Thoughts on the control of money and the problem of “pressure” in life with remarks about “personhood”

Here’s a thought I had:

Recently, I saw some teenagers and a thought came to me of some advice I would like to of given them.  The more I thought about it the more interesting it got.  I started off by wanting to give them this advice:

“Don’t make money run your life.”

Its true that we all need money to survive but we want to avoid it having control over us.  There needs to be a balance that is achieved.  There is a time and place for money and there is a time and place without money.  One doesn’t want to make it the focus of life.  To make money run your life is to live a degraded life, in my opinion.  It basically causes you to become something like a puppet to it and, in so doing, you cease to live and be a person.

THE CONTROL OF MONEY

I see three ways where money can have control over a person:

  1. When you are poor you are controlled by the lack of money.  In other words, not having money makes a person have to need money and, accordingly, a person then is controlled by it, out of necessity.
  2. Neither rich or poor, but average income, where ones attitude and how one manages affairs dictates how controlled a person is.  This is the “middle path”.  Here a person wavers between rich and poor.  This is usually where most of the population is located.  Often, people here are the least controlled by money.  Its not uncommon that a person has to learn how to do this though.  Many people have problems with this.
  3. When you are rich you are controlled by what money can buy.  Life becomes a matter of spending money.  It then begins to dictate what you do and how you live.  It can even begin to dictate how you view yourselves and your position with other people (like a class struggle or a “keeping up with the Joneses”).

What we see, then, is that people who are rich are just as controlled by money as poor people, but in a different way.  In fact, I’d say most rich people are slaves to money. Many, though, don’t see that.  In many ways, this is the problem with being rich, you’re controlled but you don’t realize it whereas when you are poor you know it.  Overall, being either poor or rich, they both seem to lead to a controlled life.  The greatest opportunity to not be controlled by money is usually in the “middle path” . . .

The middle path

The best path, in my opinion, is in the middle, neither rich or poor.  Typically, this means that a person makes an average wage . . . nothing spectacular.  You’re usually making what most people make.  This is why another advice I would give is:

“Get the ideas out of your head of owning mansions and expensive cars.”

In other words, don’t think in a rich way and try to not make your plans in life involve money.  In short, if you don’t think rich you don’t expect to be rich.  To take the middle path a person needs to take a middle path perspective and attitude. 

I must also point out that, to take the middle path, a person must be in a situation that is conducive to this path, the “middle path condition”.   In many cases, this condition is threatened because a person is pulled or threatened into the poor condition or, oddly enough, they may even be pulled to the wealthy end.  This being pulled or threatened to either condition tends to upset the “middle path condition” and tends to undermine it.  If this does happen the “middle path condition” can be harder to achieve than it seems. What this shows is that the “middle path condition” tends to require a constancy.  You can’t be pulled back and forth between different conditions.

THE “PRESSURE”

Making an average wage, though, creates a condition where a person is always in need in their lives.  They need money to pay bills, to buy foods, etc., etc.  This creates something like a “pressure” that one feels, like a great burden on ones shoulders.

This “pressure”, we must remember, is a normal condition.  All living things feel this “pressure” in one way or another:  plants, insects, mammals, etc.  When you walk into the forest, for example, what you’re seeing is plants fighting for the rays of the sun and the nutrients of the soil.  In addition, insects, animals, and other living things are continually seeking food.  When you see insects flying or crawling around that’s what they’re doing. When you see squirrels scurrying around and jumping from branch to branch that’s what they’re doing.  All nature is filled with this “pressure” because all living things are in need.  If we could tap even a small amount of the energy of this “pressure”, found in living things, it would probably supply power to the whole world!  In short, all living things are in a continuous never ending need.  We are all seeking.  That’s the way it is and that is the condition of life.  This means, more or less, that the “pressure” is a normal part of life.  In a sense, life is about the “pressure”.  Looking at it that way, we could very well say that a person does not live unless there is “pressure”.  Therefore, depriving oneself of “pressure” deprives a person of life and living.  This means, then, that there is more to “pressure” than what it seems.  It isn’t just a burden, a weight, a worry . . . its a source of life!

In this way, becoming rich is a way to deprive oneself of life and living because it deprives one of the “pressure”.  Being poor, on the other hand, as if “drains” a person of life, the “pressure” is now too great.  In both cases, a loss of life takes place.  It seems that the reason why the middle way is better is because of the “pressure” that exists there and that it is the source of life . . . one is neither deprived of it or overwhelmed by it.  

This “pressure” can be described as having several qualities:

  • It has a great seriousness to it.
  • Its continuously present.
  • It is never ending.

In some sense, its like a great shadow that hangs over us all the time, throughout our whole lives.  There’s no escaping it.  If one thinks they have escaped it then they are only deceiving themselves.  In this way, “pressure” is something one lives with.

Struggling with “pressure”

Many people struggle with this “pressure” and for many different reasons.  Some of these include:

  • Personality.  Some peoples character may predispose them to being oversensitive to “pressure”.
  • Social conditions.  Various social conditions may predispose people to a greater or lesser sense of “pressure”.  Some social structures can do this as well as things like a “class struggle” and even some qualities of culture.  Various form of competition tends to intensify it as well.
  • Actual conditions.  Difficult conditions, such as bordering on poverty or uncertainty about ones future, may intensify the “pressure”.
  • Uncertainty.  Often, one is unclear of the severity of the “pressure”.   It seems that uncertainty about “pressure”, and what it may mean, often causes an intensification of the “pressure”.  In some ways, this may be the worst form of “pressure” . . . of knowing about it but not knowing its severity.  Sometimes, the struggle with “pressure” is imaginary.  At other times, its not as bad as it seems.  And still, at other times, it is a real legitimate concern.  Sometimes its hard to tell if ones worries are truly real.

The struggle with “pressure” may cause people to do things like these:

  • It makes some people despair and become hopeless.
  • It makes some people apathetic, not wanting to do anything.
  • It makes some people dream of being rich.
  • Some people will try to be rich in order to alleviate the feeling of “pressure” (this can be done legally and illegally).
  • They learn to “manage” it.

So we see that there are many different responses to it, ranging from good to bad.  It seems, to me, that a significant way of dealing with “pressure” is by managing it . . .

Managing “pressure”

Some of the ways to “manage” the “pressure” include:

  • Making concessions.  This basically amounts to having modest wants.  It includes things like not having expensive tastes, no frivolous spending, buying modest things, etc.
  • Developing the right attitude and ways.  This includes things like not expecting to be rich, accepting conditions, learning to be modest, etc.
  • Accepting the fact that, in life, a person is always in need . . . accept the “pressure” and live with it.  This seems to be a difficult thing to do sometimes.
  • Have or develop a belief system that gives meaning to life and life’s struggles.  In many cases, this is religious or religious-like.  Often, it develops as a result of experience.
  • Learning how to manage ones life so that its conditions are in your favor. This generally requires some know-how and experience.  Some people may be better at this than others.  This can also help maintain the constancy of the “middle path condition”.

Doing things, like these, allows one to live in the presence of “pressure” but not to be overwhelmed by it.

NECESSARY AND DEEPER WEALTH

It seems, to me, that there are different forms of wealth:

  1. Necessary wealth.  This is wealth that is necessary to survive.  It includes what money can buy (food, clothing, shelter, etc.) and other necessary things (such as air, the ability to move around, sight, and such).
  2. Deeper wealth.  This is wealth that is “deeper”.  It is a wealth found beyond necessary wealth and money.  It cannot be bought.  It tends to be an interior sense that can border, at times, with being spiritual-like.  In actuality, this is the greatest of wealth’s.  In fact, in my opinion, this is the wealth that a person should most seek.

To me, there is a relationship between these two wealth’s.  This is because both are necessary.  I’d describe necessary wealth as having a quality of a foundation.  Upon this foundation is built deeper wealth.  This describes a relationship, that they both work together:  deeper wealth requires necessary wealth to survive and necessary wealth allows deeper wealth to be meaningful.

It seems that “managing” the “pressure” tends to develop the meaning and value of deeper wealth.  This is because the “pressure” is rooted in life and living, as I said above:  life is found in the “pressure”.  And we must remember that deeper wealth is “deep” because it is beyond things and hits deeper into ones soul.  Because of this, there is a close association between “pressure”, deeper wealth, and life.  Therefore, by “managing” the “pressure” one finds “deeper wealth” by “living”.   It does this by doing these things:

  • It allows us to “tap” the life that is found in “pressure”.
  • It allows us to not be overwhelmed by “pressure”.
  • It allows us to live beyond “pressure” and find deeper wealth and life.

In so doing, we tend to live a life beyond money and a life where it does not control us.

“PRESSURE”, THE SELF, AND OTHERS

It is harder to deal with “pressure” when one has a family or is responsible for other people.  It would probably be more accurate to say that it gives it a new depth and meaning.  This is because of things like these:

  • The concern over other people makes it more serious.
  • There is actually a disconnect because other people are not a part of ones self.  One is “acting on the behalf” of other people, so to speak.
  • Its based more in an abstract instinctual need.  Typically, when on has a responsibility for other people it has an instinctual-like basis, such as in a family or an extended family (such as ones country) . . . one doesn’t just automatically feel a bond with strangers where there is no instinctual bond.  This instinctual connection creates a bond that is “abstract” because it connects ones self with other people who are separate and removed from you.  Its a “bond at a distance”, so to speak.

In short, other people tends to create more of a “pull” often making the “pressure” worse. Sometimes it can become so overbearing that it causes problems.  Many people may struggle with it and it may stress some people out.

But, we must also point out that since life and living is found in the “pressure”, having responsibility for others is often a great source of living.  For some people it is the source of living and is what make life matter.

LIVING WITH “PRESSURE” AND “PERSONHOOD”

In many ways, the issue of money (at least in the “middle path condition”) really revolves around living with “pressure”.  This means that dealing with “pressure”, as well as managing it, are critical aspects in life.  I think I’d go on to say that a significant part of ones happiness in life revolve around how one manages and lives with “pressure”.  In other words, for most people, money isn’t the issue, they just think it is. My observation is that, for most people, money is seldom the problem they think it is. More often than not, it is about “pressure”.  It seems that the more problems you have with “pressure” the more problems you will have with life and, probably, the more unhappy you will be.

There appears to be an innate recoiling tendency against “pressure”.  That is to say, a person as if automatically dislikes and avoids it.  In many ways, this is the problem of “pressure” and why we struggle with it.  This dislike makes us struggle not only with it but often against it.  Many people end up fighting against the “pressure”, treating it as something like a threat.  They often become bitter, preoccupied with money, and develop images in their minds of an “impending tragedy”, as if the world is going to come to an end.  This is even though they, in actuality, are not “hurting”.  This is a good example of how “pressure”, or the inability to manage it, can greatly deteriorate life and cause unnecessary despair.

But this same innate recoiling tendency probably hides one of the reasons why “pressure” is so important in life.  The reason why:  the innate recoiling forces a person to confront life.  In other words, the recoiling tendency places a burden on a persons self that “wakens a person to life”, so to speak.  In this way, ones self is “awakened” and, accordingly, one is forced to “live” as a person-in-the-world.  What this shows is that “pressure” is closely related with “personhood” and that this is associated with the recoiling against “pressure”.  So we see this pattern:

need>>>”pressure”>>>recoiling tendency>>>self is awakened>>>living>>>personhood

In many ways, the recoiling tendency is the self “being forced to be awake”.  It seems, to me, that many people do not “awaken” primarily because they allow themselves to be recoiled and avoid the “pressure”.  Looking at things from this angle, we could say that deeper wealth and life are found by the self being awakened, often forcibly, by need and “pressure”.  This makes one a person-in-the-world and develops “personhood”.  When money controls you (by having too little or too much) this is hindered or even prevented.  


