Category Archives: Creative Process

Metacognition Versus Public Disenchantment with Science

“I do not like that man: I must get to know him better.”

–Abraham Lincoln

How is it, one wonders, that tens of millions of Americans can believe and echo absurd fantasies, while showing signs of disbelieving in science?

It clearly has something to do with hatred.

For most of my life, I would have associated disbelief in science with throwback cultures, as contrasted with one of the most advanced places on the planet.

To see it happening here is a shock.

Some of it has been accurately explained as confirmation bias, the insular lives many of us live, in which we only read, listen to and watch sources that tell us what we want to believe.

People whose lives have fallen short of aspirations naturally have fear and anger over that. Some of them who are white fall prey to white supremacy thinking because they fear that non-whites are gradually taking away their livelihoods. Many would simply rather believe that, than take responsibility for the consequences of their own actions.

Thus, racism could start from a shifting of blame – from blaming oneself to blaming others.

How ironic, in that there isn’t any value in playing the blame game in the first place! One shouldn’t have to shunt it outside, a metacognitive mind will see in advance where something leads and can stop the degenerative process far sooner. And reverse degeneration, by adjusting future predispositions consciously. That transmutes blame into better preparation.

Every event is a product of multivariate causes, so the blame has to be allocated, and having done so, one decides how to adjust one’s future action and moves on without the overt act of blame or even the covert clinging inside to the feeling of blame. This becomes clear to a person in a state of metacognition or Observer/Flow states.

One could blame it all on the money system itself, which historically creates a disadvantaged segment who can see the way the advantaged segment lives, producing a potential disequilibrium, which will come to be potentiated in one cranky way or another. And in a way, Marx did that, conceptualizing a radical new system to replace capitalism which was to never work as it was supposed to in the real world. It just made things worse.

Fear of communism and socialism naturally struck hard at American values of rags to riches by hard work, independence and small business, property rights, individualism, liberty, ideologies at the time being peddled via the violence of revolution. When I was growing up the whole environment taught me as an American patriot to loathe those systems.

That still exists today, and that fear instilled in all of us for so many decades is still being used by politicians today, even though our potential enemies abroad are no longer practicing communism except symbolically, everyone is doing capitalism this year.

No reason to make such a big deal about socialism anymore. Authoritarianism is still a valid cause for concern, not to mention the environment, the need for massive new clean energy resources, the mutating virus, mounting levels of violence, inflation, American schism… we have enough prime challenges today and cannot let ourselves be distracted by last century’s woes.

We ourselves are good people. My hunch/hypothesis (estimate of the situation, rather than article of faith) is that all human beings – all beings – are innately good. Hume called this universal instinct “sympatico”. The reason that is my hunch is that, like Will Rogers and similar to Abe Lincoln, I have never met a person I didn’t like, at least sometimes.

Fear causes anger and anger causes the world we now live in.

The digital media and even some traditional media have amplified our fear and our anger. So has the replacement of jingoism for journalism. The decline of journalism is also connected to the rise of digital media through the agency of money: as newspapers were largely replaced, so was a lot of journalism, thank God still not totally extinct and hopeful of a full comeback once we all come to our senses.

What makes me think we can ever come to our senses?

Metacognition.

What is metacognition? The term literally means “Above cognition”.

It’s a term coined by distinguished American developmental psychologist John H. Flavell in his 1976 article “Metacognitive Aspects of Problem Solving” – the same year my manual on how to achieve metacognition and the two states above it, MIND MAGIC came out.

Flavell defined “Metacognition” as “Cognition about cognition, or, more informally, thinking about thinking.” If we pay attention to our own mental/emotional processes (metacognition) we become practiced at it (Observer state) and eventually begin to have experiences of Flow state (what athletes call the Zone) – intuitive effective performance.

It’s my hypothesis that we can as homo sapiens “come to our senses” and overcome the present unstable state of global civilization, by accelerating the widespread education of practices proven to increase metacognition – and two even higher states of consciousness that metacognition is a precursor for, Observer state and Flow state. That automatically includes pragmatically being open to new evidence, and having the skills to weigh evidence logically and dispassionately.

