Saturday, December 22, 2007

Ho, Ho, What a Ho

Forget nukes or environmental damage, the 20th century's greatest enduring legacy is our refinement of 'marketing'. Given that insanity, we need to change our formerly pagan seasonal holiday from being some wishy-washy family-oriented value-inspired celebration of some kid born well over 2000 years ago, to one that celebrates the real modern values of Christmas: the power of Marketing!

After all -- like lemmings to a cliff -- we succumb to the propaganda wave year after year, buying tonnes of useless stuff for each other so that we can either immorally re-gift it, or just toss it into our basements to await the untold years and inches of dust buildup, before someone else comes along and dumps it into a land fill site where it really should have been sent earlier.

They say Christmas was an early propaganda attempt to sway the hordes from celebrating their drunken festivals -- such as Saturnalia -- which would make it a very early form of mass marketing. An historic spin-fest. One that has received a lot of effort over the years, which is even more interesting if you believe one of my own insane quotes:

"Marketing increases with necessity. The more they try to convince you, the more skeptical you should become." -- me.

As the forces of 'good' and 'boringness' have had their hands full over the centuries trying to tip the balance towards something more pious, we still pack the malls angrily in search of that last damn gift to finish off our ever-growing -- but never again -- list of materialistic obligations. Mindless followers of the great bellowing voice, laughing at us.

Santa commands that we buy only the latest and greatest bits of electronics and plastics. Santa commands that we eat fatty foods. Santa commands that we spend more than we earn. There is more. Santa commands an awful lot, but I'm just tired of typing it into the stupid computer.

Through the power of marketing he appears in so many ways in our life to tell us what we, our families and our friends need most this year. He even consults us on how to 'charitize' our incomes properly across the largest number of causes. Is nothing sacred? Oh yea, it ain't. Not even me: buy lots more of whatever I'm selling or just promote me to the world. I still can't afford a mansion or a yacht yet. And don't forget in this holiday season to aggressively market your own family and friends. If you can't find a way to commercialize them, how are you going to afford all of that crap you bought and gave away? Who'd notice if you sold a relative or two?

Turn off, tune out and listen to the vocal styling of the man in red. Santa says "it doesn't matter what Simon says anymore, buy more stuff this year". Buy lots. Go crazy. You can't resist the hype and a big bushy white beard, can you?

So have a Merry Marketing Day and a Happy New Shopping Year. And don't forget to light a candle for all of the those things that you really wanted, but couldn't afford this year; hopefully you'll win the lottery in the next one.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


"The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless" -- Steven Weinberg

The key to our spiritual needs is the answer to the question "why are we here?" No other question, in history has ever been answered so often with so many different variations. Yet, for many people they still search for an answer they can accept.

It is, of course, our Achilles heel, that fabled weak point to which virtually anybody can seize control of our will and our actions if they understand how to invoke the right magical incantations. Countless religions, cults and other "organizations" have existed since our very origins as a socialized species whose sole claim to control is the possession of this answer. How many of our billions are under some spell or another?

It is funny, because it always seems like the little kid in the car screaming "are we there yet?" every five minutes. I mean, do we really need to know why? We've kinda guessed at the fact that we are just one step on a long journey. Hubris wants us to believe that we are near the end, the final product, but really if you think back to people 10,000 years ago they probably figured -- while sitting around their bonfires, outsides of their caves, surround by protective dogs -- that they had reached the height of their existence. 3000 years ago some of the Asian cultures were phenomenally sophisticated, and much of our current philosophy was set and written down 2000 years ago. They do probably thought they were close to reaching the end. It has been a long journey to get here, but its also been incredibly short by universal standards; an instance in time, really.

Time moves on, and many more billions and probably trillions will follow in our footsteps. We can only image how crude those that live 10,000 years from now will think we were when they looked back at us.