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Advice, Life in general, Other stuff, Philosophy, Psychology and psychoanalysis | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on “humanity fear” – Christian sin and the assumption that humanity is bad

Recently, I was walking on a College campus.  It was, apparently, earth day or so the signs said.  I happened to go in the student services building and a guy told me that they were having a performance of some sort upstairs.  I decided “why not?” and went to have a look.  A guy was actually talking about economy, politics, and such.  He spent a lot of time with climate change, no doubt reflecting the fact it was earth day.  His general stance toward climate change is that humanity was at fault.  It made me think about things.

I should point out that my attitude toward climate change is that I’m not fully convinced humanity is at fault.  My gut tells me that it is a natural process, that we’ve seen before in history, of temperature fluctuations.  This doesn’t mean that I’m saying that they’re wrong.  I’m saying that I’m not convinced and need more proof.  But, as I thought of this, I saw another side to it that I thought was interesting.  It goes something like this:

As I have listened to this stuff, through the years, I always get this impression that, behind a lot of this, is nothing but an attitude of condemning humanity.  In other words, there seems to be some inner satisfaction at blaming humanity for problems.  I’m under the impression that this mentality began with the Christian idea of sin which preached of the inherent “evil” in humanity, that humanity is “bad” innately.  This attitude progressed through the years and changed with the times.  One of its current results is that “humanity is at fault” for damage to the world by causing climate change.  In that way, its really a religious-based mentality of condemning the sin of humanity.  This is why there are things such as:

  • There is a sense of a “great cause”.  This comes from the religious cause.
  • There is a self-righteousness about it.  This comes from the self-righteousness of religion
  • It is satisfying to people.  It reaffirms the cause and makes them feel self-righteous.

In this way, much of the environmental stuff has this quality of a “save the world” which, by the way, was the message of Christianity.  That, it seems to me, is no mistake.

This means that all of this is a reflection more of an attitude, a way of looking at things than whats actually happening.  The effect of this attitude is that it tends to alter the interpretations in order to fit things to its image.  Many years ago I began to suspect that all this worry over climate change was really more a reflection of this attitude, and its subsequent distortion of interpretation, than actual fact.  That’s what my gut told me anyways.

Over the centuries there seems to be a historical progression of the “inherent evil of humanity” attitude.  It has gone through many changes and transformations.  It goes something like this:

  • Christian sin – there is an “inherent evil” in humanity.  This instilled, in the people and culture of Western society, an attitude and sense that humanity is evil in whatever it does.  This can be so extreme that it views all humanity does as bad.
  • The crusades.  This caused a great sense, in Western Christianity, of a “great worldly cause”, that their belief impacted the world in some way.  In other words, it made Europe take a more “whole world” perspective.  Previously, it was more regional.
  • The black death.  This, following the crusades, gave a sense that the “whole world was being punished by the sin of humanity” in Europe.  In other words, the sin is “upon the whole world”.  Before this, it seems to me, the issue of sin seems to of been personal.  After the crusades and black death it seems to take on a more “whole world” quality.
  • The Protestant Reformation and the failure of Christianity.  The Protestant Reformation caused a slow decay in Christian belief.  This led to things like science.  As Christianity failed the belief failed but many Christian attitudes persisted.  One of these is the “inherent evil of humanity” attitude.  It persists as an attitude in Western society down to today.
  • WWI, WWII, and the machines of war.  The world wars seems to of instilled a horror to humanity in its ability and effectiveness to kill.  This is primarily because of the machines of war, which have begun to be very effective.  This cast a big shadow on humanity as well as a doubt about humanity.
  • Hitler and the holocaust.  This cast another shadow across humanity, of how horrible people can be to other people.  I think this has had far more impact than people think in portraying all of us as bad.
  • The cold war.  This is really a continuation of the previous two.  The threat of nuclear annihilation cast a big shadow across humanity along with a sense of the “evil” of humanity.  During this time there were many references back to WWII and Hitler almost as a basis of “proof”.
  • The Vietnam war.  The protests, hysteria, and panic at this time as if brought all of the above together into one form.  As a result, it gave the “inherent evil of humanity” attitude a form, a voice, and made it accessible to common people.  It also associated it with a mass hysteria.  During this time there were many references to a great sense of the evil of humanity:  war was bad, the government is bad, rules are bad, etc.  Alongside this, it was preached that we need to “love” one another, as a solution.  Interestingly, the emphasis on “peace and love” happened to be nothing but Christianity restated.  This is a good example of how, behind a lot of this mentality, is nothing but Christianity.  This is why it assumed the “evil” of humanity” (sin) and that the solution to this is “peace and love” (which is what Jesus preached).  This point of view became a very strong attitude of hippi mentality.
  • The attitude branched in different directions.  One of the effects of the Vietnam war era is that it made this attitude more accessible to the common people.  Accordingly, it branched off in many different directions.  One of these is the concern over the environment and climate change.  Since, behind this mentality, there is the “inherent evil of humanity” attitude, it tends to assume that “humanity is at fault”.

So we see that the assumption that “humanity is at fault”, such as is seen in climate change, is a modern reflection of the Christian idea of sin and the “inherent evil of humanity”.  Humanity is, therefore, assumed to be causing all the problems.  Not only that, there is the idea that the world is being threatened by humanity.  In other words, humanity is threatening the world because of its “inherent evil”.  This creates a fear of humanity, which lies behind much of these points of views, which I jokingly referred to as the “humanity fear” because its like a fear of all humanity.

What all this shows is that the idea of Christian sin has, over the years, turned into a fear of humanity that is very prevalent in Western society.  It causes things like:

  • A tendency to see threats coming from humanity
  • A tendency to blame humanity for problems
  • A tendency to see the worst in humanity

These are often done very easily and is often immediately assumed to take place.

One effect of this “humanity fear” is that it causes a tendency to paranoia.  In other words, the Christian idea of sin has, over the years, created a tendency to paranoia in Western society.  This can even develop into a sense that humanity will destroy the worldIts no mistake that this same point of view was taken by Christianity.  Many years ago it was not uncommon for guys to stand on the corner and preach things like:

  • “Repent ye sinners!”
  • “The world is going to end!”
  • “The sin of humanity is going to make God destroy the world!”

These same viewpoints and attitudes, in a modified form, are being seen today in people like environmentalists.  So what we are seeing, really, is Christian attitudes being applied to non-religious things.  I call this “post-Christianity” (see my article “Thoughts on Blind Christianity – some effects of the post-Christian era“).  What this causes is a tendency for many Christian attitudes to be applied to everyday and non-religious things.  I think climate change is another example of this.

Its probably no surprise, then, that many of the solutions to the “humanity fear” are very similar to Christian-based themes, such as:

  • Love – “we must love the earth”
  • Peace – “people must work together to avoid war and destruction”
  • Understanding – “people must be taught to save the planet”

In many ways, much of these things are nothing but a reiteration of Christianity, referring to the same themes and attitudes.  If anything, this shows how much influence Christianity has had on Western society, that it can’t even let its attitudes go after the belief system has failed.

But the problem is that it is laying too much blame on humanity and too easily makes humanity bad.  In this way, we can see that the Christian idea of sin has, over the years, turned into a tendency to easily villainize people and humanity.  This is often done needlessly and blindly.  It can be particularly severe if there is something that “proves” it, such as the holocaust.

Remember that this does not necessarily say that climate change and global warming is false.  Whether it is true or not I still think that the “humanity fear” has played a role in its mentality, assumptions, and interpretations.  In fact, I think the “humanity fear” plays a significant part in many mentalities, assumptions, and interpretations of things nowadays.  To be frank, I think that if we did not have the “humanity fear” the world would not look so dark and we’d have a better view of humanity.


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Christianity, Christian conversion, Post-Christianity, and Christian influence, Historical stuff, Modern life and society, Philosophy, Religion and religious stuff | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on the ‘post 2016 election mentality’ – continuing the Vietnam War protests and the inability to resolve media-induced mass hysteria

Here’s a thought I had:

Recently, I have noticed what I often call the ‘post 2016 election mentality’.  This refers to a mentality that originates as a result of the 2016 Presidential election hysteria that took place in the U.S. As I have explained in my article “Thoughts on a media-induced mass hysteria . . . the “Trump panic”” much of this election was dictated by a media-induced mass hysteria.  As I watched it happen before me I saw the media literally exaggerate, distort, sensationalize, fabricate false things, etc. on a scale that I’ve never seen before.  They did this with many different aspects of this election and to such an extent that much of the population was “worked up” to the point of what I often called a “hysterical frenzy”.  I would even talk to people about it and they’d have this “crazed and frenzied” look in their eye telling me ridiculous nonsense about Trump that was so obviously absurd that it was unreal.  It was almost surreal at times.  The ‘post 2016 election mentality’ is really the continuation of that mentality after the election.  In other words, its a continuation of the “worked up” mass hysteria frenzy attitude (remember that the media “worked up” the people to this “hysterical frenzy”).

Most people, it seems, have calmed down but there is a small group of people that are still “worked up” and are having difficulty calming down from it.  I would not doubt that some will keep it going for as long as Trump is in office and maybe even continue it even after that.  In other words, they are keeping the frenzy going.  A large part of these people seem to be:

  • Liberals
  • Females
  • Democrats
  • Paranoid people
  • People who are upset about life or other things
  • People who feel “threatened” by the government or politics

People, such as these, continue the frenzy and are keeping it alive.  In fact, I’d say that many won’t let it go.  Much of this seems to show that they are “attracted” to the frenzy and that it “speaks” to them.  In other words, what’s important is the “frenzy” not the politics or issues, as they claim.  The “frenzy” tends to be a medium for the issues and problems that they feel.  Keep in mind that the “frenzy” is an outlet . . . it does not solve the problem.

I tend to feel that this type of mentality tends to largely be a result of the Vietnam War protests of about 1970.  In other words, the ‘post 2016 election mentality’ has a resemblance to the Vietnam War protests of about 1970.   One could even say that it, in some ways, appears almost like a reenactment of the hippi movement begun in the Vietnam War protests.  Because of this, it makes them continue to interpret things in a certain way and continually emphasize certain points originating from this era.  Some of the traits this entails include:

  • The assumption that the establishment or authority is bad.  Of course, since Trump is President, an attack on the establishment or authority is actually an attack on Trump.
  • The idea that we are all being oppressed in some way.  This is strong with females, in particular, many of who seem to think that they are being threatened in some way, even though nothing has happened.
  • A continual emphasis on freedom, that we need to maintain it or that it is being threatened in some way.
  • A tendency to look at things in the worst possible light.  For example, if Trump or the government does something its interpreted as a great threat in some way.
  • A tendency to see things as threatening the entire world.
  • A blind rebellious attitude.
  • An emphasis on females and minorities.
  • A concern over hatred.
  • An emphasis on some form of unity, real or imagined.
  • An emphasis on “loving” or caring for people.
  • An emphasis on peace.
  • A tendency to fear and paranoia.  This is because the Vietnam War protests is greatly influenced by the cold war and the threat of nuclear annihilation.  This is the origin of much of the fear and paranoia that we see later and which motivates all this.

Much of these claims, though, are not founded on fact and actual conditions but reflect biased points of view which tends to make them interpret things a certain way or see things from a certain light.  Because of this, it is a matter of how they interpret things that is the question.  In this way, they are really trying to force a specific interpretation onto things.  I call this “forcing the interpretation”.  As they force this interpretation they tend to alter the facts to reflect their viewpoints and attitudes.  As a result, their interpretations tends to show these qualities:

  • A bias
  • A distortion
  • Fabrication

As a result of these they often create a reality that does not exist:  threats are created that don’t exist, enemies are made that don’t exist, intentions are assumed that don’t exist, freedoms are threatened that aren’t threatened, evil intentions are created that aren’t there, and so on.  In other words, “forcing the interpretation” tends to create an image of realities that do not existGenerally, things are portrayed worse than they are, and usually because of some malicious intent, often taking the form “X wants to harm Y and, because of this, Y is in a panic”.

