Opportunistic petty criminals, the kind that go after old lady pocketbooks and unattended bicycles, generally aren’t very organized. They don’t have thorough long-range plans and an extensive network of colleagues to help coordinate their heists. Most unsuccessful criminals are desperate loners, independent contractors of malfeasance who can never stay one step ahead of The Man.
The ones that have their act together, the ones who run their illegal enterprise just like a profit-seeking business would, we call “organized crime.” Various mafias — the Italian, Russian, Mexican, Jamaican, Serbian, and Salvadoran chief among them — have earned our grudging fear and respect for their organizational discipline and managerial excellence. These mafias know what they’re doing. They’d be on the cover of Fortune if only what they were doing was legal – or at least as legal as gaming the energy markets and flipping a distressed homeowner’s property just . . . → Read More: Sanitary Mafias
We’re taught that freedom is a concept worth fighting and dying for. We’re taught that freedom is what makes the United States of America the greatest country on Earth. Freedom, we’re taught, is man’s divine state; to abridge or steal it is a kind of crime against Nature.
Yet most of us abdicate whatever freedom we possess. We do it voluntarily.
Trading credit default swaps and manufacturing ammunition clips might make us millionaires – or multi-millionaires or, if we’re really lucky, billionaires. Owning the biggest house (and boat) on the block very well might earn us the admiration and respect of our neighbors. And if everything works out just so, joining the right club and entertaining the right power broker could conceivably get us more power and more club invitations. But at what cost? We willingly work at jobs and acquire properties and maintain . . . → Read More: The Freedomaire
Expressed in portentous Bible-speak, the Golden Rule means “Do unto others as ye shall have them do unto you.” Put plainly: Treat others how you would like to be treated.
Progressive yoga types enhance and sharpen the meaning: “Be the change you wish to see.” They also believe the Golden Rule involves love moving in all directions, spreading goodness to all living creatures.
Western or Eastern – the concept of conducting one’s life consciously, weighing behavior decisions based on the Golden Rule instead of the monkey brain (eat, fuck, fight), is a template for being that most of humanity embraces, at least in theory. It sounds good and it works!
When we look at our collective behavior as a nation, as a community called the United States of America, we wonder if our national decisions are based on Treating Others the Way We Would . . . → Read More: The Golden Rule
Vikram Gandhi is a handsome and charismatic filmmaker; Kumare is an Indian guru who espouses a nice-sounding mélange of yoga, Ayurveda, meditation, and chanting — all standard stuff for seekers of Wisdom. Gandhi’s documentary shows how Kumare, with the help of two fetching female assistants, builds a fabulous reputation and a community of followers. The catch? Kumare is Gandhi in disguise, abetted by a terrific Hindi accent. Is he a false prophet, a powerful teacher, or both? The answers are surprising and enlightening — exactly the kind of revelations we expect from our gurus.
The time we’re living in is being called the Technology Revolution. It’s given us personal computers and cell phones and devices that, we all agree, make our lives altogether better. Everything is more efficient, more connected. Things can be ordered to appear at your door, getting lost in your car is almost impossible, and you don’t have to wait a whole day (or even hours) to find out what a celebrity thinks about something.
But while life has become more “frictionless,” old-fashioned concerns like wages and buying power haven’t been helped by Tech. On the contrary, they’ve been hurt. Unlike the Industrial Revolution that preceded it, the Technology Revolution has not lifted the mass of humanity out of poverty.
The Technology Revolution has coincided with an extended period of American economic decline. It’s coincided with the systematic evisceration of the Middle Class. It’s coincided with a period . . . → Read More: Tech Solutions
Guns are not the problem. People are not the problem. Young people are the problem.
They don’t listen. They play awful video game simulations of mass murder. They shoot six-year-olds.
And no amount of background checks or ammo-clip restrictions will change that. There’s only one way to solve the gun situation, one way to bring peace and civility back to our public areas while also not trampling on our inalienable American right to bear arms (as outlined with great clarity in the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America).
The maintenance of civil order in our fragile society rests on a rock solid foundation of family discipline. A child who disrespects his parents must be removed from society. Permanently. So that other children will see the importance of respecting their parents.
The only political solution left to the fundamental problems in our society . . . → Read More: A Modest Proposal For Solving Our Gun Violence Problem
Certain amorphous concepts exist only in the theoretical realm: truth, justice, beauty. Time. Yet we “know” (or think we know) they’re there. Indeed, we’re the ones who manifest them. By observing, say, a ravishing Southern California sunset, or the blossoms of a cherry tree, or our lover’s face, we feel quite sure that Beauty is not merely an amorphous concept but something tangible and present. And in those moments it surely is.
Quantum physics suggests that this thing we call consciousness exists only in our Mind Reality, where we observe – and categorize and quantify – what seems to be the passage of time, our hurtling journey through space. In the Cosmic Reality, time does not trudge forward (or slip backwards). It just is.
Stress is one of these strange phenomena. It doesn’t really exist in any measurable form. We only know it’s there when someone tells . . . → Read More: Stress
If you wish to align yourself with a mindset that no one will dispute and most will acclaim, proclaim yourself a paragon of “family values.” Earn a reputation as a “family man.” Put “family” before self. Found a right-wing Christian political bribery machine and call it “Focus on the Family.” Do whatever it is you want to do with your life, but remind everyone that whatever it is you do with your life it’s all about the family.
Repeat the word. Family. Say it clearly and often. Family.
Is there anything better? Is there any concept more sacrosanct? Ah, how we love our children and how we love our parents. They’re more important than anyone or anything in the universe.
Family: the folks we can trust and love, celebrate and forgive, rescue and remember, support and adore and abide. Family is the . . . → Read More: A New Definition of Family
I helped an old man load his groceries into the trunk of his car, which was parked curbside near the entrance to a 99-Cent store. He walked with a cane and seemed to have trouble handling his bags. A watermelon had fallen to the sidewalk, somehow escaping unblemished. But things didn’t look as though they would end well.
Do they ever? According to the old man, they do not. He thanked me profusely for assisting, and then he seemed to want to explain why he needed help, and then he sensed that this was already understood by both of us. He shook his bald head, covered by a baseball cap. Then he said, “Don’t ever get old. Stay the way you are now. Getting old. It’s no good.”
At a birthday party for an elegant lady turning 100, the centarian’s daughter . . . → Read More: Bad Endings