Thursday, November 30, 2006

Thinking Differently

If one ignores most of the crises manufactured to keep an audience, the really BIG problem for the foreseeable future, is the rising tide of obesity and overconsumption, that left unaddressed, threatens the quality of life so none of the other measures are meaningful.

The answer for most, is not cosmetic surgery -- when most people have the capacity to shape their own appearances to a remarkable degree -- that they have never been taught, and may have even been discouraged from expressing. How many young people have been told to “wipe that smile off their faces,” to suppress their delight at anything? Eventually they lose that capacity for healthy expression -- building layers about themselves to hide their true feelings.

The plasticity of the human body is the musculature, that properly and deliberately trained, give the pleasing shape people desire to be in -- that is immediately accessible to those informed they have that capacity already. No matter how out of shape people appear to be in, they are not entirely devoid of muscles. Their muscles are just not “educated” and trained to be in the shape they want to be in -- and they have no idea of how that process works.

Invariably in the discussion, one produces a “black box” if when purchased and used faithfully, produces the results one is hoping for, and nothing that is immediately self-evident. That has been the tradition of physical education in the past -- largely a belief system in which if one does this, something miraculous transpires in six months or a year -- but never now, in the present moment -- which of course is ridiculous, because movement is a self-evident truth.

In the same way that competitive bodybuilders can shape themselves into the form that meets the judge’s approval, most people have the capacity to achieve a more modest transformation of appearing to be in shape -- or at least in the best shape they can envision. A lot aren’t, because nobody has ever given them permission to assume that posture -- as most of the people around them will be quite happy to deride their every effort for a high self-regard.

In particularly hierarchic cultures, this kind of self-nullification, is demanded -- and the whole purpose of their organization and activities, is just to reinforce who is boss. And so the postures assumed by all those in the organization, are those with a beaten down, bloated postures -- signifying no threat to the dominant person.

No amount of “exercise” is going to reverse that body language -- and what it says about that culture and personalities. Usually, they become their own worst victims -- with every dog looking to kick somebody lower on the totem pole. The epiphany is mistaking one as weaker who is actually stronger but doesn’t express the usual displays of dominance and superiority -- just as a show.

That distinction is being in shape as opposed to proving, and displaying one is so with certain actions. The discerning eye can make that distinction -- without the wastage of energy.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Life Ahead

I don’t seem to have suffered any irreparable damage from running and losing in the recent elections. In fact, it seems like my visibility took a jump up to another level -- quite unexpectedly just because of the electric scooters I used to go from door to door, and person to person. It’s the hit of Waikiki. Usually it’s kind of tough to stand out with everybody in their own way competing for attention -- and then to be just passing through and drawing a lot of attention, smiles and approval -- from an international audience, no less.

It’s one of those things that just makes a lot of sense -- for those from 8 to 80. I’ve never seen such universal approval and acceptance of any product. The ultimate is zooming down the Ala Wai as the cars are all gridlocked. Makes one feel like the undisputed genius of the world.

For those interested, I got them at Unit 99, at the Ranch 99 shopping mall in Mapunapuna, next to the Olelo station. The only caveat is that the seats and clamps need immediate replacement -- because they are of inferior material and destruct virtually immediately. Suitable replacements are found at McCully Bicycle shop; the proper size seat and steering post clamps are 28.6 MM.

Surprisingly, one gets a fair amount of exercise just riding it -- especially to balance while riding slowly. I feel like that is my mission right now -- to promote this smart, personal transportation technology to a worldwide audience of curious onlookers. It bolsters my argument for really alternative personalized transportation devices -- over the highly impersonal, extremely expensive mass transit options.

I think the appropriate technology for Waikiki and beyond, is the electric scooter and bicycles -- as well as all those funky little go carts. Why are we transporting a mobile home everywhere we go? What is the minimum required to achieve that task? Even the people on the Segways recognize that I have an even better idea. As smart as the Segway is, do you really want to stand all day?

It reminds me of the same ergonomic design challenge for computers. Yes, it can be more compact -- but is that the optimal design for its prolonged use? Having had to look at this season’s hot new offerings, I would think the must-have item at this year’s price points, are the LCD TVs, at the lowest end. It seems that the cathode ray tube (CRT), ought to be outlawed as the major culprit in eye strain.

Five years ago, a 15” LCD (liquid crystal display) cost $1,000; now it’s $100. Usually it makes sense to buy things going down in price -- and migrate out of things going up in price. That’s the intelligent response to a rising cost of living -- buying things that go down, and eliminating the need for things that go up, out of control -- even collectively, as a government purchase.

The indelible lesson of the tech boom is that value goes to infinity, as cost goes to zero; that’s how one recognizes he is on the right track.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Living Richly (Thanksgiving)

The challenge of life in these times is no longer want and scarcity but abundance and excess -- when people who have enough, demand ever increasingly MORE -- which has no end and no fulfillment. What is required is for all those people brought up in another time and circumstances to be re-educated, re-conditioned, and re-created in the realities of the present times, more so than the young and unformed need to be given MORE education -- particularly in the “old" ways, which they proudly call the “traditional values.”

Beyond a common level of subsistence, the greater gain is in quality of experience and involvement -- rather than simply more of going through the motions, acquiring more toys, the rituals and trappings of life -- as though that is what living richly is all about. And so no matter how much these people have, it is never enough, and the only answer in life, is MORE, unceasingly more -- which of course creates the problems of our times -- in that many otherrs are truly and hopelessly in need because increasingly more of the numerous middle-class are led to believe it is their entitlement to live as lavishly as royalty of the past and celebrities of these times.