This type of mentality became very prevalent during the Vietnam War protests.  And, because of the growth of media during this time, it as if “injected” these attitudes into the general population of the U.S.  As a result, many people in the U.S. have a tendency to “force the interpretation” creating false threats, enemies, and so on.  In short, Americans are more likely to display paranoia after the Vietnam War than before.  This is one of the lasting effects the Vietnam War protests created.

This attitude of “forcing the interpretation”, paranoia, etc. has carried on down through the years in many different forms.  After the Vietnam War they became “detached” from the war and became attached to other things.  Some examples include the lawsuit crisis that appeared later, political correctness, over-reacting to being offended, seeing hatred in things people do, and so on.  Some of these have become very prevalent to the point of being a problem.  What this shows is that the attitude of fear, paranoia, and “forcing the interpretation” is directed to anything that it can use as a medium of expression.  In other words, its not the “thing” (the issues) that matters but if it can be a vehicle for the feelings of fear and paranoia.  Its this type of mentality that prompted statements I hear all the time such as, “anything can be turned into oppression”, “all you have to do is look at someone and you oppress them”, “just because a black guy is involved we’re now all viewed as racists”, and so on.  We can see that anything that can made to fit into their “forced interpretation” becomes as avenue to their fear and paranoia.  Again, this is not about the “thing” (the issues) but about finding an expression of their fear and paranoia.  This tendency causes an increased likelihood of mass hysteria.  This is because mass hysteria can easily become an avenue for these feelings of fear and paranoia. 

During the election much of these feelings became attached to Trump.  In other words, Trump became an avenue for fear and paranoia.  But, we must remember, that these feelings existed before Trump and, in actuality, have nothing to do with him!  In actuality, the feelings directed toward Trump revolve around general American feelings, concerns, worries, etc. that are decades old.  This is one reason why many statements said about Trump “don’t make sense” . . . people are speaking about something else through Trump.

Much of this tendency is persisting after the election in the ‘post 2016 election mentality’.  One could say that it persists in two ways:

  1. Those that are attached to Trump and politics.
  2. Those that have gone beyond Trump and politics, into other unrelated areas.

I speak, in this article, of the later.  Some examples of these includes things like these:

  • There is more “pro-female” themes coming up all the time that did not exist before Trump.
  • There is more emphasis on females being “victimized” in some way.
  • There is more emphasis on females being “leaders”.
  • There is a concern over refugee’s and minorities.
  • There is more criticizing and condemnation of the establishment and authority.
  • There is more emphasis on a “unity”, with some groups, than before.
  • There is more of an emphasis on being involved with democracy.
  • There is an emphasis on preserving our freedoms and rights, even though they are not threatened.

Because these things were so easily detached from Trump it shows that these attitudes predate him.  In other words, they are attitudes that originate from somewhere earlier, as I described above.

My observation seems to show that much of these attitude do, in fact, originate from the Vietnam War protests and that much of the commotion about Trump is really a reenactment of these protests.  It supports my statement I had once said about the election:  “The commotion about Trump, in this election, is not about Trump at all but the hippi movement during the Vietnam War and the themes it brought out and that it is still unresolved”.  Much of the so-called “women’s march” is a reflection of this fact, of the reenactment of the Vietnam War protest (with marches) stating almost identical themes (rights, freedom, etc.) . . . almost a “carbon copy”, in some respects.

All this shows how impactful the Vietnam War protests were and that it still affects American mentality.  This does not surprise me as I have always suspected that the Vietnam War protests is the single most influential event in American history after WWII.  It is something like a wound that has not healed.  Its shadow hangs over all of us, though it may not seem like it.  One example of this is that a lot of people take hippi views (though they are usually unaware of it).  In fact, many views seen in this election descend from the hippi views and are amazingly similar to what was said during the Vietnam War.  Liberalism, in fact, is greatly influenced by hippi viewpoints and this figured greatly in this election.

I tend to feel that the Vietnam War protests have brought up conflicts that have largely gone unresolved.   The reason for this, it seems to me, is that these conflicts are not, in actuality, real but a manifestation of a mass hysteria that gripped the population.  In short, the people were “worked up into a frenzy” over conflicts that weren’t really real.  But, because of the “frenzy” they got “pulled into it” and, accordingly, believed they existed.  The important point is that their behavior was dictated by being “pulled into the frenzy” not by the conflicts themselves.  This being “pulled into the frenzy” is mass hysteria.  All the fancy explanations and “causes” that they stated are just intellectualizations of this mass hysteria (such as peace, love, freedom, etc).  They are only the rallying calls of the mass hysteria and the “frenzy” that they were “pulled into”.  In other words, peace, love, freedom, etc. is not what its actually about.  As a result, these things will not solve anything . . . and they haven’t.  This more or less means that the Vietnam War protests is an issue of mass hysteria, not peace, love, and freedom, as they said. 

I tend to feel that the Vietnam War protests were so influential because they hit deep in much of the population and country.  I do not feel that this was because of the causes they were fighting for, as they claim, but because of the effects of the media-induced mass hysteria, as stated above.  This is because of the nature of mass hysteria.  Basically, in mass hysteria the person, the individual, is no longer in control.  They have given up their self to the mob.  It now dictates their feelings and motives (they’ve as if lost control of themselves).  In short, in the Vietnam War protests much of younger people, in particular, gave up their self to the mass hysteria and ceased to be individuals.  Being without a self, they had no real way to deal with all the panic and hysteria they and the mob were feeling.  They were as if helpless people subjected to the panic with no clear cut way, as individuals, to deal with it.  In this way, the mass hysteria hit deep, because people did not have a self to deal with it all.  As a result, people had to find ways to deal with it, and without a self.  This made many people become prone to do things like these:

  • They got wound up and overly concerned with causes and conflicts – this gave a sense of having some purpose.
  • They would go into blind rebellion even when there was nothing to rebel against – this gives a sense of having purpose and a way to vent.
  • They went into despair – this reveals how people often struggled with it.
  • They became concerned about “developing the self” – this shows a dilemma of the self.

These all became prevalent during and after the Vietnam War protests.  What we see in these is that people are trying to grapple some psychological issue and concern, something “deep down”.  This means that the issue of the unresolved Vietnam War protests, then, is about psychology not politics.  They shows the effects a mass hysteria can have over people . . . in the end, people are struggling with psychological issues.

With the loss of self, I find it interesting that there became, in the hippi movement, a tendency to “develop the self” (reflecting the effect of the psychological issues caused by mass hysteria).  In fact, it one looks closer, it seems that it was after Woodstock (1969), in particular, that the mass hysteria began in the greater population of the U.S.  As a result of the mass hysteria’s loss of self, with the self problems it created, it seems that “developing the self” became more prevalent after that time.  In short, one could probably say that the hippi movement largely consists of attempts at dealing with the loss of self the hysteria created as well as its effects.  In this way, one could probably say that the a lot of the hippi movement is a reaction to hysteria, not the “causes” they were professing (which is what I originally thought).  Because of this, the hippi movement created whole new areas devoted to developing the self:  the self-help movement, new age movement, meditation, LSD to “expand the mind”, and such.

Looking back on it now it looks as if the hippi movement is really an attempt at dealing with a personal crisis.  This personal crisis, it seems to me, is the loss of self that a media induced mass hysteria created.  In other words, the media-induced mass hysteria of the Vietnam War era has created something like a sickness in the U.S., a ‘mass hysteria sickness’.  This is largely an inability to react or resolve the effects of the loss of self, and its effects, created by a mass hysteria.  I tend to feel that this is far more prevalent than it may seem and that many people struggle with it as a result of the many forms of mass hysteria that have go on throughout the centuries.

It seems that individual people can usually overcome ‘mass hysteria sickness’.  This seems primarily achieved by no longer being involved with the hysteria or anything connected with it.  In other words, just be being away from it and continuing on with their lives (which reestablishes the control of their self).  As a result of this, many of the mass hysteria’s, through the centuries, are overcome by individual people.

Societies, though, seem to have difficulties overcoming mass hysteria.  It seems, to me, that once a mass hysteria reaches a certain level a society can’t really overcome it.  This is because it becomes too ingrained in the society.  The only way for a society to overcome it is for a “new society” to appear, such as a new generation, a new era, a new mentality, etc.  If this does not appear that the culture takes on qualities of the mass hysteria as part of its identity.  In other words, the mass hysteria turns into a cultural identity.  I tend to feel that the effect of mass hysteria has had great impact on many cultures identity, a lot more than it may seem.  This is particularly so with larger and powerful societies, such as the U.S., England, and China.

It seems that the mass hysteria of the U.S. was particularly bad during the Vietnam War to the point that it became part of the national identity.  I tend to feel that one of the reasons why there is such an inability to react or resolve the effects of the loss of self, and its effects, is because the Vietnam war protests were really the first great media-induced mass hysteria in history in which the media played a particularly critical role.  Overall, there are a number of qualities that that made the media very influential in the creation of a ‘mass hysteria sickness’  during this time.  These include:

  • There was a multitude of media sources and forms:  the news, TV, music, newspapers, etc. which includes different forms of appearance, such as by reading, watching TV, seeing actual footage, musical tunes and lyrics, etc.
  • The extensiveness of the media, which made it more widespread and with greater exposure in history.
  • It was the first time electrical forms of media was used extensively, which used new forms of conveying information such as visual images and actual footage.
  • The naïve and simple mindedness of the youth of America making them prone to gullibility and easily provoked to hysteria.

These all contributed to cause an extensive mass hysteria in the population the likes that have never been seen before.  In some ways, it hit America like a storm and America was unprepared for it.  This is true of its people and, especially, of its youth.  It has affected much of the country and people ever since.  It affected the U.S. so much that it created an extensive ‘media-induced mass hysteria sickness’ which has affected American culture and its people.  To be frank, America is still grappling under the effects of the media-induced mass hysteria that took place about 1970 and cannot resolve it.  The loss of self that mass hysteria causes makes it hard to resolve as a society.  Because of this, its effects, and its inability to be resolved, are continuing on years later.  This is probably why it has appeared during the 2016 Presidential election and is continuing on in the ‘post 2016 election mentality’.  Because it is so deep rooted in American mentality it will go on long after this election and Trump.


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in 2016 Presidential election and things associated with it, Current affairs and events, Government and politics, Historical stuff, News media and the news, The U.S. and American society | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on my statement: “The modern world is doomed to fail”

Many times I have said this statement:

“The modern world is doomed to fail.”

In other words, I tend to view the modern world as something which is temporary and which will eventually, and inevitably, fail.  How could the modern world possibly continue in the way it is going?  It simply cannot continue going like this forever.  To me, that’s common sense.  Not only that, it seems blatantly obvious.

