Monday, March 31, 2008

Brave New World

The major reason for the popularity of bicycling is as "pedestrians on wheels" -- which are the multitudes of aging baby boomers who can be aided for many years of useful mobility by "activity wheel chairs'-- that bicycling technology lends itself to be -- rather than the delusions of the relatively few out in their bike geek outfits and high performance road bikes trying to prove they are as fast and virile as cars.

For increasingly many, even walking becomes an increasingly prohibitive activity as their feet, knees, hips and backs break down -- whereas biking for several centuries now, has been the most efficient means of human transport since at least da Vinci's concept of the bike to even propel human flight, which was also the inspiration for the famous bicycle mechanics and bike entrepreneurs, the Wright brothers, to develop the first airplane of the modern era.

It is the useful implications of bicycling technology for much wider purposes than imagined competition of Tour de France wannabes and aging baby boomers, that really are the great opportunity of bicycling in this time and age -- for bicycling to move into the mainstream of the human mobility and enabling movement, than remain on the fringes as an expensive hobby for a few who have never grown up and think they have to relive their childhood fantasies daily in keeping up with road traffic.

And in fact, the fastest growing phenomenon in Hawaii, as well as all over the world, is the adoption of bicycling by middle aged and retired people to move slowly and safely to do their errands and tend to their appointments -- rather than getting dressed up in their outlandish outfits and taking over the roads ala The Critical Mass strategy that alienates everybody else trying to attract the attention they require to do anything worthwhile and meaningful in their fantasied existences.

That's where the important paradigm shift in thinking has to occur -- from the bike "regarded" as vehicle, to that of being "pedestrian" -- and moving in the direction of further efficiencies and capabilities not for speed but in enabling the ordinarily and marginally disabled of the past to maintain their lives of extended mobility.

Such advances would also improve the possibilities for every "average" person to enhance their range of movement and activities far beyond those we are limited today.

If we never have another bike road race, the world will not suffer any great loss. But the real gain, lies in applying that useful technology and basic wisdom, in much more enlightened ways than seeing "how fast" we can travel. We need to grow up and think, how intelligently we can move -- in all the conditions of our normal daily activities, rather than creating special categories and niches to burn off (waste) more energy.

That is the essential problem and challenge of these times.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Miracle of “Accidents”

The disservice of our socialization (education), is the belief that most people already know, what they are merely setting out to discover -- as if they knew already, what every result would be -- rather than finding out the actual truth of the matter. Such a manner, enables people to persist in their beliefs of what is true, contrary to what experience and the facts make obvious to everybody else.

We call such easily deluded people “academics,’ or those with a “high IQ,” but who fail to exhibit intelligence in any tangible and meaningful way -- except on those IQ tests, which not coincidentally, are created by the academics themselves to “prove” their great intelligence, despite not displaying it in any practical sense, otherwise.

The objective of any real inquiry, is to discover what one doesn’t already know, rather than merely to confirm what one already knows, and if the experience and actuality does not confirm it, is denied, suppressed and discarded as a statistical aberration, or exception to the rule that they are certain must be “right” -- despite all and any evidence to the contrary.

This is unfortunately what many people “know” -- and will defend to their dying breath as “the truth” -- which they believe is every citizen’s dutiful obligation to defend as the basis and foundation of everything they believe to be true and good in life. However, at some point in life, most people have an experience that causes them to question whether everything they were “taught’” in this way as the truth, actually is the truth, which is usually the great awakening of adolescence and the annoying habit of questioning and challenging everything -- even that which should be “self-evident” to anyone.

That is fine as a stage to developing a systematic method of inquiry in determining the truth and validity in all matters. A few proceed further down this path and are convinced that everything is an illusion, deception and “too good to be true,” whereupon, one comes to distrust even one’s own senses in favor of the rationalizations, explanations and theories of others -- and have no way to distinguish these differences.

The opportunity for emerging from this conundrum is the “happy accident” that does not go according to the best laid intentions and expectations of the life one has constrained themselves to experiencing. Instead, one comes to experience a world far greater in its range than one was taught existed, and dutifully, was thought to see as the actual limits of the universe of reality.

At such moments, one makes contact with the real and actual, and life is changed from that of a limited possibility, to the virtually unlimited possibilities of life in its totality. That is real life and actuality, and not merely what was taught as that society’s limits on experiencing the fullness of life -- to just what the powers that be and defenders of the status quo, would like everyone to think is the world they control, to their exclusive benefit, profit and self-aggrandizement.

