Hermit's Weblog
everything your mother never taught you about how the world really works.

Wed, 29 Oct 2003

Dealing with Iraq, as it is, after Bush and Company wrecked it.

Let's face it. Bush and Company did not go into Iraq in a very clean or clear way. They had all manner of hidden motives, and had to invent justifications. It may be a good thing for the Iraqis in the long run, but the way it was done has cost the American People a great deal, and set back the progress of international relations a couple of decades. I'll write later on the hidden motives, and the cost to the American People and to international relations, offering in those writings solutions and healing. For the moment, let's concentrate on the current situation in Iraq.

We can't count very much on what is being said and done by the Administration. They have three main flaws: 1) excess of ambition and arrogance; 2) the tendency to work out of an ideology; and, 3) fear of the truth. In addition, they are led by a man who is very much over his head in about as many ways as it is possible to be over your head. It is a crime perpetrated on our People, and on the World, that this man was elected (manipulated by lies and outright thievery) President. I'd feel sorry for him, as he is so out of his depth, except for the fact that he was vain enough to think he could do the job, which then makes this clearly his own choice.

Some progressive thinkers (for good reasons of heart) want to bring our troops home. Unfortunately, we are past this choice. Bush and Company have committed us, and we having been so asleep as to put them in power, we are now obligated to face the consequences, however terrible. We've made our bed and now we'll have to sleep in it.

There are alternatives to what is being done, and these should be expressed at least for their instructional value, whether or not the current President applies them in practice.

First off we have to elaborate some general principles regarding terrorism. Always in seeking for the statesmen-like way, we have to have some sense of underlying realities, outside of dogma, party politics and ideology. There are some truths, and these need to first be recognized and stated.

Terrorism is an abberation of the psyche. It comes strongly in our Age, because there is a breakdown between individual moral autonomy and the values of a community (see my writings about social life on my website Shapes in the Fire). This breakdown leads to an end to civilization, such that the honor of the warrior can no longer root itself in the soul of the individual. A warrior's honor really only came into the individual through the community, as a shared ideal, but now the community is too weak, and warriors no longer understand the nature of their calling in its ideal sense. The result of this is that the individual, overwhelmed with rage over the trials of their own People, pours that rage on the innocent - the women and children and other non-combatants.

As was elaborated on the television show the West Wing, the terrorist doesn't succeed in a political sense. All terrorism fails. Nothing in the psyche of the terrorist is rooted in a reasoned effort to succeed in forcing the will of those being terrorized. It is all impassioned rage, with its own mindless overwhelming of all potential wisdom and intelligence.

The madness is infectious. Politicians, for seeming reasons of state, sponsor terrorism, thinking that this insanity is a tool that can be used in the furtherance of political goals (just think of the Palestinians, and the Israelis). Obviously from that example we can see how such thinking completely fails to do anything but let one vent one's passions. Terrorism doesn't work.

Clearly then a War on Terrorism (which again is an abberation of the psyche) is of no better worth than the War on Drugs was, or the previously failed War on Poverty. All these things fail because they spring from ideological principles, and not from any real knowledge of human psychology or the true nature of social and political existence.

Once we recognize that terrorism is a kind of madness, then we can begin to realize that our approach to it has to take account of this reality. The terrorist has stepped outside of rationality, and allowed themselves to become something with more kinship to a force of nature, than to an understandable human action. Someone willing to blow themselves up, while killing all manner of innocents (non-combatants), is not any longer a warrior, but rather simply an animalized former human being - functioning as some kind of chaos in social existence, not unlike a hurricane or a tornado.

The threat of punishment is meaningless to such lost souls. Neither is political argument. What the rest of us have to do is to understand that through such lost souls blind forces of Nature sweep into human affairs in the same way as floods and earthquakes. It is all quite beyond any conception of good and evil.

Once we arrive at this point, then the way to react becomes more clear. In the same way we master our fear in the face of natural disaster, so we learn to master the fear the lost soul terrorist seeks to inflict. Oh, certainly, if we can catch them we should stop them, and put them away, and do all the things we are already doing. But at the same time, we can't imagine to ourselves that we can rid the world of the death and destruction authored by this chaos in human souls, anymore than we can rid the world of death by heart attack, or cancer, or drunk drivers.