QAnon zombies and extremists of all stripes can be cured by their achieving metacognition and Observer state. People who today believe things for the wrong reasons can untie the knots in their mind by the ability to weigh evidence dispassionately.

Metacognition and Observer state also enable detachment from long-accepted precepts. Metacognition is exactly what is missing from the present culture. It is not being taught in any public schools that I know of.

In order for the science of psychology to have its maximum positive social effect, people must be able to translate and apply findings to their own lives.

Today’s possibly most valuable psychology remains largely focused on the detailed mechanics of how the brain works, without relating such findings to the mind and the experience of the individual (qualia), the fancy name for our subjective inner experiences).

Tying scientific findings to a person’s experience would be valuable because it enables teaching and learning. The individual would have a map for dealing with his/her qualia, able to achieve metacognition/self-observe something by the use of operational methodologies taught in history by sages, and today condensed into my manual.

If science stops translating its findings for greater understanding among the people – which understanding has tangible positive effects – science remains valuable for its own purposes of knowing, but science’s disconnect from most people’s lives leaves a dangerous vacuum which is presently being filled with baseless argumentation of science versus fantasy, to no good end.

Hypothesis: An increase in the public’s ability to maintain a state of metacognition will cause a decrease in anger, hatred, class warfare, depression, mental illness in general, addiction, crime, war, terrorism, partisanship, misinformation, and other negative phenomena.

This is a hypothesis worth testing. My manual is one way to test it on yourself and on your employees. The U.S. Army and Navy have tested it and then requested/received workshops for high-ranking officers, as have some large corporations, and 34 universities. Thousands of readers of MIND MAGIC have written positively about its effects.

In the next post I’ll give you a pre-experience of what the manual teaches. That will be a special edition on Monday.

Best to all,

Bill

 

Partners – We Need Each Other

Created August 6, 2021

Good-natured rivalries are a constructive force for the betterment of all concerned. Unsportsmanlike vicious bitter feuds bring down all concerned.

The state of play at the moment between the two U.S. political parties is at the worst extreme observed in my lifetime. That can’t be a good thing. A house divided against itself, cannot stand. Who said that? Abraham Lincoln, one of the country’s first Republican party presidents, and one of the greatest of all of our presidents.

In this post I am setting out to document that the two political parties form a natural complementariness. That would not be the case with any two political parties. If, for an extreme example, our two parties happened to be Communism and Fascism, they would not complement one another nor work hand in glove together, because oil and water do not mix.

On the other hand, Republicans and Democrats names both mean almost the same thing: Res Publica in Latin means “public affair” and is usually taken to be a synonym for “commonwealth” (generally defined as “an independent community founded for the public good” and used as a synonym for “republic”); and Demokratia in Greek means “the people rule”.

However, Democracy specifies that the people call the shots, whereas a Republic exists for the public good but does not require that all the people together constitute the rulership.

This is not a fine point, it is the whole basis for the dynamic between the two parties.

The Democratic party takes the position that people should be able to reach decisions together by majority voting. That The People can be trusted to reach the right decisions.

The Republican party takes the position that The People are not always wise, they can be swayed by persuasion to make horribly wrong decisions, and must be protected by wiser heads.

No one can deny that there is truth and value in both of these opposed positions.

Especially today, when social media exposes how rampant madness is.

And social media probably adds to the madness.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who will guard the guardians – the wiser heads – in the republic? That is the key to the success or failure of a republic – the people trusted to make the decisions. Solomon, Socrates, Ben Franklin, Abe Lincoln, FDR, Walter Cronkite… we’re probably all in good hands. Most human beings who come to mind are not quite as rock solid.

The Founders were aiming for something optimized by combining Democracy and Republic, checks and balances everywhere. The U.S. Constitution they created established the principle that the power to rule comes from the people who invest that power in their chosen representatives in the U.S. system, a representative democracy and a democratic republic.

The Constitution didn’t mention political parties, and George Washington quit 20 years down the pike when political parties erupted on their own in 1796.

