Friday, December 26, 2014

Basic Values that define the cultural divide through history and the present

I have been quite remiss in maintaining this blog ever since I started posting on Facebook, usually posting on my Facebook Notes what should have also been posted here. I will now try and change that by reposting the most important things here as well. As I have rarely put in anything in my notes or here on this blog that is time sensitive most posts in both places still hold up to value even though many years have passed. I have written them much more as I have grown in understanding, than as a reaction to whatever the discussion at the moment.

There are a few like "A few Modest Suggestions", that were my hopes for the Obama Administration (almost all unrealized) or my notes on the actual WMD trailers that reflected my astonishment that, though I had not looked closely enough at that time, many others should have and realized just how fake the concept was even without more than a distant photograph. But those unrealized suggestions are still a valid need and folk still have not realized just how stupid a dark canvas bio-weapons lab in the Iraqi desert is, without any further description of it, so even those time focused posts are still worth reading.

What has changed and evolved is my own understanding of what I have been writing about. Much like the path that scientific understanding has taken, there is very little that I now think wrong or bogus but almost everything that I now have a deeper and more complex understanding than I did 5 -10 years ago when I first started writing many of these Ideas. The biggest change I think was a previous understanding that it might be actual brain damage that produced people with little or no ability to empathize, and thus a more right wing attitude. There is plenty of evidence that early childhood abuse will push folk in that direction, and there is growing evidence of actual brain differences with people of dramatically different political/social outlook (this should be almost axiomatic as we think with our brains), but there are many paths to that difference beyond what should be obvious, and many folk who's childhood trauma should have made them into monsters but did not can also be found, but in every case I was able to look closely at, there was a significant "rescuer" person who was able to provide that safe harbor that enhanced their Empathy rather than destroying it.

Most significantly I have worked very long to find a universal set of values that I have come to think of as structural in the sense that they are the canvas that provides that base that the mind is built on, where existing pathways are chosen and filled in with details rather than the unstructured "Blank Slate" as imagined by many and was the leading thinking as I was going through College. The primary opposition to the idea is that it would imply racial and individual natural "Differences" that would presume a superiority of one individual or group, but actual looking at the factors shows that such "differences" are far more subtle than imagined, and the range of what is done in any "canvas" far exceeds the range of differences in the "canvas" itself, and thus the objection is a faulty one. If it were as imagined then the reality would still need to be faced up to, but with the fears unjustified, understanding the "structure" of these things can bring greater empowerment to every person and not less.

Indeed I made up four posters of four universal values that represent I think the universal Cultural Divide that can be demonstrated as having been there for thousands of years and I think close to two built in threads of that "Canvas" that are in conflict in every person's mind, and at each choice or preference are processed through each of those threads and a choice made, that is reinforced with repetition, and thus (along with many other choices, like tribal connections etc) define each person's political outlook that is rarely changed in any way that is undramatic, but is possible if the person cares to think deeply about the issues, while keeping in mind that such values are a compass to measure the direction of a particular policy or agenda, and not the destination to be achieved much less the path to do so, but only the direction of that particular path.

Basic to the concept of such structure, is how people operate in groups. There are a few things in life from meditation to child bearing that are possible to accomplish as a lone individual, and even that is usually subject to actions of others, and it is this harmonious or not so harmonious activity that theses posters address. For almost all sch group actions there are many different jobs that need to be done by each person, and too many at one job or nobody to do another with disrupt and make dysfunctional the whole enterprise.