It seems that the modern world is doomed to fail for a number of reasons:

  • It is incredibly destructive and in many different ways.  The modern world is destructive in almost every way imaginable:  militarily, environmentally, culturally, etc.  Its the most destructive system in history.  Basically, it appears that, since WWII, there has been more destruction, in every form, than in the whole of world history before it combined.  That makes the past 70 years the most destructive in history!
  • It creates tremendous amounts of waist, refuse, garbage, pollution, and such.  I’ve always thought that if we took all the garbage of the modern world since WWII and dumped it in the ocean it would make an island out there.  But we must also include stuff like exhaust emissions, various forms of pollution, and such.
  • It is one-sided and requires certain conditions in order to work.  In some respects, the change in humanity, during the modern world, are primarily in response to the condition which the modern world requires.  In other words, humanity has to conform to it.  The modern world doesn’t change for us . . . we have to change for it.
  • It controls us . . . we don’t control it!  Initially, it seems that humanity controlled the modern world.  But now this is not the case anymore.  We are now the slaves to this great beast.
  • It makes humanity dependent on it.  We now need it to survive.  In this way, the modern world has actually destroyed humanities self-reliance and independence.  I’ve always felt that this fact is going to haunt humanity in the future.
  • It tends to undermine human society, often breaking it apart.  The modern world has practically destroyed the need for a human society.  As I said above, we have to conform to it.  The problem is that the modern world does not follow human qualities.  As a result, we must get rid of these human qualities in order to fit into modern society.  The more “modern” we get the less human we become.
  • It fosters overpopulation which, in turn, makes the modern world grow.  For various reasons, the modern world tends to promote overpopulation.  In fact, the more successful it works the more it seems to inspire overpopulation.  The growing overpopulation then causes a greater need for “modernism” to sustain it.  This then pushes humanity to be more dependent on the modern world.  This gives the modern world more power over us.  The result, we lose control over things.
  • It creates very destructive machines, systems, and ways.  What the modern world has created is almost frightening at times.  The weapons of destruction, the machines of economy, the systems of control and regulation . . . to me, its like watching the growth of an overlord over us and which we are powerless against.

All in all, the modern world is like a big massive leech upon the world and people, sucking the life out of things.  Not only that, it can be compared to a big massive beast or machine that is as if marching all over the world.  To me, it seems that the modern world has turned humanity into something like a parasite upon the earth.  I don’t see how a system like this can continue indefinitely . . . its doomed to fail.

Many people, though, tend to view the modern world as this great “power” and assume that it will never die, almost as if it were a god.  In fact, there is a common view that the modern world is something that will “save” us.  This isn’t all that surprising as it is the heir to Christianity.  This point of view seems associated with the Protestant Reformation.  Basically, after the Protestant Reformation there developed a growing doubt about Christianity and the Bible.  This is because there, all of a sudden, there appeared all of these different ways of interpreting the Bible (Lutheran, Calvinist, Puritan, etc.) . . . and they all claimed that they were correct!  This caused, in actuality, a loss of faith in many people.  But, at the same time that this was happening, there was a growing resurgence of neo-classicism.  That is to say, there was a growth in the study of the Greek and Roman classics, particularly at the Universities.  This growth, for many people, would end up replacing the dogma of Christianity, which they lost faith in.  But since Europe had been Christian for centuries it continued to maintain many Christian attitudes.  These attitudes would carry on over to neo-classical thinking.  The idea of being “saved”, for example, would change.  It would no longer be Christ who “saves” us but it generally went in two directions, both based in neo-classical thinking:

  1. Science and knowledge.
  2. Democracy and freedom.

Both of these stem from the Greek and Roman traditions and philosophies.  The former – science and knowledge – would turn into the modern world.  As a result, this point of view would make it so that the modern world became viewed as something that will “save” us . . . the new messiah!  This makes it so that people think that the modern world is a “permanent” solution to the worlds problems and, accordingly, will “save” us.  It also develops this point of view that, with the growth of modernism, we will all be happy and a utopia will be created.

I tend to feel, though, that the modern world is only setting the stage for a future crisis which will more than likely affect a large part of the world.  I have always felt that this crisis has the potential of being bad.  But this is not how it appears at first glance.

The modern world, it seems to me, is something that developed primarily to deal with overpopulation (see my article “Thoughts on overpopulation“).  It began to appear, in particular, in England in the 1800’s when it was having overpopulation problems.  This caused great strain on the society.  When industrialization and science appeared it as if “absorbed” the overpopulation problems at the time.  It lessoned the problems and even seemed to solve it.  Because of this, I tend to believe that, if these problems had not existed, the modern world would probably of never begun to get established in England.  They would of been inventions that “came and went”.  In short, the overpopulation problems of England, in the 1800’s, gave industrialization (the modern world) a “use”.  Without that “use” industrialization would of never taken hold and the modern world may of never been created.  This suggests that there is a close relationship between overpopulation and the modern world.

The coming of the modern world seemed to “solve” overpopulation problems initially.  But, as I said above, the modern world is very destructive and behaves like a parasite upon the world and will eventually fail as a result.  In short, even though its seeming to “solve” overpopulation problems its actually doing damage in other ways, and ways that will eventually catch up to us.  This means that the modern world is actually a temporary solution . . . it is not a permanent solution to overpopulation.   In short, the modern world is “buying time” for humanity by temporarily stalling overpopulation problems . . . the problems will eventually catch up to us in time.

As the modern world is “buying time” it is doing a number of things:

  • Its making people more dependent on it.
  • It is fostering even worse overpopulation.
  • It is becoming a power.
  • It is becoming more destructive.

In other words, as time passes the condition that instigated it – overpopulation – continues to grow and is not solved.  In short, the modern world does not solve the actual problem!  This is why I call it a “temporary solution”.  And its this “temporary solution” that gives the illusion that if it solved.  This illusion is also helped by the idea that the modern world is our “savior”.  In these ways, the modern world is like a big grand illusion.  It give the illusion that humanity “seems OK” in the hands of the modern world.  With this we see that the modern world is an illusion that seems to solve the problem but really isn’t.  As I said above, it is only “buying time”, which is actually making it worse, and seems to be setting the stage for a future crisis, when it begins to fail.

I’ve often wondered how the modern world will fail.  Will it fail dramatically or slowly over time?  I think historical conditions, that are unknown at this time, will determine that.  My guess is that, since the world is a big place, it will do a little of both depending on where you are at.  In some cases it would be dramatic, like the Depression.  In other places it could be almost imperceptible.  There’s also a possibility that some other system will appear that will, over time, supplant it.  Perhaps this new system will “save” us from the modern world.  Who can say?

But I have always felt that the “when” and “how” the modern world fails is an important question to ask nowadays.  I’ve also think there is the question of “what do we do when it fails?”


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Historical stuff, Modern life and society, Science and technology, The 'system' and 'systemism' | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on the competency, legitimacy, and mentality of American law, and other legal things

Over the years I have thought a lot on the competency and legitimacy of American law.  I particularly have great and tremendous doubts about its mentality and logic, which seems horribly warped and oddball to me.  Here are some of my thoughts on it (I may of mentioned some of this in previous articles):

THE PROBLEM OF LEGITIMACY

To be frank, American law doesn’t impress me all that much and I don’t look to it highly nor do I acknowledge it as an authority.  In other words, I do not look at American law as the “final answer” or “final solution” to problems.  As a general rule, I don’t give much credence to American law and treat a lot of its judgement’s much like the statements from tabloid magazines . . . more likely to be ridiculous than something to take seriously.  I particularly don’t like this warped oddball mentality hovering over me with its “pretended authority”.  In short, American law has not earned my respect and belief.  In fact, my feelings and observation is that American law has largely failed in earning respect and belief from most of the people.  This is something that it really needs to do.

What all this more or less means is that law cannot be considered legitimate until it has earned the respect and belief of the people.  Notice the word “earned”.  I have always had this belief that law needs to earn respect.  Generally, though, law does not earn respect but only demands it, regardless of whether it is right or wrong.  This is particularly so in larger societies.  But, regardless of this, I tend to believe that any “true law” is a law that has earned the respect from the people.  Since this has not happened in the U.S. it means that American law is not a “true law”.

I think I’d call American law an “expedient law”, done out of necessity and expediency. This, though, still does not make it any more “true”.  If anything, “expedient law” is a type of law that has been degraded and broken down because of necessity and expediency.  This is why I consider American law a degraded and broken down form of law.  Though it may “somewhat work” it still hasn’t earned respect and, accordingly, it is cannot be considered a legitimate form of law.

MECHANIZED LAW”

Much of law nowadays, it seems to me, is what I often jokingly call “mechanized law”.  Law is basically treated like its a machine.  Its a mentality that has qualities such as:

  • It is abstract, to the point of being mechanical or mathematical, in its mentality.
  • It gets too wound up in details, to the point of ridiculousness.  There are too many “technicalities” based in things like wordings, grammar, policies, and a multitude of other things.
  • It tends to be divorced from the real world.
  • It creates a false reality where all of its principles work:  the “legal world” (see below).

What we see then is a mentality that lacks wisdom.  Instead, legal matters are treated more like an engineering or mathematical problem.  Overall, its a mentality that appears much like “if a equals b then go to c; if b does not equal b then go to d”, and so on.  More than once, after listening to lawyers and judges, have I said statements like this:  “what are they doing, trying to figure the motion of a spacecraft through space with tragectories, forces, vectors, and that?”  I’m waiting for the time when they will start using mathematical formulas and equations to solve legal problems.

In my worthless opinion (as anything I say that conflicts with the law will be made worthless in some way), the “mechanized law” mentality makes law incompetent.  It does this a number of ways:

  • It does not cater to “human reality”.
  • It is not based in human culture, belief, etc.
  • It tends to neglect “actual real-life conditions”.  That is to say, everything is compared to the philosophy of the “legal world” and how it interprets things.
  • It lacks wisdom and common sense.
  • Its too based on their own legal logic.

These tend to make “mechanized law” inefficient from the human world standpoint and, subsequently, it often tends to be in error.

The problem, though, is that the “mechanized law” mentality is something that works well in a massive social system, which is why it is so prevalent.  In fact, one could say that it makes it necessary.  In other words, “mechanized law” is competent for a system but its not competent on the human level.  This is where it horribly fails.  Its here that I primarily dispute it.

THE “LEGAL WORLD”

The “mechanized law” mentality is based in what I call the “legal world”.  This is an image of the world, and how it works, based on legal principles, ideals, and other miscellaneous legal details.  It is literally a world view, very much like what science or religion has created.  Over the years, the “legal world” has become so massive that it has, in some sense, become a whole other abstract image of the world.  It is the “world view of lawyers”, so to speak.  The problem is that the “legal world” does not match the real world and human reality.  It is simply too abstract and based too much on its own intellectual principles and ideas.  This is not how the real world works, though. This is the basic problem of the “legal world”.

I find the “legal world” not all that convincing.  This is because of things like these:

  • It has become so complicated that a person has to go through years of schooling just to understand it.
  • Its something that is never taught to the common people.  The “legal world” is something the legal system keeps to itself like some secret holy relic.  Most people haven’t a clue about its principles.  But, we must remember, we are judged by this unknown secret mentality that only lawyers understand!
  • It often does not follow societies beliefs and principles.
  • It tends to neglect real world and human reality.
  • It tends to cater to specific beliefs and points of view, such as liberalism, which often does not reflect the people themselves.
  • It is too reliant on abstract, mechanistic, and math-like thinking.
  • It relies on thinking that is unique to its logic, policies, and points of view.
  • It lacks wisdom.
  • It views its rulings as “final!” and the “last word!” as if it were the word of god.

I find, though, that one of the reasons why its not convincing is that it is not based in a “right” or a “truth”.  Law is actually based in expedient need.  In other words, law does not solve things by being “right” and “true” but more in the context of “its the easiest way to solve the problem”.  This is because the primary purpose of law is based in these things:

  • To end conflicts and disputes between people as simply as possible and without violence.  In this way, law is rooted in an expediency or a necessary need.  This, in actuality, is the real “need” of law, not that it is “right” or “true”.
  • Law tries to impose its principles in any way possible.  In this sense, we could say that law is based in a desperation, of trying to make a judgment that “works”.
  • It uses any form of authority to achieve this.  In this way, law is a handmaiden of the current existing form of authority.  Whatever authority is in power is what is used.  Since authority changes through the years the authority law uses changes.
  • The law is often “forced” upon people, usually the people who are adversely affected by it.   In fact, many people have judgement’s forced upon them that they, themselves, do not understand or believe in.  All they can say is, “they say the law says this is a crime”, but they don’t understand it.  I’ve seen this many times.

