Sunday, February 20, 2011

Africa, the Middle East and being a partner

I have been busy and busy. Frantic drives back and forth to the high desert. I haven't even finished unloading my car. It was strange to see my house empty, it was strange to see the end so close. It happened so quick, life does that sometimes.

Every now and then I write about the purpose of life and the importance of relationships, sometimes they don't work out. You cannot make another person love you or even like you. You cannot make them have integrity or follow their vows or contracts, doesn't matter if the relationship is love or business.

People used to make more effort in their relationships. In business and in personal life I see little if any concern for relationships. I have a pretty good reputation in business and it makes a differance. Trust in business is rare anymore. On more than one occassion I have had people who did me wrong come to me and ask for my help, how many people can say that, how many have earned that respect, not many.

We have built a world around selfishness and self-interest, we revere "Looking out for number one". "They" say that we cannot love someone unless we love ourselves and that we cannot help others unless we take care of ourselves first, this is garbage. We hear phrases about how we "deserve" the best, nonsense. Too many look down on the homeless or the out of work. With a 20% unemployment rate (the real rate) everyone cannot get a job because there are not jobs out there for everyone.

There is revolution in the air all over Africa and the Middle East. There is even talk of revolution in China. We are seeing traditional governments uprooted in Europe. People in the United States are even talking about revolution. This is not a good thing. In Libya, the unheard of is happening, people are taking to the streets and their leadership is saying that they will kill everyone rather than lose power. That is madness. Neither the governments nor the citizens are any longer looking to work together.

I am sorry, you can hate President Obama and his policies; but, he was legally elected, I don't care if you think he isn't an American, he is. If he wasn't it still wouldn't matter. It is ridiculous to argue that children born here are not citizens and that they are Mexican because their parents were here illegally and then turn around and complain that Obama, whose mother was a US citizen, is not an American.

Personally, I don't like Obama's policies; but, he is our president. There have been many presidents I did not like; but, I respected their position. I can see a day when congress will pass laws and the citizens will have to approve them by a simple majority oever the internet. Gridlock results.

How do you repair a relationship once it is broken? Arnold Toynbee (the greatest of all historians) said that societies fail when they can no longer effectively deal with their challenges. It occurs when people stop trying to work together, I think we are just about there.

In Libya, the government is saying that it doesn't want to work with the people, in the United States and Europe people are saying they don't wish to work with their governments anymore. Where is compromise, there is none when people are only looking out for themselves. Rome is a great example, they survived bad leaders; but, could not survive when they collapsed from within because people only looked out for themselves.

Perhaps it is best to ask how societies start. They begin when people come together because they recognize that we have common needs and that it is easier to meet all of our needs by working together. If the society then rewards based on a basis of worth and effort it will flourish. Babies are the most selfish thing in the universe, they have to be taught empathy and team work. They have to be taught that others matter.

I am okay because I have good friends. It is one of the reasons why I don't just chuck it all and leave. I still care about my City, so I keep my job for the moment. I believe we can work together, I just don't see too many willing to stop chasing the darn cookies and try. Maybe that is what the Devil accuses us of day and night.

I believe we can change governments and nothing will improve. I believe we can vote on things directly and nothing will improve. I believe you can have all the prosperity in the world and not be successful. The Unibomber wrote a "manifesto", some in the tech field have quoted him. He was a Harvard graduate and one of the finest mathmaticians in the world. He believed we would allow technology to become our reality and that it would dehumanize us. He talked about what he believed to be a basic human need, the need to feel achievement.

Ted Kazynski believed that people needed to feel some sense of achievement and that if they could not do it in a meaningful way (ways that improved people's lives) then they could find it in sports or other things. He would be horrified by the virtual lives that people are living now. People go home to find their achievement in video games or on facebook. It is a purely subjective achievement.

Tomorrow is President's day, a day on which we recognize the people who have led our country, the United States. I will say a prayer for President Obama, not because I agree with him, because he has the worst job in the world and everybody can use a prayer. There are two things that have never hurt me, a prayer for me and a hug. Be well. I will post on the news soon enough, perhaps I will talk about the "extra" planet they are saying is in our solar system.

You gotta love it. First we are told that we may have two suns and then that we have an extra planet and we just figured it out. Have a great week.

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