Barely out of our caves, we've only just started playing with technology. We're still stupid enough that we keep creating nifty gadgets like atomic bombs that are incredibly unhealthy for all of us. We figured out how to build skyscrapers and bridges, but we have no clue how to maintain them. We are drowning in our own rules, with no idea how to even measure if our society is better off today, than yesterday. Our newspaper chronicle that our perpetually repeating nature. We often know what is wrong, but we cannot fix it.

A fine example of a civilized society -- by our own understanding -- we are not. We often can't even live up to our simplest of ideas, let alone the really lofty ones. Crude and contradictory.

Ironically, that answer: the one that allows people to so easily lead us around on a leash? It is simple. We are, just a step on a great path that the trillions of us will take over the many millennia as we evolve from a crude uncivilized representation into -- hopefully, if we actually make it -- something truly shaped by our intellectual ideas.

In this day and age, sometimes there is no justice. Sometimes the bad people win. Sometime you do get away with being horribly selfish, mean and cruel. That it happens, is the defining characteristic of the proof that we are not even nearly there yet. Our journey ends, at least when we are so much closer to our ideas then we are today. If you really see how many bad people currently win, you know that we still have a long long road to travel. It is early days yet. All our our idealistic qualities, fairness, justices, equality, democracy: these things can only really exist whence we have evolved enough to allow them to exist. We can dream of them now, but we cannot find a way to make them in our current world. That is the road on which we are traveling. That is were we have yet to go in the future. And of course, that is the answer to that annoying question.

If you need to personalize it: we get there, when all of us no longer act or are tempted to act in an uncivilized manner. Conceptually, that's a mouthful because I can't even imagine living in a city were everybody strictly follows the proper rules of driving, for example. And they do so because they want to, not because there is any pressure. A super-uber polite place, with no crime and everybody is happy or friendly. Contrasting that to where I live today, makes me think that we haven't even begun the journey yet. We're still trying to find a way just to keep the lights on without destroying the planet. Still, you have to start somewhere.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

How to Survive the End of the World

I always knew it was coming. Since I was a kid, somehow I figured that my generation was going to be the one to live through the height of modern civilization. We were destined to get to the other side and see a long slow steady decline.

Maybe it was all of that nuclear paranoia, or the talk of asteroids. It might be those sci-fi books on biological disasters, or our more recent understanding of our own environmental consequences. One thing is certain, I am convinced that the end is coming soon and fast. I feel kinda like one of those crazies on the street with a picket sign prophesying our impending doom. "The end is nigh", it says. You just can't live through that much anti-propaganda and still remain positive.

I figure that for all of the potential environmental, biological or natural disasters, we're most likely to do it to ourselves. We are overwhelmed by the sheer number of indicators that are leading the way. We feed on fear in the news. The media keeps delivering wave after endless wave of bad news and impending disasters. We've so commoditized everything in our world that even our charity is just another type of business. We can buy our way out of feeling guilty. Our physical and emotional health are products. Pills and couches are available to get you back into working order. We've completely lost control of our own infrastructure. We can build it, but we can't maintain it. Our technology has completely outgrown the average man. Most people have no idea how most of the common daily used items in their lives actually work. Few people on the planet know even a fraction of how the whole thing runs. If we ever lost the right 5%, the rest would just stand around, completely helpless.

Even worse, our politeness and our civility get less and less as we get more and more. Our dense living is making for dense and often extremely rude people. Moral degradation -- while it might be fun, and sometimes liberating -- still seems to be a symptom of other much larger problems. If just few were doing it, it might be fine, but when it becomes common place we need to be more than a little worried.

The growing religious fanaticism is another strong indicator of serious trouble. When people quote dogma as an excuse to deny normal behavior or condemn it, we set in motion bad things. Religion wields a dangerous amount of power; used carelessly it can cause catastrophic events. It makes asteroids look tame by comparison. What makes it so scary is how easily the wrong people seem to be able to get control of it. It's like leaving a loaded hand gun on a public sidewalk.

