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The Islamic State | VICE News

The Islamic State | VICE News | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
The Islamic State
Eli Levine's insight:

I love VICE. Best reporting I've seen on IS, and useful intelligence about what is happening and who these people are.

These are the kinds of people who can seduce swaths of humanity to their ...cause but will ultimately make enemies of everyone at the end if the day. Hopefully wecanfend them off long enough to ensure humanity's victory over the conservatives internationally and at home. They don't think in terms of the larger social picture or the larger environmental picture. That's their greatest weakness and how they can be so competent at getting things done short term, but failing in the long term. We need to focus on accelerating Muslims' wake up call that these people are not really their friends while defending our homeland. We'll get them later.

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Social Administration

The goal of a social leader is to deliver the best policies and qualities of programs that are possible, not to advocate for their own side or perspective or perceived interests. If you want to stay in power reliably and sustainably, you will be on the constant search for truth, reality, and ways to achieve optional social health, well-being, and quality of life for other people. Your comfort and convenience and position comes second if you're interested in preserving your power and your institutions. That's the lesson from history and psychology. Like it or lump it, it's still going to hold for those who have it wish to be in power. 

 

Period.

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The Evolutionary Division Bell

Conservatives are nothing really more than the lesser evolved members of our species. Angrier, culturally chauvinistic, more attentive to satisfying their base urges (in spite of denying and attempting badly to suppress them), less able to grasp complexity and ambiguity, and more delusional to boot. It seems to be universal across the species throughout cultures, times, and geographic spaces, and it's all thanks to their brains, nothing more, and nothing less.

Why are we continuing to listen to these people? I'm not even sure they'd count as being fully human, considering their mental states and brain functions. To me, being a human being is more than just the physical traits and our baseline mental and emotional capacities. To me, being human is also about the higher level content and outpourings from the brain into the larger world around us. A money-grubbing corporate executive or investor may be human in every other way, were it not for the constant grubbing for cash behavior that they exhibit. Likewise, a brutish conservative may have some aspects of a physical human, except for those parts which we don't see except as the emergent behavior from their physical brains. I think we are at a cross-roads in our species, where we will, eventually, break off from each other due to our incompatibility to work together as a common society of progressives and conservatives. I think there will continue to be much blending and much gray area (such is how evolution works until the differences branch off from one another). Indeed, if the universe is as I suspect it might be, we could be headed for a division of consciousness itself within our universe, where those who have more progressive brains will move on from this current state onto another while those with more conservative brains will stay back and degrade until they compose the whole and, eventually, dwindle and die off due to their inability and unwillingness to adapt, work with new knowledge, and accept and work with those who are superficially different from themselves.

Remember folks, the conservatives are the ones who still, literally, think that trickle down economics (or some form thereof) actually is a viable method for organizing a society and an economy, that the environment isn't something we need to be concerned about, and that brutish war is the only solution to our problems throughout the larger world. They neglect the role and need of government, live in delusional worlds of their own creation that have no basis in reality, and then lash out at others for calling them out about it. In light of all these facts (and they are, undeniably, facts), what is the point of listening to them? What is the point of making sure that they stay alive in spite of themselves and their actions? Why should we accept them as the burdens that they are on society at large and, more importantly, on the individual living, working, and dying in society?

Just a thought. I'm not sure about what to do about them either except label them as dangers to themselves and dangers to others. Even then, the most we could practically do to help them would be to leave them alone and let them isolate and die off on their own until they actually come to terms with how poorly their brains are actually functioning relative to common reality for their own sake and benefit, if they do. It would be ethical for us to help them with psychiatric care. But, there is the practical problem of trying to corral those who have overly armed themselves. Therefore, just don't listen to them or vote for their candidates.

The world's society suffers while conservatives are present and active within it. They are little more than the lice which, apparently, we must meditate and live with until they die off, if they die off on this plane of existence. My only wish is that they go to places that are more beneficial and appropriate for their mentalities until they are ready to rejoin the human species as actual humans, not as brutish chimp-people. The division bell is ringing in the universe. We will go to wherever we lead ourselves through our actions and choices. Just practice kindness and wisdom and you will be ok. Otherwise, enjoy your time here, and please stop hurting yourself.

That is all.

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Many in Emerging and Developing Nations Disconnected from Politics

Many in Emerging and Developing Nations Disconnected from Politics | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
Most vote in elections, but few engage in other kinds of political participation or think those forms are effective. Publics overwhelmingly say that government officials do not care what they think.

Via Marianne Castiglia
Eli Levine's insight:

This is, I think, a hallmark of societies without history of democratic governance as we know it in the West.  The logic isn't there amongst the public and the people just go about their lives, regardless of which among them is presently in charge, for better or for worse.  The problem with these systems and logic is that the society in question languishes for long periods of time, punctuated by periods of rebellion, overthrow, and general chaos when peoples' tipping point gets reached.  It is safer and far less expensive in the long run, I think, to simply do a good job managing and working with your people than it is to go through periods of chaos, anarchy, and no government.  The trouble is, is that humans psychologically will more likely take lull periods for granted and slip back into their lowest common complacent mannerisms.  As people's interests in the problems fade, so too will the leadership's, regardless of how actually serious and pressing it is for the given society.  Such is the sad state of humanity in our current chimpish form.

 

Bearing in mind though, that it's not like we're too much better here in the US.  Our people don't vote usually, especially not in smaller state and local elections where they can have an impact on how they live and what gets done in their localities.  Therefore, can it truly be said that we're "better" than those who are in the "developing" world?  What really makes "us" so different from "them", other than we parade ourselves like we're the best of the best without having any real justification for those claims?

 

Silly people.....

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A Brief Teaching on Power

To believe that power is about brute force and physical might is to misunderstand power and to deeply misunderstand human psychology, human needs, and human motivations.  it is true that you can get a lot of what you want with force for a short period of time.  However, it also is true that that method of gaining is typically short lived, superficial, and frankly inconsistent with human needs,and human wants.  Al Capone may have had a kind word and a gun.  However, it is the unarmed peasant from Nazareth who preached peace and kindness who holds more influence over the hearts and minds of people throughout the world than any other figure in the history of humanity.  The same can be said for Confucius, Lao Tzu, Buddha, Muhammad, Krishna, and all other enlightened beings who struck the right chord at the right time in the collective and individual psyche of humanity.

