The number one imperative is change

The number one imperative is change. In order to change, I have to see change itself differently. Change is not just seeking novelty. Change is disrupting the flow of information in my brain and making it move differently. Change could be pausing and focusing on a single thing for a much longer period of time, or picking a select series of topics to connect together thematically.

Change is listening for things that I might have rejected from having been out in this world for too long. Change is shifting my focus away from the things that my culture tells me are relEt, and putting my focus on what I believe is relEt. Change is being fearless about this.

Change is getting organized and clean where I’ve been chaotic and messy, and the vice versa of this–where I’ve become too buttoned-down and straight-laced, I explore my freedom.

Maybe the most important thing to understand is that I don’t need to have my own personal grand unified theory of how the universe works, or doesn’t work. It could be that part of this change is retraining myself to focus completely on what is happening inside me and immediately outside me in my environment–the here and now. What is happening in places around the world is beyond my control.

I imagine for a moment that every time I send my thoughts out to some other time and place, I am unavoidably breaking off a piece of myself and attempting to make my identity resonate with that other time, place or entity. Because I am not God, this is an impossible proposition, and want that spiritually sends me off balance, away from my center of gravity.

I have yet to spend too many days of my life (starting from about the age of twelve) where I am perfectly capable of relinquishing all control of myself and my situation, to truly let go and let God, as they say. I am still scheming somewhere in the back of my mind about how I could possibly start up a new business and take back control of my future so that I will become extremely wealthy and have homes in Manhattan and downtown San Francisco. This is vanity. This is an illusion perpetrated by the devil. I don’t want a false sense of being in control of something that I am not. I don’t want to reject abundance and wealth and blessings, if they are from the Lord, but I don’t ever want to accept them if they are from the devil. And, they will be from the devil if they are completely wrought of my own accord, without any input from the Lord, and no thanks to be given to Him later.

The Lord has given me a great gift of being able to exercise my intelligence, and meditate on the profound nature of Creation, the complexity of the life forces that flow undetected by science through our universe, a flow that we are all caught up in like fish in a stream. He hasn’t requested that I try to prove the existence of it to you, so why would I bother to–either you are aware of it as well, as your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, or you aren’t.

The fact that I am allowed to live on this earth in a time and place of peace–my little corner of the world and Time is mostly safe and free from the chaotic, warring forces of the evils of selfishness, fear and misunderstanding of humanity–this shouldn’t go unnoticed by me. So what if the things I write will not be proclaimed by a petty, temporally brief collection of humanity (that is divorced from God) as being of substance and value for a literary canon or primary body of philosophical texts? My head and heart are with the anonymous working people whose heads and hearts are full of love for their God and their families, who do not care about becoming billionaires, who do not lust after mammon, who do not seek immortality by way of having men perpetuate their names for centuries to come.

My mind easily wanders with a will to distraction.

It’s almost like I can’t be happy unless I’m distracted. If someone isn’t purposefully distracting me, I will go and seek distraction.

What is happening: when I try to consolidate my mind and spirit and heart, and focus inwardly and be quiet and seek the Lord, I mistake letting go for falling asleep or falling into the Void.

Be active with the mind, but do not cling to it with an unyielding grip. You are like the planets, constantly falling, but still within the Sun’s grasp. Be a joyful, loving man.

I woke up too many mornings and rejected all that was good around me, refusing to see even a single one of my blessings. I was full of a self-righteous anger and entitlement that demanded of the universe to pluck me up out of my surroundings and drop me into something better. I was among the 10% most wealthy people on the planet, but this wasn’t good enough. I wanted to be among the 1%.

I sought to blame everyone around me for my condition. I wouldn’t accept responsibility for my actions. Maybe I would pay lip service to some of the bad choices I’d made, but I refused to believe that the way I’d conducted my affairs in the past had led directly to my present state. I refused to acknowledge that I possessed so much more than I ever deserved. If God was truly in the business of handing out karmha tit-for-tat, then I would deserve to be suffering the torments of hell for at least a thousand years, for the way I’d roughly used my privilege and gifts.

I did all I could to continue to push the blame of why I lived where I lived and held the profession I did on other people. It was always the fault of my parents for the way they raised me, or my older brothers for the bad influence they exerted on me, or my particular culture for its anti-intellectualism and tendency to praise those who became famous through little or no effort, or the small-town culture my parents dropped me into at the age of six, for its own particular brand of anti-intellectualism and praise of the rough-hewn man who eschews book learning.

I wanted to blame my DNA, my environment, my parents, my teachers, my siblings, my friends, my pets (who held me back from getting to travel more and live where I wanted to), my girlfriends, my bosses, my wife…if only I’d been surrounded by more understanding, brighter people who were all eager to mentor me and hold up my creativity as the true beacon for all things forward-looking, why I would have been as successful as Zuckerberg or Jobs or Gates.

I came to recognize when I was whining and angry too much about too many things, but I only recognized that people around me didn’t want to hear about it. This just made me angrier, because in my own righteous indignation, I felt like the outside world needed to hear the most about how unfairly I’d been treated by every living thing that had ever come in contact with me.

I talked a good talk about self responsibility, but wanted to make a show of it. I wrote about it endlessly in my graphomaniac’s way, journaling my accounts of raking myself over the coals for having been so foolish, stupid, ignorant–I assumed the mantle of a faux self responsibility where I endlessly trashed my past self and mocked him mercilessly without seeing any of the good I’d accomplished.

