The Idea of Open-Source Politics and Crowd-Sourcing Leadership


PeopleOverProfitFlickruserAericans4FinancialReform-150x150

http://www.mediaroots.org/open-source-politics-an-inquiry-into-the-crowdsourcing-of-leadership/

The hallowed halls of a once respected US government are now filled with the hollow promises of an impotent governing class. In a political landscape riddled with indecision, political pageantry and growing despotism, the people are hungry for a leadership that represents them. Instead, we are faced with a corporatocracy – one hellbent on the consolidation of wealth and power rather than the proliferation of freedom and justice.

Believe it or not, there was a time when representative government worked on behalf of its people, but those days have long succumbed to the political distortions of misguided leadership. Thus, the age old questions remain: If it is possible to revitalize the self-governing power potential of the ‘We the People’, then what might be a viable alternative or how might we augment the current system to provide the proper infrastructure for a change of guard? Perhaps by looking to the revolutionary ideas of the internet and the co-creative force of its users and developers we can begin to find answers to those difficult questions.

One of the groundbreaking ideas that the internet has provided is that of open-source development, which promotes the universal access to a product’s design as well as redistribution of that design. This developmental model set by programmers and software developers exemplifies the highest order of free trade, and serves to utilize the best ideas for the overall benefit of the system. If we are to apply a similar model as the framework for government, we begin to see parallels between open-source programming and the ideas put forth by America’s founding fathers.

Unfortunately, the fundamental ideology of the US political system has been absent from view for quite some time. The growing disconnect between the people and their representatives has led to a lag in public representation, thus resulting in a severe lack of people’s interests and ideas being properly expressed by US legislation and leadership.

A recent example of this contrast is illustrated in the debate over the legalization of marijuana, where an overwhelming public support for legalization has not been echoed by the government, nor the legislation regarding the issue. However, the ‘War on Drugs’ is only one of many examples which illustrates the delay we are experiencing in our current democratic process.

In a world where efficiency and speed are essential to human progress, it’s unfortunate that our legislative powers have become cumbersome and inefficient. However, the internet’s crowd-sourcing concept could provide us with the possibility to facilitate some level of autonomy, where the average individual has the ability to exercise their right to self-representation.

The idea of crowd-sourcing was first referenced by Jeff Howe of Wired magazine, and can be best understood as the purposeful re-appropriation of resources for achieving a particular goal by an indeterminate group of individuals.  Much like open-source programming which relies upon a multitude of contributors, so too does crowd-sourcing rely upon the involvement and contributions of the collective.

There are many examples of crowd-sourcing being used throughout the internet today.  Chemists have crowd-sourced protein folding techniques, YouTube has done so with entertainment, Facebook with different language versions of it’s site, while politicians and artists alike have crowd-sourced funding for their campaigns and projects. If this is a successful tool for science, entertainment and finance, could it also be possible to crowd-source political leadership?

Endless possibilities could present themselves once we focus the “spare processing power of millions of human brains” towards the evolution of political representation. For example, a truly participatory system could unfold which no longer relies upon single individuals to represent the will of many, but instead allows all people to become micro-leaders in a process of collective representation. Although this idea may seem farfetched, it’s not far from the framework that helped to build this country’s political system.

The founding fathers believed that public office should be held by its citizens, to act as contributors as well as beneficiaries in a collective effort to provide society with a fair and just governing body. As we continue to evolve socially and intellectually, it’s the hope that our leadership would incorporate the enlightened ideas of the past as well as those that propel us into the future. If they don’t, ‘We the People’ can and will find ways to represent ourselves through active participation in the political process.

As more and more people wake up to the corruption of the current system and the lack of political reflection on a federal level, passive acceptance of oligarchical rule will end, soon to be replaced by an active contribution in the political progress of this country, and ultimately, the world.

Written by Justin Blush for Media Roots

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Justin writes for Media Roots News with Abby Martin and you can read more of his content at mediaroots.org

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Naked: The Fragmented Thoughts of an Imperfect Thinker


Fractal

Fractal (Photo credit: rao.anirudh)

This is a collection of my broken ideas and meandering thoughts which have yet to become.

Just. B.

