Tuesday, September 26, 2006

District 21 Newsletter (Waikiki-Kapahulu)

Understanding the Numbers of the Politically “Perfect Storm”

Looking over the primary numbers for the last three elections in Hawaii (Oahu), the thing that stands out, is that the percentage of the vote a candidate receives is the most telling significance -- more than just the gross number of votes, which can be very deceptive and misleading. Inversely, it turns out that the percentage of blank votes is a fairly reliable indicator of a candidates “power” (effectiveness) rating. These numbers act as a “poll” in themselves -- whatever the sample size eventually turns out to be.

In this year’s primary, the distortion caused by the Akaka-Case vote, caused one person who ran for governor in 2002 as a non-partisan candidate (Van Tanabe), to increase his vote total by 250 times (from 44 to 10,865!) -- simply by running in the Democratic primary, although his percentage was 6.6%, or a power rating of 6.6.

The Akaka-Case had a .6! blank vote for a power rating of 99.4, (which is an unprecedented universal participation that might be likened to a once in 100 year storm). At these extremes, the numbers are logarithmic -- like the Richter scale in which an earthquake of 9 is ten times more powerful than one of 8.The single greatest percentage of votes was 95.9% by Linda Lingle, followed by Cynthia Thielen’s “uncontested” 84.9%. (Actually, Mark Moses had a higher 88% -- but I’m choosing some individuals for better illustrative purposes).

Not all uncontested incumbents score that high; some uncontested incumbents barely exceed 75%, but that seems to be the golden mean which indicates a successful politician -- with a standard deviation of 5 points, in either direction representing the norm. Under 70%, one is not likely to be successful, while over 80%, one almost certainly is.

The gross numbers are much less indicative of this true “success,” or many virtual unknowns, would be more popular than Governor Lingle. The power rating seems to hold true whether one is in a contested primary or not, with the percentages of all the candidates, added to the percentage of the winning candidate. After those figures are calculated for their respective major parties, one can fairly effectively handicap the race by comparing the power rating of the two candidates -- with an above 80% having a clear advantage over one below 70%, which is a double digit difference. A differential less than that would be a fairly competitive race.

Probably the most dramatic of this apparent distortion from the recent primary and how they are adjusted using this model, is the race in Senate District 25, in which strong favorite Fred Hemmings with 84%, seems to trail a virtual unknown 1,667 to 5,197, but who has only 48.6% of the Democratic vote. That is to note, that this candidate, despite seeming to trounce a very popular incumbent, actually received less than half of the votes cast in the Democratic primary. The 84%-49% differential is more meaningful than the 5,197-1,667 -- because the general election merely expands the population sample of the previously constricted “poll.”

Likewise, the Democratic gubernatorial ballot was 78% voted for candidates, while the Republican, was 98.3% -- 95.9% for Governor Lingle. That’s the only way to make real sense of the aberration of this year’s primary results of unprecedented proportions -- thus allaying the great trepidation of the Lingle campaign that their greatest enemy is from complacency and overconfidence. The primary, inadvertently, took care of that -- for all Republicans.

It is now the Democratic challenger, who must bear that uncertainty of unjustified confidence -- by who knows what magnitude? Meeting the challenge of failure is the first step for everyone; the next is handling the challenge of success, that many are wholly unprepared for -- when success is unexpectedly, undeservedly and illusorily thrust into their laps.

That’s the kind of distortion that occurs when all the choices are not allowed -- but one is first limited and then given a “choice” -- as in a primary election. Many polls and surveys are also this kind of distortion -- that instead of really finding out what people think, they’re really telling people what to think -- as though they were exercising their own freedom of expression and choice, coming up with these ideas themselves -- instead of being carefully corralled on the correct way to think.

All our options are “managed” in this way: either we’re for “their” solution, or we’re for total chaos -- and doing nothing about it. Either we’re for “public education,” or we’re for total ignorance -- and there is nothing else, no other possibilities and solutions but “theirs.” One is even more than likely to call oneself a “liberal,” while demanding conformity and obedience to this totalitarianism. We just get used to it -- they hope.

Formerly, we had nothing to compare it with -- because this was “the most isolated spot in the world,” which hasn’t been true for quite some time now. But many seem to want to regain that isolation -- and go back in time, as though that were possible. Time only allows us to move forward; going backwards only cuts us off from living in the present moment -- until finally, one is cut off totally from the present into the darkness of only memories and knowledge of the past -- which is mainly wishful-thinking of what it was.

That is the greatest problem of life -- living in the past or in the imaginary future, while paying no attention to the present -- which is actionable reality. And that is how life passes one by -- wasting all our opportunities, despite all our efforts. We commonly see it as the grandiose great project that promises to solve all our problems -- if only we’d drink the Kool-ade. That distracts us from the everyday present -- of tending to the potholes and maintaining and optimizing what we already have -- which is nearly always, the most effective strategy one can adopt.

