Monday, February 23, 2015

Sustainable freedom III: lots of relativistic paradoxes (and why crowd-funding falls short)


At one level, the road to “success” (both personal and business), and particularly the optimal use of social media seems to invoke plain common sense.  Don’t cling to people.  Don’t act jealous, or don’t covet.  Set your own goals and follow them.  Online, post original content, or at least new slants on things; don’t just regurgitate or pass along what sounds politically correct.  Demonstrate critical thinking, and expect it of others.  These points apply especially when posting to “newer” media with followers or friends, who don’t need multiple repetitions of the latest outrages already reported in major news media.

Indeed, if you follow this advice, work hard and don’t get interrupted too much by external forces, you may well succeed, very publicly, and have the consort of the people you want.
  
The libertarian believes this approach is best for “society”.  The supposed “socialist-liberal” is concerned that it is too predicated on good luck and the exploited labor or sacrifices of others.  Often, people of faith (especially strict and conservatives religious systems) believe the latter, too.  Indeed (or, as in ninth grade English, “but, alas”) my having total freedom to accomplish what seems best for me as individual, even when viewed with the modern independent lens of personal responsibility, isn’t always the best thing for the sustainability and stability of the culture as a whole, or for a lot of more disadvantaged people who live in it.  Particularly, it might be disingenuous for those (like me) who are “heard” not to have more direct responsibility for others and dependents than some of us take on. We might be expected to "join up" with others even when they are partisan and even "wrong". 
         
On February 18 (as “Pisces” started, maybe), I outlined what might reasonably be expected of me (especially for "political" messages), in my somewhat “privileged” current circumstances, especially in the paragraphs that follow the snowflake picture. (Yes, Snowflake, AZ, site of an alien abduction in 1975, no less.) Some of these ideas would indeed stretch me, in a space-time sense. They go “out of the box”  (to use a phrase of the one girlfriend I once had).  It sounds arguable (especially to Putin-heads) that I should be “required” to open myself up to “others” more, but that simply brings on authoritarianism.  It only works with a change of heart,  that people in the Goldilocks Zone really “want to”.   Remember the rebellious teen, who finally says “I did it because I wanted to, not because you ordered me to.”  How would this play out with an issue like "gay political asylum" which no one can afford to talk about until someone actually "acts"? 
      
Sometimes that’s necessary.  In the past, charitable overtures (like when I “took someone in”) in 1980, have not really turned out helping the other person that much.  I haven't offered to "mentor" of give the person or activity a lot of "importance".  Again, a libertarian might punt to genetics.  I could say that the other person had such weak parenting and upbringing than my early adulthood he had very little grasp of what the adult world expected.  So does someone like me reaching out matter?   It’s hard to say, and it throws conservatives back to “family values”.  The same observations seemed to apply when I worked as a substitute teacher and ran into unpredictable behavior by the poorly parented students.
  
Sunday, February 22, 2015, before a small, snow-reduced gathering at the First Baptist Church of the City of Washington DC, acting pastor Deborah Cochran talked about “being tested”.  Many of these tests today come from the outside world, in the way of disruptions.  Sometimes they test the idea of “love your enemies.”  But sometimes we have enemies because we haven’t owned up to our own dependencies.  Other times enemies that test us really do come from evil. 
  
I’ve made some statements that might seem alarming, and not in the best interests of “others” in the example I could set.  I’ve said there are some lines I won’t cross, particularly if accosted by others, particularly then the motives result from indignation, political stance, or misplaced or extremist religious purposes.  For someone to make that decision doesn’t have effects in his own vacuum. 

It’s also true that my disinterest in “relationships on my own level”, and particularly my past attitude about (not) having children, could be seen as not placing a lot of value on “life itself”, a bit irony as intellectually curious as I am about likely alien life, even alien intelligence.  Even the “message” implied in some of my science fiction books and scripts (as summarized on my Wordpress blogs) seems to be that “not everybody makes it” even if the “erotic royalty” (as I call it at one point) becomes immortal angels. 
  
I do work alone, and can get a lot done if I stay in course and am not distracted or, particularly, deliberately interrupted.  And if I stay lucky enough.  Yet, my doing so, and freedom to do so, is a sign that, as a culture, we don’t work together was well as we used to.  Even with all the self-indulgent “gofundme” and crowdsourcing and ice-bucket appeals. Along these lines, on Sunday Michelle Singletary offered (in her “Get There” series), a perspective “The problem with crowdfunding: It doesn’t help the needy crowd”, link here. She writes “Even people who make poor decisions deserve help to lift them from poverty.” Vox has a similar article, which comes down to the idea that "luckier" people don't walk in the shoes of the less well off, by Danielle Kurtzleben, 
  
As a lot of us become more independent and less responsive to being approached, old-fashioned ways of selling and social interaction, which many people depend on, weaken.  The poor quality of most mass-emailed (spam or not) and telemarketed products and services attests to the loss of social capital, and the determination that comes from desperation.
  
Mayne the Amish really do understand some things.  Efficiency has its point of diminishing returns, if all human life really matters. 
    
Picture: Port Richmond, in Philadelphia, near Charles Murray’s favorite neightborbood, Fishtown, my trip.  


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