Is global government trying to happen?

Scientists studying complexity theory often describe simultaneous appearance of similar, unconnected things in diverse places as "an emergent phenomenon," which then coalesces into a coherent system through the forces of "a strange attractor."  What they describe is amazingly similar to the emergence of the Visa system for the exchange of value forty seven years ago.

The past thirty three years of my life since leaving Visa have been spent exploring the possibility that inherent in such concepts may be the solution to the epidemic of institutional failure now raging throughout the world;  that they may be the key to emergence of a system of global governance more in harmony with the human spirit, the biosphere, and the exploding complexity and diversity of society.

Since the previous posting in May I have been contacted by a great many people asking how they can avoid hierarchical structures that lead to concentrations of money and power as they scale up their activities.  They have come from a bewildering variety of places:  Honduras, Spain, Mexico, Switzerland England, Uganda, Ireland, New Zealand, India, Asia, Russia, Canada, Australia, Sweden, USA and others.  The writers and callers are involved in an equally bewildering variety of activities; forestry,  healthcare, communications, payment systems, geo-engineering, mathematics, social services, refugees, commerce, government, transportation, oceanography. media, medicine, education, agriculture, technology, and construction, to name a few. 

They have lost faith in the ability of present forms of organization to solve major societal problems whether it is poverty, global warming, war, terrorism, mal-distribution of wealth and power, pollution of air, fresh water and oceans, depletion of top soil, decimation of forests, destruction of species, inadequate health care, unemployment, or any of dozens of other intractable problems. They are searching for new concepts of organization and leadership that hold promise of more meaning in their lives and a more livable world in future.  

In my seventy five year search for new and better forms of societal organization, I have never experienced such a welling up of awareness and desire for fundamental change.  If so many people from literally every area and occupation are reaching out to an old man who lives in relative obscurity and can only communicate in English, there must be millions of others in whom the same concerns and hopes are emerging.   

During the pat month I have been researching and reading about various attempts to create a global government in the past century, as well as great thinkers of the past who have called for it.  Among the many was Gary Davis, a young man who created quite a stir during formation of the United Nations by renouncing has national citizenship, declaring himself a citizen of the world, and disrupting a formative meeting of the United Nations to declare that nations were the problem and the United Nations could never be the solution.  It would require a global government that transcended them all.  His activities caught the attention of hundreds of thousand of people, including such notables as Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Camus.  He spent the rest of his life in a futile effort to realize his dream, vestiges of which still exist in New York.

Another was an effort of a group of academics and like minded people lasting more than two decades in the latter part of the last century to design a global government and bring it into being.  They declared themselves "The World Constitution and Parliament Association."  In 1991, they published a massive document entitled "The Constitution for the Federation of the Earth," declared it in effect, and acted as though it were.  It failed to gain much traction or many adherents, but continues to meet periodically as a self anointed, "Provisional Parliament of the World," to adopt resolutions and make pronouncements while waiting in vain for nation states to surrender their sovereignty and become subject to it.

More recently, a Swedish billionaire stock speculator, Laszlo Szombatfalvy, created and endowed "The global challenges Foundation," to "incite deeper understanding of the most pressing risks o humanity - - - and to catalyze new ways of tackling them."  A year ago, they announced a competition for the best ideas for global governance capable of dealing with the most pressing problems.  The $5 million dollar prize is to be divided among originators of he half dozen best ideas as judged by a panel appointed by the foundation. 

  In researching the criteria for submission, obstacles to be overcome in implementation, and objectives to be realized, I found them eerily similar to the principles, methods, and practices that gave birth to Visa.  Apparently, Mr. Szombatfalvy and his foundation do not realize that a global governance system such as they seek was created forty seven years ago to salvage a collapsing bank card system and turn it into the worlds premier system for the exchange of value;  for a global government in the financial services industry is exactly what Visa was.  Billions of individuals and entities in every corner of the globe now exchange more than $10 trillion dollars of value annually.  If the concepts  on which it was based worked so well there, they could work as well, or even better, to turn seemingly intractable societal problems into extraordinary opportunities, including evolution of a global government.  

