Word Play

I maintain that *all* human progress comes from conscious effort to figure out 'just what the hell we are talking about?'. What are these things we discuss: fire, earth, water, air?

Some people do not like and will not accept the choice of words used. They divert the conversation from a proposed topic to a discussion of the definition of the objectionable word.  There are a couple of possibilities to explain what is happening when people argue about the definition of words rather than the concept behind the word. Now, why would people want to kill the expression of a new idea or insight? Some people just want to dominate others and words are one way to do that. The motivation behind this desire to dominate? Well, that is a different discussion.

Perhaps those disputing the words do not understand the purpose of language? Perhaps they do not care about the ideas being expressed and are seeking power over the speaker by 'winning' the conversation? Perhaps they understand the concept and are attempting to show why the word choice needs to be improved? In any case, the vocabulary discussion kills the original discussion; it kills it. dead. I find it astounding that much of the time the originator of the topic does not even realize that their idea has been killed and they continue along happily along with the new conversation as if nothing had just happened. Oh well, maybe they knew that they did not know what the hell they were talking about and were grateful for the diversion. Maybe it was 'parallel dialog' and neither party was actually listening to the other? This last comprises a significant number of conversations. Neither side actually cares or even listens to what the other parties are saying.

People who actively object to the invention of new words and the refinement of old words on principle are something altogether different. Yes, I have met some. These are people who actively interfere with the process of learning; it is anti-intellectual at the highest level. These are people whose brains want to, consciously and/or unconsciously, stop the development of knowledge and its transmission from one person to another. New concepts need the redefinition or refinement of old words or the invention of new words without which, human progress stops. People have killed each other over the meaning of words, the word 'mine' or 'God'. As such it seems that the development of new words and the refinement of old words is important if for no other reason than to reduce the level of violence in human society.

My brother Colin spoke of inventing a word to describe the small period of time between the time the car door slams shut and the instant in time where one realizes that the only set of keys will be very shortly, locked inside. I don't remember what he came up with but I do know that it is a word that would add to the poetry of human existence. Now, go off and invent a new word, contribute to the progress of humanity.

The Progression of knowledge requires the refinement of definitions, the invention of new definitions for old words, the invention of completely new words. Yes, I said *all* human progress comes from our conscious minds attempting to understand what our unconscious mind is passing to the conscious mind for processing. What does 'time' mean? What does 'love' mean? Hell, what does 'planet' or 'continent' mean? Surprisingly enough, a very large percentage of words that we use in daily discourse have no real definition; they have associated 'feelings' and 'vague concepts' which reside in an individual's reality model. There is no real agreement. We pretend that others understand; sometimes they do.


Orwellian Destruction - Take the word Greed

When I was at Berkeley I had a professor who maintained the it was the misuse of language that destroyed civilizations. I disagreed and maintained the the migration of words has nothing to do with the fall of civilization and that it was right and good that the meanings of words change with the time. Language is alive and breathing and growing.

I am no longer so sure, in fact, I think that I agree with him now to a great extent. He had not thought it through enough to illustrate the logic to an inquisitive graduate student. Or else, he did not think it worth it to explain but we did spend a reasonable amount of time talking about it. I don't like the third possibility but for completeness I need to present it. There is the tiniest, most minuscule and insignificant chance that he did give me the logic and I was too self absorbed or stupid to notice or understand. I have since developed the logic or perhaps recreated his? It does not matter. Here is goes.

Take the Word Greed

In past usage, when I was a kid, greed was bad; it was then and still is one of the seven deadly sins. Greed was a word restricted to a persons desire to possess things to the point where it was destructive to the family, the neighbors and to the community at large. People afflicted with greed took it all and left none for the others. It was considered a psychological aberration, an important one that affected a significant number of people and that did indeed destroy communities and financial markets and families. This concept had been developed over thousands of years and multiple civilizations. It is an important concept. It is something to identify and nip in the bud at the earliest opportunity.

The word greed has morphed; It is no longer a negative impulse in much modern usage; it is no longer one of the most powerful destructive forces to afflict man; it is the root of all that is good. It is the reason that we modernize and feed the poor and build TVs and send people to the moon. Was it the film "Wall Street" that placed this distortion in our psyches?  I understand the migration. People were indeed starting to get rich and hoard. Wall Street was the perfect example. Take too much and the people around start to suffer. But the people that are causing the suffering don't notice; they are doing fine; they are important people, they are getting rich as far as they are concerned, they are doing God's work. The people around them do notice and start to talk. Pretty soon, there were accusations of 'greed' floating around.

