Category Archives: Needs and Government

They Who Do Not Trust Enough, Shall Not Be Trusted

Created June 18, 2021

Trust levels have been going down for a long time. Distrust in the US government began dropping in 1958 and as we all know, today roughly one in six Americans (half to two thirds of Republicans, essentially) don’t trust the 2020 election.

It’s not just the government. People don’t trust the media, advertising, corporations in general, other people in general, they don’t trust themselves, the Universe or God.

It’s not 100%. There are probably over two billion people on the planet today who are still generally trusting. Unfortunately, most of them are probably little children.

In 1971, the first edition of Handbook of Children and The Media by Dorothy and Jerome Singer told the world that heavy viewers of television news are more likely to distrust the next stranger they met. In today’s agitprop circus of openly biased “news” channels and foulmouthed, vicious, people-cancelling social media, the distrust creation by media has gone way through the roof.

The original quote was “He who does not trust enough, shall not be trusted.” “They” has recently become used in the LBGTQIA+ community to replace “he” and “she”. The quote comes from Lao Tzu’s great work the Tao Te Ching, which also says:

If you open yourself to the Tao,
the Tao will eagerly welcome you.
If you open yourself to virtue,
virtue will become a part of you.
If you open yourself to loss,
the lost are glad to see you.

“When you do not trust people,
people will become untrustworthy.”

Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu Chapter 23, translated by JH McDonald

All religions at their core contain the notion that one must be open and trusting. Islam for example is centered around the idea of surrendering to God, trusting and having faith that God will take care of you. Hillel’s and Jesus’s Golden Rule includes trust among other ways you wish to be treated by others, therefore you must start by trusting them. Hinduism and Buddhism at their deepest levels teach that that next stranger you meet is you.

However, religion is another thing that most people don’t trust any more.

Even science is not trusted by an enormous minority!

Now that we have slid this far down the rabbit hole we don’t even trust that there is only one reality that exists, and partisan groups (and every user of the Internet) are allowed to make up their own realities.

Trust and fear are related. The more we fear, the less we trust. If we are rooted in a confidence that there is a benevolence behind the universe, fear drops away, and trust becomes possible; this is the state of mind in which one is open to receiving guidance from above, and Flow state occurs freely.

Very few of us are in that small group of which I am a member.

The advice I give in connection with trust is to have fearless respect for everyone. Respect and Kindness is the mode that elicits trust and cooperation toward common goals. In today’s environment that mode requires fearlessness, fatalistic acceptance of whatever may come from right action.

What if we can’t break out of our current mass headspace? It doesn’t look so promising for the good guys (“guys” used to cover all infinite variations of gender and sexual orientation).

Let’s face it, Trump has a lot to do with where we are on the planet right now. He may turn out to be one individual who has had almost as much effect on history as Jesus, but in the opposite direction. Nevertheless, for a group of professional politicians and like-minded behind the scenes power brokers, Trump is an addictive drug they cannot give up for fear that they will lose power.

It would be far better if the junkie could gather the self-discipline required to give up the drug, but we still don’t know how to get most junkies to do that.

If the half of the registered Republicans in the US who still lean that way do not come out of the coma and agree to trust the US government and its elections, there is no reason to believe that the rest of the world will trust the USA the way it did, ever again. People have long memories, and scars go deeper than the eye can see. The sooner we pull ourselves up out of the muck the quicker we will recover the trust of the world.

Nor would running Trump again work to make the minority party what it used to be (it can only rise again through positive creativity). Most of the population doesn’t want that and they are not just going to lay down and allow a coup d’etat by 23 coercive State governments that are supposed to be representing their populations. The first thing that will happen if the restrictive voting laws are passed in those States is that Freedom Busses will be used, with Federal Marshalls, to bring minorities to the voting places and protect them from intimidation and make sure they can vote. There is no way that the chanters of the mantra “Stop The Steal” can pull off their own steal.

It’s reasonable for those whose power is slipping away to fear disempowerment. But the way to solve that is not authoritarian, dictatorial rule by force, or creation of domestic violent terrorist groups, where the many are ruled by the few – that is pushing the history clock too far back and will not be accepted. If we continue to go that way, we will have revolutions and a return to feudalism.

