Movies at Face Value

The golden screen can once again become a source of quality, passive entertainment. One of the steps is to unplug from the hidden messaging of the past and instead look to clearer plots that are more of what they seem.

Plato placed warnings about artists and impact of art. Present-day use of art using movies and media can often be more than it seems. A great podcast covers some of this in: Hollywood is a Collapsing Covert Operation – Jay Dyer Campaign for Liberty Speech.

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Live Today With Clarity

Fear is a major part of being alive. Most people and many creatures feel and experience fear. It is true that acknowledging fear is a part of survival and the instinct to know what to avoid. On many occassions, your fear becomes a way to stay alive socially and physically. The problem is when you let your life become dominated by fear.

What is wrong with being dominated by fear? Primarily, fear becomes a means to actually reduce your full experience of life. That is a problem because people don’t live forever on this Earth. When you pass away, you are gone from this life. If you spent too much time in fear, you’ve actually lost some of that time.

  • Do not be afraid to speak up.
  • Do not be afraid to explore.
  • Do not be afraid to be yourself.

You are entitled to those 3 things just for being alive. While it is true that others can take those things away from you as it is possible to be silenced, restricted in your expression, and suppressed in your personality, you still have the option in most cases to do those 3 things and be more of who you could be.

Therefore, do not live in fear if you can avoid it because the benefits of being more your true self is greater. It goes without saying that if you are a sociopath, psychopath, mean, bitter, and vindictive person, that is not the type of “yourself” spoken about here, but other than that, be yourself and live life if you can.

A good book that reinforces this is “The Obstacle is the Way” by Ryan Holiday. Counterintuitively, it is a book that describes Ancient Greco-Roman views on existence from the Stoic point of view. After reading that book you come away with a sense that though there is a lot of pain you can experience in this life, you can work through the pain, the difficulties, the turmoils, and dissapointments and if you persist through them and the fear, you can encounter a type of psychological oasis that can propel you day to day.

Sometimes fear is useful but only when contained. Place fear in its appropriate place and work through it and despite it, and you can have more moments of clarity. The ability to think right is highly valuable and useful. That clarity is vital to living and having the opportunity to live better.

NFL Flag Kneeling for the Constitution

You don’t really believe in something unless you choose it freely …

Freedom is a big deal in the United States and at the core of being free is the freedom of choice. A person does well not to be fake and say they believe in something they don’t really believe only because it is popular. People can feel pressure to state their loyalty to a cause when the majority around them say they should say it that way.

The problem is you don’t really have freedom if people are socially or institutionally forced to uphold symbols of freedom. That becomes ironic and another way to suppress freedom of speech. That freedom of speech brings us to another symbol.

The Constitution came before the American Flag, existed before the American Flag and is the true symbol behind the Flag. Indeed, there were multiple versions of the flag but always one Constitution. When the Flag is understood as a representation of the U.S. Constitution, the protests by NFL players come more obvious.

The protests are not a denigration of the Flag but actually a defense of the Flag. What is on display when the player’s kneel is their communication to society that the U.S. Constitution is not being upheld when people are disenfranchised; oppressed by the government; and robbed of their life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Therefore, company rules to prohibit their exercise of their right under the 1st Amendment to express their dissent over the treatment of minorities is governed under the U.S. Constitution that underwrites the existence of the Flag.

The American Flag is an important symbol of the aspirations of the founders of the U.S. to embody the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution. That includes the space to say something is not right in the affairs of society and that, for them, to stand as if everything is alright would be, for them, actual hypocrisy. That they decide to kneel is in the very best traditions of protests that are actually defense of the ideals that made America the inspiration in the first place.

Symbols can fail to hold up for all involved. The American Flag as a representation of the U.S. Constitution that underwrites that existence of the U.S. must be a document that inspires us all to relieve the oppression of minorities; to see the recovery of potential and success of all persons; freedom from unwanted search, seizure, and surveillance; and that the Declaration of Independence is true … that we are all in it together with none lesser or greater but that we all work to make life more pleasant for all. The failure of upholding that, making that a reality is the what the NFL players’ kneeling represents.

Are the NFL players the right people for this? Well, if not them … who? They entered professional sports to play a game they love and ascend the social ladder. That latter goal realized carries the expectation that they will not forget those communities from which they come in the strife that exists daily. What I’ve written is what they’ve understood if not spoken in the same way, but their protest is to say, the country can be better than this and sweeping the issues facing the country must be discussed. Let’s start with the U.S. Constitution and what that is supposed to mean for everyone.

Puerto Rico Has A Future

The land area comprising Puerto Rico is rich in biodiversity; relaxing natural land forms; and a unique geographical position from the standpoint of trade and logistics. The natural wealth built into the Puerto Rican landscape is ripe for harvest. People occupying the land stand in an area with immense opportunity.

The weather conditions of the past month created immense havoc in Puerto Rico. Millions of people were removed from the gifts of modern civilization. Hospitals, energy and food distribution, conveniences of many kinds were undone by the stroke of nature. Certainly, the acts of nature stood as a reminder of the true relationship between people and natural system. Meanwhile, people in Puerto Rico are faced with fewer choices to deal with the situation.

What I wonder about is what if …

What if Puerto Rico as a whole look back on the choices of the past and try a different path? The past was a time to aspire to the idea of modernization in the 20th Century Way and try to imitate it in the way cities, governments, and economies were defined. Many of those ideas seemed good, but they don’t work for everyone. Sometimes, a place like Puerto Rico has a cultural tradition and legacy across thousands of years that when channeled, works far better …

The effects of nature may have painfully opened a door. Puerto Rico (a place from which my grandmother on my Father’s side was born) has a chance to totally redefine the land; the community; and the society in PR for greater success. The path ahead is hard, but now Puerto Rico has been pulled away from the inertia of 20th Century perspectives and can now think in new ways that restores more of traditional Puerto Rico in a way that coexists with a complex global context.