Bob Kessler, Chair of District 23, seems to be regaining his fighting form and spirit enough to convene the next regular meeting of Districts 21, 22, 23 on this coming fourth Wednesday, September 27, 6 pm at the Hawaii Republican Headquarters. Despite everybody’s “busy” schedules, I think it is worthwhile just to meet with others for no specific purpose but to discuss the many things we never talk about otherwise. I always learn something -- whatever it is, and I think that is the most important thing -- to just be learning about everything, and nothing in particular. Otherwise, all we ever see and hear are the various agendas special interests have for seeming totally and spontaneously the will of the people.

I know we are taught not to waste time like that -- to have an attentive, innocent, quiet, idle mind. But I think only in that state, that grace (the truth) enters -- and one sees all that was not possible to see before -- under so much coercion, pressure, intimidation, deceptions and manipulations -- that we have gotten too used to as the public dialogue and forums. I think meeting people on the campaign trail coming from many different perspectives, predisposes the mind in this way to accept come what may.

I think “running for office,” as just being exposed to life one ordinarily wouldn’t be -- as probably an experience those who can, should avail themselves of. Many will find their true calling here while many others will benefit from as much diverse experiences that allows them to develop the great perspective and insights that is universal to all activities. One never knows which it is until one actually finds out -- and surely, that is what life is really all about, finding out. In that process, life happens.

I think one of the great failures of any culture is that of people with preconceived notions of who they are -- indoctrinated into them as young experiences in life, even by well-intentioned, well-educated people because of their own biases about knowing the One Truth they were instructed never to question -- under penalty of being banished from “paradise.” Invariably, it is the commandment not to challenge authority or seniority. But those who do, discover new worlds -- and not those who merely go along to get along, fearing to think for themselves, playing a safe game, living in quiet desperation.

Also, I wanted to remind people I have my signature video Understanding Conditioning showing on Olelo Channel 52 on Thursday, September 28, 10 am -- for those who would like to be in shape without spending much time and thought on it. As one who was brought up to be one of the foremost student/teachers on these things, I thought that real successful conditioning needed to reach this level of effortlessness and inobtrusiveness to really be the unqualified benefit in one’s life -- or it becomes another problem in itself.



At October 04, 2006 4:00 AM, Blogger Ali la Loca said...

I greatly appreciate the point you make about living in and for the present. Being in the present moment is such a simple yet powerful tool.

I also appreciate and agree with your point about questioning authority and blindly followed doctrines of what we must do in order to reach salvation. Forging one's unique path and beliefs in life is difficult, but the rewards are multiple, starting with the process itself.

At October 05, 2006 12:02 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Finding out what you really love to do is the meaning and purpose of any life. Also, finding out what you really don’t love doing, frees you to find out what you do. That is the meaning and purpose of all your experiences -- and no longer that one simply has to accept one’s lot in life because there are no choices. The challenge of this age is that you have overwhelming choices -- so how do you make the right one from all the many?

You simply make one choice at a time -- and doing that ten times will get you to the one in a million. That’s how computers do it, and why that model of information processing and decision-making is so effective. You simply approach the juncture of your decision as the best of your present choice and do the best with that opportunity -- and then when it is not fruitful, you make another choice.

Maybe in the old days, people would make one decision for the rest of their lives and stick with it no matter what -- and thus there was so much unhappiness and lack of fulfillment. But the fact is, every day is a choice -- unless you believe otherwise, at which point, you surrender your freedom and choice. A lot of people do and then resent everybody else thinking that is what is expected or required of them -- when it is their own desire to abdicate their own responsibility and accountability. You just blame the president for everything -- and then think you are a very sophisticated person.

A lot of people don’t want to own up to their own lives. But if one does, then life has great significance.

There is an absence of voices of people in your age group -- mostly because they have been shut out by the generation hanging on until they die -- fighting off the baby boomers once more. That is the current great struggle -- of those who would have in the past retired, but now wanting to hang on until they die -- and convincing many of the younger cohorts that is a wise thing to do, even when their abilities are obviously in decline. It might be another matter if they were getting better -- but now they are insisting that nobody can get better than they are, which is very limiting for any society.

That is the problem of most of our institutions -- that have not been created in the past decade. Like many products these days, they cannot be fixed -- but just need to be discarded and replaced entirely with an infinitely better and cheaper product -- rather than trying to fix the old model to how it was originally. Education, health care, transportation, publishing (mass media), universities, entire lives need to be recreated in this way -- or one cannot escape the baggage of the past.

