the ideal of the “continuum” or “process” (this may be seen in the “process” of law, ideally practiced). And any derivation of that, i.e. the actual actions of an empire, must fit the standards of a continuum, if it is to last for any significant amount of time.

This is vital, as our country/nation/empire is going off the deep end in atrocious/spectacular fashion.

Leisure activities and luxuries are worth nothing when one does not have time, nor money, to enjoy them. Even if you have the money to afford a nice house, what good does it do you if you spend all of your waking hours working to pay for it? To quietly toil away one’s life for the perceived reward of “retirement” is a ruse, designed to capture our best efforts, in the prime of our lives, for our presumed benefit, but results in expending our lives for the gain of another. And to be discarded at the end of it, when there is little more that may be extracted.

On the relative side, over the years, we find that the most effective means of ensuring compliance is that of “the big stick”: when once the strongest, or cleverest, warrior won the top position in the tribe, thusly arranged the tribe’s daily efforts for his (or her) benefit, and beat up, exile, or enslave the members who did not follow orders; we now have “the big stick” of the military and police (we are still, sadly, entrenched within the mindset of collective violence), but also the very evident threat from our very own tribe of, respectively,, homelessness, prison, or forced labor. Again, this is a basis from which we may regard the merits of proposed law and business practices.

For the moment, and for simplicity’s sake, we will consider the merits of the ensuing arguments confined to that of the individual, searching for their own happiness through the means of labor or capital. That is to say, the motivations which drive us are often tied to the well-being of family and friends. This adds extra dimensions, that would confuse the philosophy. Social obligations and motivations would be much more simply addressed after we first lay out the case of the self-interested individual.

Our laws define the frame through which this happiness may be found, the path through which we may cut and practically alter to our own ends.

The motivations which drive us can be any or a combination of a thousand factors, the self-interest we seek may be found in a thousand forms, and our identities are as myriad as the grains of sand upon the beach. Each of us has our own case, for which none other ought to judge within the frame of the law that allows this variety.

As much as hegemony may be useful in crafting a car upon an assembly line, or for the effectiveness of an armed militia, or for useful metrics of measurement in engineering or the sciences; it is not required for social cohesion, nor for perpetuation of the human race, nor to explain society’s ills. That is to say, determining a course for society based on judging an individual’s actions within the framework of law, is a wild goose chase and a red herring. Judging in this manner causes more problems than it solves, and exacerbates tribal or instinctual “false alarms”, that of their own accord, prevent us from uniting to form a more peaceful union.

Unless, of course, this individual or group is as astonishingly powerful as a head of state or royalty, and utilizes their position to the detriment of the majority of people. This is the judgment call that has led to countless revolutions in the past, and will likely lead to others in the future. The more identifiable the individual or group, the easier it is to either A. Remove them from power, or B. Ignore their demands and “reset the board”, so to speak. The burgeoning economic inequality in the U.S.A. has the, likely, unintended consequence of singling out and causing ire against the individuals that benefit from those inequities. It is not a far stretch to assume that they not only benefit, but could be responsible for, those very inequities.

Thus, the problem of inequality in all systems of governance, unless maintained through some practice of domination, will eventually result in the removal from power of the parties in the most rewarding position. It is therefore within everyone’s best interest in society to maintain some semblance of balance.

There is no hard line, however, for this tendency is subject to a thousand alterations: stretches, dilations, contractions, broad-based beliefs, past reactions of similar nature, relative comfort in the status quo, etc.

As inequality, of one sort or another, becomes greater, the benefiting party will either need to alter their practices to re-balance the issues, or rely on domination, in one form or another, to maintain their position. Domination can come in many different forms. The further we press ahead in history, the more sophisticated the methods can become.

One of the most egregious examples is that of the perspective of the average American in regard to their own country. During my talks with interested parties of all sorts, there has been a missing thread in this regard, an absolute truth that most Americans are quite blissfully unaware. Namely, that we are, in fact, an empire. Moreso, we are “the empire”. The political, economic, and military might of the United States is greater than anything in all recorded history. We have enjoyed, at minimum, 30 years of complete and unfettered domination of the world. Whether that domination is a good or bad for the average citizen, or for that of the global citizen, is not of issue at the moment. For the great concept that escapes the citizens of this empire, is that they have nothing to fear. In the 20th century, internationally, mutually-assured destruction ensured mutual accord.

This is social control, so insidious, that it has so blinded its own people to their own realities by convincing them of what’s important, which mostly is not actually important. This is evidenced by the majority ignorance of the reality of the American empire. This disconnect itself is proof of a number of different things: much of what we call “news”, so called “experts”, are unaware of what happens in the world through this lens of actuality, and thus the consistent audience. The American People have been, and are being, conned out of a thousand hard fought victories of liberty, justice, the public trust, and our most basic social contracts.