In this way, we could say that law is a desperate form of expediency, that is generally forced upon people, with whatever authority works, in order to limit conflict.  In this way, the law is not motivated out of “right”, as is commonly supposed.  Accordingly, one should not look at the law as a source of “right”.  Its purpose is to end problems as quickly as possible so they do not get out of control. 

THE “LEGAL ENIGMA”

We see, then, that “right” and “truth”, in actuality, do not figure that well into law.  We could then say that law is based in these three things:

  1. The use of whatever means to prevent conflict.
  2. The use of whatever authority to bring this about.
  3. The use of whatever control to enforce it.

This creates what can be called “legally justified right”.  That is, they are justified by these conditions.  What this does, though, is to create an illusion of the “right” in law.  In actuality, its a myth of right.  One could actually say that “legal right” is whatever works to accomplish those three things! 

This “legally justified right” is the beginning of the false reality of the “legal world”.  With this “legal right”, of whatever works, the false reality is given credence and truth and value.  But, as I said, the “legally justified right” is not based in an actual “right” but in “expedient need”.  These are not the same.  One could compare it to the saying “might makes right”.  The “might” of “legally justified right” makes it “right”, not that it is, in actuality, “right”.

This reveals a basic problem in law, which I call the “legal enigma”.  Basically, law is not motivated by “right” and, as a result, if never completely “right”  nor does it try to be.  But it must be firm in its rulings, asserting that it is “right”, using whatever authority is needed, in order to prevent disputes from getting out of control.  But, because it is never completely “right”, there is often a “fuzziness”, vagueness, or uncertainty that follows many legal disputes, rulings, and so on.  In other words, the fact that it is not motivated by “right” tends to cast a shadow over law of uncertainty.  To put it another way, law pretends at being “right”, with all the pomp of authority, when all its doing is trying to prevent conflict in whatever means possible . . . in actuality, these are at odds with each other. 

THE “SINGLE PATH DILEMMA OF LAW”

Because of the conditions of law, the legal system has to pretend that its rulings are the only and right path and in which there are no alternate or different paths.  This is what I call the “single path dilemma of law”.  The fact, though, is that there are always other paths and points of view that can always be taken in any legal ruling.  Things that cause these other paths and points of view include:

  • Different forms of beliefs. 
  • Different forms of authority.
  • Different schools of thought in law itself.  Just in American law, alone, there are different schools of thought of how this or that should be interpreted.  In this way, we see that law is not a science.

Because of these things most judgments of law can be disputed.  In fact, one could very well say that there are multiple paths that can be taken in most rulings.  In addition, all these different rulings can be viewed as “right” in some way or another.  But, law has to create a “single path” in order to enforce itself and be effective.  It has to “pretend” one ruling is correct over all others when, in actuality, it is not.  This, really, shows that the “single path dilemma of law” is really a continuation of the “legal dilemma”.   Law “pretends” that there is only one path to take (that is, its ruling, its decision, its points of view).  In actuality, this is not the case.  In this way, law is actually “pulling the wool over our eyes” with its “single path”, making it appear as if this is all that there is. 

In addition, in enforcing this “single path” it continues the false reality of the “legal world”, creating its own “truth” when, in fact, there are many.  As I said, a lot of the mentality of the “legal world”, that I have seen, tends to assume that there is a “single path” in law.  I get the impression that many lawyers and judges view law as a “single path”, never even considering that there can be other directions and points of view.  This tends to cause a narrow mindedness in law and in lawyers, I’ve found.  Its one of the things that puts the mentality of law under question.

THE PROBLEM OF AUTHORITY IN LAW

In order to work, law must have authority.  Over the years, there have appeared a number of different forms:

  • Religious authority.  This is law based in religious belief and principles.  We see this in Judaism and the Middle East, for example.
  • Cultural authority.  This is law based in cultural traditions, customs, and so on.
  • Political authority.  This is law based on political theory.  This is very prevalent in the U.S. and Britain.
  • Logical authority.  This refers to “legal logic” and is primarily restricted to the legal world.  In other words, it is a logic that only lawyers and judges understand.  This means it is part of the “legal world” and “mechanistic law”.

What authority is used depends on the time, place, and conditions.  In many cases, multiple authorities are used or combined in some way.  In the U.S., for example, political and logical authority are often combined.

A problem that is inherent in a large population is the problem of authority.  Typically, the larger the population, and especially the more diversified, the more authorities there are.  What one person may accept as authority is not accepted by another, for example.  In addition, the authority accepted by the legal system is not necessarily the authority accepted by the common people.  As I said above, the “legal world” tends to be removed from the real world.  Because of this, many legal rulings are using authority and logic most people don’t really accept and often aren’t even aware of.  This makes the question of authority a difficult situation in large populations.  This, it seems to me, is one of the reasons why law has sunk deeper into its “legal world” and “mechanistic law” mentality.  It gives them an illusion of a “solution” that makes sense to the legal system.  In other words, in a large population, there tends to be a degradation in religious, cultural, and political authority.  These can be called “social authorities” as they represent social authority.  Because of the degradation of these “social authorities” the law has increasingly had to turn inward into itself, away from “social authorities” and, accordingly, has had to rely on its logic and principles as a basis of its rulings.  In this way, the effect of a larger population is for law to rely increasingly on logical authority.  This has slowly turned into “mechanistic law” over time, where law is treated as a “logical problem” than an act of wisdom.  Its also made law more reliant on its own world its logic creates (the “legal world”).  In addition, because it has turned increasingly inward to its own logic it has increasingly become removed and alienated from everyday life. 

Oftentimes, because of the problem of authority of law its not uncommon that the authority the law uses must be forced in whatever way it can.   In other words, they choose the authority and impose it upon you.  I call this “legally forced authority”.  This is because they are “legally justified” not only their authority but its imposing upon you, even though you haven’t a clue what it is . . . they are satisfied in their mind (another example of the “legal world”).

The best condition, of course, would be where the authority used in law is known and understood by the people being judged.  In a large population, this is becoming less and less attainable.  Many of us listen to the rulings of law and are completely appalled.  “I don’t agree with that!” or “That’s ridiculous!” are common remarks.  I often feel that the people in the legal system, particularly judges, should listen to what people say about their system.  Very few people, that I know, agree with many rulings and tend to view them as biased or motivated by money.  In other words, most people view the legal system as corrupt in some way.  Because of this, its not something to rely on and its rulings are not to be taken seriously.  This point of view is so impactful on the perception of the legal system, and its authority, that it amazes me that the legal system hasn’t looked at it seriously.  I tend to believe that this is because the legal system lives in its “legal world” much like a hermit crab lives in its shell.  It shows a great divide between the “legal world” and the real world.

FLUID AND CONCRETE LAW

The “mechanized law” varies with the form of law.  In some forms of law the “mechanized law” mentality causes endless problems.  In other forms, it may even be beneficial.  To me, there appears to be a spectrum in law, with these two extremes:

  • Fluid law.  This are conditions which there are often many different ways of interpreting things.  This is seen a lot in social situations, such as dealing with marriage, family, and criminal law.  This form of law has a bad reputation for being “right”.
  • Concrete law.  This are conditions are typically not social in orientation, but involve non-human type of things.  Examples include trade, business, property, patent law, and similar law.  In this form of law “mechanized law” is often beneficial and has helped a lot.

Most of the failure of law is in fluid law.  Since this is more social based, the problems associated with this law are reflective of social problems.  My opinion is that law cannot really solve social problems that well but yet it tries to.  When law is used as an “attempt” to solve social problems, such as divorce law or racial problems, it often only succeeds because its rulings are “forced” upon people.  The fact that they have to “force” their rulings shows that it is not a “solution”.  In actuality, I do not view the law as sufficient authority in social matters and do not assume any of its rulings are “correct”.  I have never turned to the law as a source of how society should be and I believe there is a reason for that.  But one of the effects of its increasingly having to force its rulings in social matters is that it has increasingly “acted” as if it was the solution to social problems.  In this way, the law has often “pretended” to be the “authority in social matters” which it is not.  I often get a chuckle how law often tries to pretend to solve societies problems with its rulings.  With what I have seen of the rulings and decisions of law so far . . . so what!  Who cares what they think.  But the problem is that they are the ones who judge us!

THE PROBLEM OF KNOWING THE LAW

The law will make judgement on you whether you know the law or not.  I have always maintained that a person cannot be held accountable by a law they did not know existed.  This, to me, is common sense but we must remember that the “legal world” is removed from the real world and tends to not know what common sense is.  Remember its based in “expedient need” . . . it must make a ruling and it must be “right” according to its dictates and citing its authority.  This attitude in law tends to negate common sense.

I have always felt that a person should have some understanding of what the law expects of us.  In my life, I have had absolutely NO instruction into what the law expects me to do or not do.  All that I have learned was from hearsay or personal inquiry.  I have always jokingly said that I held the legal system “negligent” because of its failure to instruct the people what it expects them to do.  I have even went further and said:  “the legal system has been so negligent in its teaching of the law that it is not competent to make judgements.”

But there’s even more to the lack of being taught the law.  As I have looked into the legal system on my own (as the law surely wouldn’t teach us anything), I have often been appalled by their logic, mentality, and point of view.  Reading many court cases is often like reading some oddball, bizarre, and weird science fiction stories about aliens.  In science fiction stories about aliens they have to “make up” things for the aliens, often going into the bizarre and ridiculous.  To be frank, that’s what a lot of court cases look like!  The logic, points of view, etc. sound almost “made up” by the lawyers . . . they just “dress it up” with legal jargon, principles, and such to make it sound legitimate.  Many of us have heard the logic used in the courts and said, “are you kidding?”

Some of the things that have been ridiculous include:

  • What they admit and do not admit as “evidence”.
  • The procedures of the courts and how they are held.  For example, I’ve been appalled how, in some cases, everything must be done in a certain limited period of time.
  • The role and actions of the lawyers.  I’ve been appalled watching how lawyers twist and warp things to their advantage.
  • The logic and mentality they use.  Often, the logic doesn’t make any sense at all.
  • How they use the laws own “legal authorities” and policies as a basis of everything.  Often, the common people are in complete dark about it all too!  They are as if watching this play before them spoken in a foreign language.

More than once have I stated “what the crap?” after reading court cases.  Its quite clear that the legal system lives in its own world and that there is a gap between the legal system and society.

THE DILEMMA OF LAW

It seems, to me, that the current legal system seems based in conditions like these:

  • A smaller society.
  • A society where authority is defined.
  • A society where the culture is more unified.

With these conditions, law is more a part of culture and everyday life.  In conditions like this, law works better.  This is because of things like this:

  • People know the law.
  • The law is based in the culture.
  • The authority of law is accepted.
  • Its judgement’s are accepted.

Unfortunately, the conditions that cause these no longer exist.  In other words, the legal system is actually based in conditions that were existing centuries ago.  As a result, it assumes the same things, even though conditions have changed.  Some of the things that have changed include:

  • Society has become a mass society.
  • There are too many points of view, beliefs, and such.
  • There has been a breakdown of culture.

These new conditions do not match the conditions that the law is based in.  Regardless of this, the legal system is still functioning as if it is still centuries ago.  The new conditions has put a great dilemma in the legal system.