At October 09, 2006 10:27 AM, Blogger Ali la Loca said...

Mike, once again - Amen!

When people hear about my life story, all the travel I've done and the fact that I've followed my own path, a common response I get is, "Must be nice." As if I am doing something that is unattainable or impractical for other people to achieve if they so desire.

Certainly I've had my fair share of opportunities and blessed luck. But I've also not hesitated to take advantage of them, not let fear or convention hold me back. And thus I've traveled all over the world, am self-employed, live a comfortable life and am truly the master of my own destiny.

It is all a matter of choice, as you said. Of course I'm coming to realize that there are consequences as well as benefits to all the choices we make, and trying to work through it all in such a way that I continue to identify and follow that which I love in life.

I'm curious about your background and how you came to develop your perspective on the world...

At October 09, 2006 12:21 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

I think I’ve always been a notably observant and thoughtful person -- which leads many master instructors to target me as their protégé prodigy. That is also the great task of any great teacher -- to pass on their wisdom to another, and hopefully, to as many others as possible -- but foremost, there must be at least the one. Some never find that one -- and lesser teachers, can’t conceive of passing on their wisdom to another, jealously in competition with every other. Obviously, that is not a master achievement.

My father was actually my first great teacher -- as an avid student and teacher of tai chi and Taoistic studies. He merely practiced every day, for which I observed before realizing what it was he was doing. So the observation and study of thoughtful movement -- was my first impression of human purpose and activity. Few are so fortunate to have that advantage.

So as a young person, I was always perceived as being very “gifted” and “attentive” as few young people are -- which is also an impression of intelligence. If one is simply attentive, those seeking attention, will naturally focus on this highest manifestation of it. That attentiveness is not a quality frequently recognized in this culture and society -- in which the emphasis is placed on competing for attention -- and not paying (or giving) attention.

But those who recognize this great imbalance between those competing for attention -- and the rare few who can pay attention, wield great power in the world -- as the validators of reality. Most people, as you may be increasingly aware, do not trust their own senses and judgment enough to learn on their own -- and from everything; they have to be told what to think -- by their teachers, experts, bosses, and every other authoritarian and demagogue who is looking to exploit such people.

Those are the kinds of people that our education institutions largely produce now -- rather than those capable of discovering the truth for themselves. The media, the schools, the universities, are now mostly about job security and status for those “professionals” -- rather than about seeking wisdom, that decreases the need for more work, more jobs, more highly-paid experts to tell uninformed people what to do and what to think.

All that can be summarized in the concept of “political correctness” -- which is believing everything the so-called experts say is true, without ever thinking things out for oneself -- in any matter. And so the great revolution of these times -- is the great rebellion against that authority, knowledge, tradition and status quo -- and in that challenge, a new culture and personalities are forged.

It is not about an ideology -- but a greater freedom to be -- which is now possible because the world of the present is not the same world we were conditioned to live in or think it is. It is not a new concept; Herodotus, the first great historian, observed that one could not step in the same river twice.

Those simple truths were lost, when the money-changers (professionals) took over the temples -- and tried to fix the world, with themselves permanently at the top.

At October 22, 2006 12:43 PM, Blogger Ali la Loca said...

Reading about your thoughts and perspectives is so incredibly validating. I have a million thoughts racing through my head after taking in your words, but what I want to do now is just absorb them - be attentive, as you said.

I am lucky in that, by choosing a path that is so "foreign" to most teachers and authority figures (excuse the pun), I've never really felt that the traditional givers of advice understand me. As such, I'm naturally inclined to question the rules, guidelines, expectations and pressures that I see guiding the lives of many of my peers.

On the one hand, the lack of guidance that I perceive to be valid (other than from my mother, who I do feel very much understands my path), has made me feel isolated and alone. On the other, it has freed me to BE, to live my life according to my terms, beliefs and dreams.

Every once in a while I stumble across something - a book, a person, a practice, a song - that really resonates with where I am right now in this journey. I do appreciate your writings as this blog is one of those rare things that really speaks to me.

At October 22, 2006 6:19 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

I’m glad you visit me here: it gets fairly busy at your blog, though I do try to keep up with what‘s going on, on the other side of the world -- literally. What’s surprising (not so surprising) is that your concerns are so similar to those here -- or just about anywhere in the world today because I do think there already exists this emerging global culture (consciousness), that has already begun to supplant all the other nationalisms, provincialisms and partisanships. Meanwhile, the old mainstream media is still pushing their partisan, fragmented world view, with themselves at the steerage, as how the world must be -- and that’s why, they are falling from influence and power.

Some people draw a lot of comments -- while some don’t, which is not that people aren’t paying attention. The old media model is to elicit as many comments as possible as indicative of one’s influence in the world but beyond that, are those who are just influenced by the thoughts and express it differently in their own lives, forums, expressions, spheres of influence -- which is a lot more meaningful.