Yet our two parties, balanced as they are around a question of responsibility – can the public be trusted to have total responsibility, and if not, what is the proper interaction between the public and government itself, to achieve the optimal results? – have spontaneously evolved and their respective ideologies are extremely similar. If we had to have parties, these two are the perfect ones, on the face of it.

And one is conservative (in most cases) while the other is more progressive (in most cases). The Republicans coming from a place of getting people to stand on their own two feet, where the Democrats sympathize more with those who have fallen off their feet. The balance between these opposing Goods is where the greatest Good lies.

We need a degree of conservatism more than we ever needed it before, simply because we have been printing money to the extent that many economists fear a hyperinflation that could lose the U.S. dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency and have global economic effects possibly worse than the Great Depression.

Both parties have been taking advantage of the printing money alternative, and so we are under-representing the conservative ideal. It would be good to see us able to balance the budget and pay down debt. Both sides have good creative ideas and it’s a shame that filibuster prevents or delays debate which could lead to synthesis that is satisfying to both sides and to most citizens. At least let’s modify filibuster to require debate aimed at such synthesis, even if we retain the 60% supermajority requirement to pass a bill.

Let’s get back to using each other’s complementary skills and viewpoints to reach even better decisions and creative ideas than ever before.

The other party are not bogeymen. They are us, Americans, with very slight differences in point of view which are valuable, because they cause us to think, and the combination of two viewpoints causes a synthesis that is more perfect than either of the two original viewpoints.

Although the Founders did not visualize this taking place as two parties, they definitely foresaw that debate was going to be the modus operandi for the infant democratic republic. So let’s debate! The more we debate in a cooperative manner the quicker we shall unearth creative solutions for win/win. It makes no sense to delay debating, it is delaying the creative process the Founders invented.

We can carry on the work of America by simply ratcheting up the cooperation and winding down the rancor. Please give it a chance.

We can all act like children some of the time. Let’s not let ourselves do that all the time.

Two Sides to Every Story

To set us off on the right foot, let’s begin by acknowledging the good that has been done by the rival party. Here is a compilation of my subjective top ten accomplishments of Republican and Democratic presidents over the past 30 years. I left out many others worthy of inclusion in a longer article, and provided a bibliography for serious students. Because I set out to help bring us all together, please let’s not get into knocking any of my specific choices below, that wouldn’t do any good. The main reason I put these lists below together is simply to demonstrate that regardless of party, we have in general chosen well, that our recent presidents have all strived to do the best job they could, and that nothing irreparable has been done to damage the U.S.A. or to prove that our system is no longer functioning.

Bill Clinton (Democrat)

  1. Presided over longest period of economic expansion in U.S. history
  2. Unemployment dropped from 7% to 4%
  3. Poverty rate dropped from 15.1% to 11.3%
  4. Federal investment in education and training doubled, 3000% increase in educational technology funding, Internet-connected schools increased from 35% to 95%
  5. Largest crime bill in U.S. history caused crime rates to decline for eight years in a row and in 2000 were at their lowest levels since 1973
  6. Made approximately 300 free trade deals
  7. Helped end the war in Bosnia
  8. Helped negotiate the Oslo Accords between PLO and Israel
  9. Reduced the deficit for the first time since Truman was president, and reduced inflation
  10. Led the fight to pass GATT which lowered tariffs on manufactured goods by more than one third

George W. Bush (Republican)

  1. Withdrew from Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, ending the Mutual Assured Destruction era
  2. $1 trillion tax cut
  3. Established Homeland Security
  4. Targeted Osama Lin Laden for 9/11 and sent troops to Afghanistan breeding grounds for similar events in future
  5. Took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in order to prevent more than half of America’s mortgages from going under
  6. Signed No Child Left Behind Act
  7. Signed Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia
  8. Instituted new penalties for corporate fraud while proposing other reforms to “demand corporate responsibility and integrity without stifling innovation and growth”
  9. Department of Justice guideline prohibiting racial profiling in federal law enforcement
  10. Energy Policy Act of 2005 includes tax credits for wind and other alternative energy, identified ocean energy as a renewable technology

Barack Obama (Democrat)