The reaction to these breakdowns primarily seem to be in the creation of “mechanistic law” and the “legal world” with its abstract disconnected thinking  . . . law is turned into something like math.  This “mechanistic law” and “legal world”, of course, treats society like a system, a big machine.  Accordingly, people and their problems are treated that way as well, as part of that machine.  On the surface – that is, on an abstract, mechanistic, and system level – it seems to work.  But it fails on the human level.  As a result, I don’t see modern law as a solution to human problems.  What this more or less shows is that, with the new conditions created by mass society and such, law is really ceasing to be a solution to human problems and problems between people as it was in the past.  In other words, law has changed primarily by becoming more ineffective.  It seems, to me, that law is primarily a “forcing” than a solving.  What’s worse, its a “forcing without understanding” in many cases.  Many people are forced to do things they don’t understand or never even knew about.  This all shows how disconnected law is.

WHY LAW CONCERNS ME

Apparently, I’m the only person who really says anything about the law. What most people do is grumble about it.  No one really seriously looks at it.  Many people tend to distance themselves from the law saying things like “its corrupt” or “its all about power” and such. They are really only expressing their helplessness to it.  In other words, most people don’t have any interest in it and tend to distance themselves from it.  But I seem to be particularly concerned about it.  I tend to feel it is a result of a number of things such as:

  • I can see that there is a deeper relevance in the nature and meaning of law.  Its not just policies, rulings, judgments, and such.  It goes deeper.
  • As I have looked at other cultures (that haven’t broken down like the U.S.) I can see that there is naturally appearing close association between law, culture, and everyday life.  I can see that law is a significant contributor to life and how to lead it.  In this way, it makes law a significant part of life.
  • The power of law.  There is a lot of abuse of power in American law, of manipulation, corruption, distortion, etc.  It doesn’t take a genius to see that.
  • I am appalled by what I see in American law.  The absurdity, ridiculousness, and such is embarrassing and disgraceful to me.
  • The deeper meaning of it all.  I very well know that the “mechanistic law” and all that, shows a breakdown of this society.  It says a lot about this country.
  • The fact that I believe in law.  I believe in what the law represents and want to believe and respect it.  Much of American law, though, isn’t giving me that much cause to do that.

At the base of all these is really a concern about the nature and meaning of law.  I seem to be the only person, that I know, who inquires about these aspects of law.  I don’t look at law as policies, procedures, and such.  I look at its meaning in life and what its nature is. Looking at things from this perspective makes things look totally different.  I know, from conversations with people, that my looking at things in this way reveals a whole other side to it that people don’t see.  It makes me look at law more seriously.  I also look at it as reflection of who we are.  In addition, I see it as something that affects us and our life.

AFTERTHOUGHT

Overall, what I seem to see in law is a basic disconnect between the law, authority, culture, everyday life, and the people.  My feelings is that this is far more bigger and serious than it seems.  In fact, this great disconnect is one of the reasons why law figures less and less in peoples minds.  In most cultures, there is such an association between the law and culture that they are often intertwined.  As a result, it figures in peoples everyday life and everyday behavior.  In the U.S. the law has become so disconnected, and the “legal world” has become so extensive, that there is less and less an association between the law and culture.  As a result, the law isn’t even a thought in peoples minds and doesn’t figure in everyday life.  Because of this, many people do not know if this or that is illegal.  Just in the past several weeks, for example, I’ve heard several discussions where people were wondering what a person is supposed to do legally in certain situations while driving.  Basically, no one knew!


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Current affairs and events, Law and legal stuff, Modern life and society, Society, The U.S. and American society | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on the value of degree’s with remarks about some of the problems and illusions they create

In a recent conversation I said something interesting . . . I said that degree’s were misleading, an illusion, and not what they seem.  It made me wonder of their value.  Here are some of my thoughts:

PURPOSES OF THE DEGREE

It seems, to me, that there tends to be several different purposes of the degree.  These are:

  1. The degree as some sort of “certification”.  The “degree” really began with the Catholic church as something like a “certification” of a priest, saying that he “knew the information and doctrine”.  This shows that a degree is a form of “certification” from its earliest origin. Its basis in the church may be why there is still great ceremony surrounding the degree.  In this form, it is primarily used for practical reasons and that the people using it see it only for practical means . . . it shows that the person knows what they are doing.
  2. The degree as a “badge of distinction”.  In this type, it is primarily sought for social prestige or status.  Specific fields, specific Universities, and specific scholastic accomplishments (such as a PhD) are often sought in order to achieve this.  It makes a person look good and can even help a person “get ahead”, even if it has no real practical value.
  3. The degree as a “human robot”.  This is primarily a manifestation of work and jobs. The idea behind this form of degree is that it says that the people “know everything before they are hired”.  In other words, the degree is treating the employee much like a “turnkey system”, already to go, just plug it in and it goes.  In short, a degree is used to make human robots geared to perform a specific function.

I tend to feel that the degree was originally created as something like a “certification” and that is its primary value.  As a result of this, the question of the value of a degree, in my opinion, really rests on its “certification” qualities.  This means that the importance of a degree primarily rests in what it certifies.  The “badge of distinction” is just social prestige and status . . . really, it has no practical value.  The “human robot” is taking this “certification” quality more to the extreme, to guarantee that a person “knows what to do”.

But the big question is what needs to be certified?  Does someone knowing how to work AutoCAD, for example, require a degree as a “certification”?  As a draftsman for a quarter of a century, I’d say no.  I don’t believe a person needs to have a degree in drafting to do it, but they need to know how to do it.  A degree, with all the general ed, miscellaneous classes, and such, seems an overkill to me and completely unnecessary.  I tend to believe that a person could do things like take night classes, on-the-job training, or an apprentice program and that would be sufficient.  This is because drafting is just “something one learns to do”, like learning how to cook or drive a car.  Its not like some great complicated beast of a thing like surgery.  A person only needs to learn how to do it.  In other words, I tend to believe that “something one learns to do” does not need “certification” (that is, a degree), only the knowledge of how to do it.  They don’t need to know all the other stuff that is required for a degree.  In actuality, most people forget it in a matter of years anyways.  As a rule, I tend to feel that degree’s are a waste of time and money for most people and fields.  The bulk of fields is nothing but “something one learns to do” which don’t require a degree (at least, in my opinion).

It seems, to me, that degree’s, with all their complexity, should only be used when several qualities are needed:

  1. The need for an overall base of knowledge (meaning general education, which is needed in some fields but not many, such as a teacher).
  2. The need for the learning of a mass of critical information (such as all the information required to be an Engineer).
  3. Where there is great responsibility in what one does (such as a Medical Doctor, to ensure that they know what they are doing).  

Fields that fit these qualities include an Medical Doctor, Engineering, Law, and such.  These fields require a degree as a “certification”.  Most fields don’t need the extent of what these require, I don’t think.  As a general rule, most fields do not fit in these three qualities.

THE PREVALENCE OF THE “HUMAN ROBOT” POINT OF VIEW

With the way business and the economy is now many companies want a person to be more than certified. They want them to be a “human robot” that knows what to do the day they are hired.  Examples of what causes this include:

  • Big companies with a large turnover of employee’s.  They don’t want to continually teach people what to do.
  • Companies where people are just “cogs in the machine”, behaving much like a machine.
  • With the new technologically based “machine economy” the person, as a “human robot”, has its benefits.  It makes people fit the “machine economy” environment better.  In other words, people have to make themselves like a machine in order to fit into the “machine economy”.

Recently, the “human robot” point of view has become increasingly critical.  In many cases, it has become the reason for degree’s and its main value.  It says to the employer, “here is a human robot who has been pre-programmed”.  But one of the effects of the “human robot” point of view is that it has given the degree a quality that is not a lot of different than “programming a computer”.  The person, in this case, is whats “programmed” to do a specific function, task, or work.  What this means is that, in the “human robot” point of view, the person is treated much like a computer, of something that has been “programmed”.  Accordingly, they are expected to behave like a computer in the working world, to do “what its programmed to do”.  I should point out that this doesn’t just mean that we are talking about menial-like work, such as working some machinery.  It could also include intellectual-like work, such as some Medical Doctors and Engineers, for example.  In fact, I have been surprised how many intellectual-like work is becoming more and more “robotic” in nature, to the point that many of these jobs are really no different than being something like a “human calculator” to solve specific problems.  The fact is that a lot of work nowadays, both menial and intellectual, is becoming increasingly “robotic” in nature, requiring “human robots”.  Accordingly, this point of view is becoming increasingly prevalent.

The main value of the “human robot” point of view is:

  • From the employers perspective:  the employee is a “robot” that will do his job with minimal effort and expense.
  • From the employee’s perspective:  a wage

The prevalence of the “human robot” point of view seems to be a result of the conditions of business and economy today.  As a result, the “human robot” point of view is one of necessity that the times have created, both for the employer and employee.  Because of this, it has increasingly become a common reason for a degree.

THE HISTORICAL PROGRESSION OF THE DEGREE

It seems like there is a historical progression of the degree.  It seems to go in this pattern:

  • The Church.  The degree is something that descends from when the University was controlled by the church and was primarily for clerical or church purposes.  In other words, it wasn’t to train doctors, lawyers, engineers, and such.  It was primarily a place where people learned church matters.  A degree often allowed them to rise up in the church.  This phase seemed to give a quality of holiness or sanctity to degrees.  This began in the early middle ages.
  • Politics.  Over time, the church became associated with politics.  As a result, many people in the church would be involved in politics and the power associated with it.  This would give a degree an even greater social status and importance in the society.  It also gave it a political power.  This phase seemed to give a quality of power to degrees. This seemed to appear during the Crusades.
  • The learning of the classics.  The discovery, and growth, of the Greek and Roman classics were added to the curriculum.  People like Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates became a requirement.  Because this is not inherently associated with the church or politics it gave a new dimension to degree’s.  It seemed that “knowledge for knowledge sake” became more important, and not church or politics.  Because of this it increasingly became associated with “common people” (non-church people and non-politicians).  In some respects, it was when the “common people” began to learn the classics at the University that the idea of the “educated” appeared, as if to imply that the “common man has become elevated above his station”.  This gave this almost magical and, sometimes, superhuman quality to the idea of education, which persists to this day.  This phase gave qualities to degree’s such as social status (“educated”) and “knowing things”.  This began to get particularly strong during the late middle ages.  This phase would help the establishment of the next phase.
  • Social status. This began primarily after the French Revolution and, in some respects, is in response to it.  Getting a degree became a way to turn the “common man into a nobleman”, so to speak.  In other words, it “broke the social structure”, reflecting the ideals of the French Revolution.  Because of this, it was often looked at very highly and was greatly esteemed.  Many common people would get a degree for this reason alone.  This phase gave a quality of something esteemed and social importance to degree’s.  This phase would particularly be supported by the next phase.
  • Science.  With the coming of science, and what it created, the University would become associated with scientific knowledge.  As a result, a person had to “know this” and “know that”.  In some respects, this phase is just a continuation of the Classics phase, except that it changed to scientific knowledge.  This gave the quality of novelty and “knowing stuff” to degree’s.  This phase got really established in the mid 1800’s.
  • Professions.  Science would create many new professions.  As a result, a degree would be associated with this profession.  With the “regulation” of many professions (such as medicine or engineering) a degree would be required.  This phase gave the quality of social status and wealth to degree’s.  This appeared in the late 1800’s.
  • Trades and jobs in general.  The industrial and consumer revolution created many new trades and jobs.  Many of these were new and, because of that, would follow the already existing pattern of degrees for professions.  They ended up creating “lesser degree’s” but followed the framework of the professions, of learning all this stuff that you don’t need to know and is unnecessary.  In actuality, a lot of these news jobs are really “something you learn to do”.  This phase gave the quality of “accessibility to the common man” and making a living to degree’s.  This phase started to grow in the early 1900’s.

The progression of the degree seems to follow this pattern but, keep in mind, that when one phase appeared the previous didn’t die.  One phase did not supplant the previous one.  In actuality, each new phase tended to be something that was additional, that gave a new dimension to degree’s.  As a result, qualities found in each phase are often seen associated with degree’s.  Which quality is most prevalent, though, depends on the field you’re in.  As a result, in one field the quality of “knowing stuff” is most important.  In another it is social status.

