Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Dichotomy Of Being Known, and Unknown

Having finally come from a business background, where I got to get at least a feel for what being a medium sized fish in a small pond is like, I understand a bit about what being known is, and what it means to have people not only want to know, but need to know, your opinion. And even though this is only mediocre business stuff we're talking about here, it does get across the idea that such things have both an upside, and a downside.

On the one hand, creating enough workable output to convince folks to give you responsibility for doing more, and you do; enough more, in fact, that decisions are made on your recommendations; whereupon what you say has weight; it certainly goes a long way to allow you to feel that you matter.

On the other hand, of course, that same recognition also means new expectations; new scrutiny; new vulnerability if things go south. In short, a whole new set of things to be responsible for. And, all too often depending on the money involved, a boatload of stress that either pushes you to work harder, or breaks you.

None of this is exactly breaking news certainly, but I mention it because, now that I deal in ideas, instead of database designs, and processing software, I see a much more frightening prospect for being in, and known, as opposed to out, and unknown. Now I risk being known for an idea that, being fairly radical, and prominent in how we interact as a society, might be cause for terrible shifts in passions, beliefs, and all of the restraints that make interaction possible in the first place.

Then again, if not pursued, with all due diligence, and personal effort possible, other terrible shifts in passions, beliefs, and all of the restraints that make interaction possible, might take place by omission, or failure of pursuit, for said idea.

Which begs the question of how much responsibility for an idea does an advocate have to take? On either side of the equation? Is the same responsibility of action required to do it justice in its presentation as is done with whatever final outcome prevails? A question that I am not going to get into here, at least directly. Maybe some other time.

Right now what I want to talk about is this: I enjoy the anonymity I have right now. It is liberating, in fact, that, at the present moment, I have literally nothing to lose in saying what I want to say. I have no property left to lose. I have no real reputation to worry about, or job that would depend on same. I am old enough now where dying is no big deal (I have the usual regret or two, but for the most part I am proud of what I have done with my life), and if it ends in the next instant, or tomorrow, or somewhere just a ways down the road, it's no big deal either (I have also had guns pointed at me in anger -- having nearly had my head blown off in an armed robbery at a 7-11, where I worked nights near Sea-Tac Airport, so violence is no stranger to me either).

It would be nice to see some kind recognition, even if it were only critical. Who doesn't want at least a little indication that what they see as important is shared by others, whether in quite the same way, or not? But the other really scary downside here is that, if the idea gained much attention at all, with the way the air in the political, and economic spheres of contention right are charged, controversy would be all too easy to come by. With that, then, comes the maelstrom of invasive scrutiny, and rochus feedback, both harsh, positive, and way too unlikely to be emotionally neutral.

If it does come I will deal with it the best that I am able. If it doesn't come, a part of me will be very disappointed (because I do believe it has our best chance to solve some problems, but prosper doing it, even if it won't be quick). Another part of me, though, is going to sigh with relief. The kind of relief one gets when one is confident of being finally off the hook.

And what hook would that be you might ask? Besides what you've already told us of "upsides" and "downsides?"

In coming to a couple of realizations, and then to the idea that springs from them. In making the connections and seeing how things might fit better, in a completely new way, one is snared. One is entwined; bundled and delivered to the follow on realizations that something, with a good probability of being important, came into being, and you were the idiot who was unlucky enough to have stumbled over it. You are now, in fact, responsible for its care, and feeding, and nurturing. And if you do not express it well enough to garner serious debate as to its substance, it is most likely your own fault, because that's just the way it is. Because you know you are the way you are. And this was the only way you could have done it, regardless of the results.

If I don't have to go through the "maelstrom" I will be relieved. If I do have to go through it than I have to ask myself: how much are you prepared to do from that point forward? How would you, a hermit by nature now, fit in with pleas for talks, or interviews, or whatever else that might come up? Would you allow yourself to become just another "talking head" celebrity, famous only because of ongoing controversy; which of course is so easy to keep up in the very pot it's brewed in, stirred up to frothy roil by ever more outlandish behavior, and statements (just ask Ann Coulter)?

