Thursday, August 03, 2017

The Mindless Pursuit of Wealth


There is a particular mindset within the cultural framework of the United States that equates success with the accumulation of wealth.  This perspective is entirely congruent with the central role that profit plays within the economic system – the driving force of capitalism is, after all, capital accumulation.

The behavioral implication of this worldview is a mindless preoccupation with amassing wealth with devastating consequences for the larger human community; for, it is essentially a rigged game – capital generally flows to those who are already affluent from those with the greatest need. 

The proof of this contention can readily be found in the national statistics.  These statistics clearly point to a social order in which
  • An inordinate amount of the total wealth in the county is held by individuals and families that represent a minuscule subset of the entire population
  • Twenty to twenty-five percent of the nation’s children live in poverty
  • Tens of millions remain at serious risk of having either inadequate or a complete absence of access to reasonable and appropriate health care
  • A growing population of homeless throughout America’s major cities and rural areas
  • An ever-growing problem relating to nutrition with many families including women, children and the elderly facing hunger on a daily basis.

The reality as described above that exists for so many is a necessary consequence of the mindless pursuit of wealth and is completely unnecessary. – this nation has more than adequate resources that can be effectively directed at these systemic issues.  It is human compassion that is lacking and the will to effectively correct the corrupt imbalances that foster the extent of this suffering.

Ironically, the mindless pursuit of wealth rarely leads to a successful life; for, the personal price that is paid for this “achievement” is far too costly.  As sentient life forms on this wondrous planet, our lives are transient and when we finally depart from the living we take nothing with us.  Hopefully, the legacy we leave behind adds something of substance and intrinsic value to those who will follow.

Friday, July 21, 2017

To the Now

It is this moment,
this fleeting.
this ephemeral
bit of rushing time.

That is it,
clear,
immediate,
particular
now.

On its way
among the relics and
graveyard of the past
to be contemplated in some
future nowness or
simply forgotten.

I live in the moment,
by the second,
not subject to conjecture,
immune to elaborate planning or
introspection.

Future time
may not be mine,
these molecular bits
could be finally heading
to the realm
where Chaos abides,
my ultimate destiny.

It is this moment,
this glancing tribute
to existence,
to certainty,
the rest is speculation.

Why the Prevalent Disbelief in Climate Science?


Given the exhaustive scientific study and analysis of the hard data that incontrovertibly supports the relationship between human activity and climate change, the question that remains is, “What is the source of the skepticism that seems to surround this unmistakable reality – a sentiment that is especially widespread within the United States?”

One can postulate that there exists a pervasive mistrust in science among a considerable portion of the general population   This is true to some extent, but I believe there is another and more profound reason for this apparent resistance to the truth.

It is my contention that this puzzling denial is a result of the loss of the communal acceptance of the fundamental importance of the Commons in American life.  The Commons is represented by those necessities, commodities and services that are essential for the maintenance and sustenance of human life such as availability of clean drinkable water, clean air, descent shelter, access to health care, availability of adequate nutrition and a healthy and sustainable natural environment.  The Commons can only be maintained if the individuals that comprise the community are dedicated to its continued support and maintenance.  It is one of the fundamental roles of government and government policy to preserve and maintain the Commons.  In a truly democratic society where government functions “by and for the people,” if the will of the people is to allow government to abrogate that fundamental role that is a troubling development; for, it imperils the very future viability of the social order.

Human life in modern culture operates within an economic milieu that is essentially devoid of compassion in which all aspects of life are of value to the degree that profit can be made and all things are reduced to the uncompromising competitiveness of the marketplace.  As a direct consequence of this system based primarily upon capital and its perpetual accumulation, the well-being of the individual supersedes all other considerations, and individuals are taught to evaluate their own success based upon personal material acquisition.

As a consequence, what is lost is an appreciation of the value of community effort for the purpose of promoting and sustaining the well-being of all members of society i.e. the Commons.  A societal philosophy that elevates the individual above all else inevitably endangers the very nature of community life.

