Friday, November 30, 2007

A New US Citizen...

Today at 8 Am. I was supposed to show up at Los Angeles Convention center for my US citizenship ceremony. According to map quest it is about 98 miles from Santa Barbara about 1hr and 40 minute drive. We started driving about 5:50 am. Unbelievably our drive started with extremely heavy rain and about 20miles away from the convention center, traffic was jammed up according to the radio news and we found out about multiple car crashes and the closing down of two connecting freeways. We arrived at the convention center almost an hour late and hoped everything will be fine. Freeway signs showed abut 50 min. delay.

I swore in and got my citizenship certificate.

I was worried but it was just fine because today about 6200 other foreigners were having their ceremony too at convention center.
I am from India but still was very surprised to see the crowed for becoming US citizen. Downtown Los Angeles is always chaotic but for me it was brain storming all of these future citizens and their families made convention center look very small. And all of these people looking for parking at convention center no wonder freeway was mess all these people trying to get at the same place and other usual commuters!

Finally my long journey with immigration is over.

Yes, it was hectic and traffic was miserable. Even after we managed to get off on the right freeway exit we still got all messed up when the Mapquest told us to take a right and that was not possible. So we ended up going around the block and cutting both the extreme right and extreme left lanes but still not in the correct lane. Then after a few more misdirections and even people on the street pointing in the wrong direction we finally found a parking lot that was not jammed up with other cars. Got into the convention center and did not even know if it was east or west buildings. Well finally some people were out to direct us. We then got separated between new citizens and "guests". This is the best picture I have since my camera was new and did not know how to set the settings:
This is almost exactly half the room. Dina did happen to see me once since I was wearing a red shirt and waved at me before she was herded to her seats like the rest of the cattle. The little girl looking into the camera was running around like rabbits the whole time with her two brothers. After the hour waiting and the ceremony, they had the guest exit. Of course around the exit everyone was standing next to the door waiting for their relatives/friends to exit. I decided to hang out next to the Republican registration booth, thought maybe Dina would get the idea. But she said it was an hour before I finally found her as she was headed back to the car and I had just came from it. I finally changed my registration from Alaska to California and while looking for me she registered also.

Like most government things like this they never give complete directions as to what is going to happen and what are the procedures. It reminds me of the time that I got my Passport. I got an appointment over the phone. After getting there a little late, I waited in a long line to get into the door to wait in line to get a ticket to wait more for someone to call my name. Again no instructions on what the procedure was going to be or even that it was a group basis for waiting in line to wait in line to wait in another line to get a ticket to wait in another room for a random person to help me...

Yahoo! Another Republican voter!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Ronald Reagan Library

We had a wonderful time exploring the Ronald Reagan Library a couple of weeks ago and so a couple of pictures are in order. The first is a view from inside the hanger for Air Force One looking out over Simi Valley. Notice all the housing and crowded conditions.
Next is of course of the conservative hero in larger than life size statue. This is in the front of the Museum doors.

Next is myself in front of a side view of Air Force One. I was most photogenic that day. LOL. We did not photograph anything in the main museum part although we could have.

And of course I made my wife pay homage to the great man himself...

Well I will take that back, here she is (my wife)...

I would love to explore his library more fully but anyway for more information About the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Authoritarian Consciousness in American Democracy|ren

Well this makes the third installment of our exploration of ren's posts. The final post of ren's has taken longer for me to get into the groove from our most recent deep discussions on the subject of: "can a free market be forward looking and thus proactive to crisis that could or will face humans in the future" as compared to how markets are reactive by changes in the economy and society. This definitely had me thinking on several different levels. But without further delay...
I see where in a Media Lens, on line article by David Edward, A Warning From Auschwitz, he cites references from the seventies, a period where consciousness about our societal authoritarianism had been raised. A consciousness that has been under severe attack since then, I would say. It's at the heart of the values battle that must be rejoined by those who have given in to the traditional values being crammed back down our throats. Part of my signature line at Thom's states: “The only right you don’t have in a democracy is the right not to be offended.”
This is definitely a pattern for ren. He somehow thinks that consciousness can somehow be under attack. How can thoughts be under attack if not by better ideas? This whole post of course shows his extreme fear of 'authoritarianism'. He even approaches complete strangers and either assumes they are authoritarian or comes right and asks them as such. While the last hypothesis may be questioned I still have to wonder how values be "crammed back down our throats"? As being part of our multi-cultural and diverse society we are constantly exposed to values that we may or may not agree with. I mean for those sensitive to pornography will see those values or lack of values shoved down their throats all the time. What are we to do? Eliminate some freedoms so that they can feel 'safe' from other value systems?
It is certainly dangerous for a state when its citizens have a conscience; what it needs is men without conscience, or, better still, men whose conscience is quite in conformity with reasons of state, men in whom the feeling of personal responsibility has been replaced by the automatic impulse to act in the interests of the state.
Well if the interest of the government as elected by our liberal democracy is aligned with my interests then why should I not also have conformity with reasons of the government? Of course I changed the nouns to reflect that yes governments can provide benefits to the citizens and that the power of the 'state' or police state as I often call it may have interests that are outside the interests of nearly all parties of the nation.
This is, in a nutshell, the return to "traditional family values" movement that makes up the bulk of the Christian fundamentalism on the right. But the critical thing to take note of is not that this is safely instituted with only the fundamentalists, but is institutionalized in the culture. Some have been breaking free and the result has been a home environment that tends more towards egalitarianism and nurturing, with engendered mutual respect for all in the family, males, females, adults, children, with a trend away from leadership mindsets towards a partnership sharing of responsibilities. This involves a deep cultural change in the values of work itself. A monster task in the face of existing cultural institutions. This type of home environment develops the physical and mental conditioning in individuals that becomes the basis for the "evil liberalism" that has been so successfully demonized in the past twenty years or so.
Well I guess we live in an open society, and it is not like people live in caves and not exposed to what many people consider pornography all around us and being forced on the innocents as well as the guilty.

