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We Are Buddha

In my interpretation, the Sangha is the community of people who help you towards Enlightenment, the Dharma are the natural laws of the universe that you need to abide by and pay attention to in order to achieve Enlightenment, and the Buddha is the ultimate model of the Enlightened individual living in the context of Samsara.  All three are needed in order to achieve Enlightenment in any realm, form, or time.  Once Enlightenment has been achieved by an individual, the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth ceases for that individual.  There is no further need, reason, cause, or ability for that individual to suffer any further in Samsara.  What remains from that individual is their Buddha essence, which continues to be present and pervade the entirety of the universe, known, unknown, knowable, and unknowable.  In this sense, the Buddha has never left our existence, even though Siddharta has ceased to be reborn.  We are Buddhas are underneath the filth of suffering.  Greed (attachment), ignorance (willful or otherwise), and carelessness (lack of compassion) are intrinsic in Samsara.  Yet beneath that is a wondrous presence that is common to us all.  We can either acknowledge our own faults, peel away at the interstellar gunk that clouds our minds and hearts, and become that which we are, or we can be lazy, indoctrinated into one of the causes of suffering, and ultimately fail to realize a lasting bliss which characterizes peace of mind, wisdom, awareness, and compassion.

It should be noted that Buddhism is the one way that I can think of that enables one to achieve Buddhahood conscientiously and deliberately.  All other religions, philosophies, and ways of life either will get you to better rebirths or to Enlightenment through happenstance and the accumulation of past deeds from many many many different lifetimes.  This is similar to how the scientific method is the one way to understand and comprehend the universe beyond the thoughts in your head, which enables one to achieve real results for better or for worse on this plane of existence.  All other methods with working with the world may only make you and others feel temporarily better without actually making you better or may allow you to succeed by chance and chance alone.  It is the difference between self-medication and substance abuse and taking substances with a medicinal purpose, intent, and under verification from well-versed and knowledgeable clinicians who have made a correct diagnosis of the causes of your suffering.  One may help.  But it will only help by chance, be not as effective as other methods, or else, do more harm to your well-being than good.  The other may likewise have mistakes inflicted upon you.  You can still suffer at the hands of even a competent doctor, just as you can suffer at your own hands or an incompetent doctor.  But, this other way is what will more likely lead you to being cured of what’s actually afflicting you.  The choice is up to you, especially when it comes to you making a choice to put a deliberate, consistent, and sustained effort into making it work.

Only you can liberate yourself from Samsara or make a way out of the suffering that you may presently be in.  The essence of the Buddhas, the laws and conditions of the Dharma, and the presence of the Sangha, regardless of the forms or ways that you perceive them are always going to be there to help and will always be present as soon as you think about them.  That is the power of Buddhism and the essence of Buddhist philosophy.  It is not the gods or even God who will save us and yourself.  It is always ultimately going to be up to you to make the world and yourself better.  It is you who ultimately fails to accomplish this goal when you neglect the natural laws and conditions of the universe.  It is you who ultimately fails when you lack the care, compassion, or wisdom to make things be better for yourself.

I’m sorry that I don’t have happier news to give you.  I wish that I could have a magical being to enable us to all be Enlightened and cease to be reborn permanently in this universe.  I wish I had such a being for myself, actually, to make it so I would never ever have to come back to Samsara again.  But, unfortunately, that is not the case.  I am here with you because I made a choice to be here, even in the most subconscious of senses.  I came here because I either did something inanely stupid and wrong, or was motivated by an honest, if foolish choice to help all other beings achieve Enlightenment before myself, not realizing that the only way I can be of help to others is to help myself and, paradoxically, let them go and enable them to figure it out for themselves in their own right and in their own ways.  I’m not sure whether my exhaustion is from being too old of a soul, being too immature of a soul, or simply being not entirely healthy on what ultimately is a physical level.  In any case, I’ll simply abide until my time is come.  What else is there to do?

Enjoy.

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Leadership 101

Leadership is, as far as I can tell, mostly about being polite, relatively humble, giving credit where credit is due to others, and enabling and encouraging others to voluntarily go above and beyond at the tasks that they’re given.  It is also having the sense and will to effectively and appropriately correct for missteps and mistakes along the way.  It is not yelling or necessarily being loud. It is not being able to do what you want when you want, as most Americans seem to believe.  It requires consistency.  It is not being a follower at all, but being able to empathize with followers (really, being able to empathize with other people in general).  It’s really a job for nice people who aren’t willing to accept sub-par performance in appropriate fashions and are willing to exercise their authority if they have it.  It’s not a job for the capricious, the stupid, the cocky, or the rude.  Americans seem to just respond to loudness and unsubstantiated forms of confidence, at least at younger mental ages.  It will own you if you don’t own it, and those who get owned by it are not actually true or effective leaders in my estimation.

All of this is taken from my own perspective and experience as a Cadet Platoon Commander (age 14) and Cadet Supply Officer (age 15).  Leadership is, in my estimation, one of the most difficult and temperament specific jobs that’s out there.  It’s also different across cultures and societies and doing it effectively requires that you alter your tactics depending upon the people or person that you’re working with.  To those who do it well, the rewards are in the job itself (although they would also be the first to recognize the financial value that is behind their skills).  It’s partially learned, partially innate in the person; not everyone by virtue of their nature, experiences, and interpretations of their experiences are qualified or going to be good leaders.  Some people don’t want to be leaders, and voluntarily choose the second, third, or lowest possible role in the social hierarchy.

As for me?  I think I can be an effective leader in my own right.  The only challenge that I would likely face is the natural learning curve that comes with any job and the need to work essentially with people specifically.  People are the leaders’ job, the peoples’ jobs are their own tasks.  That would, eventually, drain me over time rather than keep me energized.

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Concerning the Baltimore Riots of 2015

I would like to start by acknowledging that I know that prospective employers, specifically Baltimore Corps, may be reading this and other posts.  While it would be easier to pat the leadership of the city on the back and tell them that it’s not their fault, the simple fact of the matter is, that it is not true.  Quite frankly, they have failed to resolve the underlying issues that are erupting and have been bubbling under the surface for quite some time in the general American society, let alone, within their own little corner of America.  Police departments cannot be allowed to exacerbate tensions amongst the very real communities of Americans, nor should police officers be left unpunished and at liberty while they run rampant in our streets.  We cannot keep officers who see everyone, especially those of color, as a criminal and every action as a threat.  It is a fault of the city governments of this country that has led us to this place and a lack of truly effective action on the part of the state and federal governments to call the local governments, no matter how remote and backwards they may be, to account for their actions.  A government is not a throne upon which the idle and stupid can afford to sit, nor can it ever really be used as a tool to serve the already powerful few at the expense of everyone and everything else.

I would caution to those who would exacerbate the violence on the side of the protestors that more violence on their part will only lead to more violence in return.  The same goes to the police and those pathetic individuals who think that power is a badge and a gun that allows one to beat on people without consequence, or those who think that the public is best served when the already powerful few are served above all others.  I don’t condone violence.  But I will point out that it’s a natural consequence for governing people who fail to adequately do their jobs on a day to day basis.  We need police officers who live and serve in the regular neighborhoods of the communities in which they work, not those who are imported from other places and treated as mere units in a large organizational machine.  We need to stop putting some bankers’ and executives’ profits and sham economic “growth” ahead of our citizens’ well-being, quality of life, and environmental sustainability.  Above all we need to acknowledge the actual limits of government force and manipulation,0 and the real role that governments can play in preserving, maintaining, and advancing our entire human society.  We cannot keep dishing out favors to the already powerful, and I will not stand in the way of those who would rip out those who are toxic in government to our larger society.  When peaceful methods are rigged in favor of a few, the public will more likely resort to violent methods to get their way.  That is why you don’t rig the peaceful methods in the first place and prevent them from working out, sometimes, against your own personal absolute favor.  If you can’t do your job or take the criticism that is needed to do your job, get out of government, and stop playing with social and environmental forces beyond your comprehension.  I would rather stand and have my honest say than be a quiet sycophant.  That is what makes me valuable in government to anyone who wants to govern.  If you can’t get on this level, you’re truly out of your league, and I don’t care how “savvy” you may think yourself in the cat games of political “power”.

Enjoy your night.

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How Capitalism Leads to a Sovietesque System in America

In some respects, the United States is more like the Soviet Union because of the influence of Capitalism and Capitalists than anything else. We have a shadow group of wealthy people and interests calling the shots behind the scenes to both political parties who sit in our government. The Soviets had one political party calling the shots to their government behind the scenes via the Politbureau. Both groups of people and their ultimate philosophies and practices lead their societies to the same results and likely to the same conclusions.  Our Capitalist elites extract wealth and relative power from us, the Soviet elites did the same to their people.  Both of our governmental systems and staff neglected to listen to the signs of their social and environmental ecosystems.  The Soviet Union collapsed politically and fell apart into traditional ethnic territories.  The United States is also likely to fall apart if nothing significant substantially changes, albeit, it’ll likely be into ideological and cultural camps.

By my reckoning, the solution to at least the American problem is a commitment to democratic principles and a social logic for our economy. Workers should be paid according to their profitability and, when there aren’t enough jobs available in the private market, the government should buy up the extra labor and put people to work with living wages and provide job training and education while they otherwise mark time in between jobs and demand cycles. Living conditions could be improved where people live with surpluses produced by productivity, based on demonstrable needs and evidence based practices.  We could probably eliminate Medicare and Medicaid in favor of a universal healthcare and reduce medical costs as well through negotiation with the healthcare providers.  We could maybe even go as far as to nationalize health research (which has already effectively happened), giving profit for health problems that are solved rather than leaving health to the private markets for them to ignore public health in favor of profits. Same could be said for national defense.  Why should anyone be allowed to derive profit from war (which is an anathema to a healthy economy) or to have a substantial portion of our workforce tied up in pointless weapons manufacturing?

All the while, our governments can start to coordinate amongst themselves for the production and delivery of services.  Experiments with organizational practices to improve inter and intra governmental communication, as well as attention towards creating fora for dialogue with the public on local and party levels could also take place, such that our government officials can know what the public actually needs and wants.  The delivery, implementation, and interface of these functions can also be experimented with on the local and party levels in order to create a lasting link between governed and governing that can only be broken at both parties’ expense.

In the end, the United States is exhibiting the same anti-democratic, anti-social, and anti-environmental symptoms under Capitalism that the Soviet system exhibited under their definition of Communism.  Our government officials and political parties don’t seem to truly care to put in an effort to create a two-way dialogue with the public and amongst their own levels and layers.  They also don’t seem to care to have in place the necessary tools, mechanisms, and practices to preserve their own legitimacy and authority or to increase their personal and institutional longevity.  Our legislators, administrators, chief executives, corporate shadow government officials and interests don’t seem to be thinking or feeling beyond the next election or the next quarterly report on profits.  It is myopic, stupid, idiotic, cruel, callous, and predictably destructive for themselves to continue on this present course of action without appropriate, significant, and substantial changes to the way they think, feel, and work with the larger world that is also them.  Meanwhile, you the citizen will pay either for your complacence in doing nothing appropriate to make momentum against these people happen or your ignorance in your tacit or outright support for them and their practices.  We live together or we die together.  Quite frankly, I think there are a lot of people out there, young and old, rich and poor, who are actually opting for death, as far as the impacts of their choices are in common reality.  The United States will rot from the inside out, due to chronic mismanagement by law and policy makers and practitioners.  We, as the whole American society will pay the price for our choices to be either apart of the solution in common reality or to be apart of the problem tacitly or overtly in common reality.  It all of our choices whether we succeed or fail.  I for one though am not seeing many positive signs amongst the citizenry or the elected and appointed officials who can actually do something for us though.  A perfectly preventable and predictable end for those who actually probably deserve it.  Oh well.