People are drawn to sports and fashion during times of cultural crisis, preferring to bury their heads in a friendly entertaining sand box. Sports for the men and fashion for the women are the junk food of our combined global cultural heritages. The more money that flows into these past times, the more likely we are to be avoiding the real issues in our lives.

As we get more overcrowded, more people bump into one another, buying, selling and spewing propaganda at an ever increasing rate. They flow around the rules, decaying and demobilizing all in their path. We are out of control, running head-long into an unknown future fraught with self-inflicted sufferings.

Hope, or at least a temporary reprieve from our failings comes only in the form of some hard to swallow growing-up that we need to do collectively. The real trouble: our own greed and selfishness are eating away at our social fabric. People looking for the 'quick' payoff play the legal system as a lottery. People looking for an 'easy' payoff play the political system as if it were a contest. People looking for a 'big' payoff play the business world as if it were just another board game.

People just keep looking for those things that are cheap and easy, irrespective of whoever it is that is stuck with the consequences of their actions. Who cares how many people you've harmed if you can hide out in your mansion? A Rolls Royce is the perfect antidote to bad karma, some foolish people believe.

From those annoying goofs that block the exit doors on the subway car because 'they' need a place to stand but they don't feel like moving out of everyone else's way to that executive that helps himself to everyone else's money because no one feels like they have the power to say 'no', these people are the people that will bring us all down with them. We are -- we so often find -- totally as weak as our weakest link. And these days it seems as if it is a contest to see who can hit a new low point. Just like a bad reality TV series.

I figured it was coming; the end that is. Or at least the beginning of the downfall of this version of modern society. As Pete Seeger borrowed from a well-known verse: "to everything there is a season" and we all known that every season has to end sometime. Thus it's not hard to guess that the end of our collective summer holidays will come; it is just a matter of when.

I doubt I'll be shocked if or when things turn for the worse. Like an expected birthday gift, maybe I'll feign surprise when it happens just to make it more interesting to the people around me. Then again, saying "I told you so" a bunch of times could be fun too. At least it will help pass the time, as we all wounder around stunned foolishly waiting for things to get better. The trick is to occupy your time and not think about it, that way the end won't seem nearly as long.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Death of Character

We are gathered here today to lament our old friend character. Dead; due to our conformist desires to all dress in the same dark colors, shop at same annoying thrifty stores, repeatability watch the same bad plots and listen to the same recycled music.

A premature demise driven by the miracle of globalization that not only made our world smaller, but also shrank our culture, our food and quite possibly our minds. We now look and sound so similar that even the weirdest are barely distinguishable; our own mothers couldn't tell us apart.

The end clearly visible in our daily zombie march towards the grey lifeless towers where we create endless rules and marketing campaigns to bind us to our hollow existence. We huddle together claiming freedom, but fearing to use it.

What a wonderful species we will be when we can no longer detect ourselves in the masses. A dark dull army consuming our way through the last of the planet's resources. And not a character amongst us. Farewell old friend.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Foolishly Smart

I'm such a fool. No, really I am. I keep daydreaming that if I write a really good post, one that is entertaining and worthwhile people will actually come to think that I am smart. You know, if indirectly I write that I am smart, then people will believe it, and so in the end I will be smart. But alas, no. I probably can't write something smart enough to get beyond my own foolishness.

It would be nice to be famous just for being famous. There are certainly a lot of examples of that going around; that has to be the craziest thing ever. If you can exploit being famous, then you can get the freedom to do the things in your life that you put off because you are too busy not being famous. Or does fame eat too much of your time? Perhaps, I should just settle for rich? Or do I have to get famous to find a quick way to get rich? I am certainly getting too old to spend too much time trying to get rich the slow way.