Unfortunately, fear is a useful tool to get people to do what you want. It has been used quite brazenly, especially since 9/11, to justify all manner of questionable acts: military invasions, subjugation of peoples, persecution of minorities, wage slavery, mass incarceration, etc.

The military-industrial complex pretty much makes as much money as it wants, and feeds much of the economy as we see today, promoting its ideologies, and with every disaster, what fear, what death, to wage to gain such ugly war upon its own citizens. See, the states are limited to what money we may generate through taxation…

 

See what capital -> war -> capital does?

Propaganda of dis-informative drivel,

paying out the nose for a bruise,

terrorizing minds,

enforcing conformity, ignorance,

for marks of passenger pigeons,

continually knocking,

nudging toward disaster,

to feed a trash fire of oil-based petroleum products,

heating a sick soup of processed chemically weaponized food-like substances,

to feed a golden, diamond-encrusted glutton

gleefully, happily wallowing.

Some call this a paradise.

swindling the honest,

passing the buck down the line,

competing to be the most ruthless.

 

It sets a bad precedent.

 

However, compared to historical record,

the world is highly peaceful, on a few levels, at least.

 

Though this may seem nice,

far as most of humanity has known,

yet our time, now and tomorrow, *could*

be so simply and sharply improved vastly

with administrative edicts of common sense,

respect, mutual assistance and support;

we must see that our machine society systematically

practices aspects directly rejecting that.

 

Odd that, expect on television or playing to a crowd,

one rarely hears people speak of their own actions of goodness,

daily practiced for / by / with common sense, respect,

mutual assistance and support,

and ever echoed by brothers and sisters of

grand mother earth’s bountiful variety.

 

So observing the dichotomy, the split between what people say and do, common folks claim to believe a thousand conceits that belie their true nature. Are we simply putting on a rough skin? Making a big show to seem tough? It’s reverse hypocrisy.

Inversely related to the hypocrisy that characterized the founding decrees while in full sight of slavery, practiced with the authors’ consent. It’s a long stretch to accept words solely when the evident actions speak ever louder. This is not lost on me, and ought not to be for any and all Americans and global citizens in the 21st century.

It would seem that practiced for centuries, the eye on the back of the dollar bill has deceived in astonishing ways, through perpetuation of ideals, evidently averse to its actions, creating a break in reality, and encouraging dual minds, running on cognitive dissonance. Besides which, the unending stream of candy-coated sick-pills that passes for media, has turned so many brains to mush. Grandma was right: that screen will melt your brain.

But, I digress.

*******

Ultimately it comes down to whether we are going to keep claiming some high ground as a nation, that has, and is, performing some quite horrendous deeds with lip service to nonsense, or we accept what is really going on in our governmental and business and economic actions, accept the hard truth, and let us move on to some other form of collective action. I hope we do not continue to wallow in comfortable lies.

*******

Perhaps there’s something there. You don’t know until it is said.

Hope springs from the strength of experiment, of communication.

For there reclines a truth in the form of reality <to> dream. The answer runs/plays/dances about us: our fellow human, in communication, in writing, speaking, interacting with each other, sharing manner, common memories, spoken and reminisced with friends and family. Truly there, with each other, we find our answer.

So here we have at least one truth of fundamental nature. Perhaps we may note whether other questions may have this same solution. Communion, a requisite for life, perhaps? For consciousness? It would appear that the derivations that come of this may be necessary for the continuance of our political and social lives. That doubt may be dispelled through our communication with each other. Thus the fundamental importance of honesty. The idea of “socialism”, or of basic care for our fellows, may stem from our ability to trust. Whether that trust comes of an intuition or if it is learned, it seems necessary in order for us to carry forth. The “public trust”, they call it. And this relates to the very private trust, that Cartesian “doubt” that keeps us in tension.

So, it seems that perhaps the crux of the matter comes down to that: it is evident that, at minimum, and though I believe that people are generally good, propaganda, the “learned” aspect of empathy or no, has gripped much of the population in the United States. I am as guilty as anyone else of mistrust, of evident and actionable paranoia. This has previously been determined, however, to be a furtherance of basic emotion: fear. A more subtle fear, an esoteric fear, and ultimately, an existential fear that our world is not what we have been led to believe it is.

These tendencies do not exist in a vacuum, and neither do the forces that help to “teach” such tendencies. Doubt must have come from somewhere inherent in us. And yet, the most inherent, the most instinctual, the most “evident” of thoughts, is the truth of the reality in front of our eyes. It takes great machinations to doubt it, to doubt the world in front of you. This is an intellectual path intended to find the root of the issue, but it ends up at the same place from which our worst tendencies propagate.