Well if it is evil like Communism then yes we should identify it as such. And of course the writer does not recognize that demonizing of all political groups is done on others. Just look through rens posts to see the "evil neocons".
Eisler seems to have seen the need to drop the gender pointing term: "patriarchy" and has transformed it to "dominator", at least in part I suspect because she sees that the women have been as responsible for maintining the system as men, thus gender is irrelevent. It's also a subtle use of language to move away from the victimization that is cognitively imbedded in everyone who conforms to the system. And that includes many people who consider themselves liberal, democrats, communists, or any number of other left identifiers, in other words it's systemic, not political and the challenge is to raise the general consciousness again about it, terrifying as that will be for those who now have the bit between their teeth.
This passage just reminds me that those that are afraid of something, they tend to find it at every turn. They in addition tend to speak in those terms. Like Marxists also talk about inequality and thus they see it everywhere to justify their views.
But in our society exactly this self-surrender is promoted and affirmed by the fact that it is demanded of us by every corporation that 'employs' us

Eisler and many others (including George Lakoff's strict parent/nurturing parent paradigm) are saying now that the conditioning for this starts in the home, continues in the schools and prepares the population for this self surrender to the work life of being in an essentially rightless chain of command environment most of their lives, thus giving little time to the questioning of whether it can or even ought to be any other way.
Again we go back to the controller and the controlled in our society. Instead of recognizing the ability of people to pick their careers or to start their own business. Hell, we slaves only work 40 or so hours a week. If we don't have time to think of other possibilities then maybe we are truly slaves that have chosen our bonds.

The other day I was thinking about the fact that the UAW is such a strong and powerful union, I could not see why they could not with the help of union members buy out at least one auto company. For example the market cap of Ford (F) is around $15.3 billion and there is over 1/2 million active members of the UAW thus just over $30,000 for each member to come up with not counting their war chests UAW Dues at Work. I wonder what Marx would think of that. Thus the 'means of production' can be easily owned in our society if 'labor' so desired it. Their only chains are their own inability to invest and risk capital like capitalists do on a daily basis.
What I find fascinating is the way Eisler takes this common, traditional societal perspective, the strict parent, dominator perspective, and sees it as a form of legitimized abuse. She traces it back to neolithic times in many of her works, starting with the Chalice and the Blade, and shows how humans have developed dominator style societies in place of what once were far more egalitarian, even the early agriculture based ones, which I once believed were the root of hierarchical dominance. Fascinating and very scholarly, but approachable by anyone. Well worth the exploration.
As some of the other posts have pointed out, hierarchy reared its ugly head when man planted seeds. That was the root of all evil-evil capitalist that wanted to secure the lives of their children and ancestors. And to provide a home and comfort so that he could accumulate the pleasures of society and even have time to explore his mind.
She suggests that the result of this characteristic societal abuse (and many of us have not been abused in this way at home, thus we may at heart be the "evil liberals" no matter what our political affiliation) is a "social trance". It's similar to what's been found, clinically, to happen in the more extreme cases of child abuse, where :

"the psyche of the abused child is similar to what happens in a hypnotic trance. People in Hypnotic trances are so influenced by another's suggestions -- or more properly, commands -- of what they should think, feel, and do that they suppress their own perceptions, feelings, and even will. But in the case of a chronically abusive childhood, this substitution of another's view of reality for one's own becomes habitual. Even one's own abuse, one's own pain, and one's own outrage at such injustice gradually become unreal, repressed into the deepest recesses of one's unconscious mind, or -- as required to maintain a dominator system -- legitimized as the way things are supposed to be." Sacred Pleasure, Sex Myth and the Politics of the Body Riane Eisler, 1995, p. 186

Any of that sound familiar?
Nope none at all. If you see the world as class struggles you will see it as such. But I do have to love the 'societal abuse'. Don't you feel abused? If not we have the cure for not feeling that.

