the Future IS About Embracing Diversity

The worst part of the American brand of Mediocrity is the idea that what we have is the best, so we do not fiddle with it.

Not only that but we package and send it overseas to third world countries and try to ply them with our supposed greatness. Yes, most people would say what we have to offer the world is really great stuff: modern technology, time-saving gadgets, and truly amazing marketing.

What it does not have is much substance. Mostly what we can give them is consumer-driven economies, the race for the next “big thing” which is actually not much more than a small improvement over the last next big thing. Yes, it’s what we do. But we chase our tails like this because our entire social structure is built on this ever-renewing, ever-expendable, ever-disposable society.

Of course the real problem comes when such concepts of “disposability” expand beyond the confines of products and begin to be applied to other things. Other things like morals, social structures, attitudes, beliefs… oh, and people as well.

When we reach that point, you could say we have decided that the race’s self worth is practically zero. And seeing how we pretty much disregard the homeless, the needy, the suffering, I’d say we are just about there.

Wait, you say, there are many who care, many who give to help those less fortunate.

Yes, I will certainly agree with that but that just proves my point.

Who decided that these people were “less fortunate”? The marketing companies looking for opening new markets? The religious missionaries looking for new converts? It seems more like they are preying on the helpless rather than actually doing any real helping.

I have been in the third world and saw a lot of people who, though they wore nothing but rags, no shoes, and had precious little to eat, were actually quite happy. They interacted with their spouses and children and worked together to maintain the substance of life. They were not “blessed” by the latest gizmos or packaged food nor even the latest styles of designer jeans. They did not gossip about the latest news of Lindsey Lohan nor the latest antics of Paris Hilton or any of the Kardashians. They did not attend weekly services nor did they tithe.

These people were so far removed from what we assume life is all about that it is really no wonder we think of them as backward, needy, and starved for food, material possessions, and redemption.

Yes, just as if all that was really what life is all about. And yet these people have much happier and more fulfilled lives than most any American.

They do not bother with an education system that is designed for one purpose only: to create more cogs for the machinery of a disposable civilization. They teach their children the skills they need to survive.

They do not bother attending churches that are supposed to connect Man with God but only connect them to dogma. They are connected to the Creator in all their daily activities.

They do not bother chasing money in order to hoard it or save it for those “major purchases” down the road. Most of what they need they barter for.

And they have no need of psychiatrists to tell them what their mental problems are creating all the stress in their lives, because they don’t have any.

Passing along our culture to the entire world is counter-productive.

Just like killing off 5,000 varieties of apples because they are “not commercially profitable”, our society is deciding what is good for us in the world and quietly putting down all things that smack of “different-ness”.

And they will soon do it with people.

The pattern has already been established and when that day comes, I’m sure the majority of the people will say, “Well, it’s about time!”

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Oh, What have we here?

Looks like its been a year since I last wrote anything to this blog.

My, how time has flown…

Not that I haven’t been busy. I have!

Lots of writing and lots of…

Well, a lot of not doing anything here, of course.

Maybe I should really get focused.

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Abnormal and Dysfunctional

Abnormal and Dysfunctional are two words that really should be stricken from our vocabulary.

We should really think of the states or conditions as rather: “other normal” and “differently functional“. To assume something other than your own abilities is somehow inferior or wrong is placing yourself on a very tall pedestal reserved for deities or megalomaniac demigods.

What is normal for you is definitely not normal for another. Conversely, what’s normal for another is not “abnormal” but simply their normal.

Dysfunctions are the same way. Just because something or someone does not function just like you – Wow! We’re all different; what a concept! – it does not mean there is anything wrong with their function. Observing and learning about a different method of functioning is usually very instructive.

Well, except to those who already know everything, I suppose. And I’m not naming any names here… or pointing any fingers…

If one were going to get extremely specific, anyone that does not do things the way you do, approach the world in the same manner, could be classified by the current term abnormal. Anyone who cannot do what we do would be termed dysfunctional.

And such would not be too drastic if the speaker were a typical Joe from Kokomo character but if the speaker was someone on the order of Einstein or Leonardo Da Vinci, the meaning becomes a little extreme.

In the artistic schools of Da Vinci and Tintoretto, the art of Picasso would have been viewed as abnormal and the fellow would have been carted off to the nut house.

Abnormal and dysfunctional should not be viewed as something necessarily bad but rather something we can learn from. If these people can accomplish everyday tasks but in a fashion we do not normally see, shouldn’t we be able to increase our own abilities by learning from their accomplishments?

Rather than marginalize or institutionalize these people, give them a chance to improve their conditions with what they have, in their own way. And then we can better our own conditions by learning from their victories.

I believe that is what the prehistoric ancients did. They did not question the “gift” from God, they tried to understanding the meaning of the gift and how it could be used to better the strengths of the tribe, because that was what all gifts were for.

We need to stop pushing these “gifts” into the closet or abandoning them along the side of life’s highway. Learning what they can give to the whole of us is what the process should be about.

Imagine where that knowledge might take us.

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M… Moral Compass

Well all know that well-adjusted social beings possess “a good moral compass”, that mechanism within us that keeps us on the “true course”. BS of course, just another “better than thou” justification we use to console ourselves.

For example, we did not need the Ten Commandments to tell us that killing was wrong, we have always known it. Even when Cain slew his brother Abel, he knew instinctively that he had done something wrong because he tried to hide it. Even those of us without this basic directional indicator would have learned from Cain’s example, would we not?

So, we all know killing is just, well, wrong. Then why have there always been wars? Wars are murder between social constructs (i.e. nation-states) pure and simple. So why would a society of people with “good moral compasses” do such things? The math escapes me.

1 good moral compass x 1,000,000 = 1 very big bad-ass moral compass

Some would say that it is a bad leader that causes these people to do such dire actions. And why is that? What happened to the moral compass of the populace?

Want another example? How about the commandment not to steal? Nations are always coveting the property of their neighbors and using their arms to help relieve the neighboring state of the “burden”.

I am sure there is a moral compass telling us that stealing is not right yet it happens all the time. And it always has throughout history.

If we truly had a moral compass, we would have no need for religion, government, or the mental health industry. It is precisely the LACK of such self-guidance that finds the human creature involving ourselves in these things.

I think the problem here is not the lack of a “moral compass” but the changing face of morals over the centuries. The social attitudes of the Romans were considered quite humane by their standards and the Greeks were though to be one of the most ethical societies of the ancient world. Yet, when the slave-owning spilled over into America, it was shown to be very bad on the moral compass.

Only when we can truly standardize what is morally “good” as opposed to what is morally “bad” will such an idea of a compass be of any value.

But then that should make us somehow… well, less “human”, would it not?

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Even More Entertaining…

It is interesting that Hollywood has a template in mind for its productions. Anything that falls outside that template is termed too risky. And major motion picture studios are all about the safe bets. We have probably all heard about the fallout from the stinker about John Carter on Mars that toppled the head of the Disney Studios.

So, is it any wonder that so many really good films are done by independent filmmakers? They have enough vision to see what is relatable even where the major movie moguls are timid.

Of course, once the ground has been broken by the indies, we can expect a lot of copy-cat productions by the majors over the next few years.

That’s normal. That’s expected. And, that’s mediocrity at its finest.

We also see the same thing in television, and maybe even more often. Since a TV production is less of a financial investment than a motion picture production, flops are more easily made up for.

But once an idea has proven successful, you know the other networks are going to bring out something very similar to try and ride the coattail.

Remember “the Munsters”? It was another network’s answer to “the Addams Family”. And “Lost in Space”? Another’s answer to “Star Trek”.

I sort of lost interest in most television programming about the time that Star Trek got canceled. The stuff that followed… a blur of videotaped sitcoms is all I recall.

And each one of those seemed as mediocre as the next.

And, no, I never saw the latest episode of “Seinfeld”, back in the day. It was a show about nothing anyway.

Nothing could have been more mediocre.

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And That’s Entertainment

Every year the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gathers to honor the best of the best in the past year. Awards are given for outstanding developments, achievements, and portrayals by their members.

And yet how many times have we seen the best performances shunted aside while they give the award to someone who has ‘paid his dues’ and everyone decided it was high time they were given something?

A perfect example to my mind is the award given to Paul Newman for his reprise role of “Fast” Eddie in the movie “the Color of Money”. I found the movie flat and unmoving in most respects, not worthy of an award for his role.

He should have won the award for a film two years previous entitled “Absence of Malice”. Barring that, he should have won it the next year for his portrayal of the down and out lawyer in “the Verdict”. Yet, since he had not won it for either of those two roles, when he should have, because they were giving other actors the award for “dues paid”, they gave him the award for a role that did not deserve it – but, hey, that’s just my opinion.

In the realm of script writing, there has never been a better script for any film than that written by M. Night Shymalan for “Sixth Sense”. The beauty of the script was its mis-direction and the craftily way the audience was led to believe one thing while another was going on.

The academy award went, however, to “American Rose”. A nicely done film but with a script that was not in any way exceptional. It was good, mind you, but not anywhere near the caliber of “Sixth Sense”, a film that was such a masterwork of a screenplay that it could not have been done in another medium… which made it a “shoe-in” for what the Oscar was supposed to be given for… phenomenal film writing.

So, for all their bluster, the Academy Awards are nothing more than a plastering of mediocrity on their industry. Holding up films and roles that are not the best, but honoring something else entirely.

And what else is mediocrity all about anyway?

Film at eleven…

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No News is…

News organizations keep us abreast of what is going on in the world – at least they claim that is what they are doing.

But “yellow journalism” and “sensationalism” live on. They always concentrate on what is going on that is “bad” or “frightening” or “heart-wrenching” but NEWS? Hell, they just do not have time for that!

Items that should be considered vital to our understanding of the world are generally ignored or misreported.

But everything that might send fear through the society is reported, often, and loudly. It is almost as if they wanted to keep us all in fear.

But that’s something for the conspiracy theorists to ponder.

The part I am most interested in is the blatant mediocrity in the mainstream media. It is almost as if they had a checklist they followed: three killings, a terrorist attack, tragedy striking a family in the Midwest, or Northeast, or wherever.

Sometimes they go to great length to fill their quota of these things. I live in Virginia and if there is no killing locally – and with D.C. so close, that is a rare occurrence – they will mention a killing done in Des Moines or Tulsa, Oklahoma. The killing does not have to be local, though that would be better “news”, any random slaying coast to coast will fill the quota.

I’m sure you’ve seen this before even if you’ve never actually noticed it. It is as though they have decided what should be in a standard news report and they search the wires until they find all the stories that meet the bill and fill the various time slots.

This is news at its mediocritiest. (If there is such a word… “most mediocre” if there isn’t.)

Before the JFK Assassination in 1963, the evening news latest a total of thirty minutes: 15 for local news and 15 for national news. And that was all.

After the Kennedy killing, news became a much larger part of television broadcasting.

Too bad they have not done more with it in the years intervening.

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