Making It in a World That Does Not Like You

This can be done – I have seen it happen. Although I have also seen it usually does not happen – a toxic environment is usually overwhelming, because that is what it is supposed to accomplish –  the destruction of the individual

We have gone through a period when society favored the development of the individual – followed by a period when it does not – the present, in which we find ourselves. And in which – parenting is difficult.

Some parents are incompetent – but they do not enforce this pattern on their children – and some parents do.

I limited myself to messing up my own life (that I could do, easily enough) and did not have children – the smartest decision I ever made. I was able to do this, because I felt what was happening to me, and was able to act on this feeling. You have to do both – feel, and act on those feelings.


Perhaps it all boils down to this – our attitude towards our mother.

And Western Civilization has treated its women badly. Feminists have picked up on this, quite successfully – but have simply reversed the process – they hate men. And are not interested in repairing this rupture.

Doing this would be a huge effort. And they often develop a close relationship with another woman instead.

Making Better Things is Easy

Making better people is hard.

Things are easy to understand – and all you have to do with the complicated ones, is decompose them into their simpler parts.

But you cannot do that with people – who, when all is said and done, cannot be understood. They can be understood in this way, or that way, without number. But these concepts are always how we think about the interactions of huge numbers of huge molecules interacting in a huge number of ways.

Out of this, somehow, emerges a person and a people. And not in an orderly fashion – life is messy, very messy. And doesn’t always work.

This is what we are forced to say about our global society – it is not working. And no one knows how to patch it up.

What we have is lots of people (too many, really) doing lots of things – few of them conducive to their betterment.

It never occurs to them to make a better global society. They would consider such an idea ridiculous. They cannot even make their own society better.

The Best Place and the Worst Place to Be

This was the country I grew up in – America.

Americans do not mind admitting they are the best (although they have no idea how they are best). But they have not the foggiest idea of how they are the worst.

I am listening to an excellent course on the Foundations of Western Civilization. This course itself is a good example of what is going on. The company, the Great Courses company, does pick the finest courses available – all from American universities. Because the best scholarship in almost any field is usually in found in America.

The reason for this is simple – America has the most money, and some of that money has been spent on Higher Education. Not too long ago, this was true of Great Britain, when it was the richest country on the earth, and had the best universities.

In this course, I am listening to the history of the Roman Republic and then of the Roman Empire. Back then, all roads led to Rome, for hundreds of years. Rome was not a nice place to be, far from it. But it was, quite simply, the only place to be.

Back then, if you asked one of the people, in one of many countries, in the Roman Empire, if they liked being in the Empire – they would have considered that a silly question. They didn’t choose to be part of the Empire, they were conquered by it. But being in the Empire, once they were there, had been good for business.

The same could be said of any of the conquered people in the British Empire – especially India. They were exploited, no question about that – but they ended up being much like the British themselves – people with serious social difficulties.But with plenty of Railroads.

This was also true of the American Empire. Like the British, it blundered into owning an Empire – and now it has it, it doesn’t know what to do with it.

The people in its empire, such as the people in Latin America – have not been treated very well. Its economic elite have been treated well, their businesses (their banana plantations, for example) have prospered – but its poor have been treated badly.They have tried desperately to immigrate to the States – and could do that for while, but not any more.

And of those from Costa Rica who did succeed in living there for while – many of them came back – unable to stand living up there. Costa Rica does not have much money – but it is still likes people.

This leads me to my second point – that America is not good for people, including its own people. They have plenty of money – but cannot be human, with normal human interactions. The people on top, think they are better than anyone else, and can treat them anyway they please. And the people under them, for the most part – agree.

This is what I mean when I said America was the best place – and the worst place to be.

My New Kodak Digital Camera was Not Made by Kodak

Kodak PIXPRO Friendly Zoom FZ43 16 MP Digital Camera with 4X Optical Zoom and 2.7″ LCD Screen (Black)

This is the fourth digital camera I have owned – the rest have been stolen. In Costa Rica, where I live – causal theft is common, and it not considered a crime – legally.  Your handy little digital camera will disappear quickly – if not watched carefully.

