Society

Waking Up from The Fog of Ideology and Propaganda

Waking up from the fog of ideology and propaganda that engulfs us is a process – usually a long one. There are stirrings of waking during this process, but these will only be recognized later with the benefit of hindsight. “Waking up” is the best description of what it’s like, and although it can be quite a rude awakening, it’s a welcome one. When the fog of ideology and propaganda lifts vision clears, perception changes, and realities rearrange. You will need to decide how you’re going to handle this new state of awareness. There can be no returning to the fog. This is your new reality – embrace it.

Floodgates will open allowing previously blocked or distorted information to filter through to your consciousness. Your ability to take in new information will expand greatly and you’ll eagerly seek it out, but expect a healthy dose of anger alongside this. Anger not only at discovering the steady diet of lies, omissions, manipulations, and distractions we’ve been subjected to for years, but at the sheer depth and scope of it all. Treachery on such a grand scale is insulting at best and suspiciously ominous at worst.

If you’re honest you’ll also acknowledge that you’re angry with yourself as well. No one likes to be deceived. It makes one feel like a fool – something else that no one likes. You will question why it took so long to wake up and take notice. But do try and save the bulk of that anger for those who so rightly deserve it. Just don’t let it consume you or act on it in a negative way.

It can be overwhelming to realize that everything you thought you knew has to be reassessed. The powers that be throughout society have proven to be untrustworthy, unreliable, dysfunctional, and dangerous, and it’s getting harder for them to disguise it. The destruction of society has been underway for a long time, and an insidious instability and hysteria is playing out in the political realm. They have come to believe the ideology and propaganda they churn out. They’re too invested now to change course and the longer it goes on the worse they become.

Even those who haven’t woken up know that something is wrong, something beneath the surface. They just can’t put their finger on what it is. Things feel off somehow and no longer appear normal. But just knowing that something is wrong is a start. And so we must try and guide them, without pushing too hard. That they would resent and resist, and anyway they will not wake up before they are ready.

More and more people are waking up, but there are those who most likely never will. Either their identity is too intertwined with the ideology and propaganda, or their position in life is too dependent on maintaining and supporting it. Waking up would be too devastating for them, and perhaps on some level they sense it. Leave these people be, as they will only continue to cling to their beliefs and their comfort zones.

Your new awareness should provide motivation, direction, and clarity where it was lacking before. This is good. This is what is needed. Question everything and everyone. Work to rip away the fog of ideology and propaganda that permeates society and obscures so much. Talk to others and exchange ideas and views. Research, expand your boundaries and find your path. It will not be the same for everyone, but it doesn’t need to be. It all matters in the end.

Are you one of the awake? And if you are, what are you doing about it? Perhaps you’re too afraid to do anything, which is understandable. We live in very scary and uncertain times. If it seems that we are fighting for our very existence, don’t be too quick to dismiss this thought, because we most certainly are. Just do what you can, whatever you feel comfortable with. We the people need to take back our power.

 

 

Society

Healthcare, Costs, and the Elephant in the Room

It’s that time of year again. Healthcare costs are rising and once again, of course, it’s entirely our fault and we must be punished. We’re too fat and have an unhealthy diet. We aren’t controlling our diabetes and blood pressure. We smoke and drink too much. We need to exercise and reduce our stress, etc., etc. Preventative Healthcare is preached like a fiery sermon from the pulpit of healthcare professionals, the insurance industry, employers, companies, and health nuts. But…there’s an elephant in the room that isn’t acknowledged nearly enough regarding responsibility for health and healthcare costs.

There are numerous chemicals and substances that we are exposed to everyday – way too many to list here. They’re everywhere – in our homes, workplaces, water, air, and even the food we eat. Many aren’t going to have adverse effects in the short-term, but what about years from now? It’s impossible to predict future potential consequences for individuals as we aren’t all carbon copies of one another. There are too many variables and too many unknowns. What affects one person down the road may not affect another in the same way.

It’s common for it to be claimed that many substances pose no risk, or that the risk is low, but no one really knows that for sure. These are comfort words, meant to reassure the public and downplay any possible negative impacts. But many people are diagnosed with a terminal illness that has no obvious cause. The disease can’t be linked to their lifestyle, and it doesn’t run in their family. So what else could be possible causes? Why is it beyond belief that exposure to a chemical or substance possibly acted as a trigger? Given the sheer amount of these in existence it’s hard to imagine that even the “safe” ones are safe.

There’s an obvious reluctance to look beyond the individual for answers unless forced to do so. It doesn’t happen too often, but once in a while it does. Remember the Flint water crisis from last year? According to an examination done by Reuters, lead poisoning rates in almost 3,000 areas have higher rates of lead poisoning than Flint. A lot of attention was briefly focused on the problem in Flint, but what of the other communities? As buildings and infrastructure continue to age, more of these problems will be forced into the limelight. Most communities don’t have the funds to correct problems. Maintenance and replacement of worn out and obsolete infrastructure has not been kept up with. We’re expected to practice preventative maintenance on ourselves at all costs, yet when many communities had the money they didn’t do the same with their infrastructure.