These symptoms remind me of the Southpark episode World Wide Recorder Concert.
Meanwhile, Mr. Garrison has confronted his father about the issues of sexual molestation, however, the issue was not that his dad had molested him, but rather that he felt neglected because his father had not touched him. When Mr. Mackey finds out about this, he fears Mr. Garrison Jr. is so distraught about the issue that he could actually die if Mr. Garrison Sr. doesn't molest him.

And now for another perspective on this nihilistic thoughts I close with the article (without comment):
Baby Boomers Owe Young People an Apology
One was, "Never trust anyone over 30." Our infantile attitude toward adult authority has inflicted great harm on you. Because of it, many baby boomers decided not to become adults, and this has had disastrous consequences in your lives. It deprived you of one of the greatest needs in your life -- adults. That in turn deprived you of something as important as love -- parental and other adult authority. With little parental authority, you were left with little personal security, few guardrails and a diminished sense of order in life. And we transferred this denial of authority to virtually all authority figures, from teachers to police.
We also made you weak. We did everything possible to ensure that you suffered no pain. Sometimes we changed game scores if a team was winning by too large a margin; we abolished dodgeball lest anyone suffer early removal from the game; and we gave trophies to all of you who played on baseball teams, no matter how awfully you or your team played so that none of you missed getting a trophy while members of another team did. Much of this was thanks to the self-esteem-without-having-to-earn-it movement, which in our generation's almost infinite lack of wisdom we inflicted upon you. Sorry for that, too.

We also apologize for coming close to ruining so many of your schools and universities. Despite the unprecedented sums of money we had America spend on education, most of you got an education quite inferior to the one we got at a fraction of the cost. But we thought of our teachers as fools (they were, after all, over 30) who just concentrated on reading, writing and arithmetic (and history, music and art). We were sure we knew better and we therefore concentrated on sexual issues, and teaching you about peace, global warming and the horrors of smoking. The fact that few high school graduates can identify Mozart, let alone were ever exposed to his music, is far less significant to many baby boomers than your knowledge of the alleged perils of secondhand smoke. Most of you cannot identify Stalin either, and we are sorry for that, too. But, hey, we did make sure you saw Al Gore's film.
And, young women, we apologize especially to you. Many of us baby boomers bought into the feminist idea that getting married and making a family with a man were far less fulfilling than career success and that marriage itself is "sexist" and "patriarchal." So, to those of you women who have career success and didn't get married, we sincerely apologize. Turns out that most careers aren't as fulfilling as we promised.

So we really blew it, and what's really amazing is that few of us have changed our minds. Most people get wiser as they get older. But not those of us baby boomers who still believe these things. Of course, many of us never bought into these awful ideas that have so hurt you and our country, and some of us have grown up. But many of us still talk, think, dress and curse the same as we did in the '60s and '70s. And we're still fighting what we consider the real Axis of Evil: American racism, sexism and imperialism.

But for those of us who know the damage baby boomers as a whole did to you, a heartfelt apology.

Authoritarian Consciousness in American Democracy

A Warning From Auschwitz

Riane Eisler

Partnership in Action/Riane Eisler


Friday, November 02, 2007

Happy [Belated] Birthday Miles!

Hi Miles!

I forgot your birthday so this kiss should make it up...

Or maybe a bear hug?

Take care!


A Critic Answers Some Questions|ren

Some answers to common conservative questions, usually addressed to what they consider to be complaining liberals:

- tell me what is really wrong with the country
- tell my why it is wrong
- tell me what your ideas are
- tell me why those ideas are better than the present
Well ren starts off with a big task to answer all those questions, so let us see how that progresses (My comments in bold.)...
Let's start with point #1
I assume he means "what is really wrong with the country".
When George Bush decides to tell Syria to get out of Lebanon and half a million Lebanese show up with banners like: "America is the source of terrorism", and "All our disasters come from America", there's a clue.
Yes that is a clue, that they are brainwashed and are misplacing their aggression. But for an analysis of what Syria did in Lebanon this article entitled Lebanese Farmers and the Syrian Occupation is a good start and The Return of Hizbullah gives a real look at who the imperialists and terrorists are in the ME.
What is America doing there telling people how to run their lives?
They have been doing such a splendid job so far, why mess with a good thing, right? Well when it affects us then I guess we should be concerned. Like if they grow and train terrorists to fly into buildings then it becomes our business. Are we not our brothers keeper as the left has been saying since Kennedy? If their government is conflicting with us like Germany and Japan were doing during WWII then it became our business. And as usual ren acts like Marie Antoinette in "let them eat cake". What if they do want to live their lives differently and the police state like in Burma is preventing such freedoms?
Why do American's have to have a military that costs as much as the next twenty one countries on the list combined?Yes we can see that the USA in measurement of US dollars is much greater than other economies based on 2002-2003 period Military budget. But at least on one level that really only signifies that the USA is clearly a bigger economy as in List of countries by GDP. What is a better scale to evaluate this is Rank Order - Military expenditures - percent of GDP. This does seem to miss North Korea that I have read is close to 25% of GDP! There is also a very strong case that many of the nations are guilty of moral hazards and relying on the USA a little too much for their defense. Notice that the USA military budget was slightly over 4% GDP and historically is closer to 3.5% and that China is actually a fast growing economy with 4.3%.
Why do American's have to have more than 725 military bases around the planet?
Already covered that issue at: 737 U.S. Military Bases = Global Empire and The Sorrows of Empire.
Ever been in the military?