Being accused of greed hurts; greed is a bad thing; it means that they are bad people. But the financial people do not think that they are evil, they are good, they make the economy run; they feed little children. What they are doing is for the good of mankind. Therefore, the accusations are nonsense. The word greed cannot be bad, they are not bad; this thing called greed is actually the motivation that creates all good in the world, it is not evil or destructive, at all. Hey, what is wrong with stomping out disease and feeding children? This thing they are being accused of? Nonsense. They have the motivation to save small children, that is what greed has given them, "greed is the motivating force". They developed the logic and sold it to the masses; it worked. "Gee, you're correct. You are good people. Greed is indeed good, how could we have gotten that wrong? Hey, we learn as we go. Of course, the motivating force. That makes sense."

Well, there has always been a motivating force to improve oneself, that is natural and it is a part of the human spirit but that is not what the word greed was designed to describe. It was designed to help identify an illness that affects people and hurts society. It was something that people discussed and watched out for. It can indeed bring down civilizations. Did I mention that it was considered one of the seven mortal sins, for a reason? George Orwell got it right. This is how the bad becomes the good. Bad people can be very slick and convince others and more importantly, themselves,  that they are not bad; they are doing God's work. So where is the downside?

The downside? OK, fine, the word has changed. Now, What word are we to use when describing this deadly sin, this psychological illness, this destroyer of civilizations? How shall we address that issue? We can't. We must invent a new word and teach people about the concept from scratch. The whole entire concept has been erased for the cultural consciousness and we have lost 1000 yr  of knowledge. Greed, in the old sense, no longer exists. The trait still permeates humanity and it is still a fundamentally destructive force on grand scale, but the knowledge of this important characteristic of the human spirit is gone, lost. We are less knowledgeable, the awareness of this human condition is gone. With this intentional morphing of the word by greedy people, we have jettisoned not just a word but we have discarded an important concept about a fundamental weakness in the economic and social structure. It is as if we had gone back to thinking that the world is flat. No, I am not exaggerating. 

The problem with the destruction of a word is that it is also the destruction of the concept that the word was designed to describe. No, greed is not the motivating force; it is not good. It is evil. People no longer understand this. They have been conned, tricked and cheated. People are now dumber than they were before. We hurt the civilization. We took a step backwards. Words were invented to describe concepts. Destroying the word effectively destroys the concept. The concept behind the word 'terrorism' is in the process of being destroyed right now. We are harming our civilization by jettisoning basic concepts that have been developed over thousands of years. We are loosing knowledge.


The Sanders - Clinton War

Recently on Facebook I saw a graphic flow by that caught my eye. It was a quote, taken out of context and I am not going to follow up.I know that it was taken out of context because it floating all alone with no context. I don't care about the context. I will address the words. The context is not important. I have no idea what Marianne Williamson actually thinks, it could easily be the opposite of what is has been presented. This is not about her, at all, even thought I use her name; it is about the words that someone told me that she said:

"I want a woman president - really, I do. A lot of us do. And yes, you're qualified, and yes, we've known you forever, and yes, you'd know what to do from Day 1. But none of that is enough to get my vote, or the vote of a lot of people I know. we only want to vote for you if you run like hell away from that corporate box you've landed in. Stop cozying up to the banks, to the chemical companies, to the military-industrial complex, to the party machine, and to all the various financiers who make up the plutocracy now ruining this country. I want you to rail against the chemical companies and their GMO's - not support them..." - Marianne Williamson.  Letter to Hillary Clinton.

I have a problem with what Marianne Williamson had to say. I WANT Hillary close to the banks and the centers of power. I *want* her knowing all their names and having lunch with them. I want her taking their money. I *want* her doing the same with the unions and the person on the street. Hell, if it were not for Clinton we would not have this step forward in Health Care. In her first effort she excluded the Health Industry and got nowhere. Democrats have gotten nowhere for 50 yr on this issue. In the following round, the industry was included and we win. It was in their best interest. There is an adage regarding conflict that has to do with keeping the "enemy" even closer than the friends. It has been around for a very long time. Marianne Williamson has said the the reverse is true. I humbly disagree.

This struggle between different segments of society has been going on for many thousands of generations and everyone has made substantial progress. The rates of violence, standards of living, rates of disease and hunger have been steadily falling for hundreds of generations. Statistically people on the planet are more free, the best fed and the most comfortable, in all senses of the word, than at any other point in the history of man. Two hundred years ago a person had a reasonably high chance of being murdered, robbed, raped and otherwise abused simply by traveling from Avignon to Paris. That is no longer the case. Mothers worried about their children taking such a trip. Not any more. now they worry if the train will be on time and complain at the price of wine in the dining car while they are en route. The lack of freedoms suffered in times passed were  suffered by the rich and poor alike. Disease is not interested in economic class; the Baron that criticized the king was likely to have his head chopped off as well. There has been, is, and always will be, a pecking order. That is how human society works. And it does work, if we exclude the rest of the species and planet.