What the different stages of degree’s shows is that the awarding of degree’s reflects the societies values and conditions during that era.  That doesn’t necessarily mean it is important or necessary . . . its what is viewed as important and necessary at that time.  What this means is that degree’s were not really created out of the context of a practical working situation but as a manifestation of the ideals and conditions of an eraIn other words, degree’s were not really created out of need and requirement.  This is part of the illusion of degree’s . . . they often only “appear” to be important.

THE MYTH OF THE “EDUCATED”

A myth that I used to hear a lot when I was a kid is that degree’s somehow “make better people” or it, somehow, puts people on a higher plane.  At one time even I believed that.  This attitude is actually a mixture of several qualities found during different phases of the degree, as described above.  These include:

  • The influence of the church – a degree makes a person on a “higher” reality, divine, holy, or even super-human.
  • The influence of social status – they rise above the common people and become something like nobility.
  • The influence of professions – they make a living that gives the wealth to act important.

These qualities tend to create this idea that an “educated” person is this great person that is better than everyone else.  But when I went to the University I found that this was not true.  I did not see any proof (and still haven’t) that an “educated” person is better than an uneducated person.  In fact, my inquiry and experience has shown that the most descent, genuine, natural, and intelligent people tend to have little education or are uneducated.  The more educated the more phony and artificial a person is, typically.  One reason why is that they have spent too much time listening to other peoples ideas and such . . . they haven’t had time to develop themselves or their abilities.  Most of what they do is repeat what they heard or read in class which gives the illusion of intelligence.  This brings up the question of over-education . . .

PROBLEMS OF OVER-EDUCATION

In actuality, I tend to view that going to the University or College – “advanced schooling” – is something most people should not do.  In other words, I tend to view that too much schooling adversely affects most people.  To me, “advanced schooling” is something only some people should be doing. My general feeling that, after learning the basic stuff for life, its better for most people to NOT do any “advanced schooling”.  If they do go on to “advanced schooling” then its because of things like these:

  • They have to do it in order to pursue some other motive, such as to become an officer in the military.
  • They are inclined to do it, such as by a great desire or “dream”.
  • They have an ability which makes them want to develop or use it.

Most people, from my experience, continue on to “advanced schooling” for other lesser reasons, such as:

  • They want to make more money.  I was surprised when I went to the University how many people really didn’t even have that much of an interest in their field of study . . . it was all about the money.
  • Because they are told to do it or its expected of them.  This has become increasingly prevalent nowadays, where public school system is literally “forcing” kids to go the University.
  • Because everyone else is doing it.  This seems a problem with girls nowadays . . . all their friends are going so they have to.

In my opinion, none of these are good enough reasons.  Sadly, they are probably some of the most prevalent reasons.

The prevalence of people going for these “lesser reasons” has created, in my opinion, a degradation in scholarship nowadays.  I generally speak of this as the “cheap scholar”, which I think is becoming more and more of a problem.  Basically, the “cheap scholar” is someone who has no real interest or ability but is able to do what the system requires to pass.  Accordingly, they “appear” to be scholars but really aren’t.  Personally, I think the “cheap scholar” is a threat to scholarship nowadays.

Making everyone continue on to “advanced schooling” causes a lot of problems for people.  Some of the things it causes include:

  • It makes everyone the “same”, with the same thoughts, the same point of view, the same basic knowledge, the same perspectives, etc.  They’ve all read the same material, are told the same stuff, and all from the same point of view as everyone else.  Modern schooling is a “blur of sameness”.  More than once have I compared the schooling system to an “assembly line” because that is what it is.  Because of this, it actually impairs peoples ability to “develop on their own”.  It does make the masses more alike, though, almost like robots.  For this society, this sometimes seems like an ideal.
  • It impairs natural abilities.  I seem to feel that there are many natural abilities that are being destroyed or neglected by over-education.  For many people, the abilities destroyed or neglected are often the qualities that need to be developed.
  • It tends to favor a specific type of person.  This is usually a person who has an ability to do what is required.  This ability, I should note, is not necessarily the same as being “intelligent” or “educated”, though it may appear to be the case.  Its primarily a person who displays the qualities the system or system “thinks” is important.
  • Most people do not fit the character of person described above.  As a result, many people will try to force themselves to be that type of person, even though they aren’t like that.  In other words, over-education tends to alienate people from themselves and who they are.
  • It tends to create too many people who “know” things that have no value in the real world and life.
  • It creates a condition where people live in an “abstract world” detached from everyday life.
  • It creates illusionary abilities.  Many people develop this idea that they have abilities they don’t have.  This is because they are repeating what someone else did and, because they understand it, they think that it originated from them.  This, I think, is far more prevalent than what it may seem.
  • It is a waste of money, time, effort, and stress.  Many people waste these things when it could of been put to better use in other ways.

Personally, I think there should be a movement away from education and “advanced schooling” for most people.  The time and energy that is used for “advanced schooling” could be used for other ends.

In my opinion, a degree typically means that someone has only “done what the system wants” . . . it doesn’t guarantee anything more than that In other words, they learned what the system views as important.  They learned it, repeated it on a test, and all in the way the system views as important.  This brings up the question: who made the school system the authority in what constitutes education and learning and how to measure it?  I sure didn’t!  Frankly, I don’t view the schooling system as the authority in these matters.  I don’t go to the Harvard Admissions Department to find out what the qualifications of an “educated” person are.  I’ve always said that if everyone in history had to pass the modern school system, and get a degree, very little would of happened in the world.  The main reason why is that there are qualities, abilities, and attributes that the schooling system doesn’t not take into consideration and are probably unaware of.  Not only that, a lot of people in the world are not scholastically inclined anyways.  I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people who did things in the world probably would of failed in school.  Basically, the modern school systems limited scope of vision, particularistic requirements, and method of measurement would of excluded a lot of people.  That’s how accurate I view the methods of the modern school system!

And doing what the school system wants doesn’t necessarily mean or guarantee that a person is knowledgeable, “smart”, “educated”, or anything like that.  In fact, I’ve talked with quite a few people who have expressed how dumb University students are.  I don’t view University trained people as “intelligent” or “educated” necessarily (though they could prove themselves that way . . . most don’t).  To be frank, I tend to consider people who go to the University as “University robots” who have done nothing but what the system wanted and so are “robots to the University system”.  As a result, they tend to only know “University system stuff”.  With the prevalence of the “human robot” point of view, though, this is what this society wants at this time and thinks is neat.  I don’t agree with that.

AFTERWORD

In my opinion, the main value of a degree is as a “certification”.  The times, though, has created a need for the “human robot” and the degree is used to ensure that.  It seems, to me, that they have gone a little “overboard” with degree’s and are making everything require a degree including “something that is learned”, which is unnecessary and an overkill.


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Education and learning, Historical stuff, Modern life and society, The 'system' and 'systemism' | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on how to watch the news media with remarks about problems associated with news media

Recently, I have thought a lot on the news media and how one should watch it.  This has been prompted especially by the nonsense, panic, and hysteria that surrounds President Trump recently (see my article “Thoughts on a media-induced mass hysteria . . . the “Trump panic”“).   My observation is that the news media is largely responsible for creating this hysteria and panic, which has gotten out of control.   In addition, they are responsible for keeping it going.  Not only that, the news media has been successful primarily because everyone has been so gullible, believing whatever it says without question.  In short, the combination of the news media and the gullible people have created a mass hysteria and panic which is unnecessary, destructive, and basically over nothing.  This shows that how one watches the news can have great impact.  The result of this observation is that I began to think about how one should watch the news media.  Here are some of my thoughts: How one watches the news is very important.  By “how” I mean things such as these:

  • Why do you watch the news?  What is the purpose for watching the news?  What do you intend to get out of it?  Why listen to the news at all?
  • The stance you take when learning the news.  What’s your position in relation to news?  Do you really care?  Do you really care about any of the “issues”?
  • The attitude you take in regard to news.  Is it meaningful to you?  Do you look for news to find problems?  Do you look for news to find facts?

The “how” will determine what you get out of the news, how you interpret it, how it affects you, and how it affects your world view.  In short, the “how” determines what you get out of the news.  Unfortunately, this is something most people never think of.  People generally hear or read news and blindly react to it without thought or consideration.  Though this may sound comical my observation is that people really need to “prepare” for news.  A person needs to go through their minds what they want out of the news, what they are looking for, and so on.  The thing is to avoid blindly listen to the news which leads to blindly reacting to the news.  When this happens its basically the blind leading the blind.  Blindly reacting to news tends to cause things like over-reactions, misinterpretations, blowing things out of proportion, villainizing, false threats, panic, hysteria, and such. What this more or less says that anyone who listens to the news has a responsibility.  That is to say, a person who listens to the news has a responsibility in how they interpret it and react to it.  There seems to be this belief that a person can interpret and react to the news anyway they want and that they are immune of the consequences.  This is not the case.  Ones reaction to the news is their responsibility, not the news!  In this way, one can speak of “responsibly listening to the news”.

THE QUESTION OF TRUTH OF THE NEWS MEDIA

One thing is to never assume what the news media says is true.  As a general rule, I do not look up the news for “information” nor do I view it as THE “source of information”.  In fact, I don’t regularly watch or read the news.  My confrontation of the news is generally because I “happened” to see it somewhere.  I make no effort to see what the news media says, unless I have a specific reason to.  This is because I treat the news media much like gossip or “hearsay”.  As a result, I do not cater to it.  In other words, I do not accept the news as authority and something to be relied on exclusively.  I only view it as something that a news agency or journalist said.  Who made their opinions right?  And who made them the authority in things? My general stance toward news is:  “It could be true but I don’t assume that it is”.  This perspective is not as easy as it sounds as it requires a person to waver between truth and untruth.  It seems, to me, that the inability to do this is one of the main reasons why people so easily believe whatever the news says.  People tend to need a black and white orientation . . . its either true or not true.  Since the news says “something” the tendency is to view it as “true”, whether it is or not.  It makes everything simple.  But, in doing this, people tend to believe whatever the news media dishes out.  It seems that some people even look to the news media to find a certainty in the world.  The “wavering between truth and untruth” seems to require a specific type of person.  That is to say, not everyone can do it.  Some of the qualities it requires include:

  • An attitude of caution.  A person must always be cautious of what the news media states.
  • The ability to hear things and not assume its true . . . develop a doubtfulness.  Many people tend to hear something and automatically assume that its true.  In other words, once they heard it or read it becomes true in their mind.
  • The ability to accept that one “does not know what’s going on”.  Many people have a hard time with this, I’ve found.   People want to know or, rather, they want to think they know.  As a result, they are easily swayed into believing that they do know by the news media.  In fact, this is one of the appeals of the news.  Because of this, many people have a hard time saying something like this:  “despite what they say, I still don’t know what’s going on”.  In other words, people tend to have a hard time hearing something and admitting that they still don’t know, for sure, what’s going on.
  • An awareness and watchfulness . . . a continual vigil and “being on guard”.  Its easy to fall to what they media says . . .  it always sounds true.  A person must continually watch what one hears and how they react.
  • An awareness of ones gullibility.  Many people do not realize how gullible they are and, accordingly, assume they aren’t.  But, the fact is that we all are.  Its good to watch how one responds to things and to watch ones gullibility in action.  I think many people would be amazed by how gullible they really are.

Many of these requires a self-awareness and a humility.  A person must know ones self and how one reacts to things.  In addition, one must have the humility to admit that one does not know, is gullible, etc. My experience is that people who are cautious with the news media tends to be very self-aware.  People who believe everything the news says tend to have little self-awareness.  In other words, there is an association between self-awareness and being gullible to the news media.  In this way, being cautious with the news is often a way of discovering aspects of ones self.