 

Contradiction, Confusion & Complacency 1/18/2013

In a time riddled with contradiction, confusion, and complacency we are beginning to find our heroes in the most unlikely of places.  The moguls of the modern existence are no longer the source of reason and inspiration, but rather give us reason to beware and inspire us towards new paradigms of political progress.  Our leaders are nothing more than a den of wolves moving in on the kill, a kill which consists of you and I.  Justice no longer holds a place in the illustrious halls of the rule of law, because swindlers and hustlers have  stolen the keys and have commenced with the joyride of selfish pursuit rather than pursuing the task of selfless service of the common good.  In the era of drone strikes, indefinite detention and fiscal cliffs, isn’t it time we

A Line Removed 9/24/2012

Nurture and teach your children, as they are our future.  Tend to your parents, for they are our past. The present moment is yours, so act immediately and create the world with which you dream, because it is the only thing that matters.

 

Title Unknown   10/19/2012

While the masses marvel over the masquerades of the mundane, I walk as the naked ape awestruck over my own existence. We play with our technological toys micro-atomic universes with which we manipulate the matter found within.  Our journey began with a lonely soul searching for continuity between the cosmos and his cognition, and while looking into the heavens asked “What the fuck???”  What is this? What are we doing here? What does it all mean?  Out of these questions formed fundamental understandings about the natural world, and these built a great edifice of understanding.   The human experience is one of language and it is unique in that we decode the vibratory language of the universe and re-code that information through our own linguistic representation. We decode, recode and encode the makeup of our individual and immediate universes.  We become and are the multi-verse. We scrawl upon the canvas of our consciousness  these representations which gives rise to the imaginings of our intellect.  We synthetically create our existence in a sort of merging of new ideas.  Through this collaboration of consciousness we bring forth the future and pull ourselves up to meet it.

Nomadic consciousness-

 

 

Masquerading in the mundane I walk as the naked ape awestruck over my own existence.

The polarization of the political landscape has set the stage for an unrest which is growing quickly into a fervent rage.  The question is to what end do we pursue such a path?  We race towards confirmation, all the while giving no attention to our path as precarious as it may be.  Will we continue to be content with the stagnant waters of our disagreements, or will our disagreements become something more?  We keep the company of wolves and are surprised when we find ourselves victims of their voracity.  For I shall not come to the aid of liars and the cunning, as they are my enemies and deserve my disdain.  The poison of the apple is concealed within the confines of it’s beauty and it is our belief in that outward appearance which gives rise to our ruin.

Change your Mind, Change your Life   11/2/2012

It has become clear to me, that the process of changing a leader in order to induce change within society has less than favorable results for all involved.  In fact it has minimal and in many cases detrimental effects upon the masses.  Even still soon the people will choose their new leader and many will feel emotionally and politically displaced, while others will cheer much the same way they do when their favorite football team wins a game.  The euphoria and depression will soon subside and we will engage in the next season of our political drama. Unfortunately we have become addicted to the drama of it all, and discarded authenticity for reality tv political personalities.  Instead of caring for the issues we care about the face.  We believe somehow an individual will deliver us from darkness.  Never the less we will elect and erect a new straw man to be touted and tortured much to our pleasure and displeasure.  We have found in our President a scapegoat for personal responsibility.  It is a responsibility to our community, to our environment, to our laws, to the well-being of our society and ultimately to ourselves that we have so selfishly abandoned.  Not all, but many of us have bought into a false notion that our representative government is more than just that.  We have grown to believe that these men are meant to lead us, when quite the opposite is true.  We are not electing leaders next week, but rather representatives who are to represent our values and beliefs, our hopes and dreams.  So instead of focusing on who will win we should be focused on their policies and issues.  It is not a President that will deliver us, only we can accomplish that task.

 

 

Title Unknown  10/28/2012

Our love for youth is a manifestation of our denial of death.  one day we will be consumed by the past, by the memories of our loved ones as we pass from the present into their memory. What saddens me is that one day I may not be able to take part in the beauty of this enchanted place.  To be lost from the smiles of family and friends, to be a fading face amongst the illusion of life.  Into an abyss of uncertainty, all things must pass.  From one dream into another.  I love you all that loved me and maybe we meet again.