I talked the good talk of self repsonsibility to others so I could get their heads to nod in approval, and that made me feel good, but I didn’t start practicing or actually believing the words that I was saying.

When I woke up one morning completely relieved of my last full-time professional role, and put upon my shoulders the complete responsibility of having to find my own freelance work, I woke up a lost and empty soul. I had nothing to fuel or motivate me, because what had been motivating me all those years was simply a credo of “I’ll show them” every time I left a relationship or place of employment behind. It was easy to find all of the things the new company or lover was doing wrong and begin again to assemble all of the reasons why the other person or people were responsible for me not becoming more successful.

When I woke up that morning with absolutely nobody to blame but myself, I was terrified. I tried to fall back on my list of past individuals and explain that it was each and every one of them contributing to my inability to get started–to get started finding the new opportunities for freelance work and reaching out to those businesses, to get started on my new novel, to get started cleaning up the house and cleaning up my soul.

Since I couldn’t trick my mind into believing that I could blame them anymore, I just lay around in bed for days on end, hoping that the Lord would just magically come and inject a lightning shot of inspiration and motivation into me, and then I started blaming the Lord for why I couldn’t get myself moving.

I continued to go and find anything and everything to distract me. Any news story was as good as the next. It became more important to worry about what was happening in other countries and what people in wealthy, affluent circles were doing. It was more important to obsess over whether or not the world was going to remain a tolerable place to raise a child. I found myself dutifully going out online and getting caught up in the problems of Ferguson and wondering who had taken the ice bucket challenge most recently. Things that will no doubt be forgotten in a few years, and our kids will ask us: what was Ferguson, what was an ice bucket challenge, who was Miley Cyrus? But, I immersed myself in it, because it was a way to feel like I was part of the bigger, grander world of things happening out there–things being visibly made to happen by very important people–of whom I could be one, if only…

And then, I woke up this morning, and realized just how absurd my brain had gotten. That I was running and hiding from God. I was trying to escape and avoid responsibility. I was perpetuating a childish notion of creating an Other of some kind so that the Other became solely responsible for my failure to achieve whatever I’d told someone I was going to achieve.

Before I could begin to do anything at all, I had to spend some time getting myself cleaned up, and staying focused on myself in a positive, true way. There is the self-focus of narcisissm and self indulgence, which is really just self destruction masked as a false self love, and then there is self-focus where one is brutally honest with one’s self without being cruel. One doesn’t let a minute slip by where one allows a celebrity to become more powerful and worthy of one’s attention. It’s like if you drove an economical car, but kept your eyes on all of the muscle or luxury cars on the road at all times, and never maintained your car or washed it, and then when you finally went to trade in your car for a nicer one, the offer was negligible due to the condition of your car, and you bitched and pissed and moaned, and mostly blamed the people who made the car, sold you the car and any mechanic who ever worked on the car.

I am not truly paying attention to myself, I am simply using myself like an unwanted vehicle that I hope one day I will get to trade in for a nicer one. I am not doing simple physical exercises in the morning to maintain myself, instead, I go on the occasional exercise regime binge, which lasts no more than a few months. I am not paying attention to the quality of my thoughts, instead, I am wishing and hoping for a more intelligent brain that I can use to learn advanced math and become a celebrated genius. I am always looking over my shoulder at other people, and asking “how on earth did he or she get what she got? or, sometimes more cruelly, thank God I’m not that poor SOB.”

I pride myself on being a practical, down-to-earth fellow when dreaming up solutions to solve all of the world’s problems–if given the chance, I would be the uber-technocrat in the room, leaving all politics at the door and rolling up my sleeves to simply look at what the consequences would be of implementing any proposed idea. But, in my own life, I am still a grand schemer, dreamer, fantasizer, and maker of hopelessly impossible worlds for my future, reincarnated self to inhabit. I couldn’t tell you the last time I consistently kept to any sort of reading, writing, exercise or housework program that wasn’t at least in part motivated by an outside Other–the dream of being “discovered” or the fear of someone yelling at me or rejecting me. The most consistent thing I’ve kept to has been my professional work, and that’s only out of fear of not being able to draw a paycheck. I have rarely been motivated to come into work and do great work out of a burning, internal desire to improve myself steadily and surely to the point where I developed my skills into a truly evolving career.

I’ve thought about change so much these past several weeks. I’ve laid around in bed, hoping that Jesus would just come down and zap me with a change lightning rod so that I would wake up and start doing something really wonderful. But, I’ve failed to implement any change-making processes in my life that were less magical and more practical–like, forcing myself to wake up at 5:30 instead of 6:30 every morning, going for a quick run with the dog, writing, meditating, reading–forcing myself to stay with a program.

I don’t propose that I’m that different than a lot of people, but I do think that some of my reactions to my common, human weaknesses have been less than kind to myself. I’ve continued to believe in magic instead of solid, hard work that is repeated at my own instigation and solely motivated by me, rather than motivated by some misguided need to impress others and get them to comment on and like what I’m doing.

They put me inside an isolation chamber

They put me inside an isolation chamber. I think they did it for my own good, but it really did smart. I was just starting to flex my social legs a bit, and finding that I had more fun going to talk to people over drinks at a happy hour than sitting at my desk writing code all day. I know I’m not the most sociable person, and I suppose that my sales skills are pretty crappy when the deal reaches the negotiation stage.