That's what history has borne out, constantly and consistently, and across all cultures.  You cannot force a person to be who they aren't or to do things against their wishes and perceived needs for very long or with much hope of preserving a long lasting relationship with them.  People need to buy into the power dynamic themselves; voluntarily accepting it and believing in it in order for it to really hold peoples' attention for very long or very deeply.  The Authority has no authority when no one recognizes it as having it.  God is only God because we've identified that unifying concept as such; the government and its members only have governing authority because the society and the people who live in it are willing and/or able to accept it and its members decisions.  Take away that perception of authority, point out that the Emperor has no clothes, and the entire social system breaks down at society's ultimate expense.

Therefore, those who receive power are dependent upon those who give power and vice versa.  It's a relationship in which those who take power act and those who give power respond accordingly to their own patterns, preferences, choices, and actions.  The burden of action rests with those who take power.  They're the ones who create the reality in which we all live through their actions, choices, perceptions, conceptions, and decisions.  The rest is just the echo of those actions, reverberating for better and worse, depending upon the intent, effectiveness, and correctness of those who receive power from others.  The people who govern create their own heavens and their own Hells through their actions, choices, perceptions, conceptions, and decisions; something that is highly neglected in American society and in American culture.  Receiving power is not an end game.  Rather, it is only the beginning of a long, arduous, complicated, and messy process, especially if it is not handled well by those who have sought to have it.

In conclusion, brute force will only get you part of the way, perhaps none of the way, to achieving the ultimate goal of everlasting power.  The only way to ensure perpetual acceptance of governance or you as the one with the technical power is through sound knowledge and comprehension of the system(s) with which you are working, sincere benevolence actually effective care directed at the other, not your own self, and a willingness to adapt to mistakes and changes in need.  Otherwise, society will be lost, and the world will descend into chaos and anarchy we haven't experienced yet.  Only those who have never experienced anarchy or a deficit of governmental presence really want those things.  A shame that those who are in power don't get the concept of honest, open, effective, and actually benevolent governance for their own sakes.

Have pity on the American society, for they do not know what they're actually doing to themselves and to others.  Silly people.

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Anatomy of a Smart City

Anatomy of a Smart City | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it

The 19th century was a century of empires, 20th century was a century of nation states and the 21st century will be a century of cities...

 

This outstanding infographic (courtesy of postscapes.com) begins with some information about our current state of urbanization.

 

Did you know that 1.3 million people are moving to cities each week?! It then explains the need for smart cities and delves into what is required to establish these intelligent connected environments, how the smart city may take various forms in the developing worlds and what specific technologies are necessary to achieve such grand goals in practice.


Via Lauren Moss
Eli Levine's insight:

There is an evolution taking place where politics, policy, technology, the environment, and the economy all intersect. This movement towards technical, empirically driven local policy making could be our saving grace.This could be the future of government.

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luiy's curator insight, December 18, 4:31 AM

We have been grateful to the wide array of planners, architects, techies, entrepreneurs and students of the built environment who have joined us on this journey. And the ‘Smart City‘ has featured again and again, whether it be a futurologist’s insights into the bionic, nature-centric adaptable cities of the future, or an economist’s keen ideas on instilling happiness in the built environment.

Russell R. Roberts, Jr.'s curator insight, December 19, 2:10 AM

A stunning infographic which predicts how urban living will change in this century.  Our age is truly becoming "a century of smart cities."  Exciting times lie ahead.  Aloha, Russ.

Paul Aneja - eTrends's curator insight, December 22, 6:51 PM

What do you think makes a smarter city?

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China Trade, Outsourcing and Jobs: Growing U.S. trade deficit with China cost 3.2 million jobs between 2001 and 2013, with job losses in every state

China Trade, Outsourcing and Jobs: Growing U.S. trade deficit with China cost 3.2 million jobs between 2001 and 2013, with job losses in every state | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
Since China entered the World Trade Organization in 2001, the massive growth of trade between China and the United States has had a dramatic and negative effect on U.S. workers and the domestic economy.
Eli Levine's insight:

What's good for individual businesses in the financial short run is terrible for them, the economy, and the society in the holistic long run. Just because it's more profitable doesn't mean it's actually going to be good for people, the environment, it the economy outside of business profits.  It's not rocket science. 

 

Silly society. 

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On Civic Tech and Participation

If you want political participation by the public, the transaction cost of participation in democracy has to be lowered in order to accommodate peoples' needs, wishes, and tastes.  Conservatives and ideologues from either side will not want this to happen, nor will the Established Left be all too happy about it (because then they might actually be held accountable to their actions, for a change).  A good legislator, public executive, or administrator should be able to work well under the potential threat of being removed from office due to poor performance.  It is both in the interests of the governed and the governing to preserve this confidence, trust, and legitimacy.  Without it, the whole social system will break down, something no one who has actually lived through would ever want.  Anarchy and Libertarianism are nice in theory, but terrible in practice, just as a centrally planned Socialist economy is, likewise, a bad idea in actual practice.

Therefore, I encourage all governments to adopt technology to enable non-violent and relatively energy cheap feedback from the general public, in order to see what's needed, what's working well, and what's working poorly.  The data should be readily available for researchers and the public alike.  It's true that filtering methods will have to be installed in order to weed out the nonsense that people will give.  But in general, a functional society will have a government whose services are easy to access, enables substantive feedback from the general public, and holds officials accountable for their actions and choices while in office.  Without that, the social order will break down, and only the Anarchists and Libertarians will be temporarily happy (until they realize how necessary the social order is for their own individual well-being and health).

 

It is time that we give up on the childish ideological beliefs and preferences and focus on what it is that we actually need and could want, as human beings, and how to best accomplish those needs and wants without doing ourselves harm in the short or long term.  It is time that we adopt science at the core of our governing philosophy.  Without it, governing officials will not understand their interests and roles as governing officials, and will more likely make costly mistake choices that will harm themselves and the public alike.  We seriously can do better as a society and as a species.  I know it.