 

 

Title Unknown   11/7/2012

Humans and plants have been inextricably linked since the dawning of human consciousness.  The forbidden fruit of the tree We as humans are intrigued by mind-altering substances and are naturally drawn to them.  Today marks an amazing moment in United States politics, as the state of Colorado voted to legalize marijuana for recreational consumption.  This will ultimately open the discussion on a national level concerning the validity of the West’s devotion to silly prohibitions.  It will become an ineviteable discussion due to the controversy that is sure to ensue following the ratification of Colorado’s Amendment 64.  We can only hope for the future that this will turn the tide on our policies concerning the criminalization of drugs in this country.  Colorado now serves as the first domino in a long line of tetering domino states interested in passing legislation

 

Lance Armstrong 6/14/2012

Lance Armstrong is now under investigation for drug use, and this is an investigation that could cost him all his titles.  I am not usually a sports person, but what I am fascinated by is the incessant witch hunts that we perform upon these athletes that our society holds in such high esteem.  We are in awe of their talents and achievements but are so swift to strip these titans of their accolades due to drug use.  Simultaneously we demand for more, we demand that they be faster, more agile, and supreme performers that lack all flaws.  Our demands seem to be creating a sort of paradox with which these athletes are trapped within.  Our desire to see faster, better, etc. is leading us into a super-human realm of athleticism.  Our demands are exceeding the capabilities of the human body, and somehow we still decide to be apalled when one of our heroes has been pumping human growth hormones, steroids and the like into their veins for the past decade.  We will eventually have to decide to temper our desire for the greater, the faster, and the more agile or we will have to succumb to the fact that we have plateaued.  So we either come up with new games in order to break new records, or admit that we want to see super-human athletes that are pumping drug fueled blood? The question really is; when is it enough, when has our desires exceeded our reality.

Whether we speak of, real estate, Wall street’s toxic investments, perpetual credit card debt, war in the middle East, or something as trivial as a man who rides a bike, we have to ask ourselves if our desires have devoured us and our moral judgment.  When is more, too much? We somehow believe ourselves to be invincible, and we are willing to keep pushing past the realm of possibility, in order to show ourselves how amazing we are.  But to what end, and once we arrive will we be satisfied with what we have become? We are reaching a time in history that requires that we are honest with ourselves.

 

 

Title Unknown   6/12/2012

We have become a society of selfish, perpetual children hoping that someone else will take the time to clean up our own mess.  We have crowned the cunning and have given accolades to criminals and thugs.  We look to them for our image of courage, the age of the anti-hero is upon us and we seem to revel in our own filth as if it was new fashion.  This is the age of politicians that read prepared speeches and act out calculated hand gestures and positive posturing. The age of closed eyes and tight lips, too afraid to speak out against the Attrocities being committed the world over.

 

 

Date & Title Unknown

We etch our hearts across the world, from bathroom stalls to cave walls we impress our intellect upon the world in an attempt to be remembered. Let it all be remembered from a child’s handprint in concrete to the skyscrapers on wall street, let the universe know that haveWe fight against nature to have a history,

 

 

Date & Title Unknown

We live in a world that believes itself smarter and more advanced than that which precedes it.

 

 

On the Road to Nowhere  2/26/2012

It is my belief that there are only a few personality types within the world but an infinite number of variations upon those types.  The first grouping deals with the notions of good and evil; the first type within that grouping is one that is an inherently good person but on occasion performs evil acts while the second type is an inherently bad individual and on occasion performs good acts.  Between these two main types exist an infinite amount of variations due to their experiences, environments, wealth, and knowledge of the world.  We can expand these personalities into the realms of industry where they begin to diversify in terms of how they express their personalities.

 

 

 

Our Children & the Mystery School of the Future    3/14/2012

Maybe it is time to begin to enstill our children with a sense of critical thinking.  Maybe we have diminished our children’s full potential by assuming somehow the best way for them to learn is through repitition and standardized tests.  Instead we might find by integrating subjects like that of Philosophy, Linguistics, Ethics, etc. we would begin to see our children formulating their own ideas at an early age instead of the mere regurgitation of information.  Information and Ideas are two different things and the use there of implies a completely different trajectory or directive.  Information has limits, while ideas are boundless. As technology propels us towards a seemingly boundless reality, we must evaluate as a society what our goals are in terms of intellectual freedom.  Are we interested in nurturing knowledge, wisdom, and a sense of wonderment about the universe or are we content with the notion that parroting information and does the confinement of creativity serve as an adequate education for our children?  I am not proposing that we catapult our children into the clouds but we must create in them an impenetrable intellect which is capable of critically approaching any situation with confidence.  I am not speaking of the hollow confidence that stems from the modern educational practice that everyone is a winner but instead a confidence rooted  in their own ability to critically think about new ideas.  We must level the pyramid and give the so called “higher education”

