Monday, February 27, 2006

An old unedited rambling

I found this file I wrote last May. Since I've got nothing else to offer my nonexistent blogging fans, I decided to post this:

I find myself discouraged and saddened most of my idle time. I'm ok when I'm engaged in activity that requires my concentration, activity that can hold my concentration, but when my mind has time to free float, it is a form of despair that occupies it. It's not the particular issue that I'm thinking of at the time that is the source of despair. My obsession in the moment with that problem is caused by the underlying despair. I suppose the root cause is the ugliness inherent in the human condition, but it’s difficult to accept it as inevitable and natural.

I keep believing that people could behave differently and lessen the injustice, reduce the suffering. The disparity of wealth seems such an obvious source of social woe. If the wealthiest world citizens would devote a share of their resources to addressing social problems, not just expenditures in direct intervention, but investment into long-term solutions. Not giving fish, and not just teaching how to fish, but also providing access to maintained fishing grounds; providing trained caretakers of those grounds, which means there must be funded training programs; providing continuing research.

Microsoft has numerous employees spending a large number of hours producing software improvements. If 10% of their workforce were diverted to developing a healthcare system for a target population, a pilot program would result that could dramatically improve health and reduce costs. The methods developed could then be adapted to other populations.

But why would a large corporation divert their resources to solving social problems? It would cut into profit margins, impact their competitiveness, and not serve their primary mission: making money. A business engages in activity to produce income. Microsoft creates software to make money, not to promote social good. Social good only comes into the activities of business as a selling point. Benefiting people is a side effect of the business goal; a company only benefits people because that’s how they can get money, not because their motivation is to improve society. What does motivate people?

Human desire is composed of a varying set of interests that interact to create and drive the personality. And there is will, the part of the individual that can make choice. The internal factors are subjected to external influences, and the interaction of all these influences play out over time and create the individual. A balanced individual uses willpower to surf in the winds of internal and external drives and achieve goals. Insufficient willpower and inaccuracies of perception results in imbalance, and limits the ability to set and reach goals. The nature of goals dictates a large part of the human condition. People mostly, if not always, act in their own self interest, or what they perceive. They set goals and take action to fulfill desires. A corporation consists of a group of people with a defined set of behaviors focused on achieving goals to fulfill desires. The primary desire is to accumulate wealth. Wealth is a component of the social power structure.

The social power structure is created by social contract amongst the willing and invested players, and by coercion of the reluctant and unwilling. Wealth is a means of divvying up resources, both materials and service. The more accumulated wealth an individual or group has, the more resources they can acquire and control, the more service they can engage, and this in turn creates influence. A corporation with vast wealth has vast influence. Much of that influence is used to maintain existing wealth and acquire more.

Symbolic wealth—paper money, electronic numbers, stocks, etc., have no actual value without a functioning market in which to trade. Money’s value is an illusion, and the illusion must be maintained, or the wealth has no value. So it is in the interest of the individuals accumulating wealth to play by rules to maintain order, so they can place orders for goods and services their wealth. When the goods and services that businesses create fulfill an actual need, they benefit society, and the business profits, and the relationship is healthy. Food, medicine, and health related products improve the quality of life. Communication and transportation increase the sophistication of the community. Construction provides a quality of shelter.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


Ah, the habit of making fun of others. "Wow, she shouldn't wear those pants. See how the rolls of fat spill over the waistband." It's a popular pastime. But it's one I cannot deal with. I'm capable of playing, but it runs counter to my deep beliefs. My work often involves creating positive interactions with people with frustrating behaviors. Getting in the habit of ridiculing the ridiculus would make my job harder. John Cusak said of Gene Hackman "he doesn't suffer fools." I acknowledge and accept that there are those who can't if they are to reach their goals, to protect themselves, or other motives. But for me, I see it as a task of my life, to suffer fools. Rarely do I find nonfools who will suffer my suffering of fools.

A mechanized way to create manifestos;0127105216

The link above leads to a site containing a list of 70 statements. I found it when I was looking for information to help a group of students studying sociology. It's mildly amusing existential (or as they call it now, postmodern) statements. Then I realized that they were formed by an algorithm, apparantly called the dada engine. Now there's a machine for you, one that can create manifestos. Perhaps we can look forward to a day of robotic propoganda. No longer will boys in the cigar smokey backroom write scripts for controlling the collective mind. Computers will spew out the brainwashing scripts automatically. Sociological information will be gleaned from monitoring the public spaces, phone calls, with data collection and analysis algorithms. Then this information is pushed through the manifesto generating algorithms. Out comes the talking points for public figures, the scripts for commercials and propoganda films, posters, and those signals they beam into your fillings.

"It's a fairytale for paranoids." (Trivia: Do you know what book that's from?)

Friday, February 10, 2006

Ways to flip off the machine

Most machines have on them somewhere a power switch. See that it is in the off position. This is especially true for your television. Like the old joke goes, how can you tell when what's on TV is dumb violence? The power switch is in the on position.

I watch TV. I try to catch The Simpsons when I can, even the reruns. I also enjoyed South Park when I had premium cable. These shows help me take things less seriously. Occasionally I'll sit through a show like House, or Ghost Whisperer. But it almost invariably agitates my mental state, so me more than most should not watch televsion. The switching to commercials is the most agitating aspect. Gee, are my teeth white enough? Most shows perpetuate a standard of living that I will never be able to participate in, so my sense of isolation increases when I watch television.

So I try to keep the power switch in the off position, or stay in my room when it's on. I also try to keep the lights off when the room isn't in use, but I have a lot of improvement to go in this area. In my tendency to pace about and jump from one task to another, I tend to leave the lights on behind me.

This has been a silly post.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Big middle finger to S.F.

Gee boys, thanks a lot. Appears S.F. officials are buying the homeless a bus ticket out of town. Although the article above doesn't mention how many people have received tickets to Humboldt county, I assume there must be some, since our reps are objecting. Kudos to Jimmy Smith and John Woolley for their classy response to inflammatory comments by San Francisco Examiner columnist, Ken Garcia. Perhaps I should do as Mr. Woolley suggested, "ignore such trivial classifications of us -- it's just something that gets in the way of us dealing with the issue.” But I just can't resist: Mr. Garcia, a one long finger salute to you, you prick.

Hey, maybe we can meet them at the bus station, and put them on a leaky boat back to Frisco...oh wait, didn't we already do that many years ago?