While the long-term effects of lead poisoning are well known and documented, this is not true of all the substances and chemicals we are exposed to. More long-term studies are needed, but even those come with a hitch. We like to think of studies as being thoroughly scientific and objective, but that’s not always the case. It depends on where the funding for the study is coming from. As with so much in this world – follow the money. Those who fund studies generally want the results to reflect their own agendas or beliefs.

Companies spend a lot of money developing new chemicals and products and they don’t want negative results. Nor do they want to assume responsibility for any possible ill effects from ingredients in their products, technologies they employ, or man-made disasters that occur. Unless an event is too big to be contained and kept quiet about, then it usually is. Is that a denial of responsibility?

There are two lines of reasoning used in defense of all these potential hazards in our world. One is improvement to our lives through new products or practices, and the other is providing jobs, and it can be really hard to argue with these. We all want to see improvements to our lives, and jobs are necessary for economic health.

Yet all too often, in satisfying one or both of these, there is an environmental and human price to be paid. There’s always a trade-off, and risks are always downplayed for as long as possible. We have nuclear power plants that are leaking and oil spills occurring that aren’t being widely reported so many are unaware of what is happening. Think these don’t cause high economic losses and costs along with potential health hazards? Why wouldn’t they? I don’t think it’s necessary for any of us to be a scientist or some other industry “professional” to have valid concerns and questions.

As individuals we are expected to be responsible for own health, but we are also parts of a whole. In other words, we don’t live isolated existences where there are no outside factors to affect us. In many respects we live at the whim of those with influence. Products are developed and policies and practices pursued whose long-term safety is questionable. Pay close attention to what corporations and politicians are doing and saying, and do some research. But it’s easier and far better to place the blame on individuals. We must be doing something wrong, right? Not to mention that we’re being unreasonable to even think about questioning anything we are told – or sold.

And so, we must be punished. Higher insurance premiums, higher deductibles, less coverage and less choices, “wellness” control mechanisms so we can have slightly lower deductibles, penalty taxes, and yet more sermons – year after year. All of this makes us as hamsters in a wheel, because no matter what we do or change, these will not. We will always be the bad guys in the healthcare movie. And remember, what matters are that we all have health insurance. It doesn’t matter that we can’t really afford to use it. But that’s another elephant in the room.

Resources:

Reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-lead-testing

Cancer.org/known and probable human carcinogens

Journalist Resource.org/harmful chemicals and neurotoxins: silently eroding intelligence, damaging societies

usnews.com/nuclear-plants-leak-radiation-and-regulator-faces-scrutiny

There are many other resources – these a just a few.

Society

Childhood Lessons

Remember experiencing those tough childhood lessons as we learned the rules of our society and how to function within it? Where we learned about acceptable behavior, and how to interact with others? Well those years formed the basis of our character and those lessons were meant to teach us how to survive as adults. As with most things, the old is eventually replaced with the new and the lessons have changed. However, these are timeless lessons that we need to reintegrate into the raising of our children. Their displacement has been nothing short of a disaster.

So what are these childhood lessons that our societal system now rejects? They’re to be found in those watchwords of old such as respect, accountability, and responsibility. Children were taught to respect others and to work through their problems. Children were given responsibility and held accountable, and in the long run these lessons were their own rewards. This was all an important part of the learning process; a necessary rite of passage to the adult world. Childhood is about experience and exposure. This is how they learn about life.

But these childhood lessons are now considered to be a form of child abuse and have been condemned as being too harsh and damaging to children. So a “new and improved” trend has emerged that encourages a “victim” and entitlement mentality. Children no longer have to respect anyone, and everything that happens is someone else’s fault and never their own.

We see parents who are afraid to parent and some who think they don’t have to. Teachers have little control in their classrooms. We have a juvenile justice system that is setting many kids up for failure as they take this new trend to the extreme. Consequences are often lenient with therapy and medication replacing punishment and restitution.

This new approach poses an interesting juxtaposition. Authorities like to stress that children don’t have the intellectual development and capacity for understanding concepts and consequences. Yet there is a heavy reliance on therapy and counseling. Lots of this treatment, along with sympathy – sometimes real, sometimes feigned – is heaped upon children. Yet words don’t have the same meaning to or the same effect on children as they do adults. Children aren’t stupid and they quickly pick up how important words are to adults. Because of this children are learning the art of negative manipulation and how to work the system.

But this new trend isn’t all bad, or at least it doesn’t have to be. It’s given a voice to children where in the past there was none. It recognizes the different needs and development stages of children and tries to meet them. The problem is that things have swung too far in that direction. The new way has merit, but it’s a tool, not a complete solution. It’s as though the old way is all bad and the new way is all good. This simply is not true. Like with anything, there are negative implications with extremes. This is as true with the new as it was with the old.

Child abuse is a terrible thing, but it’s nothing new and the new trend hasn’t eradicated it. It’s merely been moved from society’s closet to its front room. There is a acknowledged awareness with more help and resources available now than in past times. This is good, but it also should be realized that there are not child abusers lurking behind every door, and not all children are victims of child abuse.

A middle ground needs to be found; something that can combine both ways. Yes, it’s important to recognize and protect the rights of children, but rights come with responsibility and accountability. To be learned they must first be taught. Childhood without these lessons makes for trouble in adulthood. No matter how much we may wish it was not so, childhood is a hands on learning experience and not without pain and hard lessons. Society pays when these childhood lessons are forsaken.