While your chicken hawk preppie president was getting drunk, snorting coke and playing hooky from his service requirements so he could practice politics and get to be president someday, a bunch of us were getting our asses shot off in another war that a decent, real democracy would never have been in. While he was unaccounted for as far as any records can show, one of my good friends from high school was being shot to pieces in a rice paddy in Vietnam.

In the military, you practice how to behave in a socialist dictatorship 24 hours a day, not how to be in a participatory democracy.

So why is America becoming the world's dominant, bullying empire? Why is a democracy doing such a thing? Well, maybe we should ask, are we a really a democracy? Is this how free and brave people behave or is this how frightened bullies behave?
Notice how ren makes it personal? I believe the President is the President of all US citizens even if not voted for him/her. I just wonder what "real democracies" would do with regard to other nations. Would they not help out other nation states that may be facing hostile ideologies or forces? I think it is kind of strange the reference to a "socialist dictatorship" and not the usual fascist state references diatribes. Maybe ren realizes that Socialism also failed. Even if the military was to become a democracy then why would it be assumed to become a participatory democracy?

To answers to the questions: That is how nihilists view it but if the USA actually became isolationist the world would actually not like this. Because other forces are bullying then free people need to fight for freedoms of others. Yes free and brave people to risk much for the gain of little but solely for the freedoms of others. Frightened bullies is what the remaining socialist states seem to be doing. Just look at Iran, Syria, North Korea, as well as these actions on their own people like Sudan, Zimbabwe etc...
When you walk in the doors of a corporation and grovel for that job, and then gratefully get it, you begin licking bootstraps from that point on until you become the one at the top, which doesn't happen for 99.9% of the population, but even then you are not practicing democracy, you are practicing the other part of autocracy, giving orders; so for most people in this country, participatory democracy isn't even a considered possibility during most of their waking hours of existence.
As I talked about in the last post, ren somehow thinks that being an independent contractor makes him above all that. But in reality I see him as licking more boots. Independent sales people are always having to lick someone's boots to get the next job. While I believe that ren has been skilled at his selling abilities of his skills, I wonder if he realizes that not everyone wishes to take on risks that not a steady job provides. I know that ren married but no children so in essence a bachelor nearly all his life and thus no need to have the security of a 'job'. But it is ironic that he so longs for some fantasy participatory democracy in the work place but has never done anything to promote that or to create a business based on those principles. He just does not work well with others. The last paragraph sums up how he views the masses as all zombies that live their lives in quiet desperation while he thinks he is above that. This is one of the reasons for his fascination with the film Century of the Self.
So we have a sham of democracy, not the real thing. We have a plutocracy, which is also better known here as fascism. The wealthy and their corporate management structures command the political scene. They inform Americans with information they have long since learned how to distort and filter in an infotainment corporate owned media, the information that Americans need to vote in that twenty minute session with democracy they get to have every couple of years or so when they vote, and now the question arises as to whether the corporately owned machines that tally the votes are rigged. That's basically what democracy has come to be in America. American's accept that concept at home now, it's the way it's always been hasn't it? how else could it be? So when their carefully pre selected political managers they've had the privilege of voting in tell them that sort of thing is "democracy" somewhere else, like Iraq, or Afghanistan, they don't even question it.

Do you ? Do you question it?
Well he can not even tell the difference between Plutocracy and Fascism. Like usual a jumble of polysyllable words strung together without tying them together in logical ways. While he is good at asking questions (some like these appear out of nowhere) he seldom likes to answer questions directly. I know that it is some basis with trying to be above the issues in a like macro view that no one else sees, but honestly it only glosses over his own inabilities to explain himself without a thousand word essays on issues like what is "is".
Corporations and their political cronies give Americans the choices of how their economy is going to work and what kind of jobs they need to train for, the roads in America are designed primarily for their economic system, the one they've developed for themselves over the past hundred and fifty years or so, once they had sufficiently chipped away at the democratic legal structure in the various states that were originally designed to keep them in line, not a participatory democratic economy that might have evolved if corporations had been kept in their place as planned. Public roads get the goods shipped all over the place and allow corporate workers to get to their jobs, making sure, of course, that they are always just a little inadequate at the conveniently timed period that everyone seems to have to conform to, of getting to and from their corporate jobs, so that everyone can be terrified about being late to work, thereby potentially fired and have to send out another two or three hundred resumes complete with carefully crafted cover letters, most of which go in the respective personnel officers' trash cans.
Yes the frustration of living in a modern world. Wouldn't it be nicer if corporations understood that the roads they should build because of good will and provide employees with limousine rides. That is his fantasy world where there is no problems. Dare I say nihilism again.
Corporations and the economy they create for themselves and operate for themselves, since it is their profits that set all the standards in society, therefore sets the stage for how people need to be trained to fit in the specialized niches in their now extremely well designed management hierarchies which have been refined for maximum efficiency; that's today's educational system instead of system designed for giving young Americans training in how to make a democracy work. What would be the point of that? We don't need democracy in the work place, it's a privately owned and well accepted management autocracy, a dominator system, not an egalitarian, you own your own work participatory environment.
Corporations do not create economies only markets can they create. Government and people (workers, voters, unions...) create economies and with some help of the total business sector. Ren keeps talking about how there needs to be more training in democracy but how much resources does a school devote to such endeavors. Is there not civic classes and history and sociology and etc... Why should workers necessarily own the means of production unless they risked the investments to start with. There is forum member named Jason that joined a cooperative and seems to enjoy it.