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The Cost-Effective Evolution

Believe it or not, I do not think that the current turbulence that is gripping America over police brutality and racism will be the straw that breaks the camel's back.  Change will only come in America with an organized, deliberate, and highly motivated crowd of people, not with just a bunch of citizens in the streets.  We have two options: we can either organize for votes and take a non-violent approach, or we can organize for war against the existing government.  Personally, I would recommend the former rather than the latter, mainly because I see the system as being ok, just really really really badly and incompetently operated by amateurs in power.  The other way would throw the baby out with the bath water, and leave us with the long and incredibly difficult and uncertain path of creating new institutions that no one is going to agree upon, resulting in civil war and conflict for an undefined period of time, with no guarantees that we'll get anything good from it in the end after fighting, bloodshed, and war.

The beauty about this whole situation is that it can go down with no one losing their lives, no one losing their dignity and, conceivably, very very few people losing their jobs as a result of the transition towards a new LOGIC of government and a more accurately defined set of SELF-interests for the governing parties in question.  The United States has never really had a purpose defined for its government clearly, and quite honestly, there are a lot of people who, unfortunately, reach back at the past to inform their present rather than looking to the actual present and possible future implications of that present.  I propose that it is in the self-interests of the governing to maintain, preserve, work with, and adapt to the changing needs and wishes of the public itself outside of government.  It doesn't matter what ideological bent you have, because all ideologies are irrelevant unless they are backed up by scientific facts and truths about our common reality, derived from the systematic and rigorous study of our common reality (not from the mandates or dictates of the researchers).  To ignore common reality or to not believe in common reality is to live in a fantasy world where you will not see or realize the walls that are around you and the consequences of your actions before it is too late.  To persistently ignore or not believe in common reality is to be mentally ill, as it poses a danger to yourself and a danger to others for you to be allowed into places of power, consequence, authority, and responsibility.  Things either are, aren't, or are something different than what we think.  There are no four ways about it.  Period.

In short, we will not topple the system as it stands this time, I don't think.  The most that will happen will be that a lot of people will get arrested, hurt, or killed in the confrontations between police and citizens until the municipal governments and municipal police authorities, in coordination with the state and federal governments intervenes on the side of the citizenry.  If the governments fail to deal with this problem, it will only deepen the mistrust and add credence to the notion that our political leaders are impotent, uncaring, incompetent, genuinely clueless, and/or genuinely unfit for power, consequence, and authority and only serve to justify and give credence to those who wish to violently overthrow the government, its members, and destroy the institutions which really could help rather than hurt us.  The TRUTH of the matter, is that governing institutions are only as good and effective as the people you staff them with.  Unfortunately, the American public has dropped the ball on picking good leadership cadres through poor voting choices or not voting for good ones.  The ideological differences that divide us are irrelevant, for there is only one common reality and only one set of complex, convoluted, and hidden truths to this universe that, eventually, boils down to change, and nothing else.  We should work to discover the truths of our society, our economy, and our ecosystems, such that we don't do harm to ourselves through doing harm to these aspects of our universe and, perhaps, even discover how to do sustainable good for ourselves.  If you want to live and get rid of the ne'er-do-wells, get organized, start moving in the streets, and start voting and running for office separate from the PACs and super PACs.  Get reasoned and reasonable people who live in the real world to be in office; people who understand the limitations of knowing the real world and who actively search for those truths in order to actually help people. That's called being apart of the solution.  To join with violence, to join with the Libertarian or conservative causes, to join with ideologues and vapid progressives; the people who are in the system itself now, is to be apart of the problem.  What are you going to do, Americans?  Be apart of the solution and change the mother-effing system with the tools that you all have, or remain incoherent and incompetent, or beholden to your abusers or go rouge against that which you actually need and benefit from as an individual?  It's your choice, as it's always been.  It wouldn't have gotten this bad if you all had made better choices.

Silly country.  Silly people.

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Urban planners in America are increasingly thinking small scale to solve big problems

Urban planners in America are increasingly thinking small scale to solve big problems | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
urban planners in America are increasingly thinking small scale to solve big problems

Via Manu Fernandez
Eli Levine's insight:

Practical, adaptive, inventive, appropriately sized, and effective.  Start on the small level, with top-down collaboration, comprehension, and understanding and you've got yourself a formula for revitalization, development, growth, and, potentially, sustainability.

 

Enjoy!

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Direct human influence on atmospheric CO2 seasonality from increased cropland productivity : Nature : Nature Publishing Group

Direct human influence on atmospheric CO2 seasonality from increased cropland productivity : Nature : Nature Publishing Group | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
Ground- and aircraft-based measurements show that the seasonal amplitude of Northern Hemisphere atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations has increased by as much as 50 per cent over the past 50 years. This increase has been linked to changes in temperate, boreal and arctic ecosystem properties and processes such as enhanced photosynthesis, increased heterotrophic respiration, and expansion of woody vegetation. However, the precise causal mechanisms behind the observed changes in atmospheric CO2 seasonality remain unclear. Here we use production statistics and a carbon accounting model to show that increases in agricultural productivity, which have been largely overlooked in previous investigations, explain as much as a quarter of the observed changes in atmospheric CO2 seasonality. Specifically, Northern Hemisphere extratropical maize, wheat, rice, and soybean production grew by 240 per cent between 1961 and 2008, thereby increasing the amount of net carbon uptake by croplands during the Northern Hemisphere growing season by 0.33 petagrams. Maize alone accounts for two-thirds of this change, owing mostly to agricultural intensification within concentrated production zones in the midwestern United States and northern China. Maize, wheat, rice, and soybeans account for about 68 per cent of extratropical dry biomass production, so it is likely that the total impact of increased agricultural production exceeds the amount quantified here.

Via Niklaus Grunwald
Eli Levine's insight:

The smoking gun.

 

But will the science deniers, clinging to some ideology or belief or self-destructive interest admit to it?

 

Leave this strain of the species behind.

 

Let them be ignored and allowed to die off, on their own.

 

I'm tired of tacitly protecting them.

 

Aren't you?