Still, I can't help thinking that people will listen to me if I am famous, and if I am smart I can figure out how to get famous, and if I do that then people will actually think I am smart. Which would be a very smart thing to accomplish, wouldn't it? Oh well. If you want, you can make me famous for having written about how foolish I am, but if you do then I am no longer foolish, I am smart, which would make you smart too, wouldn't it?

How smart is that? (Don't answer :-)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Measuring Failure

Instinctively -- when you encounter one -- you know that you are looking at a bloated bureaucracy; the real question, is how to prove it?

We obviously need some simple form of cost-based accounting, that gives us a decent metric on which to compare various organizations and their effectiveness. The key here is the the measure be simple and that it cannot be subverted by those trying to apply it. Clearly, it is in a bureaucracies best interest to hide its own inner ineffectiveness; that is the very essence of why the organization is defective in the first place.

To keep it simple we only need to deal with two basic observations. The first is that at the end of the day all organizations produce either products or services, nothing else. Regulatory monitoring for instance, is just a service for the public to insure that the rules are followed. Building roads is a product, while maintaining them is a service. Everything falls into one or the other category.

The second observation is that all organizations have a cash intake. Internally they can play around with hiding pools of money from previous periods to 'alter' the appearance of getting more or less money, but in an absolute way these are just various ways of applying a debt financing service to the structure. Each period they collect a fixed amount of money, which at the end of the period is entirely known.

So applying our understanding, we can easily create a product/service accounting model that fits over each and every organization. We do this by setting forth a limited number of categories for the product/services. The less, the better. The creation of new categories needs to be tightly controlled, as it is the place most likely to be subverted by those who are reporting. So there is a very limited number of these 'official' categories.

Each category was a name -- such as "road building" -- and a metric -- such as kilometers. For each category, we find out exactly how many kilometers were built for that organization, for that period.

Say for example, a provincial government created 10,000 kms of new roads over the course of a year. There is nothing difficult in gathering that number, if there were, then it would show a serious problem with the organization's internal structure that needs to be immediately fixed; if your paying people to build roads, but you don't know how many they have built, your in serious trouble.

To each category a portion of the incoming cash flow is assigned.

That may be a little more difficult, but generally you can figure it out via capital expenditures and various budgets. Again, the powers that be will try to subvert this, so the rules about subdividing up the cash into the various product/service 'buckets' needs to be formal and tightly controlled. You can't for instance shift some of the cash onto other services, if the underlying budgets don't confirm the percentages.

There are of course two main difficulties with these ideas.

The first is administrative overhead, while the second is variable pools of money. In the first problem, most organizations will attempt to shift the various portions of their overhead around to make them look more or less effective. To counter thing, the allocation of monies to various categories should not vary significantly from one period to the next. Where expenditures are absolutely provable, they cannot be shifted to other categories. Both of these rules will have to be able to track the effectiveness of changes over an extended periods.

Organization budgeting is often extremely complex. The idea here is not to get 'tricked' but that complexity. If an organization sets aside money for later, that in itself is a service. If an organization borrows money to fund a project, that too is part of a service. Then for example is we get $100, and borrow $20 the incoming cash is $120, which is spend on whatever original service we were performing and also a debt service that is costing us a rate such as 10% per year, put whatever costs were incurred to arrange the debt.

The key idea in this accounting approach is that all of the money is allocated to a limited fix set of products or services. There should be nothing left over that isn't allocated. It all has to go somewhere. The mechanisms for allocation should be simple, and they should consistent. If we get a result that one government is spending $200 per km to pave roads and another is spending $400 dollars, the inference that the second organization is twice as inefficient should be correct; there might be differences in 'conditions' or the 'environment', but the underlying relationship is truthful.

Once we have these metrics in place, finding and fixing the problems in our organizations will be easier. Bureaucracies will no longer have the option of putting 'spin' on their results. They will no longer be able to bury their mistakes, errors or corruption. They will be open and visible. Instead of watching as these organizations steadily decline, we'll be able to assess their health and whether or not specific changes are improving or making it worse. We'll be able to compare two organizations with similar services and see which one is operating more effectively.