The thing we need the most today is clarity of thinking and feeling. We can’t go on living in dream worlds. We need each other. If we can cooperate in the spirit of rules-based international cooperation we will create something pretty close to utopia in our lifetimes.

Who cares if China gets to have the largest economy if our people are happier and more creative? What are the real values? Bragging rights for size of economy, or quality of life? Besides, if we bring back manufacturing and increase R&D, we can probably maintain all the economic leverage we will ever need.

Clarity. Note that many billionaires who have pledged to give away at least half their wealth want to give it apparently to anyone except the US government. Where’s the clarity in that?

United we stand, divided we fall.

May the Center Hold.

Bless you 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.

The Whole Human Race Has PTSD

Created June 4, 2021

Post Traumatic Shock Disorder (PTSD) is usually associated with combat veterans, but civilians have also had it after being in violent or dangerous situations. To millions of whites in this country having Obama elected president was a traumatic shock, and to half of Americans the Trump years were a prolonged traumatic shock. On top of these conditions came the pandemic, having to teach your own children what they were supposed to be learning at school, having your home turned into a submarine of compression togetherness, the insurrection, and the escalating publicity about police and domestic violence, the collapsing environment, overstretched national debt levels, threatening signs from other nations, and the ongoing sense of unreconcilable differences tearing us apart.

More than enough to account for the mass PTSD, leading with help from certain media to a degree of mass hysteria.

Maybe we should call it OTSS: Ongoing Traumatic Shock Syndrome.

The first step is to admit the possibility that you have a degree of PTSD. You may feel unmoored lately, unsure of your place in the world, unsure of where the future may be going for you, troubled by frictions within the family that had never existed before, challenged to keep the same level of income coming in. You may not be as certain what you believe in as you always had been. Letting yourself acknowledge such feelings is essential to begin to process those feelings into constructive thought and action.

My theory is that the human race has been in a degree of PTSD for a very long time. In MIND MAGIC I refer to the somewhat milder PTSD condition as EOP: Emergency Oversimplification Procedure. I believe we began to develop pandemic EOP about 5000 years ago when we started to see written language, which did something to our minds that has never been equaled.

The spread of EOP accelerated as written language led us to invent tools, weapons, machinery, media, governments, technology, science, and innumerable other things.

EOP results when we do not feel we have the attentional capacity to deal with the many questions in our minds, and so we decide to short-cut our thinking.

This increases the tendency toward:

  • dichotomania, the predisposition to perceive that everything fits neatly into one of two boxes which are polar opposites of one another;
  • subscribing to and becoming fanatically loyal to pre-packaged notions such as religions and ideologies;
  • increasing power to confirmation bias;
  • avoiding consideration of the largest questions in life;
  • replaying the same tapes over and over in one’s mind and in one’s speech;
  • actually hallucinating that one is seeing exactly what one expected to see and to hear exactly what one expected to hear, although that is not what really happened;
  • hasty closure, making up one’s mind too fast;
  • not thinking for oneself, although one may see oneself as a paragon of individualism and independence;
  • over-generalization: one person of that ‘type’ does X so all of that type do X
  • and a horde of other self-hypnotic, robotical microbehaviors, all of which underestimate the desirability of more objective self-observation, therefore keeping us out of the Observer state, and significantly reducing our chances of getting into the Flow state.

I started to write about EOP nearly half a century ago, and expected that in my readings I would eventually discover that someone thought of this a long time ago. Strangely, despite my wide-ranging reading over the years, I never came across the notion of EOP by any other name.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday I was reading about the work of a fellow marketing/media researcher, Professor Karen Nelson-Field, whom I’ve met a number of times. What never came up in our brief conversations at conferences is that she has observed EOP and describes it using other language:

KNF: I’d like to give the attention economy a bit of background, if I may because it’s quite a buzzword now. Many people don’t really understand the context and its background. We all know that we live in this age of extreme distraction and our capacity to process is very small. What happens is that humans make decision shortcuts, and give little thought to what it is to avoid information overload. They give little thought to researching every single thing that comes past the desk.

