Tuesday, October 6

Standard of Living vs Standard of Life Part 1

We just don't get it. Some play the fool for the benefit of others but most of us are the fools. Jesters in the courts of evil kings.

Standard of living is measured by more than how much you are paid for your work, what goods and services you can purchase, and how little you pay for those goods and services. When did the standard of living cease to coincide with a standard of life? When did economics eclipse way of life? Why isn't this an argument being made? What difference does money make when you detest so much of the way you live?

A standard of living makes no sense without a standard of life. In fact, one can have a high standard of life with a low standard of living and yet live a blessed and joyful existence, but few men can have a high standard of living with a low standard of life and yet be content and happy.

Machiavelli says, "I say then that such a principality is obtained either by the favour of the people or by the favour of the nobles. Because in all cities these two distinct parties are found, and from this it arises that the people do not wish to be ruled nor oppressed by the nobles, and the nobles wish to rule and oppress the people; and from these two opposite desires there arises in cities one of three results, either a principality, self- government, or anarchy." and then remarks, "A principality is created either by the people or by the nobles, accordingly as one or other of them has the opportunity; for the nobles, seeing they cannot withstand the people, begin to cry up the reputation of one of themselves, and they make him a prince, so that under his shadow they can give vent to their ambitions. The people, finding they cannot resist the nobles, also cry up the reputation of one of themselves, and make him a prince so as to be defended by his authority."He further states, "Besides this, one cannot by fair dealing, and without injury to others, satisfy the nobles, but you can satisfy the people, for their object is more righteous than that of the nobles, the latter wishing to oppress, while the former only desire not to be oppressed."

If the goal of the "nobles"(simply put, men of power) is to "oppress the people" And the, "only desire(of the people is) not to be oppressed." Then obviously the question of how to control and manipulate "the people" has been an age-long pre-occupation of thought and action among the ,"nobles." or "men of power." One imagines they have been perfecting it since prehistory. That they have turned history itself to their ends. How does one(or a group of individuals) accomplish this?

A politician cannot lead a man away from a way of life that makes him happy. This man wants no change. With a family provided for, with access to clothing, food, shelter, community, and relative peace, what need has he for a higher, "standard of living?" Unless a man be tempted, fooled away, or frightened from his standard of life, perhaps with promises of a higher, "standard of living," or by the fear of another tribe, or "people", what need has he for government? What need has he for politicians? What need has he for an abundance of possessions? What need has he to live a modern life? Unless one has a low "standard of life" there is no need for a high, "standard of living." Unless one has wandered, or was forced, or led into an unknown land to lead an unfulfilling life how can he be herded as cattle? When a man is satisfied with what he has how can he be controlled? How can he be oppressed? On the other hand when a man has lost his way he will ask anyone for directions. When a man is unsatisfied he will follow any and all prevailing wisdom and advice in order to fill the hole in his soul. In order to recapture that which makes him whole. Then all one must do is control the prevailing wisdom and advice. To control the information. To make "the people" believe what makes them oppressable and unsatisfied is what will make them free and fulfilled.

Pretty smart. You can almost hear them planning, "We'll also confuse them with pleasure, history, religion, economics, nationalism, disease, war, and a multitude of fears." They don't stand a chance." One helluva shell game. And simple in it's complexity. I would not be much surprised if the data and knowledge of the science of power, control, oppression, manipulation, and the plan to achieve it all could fill the library at Alexandria.

In this variation on the over-all theme that "Although the un-ending march to a better standard of living is in many ways painful and we must sacrifice for it, there is no other way to improve the lives of humans and the fortunes of humanity but to continue on the course that made possible World Wars, nation-wide poverty in the third-world, genocide, climate crisis, oppression for all, and it is now as simple as someone making a mistake to destroy our entire species with weaponized disease, chemical, or nuclear weapons. Maybe a rational person would reject some of our "versatile solutions for modern living" if it meant the return to a standard of life that was actually worth living along with the ability to live life without the tools of mankind's assured destruction staring him in the face when he wakes up and the knowledge that it could all end at any time eating away at his well being throughout the day. And clawing at his subconscious throughout the night.

Sunday, October 4

On Civil Discourse in an Uncivil Time

I believe in driving myself to be a better person. I believe in challenging myself to be a better human being, but I do not believe in driving others to grow at the point of the argumentative blade. Will this accomplish much more than resentment or encourage much more than the thought that I am trespassing on an individuals will to learn at their own speed and to perfect themselves at the pace which they have set forth as right in their own minds? In questioning the ways of influence I can see no better course than inspiration. Does this not cause a person to turn inward and confront what may be holding them back? Does confrontation not defeat this purpose? Who moves forward when badgered and told that their ways are wrong? I have not met them. But who, that is not wholly lost, can refrain from questioning why they feel or do a certain thing when the better angels of their nature cry out to them across the great fields of their malformed convictions? Let us then address our fellow men not through arguments that enflame passions long polluted by feelings of discontent and hopelessness, but inspire our neighbors by appealing to that which is common throughout the body politic: Humanity. There is no one among us, not beyond the grasp of decency, who can withstand the call to uphold the right. If we do not arouse the passions of a lifetime of neglect, oppression, or powerlessness we cannot fail to touch those who disagree with us. We are all one. One man, One neighborhood, One city, One state, One nation, One world, One humanity. One life, One love, One God. Let us treat each other so and we will not be so easily divided or dismissed. Amen.