It is this accident of programming, that allows one to see the world beyond. That’s how great discoveries come about: one is open to the unknown, and not merely secure, in their own knowledge, which “protects” them from venturing beyond -- to the actual limits of truth and the total possibilities of reality -- yet they will think they have seen and done it all.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Making Life Easy

The difference between life in the 21st century and life in the 20th century, is that the latter prepared us for life by making everything hard and difficult as their conditioning strategy -- in the belief that such actions produced its opposite as an outcome. In movies of the former, romances blossomed because those individuals started out as mortal enemies -- rather than the much more promising start of people beginning with greater compatibilities.

Schools (our primary conditioning agencies) made learning anything difficult, in the mistaken notion, that would make learning anything else seem relatively easy -- rather than it would discourage a whole generation of people turned off to learning anything! Physical education (conditioning) was the outstanding offender in promoting hardship, difficulties and outright abuse, as cultural virtues.

And so the takeaway for many of that previous generation of misguided thinking and its propagation, was that people learned vices as virtues, and vice versa. Those who now disproportionately populate the institutions of “rehabilitation” and retention, overwhelmingly learned the wrong lessons as children, and as they matured, did not question that authority to evolve a better understanding and comprehension of life’s realities.

It was quite possible to have such abundant knowledge of all and many things that were wrong and erroneous, while learning nothing that was verified and validated by one’s actual experience -- and rise to very high positions in bureaucratic (academic) hierarchies which were maintained by obeisance to the proper protocols and deference, than it was from actual pioneering of understanding in that field.

Academics made sure that their knowledge could not be tested by actual realities by promoting information that was impossible to test in any reality. They simply “knew,” with none of that “information,” making a difference other than to know it. Such knowledge is known as jargon, which is knowing the words, theories and explanations, while priding oneself that practical and useful information, was beneath the dignity of highly-esteemed experts such as themselves -- who were to be greatly prized and highly-compensated, because nobody else could understand a word they were saying -- though many pretended to and nodded vigorously and knowingly in agreement.

In the publishing world, such writing was invariably pronounced as “brilliant,” because schools of experts could argue endlessly, and thus secure their own job relevance and security, by interpreting, and explaining definitively, how many theoretical angels could stand on a pinhead. Letters to the editor of newspapers would promote and incite arguments for endless argument’s sake -- rather than doing the immeasurably useful, when people realize they can directly affect their lives and community -- rather than doing the opposite, which is creating the innumerable problems, they come to believe, can never be resolved -- when in fact, one only need spend their time not creating those problems in the first place.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Life Changes -- If You Let It

Probably everybody has their own unique cycle, but my life seems to change course radically every ten years or so, on the eights. Others I have met, seem to think that life never changes, but is one endless repetition of every other day lived before, which they do everything in their power to ensure that that is so. So quite predictably, nothing ever changes in their life, of which they are proud to ensure, can never be different.

In some places, a whole culture has revolved around this resistance to change -- and any “change” proposed, is merely to ensure, that everything will stay the same. And so great public works projects are proposed at great cost that will enshrine the present condition -- rather than solve any problem, because the overwhelming and insurmountable problems, is what makes that culture, lifestyle and personalities endearing -- that they are living monuments to the past, in a world too quickly changing for their tastes, aptitudes and inclinations. They want a sense of permanence, even if that permanence is a living death -- which is the unresponsiveness of all the challenges of changes that life brings.

For such people, their lives and everything in it, is an elaborate personal pyramid that is a testimony, legacy and tribute to their having once lived -- as though such possessions and accumulations were all that signified having lived. Meanwhile, every meaningful moment was sacrificed to that “immortality” that existed only in their thoughts, fantasies, dreams -- while the reality of life passed them by, first in denial and then brutal repression and suppresion.

Thus such people regard life as an endless struggle -- against the real and reality. The default value for life is “change” -- and one has to deliberately set oneself against change, for those things not to happen. People do not change because they have a fixed image of their lives as "not changing" -- fearing losing who they are if they were to change, rather than in the greater realization, that they can never discover the person they can be, unless they were willing to change and find out all they can be.

For the former, the accumulations of possessions and memories to their lives, is what they think living is about -- rather than the constant responses to change, that is always changing -- as long as they are alert and responsive. Life moves them along -- and one does not have to reinvent the wheel for any progress to take place; one merely needs to be willing to go along for the ride.

But unfortunately, even in this day and age, many cultures and societies still perpetuate as its greatest objective, forever staying the same, as its highest aspiration and meaning of life, that are manifested most visibly and obviously, in the personalities of that society. The “problem” of many people with problems, is that they have been conditioned to believe that they have to always be that way, or that changing is the most difficult thing in their lives -- rather than the proper conditioning and realization, that one has to resist change to stay the same, self-limiting person as who they are and feel they must always remain.