  1. Signed into law the largest annual increase in research and development funding in America’s history
  2. Ended the 2008 recession: his last three years in office saw annual average growth of 2.3% in U.S. Gross Domestic product (GDP)
  3. International Climate Change Agreement
  4. Modernized the auto industry, raised fuel efficiency standards, and lowered carbon emissions
  5. Reformed health care
  6. Regulated the big banks
  7. Eliminated bin Laden threat and withdrew troops from Iraq
  8. Put 10 million people back to work
  9. Established a new cybersecurity office, appointed a cybersecurity czar, ordered first nationwide cybersecurity assessment
  10. World’s largest free trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Donald Trump (Republican)

  1. Abraham Accords: the 2020 Agreement among Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain encouraged similar pacts with Morocco and Sudan
  2. Space Force: recognized that a new branch of the military is now a necessity
  3. More efficiency in striking down terrorists: continued the use of missiles and drones to kill key terrorists without putting Americans in harm’s way
  4. Historic peace deal with Taliban in Afghanistan
  5. Degrees of improvement in relations with most difficult countries such as Russia and North Korea
  6. Called out China’s currency manipulation, product dumping, industrial espionage, and lack of trade reciprocity
  7. Contributed $483 million to the development of Moderna, $456 million to the development of the J&J vaccine, and up to $1.2 billion to the development of the AstraZeneca vaccine through Operation Warp Speed
  8. His first three years in office (before pandemic) saw average U.S. GDP annual growth of 2.5%
  9. Record highs in the Dow Jones Industrial Average
  10. Prior to pandemic, achieved the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years

Joe Biden (Democrat)

  1. Quadrupled the level of vaccinations per week
  2. Most diverse Cabinet in U.S. history
  3. Rejoined the World Health Organization
  4. Rejoined Paris Climate Agreement
  5. Bolstered U.S. manufacturing of semiconductors, pharmaceuticals, and other cutting-edge technologies
  6. Provided a comprehensive plan for Covid relief and support
  7. Proposed an Immigration bill that provides a path to citizenship and protects Dreamers
  8. Brought troops home from Afghanistan
  9. Restored relationships with allies
  10. Gave fair warning to Russia and China regarding cybercrime and aggression

Interestingly, most of the Joe Biden accomplishments listed above were drawn from Fox News’ Leslie Marshall’s March 11, 2021 opinion column. The full bibliography of sources for this presidential review is included below.

We’re not as far apart as it seems. Sometimes we get good ideas from each other. Let’s stop the silly squabbling and “put the Beatles back together”.

Best to all,

Bill

Bibliography

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Clinton#:~:text=Clinton%20presided%20over%20the%20longest,for%20national%20health%20care%20reform.

https://clintonwhitehouse1.archives.gov/White_House/Accomplishments/html/accomp-plain.html

https://learnodo-newtonic.com/bill-clinton-accomplishments

https://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/infocus/achievement/index.html

https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/george-w-bush-event-timeline

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presidency_of_Barack_Obama#:~:text=Obama’s%20first%2Dterm%20actions%20addressed,US%20military%20presence%20in%20Iraq.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/presidents/barack-obama/

https://washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/marchapril-2012/obamas-top-50-accomplishments/

https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2016/11/30/fact-sheet-celebrating-president-obamas-top-10-actions-advance

https://www.good.is/articles/obamas-achievements-in-office

https://www.thebalance.com/what-has-obama-done-11-major-accomplishments-3306158

https://time.com/4616866/barack-obama-administration-look-back-history-achievements/

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2018/04/06/the-fragile-legacy-of-barack-obama/

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/01/obama-biggest-achievements-213487/

https://ramonahouston.com/blog/the-244-accomplishments-of-president-barak-obama/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/11/09/no-pfizers-apparent-vaccine-success-is-not-function-trumps-operation-warp-speed/