It is therefore of great importance in the intellectual growth of any and all people that can understand it. Not that we may doubt the world, and less that we may find the individual truth that “I think, therefore I am”, but to realize what that thought entails, and the place from which it originates. This precept may be seen as “rock bottom”, so to speak. And though it may be grounded, though it may be strong enough to stand upon, it ought not to determine the course of our lives, and our relations with others. It ought not to justify a thousand horrors. It ought not to make one feel “small”. It is not the end of a road, but another beginning.

The statement falls upon the reliance of memory, for without a linear memory that retains a string of meaning, the statement itself breaks down into meaningless sounds, or meaningless symbols upon a page. It presupposes an understanding of language: a contrivance of life, an artifice of intelligence, that of itself, stands upon the shaky ground that the effort of “doubt” aims to stabilize. Thus, we have come full circle in reasoning, a catch-22, that requires the existence of others, for us to create a language to describe our common world, which is then used to doubt that common world.

As with the fundamental question, “How does one determine dream from reality?”, that is answered with the existence of others. That sense of “society”, each other, WE determine dream from reality by our shared existence, our interactions, shared experience. To stop at the “I think, therefore I am”, is to quit in mid-journey.

It should be noted that the pure thought that the “Cogito ergo sum” implies, may exist outside of “memory”, as if a bright flash need not leave behind a faint glow. Still, the act that the statement requires, for what determining, what philosophizing we may do with the thought, nonetheless requires memory. A “pure thought”, outside the realm of communication and memory, could be, for example, expressed by the statement, “What is that?” A pure thought of this nature may easily, and is readily, processed and noted by the subject, if not in a language we may understand, nor even is this thought confined to that of intelligent animals. The “consciousness” of a cockroach may very well “think” such a thing, yet have little memory, or other faculties to utilize deep meanings or communicate implications.

And here is where we must push through, past the simple truth to the complicated, and accept that, though there may be truth in that statement, and it may be solid ground, that there is even more solid ground elsewhere. That fundamental truth is deeper than that, and lies between each of us, rather than below our individual feet.

If our tendencies to keep each other at a distance, our tendency to “mistrust”, if that ruthless competition in our business and social lives, and war itself, were of basic human nature, it stands to reason that we find a method through and beyond this fact. To build off the individual artifice, we may look to each other through the lens of purely selfish gain. Does it reduce our capacity for true compassion? Perhaps. In “egoistic altruism”, we may utilize our basal desires, our instinctual capacity to mistrust, whether from the “cogito ergo sum” ground or that of tribal discrimination, by realizing that our individual selves are nonetheless tied to, and benefited by, the betterment of our neighbors. “When my neighbor’s life improves, so does mine”, is a truth in a society that has basic rules of civility. So long as there are laws providing consequences for murder or theft, this carries forth.

*******

The idea of profit: through hard labor, an individual may find, create, or refine something of value, for which they may trade with another for something that they value. Assume that the objects traded are indeed objectively valuable, rather than each simply having personal value, as in the old expression, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. Presuming that the objects are of universal value, there is not necessarily any “profit” here. Labor is expended on the first acquisition, but not on the second transaction. “Profit” may indeed be defined as the transmutation of labor to exchangeable good.

On the other hand, “profit” is actually colloquially used as to describe the difference between the object exchanged and the object received in a transaction. The “winner” is the guy who gets more value for the trade.

With this definition behind it, our economy starts to make sense. We start to see why it is that market forces tend toward monopolies. How it is that all of our transactions come from “profit”, why honest people get screwed over the most, and how it is that our “money” is an illusion of debt that effectively allows whoever has it to get people to do things for them. And get them to do things that actively work against honest peoples’ interests. One can be “brought in” to the circle of capitalist thieves, liars, and con-artists, and get to play for the “winning team”.

*******

When it comes to another concept, the only real utility behind mass surveillance, is that good things ought to be provided for those who do good, that is, if there is any utility. That’s a last resort, of course, but some justification may be found if enough people benefit from such a thing. Something may be wrong, but something more may be right. There’s another 180 that America could use. Know what I’m saying?

*******

A Basic Policy (the “iron ore”):

Remove profit motive from situations that involve:

1. Life & Death

2. When actions benefit society as a whole

*******

So, we have a number of issues plaguing America:

1. Indentured Servitude for Higher Education

2. Astronomical costs for Healthcare

3. Low-paying jobs

4. Unnecessary jobs – well-paid “work” is often wasteful bloat in bubble economies

5. Mass Surveillance

6. Planned Obsolescence – wasteful monopolistic engineering tendencies

7. Never-ending War

 

Refined Policy (the “tempered steel”):

1. Nationalize higher education and remove profit motive.

2. Nationalize healthcare and remove profit motive.

3. Raise minimum wage

4. See solutions 1 & 2

5. Enforce the Constitution

6. Regulate product standards / break up monopolies

7. Return troops / reallocate war budget

 

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