Is the welling up that is happening an emergent phenomenon waiting for its strange attractor?  If so, would the attractor be an event, a person, a concept, an effort, or something not yet imagined?  I do not know, but of three things I am persuaded:

  • Such governance will not be a design imposed from the top down - - - that is it will not originate from nation states, corporations, religions, universities o persons of wealth and power.
  • Such a governance systems already exists in the minds, spirits and hearts of all people waiting to be educed, then take on form and substance.
  • Such a government system will arise through a chaordic, evolutionary process that does not destroy existing organizations, but transcends and enfolds them enabling them to be more effective, and contribute to a more benign, equitable, sustainable society. 

I believe that the right group of people with the right purpose, the right principles, the right methods and the right resources could be the strange attractor that sets is motion an evolutionary process.  Within 24 months, that process could educe from the minds and hearts of the people the global governance for which they yearn, and upon which the future of the species may depend. 

It is no longer possible for me to assist all those who contact me, as much as I would like to.  Nor may it be possible to respond to everyone promptly If the welling up continues. But please do not hesitate to send a message, for you and your voice are part of the emergent phenomenon, if such there be. 

An idea whose time has come?

Hope springs anew as I enter my 89th year on this marvelous planet, in spite of the fact that the incipient epidemic of institutional failure that I began writing and speaking about in 1980 is now raging throughout the world.  The diversity and complexity of society is increasing at a rate unimaginable thirty years ago.  Social, economic and environmental problems have become equally diverse and complex.  The cause is the ten-thousand fold increase in the Capacity to Receive, Utilize, Store, Transform and Transmit Information  (see CRUSTTI under Essays) which has been underway for the past fifty years. The 400 year old, mechanistic concepts of political, commercial and social organization and management that served us so well during the Industrial age are archaic and increasingly ineffectual.  

I wrote about this in 1990 in a book, Birth Of The Chaordic Age, and its second edition, entitled  One From Many.  In those books I also pointed out the growing need for new, more equitable and effective concepts of organization and leadership, citing as an example the formation of such an organization to salvage a collapsing, infant, bank card system, which became Visa Inc.  The core of that organization now has a market value in the range of $400 billion.  Annual financial transactions under its trademarks now approaches $10 trillion.  In spite of its success, Visa is not a model to be emulated.  It is merely an archetype among many that may suggest a direction for institutional evolution.

So why the hope?  It has been my experience that an opportunity is concealed in every problem.  The greater the problem the greater the opportunity.  Concealed in the global epidemic of institutional failure and the gigantic increase in societal diversity and complexity brought a bout by CRUSTI is an opportunity for our species that may not come again for centuries.  It is the opportunity to conceive and implement new, more organic, less hierarchical forms of societal organization that are more in harmony with the human spirit and the environment.  It is not an opportunity for any one.  It is an opportunity for everyone.  It will requires a massive change in individual perspective and perception.  

Has the time for such new concepts of organization come?  I do not know.  I know only that calls and messages from people seeking new, more equitable and effective concepts of organization and management are steadily increasing.  In the past four weeks, CEOs of four institutions in fields as diverse as political delivery of human services, global payment systems, geo-engineering, and health care have called to arrange meetings to obtain assistance in re-conceiving structure and management of their enterprises.  The words Chaord and Chaordic, which I coined twenty years ago by combining the first syllables of chaos and order, now appear everywhere, though the meaning is often distorted.  

I also know that this is work for bodies and minds younger and more agile than mine, I shall continue to do what I can to educe the desire and thinking that such efforts require.  To that end, I would enjoy hearing from anyone that has interest or ideas to share.  Messages can be sent through the "contact" heading of this site, or email Deehock@comcast.net 

Trump, past, present, future

The ugliest presidential campaign in the past century is now history.  The oldest, wealthiest, least orthodox, most brazen candidate in history now holds the most powerful position in the world.

What should we expect?  Should we be concerned?

One need not pierce the veil of secrecy or penetrate the veneer of finery Donald Trump has assiduously constructed around his various ventures and activities to find the answers.  One needs only a casual acquaintance with history, a cursory understanding of character, and a general understanding of three primary lusts - - - the three beasts that invariable devour their keeper - - - ego, avarice and ambition.

