Social Construct

9 04 2014

Despite what the majority of our society would like to admit, most of the issues we face today come from how our society is constructed. Ability varies among individual factors, but how that creates a community of have’s and have not’s, is more about self perception, than the conspiracy theory so many accept as their reality. The diminished role of the “male role model” has eroded the ability of a large segment of our children to achieve their full potential. This isn’t an issue of morality, or religion, but about resources. How can we expect to raise children with less than full resources, and produce viable citizens, who provide the same contributions to our society, as those parented by two fully engaged parents? Jonathan Haidt depicts this phenomenon in his TedTalk: How common threats can make common (political) ground. I don’t propose to possess any expertise in this area, but I do align with some of his idea’s concerning our culture. How I propose to create an actionable response to this dilemma is by reaching out to a specific group in the middle school children of my immediate community. I’ve reached out to some of the educator’s I know, in an attempt to formulate a strategy for nurturing, and inspiring some of the local children in an attempt to measure their response to being mentored by those in the community, who truly care about their outcomes. I don’t have the answers, but I know, if nothing is done, society will continue down this path.

When is enough good enough…

21 07 2013

The recent events of the world have caused me to pause and reflect upon where we are as a society at this point in time. Author and historian David McCullough said in a talk I attended; “All of history was someone’s present day. The idea that the events over a long period of time were somehow planned out is a bit unrealistic. People simply make decisions each and everyday based upon what they know and understand at that particular time. It’s by the good nature of humanity that they’ve worked out the way they have.” I truly believe in this philosophy of how we progress as a species and expand the opportunities and benefits of progress to as many as the economic component will sustain. Since the 1970’s the population of the human race has doubled, while the GDP per capita has tripled. We are the only species that prospers more by expansion of its population. More humans live with the types of freedoms that this country was founded on than ever before in the history of mankind. Granted, there is much more work to come in improving life for billions of people still struggling with poverty and oppression, but time and diligence from the caring factions of the human race will continue to improve those lives. What brought me to write this piece today is where the idea of freedom and personal responsibility intersect where we need to examine the idea that the individual be held accountable for their existence. We see the struggles of the Syrian people in their quest for the freedoms that we in the United States embrace, yet we’re also reminded daily of the struggles that exist within the backdrop of the structure that provides those opportunities to each and every one of our citizens. The city of Detroit files for the largest municipal bankruptcy in the the history of our country. Nearly all of the headlines relate this financial collapse on a single economic circumstance that’s most commonly called “The Great Recession” as though it were somehow tied to the debt excesses that have touched nearly every capital market on the planet. This is a fair assessment to a certain degree, but I’m seeing other factors at work here which aren’t being identified because they would create a tremendous amount of controversy if formal news channels were to offer them as contributing factors. Its this aversion to all the facts involved by the media that creates my personal dilemma with the their relationship and the advertising financial component that drives their focus. Many of the problems that we identify with in our society are basically social issues that require much more than legislative controls or civil litigation to reign them in. Lets begin this analysis with the topic of poverty, and how it might contribute to the issues that surround the city of Detroit. The poverty level in this country is admittedly a source of controversy as well as concern to anyone who has any political, religious, social, or economic opinion of the country we live in. Lets not get bogged down in the exact definition of poverty, since this will only divert the ideas I’m hoping to suggest, and by any description we all admit poverty is present in nearly every geography in the country. Lets first agree to accept the idea poverty is lack of financial resources? The causes are very broad and effect each and every race living here. Modern mankind has never known a period without the existence of this story. Democratic democracy has alleviated a considerable amount of that since the creation of our nation. The founding fathers, who for the most part were aristocratic in means, saw this as a fundamental challenge in administering freedom. Even they in their support wisdom weren’t able to eradicate the social effects of it all together. Financial and social concerns forced them to glaze over the idea that everybody deserves something. Slavery continued as a major component to the economic background of this country for nearly 100 years after the formation of our Constitution, and woman were denied property rights and the ability to participate in the structure of the government for even longer. Even the most successful society is far from perfect, but that hasn’t prevented the way we live to further evolve for more benefit to more and diverse individuals. The core reason it started off in the manner that it did was simply that was a representation of the collective belief’s that were predominant at that particular moment in time. No one can reflect back on the decision to allow slavery to remain in tact at the very beginning of this country as an educated rational conclusion. It was merely accepted by so many, that it almost appears irrational to challenge that way of thinking during that time. It’s exactly that methodology of creating a consensus among a large group of diverse individuals and their varying special interests that supports the ideas I bring to light today. Being accepted by a majority doesn’t make anything a good decision. Progress comes from challenging the status quo and identifying disruptive thoughts that shake the complacency of what’s acceptable. In the 1960’s this nation moved into a period of monumental social change, with civil rights for all citizens finally getting its long overdue focus, but it was another movement that has delivered the unintended consequences that I dissect today. The war on poverty was created by the Johnson administration to address the disparity between all the wealth created during the economic boom of the 50’s and those struggling to participate in the benefits from this extraordinary period of prosperity. The intent of all the resources dedicated to the various government programs created and expanded by this initiative was to lift the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder up to the point where they could better participate in the great progress that was present for the majority of US citizens. Poverty levels of 1959 were above 20%, and change was needed to help reduce that, but what’s happened since that time is more important to what I’m attempting to identify. They have remained close to 15% since then, in an expanding population and changing demographic mix of that expansion. We’re talking 40 plus years of consistent poverty. Backdrop that against the creation of wealth and the tripling of the size of the US economy, and doesn’t that warrant inspection of factors other than government intervention as a better solution? Could the measures involved in the expansion of this “battle” against poverty into the tax code combined will the adoption of even more civil liberties contribute to the dilemma? Is poverty a byproduct of the lack of opportunity or a more social based problem anchored in an ability to exist without acceptance of personal responsibility? Don’t get me wrong, offering a bridge to a better standard of living is a wonderful concept, but given the millions who never gain enough inspiration to cross take that path, can we begin to focus on the social aspects that support that?