Basically if labor wanted to own the means of production they already have the tools to do so. Most work in a corporation and as such they could easily invest in the common stocks and if enough workers invested and risked their capital then they could own the corporation and change management. Simple as that. Much of the things that Marx didn't analyze was risk between the different segments of the economy.
If you've never given that much thought and assumed otherwise, then ask yourself: Why make children learn to sit in rows hour upon hour, passively, subserviently, as an authority figure speaks, telling them what is what and grading them on their ability to conform to what is what? Why not put them in a situation where they could explore what interests them and open themselves up? Why the competition for grades? This isn't fantasy on my part, we actually took my niece out of this harmful educational environment and home schooled her at eleven. She didn't even bother with a high school diploma. She went into UC Davis at 17 and graduated at 20, top of her class. Not that being top of her class is important, just that one doesn't need the programming of the existing system to do well. Doing well is actually pretty easy, doing different is what's a bit tougher. Discovering what different is after massive programming is tougher yet.
Of course I think most people realize that our present educational system may have symbolism of factory work places. And even I agree that should change but on the extreme of home schooling I do not see our society paying for that expenses. But maybe technology combined with different teaching methods may reduce the burden our schools are inflicting on our economy without producing the results that we should be getting. So I think I can agree with ren on many of his points that the new work force may need a new paradigm in learning. Since most jobs will require computer skills then it seems that teaching should be done more with computers that with teachers giving boring lectures in front of rowed students. But grades are important for a yard stick to check progress. Think of a track star that never timed himself, how would he know that he is improving or even has the ability to compete. If ren thinks that we will no longer have competition in our society or our economy then he is dreaming and should immediately leave for Cuba.
You need to ask all those kinds of questions. You seem to have all the answers for yourself right now, but I haven't heard you ask any relevant questions yet. That's where you really need to explore if you think everything's so great. You say you work every day out of creative discontent? No you don't.

You see, it looks to me like you've already been programmed, because I don't see that your answers have come from ever exploring these deeper issues.
Well, I for one answered his silly questions and fired some back. I came across the phrase "This is so, is it not?" that best describes how I see ren's analysis. He creates the scenario and then answers his own questions. Well if this is as deep as he looks at the issues then I would say I have surpassed him in leaps and bounds.
Let me ask you something. Do you like being told what to do?

I don't. I want an America where I'm not told what to do. Not ever. I want to participate in every part of my life, free of choice. If you don't, then you can't possibly know why that would be better than what we have at present.
This part almost shouts out PARANOID LOGIC. Of course we all do not like being told what to do and that is why I think we have so many homeless people. But if you want security without risk then you make choices in life. His fantasy world where no one tells others what to do is only on the island of Robinson Caruso. Since once you have more than one person then one person's rights overlaps another. Someone in the end will be telling the other what to do. Does ren have a sample in the animal kingdom that could enlighten us. I mean if nature has not solved that problem then why does he think that mankind can. Again nihilism in practice.
I don't know if that's what you wanted to hear when you said "this is exactly why you people aren't getting the message across", since I don't consider myself a liberal, or a libertarian (well, an American libertarian, European libertarians are different), or a conservative, or whatever else there is. I don't know if I'm one of "you people" you refered to. After all, I’m just a citizen.
That may be the case that he can not identify with a specific party or ideology, same with me in certain ways. But he sure hangs around one end of the pool and it is not the conservative end.
- tell me what is really wrong with the country
- tell my why it is wrong
- tell me what your ideas are
- tell me why those ideas are better than the present

Well we are at the end of this post and as far as the above questions, I think only point one was covered. Maybe if ren wrote another dozen pages we could have had answers for the other points.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Ren|Essentials for A Values Based Participatory Economy