Examining what Trump says in anticipating what he may do is naive and futile.  Throughout his life, in utterances and in writings, he has repeatedly, knowingly, lied, exaggerated, defamed and made false promises.  He has brazenly repeated such calumnies in the face of undeniable proof of their falsity. He has never admitted or expressed regret at such transgressions, unless advancement of self interest made it profitable to do so.  To give credence to his utterances is foolhardy.  To realize what his utterances reveal about his character requires naught but an appreciation of ethics, morality and integrity, along with a modicum of common sense.  

None of us can escape the inexorable formation of our character, or the behavior it imposes on us once it has been formed. Understanding character is the best method of determining what to expect from others.  When one understands the feline character it is not hard to fathom what the cat on the canary cage is up to.  How has Donald Trump composed his character during his seventy four years on the planet? 

Before exploring that question, one must admit that he has admirable qualities.  It is beyond dispute that he is decisive, confident, pragmatic, without trepidation, and paternally devout.

It is also beyond dispute that he was privileged from the day he was born.  He cannot be blamed for that.  No child can select their ancestors.  None the less, a childhood of wealth and privilege does nothing to build admirable character.  It is much more likely to impose obstacles to it.  

When contemplating the character of the rich, powerful and famous, we must take care not to confuse cunning or cleverness with intelligence, avarice with ability, and notoriety with merit.   History is replete with those who have cloaked a clever mind, depraved character and colossal ego in mendacious charm, and risen to the pinnacle of power, usually with disastrous results for the public whose indifference or gullibility enabled them to rise.

One must also realize that the most addictive drugs are not clinical, chemical or biological.  They are wealth power and fame.  Of all the delusions that inflame a disorderly mind and deform character, lust for fame is the most grotesque, lust for wealth the most pernicious, and lust for power the most evil. For purposes of this observation, lust for sexual gratification will be set aside, although it is equally debilitating.  All forms of lust have these things in common;  They are insatiable, they have no virtue, and they  have no conscience.  

It is beyond dispute that Donald Trump has insatiable lust for wealth and has pursued it with unbridled, unremitting intensity his entire life, often at the expense of others when it serves his interest.  He disdains and dismisses them as "losers."  He has made it clear while seeking and holding office that he intends to continue.  He has refused all information about possible conflicts of interest  between his private holdings and his public responsibilities.  He has refused to liquidate private holdings, or place them in a blind trust.  There is nothing in his conduct, past and present, to indicate he will, as president, set the interests of the public ahead of his own.  He arrogantly insists insists he be sole judge of whether or not he does so, and insults our intelligence by expecting us to take his word for it. Self interest has always dominated his life.  To believe it will no longer do so strains credulity far past the breaking point.

It is beyond dispute that Donald Trump has an insatiable lust for power and has pursued it with unbridled, unremitting intensity. His entire life is one, long record of seeing reality in terms of conflict and contention between people, resulting in winners and losers.  He admires, emulates and openly praises those who win, regardless of their methods.  He rarely fails to excoriate and demean those who lose, regardless of their merits.  He has always maintained and often exercised tyrannical power in all his domains.  Baron Acton, more than a century ago, put succinctly what we can expect of Trump. "Power corrupts.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Great men are usually bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority."  It has also been written that "The purpose of wealth is to obtain and enhance power.  The purpose of power is to protect and enhance wealth." There is nothing in Trumps conduct, past or present to indicate he will cease efforts to bend others to his will, exercise judicious, ethical restraint of his newly acquired power, or use it for beneficent public interests rather than his own selfish ends.

