“They” – disappear… …now?

I’m going to set out to relate some things specifically that I think many of my posts already state implicitly. I am mostly doing this for myself, as a way to record some of my thoughts, earmark some topics for further investigation, and explore some other ideas directly. Of course, I encourage you to chime in, weary Internet surfer, if you have anything at all to say.

I have a problem with the way people run this country and the way many people run their lives. I dislike indirect democracy, taxation, and the idea that all people are equal (created – yes, existing – no). I have big problems with chemically altered states of being (I don’t even like aspirin), dense people reproducing, and structured education. I’d rather not talk about government licensing, land ownership, or five-day-a-week jobs — but I can’t stand any of those things either.

Now, I’m not one for idle complaints – let me be the first to rock the boat, or take problems straight to the top. Problem is, for many of the things I’d like to see be fixed, even those that realistically could be fixed, there is no one to address. Ask anyone where the problem comes from – and you’ll hear “them” – “they” are the bastards. Problem is, “they” can’t be identified. “They” have been abstracted away.

I’m left with solutions in an envelope, and no mailing address. But, this post isn’t about what I’m going to do about that – had us both fooled, didn’t he! [WHAT?!]

I hear it over and over again, that this world is not about what you know, its about who you know. I hope not. I don’t like many people well enough to get to know them.

It seems to me, that used to have to be the world. I mean, you wanted to find a good hairdresser, you had to ask your mom. Then came the phone book, more importantly – then came the Internet. Suddenly, information was there in front of you faster than you could call your grandmother. As an employer, I have many more options now for finding truly skilled workers. It’s more difficult for me to be misled by Frank, the guy in IT, recommending his brother-in-law Bill for that empty position that I know nothing about.

For one, I can Google Bill. For two, I can easily become more familiar with the open position by asking question in an objective forum. On top of all that, I don’t just have Frank for recommendations, I have monster.com. In short: I have much more information for any decision I will ever make than my grandfather ever had access to. Suddenly, any single person’s input becomes much less important.

Obviously, the employee and the consumer are benefiting from more information too.

And that information continues to expand – “transparent” organizational operations, open software, free books, Wikipedia. Things are becoming more decentralized and accessible. There are fewer unrevealed abstractions. And at the same time, things are becoming more communal.

How long before “they” have to show themselves, or vanish? It would seem that the gatekeepers’ and all their fancy tricks, are finally running out of time. Goodbye copyrights, see you later IRS, now, how about that direct democracy?!

Maybe I’m way off. Maybe I will not live to see any sweeping changes in the way people live and think about the world and the people in it. Maybe their will always be a “they” because there may always be some invisible force of society. Perhaps you’ll always call your mom for the name of her hairdresser instead or reading 28k reviews online. Maybe you weight Frank’s advice as one million times more important than what anyone else can tell you.

In that case, can you forward my resume to your highest-paying associate? Because I’m going to need a job.

And therein we isolate the problem.

4 Responses

  1. Evan Ravitz says:

    The most evolved project for a hybrid direct/representative democracy is led by former Sen. Mike Gravel. Registered voters can now vote to ratify the National Initiative for Democracy at http://Vote.org, much as citizens ratified the Constitution at the Conventions when the Legislatures wouldn’t!

  2. Evan:

    Fantastic! Thank you for sharing that information. I’ve spent many hours searching the internet for something like that website, but did not run across it.

    I’ll peruse it over the next few days, and if it looks good – I’ll pass it on.

  3. Martin says:

    I have a problem with the way people run this country
    Isn’t that what the last election was about, government being run poorly?

    and the way many people run their lives.
    They live what they know within the limits imposed upon them by government and economic factors.