The simple answer here is not likely. I won't travel, and I really do not want to be on TV. What I am trying to articulate, the ideas involved, those are the only things people should be focused on, even though I know it's probably naive of me to even consider hoping that this might happen.

If you think there is no problem with Capitalism, then defend it. If you think there is a problem with Capitalism, but you don't like my solution, come up with a better one. It undoubtedly exists. Anything is possible after all. And, like I said, I'd be off the hook after that.

The bottom line here is that I am not willing to do whatever it takes to make this idea, and the change that comes with it, come into being. I believe now, and will continue to believe, that it is quite possible that I am wrong. I accept that because I have to allow for doubt if I am to have any chance of asking myself questions honestly. You try to make your best stab at finding, even the embarrassing ones, and then giving them a response that reasonable people can see as, at least plausible, if not outright warranted.

I can tell you here, at the get go, that there is a shit load of things not even thought of to ask yet, much less answer. There is simply no way one mind could possibly think up all of the possible contingencies an undertaking of this scope might produce. This is a starting point that, hopefully, has enough of a beginning outline that the rest can be filled in with a bunch of creative thinking, and a willingness to compromise. We just need to get people thinking an alternative is both necessary, and possible, and then go from there.

Everyone needs to understand that people need to come to this via their own understanding of the issues involved. It is only such people who will have any hope of keeping the conviction alive that we can get it done. If you can't get a significant majority of the people into such an understanding kind of commitment then you should go no further because to push it too hard, when that commitment is incomplete, is to risk what I think would ultimately lead to civil war. Something I would not wish on anyone's conscience, let alone mine.

I often reiterate that change is coming, whether we do anything for change, or not. Trying for rational change, when there is still enough stability to allow current government to aid the change, is going to be hard enough. Trying to institute any change at all, when things start breaking down, is obviously not a prescription for success.

The bottom line here is this: Even though I am the one who started this, and brought it to this point, I am not the one who should lead it. I not only have a credibility problem because of my lack of expertise in most of the fields of study that get bandied about in this (save for analyzing things from the standpoint of a systems point of view), my checkered past is hardly one to engender a lot of confidence. And even if that past were better suited, there's still the issue of how much I'm willing to give to it all at the end of the day.

So let me be clear from the start. I am going to preserve a certain amount of selfishness as things progress, whatever the consequences. Which is really no more than to admit to the fact that I'm no selfless saint, nor have I ever had any pretensions of such. As my checkered background will attest, I do not do things the usual way. How could it be otherwise when you come from a dysfunctional family, mental illness of a parent; a crippled brother; and my own serious bouts with depression. And then nature decides to make you a dreamer to boot. It's a recipe that often incurs problematic results.

That's why, after marrying too young the first time, divorcing badly, getting caught growing pot in Eastern Washington, and having to take a felony plea deal as a result. Two more failed marriages, an unintended career in data processing, and a whole lot of dreaming later, I find myself in a position to finally try and express all aspects of the alternative that I'm able to, full time. The thing is, though, I am not going to be, even if I could be, the charismatic leader who devotes every waking minute to the cause. Just the kind of guy who really would be at risk of doing anything to make the great goal happen.

In my opinion too many bad things become possible when you get a guy out front on a big undertaking who is ready to do "whatever it takes." This is so because that is precisely the kind of guy who can't take no for an answer when contrary facts start appearing, and big adjustments are needed; usually when the pursuit of the goal starts accumulating a terrible inertia of its own. This is a big reason why people these days ought to be very suspicious of charisma in any undertaking (fortunately for you I have absolutely zero amounts of that sort of thing). It should also serve as a reminder that we've worn out the usual hierarchical approach to getting organized, and working together for a common purpose. It really is time now to start doing things from the grassroots up, sharing leadership as much as possible, so that something so important doesn't rise or fall on the frailties, and susceptibilities of one person.

I will leave you with this. If nothing comes of this, which is certainly likely, I will just finish with a quote from Emily Littella (commenting on violins on TV, when it was supposed to be violence): "Never mind."

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