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-45827430

https://trumpwhitehouse.archives.gov/trump-administration-accomplishments/

https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-biggest-accomplishments-and-failures-heading-into-2020-2019-12

https://www.lehighvalleylive.com/opinion/2021/01/trumps-top-10-accomplishments-of-2020-opinion.html

https://capaction.medium.com/what-has-joe-done-for-me-lately-biden-administration-accomplishments-98c71f9ce2d8

https://www.npr.org/2021/04/26/990305593/100-days-how-biden-has-fared-so-far-on-his-promises

https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/biden-top-10-achievements-leslie-marshall

https://www.politifact.com/article/2021/apr/26/evaluating-president-joe-bidens-first-100-days-off/

https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/security/news/2021/05/06/499245/first-100-days-analyzing-biden-administrations-foreign-policy-successes-opportunities-next-year/

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/meet-the-press/biden-s-track-two-big-achievements-here-s-how-it-n1272343

https://capaction.medium.com/what-has-joe-done-for-me-lately-biden-administration-accomplishments-98c71f9ce2d8

https://khn.org/news/article/evaluating-president-joe-bidens-first-100-days-in-office/

https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/28/politics/president-biden-first-100-days/index.html

https://www.businessinsider.com/biden-first-50-days-president-have-been-historic-success-2021-3

What’s a Non-Trump Republican to Do?

Created June 25, 2021

The latest (May 17-19) Reuters/Ipsos poll finds that 53% of Republicans still believe the 2020 election was stolen, down from 68% in a January 28 poll. The stolen election belief appears to be dropping about a percentage point a week. A straight-line extrapolation suggests that pollsters may soon find that the majority of Republican voters no longer believe the election was stolen.

Many of those who “changed beliefs” in the 17-week period may actually never have truly believed, but their party loyalty caused them to adopt that stance. Making a more accurate projection requires being able to make an accurate estimate of how many of the original 68% were actually loyalty driven rather than true believers. Why? Because beliefs are extremely hard and slow to change, whereas postures may be easily changed overnight.

Assuming for the sake of argument that two-thirds of the original 68% were loyalty believers and a third true believers. If that were the case, all other things being equal (which they never are), about 30 weeks from now (mid-December 2021) the percent of Republicans who say they still believe the 2020 election was stolen may be down to 23%, where it could remain for a long time.

But I would bet against it going down that far that fast, especially given the mid-term elections coming up. Those upcoming elections are the main reason the party is clinging so desperately to what almost everyone else sees as a big lie. And why the Grand Old Party is doing what it can to interfere with Democrats voting in those elections, despite the obvious risks of driving away support from all but the most fanatical Republican core.

This is all so sad.

Saddest of all for the remaining Republicans who are aghast at the behavior of their party but who feel impotent to do anything to save the party.

Psychiatrists might tend to explain the current official actions of the party as an attempt to rationalize the recent past and remove the black eye that Trump gave the GOP in the eyes of most of humanity.

But as a parent, if you heard your son or daughter saying things that were untrue and non-credible as a way of covering their ass for something they had done, what would you say to them?

Most parents would say, “If you keep doing that, no one will believe or respect you, and people will avoid you. You better fess up as soon as possible, people will forgive and respect you for doing that, and in the end you will gain much more by confession than you would gain by trying to keep up pretenses forever.”

It’s not too late for “normal” Republicans to raise their hands. That’s the best thing for the party, for Americans, and for the world.

The downside scenario for clearheaded Republicans is for the party to be split into two parties, which could happen if, for example, that 53% stat above for any reason gets locked in and doesn’t change at all for the rest of the year. Eventually the other 47% is going to have to start thinking about the long term, and some will bail and become independents (this has begun). Natural leaders will step up and it could cause party fission.

A new party might call itself the Independent Party. Or it could call itself The Center, implying the mental freedom of a Moderate without religious attachment to either progressive or conservative knee-jerks. How it positioned itself would drive how big it became.

But it wouldn’t matter. The remnant parties would find it very hard to make their way against the Democrat party because of relative sizes. The story would become one of backroom attempts to re-form coalition between the pieces of the GOP. That is what the Republican party is headed toward if it continues to use duplicity and guile in such utterly obvious ways. The fessing up scenario is the only way out.