    I dislike indirect democracy,
    I think you’d like direct democracy less. That’s not to say I’m in favor of what we’ve allowed to happen in terms of our ability to control what government does. I would imagine that direct democracy on such a large scale as ours would be extremely inefficient. On the flip side an extremely efficient dictatorship isn’t desirable either. The problem is finding and maintaining some balance. Remember this is a republic which has been extremely altered over the last 200+ years. The states and communities where a more direct form of government might work more efficiently have been reduced in influence over time. The tenth amendment has suffered. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. And even if we paid more attention to the 10th amendment many states do not have initiative or referendum as a means by which citizens can participate in the legislative process. Then there is the 17th amendment that made the election of US senators a more democratic process, giving the vote directly to the people of the state instead of the state’s legislature. But that messed with the original structure and balance of the Constitution and created this group we now have. Whose purpose it seems is not to look after the interest of the country but to bring government projects and programs back to the voters while spending us into oblivion and covering their asses.

    taxation,
    Government has no money of its own. What is it that government is to do with no money?

    the idea that all people are equal (created – yes, existing – no).
    Are we really all created equal? Is equality a social myth, a concept limited to mathematics? What if we accepted the idea that we are not all equal in any way but that we should not be restrained from our ability, at whatever level that may be, to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.

    I have big problems with chemically altered states of being (I don’t even like aspirin),
    We are a chemically altered state. That Thanksgiving dinner you’re going to eat will alter your state chemically. Tea, cola or coffee alters your state chemically. An excess amount of water in your diet can alter your chemistry as will simple salt, an important component in blood. Aspirin began as a tea made from willow. I’m sure that placing one’s self in a sensory deprivation chamber causes a chemically altered mental state. Choose your poison.

    dense people reproducing,
    Judging from the folks running the government, major corporations, and banks, I’m not sure it’s the dense ones we’ve got to worry about. These are I’m told really bright people, well educated, experienced in the ways of the world, high IQ.

    structured education.
    Back to those really bright people, well educated, experienced in the ways of the world, high IQ. They keep trying to micro manage the structure of education and they can’t begin to overcome the home environment and the voluminous, incorrect, sometimes lies, and other crap spewed by TV, radio, movies, magazines, and the wondrous WWW. There has always been some form of structured education. When children reached a certain period in their lives the adults imparted the information, direction, coaching, on the things a young person would need to succeed in that particular socioeconomic environment. I think the real questions are how much structure, when, and by whom?

    Ask anyone where the problem comes from – and you’ll hear “them” – “they” are the bastards. Problem is, “they” can’t be identified. “They” have been abstracted away.
    Sure they can be identified. You and I could probably do a reasonable job of identifying many of them. The people in the positions to call the names and identify the bastards usually have a dog somewhere in the hunt. The price of silence is variable.

    I’m left with solutions in an envelope, and no mailing address.
    The address is general delivery. You do have the opportunity to put your ideas/solution in the public forum. This blog is, though limited in exposure, such an example. If you pursued a more high profile venue the impact of your ability to change things would increase.

    this world is not about what you know, its about who you know
    Who you know doesn’t hurt. But equally important, if you are to succeed, is who knows you and why.
    In short: I have much more information for any decision I will ever make than my grandfather ever had access to.
    You grandfather’s world was less complex, simpler time simpler solutions. While you have access to all of this wonderful information there is yet the question of how much time that you personally have to make efficient use of any or all of it. That’s why companies hire firms, headhunters, to find the people they need to fill specific positions. Monster.com is just like the rest of the information on the web/net, the wheat has to be separated from the chafe.

    Suddenly, any single person’s input becomes much less important.
    That depends on who that person is.

    Obviously, the employee and the consumer are benefiting from more information too.
    Only if they know what they are looking at and can trust the source.

    There are fewer unrevealed abstractions
    Are you sure?