Now this madness in human beings is nothing new. Throughout history there have been various forms of this madness, this loss of the human. The difference today is that through modern Media, we now know about these things directly, and with a kind of immediacy that is far too intimate for most of us. Through that electronic eye in our living and bedrooms, we see the dark of the world, and its terrible pain and suffering. But we delude ourselves seriously if we think we can eliminate madness and chaos from human affairs.

Its time to grow up, and face the reality that people die, and sometimes people die because of the actions of madmen.

Now just as societies learn to cope with madmen, so we have to learn to cope with the damaged abberrant psyche of the terrorist. How we go about doing this in specific situations depends a lot on the context of each specific situation. Let's look at Iraq then in the light of this understanding of the madness currently being manifested there.

Having introduced political chaos into Iraq, by removing from power the dominant force that previously controlled through terror the various factions, we created a situation into which those with anti-American political ideologies could insert their own State-sponsored terror. So the country is now flooded with individual madmen, acting out their own political ideologies, whose only goal is chaos and destruction.

In this situation, it is the Iraqi People themselves who most possess the ability to identify and apprehend these terrorists. The American armed forces are ill-equipped, and far too mistrusted. What this means is that more and more the future of these People needs to be in their hands, and that the more we trust them to do for themselves what we basically cannot do for them, the more they will step into the intelligence breach, and identify and eliminate the flood of terrorist madmen currently making their home in Iraq.

We also, from the outside, cannot resolve the conflicts between the various factions into which the political reality of Iraq has decayed. They must be allowed to solve these problems themselves, and in their own way. This means that the grip on political processes in Iraq must be let go, and our only reason for being there in the future is dependent upon what the emerging government asks of us. Our ideological control actually interferes with the necessary healthy social processes that need to arise. We are like a bystander interfering in the coming of age process of someone else's adult children.

The more they do for themselves, the more they will find a way to meet and defeat the current escalating acts of terror. We step back, and let them learn to run the country on their own, doing only for them what they ask of us. We trust the mothers and the fathers there to wish to be free of the terrorists as much as we wish to be free of such in our own land. What can be done, they will do. And, what they would do, we cannot do, for we are incapable of doing it.

This will also have the effect of isolating the ideological justifications for the terror, and thereby undercut the reasons for State-sponsored terror. It (the leaving it to them) is also an example of a larger principle that can be applied world-wide with regard to the problem of terrorism. For the fact is that in leaving it to them, we also stand near by, ready to help and also clearly stating our expectation that they carry their part of the mutual burden. Terrorism harms us all, and we have to work together.

This principle then can fold over into a wider international relations approach, which will have to wait for another day, before being elaborated. written October 29th, 2003.

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Staking a Claim - Making a Challenge

Around Easter of 2002 and I decided to run for President of the United States of America. I created a website, and wrote a bunch of working papers. I had some interesting conversations, and made some speeches. The weird part was that I became, in a way, less useful, because most everyone had very big assumptions about what running for President meant, and I was constantly put into all these boxes. So I thought about my experience, and a little after Easter 2003, I stopped running for President (and wrote this final essay for my campaign website: Saving America from Ourselves.

It remains a fact, although few would recognize it as such, that I would be a very good President. Since I am not going to be able to make it through the minefield of modern politics to actually mount a campaign (something not worth doing in a certain way, since the first requirement seems to be to give up your soul to the demon of ambition), I am going to use this weblog format to offer my thoughts about various problems, as if I was the President - sort of a what I would do if I sat in the Oval Office. Readers can, of course, think whatever they want about the vanity of my doing this, but the proof is in the pudding as they say - read what I write, and not just the single instances, but large parts of it, and then judge whether I make more sense than what is coming out of the mouths of various politicians.

My hope, by the way, is not so much to put myself forward as some kind of know-it-all, but show that there are alternatives to what is being offered, even by the liberal and progressive Democrats that seem to some to be so attractive. Statecraft is something quite different from politics, which anyone can see who reads carefully my campaign website. In this weblog then I will continue to offer my thoughts about these matters, as it is my gift to be able to do this. Maybe some future day, some historian will wander into these words and, from the vantage point of looking back, recognize that even in these times of troubles there was a voice of sanity.

written October 28th, 2003.

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Tue, 28 Oct 2003

priorities in the 2004 election

Granny D. recently wrote that: "Here is what we must do. We must of course find a good candidate who can represent all of us well, including the moderate middle of American thought, were elections are won. We must not look for the perfect candidate, but for a candidate who believes in the value of life on earth and who will uphold the Bill of Rights, which is now under attack by Bush?s wildly unpatriotic Patriot Act and the proposed Patriot Act II, which is a treason."