 

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People, Information and the True Source of Freedom


 

 

 

The fight for the human mind

As the internet continues to proliferate the free flow of information to all people and most importantly the poor and un-educated, we will begin to see a revolution of the mass mind.  What once was a mass of misdirected and easily controlled, will learn to control the direction of their own will.  This revolution of thought will give rise to a new paradigm concerning the governance of the planet.  People will realize that they no longer will need leaders and representatives to serve that which is best for all people.  It will be the first in real-time representation which all will be ever connected and ever connecting to.  We will more and more each day find more inventive and ever more creative ways of representing ourselves.  This rise of self-representation will be the new skin of humanity which will be unveiled through the shedding of corporate controlled governments and media.

We are seeing now that the people are providing news and information in some cases faster and in a more honest way than media outlets can.  In a world that used to be dependent upon a paperboy delivering  yesterdays news printed by corporate controlled, government mouthpiece, media houses, we now  as individuals have the power to provide the most up to date information in real-time with a raw and unfettered truth.  This of course now is at its infant stages, but we can see on the horizon a new media.  This new media will be closer in spirit to what the founding fathers spoke of here in the U.S. at the inception of the bill of rights.  It will become a media by and for the people and will be the birthing of a new revolution of thought.

Just as we see the move away from corporate controlled media delivering stale and un-interesting infotainment, so to will we see the people move further away from stale and archaic government systems.  As the people become wise enough to make conscious decisions on their own behalf, they will begin to recognize that government representation is not born out of the necessity of the people but rather out of  the greed and self-promotion of a few and far between. The power that “the few” has wielded for much of history is rooted in their knowledge and their monopolization of information.   Fortunately, information is quickly being diversified among the masses and is ever-increasingly less controlled and with this uninhibited information, will be born the liberation of the mass mind from the shackles of dependency.  The independent mind of the individual will be free to represent itself without intermediary or misinterpretation.  It will become the new truth, which all other truths will be forced to follow.  This is the future of mankind.  The truth of the individual, representation of reality by real people, not actors and teleprompters.  We only need to realize our true capacity for self governance and representation to become fully free.  Then “The Freedom of the People” will no longer be something we say but instead will be something we do.

Just. B.

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Destruction, Self-Transformation and the Waves of Change


Ukiyo-e coloured woodcut by Hokusai

Ukiyo-e coloured woodcut by Hokusai (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We live in a culture of violence, the children of each generation baptized by war, American dreams built upon the lost lives of cowardice and courage.  In the land of the free, milk and honey runs red with the blood of humans, not only Americans but humans.  How much tragedy at the hand of our triumphs must the world endure before we realize that this banality of barbarism is consuming us from within?   Our government by some estimates is currently projecting anywhere from 700 billion to 1.4 trillion dollars dedicated on defense this year.  We spend more per year on defense than the following thirteen countries that have the next largest defense budgets combined.

Global defense budgets, 2011

A chart published Tuesday by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation compares U.S. defense spending in 2011 with the combined spending of the 13 countries with the next largest defense budgets, using data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. (Peter G. Peterson Foundation / October 23, 2012)

 Regrettably, we have become warmongers exercising diplomatic destruction to all those who oppose. Government corruption has and still continues to sell conflict to the country which is supposedly rooted in the fight for freedom.  Who’s freedom? Freedom for whom? Our freedoms continue to be incrementally stripped away while we impose our imperial freedom upon the world.  Is the path to freedom and peace achieved by the barrel of a gun?  Is it possible that the only path towards social progress and human advancement is through vice and violence?

Every facet of our society is being consumed by a culture of corruption.  Our government no longer represents a good natured will to help their people, corporations clamor for cash and leave ethics for ivory tower academic discussion and debate, the pursuits of our pharmaceutical and healthcare industries revolve around the creation of healthy wallets instead of healthy people.  It is a corruption of our principles and ethics which has led us towards a path of self-destruction.  In this culture of complacency it would seem that we have become merely individual socioeconomic batteries for the empowerment of empire?   It is our human responsibility to be more than just units of production perpetuating destruction and deception.  Each of us are responsible for the future of our world, and we cannot sit back and wait for our heroes to surface.  We are the heroes with which we wait so patiently for.