Furthermore, the exaggerated focus on the individual that overshadows all other considerations, obscures the essential reality that all members of the human race are rightful members of the human family and worthy of the same respect, compassion, care and concern that we gladly extend to our own immediate families. 

Solutions to the widespread issues of poverty, hunger, disease, political turmoil, conflict and the ineluctable degradation of the natural environment require reasoned cooperation and collective action on the part of all nations.

Seeing reality through the myopic lens of the individual and individual needs in a material culture that has an ever-diminishing connection to the natural world, inevitably leads to a dismissal of importance of the Commons as well as a rejection of the inherent reality of climate change. In fact, the future viability of the species rests squarely in the hands of humanity.
 

The apparent skepticism of the reality of climate change has its origins in an unwillingness to accept this responsibility and make the appropriate changes in communal behavior to maintain the future vitality of the entire species.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

A Definitive Choice


The current administration under the aegis of a President, whose rantings describe an apparently emotionally juvenile and disturbed personality, has helped magnify the real politic of the US government.  Elected officials are supposed to be servants of all the people.  It has become abundantly clear that they serve the affluent and corporate class above all else.  How else does one explain the hideous ill-conceived legislation that is currently being considered and held up as a true health care reform bill that would certainly devastate so many millions of our citizens, especially the most vulnerable.  How else would one explain the fact that the Supreme Court has codified the rampant and excessive ability of the wealthy to have unlimited access to politicians through campaign contributions and has effectively equated money with free speech.  How else would you explain a leadership that refuses to accept the expert advice from the scientific and professional communities that conflict with the entrenched fossil fuels industries that currently hold inordinate sway in determining national policy.  This underlying reality has naturally led to a corrupt government that responds primarily to the needs and interests of the powerful.  It has become acutely apparent that this is a disastrous way to “run a country” as diverse, necessarily complex and multi-faceted as our own.

The American people have been led to crossroads where a definitive choice is now available to us.  Either we listen to reason, pay attention to reality, i.e. data, respect intelligence and balanced judgment, demand true equality and representation in government and make sound and informed choices at the polls; or, we continue on the current path to inevitable disaster.


We do not possess the commodity of unlimited time to be a country we can actually be proud of and that will apply its wondrous resources and human capital to fashion a country that sets its sights towards the greater good for everyone rather than remain in the emotionally-charged region of the lower brain.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

A Plea for Sanity


Internally, this nation is in a state of severe and apparently unrelenting crisis.  Many multi-faceted and exceedingly complex problems confront us as a nation and as a people.  Apparently, the national leadership has effectively commandeered the functions of government in order to further its goal to more fully corporatize the public sector that ideally belongs to all the people.  A significant aspect of this approach is to undermine the social safety net and disregard the absolute necessity of sustaining the Commons – those basic services and commodities that are essential for living such as a health care system accessible to everyone, a sustainable natural environment including clean air and water, adequate nutrition and shelter and an excellent and vibrant public education system.  In place of those policies that ensure the maintenance of the Commons – a vital role for government to play – we are witnessing the development of an anarchic system in which profitability is the guiding principle and the acquisition of wealth the fundamental goal.

This nation has embraced an economic system effectively devoid of human compassion and has fully engaged public policies that extol the absolute primacy of profit.    By necessity, this worldview disregards the input of the scientific community especially in the arena of the natural environment and the daunting impact of climate change. 

In order to garner support for this approach, the current government relies upon reactions from supporters that touch upon deep and profound frustrations.  In my mind, a common perception seems to be that many individuals feel that the country that they believe belongs to them has been taken away.  The issues of race and racism that has plagued this nation since its inception are not far from the surface.  Ironically, the supporters that feel that at last they are being heard, are the ones who will most profoundly experience the onus of the policies that are being enacted supposedly on their behalf.