In this she is partially right and partially wrong.

Clearly it would be a benefit for the USA if we got someone in the White House who was substantially different, both in character and life experience. But that in itself is not enough. The quality and character of the art of citizenship must change as well.

It will really make little different if we change the actor in the White House. The most important change has to occur at the level of citizenship, wherein we move from thinking mostly of our rights, to how best to carry out the related responsibilities. Whatever our elective public servants are able to do will be completely dependent upon the qualities of citizenship among our People.

We are quite past those historical ages when "leadership" had any real meaning in the sense of a People following a strong leader. Today it is really the People who have to provide the fundamental "leadership" in that it is through them that we come to know by what Star the Ship of State is to be guided.

The necessary principles for responsible citizenship were well articulated in the popular film Pay It Forward. Each act of responsible citizenship is a free gift - free in the sense that only we define its nature - no one is to compel what we do. Hidden in the film is the idea that not only is a free gift important and essential to a healthy social life, but also that the power of the gift is directly related to the cost (or sacrifice) to us. Only so much as we "spend" in the gift, will the gift have value. And, this spending is not monetary in nature, but rather understood by the reluctance we feel. We part with something, and feel the pain of that parting, and in that know the value of the gift.

It could be something so simple as our humbling ourselves by taking up a chore we ordinarily do not do - that we usually consider beneath ourselves. For example, a rich may can easily give money, there is no cost there. But for a rich man to clean the toilets in a homeless shelter - ah, that would be a gift indeed.

I have written elsewhere that:

"What then do we seek? Do we want a civilization dominated by self interest, and driven by fear of the other? Do we want an America known for its materialism and is racism? Will we leave to the power seeking politician the determination of the content of the political dialogue? Or will we really be free? Not just free to buy and sell, but free, as well, to become? For there is no true self government, in a political sense, if there is not an equal proportion of self governing by the individual, of himself, in a moral sense.

"Fundamentally, just like an individual, our real measure as a People will not be seen in what we have achieved, but rather in that ideal for which we have reached, and whose character only we ourselves may legitimately judge.

"And then, finally, we will in this way truly become: "...a government of the People, by the People, and for the People..."

"This then is the "Song of the Grandfathers", heard in the dialogues, in the seeking for wisdom, in the inner listening, in the quite voice of conscience...

"We dream America
We sing Her shadow and Her light
We dream America
And America dreams us."

Originally posted March 11, 2003

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Eating Everything in Sight

More and more the American is becoming noted for his gustatory excesses - I have heard it said that 65% of us are overweight. This is being called by some a health crisis, and by others a crime against the third world (they produce a lot of what we eat). Doctors offer all manner of prescriptions against what is seen as a kind of compulsive eating, and diet books, exercise infomercials, and other media sources constantly challenge us to better eating habits. Schools are asked to teach children how to make better nutritional choices and parents are suing fast food chains as the cause of the children's obesity.

Maybe, just maybe, something else is going on here. Some one even wrote a book about it: Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World.

It would be unfair to suggest that the conventional analysis is in error, however. Certainly the chronic obesity of the American (I weigh well over 250, which at not quite 6 ft. tall is obviously too much) is a health crisis. And, just as certainly, America consumes the resources of the rest of the world far in excess of our just proportion.

But all that aside there is more to this story, much more.

Try for a moment (it will be hard, but also even the smallest result will be worth the effort) to see the whole world as a kind of energetic cartoon. Exaggerate everything a little bit. Picture it as if one was watching from an alien starship orbiting the planet. Here's these Americans, eating everything in sight, sucking up food and resources from all over the world like some kind of huge vacuum cleaner.

Of course they don't just eat. Most of the time actually they work, so picture them working in those offices and factories. Speed up the action a little bit. Work, work, work. Move machines, move paper. Take a coffee break. Make some boxes, but things in boxes, make notes and records, type at computer terminals, take a lunch break - eat fast because only given a little time, work some more, make more boxes, put more stuff inside, have another coffee break and eat some candy and coffee to get stimulated to finish the day, then work some more, make some more stuff, move some more paper around, do overtime because the boss will otherwise fire you. Then you're done, sort of.