Lets put this in perspective. Thirty minutes ago I ate a soup with white beans, leaks, potatoes, sausage, bell peppers, carrots with a side of sesame seed bread and coffee with a glass of red wine. OK, I did not drink the wine but I will get it right now. Many of these ingredients I pulled out of my refrigerator and I cooked it on my gas stove. I have a refrigerator and a gas stove in my apartment! Shoot, I have the thermostat set too high, I think that I will lower it. (actually I don't but I think you get my point). Three years ago I broke my leg and collar bone in a way that would have left me crippled 200 yr ago. I am totally and completely recovered. In another couple of months I am going to get on a plane and travel to another continent on the other side of the whole fucking planet *and back* for less than the average guys monthly salary. Freedom? Freedom! We have more freedom now than ever before in the history of mankind. Freedom to travel, from the constraints of hunger and disease. Hell, mothers no longer even worry about their children traveling from Avignon to Paris. Shit, I even have the freedom to say that the President's wife is fat and ugly, well I could have always said that, but now, I will not be killed or rot in jail for the rest of my short miserable life. {By the way, Michelle, if I may address you informally. I actually think that you are fantastically beautiful and so smart that I like being on the same planet as you. So, ... if you tire of Barack? ... } Two hundred years ago, that too could easily have me 'chastised'. Not today. Freedom.

Fine, rally the masses, that is important. But to handle this as a "war between the rich and the poor"? Please, this is frankly, stupid. Sorry for being blunt. Yes, there is a 'level one' conflict and people do get rich from running the economic machine that gives us the freedom and food that we have. I certainly agree that many in these centers of power are beginning to damage the system that has taken millennium to build. And I certainly agree that some of the people controlling the production machinery need to be in jail or at least be have their assets confiscated, then be given a janitors slot to clean up after others more worthy than they. Yes, some of them are just ass-holes. Fine. But there are others that are doing a damn good job. I know that just by looking at the life that I live. Statistically our systems with its central banks and tyrants and theft by taxes has been, overall, doing a damn good job. There is indeed a step backwards once in a while, no need to mention the most recent. The system works so long as the population does not go off the deep end. Which it is doing at the moment. It is not just the banks that have the power to destroy civilization. They 'masses' are pretty damn good at destroying everything too.

Presently there is a problem. A statistically significant percentage of the population believe things with their whole hearts and souls that are flat out demonstrably wrong. It is not a class war or a war between the rich and the poor, the haves and have-nots; it is a war between ideas, between memes. Both poor and rich believe that "poor people are lazy creatures that need to pick themselves up by the bootstraps and get to work. Not, us or our friends, of course (the government is messing us up), but the others, you know the guys over there, the lazy ones that are sucking off the system, not us, them". This is an idea that transcends economic class. No, there is no class war. There is a war between memes. Are people inherently lazy, or not. Are Muslims mostly terrorist and do should we kill them all, or not. These ideas all transcend economic class. The fundamental problems that we have as a society today have absolutely nothing at all to do with economic class.

Essentially, Marianne Williamson has accused Clinton of being on the "side of the rich and powerful", not on the "side of the common man". She does this even as the man she 'supposedly' supports has asked her not to do it. Bernie Sanders has explicitly told her not to attack or be negative with respect to Hillary Clinton. She is doing it anyway; she is dividing the country into good and evil. She, of course, is on the side of the good and we need to destroy the evil. And she is not dividing it up into ineffective ideas vs effective ideas, she is promoting class warfare where none exists. I just demonstrated that. She has no respect for Sanders and his understanding on how to improve society, she thinks that she understands politics better then he. She wants the "powers at be" to listen to her and do it her way and on her schedule. She will be a supporter of Sanders but only if Sanders does it her way. Hey, she understands the world better than he does, or so she says.

Marianne Williamson is intellectually and emotionally a child. She criticizes Clinton for being close to the power centers? Well, OK. Williamson has her opinion. Maybe she is correct. Me, I'll stick with the wisdom of the ages. Stay a close as you can to everyone. Have lunch, talk about your children, get drunk together. That does *not* mean that you agree with their philosophy of life but unless you know the opposition, you don't have a snowballs chance in hell of countering their arguments and their power. Yes, take their money too. Yes, work to help their kids too. Do it *your* way, not theirs. There is very little in the career of Hillary Clinton that leads me to believe that she is in anyones pocket, or has ever been or ever will be. There is much in her record to tell me that she is the one who charts her course and that others follow. She does not have "keepers". She charts the course and how to get there; she always has.