Society

Contentious Social Issues

Oh those troublesome social issues; what a true breeding ground of condemnations, hostility, and willful blind ignorance for the close-minded and self-righteous they are. People are always fighting to have laws, policies, and people put in place that reflect their positions, but the fact remains that they cannot change people at their core – much as they wish they could. Even if it were possible, I don’t think that would make them happy. Where would they direct their anger then? They would be lost without it and certain contentious social issues provide the perfect channel for such people.

The two that fit the bill the best are abortion and homosexuality. These volatile issues are conditions that have been a part of the human experience forever and they aren’t going to go away. It doesn’t matter if you approve of them or not; they are a fact. Tremendous energy is wasted by people trying to make the system match their own personal beliefs – for that’s what it amounts to – while more pressing concerns are ignored.

Claiming that abortion is murder is merely a personal judgment – not an indisputable fact. It’s an extremely private matter that people have no business imposing their personal beliefs on. Such condescending behavior is misplaced. Instead of worrying about those who aren’t here yet – in fact aren’t even developed enough to be here – why not worry about those who are and are in need of help?

For example, human trafficking is a huge problem and many children are victims of this. They are here now, they need help now, yet we’re not hearing the same outrage as is directed toward abortion. In fact, we’re not hearing much of anything. Why is that? Is it because it’s easier and safer to attack average people than it is to take on potentially dangerous ones?

The impression here is very strong that shows of concern are directly related to a preoccupation with social appearances and an inflated sense of righteousness that no one is entitled to. In other words, a need to be seen as virtuous people who are doing God’s work is often used as a means to justify a superior attitude and a perceived right to interfere in others’ personal decisions.

What is deemed as God’s work is open to interpretation however. If God exists, and he has a problem with abortion, then let it be between him and the person who has one. It’s no one else’s business. To claim to speak for God is presumptuous in the extreme – an epidemic that has plagued civilization for centuries.

To make matters worse, many of these same people feel the need to extend their positions to include birth control. The best way to prevent abortion is to prevent pregnancy. To ignore or deny this disregards common sense and responsible behavior, and highlights the extraordinary view these people have of themselves. Their constant attempt to interfere in the personal lives of others demonstrates stupidity and arrogance taken to the next level.

Some of these same individuals can be found attacking homosexuality and the LGBT community. They are offended by this behavior, and I wonder why. Could there be some underlying issues here? Such intense concern with others’ sexual and lifestyle choices are suggestive of an obsession with sex on some level, or else a sexual insecurity. These may be unacknowledged, but even if there is awareness, they are unable to openly admit to this. Reactions bear this out because many aren’t just disproving, but are “threatened” by it. This is evident when observing their reactions. They get a little too angry; a little too offended, and protest a little too loudly.

Gay marriage and gay parenting are also contentious issues. Consenting adults should be free to choose and marry who they wish. Love can really only be defined on an individual basis and level. It’s not for society to dictate as long as the parties are responsible adults. We all know there are plenty of heterosexual couples who don’t fall into this category. We should be supportive of any couples who do.

As for parenting, the quality of parenting skills is not dependent on gender but on the character of the parents. Children with a safe and secure home life should always be the goal, and if a gay couple can provide this than why would anyone oppose it? Look at how many troubled children there are with heterosexual parents. Yet apparently many believe the gender of parents are more important than the quality of a child’s life, just as many believe it’s more important that every child be born with little concern for their life after they’re here.

It’s not the beliefs these people hold that should be questioned as much as it is their motivations. Using God as an excuse for venting personal biases and hang-ups is unacceptable, and so is projecting those biases and hang-ups onto others. It’s okay to have beliefs and opinions. It’s not necessary to like these things or approve of them, but a sounder perspective is needed. With all the serious problems we face, focusing on very private and personal choices of individuals is petty and intrusive. It accomplishes nothing except to continually fuel the fans of anger and conflict.

In case it has escaped anyone’s notice, the world is experiencing chaos and turmoil on many levels. We face much more important concerns and our energy would be better directed to addressing these. After all, we do have the potential to destroy ourselves and life as we know it, and if that happens then nothing will matter.

 

 

Society

Commercial Bliss

I have decided that in my next life I’m going to come back as characters in commercials. Why not? In commercials there is guaranteed happiness. I can have everything I’ve ever wanted, along with everything I never thought I wanted but have been convinced that I can’t live without. I will eagerly enter into the world of commercial bliss.

I will have the perfect family. You will see us sitting down at the table savoring our preprocessed food with true enjoyment. No arguments or sad faces, only smiles and laughter. We will live in a perfect house in a picture perfect neighborhood with charming pets and neighbors. Our lawns will look fabulous as we cheerfully mow them on our brand new mowers. Be sure to notice our two shiny new luxury vehicles sitting in the driveway.