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A Sad Fate for a Sad People

Consistency, or the lack thereof, is probably one of the greatest shortcomings of American political culture and American behavior in general. Our government says do one thing while meaning something completely different. "Be a democracy, but don't choose those people we don't like", it's ridiculous! Until our leadership cadre can actually stand for something, either by acting as a dictatorial power over the world, or by acknowledging people's right to choose their leaderships and respecting those choices, we will always be at loggerheads with all sensible and relatively sane cultures and societies. We weep over the poor, the sick, the hungry, the repressed in other countries where we have no legal, moral, or practical reason to be involved, yet we ignore our people here at home whom we do have legal, moral, and practical abilities to help. We've got our international relations logic and ethic ass-backwards. Better to help your own people and then help other people when you can genuinely respect, appreciate, and accept them for who and what they are, rather than forcing them to be something or someone different.

 

The world has enough difficulty sorting through their own bullshit without us adding our often inaccurate and poorly conceived two-cents into their mix.  I'm constantly amazed by the callousness and dual-nature of the United States, the American government, and the American people at handling the world.  I think that we, as a nation, will eventually pay for our meddling and inappropriate and unwanted touching of other societies.  A sad fate, for a sad people.

 

Enjoy.

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The Infrastructure of America is Crumbling

The infrastructure of this country is crumbling.  I'm not just talking about our physical infrastructure of bridges, roads, rails, ports, airports, electricity, Internet, water and sewage, etc (although these are also in disrepair as I am writing this).  I'm also talking about our social infrastructure; the glue that binds a nation together and keeps it strong in the face of adversity.  The legitimacy of the governments is in question; rule of law is slowly eroding, partially due to the inability or unwillingness of the governing people to follow and be cognizant of the natural laws that govern societies, partially because of the poor state that the public still is in in spite of the rosy stock market prices that Obama likes to point out (which no one is invested in anyway because they're too expensive to afford for most people).  We're arguing about things that are, in my view, more or less intuitive and self evident, namely, that we need to have wages go along with profits that are realized, that we need to have police, laws, law-makers, and administrators who respect and are aware of the tangible needs and wants of the public as they evolve and shift and the condition of the environment in which we're living, that we need a government which is pro-active with its administration yet respectful enough to have a dialogue and follow what the public needs rather than what the officials believe ought to be done.  We have people in places of power, consequence, and authority who take their positions for granted, who inherited them rather than earning them, who are so warped in their abilities to work with reality that they can't even tell which way is up while the deaf, dumb, and stupid sharks of business logic eat their entire food supply in one gulp while polluting the world in which they swim and live at the same time.  We live in a world where competition is king, but competition only yields those who are good at competition; which is not the same as being the best.

 

My prognosis of the United States is an empire in decline for no reason other than the stupidity and ignorance of its public and political people.  We are losing the respect of the international community; they see our internal problems while they are subjected to our over-extended ape-like military behavior abroad.  The board of popular legitimacy will most likely be reshuffled to China, so long as they maintain a healthy awareness of the limitations of power and the dependence that all hegemons have on the well-being of the smaller societies.  The Age of America has passed and the worst part about it is, is that Americans are more likely to go into denial about this rather than fix the causes that are creating the problems.  I have outlined repeatedly concrete steps that we, as a nation and a government, can take to remedy the situation.  None of them have been picked up upon by members of the American public, as evidenced by the election results, and none of them will likely be listened to by members of the American government who can actually do something with them.  My solution, therefore, is to seek another country to help, and to cut my losses with this one.  If I can protect one people from going under and set them on the path to being a thriving cultural, economic, scientific, and diplomatic power, I will be happy.  I will be even happier if my ideas spread even further than that, to influence the very foundations of human governing and diplomatic logic and, indeed, the governing and diplomatic logic of all sentient life in the cosmos.  But, that is so far in the future, and I am only able to definitively commit the present moment to spreading the message that I've got.

 

Therefore, I am always open to help America when and if its people get their acts together, on high and down below.  I know that the demand from the bottom is there for something different.  However, I don't think it's been articulated very well on the conscious level of the public, and the society will more than likely have to experiment with some crazy ideologies and ideologues before they get it back to being better.  Welcome to a new age.

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Engineering Policy

The greatest trouble that I see for Americans (and, indeed, any human society) is to not appreciate or understand the processes and limitations that are present when making and executing policy decisions in order to achieve fantastic things.

 

Do you honestly believe that the engineers and scientists who sent humans to the moon actually just "imagined' that they could do it and did only what "felt" right?  No!  They worked their butts off to discover the natural laws and limitations that were needed in order to accomplish that objective (if it was going to be feasible anyway).  The social scientists have to work 10 times harder than the physical scientists because our subjects of study (people) are highly variable, highly influenced by the external world around them, highly influential over the external world around them, and will change behavior if they know what's going on, and may not want to be studied in the first place (which creates a selection bias).  What on Earth or any other planet makes anyone in this country think they can "feel" their way towards a solution to a problem?  What makes anyone here think and feel that all opinions are equally valid when it comes to answering complex questions, such as "how to maximize the effectiveness of an economy?" and "what constitutes an effective economy in the first place?"  There are better and worse answers to these questions; ones that are more or less effective than others. 

 

Therefore, policy makers are not really "free" to do whatever they want with the world, because there are distinct consequences to any action that they may take towards the other in the social-environmental complex.  There are distinct problems that have to be solved and a ton of unknown natural laws that have to be followed if we're going to be a society of consequence anymore.  Our position is not guaranteed; we are not entitled to greatness just because some yutzes "feel" that this should be.  It takes work.  It takes combinations of specific policies and programs that change overtime to meet the needs of a changing society and environment.  At the root of it MUST be appropriate love, care, compassion, and concern for the other.  It MUST be tampered with wisdom and awareness of natural laws and limitations.  If you think and actually feel that you can do whatever you want, whenever you want, and work in the field of making policy, you're more likely to crash and burn yourself and all those who are with you, just as the capricious and greedy dictators do and have done every single time they arise.

