Monday, January 31, 2011

Open Source, Money, Wikipedia, and Me

I'm just inviting a new set of people to read my blog, so I want to re-introduce it, and myself, and what I think I am doing here.

Personally, I am one who craves being understood. This is not a very rare type of person, fortunately. I think that "to know me is to love me", and I find that I love other people who think the same about themselves. If you really think that about yourself, it is probably true, as far as I am concerned. So, do let me get to know you, by writing your own blog, or commenting on mine.

Basically, anyone who can write at all at, this point in history, should. The world is crying out for information, and the Internet has given the world an enhanced capability to give and receive it. In the business mindset, this is called "Content Rules". You sell things by [here I will put actual phrasing of online business promotion ideas that I will read in my research.]

There is a huge thirst for ever-better information. Ever more correct, ever more useful - ever more entertaining and titillating(?) "Entertaining and titillating" is what the mainstream media have been sliding toward for years, but what is happening online? When the viewer takes an active role in finding the information he or she wants, is "titillating" still the most effective way of drawing attention? The jury is out on that one. (I'm not trying to claim that porn, itself, doesn't work as a business model; but in other types of informational services, it is not clear that titillation still sells.)

Even if the old model of media consumption and production continues to be successful in the newly-transforming world, now there is the infrastructure to create (for those who want them) reliable, verifiable informational resources. These will cause the best ways of living to become visible, and available to everyone. By "best ways of living," I mean simply the best and most useful examples of everything. Wikipedia is the example of this future. Open Source, co-operative, non-profit. For a good discussion of Wikipedia see this link. (Careful readers might notice that many of the links in this posting point to Wikipedia articles.)

Another informational resource which is soon to come about is Open Money. The old concept of money, is that it is valuable in-and-of-itself, like gold and silver. Nowadays, money is almost purely an artifact of electronic exchange systems.

But the system of electronic exchange (as it has developed), is corrupt. Governments and large corporations (under the control of the now-many multi-billionaires in the world) can and do manipulate all financial markets to their own ends. This manipulation is limited, mainly, by the power struggles within the moneyed elite - not by any government regulation, nor by the working of the markets. (Witness the holdovers from the Bush to the Obama administration - Summers, Geithner, Bernanke...) The US Federal Reserve is increasingly becoming a illegitimate pairing of government power and private interest.

Open Money is an Open Source solution to this problem. Money is issued by a volunteer, self-selected group of people, whose earning from this endeavor are visible to everyone, running a distributed, Open Source integrated system of software. It is the only logical solution. The best thought-out system of open money that I know of so far is Bitcoin.

To sum up, my reasons for blogging are to give people useful information, and to connect people and things that need to be connected. I invite you to start a blog and send me a link, or to comment on my blog. I will be working to add links to blogs and websites I think my readers will find useful, and encourage you to do the same. People are living more and more of their lives online. They will be finding long-term connections, that will be based on trust. A killer-app of the future will probably help you carry out most or all of the transactions of your life with people you know and trust, or are known and trusted by people you trust. Just like in the old days of tiny communities, but better.

Once we have money working for us (instead of being a weapon for dark forces), people will be able to reward useful things, instead of what gets rewarded now.

I probably need to write soon about my pollyanna-ism. I realize I could be very wrong on any of these predictions. So please, comment away. I love critical comments. My pollyanna-ism leads me to expect I will not be bothered by trolls, or that the bulk of my readers will handle them for me. Or, you might just bring me down, so give it a try!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Inner Monologue

Writing is easy and fulfilling, when you can just spill your inner monologue onto the page. This means you have to love your inner monologue. I think perhaps the bulk of spiritual work for a person of our times is involved in improving one's inner monologue.

This echoes a theme popular in "self-improvement" books, called variously "Positive Thinking", "affirmations", "setting intentions" and similar phrases that describe efforts to control one's thoughts through verbalizations. Mantras, chanting, creeds, and statements of belief are the counterpart in religion. We formulate our fears in language, and have to be consoled in language. I have a feeling that verbalizing our fears as much as many of us do internally is not good or necessary. But as long as it happens, fear-countering verbalizations are needed.

The repetition of phrases that another person has found useful, however, can only go so far in relieving one's fears. You either have to come to understand the language the way the originator understood it, or come up with your own language. Gurus have religious insights, and pass them on to their disciples. When the teacher's words, spirit, and actions all point in the same direction, it is easy to understand the words. If you learn from the disciple of a disciple of a disciple, you may find the words are there, but the power of them is gone. The congregation can fall into darkness, while still using the words of a person who was light itself.