My perfect house will be spotless because I will finally be able to truly enjoy housework. I will use my fabulous dish soap that not only makes my dishes sparkling clean but keeps my hands nice and soft too. Of course I will have a top-of-the-line dishwasher for those times when I don’t want to be bothered. I will have the most powerful vacuum on the market to keep my carpets extra clean, and my hardwood floors will be spotless. Even bathroom cleaning will be a joy and bring a smile to my face. When I’m done I’ll be sure to have a “Calgon take me away” moment. The aroma of wonderful products will always be drifting through my house bringing calm and peace to all who enter.

I’ll be enjoying all those things that bring my family closer together. Perhaps we’ll watch a funny movie on our state-of-the-art entertainment center with surround sound for that perfect movie experience while eating our imitation theater popcorn. Or maybe you’ll find us playing in our beautiful pristine backyard pool or on our large deck barbecuing on our amazing grill. All the neighborhood kids will want to be at our house because it’s always so much fun and the sun is always shining. There will never be a tear in the eye or a cloud in the sky.

Things that I dreaded doing in my former life will become pleasurable pursuits, like shopping for car insurance. I will enjoy this experience so much that I will call an agent at all hours just to chat. Paying my outrageous phone bill with all the hidden charges won’t bother me because I’ll have the latest and greatest cell phone with even more features that I don’t need or use. My new washer will so enthrall me that I will watch my laundry go through all the cycles. I will gladly pay my overpriced provider for over two hundred TV channels, even though I only watch a handful.

It won’t matter that I’ll be up to my eyeballs in debt. You can’t put a price on happiness, and commercials sell happiness, do they not? I’m sure these honest people would never engage in any sort of deceptive practices as they have only our best interests at heart. Their products and services are so great there is no way I can possibly lose as they will greatly enhance my life. I won’t have to worry about keeping up with the Joneses; the Joneses will have to worry about keeping up with me.

Sounds over the top and too good to be true doesn’t it? Well it is, but it’s in direct proportion to the messages they convey. Any “happiness” derived from a product or service is generally short lived, and always comes with cost attached. This is the part of the commercial bliss message they conveniently leave out. We would do well to remember that. Tuning them out and turning them off is the sensible thing to do. After all, that’s what they do to us.

Society

Workplace Battles

Every day, all across America, there is a battle in the workplace that makes for a difficult and stressful atmosphere for many. It’s an undeclared and largely ignored battle which comes complete with tactics, strategies, and propaganda. Power plays and drama are evident in the actions and attitudes of employees on one side, and employers and managers on the other. Long term consequences may be unintended yet they are harmful and clearly not thought out.

You are lucky to find a workplace in which common sense and cooperation prevails on both sides, and some do manage this. However, most of the time this seems to not be the case. The two sides are working from different angles with different goals. There is little effort or concern with forming and maintaining productive relationships, at least other than superficially. This friction between the two sides can be found in all types of businesses – large or small, public or private. It’s an equal opportunity problem.

It’s said that shit rolls downhill. The supply at the top is so plentiful that it doesn’t take much for the laws of gravity to kick in and send it all running downhill. Yes, the goal of  business is to make money, but perspective is so strongly skewed to that purpose that this pursuit comes at its own cost.

Employees are seen as merely tools in this pursuit. In the minds of those on top, the worth of their employees doesn’t extend beyond what they can provide for the sake of business profit. There is no real effort or sufficient motivation to truly include employees as an integral and valued part of the business.

Stretching their employees to get all they can out of them is an art form they are continually trying to improve upon. Under-staffing, cutting hours, and limiting benefits while imposing an increased workload is common. This doesn’t inspire loyalty or motivation. This is a demanding and stressful situation that results in a negative atmosphere affecting not only employees but consumers. It shows through the quality of the final product or service.

Businesses advertise quality, caring, and trustworthiness in any way they can. It’s the height of hypocrisy and false advertisement. You cannot treat people poorly and expect ideal results in return. Yet they do because they don’t have the vision to see beyond the bounds of their professional interests. Their world is very narrowly defined.

Therefore many businesses suffer from “the revolving door syndrome”. They have a hard time attracting and keeping quality employees. This means continuous training and many rookie mistakes as new employees learn the job. Responsibility for this syndrome lies partly with the business and the work environment, and partly with employees themselves. In addition to the “us versus them” mentality, there is also friction between employees.

Many people today seem to have poor work ethics. They lack a strong sense of responsibility, are lazy, and cut corners if and when possible. They just don’t care about quality or their co-workers. Absenteeism is also a problem. Some who work for a business that provides sick pay learn how to work the system to take as many sick days as they can get by with.

It makes it harder on other employees who are left to pick up their slack. It’s like having to babysit and pick up after a toddler, not to mention that it’s just rude. And they often somehow manage to get away with it. It’s very frustrating for those who do care and are responsible to have to work alongside such people. It’s bad enough having to deal with indifferent owners and managers. Adding co-workers to that mix makes for a more stressful and unpleasant work experience.

These irresponsible people are also restricted by boundaries, but theirs are personal and not professional. They too neither know nor care about anything outside of their own concerns and goals. It’s a shame when people’s worlds are as narrowly defined as this. It presents a true barrier to understanding, cooperation, and improvement for all concerned.

So how intentional is it that such an atmosphere not only exists but thrives as well? The drama present is indicative of blame on both sides. They each complain about the other and undermining attitudes and behaviors flourish. In some places it’s so bad that you have to wonder how the business functions at all. They certainly don’t function well or to their fullest potential.

