Sunday, April 13, 2008

Controlling People by Imposing Differences by Louis Evan Palmer

Visible differences in one's appearance can act as a powerful means of isolating a given person and the community to which they belong. These differences can extend to social interaction, to languages, to meals and food, to types of entertainment, to rituals and the use of symbols. It serves paradoxically both to make one stand out from the majority and to make one clearly fit into a given minority. When members of that minority are together, they all look the same, they conform.

Differences in appearance and behaviour can used to distinguish an elite military unit or a religious sect or even an entire culture. It can be used deliberately in the knowledge that it will generate group solidarity by inviting hostility from outside the differentiated group. It also serves as a means of recognition.

By controlling with whom one socializes and marries, a group can create its own "world" that tries to operate and survive and prosper within the larger human society but, at the same time, tries to minimize contact.

If a group has a belief system that arrogates to themselves, special privileges and rewards and authorities, then its method of recognizing its members becomes more important as the value of membership increases. It's a dangerous game though as the fortunes of any such self-distinguished group will wax and wane with various circumstances and obvious membership can then become a liability. It's also dangerous to society if a given self-isolating group becomes powerful in that it can wage "war" on the larger society either as a pre-emptive strike, as a taking of what's is by right theirs, or, often enough, as an act of beneficience and cleansing.

The deliberate imposition and acceptances of differences, some ostentatious, is a hostile act in disguise. It is a blatant means of social control. It serves to solidify and perpetuate in defiance of the impermanance of all things. It looks to magnify and project the group ego both within to the group and without to the world at large.

If there are no meaningful differences between people then why go out of the way to use them in a manipulative way? This is beyond fashion statements or as a method of rebellion against oppression. This is an act of creation of a "group", typically founded on dubious or unproveable claims of divine intercession, with clear and deliberate differences to foster its identity and mission, feeding a sense of superiority and danger, again to support group solidarity against anyone outside the group.

This cannot lead to a happy ending.
Controlling People by Imposing Differences, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,
Copyright 2008 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Value, Money and The First Law of Thermodynamics by Louis Evan Palmer

"Energy cannot be created or destroyed."

Money, a form of economic energy, is a marker for value. Nothing more. And there are many other markers - for example, stocks & bonds.

If a value marker is more than one step removed from the object of value (where "object" has the broadest possible definition) then it should be considered speculative. Speculative objects should not have any standing versus a marker. They should not be permitted to affect markers. Making a currency convertible to gold or silver was a way of guaranteeing this for money.

One level of abstraction with regards to value markers is more than enough. It is difficult enough to manage that single layer of markers. Going beyond that is the realm of cheats and thieves and those who allow cheats and thieves to prosper are their accomplices. Those who deal with them - beware.

Value is a complex entity and putting a currency value on it is fraught with risk but it's safe to say that for every individual loss of value of an object there's a individual winner. It can only lose value in relation to the establishment of a current value which entails that some money changed hands. If, for whatever reason, the object drops in value then the person who received the pre-loss price is the winner and the person stuck with the depreciated value object is the loser.

There might have been fraud. There might have been insider information. There might have been external forces that caused a drop or increase in value. Regardless, there's a individual winner & loser.

What if real value in all its forms, including potential value, was like energy and it could neither be created nor destroyed but only transformed. When an object is considered to have no value, its value will have been transformed or transferred into something else. The value itself is not lost.

The creation of value would be thrown up as the way out of this limitation. People invent & improve things and that creates new wealth, increases the pie.

But what if the pie was already an almost infinite size and we insisted in seeing only one portion of it? What if all the "value" that there can be already exists and is there for us.

The trick would consist of recognizing what is of value - the thing itself or an irrefutable claim on the value object. Nothing else is worth the paper it's written on, or the terminal screen it types out on. And, of course, this doesn't really touch on all there is of value that doesn't figure into dollars and cents. The best things.

Value, Money and The First Law of Thermodynamics, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,
Copyright 2008 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


Sunday, April 06, 2008

No End in Sight by Louis Evan Palmer

"This thing cannot keep on going so that we are always going to discover more and more new laws." Richard Feynman

The search for the ultimate truth, the ultimate explanation or framework continues unabated. In some cases, it's just a job, a way to pay expenses, invested with only an occasional excitement or joy. In other cases, it's a vibrant exploration. But, regardless, it never seems to make definitive progress. Every time a complete solution seems to present itself, it opens up onto another world of knowledge.

For example, a short time ago, the 1950s, we thought and scientists agreed, that the universe consisted of "The Milky Way". For several decades that was the received knowledge.

Atoms were originally conceived as the irreducible elements out of which everything else was made. Now there's a veritable zoo of particles and quasi-forces, some verified, some half-proven but still mostly theoretical.

It has been recently posited that there is such a thing as "dark matter" and "dark energy" which is about as gigantic a revolution in understanding as is possible. It's tremendously exciting and fun in the sense of a never-ending journey but it calls into question if there really is a destination, a final stop.

When every plateau opens up onto another series of mountains and valleys but more than that, changes the journey and changes the assumptions that guided the last leg of the struggle, changes the map and the directions. Yes, we can do things at this new level but being able to do things and understanding what or how that is happening is another matter.

We have introduced the element of the observer and the possibility of the observer changing processes and changing reality. We haven't as yet allowed for the effect of non-human entities on levels or layers we haven't as yet dreamed of. Or, even an ultimate force or presence that unfolds this existence in which we find ourselves.

If each explanation is not really an explanation but merely a description; if each level we find ourselves in is actually subject to the dictates of another dimension or level; then unless we can discern that underlying or over-riding reality we'll be forever playing in a believed world, in our musings and elaborations, never actually reaching the true crux of the matter, or a complete understanding of reality and existence.

No End in Sight, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,
Copyright 2008 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.