    Copyright
    I went to the site. It seems to me, that these folks are the same people who don’t see any problem getting answers from someone else’s test paper, just so long as they don’t actually take the paper from the person. Suppose I decide to borrow your name for a while. It’s not like I could really physically take it. You would still have it but so would I. You would be free to use your name just as you always had. I on the other hand may be able to find more creative uses for you name than you had never thought of exploring. How much better off the world would be with two Andrew Andersons or three or four? Open source is quite a different animal. When someone such as Torvalds freely puts forth something for public use and development it’s his choice to share what he’s done. I’ve downloaded OpenOffice, open source. I also have MSOffice Pro which Microsoft supports. Sun has a supported version of OpenOffice, StarOffice, which it supports. The key here is support, for a fee of course. It appears that Sun uses OpenOffice for R&D utilizing the vast resources of the web community. And while Sun and Microsoft have mended some fences, this sure seems to poke a finger in the eye of a long time competitor.

    See you later IRS
    I’d like to think the fair tax would work. Neil Boortz has really worked his patutti off trying to make believers of us all. The IRS as we know it would change but not go away. The fair tax would have to be administered, cost of living deposits and such.

    Maybe I will not live to see any sweeping changes in the way people live and think about the world and the people in it. Maybe their will always be a “they” because there may always be some invisible force of society. Perhaps you’ll always call your mom for the name of her hairdresser instead or reading 28k reviews online. Maybe you weight Frank’s advice as one million times more important than what anyone else can tell you.
    The changes have begun.

    In that case, can you forward my resume to your highest-paying associate? Because I’m going to need a job.
    And what kind of employment will you be pursuing?

  4. Martin:

    I’ll start from the bottom, and work my way up:

    The bit about employment wasn’t totally sincere. Hopefully, I’ll never have a constant “boss”. I hope to be self-employed. Technology and cooking are two big interests of mine, I love websites – and have a few much larger-scale ideas in production.

    I’m not convinced any changes have begun, but I’m watching.

    Agreed, some agency would have to administer the “fair tax”, but most it seems the entity would be much smaller than the IRS we have today. More importantly, it would be less complex. Hopefully, less fear-invoking…

    Copyright… I envision a world, some day, where money is not a motivator. You do things because you love them. You release them to the world, so that the world can appreciate it, alter it, make it better. You contribute, you don’t sell. (I don’t necessarily want to sound like Marx here.)

    I don’t have too much respect for people that do things solely for recognition. For instance, I respect “Homer’s” 100M anonymous donation much more than the Booths’ 300M. (Referring to two donations to the University.)

    Sure about fewer unrevealed abstractions? I think, I am.

    “That depends on who that person is…” in the face of 20k other people, I’m not convinced it matters at all.

    Machine learning may help separate the best from the rest.

    “But equally important, … is who knows you and why.” I like this interpretation more, much more.

    “If you pursued a more high profile venue…” in due time.

    “… how much structure, when, and by whom?” Agreed. Self-imposed structure it best, at least that has always been my personal experience.

    Fear the bright one’s explosive reproduction, too! I need to think about this more.

    “We are a chemically altered state.” Of course, and I believe you should not seek to change it. I am aware it will change, and must change. But to will it to change, often to avoid reality, I disagree with. Kant would say it was immoral. I say it is foolish. Cyclical. Repetitive. I’ll have more time to explore my thoughts on this in its own post.

    “What is it that government is to do with no money?” Very little. Besides that, oh, shucks… for me to explore this in the depth I want to, I’ll need another post. Suffice it to say, I find it absurd to “pay” your government to exist. I think people ought to take a more direct role, for many reasons that I’ll enumerate later.

    “I think you’d like direct democracy less.” It depends on who got to vote. Seems to me, you shouldn’t have someone voting on exportation legislation if they don’t understand exportation or international trade. Take that one step further, I don’t think you ought to be able to vote for someone to vote for exportation legislation, if you don’t know about… see where I’m getting?

    I want to vote, directly, on issues for which I can really understand. Not on those I don’t. If you don’t understand anything: you don’t vote.

    “Isn’t that what the last election was about, government being run poorly?” I think our elections are always about finding someone else to fix problems. That’s really what I am trying to get at: People are removed from so many aspects of life, often because of how they choose to run their lives.

    Like I said, I am still exploring… Thank you for the careful read and commentary!

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