But, I really prefer to solve people problems or at least solve people’s technology problems in a consultative role, rather than jump in and start trying to get my hands dirty myself. However, unless it is something really tricky, I always end up being the code monkey for some reason. People like knowing they have a go-to person in a hands-are-dirty role that they don’t have to think about.

I’d rather just go have drinks with you and strategize, and talk about the big picture and come up with a nice PPT presentation that you can take back to your team with some Visio flowcharts and GANT charts, and let someone else do all the heavy lifting. I want to move on after I give my recommendations and collect my consultant’s fee. You can thank me or hate me later, but I didn’t promise anything other than a recommendation.

They put me inside an isolation chamber, though, these people who decide who gets to do sales and who gets to do marketing and who gets to be the button-pushing monkey. It got so bad that I had to quit. And then it happened again, and again, and again, and…I gave up. Was this supposed to be my calling? To stay at home all day tied to a desk, staring at a computer screen, wearing a headset, talking people through their problems and promising a lot of work I’d do later, but hopefully never, rather than later?

I felt good today. I finally found a WordPress theme that wasn’t breaking apart, and posted some copy about my services. I changed my job title and company on LinkedIn to be Freelancer Extraordinaire, and now I was ready. I guess tomorrow I’ll start prospecting. I don’t want to do too much at once.

I’ll troll through my LinkedIn contacts looking for people who might be at organizations that would need my services. Maybe this will be a bad approach, and stir up a lot of old wounds, and cause a bunch of people to think they are my friend so that entitles them to ask me to do something for nothing. It’s happened before.

I just started writing this

So, I thought I would just get up this morning and start writing, and stop trying to anticipate where I need the story to go. My brain is full of chemicals, and this is preventing me from remembering my dreams. I spent yesterday in a state of discomfort because I couldn’t bring myself to fall asleep completely, so that I might have something interesting to report to you.

The Internet was down this morning, and the cable service was as unhelpful as usual about how to fix it. I am writing on a straight up text editor–my computer has for the most part become nothing more than a typewriter.

You might expect that I’ve been hopelessly lonely over the past couple of years. The longer I’ve lived apart from any pretense of making connections with the people in my community, the more I’ve come to accept that I was meant to live mostly in solitude.

I don’t mind solitude. I’ve learned that it can be a gift when you are trying to sort things out in your head. I am just afraid that I’m not really getting to experience my true nature of being at my best: stimulated by other people who share creative ideas and make my own ideas better.

I’ve spent a number of years thinking about my identity and what it means. Am I anything more than just my name, body, occupation and brief biography and headshot? Does it matter that I often found myself thinking I could have just as easily been almost anyone else on this earth, and I probably would have ended up just like them, given the same combination of genetics and environmental circumstances? In other words, I struggle with discovering a core identity who you would have clearly identified as being me, my very soul, whether I was born into a tribe in sub-Saharan Africa or born into a wealthy family living in uptown Manhattan.

I’ve also considered that the DNA of my very soul contributed to the angels deciding that I would be born into the particular family that I was born into.

I am not averse to considering all possibilities–I have weighed the notion of reincarnation alongside a brutally materialistic conception of who I am as well as the Christian interpretation of who or what my soul is.

It’s better that I remain anonymous, and use fictional names when retelling stories of things that happened to me, because I don’t want my identity reduced to being merely my name and nothing more.

If you, the reader, have made up your mind completely about what you know to be the absolute truth in matters of the soul, true identity, and where we go after we die, then I suppose my musings won’t be of much use to you. I can’t offer any evidence for what I believe, other than explain that I’ve had experiences with the higher plane of existence that lead me to believe it does exist. None of those experiences gave me any more insight into life after death, except to say that I am certain we are more than our physical selves, and that the true reality of the universe consists of a kind of Mind or series of Higher Dimensions that live inside, outside, above, below us. Because we are so completely enmeshed in our 3D+Time reality, we are like fish who would be asked to posit the existence of a world outside of the one in which they swim.

I decided to put my faith and trust in the Lord Jesus, because I had moments of complete and utter doubt as to the veracity of my own being while alone late at night and pondering that perhaps Descartes may have been onto something when he considered that his own collective series of memories that formed his identity were nothing more than illusion propagated by a demon. I felt the entire foundation that held up my conscious self fall out from under me, and suddenly cried out for Jesus to come to my aid.

I became certain that I could not escape the Christian paradigm, which had been installed in me at a very early age and remained embedded in me like those sectors on a hard drive which the defrag utility cannot move. No matter how much I wanted to believe in another religion or believe in no God at all, I came back to the fact that only one man who’d walked the earth claiming to be a deity had created the notion of having absolute power over your enemies by loving them.

All other great prophets and wise teachers and would-be deities have claimed a tit-for-tat type of model for gaining access to more power and control over one’s enemies, with the possible exception of the Buddha. Before Jesus came along, the Jewish faith had some mention of a forgiving Lord in its texts, but more often than not, you would see a wrathful God exacting vengeance upon the enemies of the Jewish king, and sometimes even collaborating with the Devil himself in the case of Job. The breakthrough of Jesus, the notion of ultimate strength through utter humility and total faith, was a turning point in the history of mankind.

