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June 2016

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We are in crisis because we believe we can ignore reality

We are at a time of crisis.  Politically, economically, socially.  And it is not just the US; the world seems mired in crisis and the present political battles are simply a reflection of this reality. 

In his profound work, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions Thomas Kuhn noted that crisis is a necessary ingredient for a paradigm shift; that “Failure of existing rules is the prelude to a search for new ones.”

Perhaps it is time to listen to these failures and the crisis’s they generate and to accept a new paradigm that is more in sync with the actual results we witness every day.

But as Kuhn also noted, “A scientific theory is only declared invalid only if an alternative candidate is available to take its place.”  For this let me lend a hand.

I believe we are living one of the most profound paradigm shifts the human race has encountered since the scientific revolution.  The path we take will determine our futures as Americans, as a species, and will ultimately impact all life on the planet.  Whether we like it or not, we truly are the steward of all life on this planet.

This paradigm shift is from an opinion/belief paradigm to a factual paradigm.  The hard sciences made this leap centuries ago yet in other areas such as politics, economics and the soft sciences we act as though our very feelings shape and mold reality. 

We each are one of over 7 billion.  What you or I think is meaningless.  It has no effect whatsoever on what is true.  We are each part of an unbroken river of life that goes back almost 4 billion years.  We are each related, not in some touchy-feely philosophical manner, but truly physically related to all life on the planet. 

It is a mind-warping truth.  But our individual ease or difficulty in grasping a truth is not a reflection of the nature of the truth but rather ourselves.  The mental distance one has to travel from present beliefs to truth is irrelevant.

This is not a Republican or Democrat issue.  This is not even a conservative versus liberal issue; though conservatives/libertarians are correct many more times than they are wrong.  Those are beliefs from the present paradigm where one can choose what to believe and what to disbelieve.  The entire paradigm of conservative/libertarian versus liberal is based on this falsehood.

What is the fundamental basis for this fact-based paradigm?  The simple fact that we evolved on this planet; nothing more and nothing less.  And please, this fact says nothing about the existence of God.

And with the complete and utter acceptance of this truth, the entire conflict of visions as Thomas Sowell has so clearly written becomes a silly concept.  If we are part of this wonderful world then all of its laws apply to our lives.  Our visions are immaterial and attention granted them is a waste of time and draws us down false avenues.  There are an infinite number of things that aren’t true; we needn’t concern ourselves with them but rather collectively search for the very limited number of things that are.

Since the dawn of humans our political world has been a fight attempting to define the truth (and God).  Our efforts should rather be in attempting to discover the truth, not believing we have the power to somehow determine it.   

A paradigm shift like this, not a cumulative process built on extension of the old, but rather a complete reconstruction from new fundamentals is what we face today.

Kuhn quotes Herbert Butterfield, author of The Origins of Modern Science who describes it as “picking up the other end of the stick”.  A process that involves “handling the same bundle of data as before, but placing them in a new system of relations with one another by giving them a different framework.”

Embrace the fact that we evolved here.  Embrace that we are of this world and its rules apply to us.  Embrace that this fact leads us to accept an individual freedom and limited government reality.  This is not based on some political philosophy but rather that a simple examination of the facts clearly and unequivocally points one in this direction. 

This fact changes the entire debate.  Let us not waste time championing a liberal or conservative philosophy.  Rather let us collectively search for the truth.

We have no right to exist.  We have no right to live like we do as either Americans or humans.  We ignore reality at our own peril.  We either cast aside our childish belief-based paradigm and embrace the truth wherever it may lead, or we will most assuredly be the end of this incredible string of life.

Kuhn also noted once these paradigm shifts are made they “seem very much like tautologies, statements of situations that could not conceivably have been otherwise”.  Our acceptance of the fact of evolution and its meaning to our political, economic and social systems will someday be seen as one of these tautologies. 

Now we just have to bravely follow wherever these truths lead.  This conflict goes far beyond the present political campaign; the future of our species and all life on the planet hinges on the choice we make.

Brexit, the EU, and a school of fish

So Brexit won… God Bless those Brits!  They have hopefully stopped a slow-motion catastrophe that sooner or later was destined for catastrophic failure.

The problem with the EU AND the US government is they continue to use old and dis-proven top-down, command-and-control system design.  It’s not as though there isn’t some general agreement on desires and goals, it’s how best to achieve them (hint, freedom is always the best choice)

These governmental organizational designs are from over a hundred years ago.  The management thinking that accompanies them was discarded decades ago in this country.  Few employees in today’s world would like to be managed as they were when these structures were first introduced… so why do the elites think people will like (and accept) this from THEIR government… remember they work for us, not the other way around.