Change begins with each one of us redeveloping our perspective to encompass the hopes and dreams of all people, not just our own selfish pursuits.  It is up to each of us to choose whether to continue this culture of complacency or change our path from that of destruction to construction. It is our responsibility, to each other, to build businesses that are interested in providing a service for the community rather than merely making money for ourselves.  We must be interested in selling what we believe in and buying from companies that are concerned about the global community, not just their corporate profits.  We have to take the time to care about our government and make sure that the votes and money that we give them is allocated to programs which reflect our values.  If we dedicated as much time, money and energy to domestic issues as we have dedicated to the war machine, we might possibly live up to the title of “the land of the free.”   Change will come only when we the people decide to introduce it.  So, Create instead of Consume – Improve instead of Impede – Love instead of Hate – and stand up for something greater than yourself and change will come.

Just. B.

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Pussy Riot, Propaganda & the Political Rebellion


People Power

Someone long ago realized the waning patience of the mob and learned to appease that mob through the implementation of rapid and perpetual change. We never quite root our dispositions, due to our fear of lagging behind the great swarm of popular culture.  In the nation of the “Alternating Kings” our attention is perpetually directed towards the next big story, the next new candidate, the next one hit wonder of political progress.  It is like a convenience store of candied entertainment that tempts as much as it confuses. In this house of mirrors we wander and fumble through long halls of propagandistic political pandering, ticker tapes of troubles and terrorism, and slogans and slurs that strive to mislead.  Instead of standing still we move faster, bumping into the flashing images of our distorted reflection.  We search for a way out but are led deeper into the maze of distortion.  We are led to rally around an argument, or a worldview for the purpose of goals not necessarily known to us.  We believe that it is our duty to continue public discourse, to fight for our team’s agenda, to know and to hold opinions concerning all that we are led to understand.  But let us be clear, we are not the producers of public opinion as much as we are the consumers of it.  It is this misconception that leads us to believe we wield control, rather than being wielded by it.

Recently the rally call has revolved around a band of women who call themselves Pussy Riot.  Three members of this band  have been imprisoned for politically protesting Russian President Vladimir Putin.  The question is “Who is driving the rally call and for the achievement of what goals are we meant to rally around?”  Washington has been pushing this anti-Russian/pro-human rights campaign since the beginning of this fiasco.   But the question still remains; is our government rallying the body politic on behalf of human rights, or is it perpetuating anti-Russia rhetoric and propaganda?  When faced with testing one’s character, you only have to look at their track record to find whether they are to be trusted or not.  It is true there was a time in our illustrious history when our leaders were concerned about human rights and fighting against those who would seek to inhibit the freedoms of the people.  But given the recent actions of our government’s nation building, war-mongering and non-constitutional law-making like that of the Patriot Act and the National Defense Authorization Act, it is clear that they are more interested in perpetuating their agenda, which only includes human rights violations when it benefits them.  The goals of government should coincide with that of its people, but as I said before many of the images we see and are shown in this house of mirrors are distorted and fail to truly represent who we are and what we believe.

I am, of course concerned about the actions of the Russian government and feel that it is important for us all to fight on behalf of free speech and peaceful political dissidence, but I refuse to come to the aid of a bully who masks its campaign by pandering to its people and their ideals by the political manipulation of a commendable act by a group of women that deserve more respect for their actions.  Before I heed the battle call, I must first see that my government is concerned with the human rights violations that it perpetrates against its own citizens, before I will believe that it is truly concerned for the rights of three members of a punk band named Pussy Riot.  I am not interested in spineless spokespeople, but rather I am looking for leaders that would fight for human rights even when it is unpopular and dangerous.  To the members of Pussy Riot, fight the good fight, and we hope for leaders that might share your courage.  To our Leaders; we ask that you recall the courage of our forefathers who stood against a tyranny, only interested in the consolidation of wealth and power.  Our predecessors stood for the rights of the people and they were consistent and forthright in their attempts at a better world.  This is all we look for in our leaders, so do without the rhetoric and the propaganda and give us a country worth fighting for.  Surrender your arms to the will of the people and we will gladly walk into battle for you.  There are protests in our streets akin to the protesting of Pussy Riot, and why is it that you are not as concerned with what your own people are saying to you. Until “We the People” experience true representation and leadership that we require for a free nation, we will follow suit with protests like that of Pussy Riot, we will continue the political rebellion against petty propaganda and the despotism that is slowly beginning to dominate U.S. politics.  I stand in peaceful protest against the ills of our current political system, in hopes that there are more like I, that are willing to take steps to help change the landscape of our political paradigm.  An Evolution of worldview is only possible through the rigorous examination of the current model and the offering up of new ideas.  Stand, Rebel, & Evolve.