Confucius, Mohammed, Vedic texts, and many other philosophies described codes of conduct to prevent people from waging total, anarchic war on each other at all times, but Jesus offered a kind of strength that completely turned tribal notions of masculinity on their head. Of course, most of Jesus’ followers have not practiced even slightly the concept of turning the other cheek and offering the man who robbed you of your coat your cloak as well. We have consistently left beams in our eyes to pick at the motes of our friends, family and neighbors.

The powerful part of Jesus’ message, the part that makes it so much more potent than any other ass-kicking, superhero god-as-man or divine prophet’s message, is the hidden one that only a handful of monks, priests and peaceful anonymous people have practiced. The conquistadors who were the first Christians to come to America in large numbers were bent on pursuing mammon. Their actions were completely out of line with the message of Christ, and it would be unrealistic to think that many Native Americans would have converted. Some priests and traveling aristocrats who observed the practice of the conquistadors commented unfavorably on the treatment of the Native Americans, but they were largely ignored.

There is a story in the Decameron, a book written in Italy about the time all this was taking place, that tells of a Jewish man who visits Rome and witnesses the widespread corruption taking place there. He returns a converted Christian, and he’s asked why he converted after seeing how badly Christians behaved. His response was that the message of Jesus must be a powerful one indeed to have persisted IN SPITE of the Catholic church.

That, in a nutshell, sums up how I approach the text and my faith. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a faith worth practicing. For many years, I didn’t want to call myself a Christian, because it always seemed like the most glib, smartass people who were bent on taking advantage of others turned out to be the ones professing Christianity the loudest. I must confess I am not especially enamored of the church I currently attend. I don’t particularly care for the fact that it seems to be social hour for most of these people, who probably would act and talk no differently at bingo night.

I wasn’t really expecting to write so much about religion, though. I was hoping to start the flow of writing, and get into the groove where insights seem to come as a matter of course while I write. Lately, I’ve noticed that these have dropped off with the re-introduction of some chemicals to help me not lose my temper so much throughout the day. Also, my drive to get something done before my son arrives has dropped off. It’s a scary sort of trade-off. I can be active, productive and creative, but I am also constantly teetering on the edge of losing my temper over some petty thing. Or, I can move through the day with this gorgeous mind that doesn’t seem to ever be affected much by anything, and takes it all in evenly, but I have little creativity to speak of.

I will start by saying a prayer. I pray, oh Lord, that you will forgive me of my sins, as I forgive those who have sinned against me. Please heal me of the things inside me that keep me sinning. Please erect a structure within me that holds me up to be a virtuous, decent man, who can provide for his family and speak up when your people are being abused. I want to speak your Truth, oh Lord, and not the truth of my particular culture and its time and place. I want to know your Truth intimately in such a way that words may not adequately express what I know, and yet this Truth is every bit as firm and complete as my dwelling, nay, more so.

Dear Heavenly Father, I do not have much to offer in the way of gifts. I realize now that I am a simple man with simple needs. I spent too many years of my life aiming for things that are higher than what I am prepared to receive. I have yet to put myself into a state of true humility, one where I am not looking over my shoulder to see if the righteous are watching me. I recognize that I haven’t yet begun to walk enough by faith and not by sight, and this is why my sight has yet to be restored.

I can’t expect miracles to happen in a world where I’ve removed with my reason and science all possibility of miracles. I must test the spirits and practice discernment, to be for sure, because I never want to become caught up in the false ways of a fake healer. But, I must remain open to the possibility that miracles can happen, and rejoice accordingly when they do occur.

I recognize that my words are mostly just that. That I have yet to absorb them more deeply so that they become my truth when I am faced with situations in life that could potentially anger me and set me off course.

I recognize that you have given me many gifts that are great, but I call them average, and they might seem average to most people. To be able to draw analogies between the tactile experience I have with this world and my spiritual development is a great and powerful insight.

Think hyperlocal

If you are reading this, it means you are probably getting to know me from the vantage point of hundreds of years from this moment that I’m writing it.

Or perhaps, time means nothing to you.

There are a lot of things I want to write to you about, since you will be mostly unfamiliar with the ways of my people. But, I have to warn you, that I am frankly kind of unfamiliar with their ways myself.

For a time, the media in which we mostly lived was not text. I am assuming that words have come back into vogue in your time, or you are a specialist who knows how to read the printed word.

Either way, I am going to make the assumption that you delight in reading the written word, and living inside the worlds created by it. I wish I could tell you that I am a master storyteller, one of the great bards with a rich, deep vocabulary and command of the various ages of our poetry and drama.

I am a great being, nonetheless, as I discovered one morning when I stepped out of the shower. What I actually discovered was that all living things are great beings. You probably know this more completely even than I do, but I am just at the start of my journey of understanding.

I went on to pursue what it means to know a thing. To know a living being. To know a great text. To know myself. I wanted to know everything there is to know, and then I discovered that you could know everything, and still know nothing about everything.

What was needed was a deeper exploration of an individual concept, to examine it beyond the superficial understanding that I thought was so profound.

For example, what does it mean to be someone who would choose to cut open a bag of almonds he purchased at the store, and leave the extra plastic that was clipped off of the bag on the counter for someone else, presumably his future self, to deal with? Compare and contrast that to someone who would choose to take the moment to throw it into the trash so that nobody has to deal with it in the future. Or, compare these two fellows to someone who purchases almonds from a local health food store where he brings his own container, and doesn’t leave behind any waste materials. But then, you might argue that an even more virtuous fellow would grow his own almonds, or buy only locally-grown, seasonal nuts, to reduce the amount of carbon emissions caused by transporting the nuts to the health food store. However, the fellow that grows his own nuts is still creating a drain on the ecosystem, by destroying natural habitats and draining the aquifer to grow them.