It is one thing for one or a few to have much, but it is something else when most demand it as their birthright -- that they too have a right to live as the richest man in America lives -- if only they work hard enough to achieve that dream. Even extremely gifted individuals in the field of their specialty, are wont to credit their hard work rather then the immense natural gifts and advantages they were blessed with -- that no amount of hard work can duplicate or create -- but they cannot claim credit for.

Does that doom the rest of us laboring in the fields in which we are not as successful? -- or is it just information telling us where our own talents and treasure may truly lie. When we discover that, it is the line of least resistance and great productivity and satisfaction that all the frustration in the world could never earn or entitle them.

The sense of gratitude (appreciation for what one already has), is very different from the sense of entitlement that always demands more no matter how much it has -- and can no longer appreciate any of it, so obsessed has it become only for that which it doesn’t already have. And of course, that which they don’t have is the infinite and insatiable.

So the lesson in Thanksgiving is the appreciation of what one already has -- and seeing the infiinte in them. Very few people really need more -- not that their unions and other associations won’t try to convince them of how much more they are entitled to and have less than everybody else. That seems to be the great disease of the last few decades, that Vance Packard already began warning about in his studies of The Status Seekers and The Hidden Persuaders -- 50 years ago. It hasn’t gotten as much attention lately, nor has George Orwell's observations of the corruption of well-intentioned people.

Initially, as naive young people, they tell us they do what they do, because they love mankind. Later, as more experienced “workers,” they feel that no matter how much society has enriched them -- it can never be enough until they have more than everybody else -- as their “fair” share.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Sometimes the Worst Thing That can Happen is the Best Thing that ever Happened to You

The biggest casualty of my recent run for public office was not losing the election but losing my computer as it degenerated into nothing. First one thing doesn't work right, then something else, and even the fixes are no longer possible, until finally, one is kicked off the network for having viruses.

But early on, I said if it made it past the election and on through the Day After Thanksgiving sale, it would be the best one could hope for -- an early Christmas miracle, if you will. So when the final crash came, I was psychologically prepared -- and one of my most frequent contacts during the campaigning, was with the folks who run the MacMouse enterprise and organization in Honolulu, on South Street off of Queen.

I've heard of the reputation that the Apple operating system was much more stable, reliable and predictable, and after being less than 5% of the personal computer market, has re-emerged, or just stuck around long enough, to be recognized as the "true leader," of its class. Knowing Julia and Mike throughout the campaign, gave me the confidence in trusting their judgment that Apple was worth the premium -- if any, and Mel, another credible and competent Hawaii blogger, swears by them.

But one machine of the many I saw for consignment resale, above all the others, impressed me as a work of art -- which I summarily dismissed as "out of my range," if the lesser entries were in my ballpark. But surprisingly, the premium for the cheapest and the one that was the best to my untrained eye, was 10% -- which I thought was the undisputed value.

I guess few people look at computers as I do -- as how well they "fit" -- as well as the tech specs. By today's standards, the processing power seems puny -- but writing text is not a heavy demand of resources, and in fact, is the least. The broadband access seems a bit slower but once there is a response, it seems to be total and complete rather than halfway -- as frequently happened with my PC experience.

The model I found so compelling is the G4 -- which is unlike any other computer I've seen. It seems to be a hybrid between the desktop and the notebook -- and then some, because unlike either of the other versions, seems to be ergonomically and aestethically designed. One can only get them used now -- because it was discontinued.

But reloaded and enhanced, it is quite the computing experience I'm just relearning -- that what used to be at the bottom, is now at the top, and what was on the right, is now on the left. So Thinking Differently is the appropriate first entry with my new capacity.

Monday, November 13, 2006

If I Had To Do It Over Again

On Tuesday, November 14, 2006, at 7:00 PM, Understanding Conditioning, The Video, will be rebroadcast on Olelo (Hawaii) Channel 49. People who have seen it before ask if it is a new video -- even though they note that it seems to be a different video each time. That’s because even though the video has remained the same, they’ve changed -- which is the whole objective of understanding conditioning.

That is not necessarily the case with every instructional video -- and why I thought it was necessary to do it once. Every few years, my videographer and I view it again, and are impressed with its timeless freshness -- and think we can’t improve on that; we have to do something else.

The key was that the critical focus of exercise, movement, conditioning -- was the extremities rather than the heart, which is an autonomic (automatic) function, and what we really needed to address was the voluntary muscles that were not getting the proper stimulation to maintain optimal health and fitness. That is a function not of effort but of understanding -- and once one had the proper understanding of those functions, being in shape and condition, was virtually automatic. But not having that critical understanding, no amount of effort could be productive.

The conventional wisdom (saying) is that anything is better than nothing -- when in fact, efforts can be destructive and counterproductive -- which most previously designed exercises were, causing injuries and discouraging people from the proper movements. Those are not taught -- but the damaging ones are -- as physical education (conditioning) of the past, which has simply taken on more fancy names and titles since, while their pat explanations and justifications have been challenged and found to be no coherent understanding at all, but merely belief systems.

The alternative is self-evident truth -- which is why I presented this understanding “live,” as a discussion/exercise. As one is understanding intellectually, the movements test and verify that understanding -- for each individual, and that convergence, is the integration of mind and body.

The fusion of the mind and body is a very powerful force -- that makes most tasks easy, while being distracted in ten different preoccupations, makes even the simplest tasks difficult and catastrophic. People doing the latter, will often justify their poor results in pointing out that they were distracted by doing ten things at once -- rather than accepting the understanding that it is not wise to do ten things at once, but only one thing at a time, with all one’s faculties focused on that task, and done in that manner, is quickly done and one can move on to the next.

If not, one has the same old problems throughout life -- limiting them, restricting their choices, narrowing their options -- until finally, there are no choices. Yet many people think that a “healthy” life is to eliminate their choices -- rather than recognize all the possibilities.