Just. B.

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Gods, Morals & Money: The Crumbling Walls of a Dying Enlightenment


Lady Justice

Lady Justice (Photo credit: Scott*)

We have a moral responsibility to the rest of the world as a technologically advanced society to look inward and reflect upon the moral grounding of our culture and recognize how much of what we do, and who we are drives the future of our global society.  As a leading nation of the global community we must impress upon the world more than our defense contracts, endless wars, police state politics and the perpetuation of archaic “peasant to prince” wealth consolidation tactics.  It is morally reprehensible that we as the so called leaders of the free world and breeders of scientific discovery have our resources so narrowly focused on a path so destructive. While humans are facing famine, human trafficking, genocide, etc. we are currently spending according to some estimates over 100 billion dollars per year on Afghanistan alone. That roughly equates to 190,000 dollars per minute,  exceeding the average American annual income by almost 170,000 dollars and exceeding the global citizen’s average annual income by 183,000 dollars, in a single minute.  This of course is all under the guise of our protection from “evil terrorists.”  If our government is so preoccupied with our safety and well being that they see it fit to spend a million dollars every five minutes to continue such a campaign, why does it continue to allow mutagenic and carcinogenic food additives to be heavily placed in our food supply, or poisonous Chinese consumer goods to fill our department stores, and brain disorder causing fluoridated water systems to fill our empty cups.  Concealed handguns seem to be perfectly fine to sell to anyone over the age of eighteen, and alcohol consumption soon there after to better our judgements, but medical marijuana is a national threat which requires the dedication of federal agencies to raid and destroy state legal businesses.  The privatization of prisons across the country is a sign of the fruits of  a free market, meanwhile those institutions are more beginning to resemble that of forced labor camps for maximizing corporate profits, than they are reflecting institutions dedicated to the rehabilitation of a misguided citizenry.  We have become a violent schizophrenic, feeding off of our own mad ravings and ramblings about the fruits of modern capitalism and corporatism.  We have sold our morals for money and traded our heroes for gold, meanwhile hiding our eyes from the crumbling walls of our empire, once interested in the freedom of the individual and the enlightenment and empowerment of it’s people.

Much of the world’s greatest contemporary minds are currently focused upon our incoming Godhood as they have termed it, but my question is whether we have the moral chops to handle the responsibilities of Gods?  Are our intentions rooted in the well being and freedom of the people of the world, and if so what steps are we taking to ensure a safe and healthy society?  It would seem, on the contrary that we as a technologically advanced society on the cusp of so-called Godhood are more preoccupied with the imprisoning and killing of human beings, more than we are focused on the betterment of human existence.  The only betterment of human society I see in the intentions of our leaders, is that of the betterment of corporate profits and the filling of crony pockets.  A society once concerned with the enlightenment of it’s empire has sipped one too many times from the chalice of it’s own hubris.  Now drunk with greed and selfish endeavors it will soon be hung out to dry.  I remain hopeful that a hangover will ensue and the truth of our misguidings will become abundantly clear.  Only then can we rise from the rubble and reclaim our pursuits of truth, justice and freedom.

Just. B.

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Freedom & the Hidden Heroic: When Slaves Become Free