It is beyond dispute that Donald Trump has an insatiable lust for fame, and has pursued it his entire life with unbridled, unremitting intensity.  He has, in every possible way, indicated overweening love of self and extreme narcissism.  His pathological aversion to criticism,  his desire to punish critics, his litanies of self praise, his persistent search for notoriety, his fascination with media, his obsession to see his name writ huge on every property or product, are all extreme.  His characterization of government entities, media, society, cities, elections, minorities,  - - - nearly  everything other than his own family and companies - - - as horribly inept, corrupt, and misdirected, and his preposterous claim in an unguarded moment while campaigning that,  "I am the only one who can fix it," go beyond narcissism. His lifelong behavior is sociopathic - - - a personality disorder that has no known treatment or cure. We can expect Trump to make manic attempts to write his name huge in history, even if he must write it in blood.  

Nothing need be said here about his sexual proclivities.  His words and deeds, his selection, classification and treatment of women are there for all to observe, then form what opinion they will of his character in that regard.

What he will do with the immense political power he has now obtained may also be deduced from his year and a half long effort to obtain it.  It was an unremitting, unabashed effort to inculcate and exploit fear, suspicion, prejudice, hate and xenophobia;  a campaign of accusation and incitement to societal turmoil, disaffection, and divisiveness.  He has taken it with him  into the oval office.  

Liberty, equity, justice, and economic well being caught between a crafty ruler and a credulous citizenry are inevitably crushed. A ruler is as different from a leader as a theft is from a gift.  True leaders go before and show the way - - - intellectually, emotionally, and physically - - - with honesty, integrity, dependability, and humility.  They educe constructive, beneficent behavior. Rulers command, control and compel in accordance with their mental and emotional vagaries. 

We now have in the white house a sociopath with all the attributes of a ruler who often regresses to the emotional petulance common among three year old children.  Whether the checks and balances our forefathers built into the constitution can withstand and survive the kind of administration Trump's character and inclinations portend is a serious question.  Especially in view of a congress dominated by a single party which, in turn, is presently dominated by Trump, and a supreme court the majority of   which will soon be inclined in that direction.  

In view of his character, and behavior, it is an open question whether his decisiveness, confidence, pragmatism, lack of trepidation and paternal devotion will be mitigating or exacerbating characteristics.  Evidence supports the latter.  

As citizens of a nation that would be free, equitable, peaceful, and secure, it would be prudent and wise to oppose him in every possible way consistent with integrity and civility.  It would be prudent and wise to peacefully remove him from office as quickly as possible.  

Donald Trump is a risk the citizens of the United State should not take, and one we should not impose upon other peoples of the world.  

 

King Tweet

Twitter seems to fit Donald Trump like a second  skin.  The limit of a short sentence or two makes no demands on his remarkably short attention span.  Its use requires no literary skill, intelligence or wisdom.  It is well adapted, to vitriolic personal attacks, short bursts of emotional rhetoric, unsubstantiated accusations, grandiose self-adulation, calculated deceit, and empty promises, to all of which Donald seems inclined, if not addicted.  It offers little resistance to hate mongering, extreme bias, pandering,, pontificating, or delusional thinking, all of which Donald seems willing to use when it suits his purpose.  For all its respectable uses, Twitter is one of the greatest amplifications of ignorance the world has ever seen, and Donald is well on his way to being the all-time, greatest source of it.  

Make America Great Again

Trump's plan to make America great again comes to nothing but greater wealth for the wealthy, greater power for the powerful, greater privilege for the privileged, greater of all three for the Trump's, greater wars for the warriors, greater decimation for the middle class, greater poverty for the poor, greater degradation for the environment, and greater incarceration for those who resist or rebel.  The Republican party kneels with its nose in the bucket, happy to assist. 

 

Last hurrah of the white male

The past election once again proved the old adage, "There is no evil a well organized, energized minority cannot inflict on a disorganized, apathetic majority"  It proves equally well that people who cease to believe in existing  organizations and authority do not cease to believe, but become zealots eager to believe anyone or anything.  They provide fertile ground for sociopaths tyrants and demagogues.

In the present case, the minority that have ceased believing in the existing order of things is primarily white males of limited education, disenfranchised by technological change.  The demagogue who emerged to capture their belief and energize them was Trump.  His wild accusations, inflated promises and bizarre behavior appealed to their fanatical craving to believe in something.  

