Degree or Not Degree

Claude Shannon – great free-thinking scientist and an inspiration for us all. A man so consumed by his passion and his work he spent no time ensuring the world would not overlook his gift.
Now that’s creative genius enhanced by a life of unending education.

Struggled through without a degree:

Henry Ford
Thomas Edison
Samuel Clemens
Rosa Parks
Bill Gates
Steve Jobs

Awarded degrees:

Larry Summers
Newt Gingrich
George W. Bush
Bernard Madoff
Donald Trump
A large number of underemployed, dispirited people with a sense of betrayal

Education is obviously a very good thing, even if purchased by degrees, but should we always select and celebrate those holding credential from licensed establishments over all others? Education does not create or destroy intelligence, it informs it. (Only belief can narrow perspective to a point of selective darkness. e.g. I am brilliant so the opinion of others is of little consequence.) We expose students to alphabets, numbers and rules in the belief they will become creative geniuses and masters of their universe in the process. They don’t. There are only going to be so many consummate, capable people and we will not be able to stop them, try as we might. Information is so free flowing, determined people will learn whatever they want; thanks in no small part to the marketing savvy of Gates and Jobs. The days of having to join an order and don robes to obtain access to secret or specific scriptures are past. As things stand now, autodidacts simply show more initiative and creativity in exploring their interests than those picking something up on the way to the rest of their lives. Pilots and doctors require structured learning, information and experience (licensing is a nice touch) but studying business or music is akin to stalking in the hopes of finding true love. For those whose passion is themselves, stick to the plan; for those with loftier goals, your time has arrived.

Second Opinion

The media has overwhelmed us with the sound of one hand clapping.

Here’s a couple of helping hands to balance it up a bit:




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.


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.

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.


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.


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.


With demonstrations across the world
demanding change it might be a good time for each of us to define our
real problems and try to imagine real solutions. Is it wealth
distribution or the power that wealth wields that is truly hurting
us? Does anyone really care if Wall Street and its worldwide
franchises are in a weird Dickensian state or if the whole pack of
them are overwhelmed in an avalanche of money? Maybe what bothers you
is the fact that they manipulate the value of your house and everything
you own for their benefit without a concern in the world for you or
your family. Do you think about their lack of contribution to the
country while taking so much reward through the controlling of its

Is it your job? You wish you had one
so your family could be comfortable knowing there will be food,
a table to put it on and a roof over it next week. Everyone has
a lot of personal thinking to do without the assistance of any
more media information. No sense looking to the television when
you are the only one who knows your problems and cares so
completely about the solution.

Maybe it is time to let them take their money,
stick it in their banks and get out of their racket all
together. Let them win, who cares. Use your power as a citizen to
vote down their rules. Use your community as a tool of power. Stop
using their currency whenever possible and start using your own.
Barter means never having to pay for banking services. Barter means
the value of your work stays in your community. Communities that hire
themselves first can’t have their jobs shipped to children who should
be in school on other continents. The banks can declare you
financially dead for all you care if you act as a community rather
than a tool of the banks and the corporations they represent.

Take back your local resources.
Don’t let an accountant in London or a banker in Bangkok decide to
poison your water and air so he can do you out of a job and get rich
in the process. Those are your resources, not his, keep it that way.
How in Hell did we ever come to believe it was to our benefit to give
our pristine, natural rivers, lakes, skies, forests and mountains to
invisible investors whose ‘people’ use our land as a production sewer
and then return the resulting toxic sludge to our families to breathe
and drink at our peril. We have been dancing to the tune of jobs, jobs,
jobs for ever but there are no jobs so take back the resources you
traded for them. Those resources owned locally are the future of
every village, town and county in the country because the jobs will
never be shipped away by those who need them.

We must have known aliens were involved
in November 2009 when Lloyd Blankfein (Goldman Sachs) said bankers
are doing “God’s work”. Their god is obviously not your God.
They seem to have a special banker god that hires the best
politicians available to do their bidding. If a political
representative says you are wrong about local ownership, elect a new
one…as often as necessary.

The problem is not their money, it is
us using their money that takes from us all hope, dignity and
probably sanity. The solution is simply to ignore their money and
return to the community for hope and support. There is no debtor’s
prison so the worst case is that bankers might think less of you
(presently they never think of you at all) and only you can decide if
that is such a bad thing. Most of us have probably had better people
than bankers think less of us. So change the laws in your area to
suit the residents rather than international corporations and wave
a hearty goodbye to the problem that is destroying your family and

No matter what you decide,
treat bankers fairly; after all you are not a corporate banker and are
above acting like one.