TECHNIQUES OF THE NEWS MEDIA

Its also good to watch for the techniques the news media uses in its portrayal of the news. The reality is that most news is actually opinion, not fact.  This is something one should be aware of when listening or reading the news.  In fact, it would be best to assume all news is opinion, regardless of what it is.  The news media is not a science and its not the Bible. Some of the techniques the news media uses include:

  • Hype.  This is a tendency to cater to certain themes excessively, generally to “touch a nerve” with the population so they will get more people reading the news.   Often, it uses great distortion, blowing things out of proportion, twisting things around, and bias.
  • Villainizing.  This is a tendency to portray particular people or things in a particularly bad way.
  • Sanctifying.  This is a tendency to portray particular people or things as “saints” or some great thing.
  • Neglect.  This is a tendency to neglect certain themes in the media.  Because its not reported people are not aware of it.  The fact is that what the news media does not report is often revealing.

In general, the news media tends to “twist things to its orientation”.  As a result, each news agency tends to cater to a particular point of view.  This fact is often neglected and not considered.  People tend to view all news as unbiased and a statements of facts, particularly if its from a “big news agency” such as CNN or NBC.  A good example is “The Salt Lake Tribune”.  This news agency is particularly biased toward a liberal point of view which is why I call it “The Salt Lake Biased Tribune”.  I often read it to not only laugh at the liberal nonsense (which is often hilarious, by the way) but to learn about the liberal mentality.  I sometimes play a game with myself.  I’ll hear of an event in the news and then say, “let me guess . . . The Salt Lake Tribune will portray it this way . . .” The next day I eagerly look at the paper and see what it says.  I’m often right.  Do you understand what this means, if a person knows the mentality of a specific news agency they can sometimes predict how it will portray the news!  This fact, alone, shows how much news agency twists things around.  The moral of the story:  you can’t assume everything a news agency puts out is gospel!

THERE ARE DIFFERENT TYPES OF NEWS AFTER ALL

The news is not all of one type, of course.  There are actually different types of news.  In fact, there is actually something like a spectrum. On one end of the spectrum is what can be called “concrete news”.  This is news that is hard to distort or twist around.  A good example is the weather or stocks.  Generally, with this type of news they are describing a situation.  Typically, this type is news is not social in orientation. On the other end of the spectrum is what can be called “fluid news”.   This is news that is easily distorted, twisted around, and is greatly influenced by personal opinion and bias. Typically, it entails social issues . . . the more social the more “fluid”.  What this shows is that the more the news is related to society and social issues the more “fluid” it becomes and, accordingly, the more easily distorted.  As a result, any news involving social issues must be looked at with great caution.  This includes news about subjects such as these:

  • People
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Entertainment
  • Crime

I’ve often been amazed by how much this type of news is nothing but opinion.  Different news agencies, and different people, will give different explanations and interpretations.  But when the news media says it there is this aura of “officialness” to it.  Its actually this type of “officialness” that one must be cautious of.

THE BUSINESS OF NEWS MEDIA

We must also remember that news media is business.  I’ve often told people that too, reminding them that the news is in the business of having people look at their paper, site, news program, or what have you.  As a result, they “do what it takes” to get that business.  In some respects, the news media is like a big advertising agency, “selling” what they think the consumer (the people) will “buy”.  As a result, the news media will often twist things around, add things, delete things, etc. to make it more “appealing” to the consumers, the people.  What this means is that the news media tends to “dress” up the news to make it more “appealing” to the consumer.  This can even go to the point of making up stories as I, myself, have seen.  Here are several instances:

  • In one instance, I know of a person who was murdered by his wife.  During the hearing a journalist was there from a specific newspaper.  He was only there for about half the hearing.  When we looked at what the newspaper said about the hearing they had completely distorted the situation, making the husband look like some evil bad man.  Everyone was pissed.  The guy didn’t even get the whole story but, yet, he wrote a story in the newspaper!  He was catering to the “battered wife” image, which was not correct.  They apparently viewed that as more appealing to the people than the “mentally ill” issue, which is more accurate.
  • I can remember when the U.S. bombed Bagdad many years ago.  I sat and watched CNN as this situation was interesting to me.  As I sat and watched it I saw how the news media, frankly, had nothing much to report.  All they knew is that Bagdad was being bombed and had some footage of it, but could not say much more.  Every so often they had commentators on it talking a little bit about the situation, citing their opinion of what they think is going on.  But, still, there was really no concrete news to report.  I then began to see these journalists start to state “could be’s”, “maybe’s”, “might be’s”, and such.  Over time, the “maybe’s” slowly changed to facts that they were now “reporting”.  The problem is that they weren’t facts.  It was actually sort of neat watching this happen before my eyes.  But it also stunned me and I never watched CNN after that.

A lot of news media will do anything to “make a sell” and this fact must be remembered.  Often, they distort, change, and view things from an angle that they believe their consumers will believe.  Some news, even, caters to specific crowds of people or themes (such as “liberal news”).

THE AUTHORITY OF THE NEWS MEDIA

One big illusion is the”big news agencies”, such as ABC, NBC, CNN, and such.  Because they are so “big” they give the appearance of being “general” in its orientation and that they do not cater to specific people, points of view, and so on.  In actuality, though, the “big news agencies” is not so “general” as it may seem, and are often very biased.  Some examples of bias include:

  • They are often liberal in orientation.
  • They tend to favor “white people”.
  • They tend to be secular in orientation (that is, they concern themselves with the general “mob” of people and not specific groups of types of people).
  • They tend to favor the U.S. over other western or industrialized countries.
  • They tend to favor western society, law, belief, etc. over those seen in foreign lands.

In this way, we can see that the orientation of the news tends to reflect things like these:

  • The culture and belief system of the society.
  • The situation and conditions of the country.
  • Who or what is in power.

In other words, the general stance of the news media is as an interpretation and it uses the various forms of social “powers-that-be” as an authority to give their interpretation authority.  This is one reason why people in that society tend to acknowledge news as being “right”, as the news media bases it on the social “powers-that-be” that most people accept.  Of course, if you don’t accept it then you will see otherwise.  Many foreign people, for example, can see the “wrong” or distortion in another countries news.  In addition, people who do not watch the news (such as myself) can often see the bias in news reporting.  This, of course, is not seen by the people who watch the news and believe the authority of the news media.  What this reveals is that the believability of the news media is very much based in a particular belief system.  For the news media to work they have to cater to that belief system.  In addition, for a person to believe the news they have to also cater to that belief system.  The common denominator between the news media and the people:  the belief system.

THE “POPULAR BELIEF SYSTEM”

To me, much of the news media seems to cater to a particular type of belief system, what can be called a “popular belief system”.  This is a belief system that has qualities such as:

  • It is very socially oriented.
  • It tends to cater to the people as a whole, as a “mob”.
  • It tends to cater to popular and accepted thoughts, points of views, etc.
  • Any controversies or disputes are looked at from “accepted” ways.
  • Any conflict of point of view tends to lean toward the point of view of the majority of their consumers (news is, after all, a business).

This belief system, then, caters to what is “popular”.  Being a business, the news media survives by catering to the “popular”, not by catering to the “unpopular”.  This, in itself, is a bias. The “popular belief system”, though, rarely matches what many people think in private.  As a result, when one looks at the news, and what people think, there is always a big gap.  In many cases, people just flat off refute the news and its points of view.  There are even many people who view the news as a joke.  Interestingly, I’ve found that the people who tend to not believe the news tends to be more “individualistic”.  People who tend to believe the news tends to be people who “follow the crowd” . . . like “sheep”.  To be frank, I tend to view people who believe everything the news dishes out as “sheep” and look down on them.  In other words, I don’t cater to the “popular belief system”.

THE QUESTION OF “RESPONSIBLE” REPORTING OF THE NEWS

The general assumption is that the news media is responsible in its reporting.  My observation, though, does not support this.  This is not to say that all news media is irresponsible in its reporting.  My feelings is that its best to assume that the news media is not reporting in a responsible way.   I’m sure that we can start a big debate on what “responsible” means.  To me, it means “reporting things as-they-are and that is relevant”.  This would mean that it has qualities such as:

  • They report “news” exactly as it happens.
  • They are without opinion and interpretation.
  • They are unbiased.
  • They are impartial.
  • It is not frivolous.

This condition, though, is not as easy to maintain as it may seem.  In fact, its probably almost impossible.  Because of this, “responsible” reporting is hard to maintain and tends to become compromised.  In other words, the nature of news media is that it cannot maintain a “responsible” stance in its reporting.  Some of the things that create this condition include:

  • Some news agencies will deliberately distort, twist, and modifying things in order to suit their own ends, to fit their agenda, to satisfy their consumers mentality, to follow social trend, etc.
  • The fact that reporting news, as it happens, is actually boring and dull.  People probably wouldn’t watch the news if only the “facts” were reported.  As a result, news is often “fancied up”.  When they do this, though, it tends to distort the news.
  • The need to appeal to their consumers and cater to their wants.  As I said above, news is a business.

What all this more or less means is that the news media, in actuality, is not really reporting “actual news” but a “fancied up news”.  This fact must be understood when looking at the news.  If anyone understands this there can only be one conclusion: that the news media cannot be relied upon and one shouldn’t believe everything they say, no matter how convincing it may seem.  To put it another way, the news media is not a reliable place to find the “news”.

THE NEWS MEDIA AS A RELIABLE SOURCE OF INFORMATION FOR IMPORTANT EVENTS SUCH AS AN ELECTION

From what we have seen above the news media is not that reliable.  This brings up the question:  can the news media be relied upon to give reliable information during an important event, such as an election?  I think the answer to that is “it could but I wouldn’t count on it”.  The problem with the news media is that there are too many variables, too many opinions, too much business, and such.  All this muddles the reporting, creating an increased likelihood of biased and distorted reporting.  In short, the news media cannot be relied upon to give reliable information about important events, such as an election.  I think this fact was brought out in the 2016 Presidential election where the media gave horribly biased and condemning reports about the candidates, particularly about Trump.  It did this with such an intensity that much of the country went into a panic over it.  As I watched this happen before my eyes, it put the nature of the news media under question . . . and all its led to is doubts.

There is now the question:  if we cannot rely on the news media then what can we rely on?  I can’t fully answer that question.  I think that the reason why is that it shows a basic problem with the news media.  The news media is the main source of “news” about the world, politics, and such, but, as we’ve seen above, it cannot be relied upon and tends to be biased.  How, then, do we get that information?  My feelings is that we will never really fully know what is going on.  All we get is “bits and pieces”, some true, some false, but the full facts we never know.  The thing is that it has always been that way.  The creation of the news media, particularly with TV, has given us the illusion not only that it gives accurate news and information, but that we actually can know what’s going on.  The fact of the matter is that we never do know the facts, nor did we ever know, even with news media.  In some respects, the TV, internet, and such has given us a grand illusion these past 70 or so years, making us believe things that aren’t really true.  I think its time to admit the failing of the news media and to look at it from that perspective.  Some of what we should understand are these things:

  • The news media is not a reliable source of information. 
  • We should not immediately assume the news media is correct.
  • Accept that we never really know what’s going on, despite what we are told, and how convincing it seems.

AFTERTHOUGHT

You must keep in mind that this is not saying that the news media is all bad.  That’s not the case, but it has some serious flaws that a person must be aware of.  Sometimes, the news is a statement of facts.  Sometimes, its a big lie.  Sometimes, its a lot of hype.  A person has to be alert and watch for what type of news is being dished out and learn to believe or not believe it. 


Copyright by Mike Michelsen 

Posted in 2016 Presidential election and things associated with it, Current affairs and events, Government and politics, Life in general, Modern life and society, News media and the news, Society | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment