Monday, July 02, 2007

When the Best Things in Life are "Free"

People who see me on the streets or read my writing, often comment that my “solutions” while unquestionably simple, logical and commonsensical,, won’t be taken seriously because they don’t cost any money -- and if there’s no money to be made, nobody will be motivated to pursue that solution or provide that information/insight.

Therein lies the problem -- for most, if not virtually all of contemporary problems -- that the solution-provider has no interest in it unless there is a way they can profit handsomely from the implementation of their solution -- feeling fairly confident, that the consumer won’t be interested and motivated enough in the solution, unless they themselves have to pay handsomely for it. They have been conditioned to believe the value of anything is what one has to pay for it -- while dismissing the notion that anything of value could be obtained for “free,” or just in the rethinking of the problem.

Such ideas are actually the greatest need of these times -- and not the money or the materiel, which is usually just wasted, or “underutilized.” All the elements for a life of prosperity for virtually everyone, are already in existence, but there is a need for a greater unifying idea that makes everything mesh and work. Otherwise, all the resources are going for the purpose of canceling out one another -- which is what reflexive competition does -- to produce only one winner, despite how advantageously everyone begins.

We see that most frequently at athletic events -- that no matter how proficient all the competitors, only one emerges victorious, and the rest are rendered “losers,” no matter how admirable and capable they are. This is a mentality that now prevents human progress -- how much money and other resources is available to all, if the conditioning in society continues to be, that there can only be one winner, and that one has to compete to be that winner -- and that is the only game in town.

Thus lawmakers and policy makers also compete on that same basis -- of how valuable their work and ideas are, based on how much money it costs -- and never that ideas that cost virtually nothing, could ever be a good idea -- or is even recognized to be a valid idea at all.

Of course, it is quite possible to spend nothing at all and obtain the poorest quality of existence that compounds all one’s problems in life. Cheaper is not necessarily better -- but neither is the most expensive solution either. The consideration of value is not related to the money but is the appropriateness of the action to the circumstances -- something else entirely than just the cost.

People who have grown up thinking that “more money” or just “more,” is the solution to every problem, are difficult to convince that “better” solutions exist than simply more of what they’re convinced is the only solution -- especially one that is not working very well. Still, they will persist in thinking that all that is required is simply more -- and not a different approach entirely.

At such inflection points, that which has greatest value is free because it is unappreciated, while that which is most expensive, is obviously that which is not working but is an unlimited drain on one’s resources.


At July 02, 2007 7:51 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The problem with "free" is that most people have no confidence in their ability to assess the value of anything unless there is a price tag on it.

Which of course eliminates some of the greatest values in life -- like love, friendship, trust, honor, integrity, faith, etc., and so everything becomes just a commodity in the marketplace -- which serves us very well for the many transactions of our lives, in which we really don't want to have too great a commitment of time, energy and money.

But for some other things, health among them, there is nothing more important to tend to all one's life, and done well, impacts every aspect of one's existence.

What is the price of that health -- including and especially, mental health? That's often a topic of discussion for those who are otherwise physically quite robust -- so much so that they routinely or occupationally engage in high risk behaviors and maneuvers as proof of that distinction, that most prudent people would regard as craziness they would not even consider.

When one has stretched those parameters routinely, "rationality" becomes a moot discussion not worthy of wasting further breath and time. Obviously, balance is a critical indicator of that health -- and acceptance without the argument.

The unbalanced think that the object of life is to win as many arguments as possible -- as though that conveyed survival value. Those who are the fittest, win all the arguments because it is impossible to argue with them.

The worst are those who argue for arguments sake -- as their perverse form of entertainment. That is what is required to validate their existence -- to themselves, which is not a good reason for being -- just to be against somebody else, no matter how important.

That is the sickness of mass media -- both of the audience and the perpetrators -- who think the creation of controversy, argument, ill-will is something intelligent and healthy people would be occupied in. That just creates the problems of the world -- as their "contribution" to society.

Most of the problems in the world today, are "created" in the media rather than simply "reported." That which simply is, is not a problem but is simply what must be done. All that which could be done, is the problem and the confusion -- if there is no way of valuing the alternatives (choices) properly.

Many will convince us there are no choices -- but only their one way of seeing and doing things, even if they have to distort them so that it is not an accurate representation of reality; it has no relation to reality.

So there is no "freedom" in that.

At July 03, 2007 1:40 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

This is so true, people underestimate the worth of hard work and and accomplishment. A few years back I had a friend who was training for the olympics in swimming and lost by 1/100 of a second to qualify for the team. Another friend call and said "hey, your friend really messed up." I was stunned that all the work that went into training for the olympics could be summed up and dismissed as "just messing up". I attempted to explain what 1/100 of a second meant and the work that got that swimmer so far... not sure that anyone could understand the worth of the time, effort and commitment it takes to even get a chance to try out for the olympics.

At July 03, 2007 1:47 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

Also, you hit on the reason people would rather read blogs instead of the "news". The media has not really caught on to the fact that most americans are actually able to think. The internet allows us to look for sources far and beyond the talking heads and don't need them to tell us how to think or vote.. but they still try to tell us how everyone thinks via their "polls" but we know they are just trying to influence us and keep their jobs. yes... its all about the money.

At July 03, 2007 8:22 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Thanks for your thoughtful and insightful comments.

I think many people read blogs for the intellectual stimulation they can’t get anywhere else because in mainstream (mass) media, the objective is to do the thinking for everyone else -- and tell them what to think. In the niche media, like arcane academic (bureaucratic) journals, they eliminate any casual readers and participation from the thinking process, so it doesn’t matterr what they say because they have nullified themselves by not allowing themselves to be fully understood -- to retain the suggestion thant they know more than they can communicate and reveal, and think they are impressive in that manner and style -- which is all they’ve seen before (and imitate).

That is the problem of learning (mass) communication skills ratherr than constantly creating effective ones -- of which the only place one is likely to encounter them are on cutting-edge blogs in which interactivity and co-creation of ideas is the purpose (the liberation of the mind). That’s why the old “communication” styles fail -- along with their publications and programs because they follow the primitive model of human interactions -- which is the struggle for dominance and exploitation, while the greater purpose of communication is “seeing and thinking” together as equals so as to achieve a greater collective intelligence.

That’s the first thing one notices in the communciations of others -- this regard for the intelligence of others. If one reads the mainstream media and even other blogs, one notices this as the interference and noise from the message -- as providing the baseline credibility of the reporter. Many cannot get past their own egos and projections of their own inadequacies and insecurities to see the world beyond themselves. Unfortuantely, most of them are drawn to (mass) communications to figure out their own difficulties -- like confused people majoring in psychology to discover themselves.

In order to discover intelligent life in the univerrse, one must first manifest intelligence, or that intelligence will not be able to recognize your intelligence. Everyone presumes to know what intelligence is -- of which they think they are the highest, if not the only manifestation of it in the universe.


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