I’m serious about this…

20 04 2013


Shining through …

27 08 2012


Catching Up

26 08 2012

I haven’t written for some time now, largely due to my focuses on improving my physical state as well as my career. That being said, I’m reaching out today in an effort to recapture my creative self by sharing my viewpoint through my WordPress writings. Although my efforts go basically unnoticed, it helps to facilitate the process of converting information into understanding. Potential consciousness vs Actual consciousness is a concept I’ve recently come across, where one realizes their potential by understanding how we perceive the world around us. The scientific awareness of this field has advanced tremendously with the technological developments of the last couple of decades. My daughter asked me last December, “What is your New Years resolution going to be this year”? My response was “I seem to never fulfill them, so I haven’t given it any thought”. That conversation caused my to think about what could I resolve to do or stop doing that I would actually follow through with? I called my daughter and told her I have a New Years resolution. Considering that in 2012 I would become 50, I want to be the best person I possibly can. That would mean I needed to work toward an ideal weight by eating better and exercising daily. I went downstairs to the exercise/junk room to uncover the elliptical machine from the items it now supported and climbed aboard. I dialed up to level 16 (maximum) and stared my workout. 2 minutes into it I was gassed as I retreated to level 1 to finish my 15 min workout. I was exhausted, but having played football for many years in my youth, I knew in my mind, “No pain, no gain”! I repeated this process daily adding to the minutes at level 16 as well as the overall workout. Today I’m proud to say that 45 min at level 16 is pretty much the standard. You see, I’m a type II diabetic that was told by a couple of local Dr’s that I would be on their prescribed medication for the remainder of my life. I couldn’t accept that diagnosis because my research suggested that Type II diabetes was a condition, not a disease, and diet with lifestyle changes could greatly affect that condition. I took that as a challenge to myself to improve myself to see if I could diminish the adverse effects of this condition tied to an unhealthy lifestyle. This is why I haven’t been in the writing mode this year. Considering the physical improvement made this past eight months, I believe I’m ready to engage the world with my thoughts again!

