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Why

We elect candidates we hate the least and buy from companies from which we have the most to fear. (BP sells 100% of their product to humans right here on planet earth.) We willingly give our children’s future to a very thin slice of beings who show absolutely no commitment to the species or the planet. They treat us with complete contempt and we respond by honoring the divine right of CEOs.

With the guiding hand of government we freely give our land and all our resources to corporations built on rules laid down by emperors and kings so they may reward us with jackets and a token of the profit – or at least that was the way before they decided automation reduced our value.

Why?

What is it we believe? How can we possibly believe the destruction of mountains, rivers and oceans can be the way to a better future? Have we been hypnotized by aliens? I doubt it, beliefs are what is left when all else is gone, they can withstand such paltry attempts at dismissal. They are the things that define us. Body parts may come and go and beliefs change but in some form they are the life source for our minds – the bits that confirm we exist.

We use financial currencies owned and operated by a few ne’er-do-wells proper folk wouldn’t let in the house. When we pay our neighbor for his labor this arrogant lot of lost souls take a piece of the action as well as a little of every other transaction on the planet. We contribute to the system as it is deemed irresponsible otherwise. By Whom? What is wrong with us? It’s like a sideshow we choose to believe even though we know better.

Those wise people who mock Las Vegas gamblers for playing against such ridiculous odds proudly join in this system when the outcome is completely predetermined. It’s like our wiring has been altered; an entire planet based on Stepford. It would be sad if it wasn’t so tragic.

There are alternatives but don’t look to big banks, big government or big corporations. Think small, think community, think Grand Junction, Colorado (http://www.denverpost.com/television/ci_19922838). They benefit from a working solution because they identified the problem as theirs and took the initiative to resolve it. From flour mills to artistic paint makers cooperatives are defining the future and ensuring there will be one; at least for the members. Unfortunately most of us are waiting for government, banks and corporations to rescue us. From what? Them? They are too busy building palaces and castles on land that once belonged to us. They are who they are because we support them with every purchase, every loan, every dollar earned. If you want to see the biggest problem you face it can be found in a mirror near you.

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It’s interesting to spend time with naturally curious and resourceful individuals not educated through the approved channels; they are generally categorized as uneducated. In avoiding badges, credential and all forms of ordination they keep an open mind; that is generally categorized as ignorance. As they do not possess approved answers or the respected credential to express their ideas they must rely on personal experience and wit to derive solutions and maintain a sharp cunning for presenting them successfully. To benefit, others must be savvy enough to grasp their ideas rather than being dismayed with their lack of credential. Autodidacts choose their own reading, explore their own curiosities and have the initiative to follow the endless avenues that open before them. Like sailors in storms with no land in sight they must create solutions, not turn to ready-made, well-documented and studied methods. Roll playing the written words of others is simply not a viable option in the dangerous waters of guiding the future. A trip to the moon and staging a trip to the moon using collected information, despite appearances and production value, are just not the same.

Organic ignorance is fiercely independent; like a determined virus it adapts. It can survive the most rigorous of indoctrinations, impersonate the most radical of minds and use information technology to package historic thought as new and improved insights. But what happens to a society that can no longer hear what it hasn’t heard before? What happens to people who can only accept anticipated solutions?

When we moved from the judicious application of an ethic standard to amassing an unhinged currency as a measure of success, worth was no longer calculated by contribution but rather ROI and let’s face it, there is more money in selling an idea than having one. Educational institutions sell their product by association with success in the manner beer companies use popularity. The question is how much longer can we continue to sell ourselves old ideas in new packages? How much longer can we combine old technologies in slightly new ways and mount sales assaults celebrating the introduction of a whole new era for humanity? Have we run the course? Have we tied ourselves to corrupt and abused-beyond-repair fundamentals? We teach solutions as if there are such permanent things. There are no absolute solutions, there is only the hope and struggle for solution. Life is the search for solutions not the recording and worshiping of ideas that once worked by changing the world and in the process nullifying continued benefits of those ideas. Life is change – birth, death, the whole gamut. Teaching the ways of the past as the only way to the future is certain to ensure the participants will not be an instrument of it. Ironically, we need only look at history to see that.

Intelligence is as determined as ignorance, it can survive the most formal of education or the complete lack of it. It will always find the light amidst the darkness. I don’t know what goes into intelligence but self doubt and hope seem to play a role. Intelligence always seems to be accompanied by curiosity but never a litany of answers. If we would like to participate in the design of the future we need to learn to recognize intelligence and guide society accordingly. We need to get past our hubris and stop rewarding people for regurgitating old ideas. We need to stop asking students to limit themselves to gazing into our mirrors in search of the future.

We could increase our problem solving capabilities significantly if we would just accept qualifications as implied rather than stated.

Virtual Design

The relationship between form and function has been severed by the relentless substitution of information for experience and focusing on desirability over reliability. Refrigerators designed by people who have obviously never cleaned one and may never have one long enough to bother; cars designed for southern driving sold as viable transportation in northern conditions come to mind. Products are designed for sale; not for use. Function in a world of virtual design and marketing madness ends at the checkout – which of course moves the money but leaves the demand, ideal for corporate bottom lines.