The attention economy comes from the concept that taking decision shortcuts when you’re an air traffic controller or when you’re driving a car is not ideal. I think the study of information overload started during the World War II era. What impact does that have on our economic and social systems?

By its nature, the attention economy is a study of inattention and its economic or social impact.

Essentially, we want to understand not only the cause of inattention, the consequences of inattention but also some ethical solutions to correct it. MORE

I applaud Karen’s thinking and am grateful to now know of another scientist giving credence to what I call EOP.

Brief takeaways for countering EOP and thus returning to the more natural Observer state, doorway to the Flow state:

  • Stop moving, breathe deeply, observe your mind as if from afar.
  • Hold off on agreeing with the thoughts and feelings that arise in you, reconsider them from the other side with a fully open mind, reset the basic assumptions to zero just for this interlude.
  • Feel, look and listen for small “voices” (could be feelings or images) that are hunches about something you hadn’t been considering, trying to break through to your attention.

Best to all,

Bill

Is Our Democracy Worth Preserving?

Created May 21, 2021

If you consider human history from its earliest roots until today, too much of it is violent and tragic, causing Thomas Hobbes in the 1600s to write that human life is “nasty, brutish, and short.”

Until the democracies began to appear on the planet. To oversimplify, democratic governments protected the weak and poor from the strong and rich. Which gave the weak and poor a chance to grow strong and rich too.

This makes countries stronger. This makes the human race stronger.

I don’t think Ronald Reagan realized what he was doing when he institutionalized Neoliberalism as the new gold standard for democracies, purposely striving for non-interfering government, and giving to the strong, so the gifts could trickle down to the weak. I had voted for him and still like him despite his mistake.

Even the extremely conservative International Monetary Fund (IMF) has pointed out that neoliberalism did not work to improve the world’s economy nor the quality of life.

To answer the question raised in the title: Yes, I for one strongly support retaining our democracies and making them even better so that eventually everyone is living under the best conditions to bring out their talents for the enjoyment of all.

Surely it would be hard to say that the lands of authoritarian governments would be a better place to live, and to have one’s factories in, where there could be nationalization of the factories in case of war. Those who agree with me that we are all better off in a democracy, should bring American factories back to our own land, to help keep democracy going and growing.

President Biden, please consider taxing the rich but not raising taxes on corporations, merely closing the loopholes to ensure that corporate taxes are being paid. No one can be sure that a world agreement can be made on tax levels that will bring jobs back to America. Greater certainty can be had to go both ways, don’t raise corporate taxes, just close the loopholes, and at the same time seek world agreement on tax standards.

If you do this, Mister President, you will also make it clear to millions of people that you are not a radical socialist, and that you are not trotting out old formulas.

If we want to preserve democracy, President Biden and the US government need to show compromise is possible, and the corporate tax is the most logical place to start.

Let’s remember that there is double taxation, first the corporation, and then again as some of corporate income is disbursed as income to individuals and families. That is one reason why it is an appropriate area in which to demonstrate ability to compromise.

My best to all,

Bill

 

Orchestrating Palestinian Israeli Cease Fire

Created May 20, 2021

Because the US and other countries do not recognize the legitimacy of terrorists, they have been addressing Israel in their requests for cease fire. This makes it look like all the blame is being placed on Israel, when in fact the Palestinians started it.

That is not helping.

The US and its allies should publish a recommendation to both countries.

Israel should apologize for sending forces into the holy shrine of all Peoples of The Book, and promise to never do it again.

Palestine should apologize for over reacting with thousands of rockets, and promise to never do it again.

Soon thereafter, Israel should offer a peace branch to the people of Palestine, agreeing no further Israeli settlements unless invited, and ask for the Israelis already settled in Palestine to be warmly welcomed unless they prefer to come home and be warmly welcomed.

Israel should also offer help in economic and educational/training and in the development of tourism to both countries once there are safe places to visit.

In my humble opinion.

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.