This should be the first of a collection of analysis of another prolific (especially at Thom's Forum) blogger's writings. While this may seem to be a constant attack on him, I truly believe that he is very smart and informed about the issues. The following is the opening statement from his website:
Part of my purpose on the web is to enhance my writing skills and to self publish in our primary, if perhaps only, form of participatory democracy. Most of it occurs as part of Message Board conversations. Sometimes I say something I want to refer to more than once, kind a basic philosophical formulation. That's another reason for this site. Below is a point of view I finally put together to answer a question about what would be involved in a values rather than profit based economy. I've thought about this perspective for years, so it reflects something important to me, that's why I keep it in my base camp notebook.
I have seen his writing skills even better than this web site shows but still acceptable for a blog. Like I have a right to criticize? LOL. So let the conversations begin...
In my view, both the left and the right want the same thing. They want a system of some kind that they can point to, to make themselves feel secure. The marketplace economy with all its pseudo science rules and laws is one such system. It operates in an ideologized framework beyond the participatory and interactive control of the subjects. Decisions about resource development and consumption occur as a result of Social Darwinistic laws that were parsed from a small segment of Darwin's much broader and more comprehensive evolutionary theory, and have been pasted over our innate intelligence by the management oriented intellectual minds who have nothing better to do than sit around and figure all this out.
Strange to talk about "pseudo science" from a guy that believes that Eco-psychology is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Yes, it is strange that both sides of the debate about economic systems compare the "capitalist system" to something like "survival of the fittest". As one of my recent posts point out (Markets W/O States) that people are basically cooperative beings and that for as much competition there is there is actually more cooperation. Just think of how so many people cooperated to create a corporation like IBM, WalMart, etc. And I have the same thoughts about all kinds of endeavors on the left that dreams up Eco-psychology, and the countless variations of Marx's basic thoughts. These endeavors are nothing beyond glorifying Nihilism. Luckily because society as a whole has so much free time on its hand then all these navel gazing get plenty of exposure. Actually complex societies (as some call what we are under) allows such a plethora of pontificators about such trivia matters.
In this context the implication that just about everyone has brought to our current cultural consciousness is that, except for a special few, humans are little more than rats in a box trying to achieve self satisfaction through schedules of reward and punishment. If only they would all just try to be better rats and learn how to maneuver through the box and jump through the hoops, all would be well. If you want to insist on using such concepts, then I would say that both the left and the right are hooked into this dominance system ideology in only slightly different ways. The result is a nation in an increasingly globalized and dangerously interconnected international society -- with occasional warring factions that must be controlled of course -- that is driven by fear and dependency because the people of the nation and increasingly the world no longer have the cultural skills to make their own self determined way through life as we all once did.
Skinner Boxes is a recurring theme in a lot of ren's writings. I just wonder what society does not impose some conditions on individuals? Mostly through social conditioning that even pre-industrialized societies had to maintain restrictions on the individual. For example those unlucky enough to be rejected by society for being elderly. Basically a throwback to the "noble savage" is the dream he is living. Since ren in essence rejects the present value system even if defined as liberal or conservative frameworks and longs for something that impossible, I conclude that nihilism has consumed his thought processes. It is no longer a rational way at deducting the problems but more of a religion that is driven by the first sin.
That segment of the brain that once took part in that activity is hardly used now as people increasingly specialize themselves to fit into the cog of a giant marketing supply/demand side system. If you are an accountant, then from that specialized niche, you would be aware that comptrollers and their department personnel are generally in a position of immense influence in management structures, at least partly because, like the priests of ancient times, nobody knows what the heck they are talking about. Look at how the financial world shakes when Greenspan opens his mouth.
Yes, there is specialization in labor that is continuing unabated, but since knowledge is so deep in every topic then people spend years and years to learn their narrow focus of information. Even generalists have to have secondary masters degrees lately. But without this specialization then eco-psychology and many of the highly educated fields would not be possible. The pyramid needs a strong and stable base to support this specialization process.
The way I see it this whole mindset of dependency on a system needs to go or we are doomed; which means we are probably doomed because I know it won't go easy. In my view, it's the mistaken result of a path taken about ten thousand years ago when, by developing agriculture as a means of controlling the vagaries of ecological fluctuation, apparently first at about where all the turmoil in Iraq is occurring, a whole system of dominance ideology evolved. The variations of capitalism are a recent variant; as would be the versions of Marxism that tend towards centralized control.
As I noted above, there was original sin that humans committed 10,000 years ago was the planting of seeds in the ground. The only other social construction that ever existed then was the 'noble savage' as a hunter-gatherer. Thus not likely any ecopsychologist would be necessary or even possible. I do agree that Marxism tends toward centralized control in practivce but on a theoretical basis it was meant to be anti-centralized.
In relation to all that I want to be a bit more specific, and hopefully much clearer about where I'm coming from on this general attitude of the left/right dichotomy that I’ve heard expressed thusly:
I also notice a common idea that concentrated ownership of resources by corporations is inherently a bad thing.
Yes, please be more specific. Ren also has the basic liberal meme of that Corporations are bad. But even by its basic setup allows non-concentrated ownership. More people own the means of production than any other time in history allowed in much part through stocks. Stock ownership allows the basic division of ownership across broad and varied peoples. Diversification of portfolios also is an added feature of corporate stocks.
You see, it's not the problem of concentrated ownership I am talking about (I don't speak for anyone else) it’s the vast system of hierarchical organizations designed to dominate and control the resources, in a system that is regarded with almost religious awe. The hierarchical systems themselves are the problems. Stockholders are irrelevant, because the systems have a built in ontology that by nature excludes democratically based participatory control. As a system, it fits into the larger ideological market system perfectly. It's efficiency and capacity to garner resources makes it one of the strongest organizational constructs in that system. As a system that engenders ways to develop certain unimportant human capacities, like caring for one another, interactive concern for one's environment, trivialities like that, it is completely deficient.
If anyone is praying to the gods, it would be ren as his god of ecology and science that is only supported by the complexity of our present system as ren defines. Business and corporations are willing to try a lot of different management styles that give results. I had the privilege to talk to some of the people in the development projects at Hewlett-Packard and it was interesting how they were given complete autonomy to work the hours and the way they wanted as long as progress was made. When workers feel free in our new intellectual jobs markets they are more likely to be productive. While I do think that shareholders should have more say in the running of the company, they clearly can not micromanage the corporation. But shareholders are the ultimate participatory democracy as people are free to buy or sell stocks as they so desire.

