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outlier_lynn: (Default)
Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012 07:45 am
Well, big brother scares me a little. He scares me in his pandering to wealth and his evil side would like cameras in my bedroom to make sure I'm not sinnin'. And big brother can trash an economy in seconds. However, in all his worst, big brother believes in his misguided heart that he is doing everything for the good of the country.

I'm much more afraid of the Creepy Uncle Pedophile that is big business. The creepy uncle is not all interested in the welfare of his nieces and nephews. He is only interested in getting off at any cost. In this case "getting off" is "making money" and it doesn't matter one damn bit what the consequences are. In the world of profit/loss risk analysis, any disaster that does not cost more than the profits gained is acceptable. Tobacco, coal, oil, wall street, fast food, weapons, food in general. All these industries have all sorts of rationals for the "good" they do and don't concern themselves with the fallout because someone else will be responsible for that.

No, I'm not too worried about my big brother even though he is increasingly abusive and colluding with my creepy uncle. Mom, the loyal opposition, will keep him from getting too out of hand too quickly. Creepy uncle, though, is a serious threat to the health and welfare of the family. And all to satisfy his rapacious appetites.
outlier_lynn: (Default)
Wednesday, October 5th, 2011 09:07 am
This is such a wonderful word -- Granfalloon. It is from Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. A grouping of individuals with a superficial connection. They key to mental health, in my opinion, is recognizing granfalloons for what they are. Giving them little importance.

They are useful, though. Finding some superficial commonality can break the ice at many different kinds of gatherings. They can provide some ephemeral sense of belonging. They are good for banishing feelings of isolation. Granfalloons not recognized, however, may be a perfect pretext for group against group violence.

The granfalloon I most identify with is this one: I am a member of the group who resists being a member of a group. As Groucho Marx said, "I don't care to belong to any club that would have me as a member."

I strongly dislike being told that I am a member of someone's granfalloon. And I don't care what name you give it. Currently the name that is most bandied about by the folks near me is "community." In the sense that I have some geopolitical connection with people, I am a member of a granfalloon. I am not however suffering from the belief that any substantial connection exists between me and them.

My notion of social revolution isn't to replace one set of foolish beliefs in the way things ought to be with another set of foolish beliefs. I would rather than people give up their granfalloons and deal with the people with whom they have an actual connection.

In the Landmark Eduction course "Wisdom," there is the distinction "circles." Who are the people you interact with frequently? Your immediate family, the checker at the grocery, the receptionist at the office. Most of your "friends" are probably not in this first circle. It is a wonderfully rich distinction even though some of those people are only members of a granfalloon. It is a wisdom to know which is which.
outlier_lynn: (Default)
Wednesday, September 28th, 2011 11:05 am
In this RSA video Professor Renata Salecl shows that individual choice is rarely based on a simple rational decision with a predictable outcome. More than that, though, she points out the downside of being presented with an overwhelming set of options.

I have personal experience of this issue. I have been practicing make decisions quickly and without "full information" for inconsequential matters. As an example, when I go to DZ Akins, a local Deli, I look for one small section of their huge menu, then pick one of three items. I had discovered that my agitation level would go up in relation to the number of options available.

My latest agitation-reduction action was to close my facebook account yesterday. Facebook just made it impossible for me to keep up with changes. Well, not impossible, but far too time consuming. Facebook makes its money by keep users' eyes glued to their pages (and by selling user data). It is in facebook's best interest to keep changing things so that people have to spend more time working things out.

It will be a good thing for me, I think. Why? Well, I'm verbose. I don't want to have to limit what I say to a short paragraph. It is extremely difficult to communicate nuance in 500 characters. I sometimes use my writing as a "thinking out loud" practice to refine my "beliefs" about one thing or another. Without fb, I might be spending more time posting here.
outlier_lynn: (Default)
Wednesday, April 27th, 2011 11:56 am
The It Get's Better is a disempowering load of crap.

Really? Is the message for our bullied youth "We know you are helpless, so just sit it out and hope it gets betters some time in the future if you haven't been beaten to death in the meantime!"? I don't think so. Why isn't the message something like this, "Organize, document, demand action."

When I was in eighth, ninth, and tenth grades, I was bullied in school. Even had my arm broken by the bully in eighth grade. (No action was taken against the bully.) I could see no options at all. No options were offered up by the adults charged with my education and protection. In those days, there were no "tolerance" clubs or school activities promoting tolerance. Mostly, the authorities chocked it all up to "boys will be boys" and "they will grow out of it."

RARELY do bullies stop bullying. I haven't been physically attacked by bullies in 50ish years. That does not mean I haven't been bullied and gay bashed. Unsurprisingly, the bullies always have the same adolescent swaggering and language. (Read the signs held up by the WBC idiots to see my point.) Waiting it out is not a solution. It is depressing as hell. Wait it out? Most teens -- in fact, most people -- have the subconscious view that the way it is now is the way it will always be with a faint hope that something might change. Waiting it out, as a response, just makes the helpless feelings grow and grow.