It is apparent the next few years, perhaps even the next decade, will be regressive and unpredictable. Norms regarding conflict of interest, nepotism, conduct, and character will be eroded and altered.  It is equally apparent that the greatest evil in the world today---ever increasing concentration of wealth and power in ever fewer hands---will continue unabated.   One need only look at his cabinet appointments.  Most, like Trump, are obscenely wealthy.  Most are elderly white males.  The others are from privileged families.  None have lived among, or experienced the lives of the vast majority of industrial age families.  Expecting them to act for the benefit of the masses of people they know little or nothing about, rather than their own benefit, and the benefit of those they know, experience and admire, is foolish.

None the less, there is reason to be optimistic.  Evolution does not move in a straight line or at constant speed toward its destination.  In this nation, it is not moving toward white male dominance.  It is not moving toward a dominant sex.  It is not moving toward a racial majority.  It is not moving toward a common life style.  it is not moving toward exclusivity.  Rather, it is moving toward ever increasing social diversity, complexity, and inclusiveness.  What is not clear is whether it is moving toward increased liberty, economic equity, justice, peace, and democracy, or toward tyranny, power and privilege.  The only way any minority, whether economic, political, racial, sexual or cognitive, can impose its will on majorities in ever increasing societal diversity and complexity brought about by ever increasing capacity to receive, utilize store, transform and transmit information, is by abandonment of liberty and democracy, and ever increasing tyranny, force and brutality.  

Trump and his followers are merely the last hurrah of white, male dominance, bigotry, and intolerance.  Diversity Complexity, liberty, equity, tolerance, peace and love are where evolution is heading.  Democracy will eventually evolve into more beneficent, chaordic concepts of societal organization in which power, wealth and justice are more equitably distributed and commonly shared.  How much social and environmental carnage we must endure before that happens is not known.

Revel in trumpery while you can Donald, then "Requiescat in pace."

Election reflexion

The election is over.  Does it matter who lost and who won?  Of course.  But what lost and what won in far more important.

The important winning and losing has been underway for several decades in election after election, reaching an extreme never before experienced during the past year and a half as the process of selecting presidential candidates took place.  Two seriously flawed candidates emerged and subjected us to the most strident, contemptuous, vulgar, election campaign in recent history.  

In the process, veracity lost and prevarication won.  Humility lost and arrogance won.  Respect lost and bigotry won. Moderation lost and hyperbole won.  Refinement lost and vulgarity won. Transparency lost and concealment won.  Civil discourse lost and demagogy won.  Integrity lost and duplicity won. Disclosure lost and concealment won.  Neither candidate or party emerged with clean hands, but degree did matter.  One candidate clearly had more of the winning qualities than the other, thus, perversely achieving victory.

The next four years are very likely going to leave an increasing number of us asking "what have we done?"  The answer, perhaps, lies in two words, "sociopath" and "leader."  If we peruse leading lexicons, for the meaning of sociopath and combine what is found we end up with:

Sociopath (sociopathic)---A mental disorder short of insanity manifested by defect of character or personality.  Eccentricity.  Emotional instability.  Inadequacy or perversity of conduct.  Undue conceit and suspiciousness.  Lack of empathy, common sense, social feeling, self control, or truthfulness.  Different sociopaths have different combinations of these traits.  

Those same lexicons provide such varied definitions of "lead" or Leader" as to make it meaningless for our purpose.  One thing is clear.  Leading  has intrinsic moral or ethical content. Any individual, entity, or nation can be led to dignity or degradation; to liberty or tyranny: to beneficence or brutality.  The best definition in the context of liberty, equity and democracy is:

Leader---One who goes before and shows the way, with foresight, integrity, morality, and wisdom.

There is some good in the worst of us, and some bad in the best.  Unless we are truly sociopathic, we must choose hour by hour and day be day whether virtue or vice will guide our words and acts.  It is to be hoped that we never have a sociopathic leader of this nation, and that anyone who rises to that position will be guided by their better angels.  But we must not rely on it, for there has been far more tyranny than beneficence throughout history, and what has been lost and what won during the election is not reassuring.