Trust and respect is absent and without that there cannot be a truly cooperative, positive environment. Common sense says it would be in the best interest of business to cultivate a workplace that brings out the best in people and not the worst. Responsible people should be actively sought and retained, but there must be an incentive for them to stay.

Respect and a positive environment are huge incentives. Profits could still be made and even increased as worker productivity and satisfaction would also increase. Businesses have a much better chance of attracting and keeping customers when the workplace is healthy. This means healthy on the inside and not just the trappings of appearing to be so.

For this situation to change an effort must be made by both sides. This will only happen if perceptions are broadened and the need for change is recognized and the desire for it is genuine. The workplace battle is exhausting and uses up energy and resources that kills confidence, motivation, and loyalty. This affects everyone as people depend on employment to earn a living, and consumers depend on businesses that are trustworthy, sincere, and quality oriented.

I admit that there is much about the business world that I don’t understand. Likewise, there is much about the human world that those in business don’t understand. Humanity cannot advance through the nurturing and manipulation of numbers alone. Numbers need people or they lose their meaning and importance, and people need people or else we all lose our meaning and importance.

Society

Minding Their Own Damn Business

Whether from near or afar, people just cannot resist sticking their noses into other people’s business. It’s a constant bombardment of intrusive, rude, and indifferent people wanting to push their own agendas or beliefs. Self-righteous and judgmental people do it because they think it’s their right, others are after monetary or material gain, and some do it for the feeling of power it gives them. This leads to a tremendous amount of unnecessary stress. Whatever the reason, humanity would be a lot better off if people would worry about minding their own damn business instead of everyone else’s. However, it seems most people are unwilling or unable to do so.

Many people who claim to be religious tend to be rigid in their thinking believing it’s their right and duty to tell others how they should behave, what they should believe, even what they should do and how they should act. Quick to judge and single out, they set standards and expect others to follow. They’re very reproachful of those who don’t conform to their script, yet notice how they can’t take the same treatment themselves. Why dish it out if you can’t take it? Still it happens all the time.

This generates a negative cycle of discrimination, hatred, and insincerity. Why waste a tremendous amount of time, energy, and resources on something that has no resolution – at least not in this life? What a massive and unproductive waste this is.

Life is complex, what comes after is unknown, and no one has all the answers. Nevertheless most Religious people act as though they do, all the while ignoring their own religions’ bloody histories. We will never all agree and come together under the same belief, and there are thousands of years of history to back this up. They haven’t learned this lesson and are repeatedly guilty of not minding their own damn business, and so the cycle continues.

There are also those who make other people’s lifestyle choices their business for financial purposes. For example, insurance companies are increasingly putting restrictions, for what they refer to as incentives on those they insure. They want everyone to make healthy choices to keep down costs, but costs are going to continue to rise no matter what so their excuse holds no water. Every year they make cuts and restrictions, and yet every year costs continue to rise.

Most average citizens have a lot of stress in their lives, the kind that people with money don’t understand or care about. Rather than addressing the causes of stress, these people add to the stress by punishing, or wanting to punish, any unhealthy behavior. Like it or not, this unhealthy behavior is a form of stress relief. Most of the free mental health hotlines made available so people can “talk about it” don’t seem to be solving anything.

There are many employees living paycheck to paycheck and dealing with difficult employers, which also create a heavy burden to bear. Everyone’s method of dealing with stress is different, and you cannot dictate to people what theirs should be. It just doesn’t work that way no matter how much you want it to.

Some people are healthy lifestyle advocates. There is nothing wrong with this, but they believe everyone should be able to easily and willingly drop any bad habits, and be happy and healthy all the time. Really? Sounds like a commercial, doesn’t it? This is an unrealistic outlook with an unattainable goal.

By all means, continue educating people about health and encouraging better choices, but start minding your own damn business a little more and stop making those who don’t conform to your ideal into pariahs. Improvements and moderation aren’t commended and they should be. Remember prohibition? It didn’t work and the war on drugs isn’t working either. It’s time to find a different angle to work from.

Also included among those who should be minding their own damn business is, of course, the government. Terrorism is now used as a very convenient excuse to intrude into the private lives and communications of their own citizens. This is a valid concern, but it’s not the whole story. The bigger government has become the more intrusive and controlling its existence. We will see in the future that the definition of who is a terrorist is very flexible, and more and more people will be put in that category. Believe it or not, it surely is coming.

Let’s not forget business. They live for figuring out how they can limit our choices, take more of our money while delivering less, and coming up with fancy new gimmicks to draw us in. In their ruthless pursuit of their bottom line and control over us, they too aren’t minding their own damn business by actively seeking to influence and direct the lives of consumers for their own benefit. They take this approach not only with their customers, but their employees as well. After all, there are no individuals anymore, only businesses, and they must always project the most perfect image possible. It’s all a continuing facade that will hopefully eventually collapse around itself and the joke will be on these mega corporations.

We would all be better off if people would start minding their own damn business and stop interfering in others. All the time, effort, and resources expended could be put too much sounder use by addressing more practical concerns – of which there are plenty. There are many pressing issues that need dealt with now, and other people’s lifestyle choices aren’t among them. We need to work with what we have and what we’re capable of instead of striving for the impossible. The results if we tried couldn’t be worse than what we have now.

