Monday, June 26, 2006

Meaning and Purpose

As simple as one can make it, one still has to actually do the exercises. Not a few people (especially of the intellectual sort) think that understanding something, and acting on that understanding, is the same thing -- and so they wonder why they aren’t getting the results, because they understand how it works.

This is fairly typical in the fragmentation of experience and life into the multiple realties that is the common cognitive dissonance of many people -- to the crippling distortions of multiple personalities and schizophrenia. With television and other media, it’s quite possible to be convinced that life is one thing, and one’s idea of it, is something totally different -- and even at war with one another, resulting in daily struggles against oneself. This confusion is the economic opportunity for a few who prey on misinformation and propaganda. That is the audience they are expected to deliver to their advertisers.

In an earlier time, information was scarce -- and now obviously, it is overabundant -- and mostly bad and incomplete (partisan). Those most vulnerable to these deceptions are the reporters and editors themselves -- because of their own inflated estimation of their abilities and vanities. They think that because they have received a degree or a certificate, they never have to think anymore -- because the degree or certificate is a substitute for thinking. Of course, even more stupid people are impressed.

But increasingly, more people develop higher levels of discrimination and discernment; they can tell differences, and ignore the commands not to discriminate, and think for themselves. Originally, to be a discriminating person was a high compliment denoting superior judgment and taste -- and now the mass media demands that we let them do everyone’s thinking for them, in telling us what is good, and the best -- while deriding and ridiculing those who don‘t jump on the “correct“ bandwagon. Usually such lists are a compendium of their biggest advertisers.

Even their self-proclaimed “objectivity,” is just their marketing ploy -- what we ought to believe. So the solutions that are offered, will not be the most effective -- but rather the most profitable. If one transportation device costs a hundred, while the other costs billions, the billions will be considered the superior -- because it costs more. The former will be disdained as the inferior because it only cost a hundred -- regardless of whether it is more effective and appropriate -- because the wrong criterion is being used to assess that meaning and purpose.

That’s a theme emerging more frequently these days in contemporary discussions -- meaning and purpose, the excitement and discovery of living -- beyond the material measurements that seldom measure the quality of life. Those are not the labor union issues; in fact, they make the conditions of work as deplorable, demeaning and arbitrary as possible to their own members -- to justify and exploit demands for higher strictly monetary compensation -- ignoring that for most, the freedom and dignity in doing their work, is a higher payoff. The ultimate possession is owning one’s own life (work) -- and not just consuming one more Big Mac.


At June 26, 2006 1:44 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...



In response to Tom Delgado's letter of June 21, the facts are these: Public-school teachers on O'ahu make more than their counterparts in the private-school sector. It seems it's a frequent complaint leveled against the taxpayers of this state that we don't pay our teachers enough.

Perhaps Delgado could then explain why most private-school teachers wake up excited to go to work, while most public-school teachers wake up wondering if their union got them another waiver day.

Our public schools have many serious problems, but pay isn't one of them.

Jonathan Hunter

At June 26, 2006 2:38 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The public school teachers' lament that they have no control over the horrific and arbitrary conditions in the classroom, is because they have ceded their rights to the unions to dictate those conditions for all.

That's the price they pay for more money. Instruction should not be unionized -- under the presumption that one is as good as any other, is interchangeable, and only a function of seniority.

That is what eventually disempowers and discredits all. Because if there is no superiority and excellence in instruction (education), what meaning and purpose does it have?

At June 26, 2006 11:10 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Degrees and certificates should mean something -- more than just the pieces of paper they are written on. But often when one goes to the schools where you'd think that they more than any other would know this, they have no idea what you are talking about anymore. The degree and certificate is all there is -- signifying nothing more, implying nothing else.

No great expertise, no great insight -- just a weariness that one is fulfilling all the minimumu requirements of that job. No passion and curiousity for anything else that what they absolutely must know. It's very chilling -- what our education institutions have become, but the unions hire these lobbyists and public relations firms to achieve the proper perception to bolster their collective bargaining.

They are very lavish advertisers.

At June 27, 2006 1:00 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

A few are driven to excellence, to constantly and relentlessly improve -- while the majority seems to be content with merely repeating every day like every other,watching themselves slowly deteriorating in that process.

I think that's what distinguishes people more than any other quality -- I can sense, identify and look for. They believe in a better life -- while others do not; their vision is a life of impending doom, disaster, and relentless deterioration. You can't convince such people that life can be another way.

They may go to the gym and go through the motions, but they never get any results, or believe that they deserve any. Mainly they do what they do because somebody told them they had to -- and that's why everybody is doing it also.

There is no excitement of meaning and purpose that animates the spirit and soul to take on that form.

At June 27, 2006 1:18 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

For this purpose, I don't think it is so much about exercise as it is conditioning on a much more comprehensive level. That great spirit may have nothing to do with exercise -- but is well-being in a much more profound meaning of self-discovery, recognizing who they really are -- and then nothing else seems to matter but that significance.

That transcendence is the ultimate objective of any striving -- to experience life on another level. One forgets about it -- because it doesn't happen every day, and might not happen for years. And then one sees it in the eyes of another -- and recognizes the religious significance -- of them meeting themselves, and liking what they see.

That is the art of living.


Post a Comment

<< Home