I do not hold with those who exclaim, "My country right or wrong, for I am a patriot".  The true patriot says, "My country, supported when it is right, opposed when it is wrong, and stimulated when it is indifferent."  We must oppose lies, arrogance, bigotry, concealment, vulgarity, avarice, demagogy, and duplicity wherever and whenever they arise, and in whatever guise.  

If we wish to regain what has been lost it will be necessary to replace the electoral college with a more equitable, effective election process.  It will be necessary to eliminate the stranglehold of the "winner take all" two party system.  It will be necessary to develop new methods of selecting candidates that allow people of integrity and wisdom more effective paths to consideration.  It will be necessary to impose serious constraints on the length and cost of political campaigns.  And it will be necessary to enforce immediate, complete disclosure of the source and amount of all money and other considerations to, or on behalf of, parties and candidates.  If it takes a constitutional convention, lets get on with it.           

Meanwhile, it is within the power of every citizen or resident to "to go before and show the way with foresight, integrity, morality and wisdom,"  hour by hour, word by word and act by act, for one never knows who they may be influencing, just as it is within their power to refuse to follow any leader who chooses the darker path.    

Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump?

During the past nine months, the American public has been subjected to a political campaign for President of the United States that has sunk to new lows of despicable behavior.  Due to our two party system, it has resulted in Republican and Democratic nominees who would very likely be rejected if citizens could vote “neither of the above,” and require a new election with different candidates if it received the largest number of votes..

None the less, the system is what it is.  As Bishop Butler wrote centuries ago, “Things and actions are as they are and the consequences will be what they will be; why then should we desire to be deceived.”  We are left with no alternative but to try to determine whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton has the greater virtue, if any, or the lesser vice.  Or, if one prefers more ambiguous language, which candidate has the more admirable, constructive, safest propensities and which has the more offensive,  destructive and dangerous propensities to lead the nation.

            The basic tenet of Hippocratic medicine is, “First of all, do no harm.” It is an excellent test of how best to make a decision.   The following list of adjectives is one way to grade the two leading candidates to determine which is likely to do the least harm.         

 

Which of the two is the most;

 

Arrogant-- A sense of superiority which manifests itself in in exorbitant claims which exalt the worth or importance of one’s self.

 

Autocratic--  Domineering, authoritarian, repressive.  Intolerant of opposition.

 

Avaricious — Excessive or inordinate desire of gain.  Greediness after wealth.  Immoderately desirous of accumulating property or wealth, material or figurative.

 

Blatant – Offensively conspicuous, noisy, unashamed, flagrant.

 

Brazen --  Of or showing unabashed assurance or offensive boldness inspeech or behavior.  Impudent.  Shameless.

 

Contentious --  Creating and relishing disagreement, argumentative, quarrelsome, antagonistic.   

 

Cunning -- Skillful at deceiving others, wily, sly, devious.

 

Demagogic--- Rabble-rousing.  A political agitator appealing to the basest instincts of a crowd.

 

Hyperbolic – Addicted to exaggerated overstatement, embellishment, magnification.

 

Narcissistic – Inordinate love or opinion of self.     

 

Sociopathic  --  Mental disorder short of insanity characterized by defect of character or personality, eccentricity, emotional instability, inadequacy or perversity of conduct, undue conceit and suspiciousness, lack of empathy, of common sense, of social feeling, of self control, of truthfulness.  Different sociopaths show different combinations of these traits.

            Where, on a scale of one to ten, would you rank Hillary Clinton and where Donald Trump with respect to each of the above.

            Of course, one can endlessly make lists of the propensities one prefers in the person who is to lead this nation for the next eight years, just as one can decide for themselves what is virtue and what vice.  

            Since “neither of the above” is not allowed, and a vote for either the Green Party, or Libertarian candidate is tantamount to not voting, one is reduced to choosing whether Clinton or Trump is most likely to make tyrannical mistakes that are detrimental to the people of the nation. 

From my perspective, based on what is known of how the two have spent their respective lives, and what can be observed of their individual propensities during the campaign, the choice is not difficult to make.  

How will you decide?