A key job is just a job like all the others with the single difference that the assignment of tasks and assignment of rewards will usually fall finally to a single person. When there are "Too Many Cooks" and there is drama of each one  trying to force different decisions, or a divided group that make sets of decisions incompatible with each other, then dysfunction reigns, and indeed to some extant the situation is rarely clean and such dysfunction is commonplace. And so it is that the first of the four values is leadership, what it is and is not, and (I would hope) a clear vision of how those policies fit with what is functional and what is not; even beyond what amounts to a statement of Morality that reflects a real difference between groups (often within the same group such as a church, town, or business)

(it should be noticed that I deliberately flipped the sides so that the Left side is mostly found on the Political Right, and the Political Left usually but not always falling on the Right side of the posters. This is because the distinction is not definitive of the Values Divide so that many claiming "Conservative" Values do fall on the Right side of these posters, just as there are some, such as the supposedly "Leftist" North Korean Government as example that fall on the extreme Left side of these posters.)

Built in also is the needs and desires of the individual. This leads us to the Value of Empowerment that is also a part of the Basic Values and the other face of the Basic Values #1 as ones ability to choose a path is often most personally felt at any moment, but is often twisted and misunderstood, as the person who gets the job of leadership often would very much like to benefit himself, his family, and friends to the detriment of everyone else involved in the enterprise about whom he would care little (which leads to Value #3), and thus it is also intricately tied to Basic Value #1.

So it is that the ability to have a say in holding leadership accountable is a big part of the Value of Empowerment, but it is only the most basic step. Beyond that the ability to accomplish any desired goal will meet barriers under the very best of situations, and it will never be possible for everyone to be unlimited in any way, but that is not a reason to give up or ignore all such limitations, or worse make them available to some while holding back others. In all of this there is room for discussion and debate about the fairness and the expense vs return to the society of any such empowerment, but again the discussion often gets down to the Basic Values of Empowerment and how they are seen differently. Again both the Morality of the right side of the posters and the functionality to the society favors one side, even as so many argue for the other.

It is important that the understanding about what the discussion is, be clear as the mechanisms that increase Empowerment on the right side of the poster, may be and needs to be deeply studied as there will be a real answer that can be determined what is a better outcome, while if the discussion falls into the abyss of being about the two different sides there can be no conclusion, as the desired result is fundamentally different.

In this I have also tried to isolate the divide that goes to the very concept of Freedom, and what each side means by it (and why they are so fundamentally incompatible)

While these first two values are of action, that Leadership is Agency and that Empowerment is the removal of barriers, there is more needed to understand when you are choosing one side or the other, and surprisingly some find it easy to twist them in their own minds much less the minds of others. Key to this and most difficult to logically define is the Value of Empathy, largely because either it is welded into the brain or it is not, so those who have real empathy instantly get what you are talking about and those who do not are confused and flabbergasted when they encounter it.

Here too is a primary reason that the left hand side of these posters is so dysfunctional, because they cannot account for it in their calculations, and thus the results are always quite different than they expect. More than the value of such prediction, the correct assessment of the measurement of those first two values also calls for such ability to put oneself into the mind and life of another person to truly understand what they need, and desire, and failing that such assessment of how to lead or empower them, falls flat.

Last but far from least is the other Value of Observation that is a part of the critical divide that make a society functional in increasing the quality of life of all or not is a basic commitment to actual Reality no matter how pleasant or difficult the facts that are revealed. The key to our society doing as well as it has done has been the slow discovery of a mechanism to decide what is an actual fact and what is not, that is often referred to as the Scientific method, but is quite different in this context. That is that we have devised a Secular Method for determining those facts that We as a Society can operate with and that anyone can contribute to, no matter what their beliefs; all they have to do is follow a specific set of rules that everyone has to operate by, to make their idea a Society "Fact".

A Secular Method it must be noted is not the denial of any person's feeling or belief, but like Chess a set of rules that everyone plays by no matter their belief, and nobody gets special privileges no matter what their reasoning for doing so (Just because your religion has Bishops, does not give your chess bishops special powers nor is the atheist denied having chess bishops because of their beliefs) So it is that your belief in the person hood of all animals, or  a collection of cells does not entitle your demand that they be treated with the same empowerment granted to adult humans, though you are entitled to make your case according to the rules.