Empowering employees… driving decision making down to the lowest possible level… considering employees an asset, not an expense… flatter organizations with no wasted and unnecessary management layers (needless paper pushing doesn’t accomplish anything and distracts from those things that are important)… designing nimble organizations that can quickly adapt to changing conditions… these and many more organizational design improvements have transformed businesses across the globe.

Yet the EU (yes, we will tell you what type and shape of carrots you can purchase!) and the US government cling tightly to outdated and unworkable systems.

Think of a school of fish… there is no fish leader… there is no fish management… there are only individual fish who respond to what the fish around them do.  It is amazing but rather than leading to chaos, it leads to order and structure… but one of a very fluid nature.

And when a hungry barracuda cuts through the school, it scatters into multiple schools which quickly re-form back into the full school (minus a fish or two).

Think of how a school of fish would function under the EU’s (and the federal government’s) top-down, command-and-control design.  There would have to be “super” fish of varying management power telling the others what to do, when to do it, and how to do it.  It is difficult to even imagine how a school like this would even function.  It would be incredibly slow in responding to almost anything. 

Information would have to flow up from the bottom, going through multiple super-fish layers until it reached the top-fish.  If fish communicate anything like humans, the information the top-fish received would be far different than what started at bottom.  Then the top-fish would make a decision and the information would flow back down through all those layers of super-fish until it reached the individual fish in the school.

It could never function in the real world.  And if by some miracle it did, what would happen when that same barracuda attacked the school?  It would completely fall apart.  There would be no way for the information to flow up and then back down in time to address the attack.    

Rather than the elegance of the natural school… reacting, bending, flowing apart and then back together again… the top-down school would splinter and cease to function.

Now a school of fish’s time frame is much shorter than the EU and federal governments, but the same forces are at work.  And much like gravity and other natural forces, these things are true whether anyone likes it or not.

The concept of the EU may make sense at various levels but the system design(s) are simply inadequate in dealing with reality.  Unfortunately those who drive the EU are also the ones who see themselves as the super-fish and thus they are hesitant to change the design and let the school be the school.  People seldom willingly give up power over others… unfortunate but true.

It the Brexit vote forces them to reconsider their top-down, command-and-control thinking, the Brits will have done the world a favor.  Now if only the American public would have the same epiphany, we might even be able to save this great country of ours (sorry Bernie & Hillary but your solutions ARE the problem).

Please share if you agree.


Me First!

On a dark, crystal clear Colorado night, stars blazing overhead, I strolled along the Highline Canal with my dog –a 6-month old puppy named Buda.  In the distance, unbeknownst to me, Buda spotted a small group of people and raced to challenge the “intruders.”  What a magnificent act, I thought.  His “Me first” charge without regarding his own safety.  To freely place himself in harms way; to risk violence and even death to protect me.

With the current world affairs I find myself contemplating that act quite often.  I think of the bravery of the men and women in our armed services.  Me first!  Before you can attack my family, friends, or my country…me first!  I think of the Special Forces and Marines especially, for they are the first of their comrades to volunteer to be at the forefront of all the mayhem. Me first!  I can’t find the words to express the gratitude I feel for every last one of them.  Me first!

Me?  I’m an overweight, balding 59-year old.  In 1975 I graduated high school.  I watched the failure of our politicians during the Vietnam conflict and the carnage associated with it.  Even though the chance of me going off to war at that point in time was remote, I watched the draft lotteries with anticipation to see where I would have fallen IF I were a few years older and my number had come up.  Looking back, those years seem like a whole other world.

I’ve always been somewhat patriotic but as I’ve matured I find that in the past I didn’t truly realize the grandeur of these patriots.  Me First!  Not that all patriots are saints; they’re not.  Not that all patriots are honest, trustworthy, and brave; they’re not.  And it’s not that all patriots are happy to be placed in those situations which require them to act accordingly; they’re not.  But they are the ones who ran forward for reasons unexplained, and said me first!

I’ve committed myself from this day forward –whether in War of Peace- to bow deeply before these magnificent individuals, discard any manly pretensions, and cry out when I think of their sacrifices.  The sacrifices made in the past, today, and the sacrifices yet to come for this great country.  Me first!  It will not be forgotten

My Dad's Left Hand - A Father's Day Salute

My dad’s left hand is messed up.  It didn’t develop properly in the womb.  It’s an oval-shaped thing with small, dangly, non-working nubs. 