Chain expressing freedom

Freedom. Do we derive our freedom from document or deity. Does our freedom have a cost or does it require control. If freedom requires such control, then is it true freedom? We are bombarded with symbolic violence which perpetuates psychological, emotional, and political debts to a state that was originally designed to serve the people. Instead, control tactics and game theory are leashed upon the masses. Should freedom be limited to certain aspects of our lives or is it something universal? Free-speech zones, designated press areas, police brutality, and the like, give us a clear look into the life of a “free” citizen. Do we really need someone else to tell us we have freedom, or are we bright enough to grasp it ourselves? We are treated as perpetual children within the confines of a play pen of political pageantry. So called leaders which consist of cheats, liars, and ruthless businessmen look at us as numbers on a page. We are a series of producers and consumers that apparently require constant management. Let it be understood We are human too, maybe more human than most of you. We want to live free lives no longer told what to do. You regulate our lives as if you have all the answers. We are told what to eat, what to do, what drugs we can take, how to make money, what to do with our money, what to say, what to think, how to speak and to whom we should speak our ideas to. The list goes on and on, and with no end in sight. The Legislative branch has become a business sold to the highest bidder. The question is how many laws are too many? When will we have had enough? We no longer have representatives “of the people” and “for the people”, but rather corporation spokesmen and women, whores of corporate money, manipulating the system to increase corporate profits. If a company provides bad service, you boycott to make an impression, but when government makes bad decisions you flock to the polls. As long as we continue to play the game, we will be under the control of a government that has lost touch with its constituents. Hypothetically speaking, if no one voted and “we the people” boycotted the system, the system would be forced to tell the truth. The true leaders would come out from behind the veil, to announce who the new elect would be. The truth is, is that our vote is mere illusion, and corporatism is the new law of the land. If we want true freedom, we must become sovereign minds that understand the law far better than our corporate magicians and dismantle the grip of corporate greed. We must disregard our emotional responses to media middle men and their “three card monte” and logically dissect the body of law with which we are immersed, extracting the sickness that lies within. The stars of the enlightenment attempted to empower future people with the notion that freedom is not abstraction, but absolute. We must educate ourselves and become our own leaders, and stop hoping that our dreams can be achieved under another person’s care. We are the heroes that we look for, the hidden heroic, the leaders, led by the lesser. It is time we stand up and lead ourselves. No longer be led, but lead, stop being fed and be freed. Only then can slaves be free…

Just. B.

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Love: A Question for the World Citizen


experiencing

experiencing (Photo credit: yoghaert)

The world this past week following Obama and Biden’s advocacy Of gay marriage has been faced with questions about the true nature of love, and what it means to us all in the 21st century…

Love, is the embrace of your parents, it is that love, that is wholly interested in your happiness and well-being. It is that hug which as you get older, you begin to realize is so precious. We are all longing to connect and feel that unconditional love that we had as children. Love is also a bittersweet battle between ego and compromise. It is a battle which can leave many of us with different views about what love truly is, and how we should express it. We are only mere reflections of our experience and although many of our experiences with love have been unforgetably beautiful, they have also been helter-skelter as well. There are many ways in which we extrude our experiences into the world, and love can manifest itself in a variety of different ways, dependent on our individual experiences.

Some of us, have embraced the unknown and gone headlong into the world of love, while others have reeled from the arena due to the pain and struggle of previous experience, others still, out of fear have tried to place confines upon the nature of love. They have tried to place rules and limits upon the institution of love and marriage in hopes to impress upon the rest of us their worldview. Many times we believe that if everyone adopts our way of living and thinking, this will some how give us confidence about our own choices and beliefs. But, as I have said before our choices and beliefs are mere reflections of our experience and no two are the same. They are a sort of cultural fingerprint upon the soul. It is our uniqueness which is a representation of our beauty, and it is these differences that should be embraced, not shoned. I, and my opinions are of course not the perfect representation of how love should be expressed, but neither is anyone else’s for that matter. We are all stumbling through our existence trying to understand who we are, and at the same time hoping to try and share our experience with another human being along the way.

The act of loving and showing love for another human being should not only be a right but a requirement. In a world riddled with hatred and war, shouldn’t we all be looking for more ways to better our society? How is it we can be so generous with our hatred and disgust but be so stingy when it comes to giving our love to others. In many ways we are misers of our love, holding onto our riches in hopes to find the right person to spend it on. When we find that love, that harkens back to that unconditional love of our parents, shouldn’t we hang onto it for dear life. Should we not be allowed to express it to its utmost expression? Should we really place rules and confines upon the most beautiful of human expressions? How do we reconcile our beliefs in freedom, when we try to place limits on how we are allowed to express our emotions with and for each other? “Love is all you need” as the Beatles sang, it is that which binds us all to each other. We are all the same essence moving within the confines of different “flesh-vehicles” as comedian Joe Rogan so eloquently explains. To love, is to recognize this truth hidden within each other and give our hearts to one another in hopes of creating a better existence. We should all be allowed to take part in the betterment of our society and existence, as well as play a role in the proliferation of the greatest of human expressions.

Just. B.