 Thus the final Poster -

IMHO  these four posters can on the Right define a Socialized Society and on the Left an Unsocialized Society with little that need to be added or taken away. There are as noted some who claim to be "Socialist" who find their values on the Left side of these posters, and I have created these posters in part to refute that claim. There are also many who make statements about how some value on the Left side of these posters means that you will end up on the Right side of the poster (and some vice versa) and that too I would refute by their nature.

For all those others who find themselves here and would like to use these in context (unchanged
 or Photoshopped) I would give freedom to do so with attribution and I hope it can help clarify the real dynamics of the "Cultural Divide" and bring understanding to all honorable folk. 

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One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, "My son, the battle is between 2 "wolves" inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility,
kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather:

"Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

from an old tale.

The Golden Rule
“That which is hateful to you do not do to another ... the rest (of the Torah) is all commentary, now go study.”

- Rabbi Hillel



The self made man just isn't admitting how or where he came by all those parts

---FreeDem---- Aug 2005


If a man tells you that the Government cannot accomplish anything of value, then voting for him would be like hiring an Amish Auto Mechanic.
If they don't believe in the concept, they are more than likely to do a very poor job of it.

---Bob Danforth Sept. 2009


Republicans never meant to cut government waste, fraud and graft, from the get-go their plan was to organize, monopolize and privatize waste, fraud and graft.

They see the civil service as meddling “middleman,” who interfered with the free flow of cash from taxpayers into corporate coffers. Their intent was to eliminate the “middleman” as an obstruction to corruption.

---Unknown rabblerowser Feb 2007


No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices.

Edward R. Murrow

In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, brave, hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, however, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot

Mark Twain


You see, we often get noncreative leaders, people most interested in preserving their own positions. They flock around centers of power. Such centers attract people who can be corrupted. That is a more descriptive observation than to say simply that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

If you are corruptible and your imagination is confined to worries about loss of power, you exist in a self-destructive system. Eventually, as all life does, you must encounter something you did not anticipate, and if you have not strengthened your creative resources, you will have no new ways for adapting to change. Adapt or die, that's the first rule of survival.

The limited vision of noncreative people is not difficult to understand. Creativity frightens the unimaginative. They don't know what's happening. Things new and unexpected arise from creativity. This threatens "things as they are." And (terrible thought) it undermines illusions of omnipotence.


Herbert 1984 (the year not the book)


"News is what powerful people want to keep hidden; everything else is just publicity."

....Bill Moyer


Just as having only a hammer makes every problem either look like a nail, or as something irrelevant, our very technological skills have had us look there for explanations and ignore reality it cannot deal with. With our powerful hammer, we seek only nails, and dump the rest as dross. Not all questions involve hammers, not all answers are nails.
-- Freedem---Nov., 2006

My issue with Atheists is not that they have no God, there are many religions that have no God, but that they have no religion.
-- Freedem---Nov., 2006

__Note: by this I mean that there are many things religions do besides the discredited "science" and self serving promises (give me your money and God will hold and pay the note), many like charity or fellowship, even social accountability can be very good things not requiring a God.


Many have been very disappointed that their "God-critter" was not to be found as a technology swimming about in the shallower pools of knowledge. So in the obsession basic to our culture, we search ever deeper and more difficult pools, and always the "God-critter" seems to wink at us from the pool just beyond.

In the process we have found technologies beyond the wildest dreams of our most sophisticated ancestors. The great joke is that the "critter" never existed except as the pools themselves.

----Freedem --- Oct 2006

Indeed I do think that many folk, believe all kinds of stuff from the actually true, to the utterly illogical, with no personal discernment one from the others. But that would hardly make any of them a scholar to rely on, any more that one should get their theology studies from a door to door salesman, offering "get out of hell free" cards, on special because the creator of galaxies in greater numbers than beach sand, nonetheless has an ego so weak He cannot exist without shamelessly excessive psychophancy from a major portion of the inhabitants of this particular dust speck.

----Freedem ---June-2007

More to come