Let’s say you are a non-Trump Republican and want to do something about this, what is there for you to do about it? Create a movement. Call it anything you want, Republicans For Reality, or whatever.

But do it soon. Contact all the people you know (even non-Republicans can help, if you let them), license use of lists and compile the contact information for as many Republican officials and voters as you can, send out frequent eblasts of posts written by members of the movement. Raise money and run public service advertising.

Focus on the immediate future not on the past. Focus on what should be done, not on what should not be done. Don’t condemn anyone, get past all that, be the beacon of reason that will magnetize other Republicans to take off the Halloween masks and get down to the work of cooperation with all Americans and like-minded people everywhere to solve the pressing problems we all face together, which I won’t list here again as I know everybody knows the list already.

The one thing I advise above all else: if you really love the Republican party and want to see it rise again in public esteem (including self-esteem), if you want to see the Grand Old Party of Lincoln be able to attract new members from all social classes, stop the attempts to restrict voting rights. The blowback on that issue will sharply reverse recent trends of the party attracting lower-income people and minorities, and will turn off the many older people in the party who need the vote by mail option. A betrayal takes decades to heal, or centuries, or millennia. Restriction of voting rights is a betrayal of the 15th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States, or by any State, on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Republicans loyal to American Principles, Arise!

Love to all,

Bill

Statement of Work

Created June 11, 2021

This is an SOW for the human race. It’s really an urgent request.

You see, it’s difficult to see something that is gigantic. Your mind has an automatic program for suppressing cognitive dissonance, especially during Acceleritis.

This is not any less threatening than all of those movies. This is the oncoming reality of those scary movies.

It’s time for each of us to stand up and pitch in.

Putting aside the petty grievances of the past.

This part is for philanthropists:

Think outside the box, it’s not business as usual right now.

Old reliable methods may need to be set aside during the emergency.

Where can your gifts do the most good?

After putting out the fires of old rivalries, Job Number One will be something like

  1. Bring all people in the world up to the current national average household income in the USA
  2. Do it respecting their desire to work for it, make fair deals, family education covered
  3. This is greenfield economic opportunity for everyone, if we go cold turkey on our addiction to dystopian expectations

In other words, if you can imagine for a second that the human addiction to violence might disappear suddenly, without having to think about that all the time, the development of the underdeveloped would be the natural magnet. That’s where the growth rate will be the most impressive, good for stock prices.

Only the violence and the addictive tendencies of the mind separate us, the human race, from stepping across the great divide, into seeing our wholeness, our connectivity, our oneness.

But if we could all be given that vision, wear that lens, for ten minutes, we would ask so what are we going to do instead? And self-realizing that there are excitingly vast possibilities in a future in which we can get along without hate, overt or covert.

The planet needs a lot of work, let’s get it organized and start to put it back together better than it ever was.

What Is Conservatism?

Created May 14, 2021

The GOP did not start out to be a conservative party, but in our memories it has always been associated with conservatism. What is conservatism? It is conserving the value we have already created, and not risking it unnecessarily by taking steps believed to be progressive which might have hidden flaws.

In principle, it’s a good idea, and so is the idea of making things better. Ideally, if you have to have political parties at all (the US Constitution didn’t think so), lining the two parties up with conservative and progressive philosophies is a very sensible dichotomy. One can imagine them working together to produce an optimally balanced result.

But today, most of the leadership of the Republican party – about 4251 people – have moved away from conservatism. They are in fact much more radical than conservative. Radicalism can happen on the conservative end or the progressive end of the spectrum. The new radical right is even more dangerous to us and to our democracies than neoliberalism. The radical right is virtually a return to monarchy, the same kind of monarchy that was the enemy of the American Revolution: One Man Rule. It is an undoing of democracy as a failed experiment.

The more the world sees us quibbling with each other and paralyzed by filibuster, the more believable is the idea that democracy can never work.

Hitler kept the trains running on time. The cost of that benefit was the lives of 75 million people.

Yet today many of us are willing to set all that aside and go for a leader who can get things done, or at least convince millions of us that things are getting done.