 

Is this what we want, America?  Is this actually how you feel?  Unwilling and unable to do the grunt work to make things actually happen, unwilling and unable to figure out what is, isn't and how things actually work, rather than how you want them to work?  I, for one, would like to think that Americans are better than that.  But if this is how you honestly feel, then there is no point in my continuing to try to help you, as a society, a people, and a country.  You can either accept the work that is needed to make things happen and acknowledge the facts and hard, unpopular truths of the world, or you can keep dreaming and run right into that mountain that's lurking in the cloud bank you're living in.  It's your "choice".  Enjoy.

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The Great Split of Consciousness

I hypothesize that the universe is about to go through another split, just as it may have done when the physical universe was born.  This time, it may be consciousness that will split on this plane of existence and form into two or more universes.  Those who are grounded in reality, who are more compassionate, caring, kind, benevolent, and wise will more likely move in one direction while those who are not really these things will move in another, with room for possibly other branches of the cosmological tree of consciousness to branch off as well.  It doesn't matter if you're the "last one standing" in this present universe because consciousness, I think, is something that transcends physical death and decay.  What does matter is the content of your mind now; the workings, preferences, beliefs, and actions, that will either lead you to becoming more human or move you away to a different form of life elsewhere in the universe for the time being.  It is possible to make choices within the bounds of your biological and circumstantial limitations.  However, those choices are dependent upon countless past choices, preferences, desires, actions, etc.  So, while you have a choice and a possibility to make choices other than what you've made in the past, it still is limited by habituation, circumstance, and condition.

I think that the universe is convulsing with something at this moment.  And, I think, all that really matters is what you do with the present situation and the present condition that will either ensure that you move on, clarify, advance, and continue on, or, move on to another universe and mental state that will make it harder for you to practice.  You have the power, now, to make or break yourself.  However, you are limited by all of your past actions, past habits, and present circumstances that you come into touch with through your past actions.  Therefore, be kind to yourself, and make that better decision today.  If that's not a good enough reason, then do it for all the people you care about in this lifetime.  If that isn't good enough, do it for all living beings and all of the universe ad infinitum and beyond (which is, ironically, just yourself to begin with).

Enjoy the split.

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The Shifting Yet Always Present Walls in Existence

The only thing that businesspeople seem to be good at is grubbing for money.  They don't seem to really get or truly relate to what people need biologically, socially, and ecologically and many certainly appear to not get how to relate to others effectively in power relationships beyond simplistic force and coerced submission.  All they seem to think about is where the next big windfall is coming from, not unlike the animals who walk amongst us.  The only difference is that the animals crave that which they need to survive.  Businesspeople only crave the shadow of that which they need to survive.

Furthermore, competition in business yields only the best competitors in business, not necessarily the best leaders for a given society and time period.  In order to truly get at who is the genuinely most effective leaders for a society, the parameters of competition and the outcome that is expected to be achieved needs to be carefully defined and constantly updated to match with the whole condition of society.  What worked yesterday will not necessarily work tomorrow, just as the clothing that is worn in one season will not be comfortable in another.  There may be only a finite amount of possibilities in this universe for us to handle.  But any one of those finite situations can come into existence given the right conditions, and every one of them may be something we have never encountered before entirely.  All of these things are glossed over by the elite business community in the name of brutish competition over that which they don't really need for well-being and survival.

Thus is the inferiority of the business and investor classes.  At heart, they truly only seem concerned with exploiting demand in the market.  While that may be all well and good for developing technology and innovation, it lacks the care, effectiveness, responsiveness, and attentiveness to that which is needed for the preservation of the root of society they derive profit from within the context of the universe in which we all have to live in.  To say otherwise is to branch off into a mental universe of one's own creation, not unlike the symptoms of those with schizophrenia and other neurological problems.  There is only one universe.  That's it.  No arguments can really be leveled against the grand, complicated, and complex truth of this universe (which no human ever has or ever will grasp entirely).  We might as well accept this fact, acknowledge it, and learn about that which we can learn about for our own survival and ability to thrive.  Adjustments have to be made sometimes in order to make our lives happier, healthier, and more sustainable.  This is the general way of the universe, backed up by history and the cosmos itself.  Break it?  Can't.  Not really.  Prove it wrong with abstract arguments?  You'll only make a fool out of yourself, and potentially a dead one at that.  The walls are there.  Might as well learn them than just branch off where-ever and whenever we'd like.

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Wealth and the Role of Government

Wealth that only begats wealth is an anathema to a functional economy and a healthy society. When wealth is only being capitalized financially rather than invested, consumed, or saved in productive and sustainable capital it ceases to be of value to society. Many people, acting together,  need to be able to invest, consume, or save sustainably and ethically in order to produce a healthy society, an stable and ethical economy, and a sustainable environment. A business is just concerned about its own profits. A government needs to be concerned about the whole society and its long term health and well-being if the businesses are going to survive with the rest of the society. That's the interests of the government and its members. That's the government's overall role in society, if the government is going to be working on its own behalf. 

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The Essence of Positive Government and Governing

The essence of the correct ways to govern is to 1) always be flexible and open to the real conditions that are present in spite of how uncomfortable, upsetting, or unlikely they may be and 2) to always be willing and able to do what is actually in the best interests of everyone, even if you personally may take a hit for it.  Specifics of policy choices are all negotiable to a point where there are some things that are objectively less healthy and some things that are objectively more healthy.  The goal of a policy researcher is to identify the condition and proper response to any given situation that may arise within the context of the social, economic, environmental, political, and technological system of systems.  Changing how we look and analyze a given situation will change the outcomes that are achieved.  The ends justify the means, however, the means affect which ends are actually achieved.  Always focus on the means relative to the situation, and be sure that the ends that you're trying to achieve are actually healthful, beneficial, and worth fighting for.

