Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ideas that take a long time to die

Even if the media pundits saw the econopocalypse coming they were unable to report it. Libel laws in the UK, and self-interest and commercial pressure in the USA are sufficient to ensure that certain stories NEVER get published, and in addition, a particular tone of boosterism is rigorously enforced.

Consider, if there are forty routes from here to where I am going, but my vehicle is only capable of negotiating 30 of those routes, then I am limited by the tool I am using. Software works the same way. There are always more options available to the imagination than the software can accommodate. Where this becomes a problem, is when force of habit leads to a failure of the imagination. The externally imposed restrictions become internalized. And this is basic to the way humans learn, so it is not possible to transcend these limitations.

Only the birth death cycle allows the shedding of certain kinds of ideas. Our current situation has come about, in part, because an increase in life expectancy has provided us with an elderly leadership cadre with an irrational attachment to outdated and inaccurate ideas. This dislocation in turn is further compounded by the exponential increase in the rate of change (See Toffler, Alvin "Future Shock"). Hence we careen towards unprecedented crisis.

Still.

What is with the President? He has polled the country on four occasions since his election, and on every occasion legalization of marijuana has been the most strongly supported issue. And yet the President continues to dismiss the idea out of hand. Is this stupid? What would it cost? Legalization would gain the fierce loyalty of an otherwise marginalized, and very vocal minority, as well as meet with the approval of the vast majority of the American public. So why not do it?

As with anything in Washington, various interests combine to support the status quo. Overcoming these interests seems to be beyond the capacity of three quarters of the population. This is true for health care, where the vast majority support the single payer model, yet this option is barely discussed in the media, and it is true for marijuana. Why is that, and what interests are we talking about, that are so powerful, they can blithely ignore, and even ridicule, the vast majority with impunity?


Obviously the drug cartels. All the other big players in illegal drugs - banks, intelligence agencies, police and other law enforcement, prison guards, prison owners and investors, supporters of police state apparatus and SWAT team deployments, alcohol and tobacco companies, religious extremists, big pharma, the American Medical Association, the stock markets, weapons and surveillance equipment manufacturers, tinpot dictators with a desire for US supplied weapons. The Skull and Bones secret society. The Clinton and Bush crime families.

No surprise that this is proving a bit difficult.

Still, anyone who is sticking up for that lot deserves no quarter. Once more into the breach..

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sow Flowers

Sow flowers to make a garden bloom around you,
The thorns you sow will prick your own feet.

Arrows shot at others
Will return to hit you as they fall.

You yourself will come to teeter on the lip
Of a well dug to undermine another.

Though you look at others with contempt,
It's you whose body will be reduced to dust.

Humanity is all one body;
To torture another is simply to wound yourself.

When you don't look for faults in others,
They will conceal your weaknesses in return.

Make your path straight now, by the bright light of day;
For pitch darkness will come without warning.

Consider no wickedness insignificant, however slight;
For the little deeds of darkness soon pile up.

If another does you harm, return them good;
Or evil will devour you too.

The heart that is safe in the storm
Is the one which carries
Others' burdens
Like a
Boat.



-- from The Poetry of Rahman Baba: Poet of the Pashtuns, translated by Robert Sampson and Momin Khan

According to the BBC, Taleban vandals destroyed the ancient shrine to Sufi poet Rahman Baba because women continued to visit the shrine. And, no, I don't think that such actions justify the ongoing slaughter of Afghans by invading corporate armies, if anything, the military action provides a cover for, as well as a means whereby, such atrocities are achieved. There are proven ways to deal with the profound errors of thinking that this desecration represents, but they do not involve violence in any way shape or form.