Follow Justin on Twitter @justin_blush & @waxpod

The 99% – A Voice of Change in a World of Inequality


Social change label

Social change label (Photo credit: Aleksi Aaltonen)

I have spent the past few years focusing much of my energy on trying to understand who is at fault for the economic oppression that is perpetrated on the impoverished in this country and the world. The economic crash has only fueled the fire, and although many times I have felt hopeless in my attempts at finding an answer I have continued. I have pointed fingers at many global leaders, politicians, corporations, and others, but still feel as though in my heart I have not resolved anything. I feel like many people feel, as if somehow I have been swindled but can’t quite figure out by who or how, as if arriving home we are met with the harsh reality of being robbed. The Occupy movement has catapulted the notion of the 99% into the global consciousness. The idea is that 1% of the population controls the majority of the worlds wealth, while the other 99% of us are left fighting for their scraps. This of course is not a new idea, Karl Marx dealt with this in his communist manifesto, but it is still an idea which is attempting to place focus upon an economic imbalance amongst the global population that has far reaching effects. The problem I see with the approach of Marx is that the only way out of our economic dilemma is for the proletariat to overcome their servitude to the bourgeoisie by uprising against the controllers. The problem that comes from this idea, is that it only gives responsibility to the proletariat to right the wrong while simultaneously objectifying the bourgeoisie. So with this approach, the bourgeoisie become a faceless catalyst for change a sort of anti-hero for the proletariat. Unfortunately the world is multi-faceted and not two dimensional and this requires the action of all players to help make a change.

Corporations, governments, etc. are not merely automatons following a specified program, but rather are a social network of moral individuals cohesively working towards a projected goal. This means that each individual plays an integral role in the moral choices of that entity. The problem with labeling these dominant groups i.e. bourgeoisie, the man, the 1%, etc. is that we remove the guilt from the actions of each individual involved. It becomes a mask which hides the identities of those that are perpetuating the problem. The problem truly lies in the makeup of the system which has been devised by greedy individuals, and once the system is in motion it takes those within as well as outside the system to make a conscious effort to change it for the better. Power unchecked whether it be political or economic leads to despotism, and whether it is a economic or political despotism the outcome is still the same- Social inequality, cronyism, injustice, etc.

We can see economic oppression all over the world, and much of what we see stems from first world nations oppressing third world nations and draining them of natural resources while demanding cheap labor and a tight lip. To explain in simple terms how this relationship works, the first world executes a sort of financial takeover of a country rich in natural resources through numerous efforts. One of the ways is through lending financial resources to the neighboring country on interest. The interest rate of course is such, that the borrowing nation will be reduced to a state of perpetual debt. In return for first world kindness the newly third world nation becomes an indentured servant to the dominant nation. The first world nation then utilizes the countries resources for the consumption of luxury goods; coffee, sugar, tobacco, diamonds, ipads, televisions, and the list goes on and on. The first world then sells back these goods to the third world at an inflated price. So the goods that they produce, they are forced to purchase at a higher price then what is given to their overlords while simultaneously earning substandard wages. With this sort of system in place, we can see how it is nearly impossible for the third world nations to rise above the status quo. This economic warfare model is not isolated to first and third world nations, but also permeates every facet of the world economy. This is why Foxconn workers spend all of their daylight hours slaving over iPads much like the one I am typing this post on, to be made as an inexpensive luxury item for us to enjoy and for them to never see and experience. But it is also arrogant for us to believe that somehow we are not caught in the same rat race here as well. All of us are fighting for scraps, and the wealthy continue to consolidate their wealth, while we pay the bill.

All of us have a role to play in the beautification of our society; some of us are protesters, some are spectators, some fight, while some are meant to stand witness. All of us now have the ability to witness injustice as it is happening in real time and we also have a voice, this voice carries a lot of weight, more than it ever has in history. With this voice, comes a responsibility to our fellow men and women. If there is injustice we must bear witness and use our voice to spread the word and in turn shine a light on the cockroaches that are perpetuating the injustices. All of us deserve the chance to have a better life. Our voice must be the catalyst for social change and that better life and those in power become merely our tools for that change. We the 99% become the writers of the program and the 1% become our tools to execute that which we have written. The change must come from all of us, not just one side, but both. We can no longer be non-active participants in the global society. Instead of being merely consumers we must also be producers of positive social change. We must all hold each other accountable for how we treat one another and not hide behind the mask of a corporation, government, etc. In a world that is increasingly less and less private, we must require the same transparency that the controllers ask of us. Raise our voice and shine our light for social justice and equality. Let us become the change that we long for, let reality be an unfolding of our greatest hopes and ideas, and let us become our greater self.
Just. B.

Follow Justin on twitter @justin_blush & @waxpod