 

 

Society

Death of a Politically Correct Society

Let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time, there was a society of people who were considered to be strong and prosperous, not only among themselves but by other societies as well. They had their problems and faults just as others did, but they were a spirited, independent society and set a standard that was widely respected and admired. Initially, they shunned away from taking a leading role in world affairs, but time and circumstance found them in position as world leaders. They embraced this role enthusiastically.

But as time went on things began to change. The advantages and possibilities that came with this status proved to be too tempting to resist, and they developed an egocentric mentality that corrupted their views and judgment, thereby forming the basis for all their decisions and actions.

They adopted an uncompromising approach to other societies and it came to be known that they used many nefarious and covert means to obtain their objectives. They were not mindful of effects or consequences, and their standing in the world fell as they came to be regarded with mistrust and doubt. This caused them many problems, but they refused to unbend from their self-interested ways and much chaos resulted and eventually spread.

The approach they took with their own citizens was also damaging yet subtle, and they used methods that were deceptive and gradual so that the majority of their people remained unaware of what this would ultimately mean for them. As the people became more complacent they also became more susceptible to the steady stream of propaganda and encroaching changes in their lives. One effective tool used involved taking two existing terminologies and replacing them with one that allowed for manipulation and behavioral control over time.

The old discarded terminologies were known as common courtesy and good manners. These were simple terms with uncomplicated definitions. They were what their names implied, which was a courteous nature and a respectful manner towards others. But these proved to be too simple and straightforward and therefore weren’t flexible enough, and so they were phased out of use and replaced.

The new term, known as politically correct, became so woven into society and how it functioned that most, besides those over a certain age, had only a vague awareness of the old terms and their meanings. This new term set parameters that made everything susceptible to criticism and change. Society was assessed and judged according to what the definition of politically correct was at a given time, and the definition continually expanded. The new term was supposed to promote tolerance and protect people from potentially offensive language or behavior, but it went too far and everyone became a potential victim or a potential offender, and sometimes both.

Warnings, regulations, and laws became attached to almost everything as it was believed that people needed to be protected not only from others but from themselves as well. Personal responsibility and consequences fell as it became easier to blame other people or situations for almost anything. Apologies, often without any genuine sincerity, became commonplace. Unpretentious behavior and language became the accepted norm as people learned that these were the new rules to abide by in order to succeed in life.

Concern with being politically correct came to dominate all aspects of life, both professional and personal. Strength of character, independent thinking, and a strong sense of self and responsibility were no longer cultivated or seen as desirable traits, and were discouraged. This had a negative and degrading effect on society and affected their views and relations with one another and with other societies as well.

This new manufactured reality was packaged and sold as individuality to their people, but this was a false concept. The molding and control of society was the end goal of the politically correct climate. Conformity was what they were really selling, and unfortunately many people bought it. It became acceptable to express only the views of the status quo and disagreement with this was seen as abnormal, highly questionable, and even dangerous. Life became one large duplicitous game which in the end ensured no winners.

So, how did this story end?

This remains to be seen, as this is not a fairy tale from long ago but an ongoing real story that has not yet played itself out. This is what is currently happening in America, and it’s clear that such an intense focus on being politically correct has had an adverse effect. We have gone from a society of strong individuals to a herd of weak sheep – ripe for the slaughter.

The question now is will the end come from an external source and event, or will we implode from within as our society continues its downward spiral?

Time will tell.

Society

Myth or Reality…Time to Choose

Living under a cloud of myths as dense and invasive as we do have obscured our ability to clearly see and differentiate between what is myth and what is reality. But the conflict between myth and reality is very real and can no longer be controlled, ignored or denied. People use myths to control attitudes and behaviors, and to justify their agendas so it appears that they are on the side of right. To do this they must control the story lines, but this comes at a heavy price as the bill for these comes due and the pressure the world is under continues to intensify. Increasingly, it’s becoming more apparent that leaders don’t have a handle on things and the information is there that can aid in unraveling these myths. It is time to do just that.

One thing that is clear is that not only are these myths affecting the majority of society, but they are also affecting those who have a vested interest in maintaining them. The scrutiny they are under has been increasing, and rightly so. The difference between what they’re saying and the results we are seeing and experiencing are getting harder for them to rationalize, but still they persist in outmoded and ineffectual ways. They have become trapped in their refusal to evaluate or consider new approaches or revised thinking to solve problems and deal with important issues. It’s more important to them to maintain the status quo, thereby saving face (or so they think) then it is to admit to any failure or wrong doing on their part. This rigid stance is going to come back and bite us all on the ass.

Cultural myths are not acknowledged as such, but are packaged and presented as unassailable and obvious truths. In America these myths have made us vulnerable as we continue on a path that will have dire consequences for us down the road if we don’t wake up and pull the wool off our eyes while we can. America is entrapped and weighed down under a multitude of myths that confuses and blurs reality for many. An attitude adjustment and reality check is in order and it’s in our best interests to start facing reality as it is, and not as it is presented.

Myth: America is always in the right (a God given one at that), and the rest of the world should bend to our will.

