Friday, July 15, 2016

Annual Session 2016

I'm only here for an afternoon, night and morning this year.  Mary Klein, editor of Western Friend, and myself, Clerk of the IT Committee, thought up an Interest Group focusing on the experiences of Monthly Meetings using information technology, including social media.  I'll post a separate journal entry on how that goes, still ahead as I write this.

On my way out here, driving alone, I veered off to visit monuments and memorials.  My mind is hovering in that space between the two worlds, perhaps just a figure of speech.  Sam Hill's Stonehenge, and the Washington State Veterans Cemetery, near Spokane, called me to pay my respects, and I obeyed.

I've been thinking about our global Iron Mountain economy, whereby so many find their daily bread, typically within the context of a male-dominated pyramid hierarchy.  Has the nature of soldiering changed in any essential way, since the time of the Roman conquests?  How do we define our terms?  I know that was a preoccupation of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (definitions).

If it's true, as Bucky Fuller was fond of claiming, that we crossed a threshold in the 1970s, whereby taking care of the world's billions at a high living standard was in principle doable, does that change the context in any way?

One veteran I know was saying how welfare programs were failures because whole families just stayed home and became couch potatoes, unto a third generation, to which my response was "I have no problem with that."

In my mind's eye, I see a pilot in a souped up jet fighter, bombing some village, with the caption "Welfare Queen".  Ditto drone pilots and their warlords.  Not very nice of me to think that right?  Families are proud of their generations of national service, regardless of nation.

Yes, the Iron Mountain shells out a lot to pay for such sacrifices, and the costs are much higher, but think how many paying jobs each bomb represents, not to mention all the work it takes to maintain such aircraft.

Staying home, watching TV, is of negligible cost in comparison, though maybe not if family members fail to exercise and require expensive medical interventions as a consequence.  That's employment for medical professionals sure, but don't we want to focus on preventative care?

If said family has disposable income, they likely help keep the local stores and restaurants afloat.

I think about "programmable money" quite a bit.  Food stamps are a step in that direction.  Imagine a form of currency that was only good towards charitable donations, yet one still had discretionary powers over which charities.

My charitable video arcades or whatever we call them, wherein the winners engage in philanthropic behavior, are about developing awareness of what's out there, in terms of helping people.  Choose where your winnings go, you just won the right to do so.

What makes living standards low today is precisely that so many suffer in ways we could prevent if not so stuck in our reflex-conditioning.  South Sudan is but the tip of the iceberg.

Living standards occasioned by the displaced, those fleeing untenable / unsustainable theater, are low for everybody as a result, as we all share the same backdrop of Ghetto Planet or Looney Bin Earth.

If we were to eliminate death by starvation as in any way "natural" (as in "God's Will"), then living standards would increase even for those who've been in no danger of starving.  The whole world would feel better off.