We will finally be able to fix the unfixable.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Anonymous Beings

Lonely in a sea of humanity? Urban dwellers encounter so many forgettable people on a daily basis that they feel entirely anonymous. It is funny to be surrounded by people, but to not notice. Faceless faces.

Within that sense, we tend to not care much about about our behavior in public. People who would never be rude to their friends or acquaintances, have no problems behaving horribly towards strangers. They feel they won't ever see them again, so why bother being polite.

The bigger the city, the better the odds of not seeing those people again. As more people congregate in larger groups, their behavior when they are alone degenerates.

It can be wonderfully horrible in a big city to observe just how low people will let their behavior slide. It is not just that sense that the other people don't matter, so you shouldn't bother to be nice to them; some people actively go out of their way just to behave poorly to others.

On crowded city streets it is noticeable, but it reaches its zenith in big repeating crowds for things like buses, or subways. Constant aggravation makes people cranky. Stir and repeat, and then they get ornery.

Sadly, their distemper, frustration and rudeness only make bad situations worse. It can spread through a crowd like a bad cough; feeding on itself as it grows. Tired cranky zombies marching back and forth between their occupations and their lives.

If you really want to see humanity at its absolute lowest point however, you need look no further than the roads and highways. If people feel anonymous in a big city, they feel invisible and anonymous in their big cars. Nothing is stupider than an impatient driver whipping around nearly a tonne of metal, plastic and glass in an uncontrolled frenzy simply because they are five minutes late for dinner. Why more people don't die in automotive accidents is a great mystery. Even just a bit of congestion and the crowds go wild. If it wasn't for the fatal consequences, streets would become totally unnavigable during rush hour. It is always such a low for humanity.

Most of us make our own problems in life. And so many of us together make our own misery. It is this strange obsession in modern life about trying to get ahead, and maximize our potential that fuels our angst. When you are too focused on the little aggravations in your life, you miss those big grand wonderful things floating around you. Trying to be a little less rude, each and every day is a great way to combat the funk that people are in, and to increase ones own karma. We all feel some need to contribute in a positive way to humanity, which we can actually do with the smallest of efforts. Making the world a better place starts with not pushing people out of the way while bordering a bus. It is not a difficult concept.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Just the Facts, Jack

What is it with people wanting to believe the craziest things? Given a bunch of presented facts, they'll pick and choose only those few which bolster their position. These, they will cling to forever, while ignoring all of the rest. We seem to decide first and then look towards reality to backup our position. Having a truly open mind seems to be rare if not impossible.

There are always trade-offs to be made within subjective frameworks depending on one's needs and opinions, but I guess because people like flexibility they want to make trade-offs in accepting concrete and unassailable pieces of information. A fact is by definition an absolutely true piece of information. The sun rises every morning, that's a fact. The clock strikes twelve twice a day, that too is a fact. An alteration of either of these would likely mean you are not on the planet earth anymore, or your somewhere so remote it is just weird. For most of humanity, most of the time, these two things are indisputable facts.

Given a few contradictory observations there can be room for some interpretation, but you can't base your world view around anomalies. If humans mostly tend to behave in a specific manner, than the 'mostly' is significant to the fact. We may not want it to be that way, but in the end we are left with only what is known to be true, and what is thought to be true. If we build our arguments and hopes only on our desires, we will likely be disappointed. You ignore the facts at your own peril.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Constant Disappointment

Small minds ensure that greed drives corporate policy. When it all comes down to money, we incorrectly value of all of those things that are really -- at the end of day -- far more important to success.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Morality Play

Whatever our origins and beliefs, we all agree that there exists idealistic concepts called good and evil. We all agree that they are distinct from each other, nothing can be both and that together they form the whole set of morality judgments. Things are either good or they are evil. Our categorizations may differ somewhat, as the concepts are deemed to be relative and can be localized, but our world has shrunk enough lately so that we all pretty much agree on nearly similar definitions.