Reality: America is not always right as American foreign policy shows. Under the guise of spreading democracy, (which is a lie) subversive tactics have been used for decades to instigate regime changes and instability to benefit and extend the influence and interests of a few. This has proven to be not only ineffective but with disastrous consequences for those regions with wide ranging implications, and the world is catching on. Our motives are being questioned and our word doubted, and with good reason. We have a tendency to make poor choices and leave chaos in our wake. We operate by two separate sets of rules, one for us and another for everyone else and conduct business using highly questionable and often illegitimate methods. We make allies who turn into enemies, and make enemies of those who should be our allies. We do not come to the table with diplomacy in mind, but as the loud mouthed neighborhood bully who expects, and demands, total compliance. This is not a smart way to conduct business. Eventually, someone stands up to the bully and pushes back.

Myth: Americans live in the best country in the world.

Reality: To be sure there are some aspects to our country that are better than certain other places in the world, but internally America is deteriorating and has been for quite some time. It has been remarked that America is beginning to resemble a third world country, and if things continue on their present course that is what will happen. Money and effort is not being expended to make improvements here, but to line the pockets of a few and to fund foreign ventures and military operations. Our infrastructure is aged and in desperate need of attention (see asce.org/report card). The middle class is being wiped out, and our deficit is inexcusable. Our healthcare system is driven by profit and greed; you may have it but that doesn’t mean you can afford to use it. Law abiding, tax paying seniors who have spent their lives working and saving are being stripped of any wealth they may have. Military veterans encounter numerous obstacles in receiving services they need. They are cast aside and treated like yesterday’s trash. All government bureaucracies are corrupt and top heavy hindering efficiency, and we are taxed to the max and receive little in return. If we are indeed so fortunate, than why are these things, along with many others (too numerous to list), happening?

Myth: America is a democratic society.

Reality: On the face of it, it may look that way. But delve beneath the (shallow) surface and see that government and businesses are continually looking for ways to restrict and control our activities, our choices, and our voices. We are constantly being monitored and assessed through our movements, communications, and purchases. This is a very real, if undeclared war being waged against citizens, and if you are not on some sort of list by now then you are one of the few. The Privacy War is in full swing; we are struggling to preserve it, and they are trying to take it from us. They are good at hiding their motivations and burying their true agendas by using sleight of hand methods like obscure language, distractions, and fear in all its forms. They are intent on control, and this cannot happen in a democratic society. So they have been, bit by bit, chipping away at the foundations, and they are counting on us to let it happen.

I could go on, but my purpose here is to provide a general picture, and to encourage people to research on their own. We need to stop taking anything at face value, and begin to think again for ourselves. The information is out there. It can be daunting at times as there is a lot to sift through, but it is there for the finding. But the question remains; are we ready to face what is happening and work to dispel the myths and face the mess we’re in, or are we comfortable where we are?

Admittedly, perceptions vary and people see things differently. This is especially true regarding things that are more obscure where we aren’t able to see or find out firsthand what is going on, or where there is no clear solution. But there are plenty of situations right here in our own backyard where we know or at least has access to, more clear information and facts about the true state of things. Perceptions can be misleading and while we are led to believe certain things consequences and results speak volumes by showing us that we are irrelevant and here to be exploited for the convenience and profit of a few. Given the amounts of money and effort that is diverted elsewhere, there is no way they should be able to rationalize away their poor performance at home.

It’s sad to say but many don’t even realize they are living under false assumptions and assurances and accept what is projected as truth. What’s worse is there are many who don’t even care. But I care, and I know I’m not alone in this. It’s time for us to discard the myths, put doubt and accountability into the equation, and open up the path to assessing and correcting the damage that has been done. Vigilance is no longer a part of the American mentality and has been replaced by complacency and acceptance. The purpose and experiences of the American Revolution have lost its meaning and importance and are now nothing more than dry facts on a sheet of paper. Do we really want to have to do it again? It may very well come to pass that we have no choice.

“Reality is the leading cause of stress for those in touch with it.”  ~  Jack Wagner

Society

On the Question of Competency

The established structure governing how our society functions and the methods, policies, and mindsets that defines it has proven to be, more often than not, incompetent and shortsighted. Processes and rules are devised according to how they look on paper and with public image and profits in mind, but which prove to be inadequate in practice. Those in control or who have a vested interest would have us believe this system is effective, productive, and even necessary – but it is not. It is a colossal waste of time and resources while adding unnecessary stress for many.

We see emphasis placed on form rather than content, quantity rather than quality, appearances rather than authenticity, and lip service rather than actual intent. Misleading standards have been put in place to provide a veneer of competency which is questionable and most certainly cannot be guaranteed.

The world is flooded with so-called experts whose expert status is actually diluted because they are so entrenched in their way of thinking and being. They surround themselves with the rituals of their profession and its specific language and are not tolerant of other voices. In such cases learning and progress stops as they see themselves holding a very defined and privileged role within society and within their clique. Anything or anyone who presents a challenge to that role is viewed with suspicion and disdain, and is firmly discounted and dismissed.