The filibuster stalling during the Obama administration was the beginning of a breakdown that proved the system was not working. Filibuster and gerrymandering were largely the cause of that. Which only went downhill under Trump.

And yet Trump, the TV performer who used social media as mindlessly as millions of us, locked in on the basis of that gross rapport, a core following that today consists of 4251 people with enough power to retake the country plus (my estimate based on Pew and Gallup) 34 million Republicans who want Trump back. 34 million out of 239 million eligible voters. Definitely a minority.

We need philanthropists to sponsor an all-media education campaign to make sure that everyone understands what filibuster is, what gerrymandering is, and the voting rights issues behind today’s State-level rush to “fix” all future elections by making it harder to vote for people who are less likely to vote for the far-right Republicans, who are a minority.

Allowing mechanisms not in the Constitution which have demonstrated they can paralyze a government for an entire administration to continue is unacceptable. But until those “keep me in power” mechanisms are dismantled, they are a very large obstacle to their dismantlement!

Therefore, to let The People Speak For Themselves, those same philanthropists can help grassroots efforts toward referendums, and continuous State by State polling, to compare the wants of the citizens of each State, with the legislation being passed today in that State. These referendums (and polls where the referendums are thwarted at the State level) will demonstrate that a self-serving minority has gamed the system and is our new dictatorial government in the States where voting rights are today being set back after more than a half century of progress.*

This will expose States passing laws opposed by the majority of the people that they are supposed to be representing.

It is the 34 million slavish followers of Trump (and any radical kneejerk no-compromise people on the blue team) that need to be educated and to learn to think for themselves, and not echo the pronouncements of any one man (other than the sayings of great saints) or even the party line (multiple people), but to study the issues and reach their own independent conclusions.

An educational campaign can achieve those effects especially if it is in bite sized pieces and done with the quality that can be achieved by entertainment and advertising creatives and their research support.

Perhaps the federal government and the courts can achieve the restoration of order that is needed, but philanthropists who like to live in the USA, for reasons of enlightened self-interest ought to give money to support an educational campaign across all media to get people to think for themselves and study the facts not just believe what a politician tells them.

Especially focused around voting, filibuster, and gerrymandering, the three areas that radicals on both sides have abused for too long after creating filibuster and gerrymandering in the first place, none of that was what the Founders wrote into the Constitution.

The campaign needs to also explain what referendums are and how they work differently in each State.

A citizenry uninformed in relation to these foregoing subjects is easy prey for unscrupulous actors in high places.

It’s easy to just follow one man, it takes some of your time to study complex subjects, and millions of us are not disposed that way. Hence using the media to teach (in a non-partisan way and) in potent droplets is a logical communications strategy that is not being used enough today.

May the Middle Hold. May the extremes move toward the Center.

Best to all,

Bill

 

*True conservatives, by definition, would want to preserve progress made in the past. Someone who wants to erase past progress is a reactionary, one type of radical.

Re-Evaluating Our Foundational Beliefs

Created April 30th, 2021

*Thank you Mr. President for a balanced and meticulously thought out approach at a time when others are losing their heads. In addition to my donations I’ve attempted to send you helpful ideas. Here are the links to the articles that hopefully someone on the staff can review, assess, and do whatever is decided with.*

Philosophy is the practice of re-evaluating our foundational beliefs.

The practice of philosophy has diminished from ancient days to now.

The one place where philosophy has not gone away – in fact, where it dominates all human life on the planet today – is economics.

Economic “theory” makes it sound like economics is a science now. It is not nor has it ever been a science. It is a collection of clashing philosophies. (My recommendation as to how to make it a science.)

Why do I say that economics dominates all human life today? What is the subject matter causing the schism in America today? It is all about money. And, of course it is all about power. Is the money important because it gets you to power? Or is the power important because it gets you to money?

It is the latter.

Money is the one thing in the world that provides an individual with freedom (assuming that individual lives in a democracy).

Power is not the thing most people wish for, because it would bring with it responsibility. Most people will be happy if they have enough money and can spend their time doing things they love doing – usually involving churning out some passion work outputs that delight other people too.

