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This Month's Scripture Verse:

Whoever loves money never has enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.
This too is meaningless -- Ecclesiastes 5:10


Monday, June 9, 2008

Revolution Today Or Death Tomorrow

Calling all Mathematicians! The following problem is the most important Math problem to solve today. The train of the lessons learned from history is leaving from the East traveling West at so many miles per hour. On the same track, the train of an ever advancing and adulterous technology is leaving from the West traveling East at so many miles per hour. When will these two trains meet? The answer to this question tells us how long we have left on this earth.

From the East starts the train of the lessons learned from History. What are those lessons? Actually, there is only one lesson and that is, as others have said, we have not learned from history. What haven't we learned? Despite the horrors of war, we have not learned how to live without it.

From the West starts the train of technology. This train contains the know-how to make every tool that betters our lives. But this train also carries the WMDs that threaten our existence. It is obvious that technology is advancing because our toys, both tools and weapons, are more powerful. And though we often find comfort in our technological edge over our adversaries, we shouldn't. Why? We should be uncomfortable because our technology today can be someone else's technology tomorrow. That is the adulterous nature of technology.

The only chance we have of avoiding this cataclysmic train collision is to derail one of these trains. Which train should we derail? It cannot be the train of technology. The train of technology is transporting necessary cargo for our survival as well as destructive cargo. Also, past attempts to derail the WMD part of this train have proven to be counterproductive. For example, according to Richard Wilson, a former Chair of the Department of Physics at Harvard, Israel's 1981 bombing of the Iraqi nuclear reactor in Osirak seemed to start Saddam's nuclear weapons program rather than halt it (http://www.physics.harvard.edu/~wilson/publications/OSIRAK(2)). Our invasion of Iraq is another example where an attempt to selectively derail the train of technology, it was claimed that Iraq was developing WDMs, was counterproductive because terrorism increased afterwards (http://www.motherjones.com/news/featurex/2007/03/iraq_effect_1.html).

So our only hope for survival is to derail the train carrying the lessons learned from history. To do this, we will have to learn History's most important lesson that war does not work. We will have to do so quickly because these two trains could collide at any moment. So, what we really need is a revolution if we are to survive.

What must we change? We must eliminate those factors that start conflicts. The first thing we need to change is our addiction to groupism. Groupism is where we are more loyal to a group than to moral values. We can tell that our country is controlled by groupism when our government supports the same aggressive actions performed by our allies that it condemns when done by our adversaries. A variation of this form of groupism can be seen when Israelis are apathetic to the plight of the Palestinians and yet call for the death of Arabs after innocent Israelis are murdered. Palestinians return the favor when they vow vengeance after their own are killed while they rejoice when Israelis are killed.

Another sign that we are carrying out groupism is when our loyalty to a group limits our choices. Examples of this expression of groupism could be constantly seen in the Cold War when our nation would back all sorts of repressive regimes that were not communistic rather than find an alternative approach. Now groupism also applies to individuals. In 2004, I encountered numerous Kerry voters who agreed more with Nader than Kerry. So why didn't they vote for Nader? It was because they were Democrats. Sure they said that Nader didn't have a chance to win but Nader didn't have a chance to win because too few Democrats were going to break ranks to vote for someone else. This type of groupism shows a preference for power and control over values.

Defeating groupism will be difficult. Groups give us a sense security and significance. Not only that, many of us were raised on groupism. Groupism started for us with rooting for hometown and school sports teams and then it affects how we register to vote. A possible result of this is that we expect our government to rely on groupism too. But unless we are willing to limit our affection and allegiance to any group, our groupism will distract us from promoting equality and will push us into presuming we are superior. If we think we are superior, we will feel entitled and will try to dominate. The result of groupism is that its victims resist control and feel enraged when favoritism trumps fairness and justice.

We must also undo our addiction to materialism. At the worst, our materialism habit causes us to hoard resources and wealth. The more we accumulate for ourselves, the less there is for others. The less there is for others, the more we, or our mercenaries, must dominate so we can keep what we have because the result of our hoarding oppresses the have-nots.

At the least, our materialism becomes an escape from a disturbing world. That is our possessions provide a comfortable cocoon in which to live. When we live in that cocoon, we are shielded from the suffering of have-nots. At this point, a law of physics takes over. That law states that an object that lives in comfort, stays in comfort. People who do not live in comfort, however, are not bound by that law.

If we are to overcome this materialism, then we must prefer to accumulate connections with others to amassing riches. And the most meaningful connections we can accumulate are those that include people in need. In other words, we, as individuals and as a nation, need to put a higher priority on sharing than getting or controlling. If we do more than superficially share, we just might be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Finally, we must forsake the all or nothing thinking that says that one is either for us or against us. Though Bush made this approach popular, the origin of this all or nothing thinking goes back to the start of the Cold War. This all or nothing thinking trapped us into deciding to attack leftist regimes rather than work with them. Overthrowing Iran's Parliamentary government in 1953 because it was seen as moving towards Communism when it planned to nationalize oil resources caused a tragic chain reaction of events and failed decisions that we still are suffering through today. Instead of seeing nations or people as being polar opposites, we need to see that all of us are on different locations on the same continuum. The implication here is that we can better avoid or resolve conflicts when we recognize common concerns and values we have with adversaries.