Since these are ideas of the highest order, to be truly civilized we must come to understand them to have only universal definitions. Where they change from society to society, region to region, the cause is our own immaturity; our own lack of progress. Not the ideas.

Despite our infancy, we do know some things for certain. For instance, the cause can never justify the actions. You cannot do something evil, to justify something good. If your actions are evil, the cause becomes evil too, no matter how noble. Evil begets evil and always has, that's part of its definition.

We know that any significant power, held long enough by the same person turns toward evil. No matter how it starts, it always ends badly. They may start with the best of intentions, but it always goes down hill, and it goes down way sooner than you'd ever expect that it would. They always deny it, and they are always wrong.

Oppression of any type, for any reason is evil. Some control must be maintained, but anything beyond its minimal use quickly turns to evil. Making someone bend to your will is evil, and even more so if your reasons for doing it are selfish. Rules without real justification are evil. If you cannot prove, beyond all doubt that it is wrong or dangerous, then forbidding it is just oppression. Not saying why it is forbidden is also oppression.

Death and destruction are always bad, but they are undoubtedly evil when they get applied to innocents. And innocence is not something that you can take away because of the region of the world in which you live. It is universal, we all start with it, and it is only removed if we choose to do so actively. You were born innocent, it is your birthright. You stay that way, until you 'choose' to do something to change that.

Someone will always try to tell us what is good and what is bad. This is the most serious problem we face today. Most of us are too quick to give up our judgment to experts. That is wrong, if we have one and only one real responsibility to mankind it is to decide for ourself -- individually, all on our own -- what is good and what is evil. You cannot let others make that choice for you, no matter what organization, society, tradition or other factor they abuse to justify their claim. They have none.

As we seek to become the beings that we could be, and to build the societies that best expresses our potential, we face the challenges of our legacies. Not only evolution, but also our own histories constantly drag us back into their depths of our less noble beginnings. Even if you restrict the timetable to the last couple of millenniums, we still see our collective rise to become more complex. We are growing as a species. Don't let anyone justify a downward spiral back towards the abuses of the past just because they have twisted the interpretation of the present. You need to decide for yourself what is good and what is evil, it is the only way we can all survive. That responsibility is universal and it applies to all of mankind, no matter what we believe.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Hardly Thinking

For those that do, but don't worry about it.

You've been told: just do it; the early bird gets the worm. To the winners go the spoils. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Everybody reveres action-oriented people, those that aren't afraid to strike out and get the job done. You can't win if you don't play. You'll be rewarded by society. All rich people wormed their way to the top, or at very least their ancestors did. They're the elite. They are better.

Of course you know actions have consequences, but thinking about dull things like consequences only slows you down. Keeps you from succeeding. Push, don't stop. If you try hard enough it will get done. If you don't do it, someone else will?

That bad things that are done by you, or in your name? Just trivial side effect of your great efforts. It all evens out in the end. Your accomplishments more than justify a few small problems. Complaints: just more wining. Whatever. You net worth is not negative. Acting is more important than thinking. It must be, look at all of the winners.

Those people hurt by your actions? It is their problem. If they were action-oriented it wouldn't have happened to them. They were in the way. They can't keep up. It is their fault. They aren't as good as you are. They are slow. They didn't work hard enough, not like you.

The damage caused by your short term focus? Not important. It will sort itself out eventually. Not your fault, it happens. You need to think in the short term, that's how you maneuver. Be light, and be nimble. Get to the next step, eventually it should work itself out. Long term vision is too stiff, too slow. Why think hard when you can act instead.

The angry words spoken behind your back? Foolish, jealous people with small minds. The little people. Narrow minded, what do they know of your grand plan. They just can't see it. Its perfect, your sure. If only you could remember it again.