Our neurology hasn't yet evolved to the point where we can actually say that we can manage or comprehend the full complex of the system of systems.  There are many people out there who honestly have malfunctioning neurons; people who don't know, don't care to know, and refuse to know that which is actually in their personal interests relative to the system of systems.  Some of these people have managed to reach incredibly influential positions in our societies, which then degrades the overall quality of the networks for everyone, including themselves.  The fact that the rest of the social system is not fighting back en masse to remove these pathological personalities and other countries and in the United States is symptomatic of a much deeper lethargy at work that could lead to the undoing of anything and everything that we value and cherish and need for surviving, while not eliminating the root causes of what's behind our current lethargy and social domination by pathologically sick people. These folks have prioritized what is significant for their survival poorly and who use destructive means to achieve their unsustainable and unreasoned ends.  Therefore, they should be treated as the mentally ill and removed from office by force if necessary to receive treatment that they are in apparent need of.  We are moving to a tipping point in American society and, therefore, the world's society.  I doubt that the American people will rise to the occasion to institute more enlightened government and put people who are frankly just better at actually governing into office.

Shame.

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The retail market as a complex system

Aim of this paper is to introduce the complex system perspective into retail market analysis. Currently, to understand the retail market means to search for local patterns at the micro level, involving the segmentation, separation and profiling of diverse groups of consumers. In other contexts, however, markets are modelled as complex systems. Such strategy is able to uncover emerging regularities and patterns that make markets more predictable, e.g. enabling to predict how much a country’s GDP will grow. Rather than isolate actors in homogeneous groups, this strategy requires to consider the system as a whole, as the emerging pattern can be detected only as a result of the interaction between its self-organizing parts. This assumption holds also in the retail market: each customer can be seen as an independent unit maximizing its own utility function. As a consequence, the global behaviour of the retail market naturally emerges, enabling a novel description of its properties, complementary to the local pattern approach. Such task demands for a data-driven empirical framework. In this paper, we analyse a unique transaction database, recording the micro-purchases of a million customers observed for several years in the stores of a national supermarket chain. We show the emergence of the fundamental pattern of this complex system, connecting the products’ volumes of sales with the customers’ volumes of purchases. This pattern has a number of applications. We provide three of them. By enabling us to evaluate the sophistication of needs that a customer has and a product satisfies, this pattern has been applied to the task of uncovering the hierarchy of needs of the customers, providing a hint about what is the next product a customer could be interested in buying and predicting in which shop she is likely to go to buy it.

 

The retail market as a complex system
Pennacchioli D, Coscia M, Rinzivillo S, Giannotti F, Pedreschi D
EPJ Data Science 2014, 3 :33 (11 December 2014)

http://dx.doi.org/10.1140/epjds/s13688-014-0033-x ;


Via Complexity Digest
Eli Levine's insight:

With this knowledge and insight into the world that's dawning.  One world must be destroyed in order for the new world to come forth; one segment of society must give way to the new in order to facilitate and ease this transition.

 

The top of society is where and what determines the ease or the possibility of this transition.  That is the point that needs to be altered in order to bring about this new dawn.  

 

Unfortunately, it is the point in society that is least willing, although most capable of change.  They'll cling to illusions and delusions of relative power over people and unsustainable material wealth than allow for everyone, including themselves, to realize something that could truly be wonderful for our lives, our well-being, and our health as living organisms.  This is before we talk about the bottom-up resistance that will be experienced as well, especially if the transition is done badly by the people who are at the top of the given social unit.  A shame that something so relatively simple can be so completely complicated and complex to carry out.

 

Silly world.

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Reflections on an Enlightened Society

The Signs of an Enlightened Society:

1. The leadership will voluntary stand aside or devolve their powers to others when it is actually realized that their power or their chosen uses of power prove to be practically or morally incorrect.

2. Any given leadership of any given society is primarily focused on the well-being of the general public, not on the well-being of themselves as a separate entity from the public.

3.The leadership uses the scientific method to understand and comprehend the society and their social, environmental, and ecological condition accurately and to make good policy choices for the social unit(s) based on that scientific inquiry in terms of economic, social, and environmental well-being.

4. The general public is legally and practically able and willing to naturally correct the actions of the governing members such that they get their needs and wants fulfilled by the governing members.

5. The government's members will naturally and peaceably yield to the needs of the people while taking the opposite stance when the people want that which is unreasoned, unreasonable, unfeasible, or unhealthy in spite of losing power and authority to those who are less concerned with the well-being of the people.  It is from these moments of darkness that the general public can learn the benefits of having the specific leadership who governs on their empirical behalf.  Therefore, the Enlightened Society lets the sub-par leadership take over, and naturally resumes governing when it is shown that the sub-par leadership is sub-par.  If the new leadership is not sub-par, and is superior to the old leadership, then all gain in the society as a result of the presence of superior leadership in the society, including for the old leadership who still resides within that given society.  All benefit from superior leadership; none benefit from inferior leadership

The nature of an Enlightened Society is one of constant dialogue and feedback between the governed and the governing, with information being transmitted accurately and effectively to the appropriate nodes in order to maximize the well-being of the entire social unity (government included).  There is no such thing as a fully Enlightened Society, especially now at the present time, and the wealth and military power of a given society are not measures of the degree of Enlightenment that the society has achieved.

To hurt an Enlightened Society, or a society that is striving towards Enlightenment, or to harm those who are trying to get a society onto the Path of Enlightenment, is to harm one's own self, because for every instance and degree of damage that is done to the aspiring society or people is yet another obstacle for them to overcome, thus limiting that society's ability to help other society's achieve Enlightenment.  The more crap you give the aspirant society or people, the more harm that is done to your own self.  Therefore, do not hinder or harm those who are traveling along the Enlightened Path towards realizing perpetual Realization and Enlightenment, for you will suffer if they fail on top of the increased likelihood that you're going to do something unwise due to your already corrupted way of thinking, feeling, and perceiving the world.

 

For your own sake, do not hinder or limit those seeking Enlightenment or spiritual/ethical perfection.

 

Thank you.

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$6.9 Billion to be Spent on Civic Tech in 2015, Report Says

$6.9 Billion to be Spent on Civic Tech in 2015, Report Says | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
New analysis says the rise of the civic tech market has grown roots, and its growth with be 14 times faster than traditional government IT spending at the state and local levels.
Eli Levine's insight:

A new frontier is emerging in governance, government, accountability, and relations between the government at any level and the citizens of the given social unit.  Members of the government can either use this technology, get a better understanding of social needs as they evolve and fluctuate.  Or they can continue with the paternalistic "father knows best" bs, and continue to do whatever they, the members of the government want over the needs of the population.  One way will lead to a sympatico relationship between government and governed, the other will provoke the governed into a war against the government and all who support the status quo.