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The Optimization Function of Governments

One of the biggest problems with governing is that there is no consensus about what is the actual thing that government is meant to do.  We can look back at the past and see many many examples of what governments (and government members) should not do.  We see a constant pattern throughout time and space that indicates that cheating, theft, lies, failure to uphold standards of behavior, tyranny, economic mismanagement, and environmental mismanagement, ie, bad government, has tended to lead to catastrophic social, if not environmental, collapse.  The government and governing entities themselves pay a price for their inability or refusal to abide by common sense, pragmatism, and reality.  We also see that society itself, and all people who live in societies, pay a price for the mismanagement of social, political, economic, and environmental capital by the government.  The government and its members are to blame for this mismanagement, chiefly because they are the ones who are directly influencing the policies and choices that are being made, not the general public who elects them in democratic systems.  What then is the role of government in light of these constraints on their ability and interest to accumulate wealth, power, and prestige?

My proposal for such a mathematical and practical function of government is as follows:  The goal of the government and its members, acting within the constraints of what is feasible within this universe, is to maximize societal utility (not profit) while minimizing the costs associated with the production of that social utility given the financial, environmental, physical, psychological, cultural, historical, social, and economic, (the list can go on) constraints that they are faced with.  Social utility is first defined as survival, and followed by health, well-being, and the ability to thrive.  This is taken as an aggregate of all utilities throughout the human species within the range of what is feasible, known, and healthy for the individual.  Excess utility by some leads to negative utility for others (thus, making it possible to create a net loss in spite of one person or group of people reaching a higher utility level).  The goal of the government, from the perspective of its own self-interests, is to maximize these utilities throughout the entire population of the universe within the bounds of financial, environmental, physical, psychological, cultural, historical, social, and economic, (and so on) constraints upon it and its members’ abilities to act.  It borrows from the profit maximization logic of the private, for-profit market and the cost minimization logic from the not-for-profit sector.  The government, in short, when it is acting on behalf of ITSELF and ITS MEMBERS is balancing between costs and benefits that can be empirically derived through the same techniques used in marketing research, psychology, social-psychology, neurology, and sociology.  It’s job is to understand what the needs and desires of the people are and then to, within reason, feasibility, and all other constraints, deliver those needs and wants through the writing, structure, enforcement, and adjudication of written law.  All of these written laws must then be derivatives of the natural laws of society, economy, environmental science, physical science, and technological development, for these are the constraints that bind us all regardless of preference, choice, desire, hope, opinion, belief, or action to make it be otherwise.

A society needs a government to ensure a degree of predictability, order, and justice within the society.  There are no human societies without one or without an otherwise extremely powerful governing ethos that controls, constrains, and regulates their actions, behaviors, choices, and ways of living.  These smaller scale societies, without governments, require these governing ethics from the perspective of providing themselves survivability, health, well-being, and the ability to thrive within the context of their social, psychological, economic, and environmental constraints.  I, for one, do not believe that we have the ability to be perfectly free, if we have freedom to begin with in actuality.  All I would like is for the human species to stop killing itself off through poor, uninformed, and delusional decision-making based on irrelevant or inaccurate readings of information around them.  There is a better way forward for this life and this universe.  I think that I just happen to know it better than many other people, quite frankly.

Prove me wrong humans.  Make better choices with your societies, governments, and own personal selves.  You’re going to die no matter what.  It’s just a question of when and how.

Silly monkeys.

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What Would You Suggest?

What good is growth if it does not sustain?

If it leaves the masses huddled in poverty, scrounging for the scraps of the rich people’s table?

What good is growth if it weakens the nation, divides us, and leaves us open for foreign occupation and international humiliation?

We’ve gotten our priorities so screwed up in this world of ours.  Our leaders and future leaders don’t even know what it’s like to live on the edge of survival; have so lost touch with their own humanity and their own sense of direction as living organisms that they literally cannot tell which side of the bread is actually buttered for them as humans.

Confucius said (to paraphrase) that when the roots are neglected, the tree the grows from it cannot ever be healthy.  The governments and the people who sit behind our governments, have created a system where only the topmost branches are prioritized and the roots of the society from which they spring are neglected.  The higher they build in this case, the farther they will fall, and the more we will all pay for their impropriety, poor conduct, and poor choices.