Your karma? Why believe in something like that. It is what you have now that counts. Morales are for slow people. The nice guys finish last. Look at your mansion, your cars, your cottages. Look at all of the dishes you have. Not that Walmart stuff, you have real class. Real stuff. Class that karma can't buy. Your net contribution is not that negative, some good things happened. Focus on those, forget the rest.

So what if every one hates you? So what if your all alone? So what if all of the bad things that you've done in you life come together in some cosmically unconnected coincidence and sent some of what you sent around back your way? Its not a message, not a warning. Ignore it. You'll be back. They can't stop you. After all, action people rule. Your the cream, you'll float to the top again. They were just jealous. You get out what you put in. Don't you?

Actions, you see, are neither good nor bad. And so often they can be a bit of both. It is all about what we do and when we do it. Had you stopped, just that instance to think about it, or even after it was all done to think about whether or not it was good, you might have understood the ramifications of your actions. You might have changed. You might have redeemed yourself. But had you done that, ironically, you wouldn't be an action person anymore and none of this would apply. We humans fail so very often because we run out and do stupid things. Things that should have been avoided. That didn't need to happen that way. Thinking oneself out of every action isn't any better, but at least the net effect isn't less than zero. Sometimes a little though can save everything.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Running out of Time

Every so often, the idea that "we should change the world for the better" pops into someone's head. When this occurs, they -- like all thinking people that ponder over the deeper structure and meaning they see in this world -- sincerely wish for the world to become a better place.

After which, they go back to their lives. They go back to worrying about money or they go back to worrying about their future. They go back to worrying about their kids if they have any, and they certainly go back to worrying about their friends and family. They go back to eating, and sleeping; to reading, and to talking to people. They go back to following the world as it moves through its many various patterns.

Back to all of those things that bind us to our day-to-day existence. Some common things, some cultural and some regional ones.

In that instance, just before they turn back to focus on their own existence, they usually wonder: why is the world such a harsh place? Why do so many horrible things happen to people caused by other people? Why can't we fix things? Why?

And then they go back to their lives. Back to themselves, and away from all of the miseries that drag down humanity. Answering, by their very actions, the question that they just posed. For it is that we live in a harsh world because we choose to. Most people, most of the time, mostly prefer to direct their attention towards their own self interests. Of course, why would you not? It is after all, built into your very soul; possibly even your DNA. But it is that same evolutionary instinct for self survival that opens up the door for all of the world's horrible people to do their horrible things; all, of course, in the name of whatever poorly conceived justification they can conjure.

And so people follow, or they allow it, because at the end of the day they are just too tired from merely existing to be able to stand forth against the terrors unleashed or defend us from strife.

If it where, that the idea that "we should change the world for the better" would stay just a little longer in the minds and actions of more of the world's people, then we might reach civilization just in time to stave off our inevitable doom. Then again, grey might just be a better color for my SUV, it tends to hide the dirt a little better...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Tumbling Towers

Building something is easy, sustaining it is the real challenge. We cannot bear the weight of our own creations; they come tumbling down faster than we can patch them up.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Common Ground

Continuing on from my posts at Yahoo 360, where I restricted myself to just using two sentences in a 'thoughtlet'. The first sentence is a general statement, while the second should appeal directly to the reader, possibly suggesting some action:

Faith can be an excuse to hide error or misdirection. We need to demand reasonable answers to reasonable questions; even spiritual beliefs must be rooted in truth and reality.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Protest This

So another couple of protesters chained themselves to a coal-carrying ship in an effort to draw attention to the use of the destructive and polluting fuels that fulfill our addiction to generating cheap electricity.

So what.

By now we know it's bad. We get it, we really do. Freakin bad things are the popular fare. So, really, how hard is it to complain about it. Again. And again. Just sit there all day and moan about the state of being. Blaa, blaa, coal is bad, blaa, blaa so is nuclear, blaa, blaa, blaa. Jumping in a dingy and chaining yourself to something is pretty much the same as just complaining.