Personally, I do not want another 'French Revolution' with rivers of blood flowing in the streets. I do not want revolution, at all. Been there done that personally, not at all interested in doing it again. It is a last and desperate move to stay alive, the last possible thing to do. It is a very bad idea and I oppose the rhetoric that leads in that direction. I am not a pacifist, in any sense of the word.

Yes, it is time to change, it is always time to change and for thousands of years, we *are* changing. The direction and the rate of change and the strategy for choosing the goal and the direction and the strategies are important. That is a bit more practical than discussing who is good for the job and who is bad for the job. Especially when we are discussing people who need, like and respect each other. Both candidates have asked their supporters not to slam the other. Marianne Williamson does not care what Sanders thinks, she only cares what she thinks. Both have asked their supporters to change the traditional approach and stop attacking the individuals and start discussing the issues. Marianne is not interested in change, she won't do it. She wants to tell Hillary and Sanders both how to do their jobs. I humbly submit that Marianne is *not* a Sanders supporter. If Sanders were ever to even suggest a different approach than Williamson approves, she will become a detractor and make is job more difficult. No, Marianne Williamson does not support Sanders, she does not support Clinton. She supports herself. That's it. She is the smart one on the planet.

Williamson wants to divide the world into 'us' and 'them'. It is the same thought process that many of us have been fighting for our whole lives. Sanders and Clinton included. I do not know this woman Williamson, at all. This quote is the first that I have heard of her and I don't think that it puts her in a good light. I do not think that she will make Sanders' or Clinton's job easier. She is already making Clinton's and Sanders' job (creating a more functional society) more difficult. And she has disregarded what Sanders has asked her not to do. She is *not* a Sanders supporter. She won't even follow his lead on this very simple concept.

Clinton and Sanders each have their own strengths and weaknesses and each needs the other; they know that. They have respect for each other. Neither wants their supporters to attack the other. They want to work together. They have each asked explicitly that their constituents work together without tearing down the other. There is an 'after election' and both candidates know that they need the other. They need each other badly. They like and respect each other. They each want the country to get to the same place. The strategy is different; that's fair. Do lets discuss the strategy, not which candidate is better, which strategy is better. Please do not forget that there is the 'after election' and both candidates  need the other especially after the election when the real work begins and unity is even more important. They like and respect each other. They each want the country to get to the same place.

Bernie Sanders has made it his life's mission to fight for the common man. He knows far more than Hilary Clinton about how the distribution of income affects the social structure of the country. He knows far more about the actual details of the capitalist economy and where its strengths and weaknesses are, he also knows far more about economic theories from around the world.  He has done this at ground level. His work has been directly with the people at the State level. Sanders has made his career knowing how to speak with the common man about those things that affect the health of the society. He is good at this; he is better than Clinton at this. He has studied the effects of the economic engine on the common man to a much higher degree than Clinton. He is a more effective speaker than Clinton from what I can see. Bernie Sanders is a strong candidate and I will be more than pleased to support him and to vote for him in the general elections should he when the opportunity.

Hillary Clinton has also made it her career to fight for the common man. I will use her efforts in Health Care and womens rights as examples. She is just as cognizant as Sanders about the short deal that many US workers have received at the hands of the power brokers, especially in the last 45 yr or so. Clinton has made it her business to know how the power flows in the economic and social systems. She has worked at the National and International levels for her career. She understands the reality of the working economic machine far better than Sanders. She has gotten up close to the political, economic, and military realities of the world far more than Sanders. This is hugely important for driving the ship of state. One cannot *only* pay attention to the desires of the common man, one must also pay attention to the machine that supplies the food, clothing, health care to the population. Clinton has made her career knowing how to work with the machine that provides the material needed for the 'general welfare'. She understands the power structures far better than Sanders. She understands the world power relationships better than Sanders.

So shall we go with the rally the crowd and tear down the establishment strategy (no that is not what Sanders is all about) or the be nice to the power structure and ask them to change nicely strategy (no that is not what Clinton is about either). Does anyone out there actually know what the different strategies are? Anyone. The candidates do, so do I. Time to get real and stop calling the candidates names. Time to talk about the strategies. It is time to recognize the the war is not a class war it is a war between effective and ineffective ideas. Clinton and Sanders both know this. They are saying the same thing. So, supporters of either, don't you think that it is time to actually give your chosen candidates a certain amount of respect and actually listen to what they are saying and help them get the job done?