Can We Americans Process Reality?

2018-09-16_21-28-06.pngI often wonder how the rest of the world see those of us who are born in the US? Thanks to my new friend over at Eudaimonia and Co I am beginning to get a clearer view of that.

  • I know the rest of the world pretty much thinks all of us are obsessed with our guns to the point of being willing to sacrifice our kids in order to keep them.
  • I have known for a long time that most Europeans are fascinated by the junk and inferior products we Americans are willing to accept.
  • I know that during my visits to Canada they just can’t understand why we put up with our grossly high-cost medical system and then deny people even that!

The words below put my thoughts on another level of the basic difference between our consumer-driven capitalism and the socialist models of it found in Europe and Scandinavia.

Americans don’t seem capable of processing, integrating, or accepting basic everyday realities about the world anymore. Not the ones from Harvard and Yale. Nor the ones from Kansas and Nebraska. Now, both of these tribes loathe one another. But whom does that leave, precisely? Go ahead and look around. What do you see. “The economy’s booming!” Wait — life expectancy’s falling. “Socialism’s too expensive!!” Uh, have you seen American healthcare prices?…

Do you see what I see? A psychology that is totally, fatally, shatteringly disconnected from reality. Americans seem to need to take refuge in fabulous and grandiose myths, of how wonderful and special they are…

Source: Can Americans Process Reality? – Eudaimonia and Co

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Unreported Income??

2018-09-07_11-36-49.pngIt is estimated that the IRS loses about $500 billion yearly due to unreported income. A big part of that amount is from the self-employed who simply pocket money without putting it on their books. Except for the fast-food franchises and of course the local Walmart, the small town I live in is pretty much local businesses. When I go to the hardware store, more often than not, the cash from my small sale is mostly just pocketed. I imagine the same happens in small towns across America.

If the IRS is losing $500 billion that basically means that if all our citizens paid their fair share we could as one example finally fund universal healthcare so that we would join the rest of the world in deeming that healthcare is an inalienable right for all instead of just those who can afford it.  $500 billion a year would also go a long way in improving our infrastructure.  The USA is becoming the laughing stock of the world for our 3rd world roads and bridges.

It really bugs me whenever I see that TV commercial where some smiling person proudly proclaims that he owed $250,000 in taxes but only had to pay $500 because he went to the company that paid for the advertisement. I don’t believe in debtor’s prison but this guy should be put in jail making other pay his share!!

There just seems to be too many people who shun their responsibilities of citizenship around today. They want something for nothing.   But, perhaps the biggest problem is their failure to vote. By doing so, they let a small minority elect a know-nothing president.

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Wit, Wisdom, and Insight

This is going to be a pretty philosophical post so be ready.

The three words in the title above are a strong part of what I want to be when I grow up. I realize that these things don’t happen overnight. They are instead a lifelong process.  I proudly think I have come quite a way in obtaining them now that I am beginning my eighth decade on this earth. A few more and maybe they will be complete. 🙂

2018-09-08_14-58-02.pngJust kidding of course, but these three characteristics do take a long time to mold into a psyche.  Which is harder to obtain? They all take different paths to accomplish.  I think the secret behind wit is the ability to see the irony around you and the ability to laugh at yourself and how you react to the world. Or maybe it is just realizing that for the most part life is really just one big joke.

Wisdom is a lifelong process and since I have lead a pretty long life I think I am to one degree or another wise.  In order to be wise, you must first have been foolish.  Wisdom does not come from always being perfect but instead, it comes from making mistakes and realizing there was a better way.  After a couple thousand cycles of this, you might finally be able to proclaim wisdom. I might just be getting close

2018-09-08_14-57-08.pngInsight is another matter. Insight is being able to understand different situations and intuitively grasping the best solution.  I’m not sure this can even be learned. Either you have it or you don’t. But being skeptical of what you are told is part of this process.

 

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Because She Is Good…

America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.  —  Alexis de Tocqueville

2018-08-15_09-19-32.pngIt has been a while since I last read “Democracy in America by de Tocqueville. I think his book written almost two centuries ago is as important in learning where we in America have been and where we are going as any on my bookshelf. I put a small bio here for those who don’t know about him. I have read this book at least a half dozen times.

The quote above was written in the early 1800s but at least until recently we have for the most part been “good”. Have we been perfect? Of course not, but at least we have strived to be good. I hope that after the current period plays out we can return to a degree of civility, truthfulness, and empathy as a country.  But, will we ever be deemed “great” again? That is the question of the day.

While our present government has shunned its responsibility to lead the way, much of the rest of the world continues without us. It is becoming more obvious as each year passes that global warming is a fact of life. Those who argue otherwise must be part of the flat-earth society. 🙂 Sadly, with #CO3 in office, we have lost our leadership role in fighting climate change.  He says coal is the answer!  How archaic… and ignorant.

But not to worry Europe and pretty much the rest of the world is jumping at the chance to become the new world leaders in this and many other areas.  Does it matter that the US is losing its dominant role in the world?  I kinda think there might be some good even come out of that fact.

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#CO3 = Current Oval Office Occupant

 

About Your Enemies… and Reconciliation

2018-08-12_11-45-54It seems that at least for the last twenty months or so I have enemies who rant against my view of the world.  They come at me with a “love it or leave it mentality.  How dare I say some of the things I do.  Will those who spew out all the hate via social media eventually destroy themselves as the quote here indicates?

Hate is a self-consuming thing. It will eat you alive if you wallow in it too long and that seems to be what so many of the current ranters are doing They troll the Internet looking for places to strike. If it happens to you the question is will you return tit for tat or will you take the proverbial high road? From a personal standpoint my first reaction is to attack my attacker, but in most cases I just let them rant with no reaction from me. All I end up doing to delete their comment before it shows up on the blog.  If I engage them they just stay around longer as they know they have an audience.

Moving to a higher level with this thought, it was not that many years ago that I believed that I didn’t have any enemies, at least as I defined that word then.  Yes, I frequently view the world differently from others but that was just a difference of opinion between us, it didn’t make us enemies. Now those differences seem to have become points of serious contention for some and the difference between friend and enemy.

Why do so many now need to villanize anyone who thinks outside their tunnel vision view of the world?  Will the rigid Us vs Them mentality preclude any possibility of reconciliation between us?  That seems to be the question for our current times.  I pray this is a trend and not the new standard.  What do you think?

 

Human Dexterity…

This post is going to be about how robots have replaced humans in a significant segment of our industrial complex.  I will say up front that I deem this as progress. Human dexterity is just not a precise thing.  We are incapable of producing the accuracy of today’s workplace.  We are imprecise creatures and in some way that makes us creative creatures and that is something that machines won’t soon replace.

2018-08-24_10-05-47.pngWhen I bought my first new car in 1970 the saying “don’t buy a car made on a Friday or Monday”  was something to take seriously. The reason for that is that the workers who made the cars were often thinking about what they were going to do that weekend or what they had done after it was over.  Robots think of one thing and that is to put that screw, weld, or part within a 10,000th of an inch where it is supposed to be. They do the same thing to that accuracy over and over again without thinking of anything else.

As I said previously, human beings by our nature are meant to be creative creatures. We are meant to solve problems, create new ways of doing things, or just make life a little more pleasant for the rest of us.  We were never meant to shut off our minds and do the same thing over and over again.  Someday we will look back on things like the human assembly line and wonder how anyone could ever do such a boring thing!!