Let me be blunt: there are correct and incorrect choices to make, especially when you’re making choices that are experienced by other people living in the society.  There are choices that serve you well and choices that serve you poorly; you are NEVER free from consequence.  The more the elite and those who are too stupid to realize their real position in society push for height without the base, the more likely they are going to fall and the harder that they will fall in the long term (which becomes, incidentally, the short term all too soon).

I honestly don’t know what I am doing here in this world so poorly constructed and guided.  I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with the insights that I have and I don’t know how to convince other people that we’re working on bought time.  I don’t know what to do to get people to make the small (emphasis on small) changes that need to be made now to prevent the collapse of the very world that I need to make my living in as well.  What would you suggest that I do in addition to what I’ve already done?

A Way Forward

Governments need data. Without understanding what they’re doing and how they’re impacting the world around them, they are at a loss. Money gets wasted, people get upset or hurt or killed, and it becomes harder to justify the presence of the existing government members along with the existing institutions of government themselves. It is in the existential interests of a government of any type or order to get their work right. Therefore, we need to know what data to collect, what data is relevant to society’s well-being, and how to generally model societies and economies through data relationships and networks of connectivity. Above all, we need comprehensive models of societies’ working parts; the anatomies of societies and economies in order to understand how they work and how they are connected to the base units, which are people like yourself. We then interfaces with our environment, which then interfaces with ourselves, one influencing the other.

Therefore, it would be wise if we devoted more of our societal resources towards understanding how societies, economies, and ecosystems work and how we can operate as individual human beings, such that we can understand how we work as societies and how we move and change depending upon our internal and external conditions.  I see a massive push for research in these ares involving historians, statisticians, computer scientists, economists, sociologists, political scientists, psychologists, neurologists, and government officials.  This would be step one towards making a coherent comprehension of our societies and economies and ecology, such that we can make effective policies, laws, and programs in accordance with the natural laws and conditions of our world.

It should be noted that the government would have to be the one producing this public good, since there is no apparent interest or desire from the free market to birth this knowledge.  There is no immediate financial profit to it, and therefore, the market will not likely pursue this knowledge other than for a business perspective.  This has to be done though in order to crack the puzzle of perpetual power, sustainability, and positive social conditions that can make lives able to be better for all of us.

Just some thoughts.

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2000 Views!

Hello everyone.

This is just to celebrate this blog reaching 2000 views in less than a year and a half!  I would like to thank all of you who made this possible for your time and consideration.  I hope you enjoy what I continue to write.

Thank you! 🙂

The Oath

I am only human.  Regardless of what I think I am now or what I may have been in a previous life, or what I may be in a future life, I am only human.  Without this comprehension and acceptance on my part, I will be nothing more than a delusional infant, grasping at grandeur and receiving only shame and scorn in return.  I cannot pledge to be perfect.  I cannot pledge to do all, know all, practice all things perfectly, or even be a success in this lifetime.  But what I can pledge is that I will always attempt to do my best by other people; to work hard in order to provide that which is needed at the appropriate time in the appropriate place, in the appropriate way.  I can pledge that I will always stop to listen to and for the needs of the people I interact with and balance them against the interests of the common whole that is humanity and the environment in which we live.  I can pledge that I will always be there to love, protect, serve, and, if necessary and possible, to save humanity from itself and to bring about written laws in accordance with natural law, the conditions that are present, and the effects that will likely be realized from following one course of action or preference over another.  I will pledge to work hard to learn what is needed, how things actually work, and how to satisfy those needs as best as I can with what I’m able to perceive.  I am only human and will only be able to do what I am able to do.  With these words I seal my fate as an administrator and a person to the fate of the human societ(ies) in which I’m working, for which I’m working.  I testify that there are no valid laws other than the natural laws of cause, effect, and condition which matter.  All other opinions, beliefs, written laws, and senses of authority are merely capricious in nature and are simply the babblings of ego that will dissipate in the universe as the universe and species evolves, grows, and becomes more self-aware.  With all my lives, past, present, and future, I make this pledge onto you, the individual beings of the universe to do my best.  Take it for what you will.

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2014 in Review, Happy New Year and Thank You!!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 27 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.