When I unpacked this new toy of mine, I was surprised to find it was made by JK Imaging, Ltd. It licenses the trademark Kodak – from the film company, that no longer makes cameras itself.

I wish I could tell you how wonderful this new miracle is – but that would not be truthful.

I started out taking few pictures of some railroad tracks, that had been used as telephone poles, but had been bent out of shape. I could not see the tracks on the screen – because I was looking into a brightly-lit sky in the background. The pictures did not come out at all, because I could not see what I was doing, for the life of me.

The camera uses the same basic technology as that used by a smartphone – only it has a much better lens. It is made for taking standard pictures of people and their pets – not telephone poles.

The next long bus ride I take, I will take a video out of the window of the bus – showing the depressing buildings along the road. They really are ugly.

The Boy Who Never Gets Too Big to Comb His Mother’s Hair

From LBJ: Architect of American Ambition


Hailing originally from Ohio, where his father worked in a plow factory, Wilburt Lee O’Daniel had graduated from business college at age eighteen. In 1935, O’Daniel started his own firm, the Hill Billy Flour Company. Each sack of his company’s product was emblazoned with a goat, beneath which was the slogan “Pass the biscuits, Pappy.” From the day the first sack hit the market he was known far and wide as Pappy. By 1938, he had formed his family into a band: Pat on the banjo, Mike on the fiddle, and Molly teaming with Texas Rose on vocals. Within months the cornpone ensemble was reaching hundreds of thousands of Texans over a statewide radio hookup.

While his offspring strummed and hummed in the background, the handsome, beaming Pappy delivered homilies on the virtues of motherhood, Texas, the Ten Commandments, and the Golden Rule. He even composed songs for the program, “Your Own Sweet Darling Wife” and “The Boy Who Never Gets Too Big to Comb His Mother’s Hair” being among the most notable. “At twelve-thirty sharp each day,” a national publication reported, “a fifteen-minute silence reigned in the state of Texas, broken only by mountain music, and the dulcet voice of W. Lee O’Daniel.” A political career was inevitable.

In 1938 Pappy asked his radio audience what they thought of the idea of his running for governor. He subsequently reported that more than fifty thousand voiced their approval. Ignoring his inexperience, O’Daniel campaigned blithely on the teachings of the Bible and a promise of a $ 30-a-month pension for every Texan over the age of sixty-five. To the disgust of Texas elite— economic, political, and intellectual— Pappy captured 573,000 votes, 51 percent of the total. In 1940 his total climbed to 645,000 or 54 percent of the whole, which made him the most prolific vote getter in the state’s history.

When We Lose Interest in the World, It Loses Interest in Us

This is the situation we are in now – and we are not worried about it. As far as we are concerned, we can do without the rest of the world.

How did we get in such a strange place? To understand ourselves now, we have to understand our past – which is nearly impossible because we don’t want to understand anything – how we are now, or how we have been in the past.

Our society has undergone a partial collapse – we can function partially – our bodies still work the same as before, but our minds have gone off on their own – and live in another world. And overall, we consider this a big improvement.

I’m reminded of what the people in my family’s church used to say “Be in the world, but not of it!” This church is now gone – but its rule still applies. Our bodies are part of the world – but our minds are not.

Where are they?

Yesterday I saw where they had gone – in a sight I could hardly miss. I was seated at local fast food place (the kind of place they call a soda) where three young men were seated at the next table. They were all intently looking at their smartphones – and not at anything else. This is unusual behavior for Ticos, who are very social – and there was a lot going on around them. They were in another world.

One that the cell phone companies had made just for them. Anything they could possibly want was there.

At the same time, I am learning how that world works – by taking an online course on C#, a Microsoft language used to create the online spaces, that fascinate everyone.

There are at least three worlds – the world of mass and forces, invented by Newton – the Computer Cloud, where everything online lives and breathes – and the world of software developers, who are pulling all the strings in the background, creating the illusions everyone believes in.

We live in a multi-dimensional world – the same world we have always lived in – with the addition of a few more dimensions.