Many questions exist that Puerto Rico is in a place to answer:

  1. Can housing be defined in a hurricane zone that can withstand such conditions?
  2. Is there a better way to address energy that is self-sustaining and far more resilient to natural impact?
  3. What opportunities exist for society to feed, house, and clothe people in a way that is sustainable, environmentally healthy, and less caustic to the well being of society and persons?

Puerto Rico has a history of striking an independent point of view. Maybe conformity with popular and reinforced forms of modernity is less the answer. Moreso, there is some suggestion that modernity fails to have many good answers to recovery and growth over a long period of time. The choice to set out on a new path may prove to be the best remedy of all.

Facebook Russian Ads Means Everyday Trouble

The news of a new $1 Billion Facebook data center being opened up in Virginia seems blah. Rather, it is a timely and rare move because Silicon Valley companies don’t really build such expensive data centers in Virginia. Perhaps they do, but not that often.

Facebook messed up. The $1 Billion data center investment is the payoff to the national intelligence establishment as a mea culpa. This way, a better eye can be kept on them to help prevent nation-state hijacking of social media from happening again. Everybody at that level does it though. Many big companies do business contrary to the political preferences of country of origin. Business is good when you are not bound by a nationalist perspective. Eventually, becoming a big success in communication media brings with it the price of closer governance.

Would be web developers and next big thing app developers beware. What you create may grow into this thing in which the fate of society hangs. Sure, you can change the world through technocracy but technocratic plans, like many plans, have a way of evolving twists you cannot foresee.

A new article on the web is about a university employee who leads a double life in which they took care not to have their other life on Facebook. Unfortunately, they could not predict the impact of facial recognition on a computer when photos from their other life showed up on someone else’s Facebook profile allowing Facebook to automate the connection between the two personas of this would be anonymous person. Indeed, Facebook is the invention of the total destruction of privacy.

That privacy destruction machine is due to arrive in the backyard of the most powerful institutions. The people’s trusting nature in seemingly harmless technology has been used to burn them. Wait until Equifax meets Facebook.

The social collateral damage due to arrive when the Equifax hack (social security numbers / credit cards / driver license number and more) + Facebook facial recognition and profiles + global nation state and corporate data analysis may combine to produce unprecedented social, political, and other types of compromise of individuals and less powerful groups. Most of the hurt will be publicly invisible (jobs denied, insurance rate increases, loans not granted, variety of stalking incidents).

People sometimes think they can change society for the better through technology. Sometimes that does happen, but often the system you hope to change simply gobbles you up by other means even while you rake in a huge monetary windfall. Facebook does connect people and is a good forum (at a technological level) for people to do things, but with it can come a lot of bad in terms of the fallout in people’s ability to live with confidence.

Technology May Not Kill Jobs … Rather, There Are Fewer Jobs

A strong, but not majority, sentiment is that technology may kill jobs. More things are automated and improvements in analyzing data makes it easier to decide what and where to cut people and resources. Others say that technology may reduce jobs in the short-term, but it will create jobs in the long-term. I think that last point is very true, but maybe not absolutely true. We have a different sort of problem today.

Although technology automation will reduce and eliminate jobs, that is not the primary driver of job reduction. Companies actually don’t see it as their mission to hire large numbers of people. Instead, their primary loyalty is to profit and those tools, perspectives, and approaches to grow profit. Spend a fair amount of time with a fresh business school graduate and you’ll often hear about doing things lean and cost effectively. Generally, that translates into maximizing output with less input. Attractive, but it also means fewer people.

The real problem then becomes clear. Technology becomes a convenient scapegoat for the reduction of jobs. Reducing headcount has been a long-standing movement within business. No matter what jobs technology creates, that won’t change the goal to turn right back around and reduce those jobs as efficiently as possible in order to maximize profit. Therefore, the future is probably less about the anxiety over the expanded use of technology but the motivations of those who facilitate the distribution of technology through the economic system. To that end, how does the economic system evolve to benefit more people while incorporating more features to help sustain civilization rather than hollow it out?

Millennials Are Smart About Credit

People are taking about millennial’s staying off credit cards and debt as if that was a bad thing. Few things are worse than seeing other people make mistakes or utterly fail to make real progress in their lives and not learn from the experience. Many who are called millennials have learned from earlier generations that credit isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Don’t get me wrong, credit done the right way can be a good thing, but too much reliance on credit can be a road to ruin. A few examples:

  1. Hacked credit agencies with your name and life floating everywhere.
  2. Hacked credit cards and the ensuing unrelenting inconvenience.
  3. Destroyed identities and backgrounds making an already tough employment environment even tougher.
  4. Counter-intuitively … less financial freedom as you are tied to a bill for many … years well after the things you’ve bought have decayed.
  5. All your purchase history concentrated into the hands of elites who find ingenious ways to sell you out while charging interest.
  6. Temptation to take more of the credit drug that encourages you to find escape in buying more while teaching you to treat everything as disposable.
  7. Living in a credit experience that undermines your instincts to know the true value of things in choosing between what you need vs. what is just lifestyle.

The last few decades has been a massive experiment in how to manage and harvest people. Walking away from credit may be one of a few ways to help undo decades of bad decisions in how and what things are bought. No one really wants to be destroyed or diminished in how their life turns out. It is wise to look at the failed paths of the past and say, “at least I won’t do that.” To the extent millennials do that, I say they may rise to become the smartest generation.