The most virtuous fellow wouldn’t bother to disturb the land at all for his food, clothing and shelter, only scavenging dead matter for clothing and shelter, and eating the windfall nuts. But this fellow, when dropped into my culture, would probably behave mostly like the first fellow, who offered the path of least resistance to get his nuts, because he was wholly unconscious of the impact his actions had.

The story of my life has been one of taking the path of least resistance, and finding much to my chagrin that this upsets people the most. So, I’ve become more adjusted socially to my culture, striving to keep up with the other males my age, and do my best to hit milestones like career titles, buying houses, getting married and having children.

In my time, it is easier to take a path of least resistance. Only in my lifetime, have people started to wake up to comprehend how their choices about food and lifestyle impact the rest of the globe. I have lived my life mostly not questioning where my food comes from or how my clothes got to the store where I had easy access to them, without needing to kill animals or struggle for years at a low wage job to save up for my clothes. I don’t ask if my clothes arrived at the expense of horribly polluting the earth and causing tens of thousands of children to work for next to nothing in factories.

It is easier not to think about the sheer amount of suffering enacted upon the animals who gave up their lives to get to my table. I don’t care about these things because nobody has really required that I care about them.

On most days of the week, the chances that I would be able to survive in my society with even a modicum of a lifestyle similar to others of my age, gender and family background without at least partly leaving a destructive footprint–these are very slim chances indeed.

Just being able to reside in a modest dwelling, like a low income apartment, requires that I consume gallons of water and create tons of carbon emissions to drive to a job of meager salary. This inevitably means that I must buy foods that will come heavily processed and packaged, and I will generate a lot of additional waste from consuming barely enough to stay alive. In order to embark upon a more natural lifestyle, I will make a hard choice to leave behind much of what I was raised to take for granted as being mine by birthright.

I am, in effect, a prince of the world, albeit a minor one. The feudal system is still largely intact, but the number of kings and princes has expanded to encompass more people who live under the illusion that they are part of a middle class or middle income group. In actuality, they are part of the top 10% of the most wealthy people on the planet, when the entire planet is taken into consideration.

I am not exactly sure how the problems of global growth will be solved. If you are reading this, I am certain that they have been solved either through the annihilation of millions of people (naturally or through wars), or they have been solved through smarter planning and more cooperation across nations.

We had a saying for awhile that was en vogue about twenty years prior to me writing this “Think globally, act locally.” It was a nice, pithy saying that summed up a good mindset for understanding the consequences of our actions on a global scale, but I don’t think it was widely received by many of the people who needed to understand it the most.

Across the globe, we continue to think and act mostly locally, and then get up in arms now and then if our particular nation state feels threatened. There are clear different points of view about the way human beings should conduct themselves that are in constant conflict with each other, but the primary obsession for most people who seek to control others is the lust for power and resources itself. To some degree, our capitalist system, coupled with a lot of athletic and other entertainment distractions, has pacified most of these people.

It has done a better job of pacifying the power and resource hungry than any other system humans have proposed and executed. The problem is that it has effectively made a larger group of people into little lords and ladies of the earth, but it this has happened at the expense of 90% of the earth’s population.

The answer to changing it is probably one of replicating the system at a more hyperlocal level, so that regions of differing opinions about moral conduct can have their autonomy and see growth that they own. Effectively, our capitalist system as it is set up today, flows most of the wealth into the hands of a few, because the super rich are possessed of a kind of disorder that is similar to the drug addict or the morbidly obese food addict.

The answer in most cases is probably not isolation and religious tribes warring with each other, and the answer is probably not a resurrection of socialism or communism.

Really, the mindset of the very people living in different parts of the world needs to change. Just because something is cheaper and easier to obtain at a large box store doesn’t mean that it is the most healthy thing for your community. But, it might be, if you don’t have the natural resources in your region to obtain the raw materials to create, for example, a bunch of tools and lumber for your own hyperlocal hardware store.

So, the real trick is getting more local communities to really see what they are potentially good at, not just good at. Does this mean that every region in the world should start strip mining and tearing down their trees to make raw supplies that they in turn use themselves? Certainly not. The fact may be that the most valuable resources in a community are human, and the humans don’t even know their own potential for what they could trade on a market in exchange for the raw materials needed to build their own tools and homes, and farm their own food.

The problem with most government-driven initiatives to stimulate the economy is that they are run by people who can only think at the macro level, whether they are in favor or opposition to these initiatives. The interest rate is tweaked, banks receive bailouts, maybe a few large companies get some subsidies or bailouts as well. People in local regions don’t feel empowered because they don’t have any say in the matter. They get upset and form movements like the Tea Party Movement or OWS which are both movements born from a similar feeling of frustration.

The next highly successful and popular President will be someone who “gets” the need for hyperlocal economic stimulation. Often, this can come in the form of public service announcements, heavy marketing, and contests which do not offer exorbitant sums for prizes, but are more catalysts to stimulate local entrepreneurship and growth. So far, most presidential candidates in recent years have appeared to be highly unaware of this, likely because they are like most people who are very successful in getting that far–their eyes are on the prize of being able to control a nation state, and in the case of the U.S., much of the world. So, they are only locally focused for as long and as much as it takes to do the retail politicking required to win the primary elections in the states that matter.

A good hyperlocal President will study the regions in the U.S. and look at both the surprisingly successful for and non-profit businesses that have sprung up in these areas. Instead of thinking that all Kentucky has to offer is coal and horses, this President will dig deeper and talk about hemp and biotech.

The other change in our government that could go a long way to helping the U.S., is to have a President entirely focused on economic affairs, and one focused entirely on matters of national security as it pertains to defense and the military. This would alleviate a lot of the strain on a single person, and allow for Democrats, who typically win big on domestic issues, to generally put up a solid economic-focused President, and Republicans to put up a solid national security President.

The big deciding factor in making this happen would be, of course, the need to cease the relentlessly unhelpful mantra that Democrats want more taxation and socialization. I see Democrats evolving into becoming Technocrats who act pragmatically in building economic relationships with foreign business and government entities, and Republicans evolving into becoming Militocrats who make sure that these relationships aren’t dangerous to national security. Each has to seek approval of congress for his or her budget, and each President only has control over a budget that pertains to his/her subject matter area. So, if you run as a Militocrat, then you shut the hell up about the economy and the relationships that big businesses have with the government, and if you run as a Technocrat, you shut up about how we are crafting our Foreign Policy and where we are sending our troops.

This would also provide oversight to problems of the large, industrial/military complex that has often caused more tax dollars to be spent on government contractors than on the troops.

We will also see progress if we can allow people to opt-in, a la carte, to the services that they want to pay for privately or publicly. Do you want you and your family to be sent to a government-run prison if you ever happen to get in trouble with the law? Opt in to it. Do you want your kids to have their education paid for at a good-enough state school? Opt in to it. You are given the option to opt in or out on your tax forms, by household, every eight years or if you have recently become an independent or divorced adult. Most of these opt-in services will come in chunks: protection and safety, healthcare, education, parks and wildlife, highways and other infrastructure. If you are caught using any of these services that you haven’t opted in to pay taxes for, you are fined at a reasonable rate above and beyond what you paid for. If you opt in at a crucial time, like only after your kids are old enough to go to school, you pay a higher up-front fee than if you’d opted in eight, sixteen, etc. years prior to the date.

This way, the wealthy can stop whining about how unfair it is that they are paying the lion’s share of taxes for moochers–but they will have to pay for all things private, not just their kids’ K-12 education. If their children get convicted of a crime, then they will go to the private prison system if they had opted out of paying for publicly-funded prisons.

Everyone gets to have the government they want to have and the president they want to have.

There could be a base tax that covers essential government services. It would be too difficult to cordon off something as granular as a city for the purpose of avoiding providing, for example, military defense of that particular city because they had raised a private militia and didn’t want to fund the next war. But, we could seriously look into creating entire “zones of freedom,” where people are permitted to live as close to being purely Libertarian, or at the other end of the spectrum, purely communist. These zones could see representation in government as a formality similar the way D.C. has a token representative to vote on certain matters in Congress. Perhaps the representation could be extended beyond what D.C. is offered.

If you are reading this

If you are reading this, it means you are probably getting to know me from the vantage point of hundreds of years from this moment that I’m writing it.

Or perhaps, time means nothing to you.

There are a lot of things I want to write to you about, since you will be mostly unfamiliar with the ways of my people. But, I have to warn you, that I am frankly kind of unfamiliar with their ways myself.

For a time, the media in which we mostly lived was not text. I am assuming that words have come back into vogue in your time, or you are a specialist who knows how to read the printed word.

Either way, I am going to make the assumption that you delight in reading the written word, and living inside the worlds created by it. I wish I could tell you that I am a master storyteller, one of the great bards with a rich, deep vocabulary and command of the various ages of our poetry and drama.

I am a great being, nonetheless, as I discovered one morning when I stepped out of the shower. What I actually discovered was that all living things are great beings. You probably know this more completely even than I do, but I am just at the start of my journey of understanding.

I went on to pursue what it means to know a thing. To know a living being. To know a great text. To know myself. I wanted to know everything there is to know, and then I discovered that you could know everything, and still know nothing about everything.

What was needed was a deeper exploration of an individual concept, to examine it beyond the superficial understanding that I thought was so profound.

For example, what does it mean to be someone who would choose to cut open a bag of almonds he purchased at the store, and leave the extra plastic that was clipped off of the bag on the counter for someone else, presumably his future self, to deal with? Compare and contrast that to someone who would choose to take the moment to throw it into the trash so that nobody has to deal with it in the future. Or, compare these two fellows to someone who purchases almonds from a local health food store where he brings his own container, and doesn’t leave behind any waste materials. But then, you might argue that an even more virtuous fellow would grow his own almonds, or buy only locally-grown, seasonal nuts, to reduce the amount of carbon emissions caused by transporting the nuts to the health food store. However, the fellow that grows his own nuts is still creating a drain on the ecosystem, by destroying natural habitats and draining the aquifer to grow them.

The most virtuous fellow wouldn’t bother to disturb the land at all for his food, clothing and shelter, only scavagening dead matter for clothing and shelter, and eating the windfall nuts. But this fellow, when dropped into my culture, would probably behave mostly like the first fellow, who offered the path of least resistance to get his nuts, because he was wholly unconscious of the impact his actions had.

The story of my life has been one of taking the path of least resistance, and finding much to my chagrin that this upsets people the most. So, I’ve become more adjusted socially to my culture, striving to keep up with the other males my age, and do my best to hit milestones like career titles, buying houses, getting married and having children.

In my time, it is easier to take a path of least resistance. Only in my lifetime, have people started to wake up to comprehend how their choices about food and lifestyle impact the rest of the globe. I have lived my life mostly not questioning where my food comes from or how my clothes got to the store where I had easy access to them, without needing to kill animals or struggle for years at a low wage job to save up for my clothes. I don’t ask if my clothes arrived at the expense of horribly polluting the earth and causing tens of thousands of children to work for next to nothing in factories.

It is easier not to think about the sheer amount of suffering enacted upon the animals who gave up their lives to get to my table. I don’t care about these things because nobody has really required that I care about them.

On most days of the week, the chances that I would be able to survive in my society with even a modicum of a lifestyle similar to others of my age, gender and family background without at least partly leaving a destructive footprint–these are very slim chances indeed.

Just being able to reside in a modest dwelling, like a low income apartment, requires that I consume gallons of water and create tons of carbon emissions to drive to a job of meager salary. This inevitably means that I must buy foods that will come heavily processed and packaged, and I will generate a lot of additional waste from consuming barely enough to stay alive. In order to embark upon a more natural lifestyle, I will make a hard choice to leave behind much of what I was raised to take for granted as being mine by birthright.

I am, in effect, a prince of the world, albeit a minor one. The feudal system is still largely intact, but the number of kings and princes has expanded to encompass more people who live under the illusion that they are part of a middle class or middle income group. In actuality, they are part of the top 10% of the most wealthy people on the planet, when the entire planet is taken into consideration.

I am not exactly sure how the problems of global growth will be solved. If you are reading this, I am certain that they have been solved either through the annhilation of millions of people (naturally or through wars), or they have been solved through smarter planning and more cooperation across nations.

We had a saying for awhile that was en vogue about twenty years prior to me writing this “Think globally, act locally.” It was a nice, pithy saying that summed up a good mindset for understanding the consequences of our actions on a global scale, but I don’t think it was widely received by many of the people who needed to understand it the most.

Across the globe, we continue to think and act mostly locally, and then get up in arms now and then if our particular nation state feels threatened. There are clear different points of view about the way human beings should conduct themselves that are in constant conflict with each other, but the primary obsession for most people who seek to control others is the lust for power and resources itself. To some degree, our capitalist system, coupled with a lot of athletic and other entertainment distractions, has pacified most of these people.

It has done a better job of pacifying the power and resource hungry than any other system humans have proposed and executed. The problem is that it has effectively made a larger group of people into little lords and ladies of the earth, but it this has happened at the expense of 90% of the earth’s population.

The answer to changing it is probably one of replicating the system at a more hyperlocal level, so that regions of differing opinions about moral conduct can have their autonomy and see growth that they own. Effectively, our capitalist system as it is set up today, flows most of the wealth into the hands of a few, because the super rich are possessed of a kind of disorder that is similar to the drug addict or the morbidly obese food addict.

The answer in most cases is probably not isolation and religious tribes warring with each other, and the answer is probably not a resurrection of socialism or communism.

Really, the mindset of the very people living in different parts of the world needs to change. Just because something is cheaper and easier to obtain at a large box store doesn’t mean that it is the most healthy thing for your community. But, it might be, if you don’t have the natural resources in your region to obtain the raw materials to create, for example, a bunch of tools and lumber for your own hyperlocal hardware store.

So, the real trick is getting more local communities to really see what they are potentially good at, not just good at. Does this mean that every region in the world should start strip mining and tearing down their trees to make raw supplies that they in turn use themselves? Certainly not. The fact may be that the most valuable resources in a community are human, and the humans don’t even know their own potential for what they could trade on a market in exchange for the raw materials needed to build their own tools and homes, and farm their own food.

The problem with most government-driven initiatives to stimulate the economy is that they are run by people who can only think at the macro level, whether they are in favor or opposition to these initiatives. The interest rate is tweaked, banks receive bailouts, maybe a few large companies get some subsidies or bailouts as well. People in local regions don’t feel empowered because they don’t have any say in the matter. They get upset and form movements like the Tea Party Movement or OWS which are both movements born from a similar feeling of frustration.

The next highly successful and popular President will be someone who “gets” the need for hyperlocal economic stimulation. Often, this can come in the form of public service announcements, heavy marketing, and contests which do not offer exorbitant sums for prizes, but are more catalysts to stimulate local entrepreneurship and growth. So far, most presidential candidates in recent years have appeared to be highly unaware of this, likely because they are like most people who are very successful in getting that far–their eyes are on the prize of being able to control a nation state, and in the case of the U.S., much of the world. So, they are only locally focused for as long and as much as it takes to do the retail politicking required to win the primary elections in the states that matter.

A good hyperlocal President will study the regions in the U.S. and look at both the surprisingly successful for and non-profit businesses that have sprung up in these areas. Instead of thinking that all Kentucky has to offer is coal and horses, this President will dig deeper and talk about hemp and biotech.

The other change in our government that could go a long way to helping the U.S., is to have a President entirely focused on economic affairs, and one focused entirely on matters of national security as it pertains to defense and the military. This would alleviate a lot of the strain on a single person, and allow for Democrats, who typically win big on domestic issues, to generally put up a solid economic-focused President, and Republicans to put up a solid national security President.

The big deciding factor in making this happen would be, of course, the need to cease the relentlessly unhelpful mantra that Democrats want more taxation and socialization. I see Democrats evolving into becoming Technocrats who act pragmatically in building economic relationships with foreign business and government entities, and Republicans evolving into becoming Militocrats who make sure that these relationships aren’t dangerous to national security. Each has to seek approval of congress for his or her budget, and each President only has control over a budget that pertains to his/her subject matter area. So, if you run as a Militocrat, then you shut the hell up about the economy and the relationships that big businesses have with the government, and if you run as a Technocrat, you shut up about how we are crafting our Foreign Policy and where we are sending our troops.

This would also provide oversight to problems of the large, industrial/military complex that has often caused more tax dollars to be spent on government contractors than on the troops.

We will also see progress if we can allow people to opt-in, a la carte, to the services that they want to pay for privately or publicly. Do you want you and your family to be sent to a government-run prison if you ever happen to get in trouble with the law? Opt in to it. Do you want your kids to have their education paid for at a good-enough state school? Opt in to it. You are given the option to opt in or out on your tax forms, by household, every eight years or if you have recently become an independent or divorced adult. Most of these opt-in services will come in chunks: protection and safety, healthcare, education, parks and wildlife, highways and other infrastructure. If you are caught using any of these services that you haven’t opted in to pay taxes for, you are fined at a reasonable rate above and beyond what you paid for. If you opt in at a crucial time, like only after your kids are old enough to go to school, you pay a higher up-front fee than if you’d opted in eight, sixteen, etc. years prior to the date.

This way, the wealthy can stop whining about how unfair it is that they are paying the lion’s share of taxes for moochers–but they will have to pay for all things private, not just their kids’ K-12 education. If their children get convicted of a crime, then they will go to the private prison system if they had opted out of paying for publicly-funded prisons.

Everyone gets to have the government they want to have and the president they want to have.

There could be a base tax that covers essential government services. It would be too difficult to cordon off something as granular as a city for the purpose of avoiding providing, for example, military defense of that particular city because they had raised a private militia and didn’t want to fund the next war. But, we could seriously look into creating entire “zones of freedom,” where people are permitted to live as close to being purely Libertarian, or at the other end of the spectrum, purely communist. These zones could see representation in government as a formality similar the way D.C. has a token representative to vote on certain matters in Congress. Perhaps the representation could be extended beyond what D.C. is offered.

I think you might have known me once

I think you might have known me once. Yes, I believe we were friends. Things were much simpler then. We all knew who the good guys and bad guys were. I suppose I wasn’t any different than the other young men who vied for your attention. Maybe I was a little quieter than some of them, but I went along with the program.

I woke up this morning with the urge to write about it. I know that you don’t think about me, anymore. You friended me on Facebook recently, and I accepted the request. There wasn’t much for us to say to each other, and so we said hello, how have you been, see that you’re starting a family, that’s nice.

Your parents knew my parents pretty well. I guess because both of our dads worked for the airline. We saw each other at a couple of company picnics, and decided that we liked each other when we were away from our friends at school. You had your extremely popular friends from the dance squad, and I had some nerdy friends I hung out with in jazz band.

The funny thing is, I can’t get a real picture of you in my head, anymore. I see your photographs posted to your wall, and I kind of know that this is you, but you are so beautiful now. You were back then, too, but I didn’t know it. I didn’t think a girl was beautiful unless all of the guys were in unanimous agreement about it.

So, I woke up this morning and I just felt like boppin’

So, I woke up this morning and I just felt like boppin’. I didn’t want to get focused. You could make a schedule for me full of project milestones, and promise me a glass of fine bourbon when I accomplished each task, and I would be more inclined to just bop. The movement of it all is the key.

The life goes by, and if I stop moving I get sad.

I keep moving, and I don’t think much about any of it. I don’t think about the gray hairs that started popping up at the age of 16 and never stopped, or the hair that started falling out at the age of 26 and never stopped. Clearly, my body isn’t going to pause and let me be young for a couple of decades, so I can’t really slow down, either.

I am far away from home. I have walked the miles and miles to places in my mind that seemed attractive from afar, only to get there and find that they’d all long since been abandoned.

So, I am now headed home.

You might see me sitting still, my facial expressions unmoved, and my body at rest, but you don’t see me on the inside. I’m alive.

I’m alive on the inside, and on the move. I am a dynamic being. “I am being a dynamic being.”

“I am” is just too static for me. In this world, you do or say something one time, and everyone brands you as that thing from now until the day you die.

I want to change every single day. I’m on the move.

I am not a traitor to a few basic principles, but I refuse to hold onto things that aren’t working for me anymore.

I am going to pray to the Lord above to give me the strength to send out thoughts of love and peace to even those who are doing the worst of the bad things. To help me make an energy field of love so strong that when it is pushed in their direction, they can’t help but fall to their knees weeping at the error of their ways and fear of the terror of eternal damnation.

But, most of all, I want to send waves of your precious love, Jesus, so that others might experience it as well and know that you are the true Way and the Light. I know that I am an imperfect vessel, but you don’t need to wait around for me to become perfect to use me for the greater good.