A Generation of Fools

11 02 2012

The “Greatest Generation” is a phrase coined to describe the children of the “Great Depression” who not only endured horrific childhood circumstances, but were then called upon to fight and die to save Democracy for the world. Their valor can never be questioned in how it shaped the modern world. The sacrifices made will never be forgotten. Their only failure can be attributed to the generation that spawned from their survival. The “Baby Boomers” have since their very beginnings been the topic of much debate and consternation. Much of that has to do with the shear math they invoked on society. This nation had survived the Great Depression, followed by WWII, then yet another conflict in Korea. The children born from the end of WWII up until the beginning of the 60’s were unlike any generation this country had ever experienced. Their parents had made huge sacrifices, and they were never allowed to lose sight of that fact. Yet this new era of Americans would have none of that. They chose to rebel in every way they could find to distance themselves from that disciplined existence. They became the generation of excess. Boomers questioned authority and laughed at conservative mandates from their parents. Lacking the valor and heroics of extreme personal struggle that hardened the “Greatest Generation”, this group set out to have things their way. The problem is, their way isn’t sustainable for future generations and will cost the world it’s dignity. The reality of their dilemma is they will be forced to adapt at a stage in life where they have little left to offer a dramatically adapted world. Most will struggle in a diminnished lifestyle that’s far below their peek earning years, and in many cases apply some version of burden on their children. It’s not all bad news though, the largest portion of this group still has time to reform. The most populous age in the country is currently 53 years old. Given the extended active years, that allows for a recovery of a prosperous retirement at 70 rather than at any time in their 60’s. There is good news in all of this. I see today’s 20 something’s as inspired as ever not to make the mistakes of their parents, which I don’t think can be said of the previous group. The “Greatest Generation” cast a very heavy shadow on their children and even grandchildren to the extent that we knew we could never achieve anything as significant as them. Gen X,Y and the ones in between are certainly not intimidated by the accomplishments of the “Boomers” thus allowing them to make the changes needed to right the ship for themselves. Tomorrow’s political battles will carry a much different tone than today’s rhetoric in that the issues will be not what to do for themselves, but what can and should be done for their country.

A Society Starving for Entertainment

30 10 2011

After getting my weekly fill of college football, I was reflecting on a particular play that occurred during my teams game. Now mind you, the average game contains well over a hundred individual plays, and there are over a hundred major college teams. That being said, this play caused two players to leave the field. One shaken up, the other ejected as a result of his flagrant hit on the injured one. Football is a violent sport played at an extremely intense level of adrenaline, and emotion. Luckily the injured player returned to the game no worse for the wear. My reflection stems not from the play, but rather the chatter I noticed on twitter right up until I started this writing. Quite a discussion rages on featuring this single play from a day filled with many other more important plays. Our society has become so enthralled with its entertainment that we’ve assigned a high level of emotional value to it’s content. As though the outcome of a football game defines our own existence? I myself plan my Saturday around my teams game with little consideration for much else. My disposition is not good when my team loses. Sports is nothing more than another form of entertainment. A divergence from the reality we each exist in. No great human benefit has ever been created on a football field, yet the Super Bowl attracts the most viewers of any other televised show. The advertising spots are the most expensive in existence. Don’t get me wrong, I love sports, but has it and even other forms of televised entertainment taken too large a role in the lives of our society? My grandmothers on both sides strictly limited the amount of television access permitted in their houses. More than that, there were only three channels that operated during certain hours. No all night anything. College football had a game of the week, sometimes a double header on really special Saturdays. Now, I’m not proposing we travel back to those times, but where is the threshold of too much entertainment and not enough self improvement or even education? The major networks are piling more “reality” content into the mix in order to compete with the ever expanding cable channels that offer everything from “Hillbilly Handfishing” to “Millionaire Matchmaker” and all points in between. All this is merely competition for viewers as a nonessential entertainment component of our society. I stop and wonder how many scientist or engineers are distracted from their core competency by all of this rush of content? Do corporate CEO’s spend as much time watching television as their entry level counterparts? Has the distraction from all of this hindered our greatness?


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