I have never considered him handicapped.  I’d guess the same is true of most kids whose parents were in some manner not physically “right.”

He was a great athlete in his youth.  He’s also a pretty dang good carpenter, plumber, electrician, mechanic, horseman, farrier, farmer, rancher, hunter and fisher.  And yes, he can do all of those.  Better than I am on all counts, even with my working left hand. 

My dad’s birth defect - yes that’s what it is, it isn’t supposed to be like that - has absolutely no bearing on his moral standing as a human.  He is not somehow morally “less” simply because a hand didn’t develop as designed.  His hand is both natural - it occurred, didn’t it? - and unnatural - that’s not how a hand is supposed to be - at the same time.

But in no way is he morally inferior because of this reality. He is not defined by his left hand.  It is an aspect of him, but only one of hundreds, and not a very important one to boot.  I suppose people could use his left hand as the sole means to define him but that would be rather silly.

Each of us is like a multifaceted cut diamond with hundreds and hundreds of aspects.  As free individuals each of us can choose which aspects of a person are of most importance and judge and discriminate for or against them accordingly.  Not everyone is my cup-of-tea and I am certain I’m not for many others. 

I think of this when I see my college buddy’s 20-something son who has developed a serious brain malfunction.  He visits his personal hell on a regular occurrence.  It is heartbreaking to watch.  But he simply has a brain issue.  Just like my dad’s left hand, his brain simply didn’t develop exactly as designed.  It is again, both natural and unnatural at the same time but in no way is he morally inferior; he is not “less” in any way.

I think of this when I see a friend’s autistic child.  He is not morally defective; he simply got dealt a crappy hand in the development of his brain.  Natural and unnatural at the same time.

And I’ve been thinking about this as I read about the growing movement to more fully accept those whose sexual traits exist outside the norm.  Although many in these movements don’t want to accept it, these are natural and unnatural at the same time.  But not morally inferior.  Not morally defective.  Just different on one aspect of the hundreds that make us who we are.

Each of us has unnatural aspects to ourselves.  Some are small and some are large.  Some are hidden and some stand out.  But each of us is so much more than these quite natural differences.  Each individual is a cornucopia of traits.  Some we might like and some we might not.  We can choose our friends and shun others based on a single trait or the collection of the whole. 

None of us are defined by a single facet of who we are. So, why make judgments that don’t encompass the whole person?

My dad is not defined by his left hand.  We don’t need to celebrate his left hand, simply accept it for what it is; a very small and not very important part of a much larger mosaic. And I am dang lucky to have him as my dad.

If you agree... please share ;-)


Can you say “moo”?

Ahhh, the quite of the pasture… the chirp of the birds… the cute bunnies scurrying here and there… and the contented sound of the cows as they are milked in the barn… moo.

Moo indeed.  After recently reading in Harry about upcoming price hikes, led by ABI as usual, I had a sudden mental image of the US beer market (consumer and wholesaler) being milked and milked and milked… whether happily or not is another question ;-)

In a prior post, which you can find here I discuss the business concept of a cash cow.  And what does one do with a cash cow?  You milk it.  And my oh my, ABI with MillerCoors (and others) willingly following are yanking on those teats like no one’s business!  Even those craft folks are enjoying a tug here and there. 

Even you wholesalers are getting in on some nice milk… what are your gross profit percent’s?  What are you putting to the bottom-line?  There’s a little moo for everyone ;-)

But what of the poor cow?  Is there any concern for ol’ Bessie?  Or is she simply milked and milked and milked until there is nothing left?  And what happens to ol’ Bessie when she can’t produce any more milk?  Why she is sent to the Slaughterhouse.  Don’t forget, that place has earned that name.

I know the craft beer folks are laughing all the way to the bank – from both a profit and market share perspective.  Think how the entire US beer business would be different if ABI had pursued a balanced market share strategy versus grabbing the ol’ milking stool and sitting down for some hard work.  The entire US beer market would look much different if the Third were still running the show.

Think of paths not taken… this milking strategy has strengthened the craft brewer’s incredible growth… wine and spirits love it too… and with the now un-stoppable power of the prettiest girl at the dance, in affect it has set in motion the complete destruction of the 3 tier system (I believe that is already baked in the cake).  A butterfly beats its wings in the Amazon and… ;-)

To the quickly shrinking pool of beer wholesalers out there (and all of us unfortunate consumers who have little say in this)… can you say moo? ;-)  At least you wholesalers are being well-fed – for now…

We poor consumers are simply getting milked without even a kiss or an extra bale of hay… and many are following the value proposition that craft is a better deal… Moo.  Moo indeed.