Though we need a revolution today to prevent the two trains from colliding, we do not need a violent revolution that overthrows the government; violence is what we want to eliminate because it will be self-destructive. Rather, we need a revolution that calls on us to change as much as it demands that our government change. And though people will call this kind of revolution naive; if this revolution fails and the two trains meet, then life on earth as we know it will be called utopian.


Anonymous said...

They didn't not vote for Nader "because they were democrats". They voted for Kerry because they were smart enough to see the pointlessness of voting for Nader and the fact that Nader's run would facilitate another four years of the worst government we've ever seen. It did and we are (almost) all paying dearly.

Curt Day said...

I disagree for the following reason. Voting against Bush rather than voting for someone who reflects one's views maintained the duopoly of the Them and Not Them parties. Thus all each party needs to do to "earn" our votes is to prove that they are not the other party. But with acceptance of their difference from the other party comes acceptance of their baggage as well.

And as we accept more and more of their baggage, we have enabled the two parties to become more and more like each other. This is because much of their baggage centers on their dependence on corporations and thus commitment to corporation interests.

This commitment to vote for the Democratic nominee simply because their candidates have the "only" chance at beating the Republicans allows the Democrats to act as if they own their voters rather than being owned by their voters. So you don't get the Republicans, we will get the Democrats who maintained policies towards Iraq that caused the UNSCOM inspectors to be evicted from Iraq as well as the maintaining the sanctions that were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. This last fact, btw, was one of 3 stated reasons for 9-11.

Anonymous said...

Extreme times demand extreme actions. In this case, "extreme" for you needs to include swallowing your pride and self interest for the greater good by voting for Obama.

You cannot say that McCain would be a better choice than Obama. The perspective that you'll vote for the candidate that best represents you is made meaningless by the reality that if you vote for anyone but Obama, you are facilitating McCain's election. You cannot deny this. Your arguments have no basis in reality. The "long term good" argument is also meaningless because of the possibility of 4 or 8 more neocon years trashing the constitution even further, and solidifying their power structure - making the possibility of a viable 3rd party candidacy even more remote.

BTW, the democrats are far less responsible for 9-11 that our republican controlled oil interests in the middle east and they were not the only ones supporting sanctions. Hussein killed those people and blamed us - and you're buying into that. Brilliant.

Curt Day said...

First, if these are extreme times, then extreme actions would not include doing the same-old, same-old of voting for the lesser of two evils.

Second, you haven't shown either pride or self-interest. That is a subjective analysis on your part.

Third, there is no "buying-in" to an excuse. Time and logic tells us that the planning for 9-11 occurred during the Clinton Presidency and the anger behind it was fueled by history of which little included the Bush Presidency. The Bush Presidency is guilty for the negligence of ignoring the threat but not for inspiring the action.

And when one hears the reasons given for these attacks, one only needs to examine them in the light of history to see if 1) the historical references are true; and 2) if the points are reasonable. I don't see any problem with either point.

Finally, it seems that you would like people to feel compelled to agree with you or feel shame for not doing so. That is not promoting democracy nor is your labeling people who disagree as being proud or selfish scoring any logical points. It seems that you are only out to manipulate.

Curt Day said...

I did forget one point. Hussein did kill his share of people. But when our country bombs the infrastructure so that there is limited electrical, water, and sewage services and then enforces economic sanctions that even interferes with the rebuilding of that infrastructure and even the buying of medicine as well as bombs the country every 3 days--as was done from Dec '98 to Dec '99--then our country shares a great deal of responsibility for the suffering that went on in Iraq. While you can blame Hussein simply because he was an evil man, the details of what happened in Iraq point as many fingers at us as at him.

Anonymous said...

I am not trying to shame you - is that why you're so resistant to the simple logic of my argument? But if you feel shame, then maybe you understand the merits of what I'm saying.

These may not be as extreme times as you would prefer to actually have a 3rd party candidate be viable, but getting there would be extremely painful for the majority of us. By voting "for" McCain you are enabling the neocons and pushing us closer to ruin and despair average Americans. Are you hoping the country suffers more than we need to just to serve your political interests? We have to do penance? My kids?

BTW I don't think you should be dismissing Obama as an alternative to McCain - they are quite different.

Curt Day said...

You cite pride and self-interest as the reasons for my position and yet you say you are not trying to shame me. Add to that you say that, if I feel shame it is my fault.

In addition, the problems we have are mostly the responsibility of the republicans and not the democrats and yet on another blog you said something to the effect that you were not a loyal democrat.
And add to that that if it isn't the fault of the Republicans, it is the fault of Hussein who killed all Iraqis who died during the sanction years. BTW, there is too much documentation stating otherwise including the admission of former Secretary of State, Madeline Albright.

These things don't add up to conclude that you are merely using simple logic.

See, you are blaming everyone but yourself and the people you support. If you blame the neocons, realize that they are not significantly different from those in the Kennedy Administration. America has had an empire problem long before the neocons came to power. For example, historian Chalmers Johnson explains the difference between Clinton and Bush is in the kind of empire they were maintaining. Please Historian William Blum cites the large number of people who were killed during Clinton's Presidency.

So your logic does not add up. In fact, it was the same logic that was employed in 2000 and 2004. It is the same old, same old. It states that we can't afford to vote for people based on position because that will elect people with positions we can't afford. This is despite the fact that much of the incentive for the 9-11 attack came during the Clinton Administration.

Now here is the deal, continue with personal characterizations and your notes will not be posted. Stay with the subject and they will.