The solution is to teach, mentor, and encourage young people HOW to take responsibility for the circumstances in their lives. In the case of bullying, and other forms of discrimination, one solution is for the bullied to band together, organize, document and demand action.

How much history do we need to study before we figure out that oppression never changes without significant ACTION by the oppressed. It does not get better until the victims of bullying and abuse stand up in mass and do something about it. Telling our stories to each other might feel like action, but it accomplishes little. You want bullying to stop? Stop being bullied. Get loud enough and bullies might hear something that changes their attitudes. Maybe. But they aren't going to have any revelations on their own.

Organize, document, demand action. Add that to "It Gets Better" and I'll be more inclined to play in that game.

In the meantime Center for Partnership Studiesl
outlier_lynn: (Default)
Tuesday, November 9th, 2010 09:24 am
Americans are a bit STUPID about privacy.

1. We don't want the government to know anything about us. But the government does know, but we have made it nearly impossible for various agencies to share any of that information. That means there are dozens of databases with your "private" information. It is very expensive to maintain all those databases and the likelihood of errors is dramatically increased. Whose privacy are we protecting that way?

2. We don't want our public record data available to just anyone! (This is my favorite bit of insanity). Those records are called "public" precisely because the data contained is NOT private. It should be absolutely public and easily accessed. One does not and should not need a permissible purpose for accessing any public record.

3. We live in a society where screening tenants is accepted, but the idea of screening a landlord is a serious breach of privacy.

4. We worry about government surveillance and dismiss private surveillance. You are being watched 24 hours a day by people who want to sell you something. The government makes mistakes with their surveillance from time to time, but they (mostly) need approval before they can track your habits. There are more or less no such constraints on marketers. But we don't hear a huge outcry about that invasion of privacy (except from the geek world).

We are upside down with our privacy concerns. The more we are trying to keep secret, the more likely the black hats win. We end up protecting their identities while they go about their nefarious business. We are concerned with protecting that which is not worth protecting and not protecting the information that is worth protecting. Why?

Well, that would be the black hats, of course. They are getting their message out to misdirect our concerns to keep themselves hidden. That has two benefits for them. They are hidden, obviously, but it also makes the government the bad guy, so any kind of regulation is slow to happen or ineffective.

"There's burglars in the bedroom while your fiddlin' in the parlor."

I want a national id card. I want a number for every single citizen that does nothing but identify them. I want that card to have a magnetic strip. Use that card to identify yourself for the purposes of using a credit card (or any other legal transaction) and the other party can swipe that ID and have a picture of you show up from the national database. Positive ID. Every time. All the time.

I want a government run, national public record database that is easily accessible by anyone for any reason. (Some data, under certain circumstances, could be suppressed by court order.)

I want a government run, national criminal and financial databases that can be accessed under certain conditions by those with permissible uses. I want the person who is the subject of the record to have free access at any time at all. And I want response error correction available. I want every inquiry to be listed with who, when and why. I want every contribution (creditor submissions, for instance) to be fully disclosed to the subject of the record. No more Big Three credit bureaus.

I want any contribution (direct or otherwise) to any political campaign to be included in a public database. And I want it to have a serious "chilling affect." I want the power brokers in the country to be fully in the open. I want everyone to notice that they have strings be able to see who is pulling them.

I want every elected official (and their top staff) to have their work related calendars publicly accessible. I want to know who my elected officials are meeting with by name and who they are representing. And if that person is a lobbyist, I want that listed also.

We are so concerned with keeping private that which isn't really a secret at all, that we hand a great amount of power over to those who lurk in those shadows. We are being led around by the nose while believing that we are the masters of our universes.
outlier_lynn: (Default)
Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010 10:47 am
Context is decisive. We navigate from birth to death by building from nothing a context for our lives. We are born into the social context of our culture. Then we discard that which does not work for us and create (or borrow) new bits and pieces that shape us and inform our decisions.

We like to think that we control our destiny. That we have free will. We do. Mostly, though, we don't really know that we do. We mostly live within the context we inherit without giving too much thought to it. Oh, we do nibble around the edges, making changes here or additions there. Mostly human beings don't give core beliefs a second thought. Sometimes we don't even give them a first thought.

How is our context created? We inherit a cultural conversation about right/wrong and good/bad. Most every change we make to the context of our lives involves a shifting of our belief about what is write/wrong or good/bad. We redraw the lines in the sands of our system of beliefs.

It is why we fight against that which we think is bad or wrong and we fight for those things we believe to be right or good. But what if there is no right/wrong or good/bad? What context is there if we disallow our opinions of proper and improper?

What context can you create if you stop considering something needs to be fought against or fought for?

Life is an carnival ride. We each get to decide if the trip around the circuit is fun and exciting or it is horrid and terrifying. It takes willingness. To create a "clean" context, one has to be willing to discard one's point of view about how the world works. A willingness to disbelieve that which we believe is the "real way" that life is.

Not an easy thing to do. But, it does alter the nature of the ride from birth to death!

Not the truth, just a self-generated context that allows for self-determination beyond that which is available by default. It is a great game!