Now go home, but still busy busy busy. Stop at Walmart, buy some stuff in boxes, so when you get home you can open the boxes and take out that stuff and put it in the closet with the other stuff. Stop at the fast food on the way home, so don't have to cook. Then get home, tired and cranky, make the kids do their homework before they can watch TV. Clean up after them, do some laundry, then watch some TV on your own. Watching TV is important, because you get to kind of space out, which makes the advertising get inside your soul easier. The TV is the training ground for being a good consumer, for opening the boxes and taking the stuff out, and eating the fast food, and making all that garbage we can't find room to get rid of anymore.

Except, have to do this every day, work work work, make lots of boxes, move paper around, type on computers, go home eat stuff, empty boxes, watch TV, learn how to consume, go back to work and on and on and on.

Of course, that's the so-called masses. We have to not forget the elites, the bosses.

This is what they do. Get driven to work, give orders all day to others, go to long lunches, hang out with celebrities, buy a new house (can never have enough houses or cars or sports franchises), met with bankers and lawyers and find out new ways to get something for nothing out of your workers and the politicians on the payroll. Take an afternoon break and get laid, give your stockbroker some inside information, give orders to your security company to use one of their former CIA agents to kill that troublesome labor leader at your Mexican drug plant, get driven to a dinner meeting with the psychologist team that designs the advertising by which you get your workers to consume, have drinks with the bankers who make the easy credit available so that the worker/consumers can buy more stuff in boxes, and owe more money so that they can be made afraid of losing their jobs (if they lose their jobs then how could they pay off the credit cards, and mortgages) and being afraid of losing their jobs then they will tolerate more abuse at work, which makes for more stress, which helps them consume not just food but also drugs and alcohol. After these meetings go to the Opera, which gives you access to other bosses and their political lackies, but don't take your wife home afterward, she rides in the other limo, while you go out with your bimbo who takes care of you (again) in the back seat. Nothing but work work work, and consume consume consume. (the bimbo costs you more jewelry and another villa in the south of France). Take some pills to sleep (otherwise your conscience might bother you).

You know what is amazing in all that? People (at least the so-called masses) raise children, try to live moral lives (care for their elderly, give to the church, try to give an honest days work for lousy pay etc.), and occasionally find a little time to reflect on life.

But you're right if you think there is too much work and consumption and not enough life of spirit (reflection). Since the latter is missing in a very big way from modern civilization (everywhere in the industrial West, and becoming a very bad habit now being carried out into the third world as well), there is a deep hunger for it. Now this hunger gets displaced in the soul, and becomes a further driver for the eating and consuming. We don't have enough time to reflect that what we need is more time to reflect, not more food, cars, TV, computers, sex or whatever.

Yes, Americans are horribly overweight. But why the surprise - its in the very design of the culture of work and consumption, empty of time for reflection. And, if you want to cure it, then it won't be with diets, or nagging, or teaching nutritional facts at school. The whole way of life has to change - all of it!

Funny thing is that this is happening - this big change. That's why everything todays seems so crazy - its all falling apart. Falling apart is important, by the way, because until things do fall apart, such big changes as are needed can't happen. Also, people are doing more reflecting, more taking charge, but just in small increments now. Everything is still too much consumption and work and not enough reflection. So do your part, consume less, work less, and reflect more. Then watch, all that fat will disappear because the real underlying cause, the spiritual hunger, will begin to be met. Originally posted January 05, 2003.

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Seeing the Future in the Present

William Gibson's new novel, Pattern Recognition, seems set in the present, or at least a present much more recognizable as such than the futures in his earlier novels, like Neuromancer. As one of the grandfathers of the science fiction sub-genre cyperpunk, Gibson is easily one of the most gifted writers of our age. His turns of phrase not only evoke in the reader remarkable inner pictures of strange times and places ("The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel" - the very first sentence in Neuromancer), but as these sentences sum into paragraphs and chapters, we not only have a vision of the future, but know it as mood, as if it had a soul-taste all its own.

In Pattern Recognition, Gibson's gift has continued to mature. Sentences are frequently more like poetry and the mood/images they evoke bring us not only the sense of the time (the present?) in a unique way, but give to the human struggle, of living in a state of constant future shock, new and attractive dimensions.