This is not to obscure individual differences. Thankfully each of us is unique. My work has established that there are fifteen motivations and that each person is driven by a specific set of these, whose relative importance to the individual shifts over time.

The world’s oldest and longest manuscript, the Mahabharata, establishes four things that are worth obtaining from life: pleasure, wealth, virtue, and enlightenment.

The fact that economics dominates the world today shows that we have as a race lost sight of things we knew long ago. There is an amazing imbalance away from the other three “Highest Goods”. It’s all just about wealth now.

And yet, behind the propaganda used by believers in one economic philosophy over another, the people who originally made up these economic philosophies were not as depicted in the propaganda.

“No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.” – Adam Smith

Adam Smith believed that the free hand of the market – the sum of actions of ordinary people and commercial enterprises and everyone else except governments – would lead eventually (he did not specify how long it might take) to an equilibrium satisfactory to all, and to growth and the elimination of poverty.

He lived at a time (1723-1790) when governments imposed protectionistic laws in a system called “Mercantilism” which maximized the wealth within a country by keeping out foreign competition. The same line of thinking linking the fortunes of countries and governments with those of companies and businesspeople was the context that spawned the British East India Company in 1600. Thus, Mercantilism was one of the spirals in the double helix with Colonialism/Imperialism. Go out and trade but exploit the others you trade with outside our country, bring their wealth back here, do not create win/win deals.

If you read Adam Smith – his own writings – you will see that his view of Laissez Faire and the Free Invisible Hand of the Market was intended to supplant Mercantilism as the dominant world economic system.

He did not offer any vision of the complicated world economic system we have today, nor any solutions for the kinds of challenges we are now facing.

He never once used the word “Capitalism”.

He was a genius and also owned considerable common sense. He wrote from his own moral compass and view of the world, he was a philosopher not an economist, he did not deal in data science, nor attempt to compile statistics to reach and prove his conclusions.

He was constantly making one foundational assumption, based on his accurate assessment that humans are social creatures: that all of us feel empathy for others, and therefore we would operate (eventually, as a result of growing up, education, experience) from enlightened self-interest. Meaning the realization that one will tend to be unhappy no matter how rich one gets, if one observes others suffering. He assumed that eventually everyone would be that way naturally – naturally altruistic, not egoistic– transcending 100% selfishness. Therefore, the rich would give to and train the poor, and we would all live happily ever after. In this optimistic view he may even have been influenced by his mentor and great friend David Hume.

In the 231 years since his demise, we have not achieved universal altruism. I like to think that the percentage of altruists in the population has increased as a percentage of total population in that time. However, I have no data to support that. And the evidence of the last four years would seem to make the notion ludicrous.

Today, Americans have become so enmeshed in fantasy beliefs that we have formed warring camps along current party lines.

Adam Smith and David Hume and Tom Paine and the Founding Fathers of America were right. We do all want the same things, and we all feel conscience and empathy for others – but to differing degrees.

That sympathy is clouded by the dominant concern over money. One group is vociferous about bringing about reasonable sharing, citing the lack of evident utility of having excess wealth. The other group shoots them down with slogans based on twisted versions of Adam Smith. But underneath all the well-stated arguments of spokespeople for the two viewpoints, it all comes down to money. Haves and Havenots. It is no different at the foundation than it has been since the rise of Capitalism and Socialism. Like pirates scrambling for a gold coin on the deck of a pitching ship.

My sympathy for the poor is pretty obvious in my writing, however I am also sympathetic to hard working people irked by the idea of paying high taxes, sometimes almost a third of which goes to supporting people who do not work. In the short term this welfare state approach is the least bad solution, but in the long run we need to shift to training (see pages 6-7 at the link) those people to be able to support themselves, and not just because it would lower our taxes. Someone who lives off the dole will not tend to have high self-esteem, will not have found their calling, will miss out on having passion work to do each day, will rarely if ever experience the Flow state.

Joe Biden and his colleagues would be wise to use the media to educate the public to the roots of present events, so individuals can choose more wisely, separated from merely loquacious rhetoric.

Rancor is a sign of irrationality.

Blessings upon us all,

Bill