 

What's it going to be, America?  World?

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Government: the Initiator

It is the government which initiates changes within itself first, in terms of attitude and chosen actions and perspectives. The society simply follows suit and responds to the changes in government. You can't change society until you change your outlook, attitude, perspective, policies, and actions as a governor. You can't cause an object to fly until you have an understanding, comprehension, and respect of nature, natural law, and physics. Even then, the flying machine must be designed and built just so in order to actually do anything useful. You must have a respect for nature, natural law, social and economic physics, and human dignity and well-being first in order to govern effectively. Then you must design your own policies and programs just so in order to get the desired effects in the society. Again, government initiates action, and society responds to it. This should create a feedback loop of information and action. When the society does well, the governing groups can do well. When society does poorly, the governing groups do poorly. Thus is how it's likely always been with some variation across time, geography, and culture. Ignore these laws at your own peril.

 

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HOW SOCIETY WORKS: Social order by self-organization

The invention of laws and regulations is celebrated as great success principle of societies and they are, of course, important. However, a major part of social order is based on self-organization, which builds on simple social mechanism. These mechanisms have evolved over historical times and are the basis of the success or failure of civilizations. Currently, many people oppose globalization, because traditional social mechanisms fail to create cooperation and social order under globalized conditions that are increasingly characterized by homogeneous or random interactions. However, I will show that there are other social mechanisms such as reputation systems, which will work in a globalized world, too.

 

http://futurict.blogspot.nl/2014/11/how-society-workssocial-order-by-self.html


Via Complexity Digest
Eli Levine's insight:

We could be approaching something fantastically cool, if we don't destroy ourselves in the meantime.

 

Enjoy!

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akek6cFRZfY

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How to Govern: Power Relations and Future Prospects for American Society

What do the American people consistently seem to want?

They seem to want fair pay for fair work, a clean, safe, and sustainable work environment, operational, effective, and functional schools, healthcare available for the general public, and to be safe in their homes from terrorists and other threats at home and abroad.

That's what has to be provided first, in essence, through policy from the government, if you want people to continue playing the game. None of these things are possible without the intervention of and presence of the government to say "no" to the private interests who would destroy these things in the name of personal profit. Otherwise, people tune out, turn off, and get angry enough that they value what they're fighting for more than their lives (because, let's face it, without these things, they have no life anyway).

Yet what do the conservatives do, from both sides of the aisle? The Republicans try to play Clint Eastwood or John Wayne, when they're really Major Frank Burns. The Democrats of today are nothing but a pedantic group of lawyers who know how to mitigate, yet do not know how to campaign or govern a country. They have abandoned the ethic that was established by Franklin and originally manifest in Teddy Roosevelt and, indeed, all of our truly great and effective statespeople who knew how to care for this society. The ethic is the seed, the science is what follows from it. Neither side of our political system seems to know, care, or work with the truth beyond what it can do to immediately put them into positions of power and consequence they do not know or care to know how to handle. They have forgotten that power in any human dynamic is a relationship that requires much care, long term preparation, planning, and well conceived execution in order to pull off. It is not "get me into office now", which is little more than what boys do when they're trying to get into some poor woman's bed. It is a build up of trust. It is about admitting to mistakes and accepting the consequences of them. It's about forgiveness as well, since none of us are going to be perfect at governing, even with the best data and best analytical methods we can muster (especially while we're still learning about what does what and what is actually present in a constantly changing world).

If the Progressives were intelligent, they would let the conservatives take the entire country. They will not relent until they have taken, eaten, and destroyed everything that we actually hold dear in the name of that which they only think they need. Hell, they actually believe that money is a real thing that we need for survival! They're willing to sacrifice our world, our planet, our home, for the sake of having larger piles of this worthless cloth rag or metal disks! They want power and positions which they cannot and will not handle well for their own sakes, relative to the people in our society, or to all other peoples living in the world. America would become even more of a pariah state than before; countries will go to China, Russia, Brazil, India, etc for aid, shelter, and assistance, not to the US. The United States would rot under their anti-environmental, anti-education, anti-citizen, corporatocracy, regardless of whether it is the Democratic Party or the Republican Party who governs. I say "disengage", and let the American people learn on their own what it means to have a negligent, ineffective, or outright hostile and anti-social government (complete with negligent, ineffective, and outright hostile and anti-social government members).

Let the corporate barons win. They didn't learn after the Franklin Roosevelt, they won't learn until they're dead or being locked up by the mob into mental institutions. There's something seriously wrong with the people who are currently leading our society. And it all starts in their neurology, somewhere, somehow.

To all of you who didn't vote or act in some way, shape, or form on Election Day: you deserve what you're going to get. I wish I didn't have to suffer with you all because of your mistakes. But, such is how things work, I guess. Enjoy!


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(Hopefully) Parting Words for My Homeland and Countryfolk

We have a true perfect storm brewing in our nation's finances. If we continue spending at the levels that we're doing without raising taxes, we will not be able to afford to pay our interest rates, and the nation will effectively go bankrupt due to the amount of debt that we've piled on without having revenues to back it up. We can experiment, if the conservatives and Libertarians insist, with going back to the way things were before the costs of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and National Defense became such an integral part of our nation's budget.  That would likely cause a period of mass death and poverty due to peoples' inability to pay bills or receive money that they were counting on for living requirements.  Or we can simply raise taxes on those who can afford to pay it and remove their ability to vote, contribute to elections, and receive all other benefits of being a US citizen, plus tack on a substantial jail period for high income tax evaders, if they so choose to move out of country and not pay the taxes that they owe.  We could also raise wages in our society to beyond just living standard wages, such that people can afford to pay more taxes in from a broader base, or a combination of the two revenue raising methods.  But the path, I think, is clear.  We need to raise revenue for the Federal government and preserve spending on state and local government to keep our debts manageable or non-existent, depending upon the legal requirements that are present in the non-Federal entities. 