I have found the need to sweeten and beautify my inner monologue. Self-consoling and self-encouragement are necessary to counter fear and paralysis. This is the benefit that I have finally gotten from being obsessively fearful - I have learned ways to overcome it. The fear of criticism and the paralyzing self-criticism that comes with it have led me to accept forgiveness and forgiving. I mentioned salvation mantras in an earlier post, and I am elaborating on them. They are verbalizations that help you change the quality of your consciousness. They don't make you happy or sad in the conventional sense, but they remind you to take a certain attitude, which relieves the stress of some pose or another you had been taking. In other words, if you can feel convinced that you are not the bad person you thought you were, you can relax more into whatever sort of person you are at the moment.

I have been working on taking the attitude that I am not anything at all. That is a very freeing stance. I am not anything, except the unexperienceable experiencer.

I don't deny what I do experience. Nor do I deny my various self-images. For example, my self-image when I am writing about how life works, and how to get over obstacles, is that I am wise, experienced and compassionate. I can't deny that I feel that way. The very next instant, I am aware of several bizarre, negative traits I have, that cast me, in my own eyes, as a degenerate human being. There is truth in both images, and neither image is the whole truth. But both are just concepts flowing through my mind. Knowing that I am not equal to my concepts of myself is the good news that never got out, as Alan Watts put it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tell Me How It Was

This will be the first of my postings that are tagged "tools for living".

If you suspect someone is lying, you can ask them, with loving interest, to "tell me how that was" for them. Tell more details, and how it made them feel. One should only ask this question when NOT fully convinced the person is lying, and only if the reason you are asking is a kind one. It is a well-worn technique for finding out the truth, but done in kindness, it is a gift to the lie-teller. When it is done in true loving kindness, the untruth might be undone.

I don't want to use that term, "lie-teller" any more. I will substitute "Untruth-teller". A person doesn't always know when they are telling an untruth. And, the deepest part of every person never lies - it can't. If you pay attention to the deepest part of yourself and others, you will see only the truth about people.

In our as-currently-constructed everyday world, though, sometimes people believe they are lying. They try to lie. If you ask them for their own emotional reactions to the story they are telling, they are likely to be come aware of that intention. Some truth or other is likely to become apparent to both of you.

Warning: Only use this technique when you are in a positive, loving state. It is NOT necessary to get the person to admit to lying, for the truth to become apparent. Controlling or manipulating the person is not the point. Don't use it for trivial lies, or loving untruths.

Tax and Spend

We should probably claim this as what must be done.

Tax the rich and spend on jobs. it will bring our economy right, and be good for everyone in the short term. And the long term. I was going to say it would be good for everyone but the super-rich in the long term. But it is only the misguided opinion of some of those in the super-rich category that it will be bad for them.

I want to publish more, so I am posting this fragment now. I hope to write more on this topic.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Go Toward the Light

I saw a bumper sticker last night that I just loved. It said, "You don't have to be dead to go toward the Light."

I have been writing partial postings and never finishing them. At least I am in a better situation than I was for so many years, not able to write at all.

Back to the bumper sticker - "go toward the Light" is a reference to the research on NDE (Near-Death Experiences). It is said that many returnees from NDEs report seeing a beautiful light, or a light at the end of a tunnel, and feeling the urge to go toward it. This becomes meme in popular culture, and a substitute for religious belief. Or, it could just be called a simple religious belief.

It is a good one. The phrasing on the bumper sticker says why. It is useful for counteracting fears about death. But it can also be a principle for living life. Going toward the light is choosing the good. It says, "Don't be afraid, there is always something good to move toward, or to countenance." You might fear that when you die, you will not see any light. But consciousness itself, while it can't be described, is more like light than anything else. If death leaves a person in darkness, it is only because that person is not aware of his own consciousness. If there is consciousness, there is light. There is a home. If death should be darkness "forever", then there will be nothing there to distract from pure awareness. That is the only thing that exists wherever anything exists. If you can point your desire toward light, you will always have the object of your desire.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

You Know When it is Right

Things that feel good, things that click in, things that make sense. You know when it is right.That moment when you know you have won. It is payday, and I am making enough money. This person likes me. I feel physically great! Someone else understands exactly how I feel, or think.

I'd like to know what proportion of people get those feelings often enough to satisfy them. People who truly enjoy aspects of their work, and don't have a lot of anxiety, probably have such feelings pretty frequently. If you are a person who feels good a lot of the time, can you empathize with people who don't? I have known people who seemed to understand depression without being depressed themselves, but they all had an active memory of what it had been like to be depressed. Or maybe they had a depressed loved one. If you are inclined to love humankind, but don't understand why some people can't just "snap out of it," read Darkness visible : a memoir of madness by William Styron (Library of Congress; Amazon.)