Ren basically has created a anthropomorphic fallacy by giving human characteristics to corporations. They are only entities that only own assets. Only humans have human traits of compassion and concern for others and the environment. Now if corporations and thus the shareholders that own them want to have alternative purposes for being in business (aside from profit motive) then I say more power to them.
So I'm talking about democracy, and democracy is something altogether different than these externally conceived systems everyone has accepted as a fact of life, and that they allow themselves to be governed by. I believe human beings are inherently democratic in nature. But it needs to be learned and nurtured. If we could wake ourselves up we might just find that "do unto others as you would have others do unto you" is built into the hard wiring of our brain, and would function naturally as a part of our everyday existence.
Yes, we are hard wired to be cooperative in nature, but we also have some sides that desire to compete for competition sake. Some have defined it as The Will to Power. Like why do people climb mountains? Because they are there. Ren's version of democracy is Participatory democracy. While this might have some positive aspects it basically lacks broad support since not many people want to explore every issue in depth. I see that our specialization of jobs is also manifested into the political arena.

Political positions that often do not gather support have followers that believe that if just given enough information that people will make better decisions. But those people somehow think if their brainwashing was more potent that it would counter the present propaganda. If humans are inherently democratic in nature then why does it coerciveness to be so 'learned and nurtured', shouldn't it come naturally?
It's about people getting together and making reasoned choices as a group based on the situations they find themselves in, starting from the truly advantageous point, in terms of survival, of caring for one another and the welfare of the group as a whole, instead of treating each other as competitors in a hostile environment. Each person in a democracy participating, not letting specialists do it. Training ourselves as we go along to do it better and better, thus providing a different kind of evolutionary framework from the Social Darwinist, free trade market competitive evolutionary scheme that has led to this conundrum of a situation, as I see it. That way of being cannot be forced on anyone, it has to be freely chosen by everyone. It is fragile. Systems of dominance have always been able to disrupt and destroy democracy. That's certainly one lesson from the past 10,000 years.
Again ren sees the present system as competing against him personally, instead of a cooperative atmosphere where many people come together to work on the same goals. But the participatory democracy has few that would possibly want to learn about all the nuances of government. I recently heard how a farmer politician had got into politics since he had opposed some taxes. He assumed that everything in the world was ok except that one tax. Obviously his constituents was just himself. While he admits that any system of participatory democracy would take broad support, he also understands that it must be free will for any structure to be sustainable. Which is one reason past communist/socialist experiments ended badly. But if a few scorpions could destroy the system that easily then that system is unsustainable prima facie. As human nature to have Interstitial Characters, then a few each generation would eventually destroy the system without some police state to control them.

This passage I wanted to point out specifically: Each person in a democracy participating, not letting specialists do it. I have known ren on-line for over a couple of years and he has used the argumentum ad verecundiam (Latin: argument to respect) so many times. And conversely questioned my knowledge or training countless times also.
In the end, democracy and corporate globalization are the antithesis of each other. Democracy is a locally interactive process, capable of being environmentally sensitive. Globalization is a system of increasing centralization and autocratization of human beings into larger and more efficient management systems, which could easily end up being a planet of nothing but monstrous corporations one day if it can go to it's logical conclusion. Such entities have already demonstrated their complete lack of concern for the value of life, and disinterest in correcting the wrongs that are left in their wake after a disaster. I submit Bhopal as an example.
How, how are they an antithesis? People get to decide what products or services they want and people in a participatory economics model decides where to spend their income and money. There are all levels of democracy and to say it is only at the grass roots is simply naive. As far as corporations we have more now than ever before and we get more all the time. We have more businesses also. As we create more markets we get more suppliers and thus more businesses and as they mature we end up with more corporations. Thus in the end we end up with more decentralization and with this nation states (police states) have lost some power. This is actually a fear of the anti-globalization fear mongers. They look at the state as their protectorate, and if that entity loses power that somehow they have lost power and freedoms also. But globalization provides freedoms, it is democracy that needs strengthening not the police state. As far as the Bhopal disaster I too think that ultimately Union Carbide is responsible, but this incidence does show that the scorpions can show up anywhere when the person that sabotaged the valves caused the deaths.
What I'm interested in is having the freedom not to be a well trained cog in any of these systems. These systems offer the carrot of security. I don't believe security is possible. I think the idea itself is a mistake. By looking for security humans have developed these huge, unwieldy, passive populations who live lives in which they have very little active engagement. Once they have bought into the concept of security, discover that they have few real alternatives with their lives but to depend on the system, then fear is the easiest motivator that can be employed in the event of some minor ripple in the system of obedience. In other words, everyone scarcely develops beyond the dependency level of a child.
More to the feelings of being caged and manipulated. Obviously a childhood that was not secure and stable. I have struggled to explain how ren sees the world as controlling and how I see it full of freedom but never quite got how to explain the differences. This is clearly a reason for me to categorize his views as nihilism. He has rejected all values as the freedoms we have without a clue to what type of freedoms he wants other than some vague concepts that resemble the bosom of a caring mother.