 

Now, part of the Medicare bubble is because the population is getting older.  That will subside as time goes on and the Baby Boomers die off.  We also need to be investing in our infrastructure, such that we can still maintain economic, military, and social fitness within our home territory, plus create new levels of fitness to protect us against outside threats from manipulating, destroying, and affecting our infrastructure from within.  Who knows, we may even be able to invest a little into education, improving healthcare access, and ensuring environmental health on top of it all, at least once we settle the political questions surrounding taxes.  I know that somebody in this conflict is going to blink and I'm willing to bet that it will be the "Progressives", who will one way or another, consign our future to the conservatives and Libertarians.  In fact, it may be in the Progressives interests to do just this, because it will ultimately could lead to the destruction and discretization of the conservative and Libertarian attitude, viewpoint, and brain state within the world of government.  Anarchy is all that Libertarians really have to offer, and conservatism is nothing more than the dictatorship of the wealthy elite.  Neither are things that the American public has seemed to truly want in the past and neither are things that I think we really value in the United States of America.

 

However, if we're going to move past the stupid world of government by argument, opinion, belief, and ideology to realize government through science, evidence, and responsibility, we may very well have to go through a period of dark years, decades, centuries, or millennia, before we finally get our rears in gear to play catch up with the rest of the world (who will leave us behind and "play" with us in the meantime).  The choice is up to you to prevent this from happening, American citizens.  All of you, even you who are reading this right now.  But, I know that you're not going to do anything about it until it is glaringly obvious that you're not going to get what you all want by working for and supporting the Libertarian and conservative caucuses.  It's truly a sad day when the people who can legally do the most amount of potential good for themselves won't.  And you all will have no one to blame but yourselves, really.

 

Have fun governing, ye Tea Party, Libertarian, and conservative whackos.  I know you will fail in the long term because you will not comprehend or accept facts that stare you in the face from common reality.  Hell, I don't even think you all believe in common reality to begin with, or acknowledge the supremacy of natural laws, as discovered by science, over your petty little rules, desires, hopes, tastes, and opinions.  Please enjoy this victory for it will likely be one of your last.  Enjoy!  And, best of luck.

 

I hereby cede the entire country of the United States over to the conservatives, Libertarians, Tea Party members, and pseudo-Liberals.  Please, do with it as you'd like. 

 

Enjoy!

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A Treatise on International Diplomacy

A Treatise on International Diplomacy | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
America’s high-tech P-8 surveillance jet, a modified Boeing 737, is part of its strategy of deploying more resources to Asia in response to China’s growing firepower and assertiveness.
Eli Levine's insight:

If China wants to play global hegemon, let them.  So long as we're able to defend our homeland and make actual friendships with other countries, I don't see the Chinese hegemon as being all that threatening.  The trouble comes when we continue to meddle in places where it isn't our concern to meddle and insist on cultural conformity amongst the nations that not even we are 100% good at following.  The US has to be the weaker power to stand against the stronger Chinese power, allied by friends from across the world, in order to be successful in this, the dawning of the Chinese era.  Outdated colonial notions of force, coercion, and deception have to be abandoned if we're going to be successful as a nation to counter the Chinese rise.  We have to make alliances with peoples, not just governments, form connections on the sub-state level, not just rely on illegitimate and dictatorial governments to do our dirty work.

 

In all honesty, I don't think that the Americans will listen to what I've got to say or pay attention to their eroding influence in the world.  I think people will band against us instead of the Chinese if we continue to flex our power undemocratically and without care or concern for the general publics of the world.  You cannot fly by defying the natural laws of the universe.  You must follow and obey them, setting the example yourself, and being accepting of those who don't.  It takes genuine compassion, concern, care, and love to make an empire that's lasting, powerful, and able to weather storms as they arise.  I don't think that the Chinese government will follow this logic or line of reasoning.  But, at the same time, I don't see the United States' government or people following this line of reasoning either.  That is our primary weakness, I think, relative to everyone else. 

 

Our government members don't seem to care about others in ways that are appropriate or functional.  We just want to perpetuate our own cultural template on top of everyone elses' culture, history, logic, and ways of conducting business while not following that logic with our own people. 

 

The politics of force is an inherently weaker form of systematic control than the politics of compassion, love, and appropriate care.  We lack the knowledge and awareness of nuanced dialogue and negotiation.  The difference between what I'm talking about is that we must first recognize what the other is genuinely working towards, and then deciding whether or not that is something that is on the whole, reasoned, reasonable, and achievable.  You don't appease people like Adolph Hitler, because what his actual goals were, were unacceptable, unreasoned, and unreasonable.  But most leaders aren't Adolph Hitler, no matter how we may portray or hallucinate about them.  Most leaders can be worked with and basically are wanting things that most reasoned, reasonable, and healthy people would be wanting as well.  When these people can't be worked with, you can defer to their peoples' wishes and wants and needs, which may be different and much more realistic than the leadership.  When in doubt, go with the people and not the leadership.  The public is the guide that determines the leadership.  You can upset a leadership in their home territory by deferring to the people and their peoples' needs.

 

Such is how I view international diplomacy.  It is not the same as our present day methods, since we work exclusively with leaders and not with people.  We in the United States seek to impose rather than work in collaboration with.  We think that our way is the best and only way while neglecting that other people have their own ways which may actually be better for them than our ways.  If we do not change our methodology for operating diplomacy, we will lose allies and friends to the Chinese, and we will be the hegemon without a hegemony.  It is through our ability to ally and connect with peoples that we gain our true strength.  The military is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creating a real power dynamic amongst nations and people.  It is through the acceptance and acknowledgement of equality amongst the peoples of the planet and universe that we can gain the most, not through the assertion of military force.   And it's a royal shame that we are so immature as a governing body or as a people to accept, acknowledge, and appreciate these facts about human life and, indeed, I think all sentient life in the universe.

 

To wrap up, you cannot build a successful airplane that flies by ignoring the natural laws and limitations of the universe.  You must, instead, follow, obey, and discover the natural laws that are present in the universe and leave your beliefs, opinions, and desires behind.  As it is with physical laws, so as it is with social and economic laws.  A shame that the American government and people are so tone deaf to these nuances.

 

Enjoy! :)

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