His main character sees the world from a place that some might see as a kind of illness - she gets sick upon seeing certain corporate logos and other aspects of our commercial culture. But this sensitivity to design art, she turns into a gift, finding work as someone ad agencies hire to test their future designs. Her intuitions and over-sensitivities to the commercial art that adorns much that surrounds us in modern civilization, becomes instead a kind of natural seer-ship - she arrives at knowledge of the world, knowledge much deeper and all the more accurate for its subtle feeling texture, as if she sees not just the surface of the effect of commerce upon our civilization, but its most inward nature.

To further his themes, Gibson then places his heroine into the center of a journey, seeking after an ongoing mystery in the world of art film, only slowly being revealed frame by frame over time on the internet. From this substance then Gibson leads us forth into a poetic meditation on art, creativity, culture and human nature as it faces the on rush of changes we can't even manage today, much less tomorrow. Originally posted January 05, 2003.

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The Drums of War, or the Bagpipes of Sorrow?

War with Iraq seems closer. I won't make a prediction, because I don't think such an event is certain. What is certain, however, is that the war as proposed, if it happens, will turn out to be a mistake. As is usual with human institutions, especially sitting governments with an agenda, the lessons of history are being ignored, and the Bush Administration gives un-controverted evidence that it lives in fantasies about the world, not realities.

War,by its nature, is an event that cannot be controlled. All kinds of wise heads have their individual predictions, but let us keep in mind that one of the main themes is lack of agreement. This one thinks that will happen, while that one thinks this will happen. Clearly the Administration thinks it can accomplish certain ends by making war, and it relies on the Pentagon for ideas about what is needed in order for the war to be successful.

The thing is that the motive for the war is not real, but is itself imagined. The leader of Iraq is thought to be dangerous and needs to be replaced, and the weapons of mass destruction under his control destroyed or removed. Iraq's potential as an enemy is the reason we make war, not its factual nature as an active enemy. All the thinking / reasoning is based upon our self made images of what Iraq might do in the future that is dangerous, not on what they are doing in the present that is morally horrifying and destructive.

All of this, from the intentions of the Administration to the promises of the Pentagon, are completely in accord with the War in Vietnam, which we lost, and within which a whole generation of our youth were spiritually lost as well.

The Pentagon promised it could defeat the Vietnamese, but could not, making the error that primitive indigenous people would have no heart for protracted and difficult combat. We made of the Vietnamese a dehumanized people, and of their leaders, communist bogeymen. Even near the end, when our defeat was obvious and when Nixon and Kissinger committed clear war crimes, we could not win.

Why?

Well, I think George Washington would say this. We, having been the true aggressors, were in the wrong. Lacking a real moral basis for conflict we did not have "the blessings of heaven upon our arms." Having put ourselves into the chaotic field of war, we lacked the spiritual grit that belongs to those in the right, something needed at every level in order to prosecute such an event to its just and righteous conclusion. Our people did not believe in it (it almost destroyed us as a Nation during Vietnam), nor really did our armies. It was an intellectual exercise, made by old men sitting in Washington - something of the head, not the heart.

But war is not an intellectual exercise. It is a horrible necessity, perhaps forced upon a People, but something which no one in their right minds seeks out as a policy, foreign or domestic. As a policy it is morally repugnant, and because of this no human being can draw from their soul those powers of might and will that are needed to bring Victory.

To know the error of the Bush Administration, all we have to do is listen to the Drums of War - all the efforts made to create the belief in the need for war. No one in the right ever needs to beat the Drums of War - if there is a true need that will be obvious. Yet, we forget that the Johnson Administration faked the necessity for the invasion of Vietnam, and standing on the sand of that vain lie, we fell to our destruction. There will be no Victory, in such a repeat of this situation, only the Bagpipes of Sorrow as the dead are buried, the maimed ignored and hidden, and the spiritual heart of the Republic shattered into ruins.

***************************************************************************

After this was written, a reader submitted the following quote from Julius Caesar:
""Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know ? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar." Originally posted January 02, 2003.

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The Democrat's Failure

Yes, the Democrats blew it big time. And, we all know that this was quite expectable, but not many will know exactly what the failure involves. In reality it is a failure of courage, one that is pretty much epidemic in politicians in any case. The first error begins when the politician acts in ways by which he/she wishes to conserve their potential for re-election, and gets worse from there.

By continually making choices in a self defined context in which the primary value is positioning one's self in the best way possible for re-election, this places all other values in the background. There is nothing really to be for in such a case, except in the most bland fashion. Someone who stands in favor of nothing of import (drugs for the elderly is hardly a courageous position) really doesn't understand what it means to "stand up" for something.