The world doesn’t need any more chatter -- and the other ritualized exchanges that actually prevent authentic, state-of-the-art communications -- which I think is the great challenge for the world’s leading writers. It’s not just enough to write as we’ve always done it before. Those who can, have to create writing as it’s never been done before -- and by doing that, have changed the world. That is the simplicity of life, meaning and purpose -- being and doing what you were meant to be and do.

Writing in the old genres is obsolete; the old traditional publications and power structures have basically ceased to exist -- except to try to convince those that they still do matter. The first printing revolution decentralized power -- and then through the centuries, became highly concentrated and centralized again before this latest restructuring that makes many who were last, first, and vice-versa. So those ten year plans and where you see yourself then, no longer make sense -- and probably never did. The best predictor of future success is present success -- or how one actually does confronting the present great challenge of the moment.

That successful/unsuccessful resolution leads to the next step -- but it is premature to speculate on a final outcome beyond that. In fact, it probably is so that there is no ultimate validation and vindication -- but only living life successfully from day to day, and moment to moment. Modern education and media has convinced us that truth is apart from our own lives -- in what they fabricate and determine is the truth as a great generalization (fiction). But as we pay closer attention, and have the same tools and access to all the information, we realize that that authority was presumed and assumed, rather than merited.

Few people have the confidence to validate their own existence -- but when one can do that, one no longer feels the need to tell others more powerful than themselves what to do -- which is an indication of their own disempowerment. That is mostly a perception and an attitude that hasn’t been embraced by all yet. Many cultures, traditions and memories, are the denial of that possibility and reality.

At October 27, 2006 12:40 AM, Blogger Ali la Loca said...

Well, starting November 1st I will start writing. I have no contract, no outline for my book, no publishers in mind to whom I'd like to submit the manuscript once it's finished. I'm just following my intuition and plan to write about my experience here in Africa. Thanks to the crazy/genius model of NaNoWriMo (national novel writing month), I'll have a supportive forum in which to overcome writers block, shut out the self editor that is everpresent, and write out 50,000 words of my truth.

It will be a great challenge, especially since I'm taking on what resembles a full-time consulting job as of 13 November. Now you know the big change...it's still in negotiation, so I've yet to comment about it in detail on my blog.

At October 27, 2006 11:00 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

When one has unique talent in a field, one never stops improving -- and that seems to be true of your writing, and maybe your artwork also -- even while you may be a competent business person. But there you struggle a little bit -- as you are already aware. The curse as well as the blessing of a great talent, is that it is your inescapable destiny that many will never be so fortunate to discover in their lives. That is your treasure and reward -- regardless of what form it takes.

As you are aware, the traditional publishing industry is in great turmoil -- because of writing like this, as never seen before. There is obviously a writing (communication) revolution underway that will transform consciousness in a manner never suspected before.

Abraham Maslow, the well-known researcher of high actualizing people, used to remark that he had never encountered a healthy, highly-actualized writer -- throughout history. He noted that they were usually alcoholics, drug-induced, neurotic or otherwise deeply flawed personalities -- and at first, I found that observation quite shocking. If that is true, then we’ve yet to see the writing of healthy, self-actualizing individuals -- and have an insight and model of what that life is.

The publishing industry in the past, cultivated this kind of dysfunctional personalities as creative icons -- raging against the mores of the conventional culture. In order to do so, they had to be at least a little bit crazy -- if not borderline mad -- and only then, could such behaviors be tolerated. As a protection against them achieving great power, they had to be isolated in their egos -- which is the separation from the whole of humanity.

I think what makes your writing effortless to read is this absence of ego -- so there is perceiving without the interference of the perceiver, the self-consciousness of the perceiver. I think that came about because of the blogging style eliminating the division between the writer and the reader -- and for many of us now, it is almost unthinkable to consider reading without being able to comment immediately on it and shape that thought further.

All of us, are smarter than any of us individually, and particularly in the struggle for supremacy and dominance over all the others -- as recent literary works tended to be, encouraged by the mass education model to compete in a very constrained range. And that way, every came out sounding exactly alike, as hard and mightily as one tried to distinguish themselves in that self-conscious way.

Unfortunately, that way is still taught and encouraged in most writing classes and support groups I’ve been familiar with -- cultivating the self-consciousness (ego) of the writer. There is success writing, and success being a writer -- the latter which seems to bring all the problems, while having to do very little with effective writing. So while your writing already is very excellent, you should be aware of the pitfalls of “professional” writing -- or being a “professional” anything these days, if it means to fix one’s identity into a final, unimproving mold. What makes you think you’re not a writer already?


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