Protesters. You'd figure they'd get it. If we shutdown the coal and nuclear, then the resulting economic disaster would wipe out daddy's savings accounts, destroying their means of protesting and they'd have to get a real job. Harsh, but true.

Not that shilling for an eco-cause isn't big business. These days it probably rivals banks in profits. Yep, collect from the guilty, spend on the misdirected, and annoy the overworked. I think they've figured it out. It's a business and if you do it well enough, you get a mansion and a sports car. Whopee. Oh yea, and the best part are those crazy volunteers that do all the work for free. Neato.

Now if you did want to do something constructive, you can figure out some other better way to generate electricity. Sure, it is not as fun as riding around in a portable boat, being chased by the law and getting cool stories to bed chicks with, but it is probably a damn sight more useful. And a heck of a lot harder than just complaining about it.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Foolish Drones

Like a hoard of angry insects, the next buzz is upon us, and its name is Enterprise 2.0.

But we should not judge something too harshly before we have at least investigated a bit. Digging not too deeply, we see that Enterprise 1.0 is a hierarchy, while 2.0 is a 'flat organization'. Interesting.

The last time I worked for a 'flat' organization, it was that way for an unfortunate reason. The spin was that no one reported to anyone else. Everyone was more or less equal. Initially you might think that this might be quite the novel idea, but as we so often learn, nothing in life comes for free.

The lack of an official reporting structure doesn't stop people from having to report upwards, but it does insure that there are no pesky middle-managers between the top and the bottom. To put it bluntly, it is a control freak's dream reporting structure. You sit at the top, tell them they are all equal, and then use that to drive them all nuts. No fuss, no muss and definitely no middle management. You still write the checks, so they have no choice, and no way to protect themselves. Hierarchy not only leverages our bosses, but also protects us from theirs. Given the type of personality that is often drawn to the light of executive status, that can be a good thing.

So, I'm thinking that the 2.0 really stands for 'twice as sucky', or something similar...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Fallen

I figure there is a duality in mankind where we are split between our evolutionary roots and our idealistic aspirations. Intellectually we operate on higher order concepts, while emotionally we let our impulses drive us forward.

That is a fancy way of saying we are caught half way between being animals and being civilized. Evolution is an on-going progress, and there is still a long road yet to travel.

Something that I always keep in the back of my mind, as I watch the news.

We see then, on rare occasions, examples of people at their finest. Individuals or groups that have applied their intelligence towards constructive efforts to make the world a better place. Always inspirational, but all too infrequent.

More often we see those that have fallen from our current heights. Setting aside over 10,000 years of civilized behavior they let their base impulses drive them towards acts of madness. Often they can't even see what they have become. What they have been reduced to.

Sadly, if your thinking that I am only referring to those poor souls in war-torn countries, or other regions that have clearly descended into hell, there are also examples coming from places where people feel they have risen above all of that. In the heart of civilization, come horrendous examples of terror, selfishness, or greed that easily rival those of the most burnt out infested wreck of a place.

We can rise up all we want, pretending to be civilized, but there are always aspects of our evolutionary roots that will pull us back down to being animals.

It is a race between our evolving into something sustainable or the animals amongst us tearing it all down because they don't understand it. Oddly, we have the most to fear from the smarter ones, who think they get it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Have you ever wondered if everyone else is crazy? Maybe it's some type of "lead poisoning" thing again, similar to what is believed to have helped destroy Roman civilization? Apparently it does make a quite different, the type of metal you use in your plumbing.

It has to be something like that. Otherwise, our only real explanation is that most of those nearly-hairless upright uptight barely-conscious hyper-active clothed monkeys are just completely whacked. That wouldn't bode well for the future of the species, would it?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


The point of this blog? I think, for me it is to play with writing, a bit of experimenting with layout and to fiddle with the settings in blogger.

Should you continue to read this? Maybe, maybe not. What are you asking me for?