This observation is true for the Republicans as well, of course. Even so, one wishes that politicians would somehow find out what it means to be Statesmen in America, namely that one takes risks and has some core beliefs for which one might even be willing to die.

Certainly the excesses of the Bush administration makes possible all manner of courageous and risky possible positions, but somehow the Democrats couldn't find their way.

And, people wonder why so few of us vote, or even care. How can one care about someone who doesn't themselves have something about which they care? Originally posted November 07, 2002.

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military-industrial complex

Check out Dwight D. Eisenhower's Farewell Address, given Jan. 17, 1961, three days before JFK took office. It is a very special look at the USA by a President who was/is much deeper than he was frequently given credit for. Originally posted October 31, 2002.

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shooting deaths, news and reality

Sniper kills dozens around Wash. DC. Kid shoots neighbors and then anyone standing on the street as he drives away. Man kills college instructors and then himself. Newspapers and TV news love stories about murder and death because we watch and are fascinated (therefore enabling them to sell advertising). The world is a dangerous place - we could get shot, run over or might buy something we don't need after watching a story about a murderer. Is there something about this that doesn't seem to make sense?

The problem with News is that while a story may be fascinating (especially to our naturally morbid curiosity), News is seldom the truth. The problem has to do with the way certain facts of life are abstracted from their context, as if outside that context their true meaning will survive.

Suppose I saw a TV news preview: "Man has large boil on ass, pictures at 11:00". Depending on my interests, I might watch, but will I know anything about the man. Don't understand my point?

Try this one: "USA has 12 00 deaths a day and 1250 births, and we are going to show you pictures of the most heinous deaths in your face until you think the culture in which this happens is properly characterized by this form of representation." Getting the point yet?

People die all the time. Sometimes they are murdered. This is not news, its just life. The News doesn't really tell us what the truth is about a culture or a place or a family or a murder suspect. In fact the News isn't about the reality at all, its only about the sizzle and spice. If you want to know something or understand something you won't get it from the News. The News is all empty calories.

Now maybe there is a question in there. Maybe we might want to know something deeper about ourselves or our culture or some part of the world, because of something the News brings us. But don't expect the News to provide that. If you make your understanding of something out of what you get on the 11:00 o'clock News, then you won't know crap.

And, if all you know is crap, then what good are your opinions! Just recycled crap.

Sure, you do have a right to your opinions, but don't confuse crap with the truth. The truth is hard to come by. You have to work at it. You want to loose weight, or build up muscle, you know you have to work at it. You want to know something, you want your mind not to be full of crap, then put something worthwhile in it. Crap in, crap out. Effort in, something of worth out. Its your world. Fill it up with crap, guess what it will be like. Put some effort into understanding it, wow it sure doesn't taste like crap anymore! Originally posted October 28, 2002.

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hacking politics, part three

What makes open source work? One is that it is directed from out of individual initiative. No one is top down organizing, passing out tasks, looking over your shoulder to see if you are doing it right. What works is what you judge to be right and what you create. Two is that it is a cooperative art. The whole, in the end, is really much greater than the sum of the parts. Three is that it is a gift, free - no one is trying to get rich or gain power or whatever. Four is that it is outside the box. What is done in open source isn't connected to the past, but is really based upon the future. We imagine what is the best and then make it happen. Lets translate that into politics.

In politics, as ordinary citizens, we get to do two basic things - complain and vote. If we step outside the box, we might remember that ordinary citizenship is the primary power, from which all other power is derived. We need to think about this from that position of power - we are the bosses. We say what the ideals are to be and where the ship of state is to be going. Then we need to do this for itself, not because we are going to gain something for ourselves, but as a gift to the whole people. Now to make this a cooperative act, to make the determination of the ideas a true art, we have to do it engaged with each other. True, what we say and do and think, this we draw out of ourselves, out of our own heart, but this saying and doing and thinking from the heart, we do that together.

We don't form a political party and say we have the answer, do it our way, and then go out and steal an election or two. We make the ideal element of our politics out in the open, together, just because it is the right thing to do.

Now, this being the case, if I were to write about this from an historical and political perspective, instead of calling it "hacking politics" I would call it Citizen Governance - the future of the republic form of government. Originally posted October 21, 2002

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