Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Further posts may be few and far between


I have been in something of a quandary of late. The basis of this difficulty comes from the tension between two aspects of what it is to be an advocate of something; especially if you believe to the bone and marrow of your being and your soul that the thing being proposed is of up most importance.

Let me start by describing what I think are those two aspects.

The first is the idea expressed in the cliché “doing what it takes to get it done.” And around this cliché, of course, is a whole host of ancillary clichés: “If it's important enough you find a way.” Or “There is no trying, you either do or you do not.” The fact that these gross over simplifications of what can actually occur in “just get it done” hardly ever works to overcome the cultural norms they've become within the electro amplification of American Individualism.

The second aspect is the one that, in my limited experience, doesn't get talked about as much. This involves the idea of giving full consideration to the power, and the subsequent risk, of pushing any idea into general acceptance.

And just to be clear here, I don't meant to suggest that there aren't a good number of us who don't respect the power of ideas. What I think gets lost to a lot of folks, as they get caught up in the process of advocacy, is the difficulty in keeping a keen sense of the many ways in which the idea might actually be wrong. And that the risk in the passions that can be let loose, both for and against, from an idea has to be kept in mind precisely because an assumption, or a set of assumptions, were interpreted, or conceived, quite incorrectly.

This is, of course, why “doing whatever it takes” can be so dangerous. It is simply far too easy, especially when there can be the arrogance of certainty, to forget that maybe this contention shouldn't happen at all.

For this reason I have always held to the operating principle expressed in the beginning of the desiderata:

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit...”

It is also part of the reason why I consider the “Hard Sell” (One of the essays in my pamphlet on Cosmolosophy) to be immoral.

It is within the tension stated at the beginning of this post that one has to walk very carefully. And I would be the first to admit that I don't always succeed. I do strive for the ideal and, however inept or unsuccessful that striving is, I guess it will have to be enough.

Be that as it may, even as I consider the possibility of being wrong, I still continuously ask myself if I have done enough to clearly articulate, and support, with reasoned argument, my contention that not only is Capitalism obsolete, but that there is a quite specific alternative that we could put into place if we can all get on the same page of the what, and then work together to make it happen. I have also tried to articulate a new philosophical foundation to go along with this alternative.

I should also point out that I have had the general idea for this type of change for nearly thirty years, and have been advocating it openly for fifteen years. I got into data processing, programming, and systems analysis only as an offshoot of my studying Marshall McLuhan, and from him, a host of others looking at the big picture of information, economics, complex systems, culture and social organization. It provided me a means to keep a roof over my head, and food on the table, as I pursued my one and only, real, passion.

In that time I have always found a new thing that I could do to extend the effort. Web sites. Speaking to anyone who would listen. As well as writing to every publication, or commenting on every article I felt might be appropriate. This has ended up with the Google blog sites that I now post to.

As I have been doing that posting, usually as an offshoot of an article written by someone more well known than I, the curiously circular nature of the process has become depressingly clear. You get views and, hopefully, an increasing chance of more followers only as you write more posts. Writing more posts, however, simply as output to keep my numbers up is not why I write in the first place at all. And herein is a point that I really need to emphasize.

My purpose here is not in any way directed towards the ultimate goal of becoming a paid writer in any capacity for any particular publication. I am retired now, living off of my SSI payment. I not only have no wish for a new writing career, I also do not want to become a professional “commentator” who trades time between paid speaking engagements and guest spots on whatever show or podcast. I also do not want to become so popular that I can then attract advertising of any sort.

What I have been hoping for is planting a multitude of seeds. Seeds that grow into various groups of people talking amongst themselves not only about Capitalism being obsolete, but of what might be a good alternative to replace it. My alternative has always been meant as a starting point for the discussion. A place to begin consideration of what to include and what not to include. And from that how we might go about getting it done.

In the face of all of that I have to consider the following set of possibilities, ranked in the order of descending probability:

  1. I have failed to articulate the ideas in any way nearly accurately, or meaningfully, enough to get them into general public discourse. Something for which I am quite ready to take responsibility for.
  2. I have successfully articulated the ideas, but they have been found to be either quite lacking in sufficient reasoned argument to support them, or that they have simply been found to be wrong in most, if not all, of their conclusions.
  3. I have successfully articulated the ideas, and they may well be correct, but the public in general is either unable, or unwilling, for whatever reasons, to accept and act upon them.
  4. Some combination of some or all of the above.
The bottom line here is that you may, or you may not, see any more postings from me. If what I have already written has not moved you to do something about what is, in my view, inevitably going to happen, there is probably only a marginal chance that anything more will make a difference.

Having said that, however, does not mean I have given up. If the feeling, and the angle for something to say comes to me you can be sure it will get written. And if any of you come to be moved to ask questions, or seek out further dialogue, I would be most pleased to respond.

What I have been doing has always been based on the, perhaps naive, idea that the process is a two way street. I make clear what I think needs to happen and then you act upon it. You either make it clear why it is wrong, or you start taking steps to do whatever you can to make it a part of public discourse. If you do not then you are either content with the way things are, abysmally ignorant of the way they are, or in self destructive denial. The point I am making is for you to simply choose, and be quite clear on the choice you have made.