Fuel efficiency is measured on highways; not in snowdrifts beside the road where all vehicles become equal. Maybe to truly improve vehicle efficiency we need to keep them on their path…maybe linked together running on tracks, powered by electricity, driven by experienced professionals…maybe throw in a bar car and smart phone cubicles where people could be safely and comfortably impaired and distracted. It could be called high-speed rail. Unfortunately that doesn’t address the marketing aspect very well and does nothing to transfer money to banks by way of interest on car loans. It simply doesn’t meet the standards set for consumer subservience.

Cars are a great example of design for market share rather than solution but the model is all the rage. Pharmaceutical empires put their design talents in marketing and legal fees, not the product. Packaged food, covered with empty promises and filled with empty calories, has replaced nutritious food. When we stopped knowing where our food came from we should have realized we would soon not recognize it at all. Good food isn’t designed – it is grown, cooked and eaten. Food, like so much in life, doesn’t improve with unnatural processes or involve lengthy explanations. If it takes more than a couple of seconds to read a package and understand it, don’t eat the contents.

The next time you are purchasing a tool for the kitchen or the workshop try the one that doesn’t come in a box that looks just too special for the job and one that doesn’t speak more languages than you require. You might even explore the possibility of a handsaw or mixing bowl as the best solution.

Enumerating Literacy

Functional illiterates may be better suited to the future than non-functional literates.

As the European debt crisis is so eloquently demonstrating savvy oratory doesn’t solve problems, it exacerbates them – it makes us believe in silly things reality simply doesn’t acknowledge. Farmers, on whom theorists depend, well know an inspired dissertation delivered to the most promising seeds doesn’t get the job done; life is very pragmatic and unflinching faced with theory. Gale force winds against a small boat on open water may go well with a smart Chardonnay while reading about it on the couch but in reality the situation is more likely to elicit a white-knuckled, unencumbered cry to the heavens for help without a single concern about split infinitives.

As I have beautiful wood that needs a stern lecture on becoming furniture and flour in need of a lesson on becoming bread I must now go help the world become a better place in the mind of one – literally.

IT25

A quarter of a century in information technology has taught me:

Information is more dependable than reality.

Whacky ideas become facts through consensus.

Completely incorrect data can be extremely accurate.

Reading an account of experience is more valuable than actual experience.

When statistical probability is calculated really quickly it is called artificial intelligence.

The value of information is inversely proportional to the cost of storing it.

Guessing becomes science three points after the decimal.

Data models follow the example of fashion models.

Compelling graphs celebrate the mundane well.

Research and plagiarism are synonymous.

Ideas are commodities.

Silly-By-The-Sea

There is a place that can’t be reached by the information highway. It is a mythical place where there are no studies, nor data, nor facts; just stories. One of these stories is of a place called Silly – or more properly Silly-By-The-Sea – where people call their stories studies and write about facts rather than ideas. The studies and facts are created and managed for a few but hold unlimited influence over everyone. For all their hard work the few are rewarded with honor and respect particularly from themselves and their followers known, when completely absent, as head lites.

The Silly common belief is that this select few are leading a charge to overcome nature on which their future existence depends and replacing it with a superior system thereby installing themselves as masters of their own destiny and that of all of life. Not everyone in Silly is pleased with the institutionalization of hubris. There are those who think mastering life involves more than a complete lack of acknowledgement and subsequent destruction of most of it. For them this sacrosanct exalted hedonistic height is a perilous precipice and the loss of potable water or breathable air more than an inconvenient aspect of progress. For them it is flat out wrong.

As the polarization becomes irreparable, the vast majority – being the minuscule minority of shareholders – mobilize through technology. They use cell phones to greet each other and discuss lengthy issues, drive great distances to join in condemnation of oil companies, fly anywhere to attend environmental conferences and eat in fat food restaurants to keep pace in the fast lane of conservation and energy efficiency. They are quick studies when it comes to learning ways to transfer their tiny share to the powerfully wealthy in every conceivable way. There is no corporation they won’t support in their fight against greed and big business. They never stray far from the fire hoses of facts pumping hourly instalments of subterfuge into their electronic sea.

While some in the mythical place laugh at the regular retelling of this ludicrous story more people, now not so distant from the indoctrination highway, are hearing the pounding of the internal combustion war drums, tasting the air and smelling the water. The myth is encroaching. The community is threatened. They still think for themselves and wonder if and what their children will be allowed to think.

Maybe it’s us

If politicians were statesmen corrupt bankers would be prisoners.

If you elect opportunists to plunder public coffers on your behalf don’t expect others to elect statesmen. Democracy is vulnerable, never convenient and can be easily used by groups to their exclusive advantage. Electing independents circumvents party kowtowing and results in direct representation of citizens – get your independent up and running today.