Accordingly, much weight is placed on accreditation, degrees, and recognition, or should I say the trappings of these. Obviously knowledge and skills are essential to have, but when what’s on paper becomes more important than quality or intention we end up with false and disingenuous assurances and assumptions that can be, and often are, lacking and problematic.

Meaningful education is no longer part of the equation in our bureaucratic labyrinth of a system. It has been deemed unimportant – dangerous even – and has been relegated to a distant past. Education has been corrupted and turned into an automated production line which promotes rote learning in a politically minded environment and is not conducive to meaningful questioning, exploration, learning and growth. And this negative educational experience isn’t even free; we are charged steep tuition fees for it.

Thus, we generate people who are not always suited to the profession they choose and are therefore incompetent and ineffective. Completing required courses, passing mandatory examinations, and paying all required fees are the criteria deemed necessary for determining competency to work in many occupations. It has become common and acceptable for people to hide behind their credentials and thus deflect their responsibilities but, as I have stated before, training and education by themselves guarantees nothing. It is by no means representative of the whole picture.

Everywhere within our society are inadequate administrators and managers who care little for efficiency, common sense, or merit based work, and those who enjoy (and abuse) their power too much are all too common. Corruption is rampant and pervasive. Politics and power cliques are detrimental as they create and encourage negative and toxic environments where questionable behavior, ulterior motives, and poor performance are rewarded. This is accepted as normal in our society.

For the capable managers who do exist – and there are some – they find themselves caught in between a rock and a hard place. For them, trying to maintain positive, productive, and fair work practices while operating under oppressive guidelines and expectations from those they answer to is an unfortunate and unnecessary reality.

Inadequate teachers are a problem many have encountered. Most of us have had experience with one and in many cases more than one. Some choose this profession because they want summers, holidays, and weekends off, not because they have a real desire to teach or because they possess any talent for it. Their students suffer for it, and many times blame for the results of poor teaching is placed on the students and/or the parents, while quality teachers are routinely hindered by increasingly constrictive standards and testing that allow little time for any real teaching or constructive interactions with students to occur.

Businesses, especially those beholden to shareholders and a board of directors, are so focused on profits that they will manipulate and make use of whatever they can to increase them – including people. Management from the top down instead of the bottom up is typical of how these businesses are run. In other words, the people at the top not only have no clue of how to do the jobs their employees do and what they entail, but they don’t care to know. New procedures and goals they come up with as they sit behind their desks often don’t take into consideration effects in real time, what it takes to make things work, and the added stress to those expected to make them work.  When competency is absent at the top it affects competency at all other levels, including motivation and loyalty.

Governments are besieged with incompetency, and try as they might it is getting harder for them to hide it. The chaos, unrest, and exploitation are widespread and increasing with no end in sight. With all their talk and covert and overt actions they are unable to solve anything. They are, however, excellent at making matters worse, and it is rare that they are ever held accountable for their actions. Thus we have people in prominent positions who, if they were average citizens, would be viewed and treated as criminals. This is a hallmark of an incompetent government, yet it is also a reality.

Having to deal with any type of organization, public or private, is often a time consuming, unclear, and frustrating experience, for workers as well any who have dealings with them. Effective and honest communication is often missing, faulty, or purposely misleading. The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing as departments are often run independently of one another. Obscure verbal and written communication is practiced regularly as they believe this will benefit them – at other’s expense, of course.

Yet they all strive to project an image of competency, caring, and trust – or at least they try to. But these things require more than excellent marketing skills and dressed up language. Competency has to be consistently worked toward, trust must be earned and caring – well you either you do or don’t, and when you don’t it tends to come out sooner or later.

The system is warped with a focus not on capability, suitability, intentions, or productive results, but on a willingness to play by the rules of the game – and it is a game. Real time experiences, passion, ability and potential ability and the inclination to cultivate them are downplayed, even ignored, and replaced by superficial concerns with uncertain, unproductive, or damaging results.

Paying homage to the system and its mechanisms is a sacrosanct duty we are all expected to abide by and participate in to advance and succeed in life. For those who are not willing players in this game, or who possess a conscience or common sense, this often results in experiences that are at best unsatisfying, and at worst a total nightmare.

Competency requires strength beyond knowledge and skills. It includes an ability and willingness to continue the learning process beyond educational or social status attainment by stepping outside comfort zones, engaging with others to consider problems, issues, and goals from multiple angles, and being open to change for the benefit of many rather than just a few.

There are plenty of competent people in the world, but my observations and experiences have led me to believe that they are outnumbered by incompetent ones, especially in positions of power and influence. The system is designed to encourage and reward incompetency and so it permeates our world everywhere from individuals to groups, businesses and organizations, to political leaders and government.

Many people simply don’t have the strength of character that competency requires. Protecting the clique they belong to, and their place in it, is the primary concern. Relying on manipulative, deceitful, and abusive tactics along with an unwillingness to cooperate and tone down agendas is not strength. It is the height of incompetency, and it’s costing us dearly. It all comes down to how competency is defined, and it’s defined by, and for the benefit of, those who possess it least.

 

“Every clique is a refuge for incompetence. It fosters corruption and disloyalty, it begets cowardice, and consequently is a burden upon and a drawback to the progress of the country. Its instincts and actions are those of the pack.”  ~ Chiang Kai-shek