Donald Trump

There is nothing new and novel about Donald Trump's acceptance speech and other utterances.  The same speech in content, style, and delivery has been made repeatedly by every tyrant the world has ever known.  The same pretentious strut, the same arrogant sneer, the same contempt for others, the same overweening love of self, the same bombastic boasts, the same distortion of facts, the same narrow intellect, the same emotional instability, the same disregard of integrity, morality and ethics, the same insatiable lust for money, notoriety and power.  

There are two primary mistakes one can make with respect to his efforts to ascend to the presidency.  The first is to believe anything he says.  The second is to fail to take him seriously. History is replete with examples of people with the same characteristics as Donald Trump who have maneuvered themselves into positions of power.  The common result is disaster.  We have fought wars to rid people of such tyrants.  We cannot take the risk of allowing anyone with such characteristics to ascend to a position of supreme political power?               

CONNECTEDNESS 

Much has been said and written about the “Information Age” and how rapidly it is connecting everyone to one another, and to masses of recorded information, products, and services.  It is a shallow and misleading characterization of what lies ahead.  

When one is talking to another person on the telephone, it is not that person they are connected to, but a simulation of that persons voice.  The simulated voice is not the person, but a facsimile of one aspect of them.  When one is talking to someone via Skype, they are not connected to one another, but to a facsimile of both appearance and voice.  When two people are “texting” one another via mobile phone, they are not connected to one another but to alphabetic symbols representing what they are trying to communicate.  

Whether we are looking at the screen of a television, a computer, a tablet, or a cell phone, what we see and hear is not another person, but a symbolic representation of some part of them.  When we make a purchase via the web, or look up information of one kind or another, what we are connected to is not the thing itself, but a symbolic representation of it.  At no time are  we connected to reality of person, place or thing, but only to facsimiles of them.  The same is true of computer games, movies, television, radio, or other methods of symbolic transmission.    

One’s time is finite and limited.  To connect to anything via electronic technology and modern communications requires disconnecting from something else for precisely the same amount of time.  An essential question emerges.  What are we disconnecting from to provide time to connect to symbolic reality?  Is the hour taken staring at a computer, television or mobile telephone screen an hour disconnected from the reality of a garden?  Is it an hour disconnected from the reality of a conversation face to face with other people?  Is it an hour disconnected from family around the dinner table?  Is it an hour disconnected from a quiet walk in the sun or the rain?  Is it an hour disconnected from participation in ones community?  Even the finest electronic connection is a crude approximation of the complex, sensory, and direct connection to person, place or thing in the context of their surroundings.  

An even deeper question then emerges.  What is the value of the real things disconnected from, to the value of the facsimile of person or things connected to?  Are we disconnecting from the richness of reality for connection to a clumsy facsimile of it?  To what extent does it make our lives subject to manipulation by those who control the means by which we are symbolically  connected?   What will it mean to the evolution of the mind, of emotions, of health?  What will it do to such intangibles as privacy, intimacy, trust, spontaneity, confidence? 

From my perspective, every advance of technology is introduced with exaggerated claims of the benefits to be expected, which are generally accepted with enthusiasm.  In the excitement and pride of every new advance we tend to forget that the expected consequences may or may not happen, but the unexpected consequences always do.

In truth, “virtual reality” is an oxymoron.  There is no such thing.  There is reality and there is symbolic facsimile of it.  And so to the heart of the matter.  Are we exchanging quality for quantity?  Are we exchanging substance for novelty?  Are we exchanging the richness of real life for the poverty of pseudo life?  Are we exchanging gold for dross?  And if so, who benefits from that?  Does it matter? 

It is difficult to decide which political party one should join, the Democans or the Republicrats since they are identical twins, irrevocably joined at the pocketbook.  Either the Cans or the Rats will do if you are rich.  Neither will do if you are poor.  If you are middle class, it doesn't matter, since you will soon be extinct.  If you believe in truth, justice, honesty and equity, you have nothing to offer either the Cans or the Rats, save your money and your vote.  For those, either party will trade you a host of promises they have no ability or intent to keep.

Please refer to Essays, Quotations or Publications sections of this web site for previous writing and observations about societal problems and institutions, as well as life and living.