I can understand the point about fear of security, but then when ever there is a problem ren assumes that the Federal Government is failing. But ultimately ren wants to see humans go back to some noble time like the noble savage period. Talk about hoping for the destruction of humans. Again what compassion is that to think we should allow 6 billion humans to die?
As it stands these days, your choice is to look at the system, figure out where you want to be in that system, and try to somehow get there. In a shifting global marketplace where employers have the entire planet of people in increasingly vulnerable life sustaining environments to move around in, one can only hope the job one has trained for is still worth something in the "job market" when the training is over. The sensation of scale, up and down, is smothering. It permeates all aspects of cultural life. Ask anyone: Do you want your child to grow up to be a fully emotionally mature, self actuated human being or to be a leader? You know most people don't even ask the question. It's always: he or she has leadership potential! with much pride of course. How many are proud to say their child looks like a good empathizer, or a potential synthesizer person. Priority is leadership because we are in a dominator stratified system. Anyway, that's just a side example.
This is funny that now that we have so many more choices in life that that is actually a cage. Instead of being born a noble savage that had the choice to either hunt or die, people now have countless choices. They even have the possibility to create their own job and career. Think Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

As far as empathizers in our society, I had plenty of chances to participate in "Diversity Training". And one had a list of traits on one side and jobs on the other. Corporate CEOs actually scored high on all the traits that we identify with motherhood including empathize and feel for others. Anyway leadership comes in may styles and each has its benefits. I have tried to direct and teach my wife in how to manage people. Many technical people can not manage other people.
If you fit yourself into the scheme of things well enough, chances are you will live a nice, steady secure life, maybe there will even be a little excitement somewhere. All this as long as the system you depend on works.
As we get closer to the end of this paper, we can see the personal touches of 'you' added. Well I am sure he depends on the system also to some degree. He has yet to give me any reason why the 'system' will not work for a long time. Ren feels it is a systemic problem and no matter how many problems are solved the structure itself is unstable. I see stability in two manners that will conquer all problems the first is Liberal Democracy that allows information and voting to be free and widely dispersed. The second is the market system so that allocation of resources can be diverted to the most productive uses. The problems we have is not distribution of resources but increasing the productive capacity of the lowest segments of our worldwide society. Also the people of the world having the negative rights that we have here.
I have no real interest in arguing about how to adjust the existing system one way or another. The way I see it the adjustments from either side are usually necessary, the logic of maintaining business profits for the wealthy to maintain their “incentives” versus the ambiguous logic of health and welfare of the population. Nobody ever seems satisfied so the ongoing struggle seems to suffice to keep some sort of balance. In the course of my life, I have become intolerant of the dominant social institutions and values imposed by an authoritarian system of ideas over human life and freedom. My efforts now go towards opposing processes that negate the self sustaining democratic values I care about, and I do so by emphasizing different goals, values, and aspirations that undermine this system of domination. Basically these entail concepts of participatory democracy and of course participatory economic activities necessary to life. I've been successful in doing this in a private enterprise environment with a group of acquaintances to some small degree over the past 14 years.
Basically more nihilism in the first sentence. A statement to refute all systems that have been devised so far and no replacement except some vague concept of participatory democracy. For a nice analysis of Nihilism within the framework of the movie Pi here.
But ultimately the world is made up of hierarchical constructs of the victor over the victim. And for us to somehow think that humans are going to be beyond even what nature (or God) provided is pure foolishness. Thus it rejects all values that are logical which leads to nihilism and not to the ultimate and dreamed about Übermensch. He is also fooling himself if he thinks that just because he is an independent contractor that somehow he is not in the same system. Thus ren rejects all present value systems as he describes here and prays for a system that is illogical and unstable in his own words. Thus nihilism rears its ugly head...

Essentials for A Values Based Participatory Economy

A Critic Answers Some Questions

Authoritarian Consciousness in American Democracy

rén 's video collection