As a people, we seem to be entering an irrational and self-destructive era; if we continue in this direction it will prove disastrous.  This nation is not alone on this path – the entire human community faces a daunting future.  

In my judgment, we need to collectively re-examine what is truly important for the continued sustenance of our species and act accordingly.  We need to ultimately move beyond the bounds of tribe and country and discover a new global paradigm that embraces the recognition of the essential importance of the natural environment on this our only home – planet earth.  We need to recognize that the human family consists of all of us regardless of our place of origin and that our future survival depends upon this realization.


It is more than likely that the next generation will be more receptive to this message than the current one.  In essence, my plea is one for sanity – for the acceptance of the primacy of reason over emotion and for the acknowledgment of the essential role of science in the making of sound public policy.  

Friday, June 02, 2017

A Day that May Mark a Turning Point


On June 1, 2017, the now defunct “leader of the free world” President Donald Trump of the United States made a momentous and unilateral decision.  It is a remarkably short-sighted, ill-informed and terribly ignorant decision to redraw US support in regards to the the Paris Climate Agreement regarding humanity’s effort to at least forestall the more drastic impact of climate change.  In my mind, it may very well prove to be a significant turning point in the direction that American politics will ultimately take.

He has single-handedly inspired the condemnation and wrath of many of world’s leaders as well as leadership of many of the world’s major cities including large major urban centers in the US.  He has also lost significant support from major corporations that obviously understand the full significance of such a horrendously stupid decision.  As a result, many of nation’s most populace states have chosen to vigorously pursue their own agendas in attempting to diminish the production of greenhouse gases.

The issue of climate change impacts all of the humanity in terms of its effect on the future viability of the human species on planet earth.  The issue of climate change is far larger and encompassing than any individual no matter how powerful he may consider himself to be.  It is stunningly ludicrous for a man such as Donald Trump so completely uneducated in the matter of science and so out of touch with the essential reality of human existence to take such an irresponsible course of action.  It is a decision representative of a deeply arrogant and shallow-minded person that should not have been placed in such a powerful position in the first place.  To me, it is an object lesson for the electorate on the basis for making important decisions at the polls – we need to elect intelligent leaders fully cognizant of the complexities of the essential issues that need reasoned and well-considered solutions.

I believe that this singular decision may represent the beginnings of the unraveling of an old and worn and inherently erroneous ideology that has as its core the protection of wealth and power at any cost.  Such a mindset is so monumentally irresponsible that it readily endorses a position that would even sacrifice the future for the immediate gratification of the few.


I am convinced that the opposition to this myopic way of thinking will greatly accelerate and eventually lead to a much-needed change in regards to the real value of appreciating and preserving our natural environment on this our only planet. 

Monday, April 03, 2017

An Incomplete Creation



Thousands of years of civilization
yet still mired in stupidity.

Lofty conceptions
taken to such philosophical heights,
yet we consort like crazed hyenas
over the corpse of our collective indifference.

Remarkable discoveries inspired by the
insatiable curiosity and heightened intellect of
our higher brain,
yet we gleefully slaughter each other over the
most inane differences.

Enviable desire for spiritual development,
yet so much unnecessary suffering
wrought from religious belief and
inflicted upon those deemed unworthy.

Thousands of years of civilization
yet still confounded by our own ignorance.

Responsible for expanding our collective understanding
of this remarkable universe and the
fantastic planet on which we reside,
yet we plunder the very resources
that grant us life and behave as if
we are unconscionable idiots.

Science and technology its primary offspring have
taken wondrous strides over the millennia
yet the practitioners of these arts imbedded in reality
are dutifully ignored and even discarded
when their conclusions are not what we choose to hear.

Capable of such nobility of spirit
selfishness of purpose
and infinite generosity,
yet we pay homage to
thoughts and ideas of little substance
demeaning to real possibilities
enabling unimaginable grief and despair.

Thousands of years of civilization,
yet still behaving as if we have learned
almost nothing.