Sunday, 13 October 2019

A Dreamer in Democratic pain.


A Dreamer in Democratic pain.

Another Thanksgiving is here and the turkeys and pigs have been sacrificed. The world reflects nothing close to thanksgiving. In this age when news travels very fast, I see the opposite from what used to be happy faces rejoicing thankfully for God’s gifts. I drive out of town and view fields of crops under a blanket of snow. Looking at the news for something good depresses me.

A summer that began with stories of floods continued with devastating storms is finished with pictures of fires. It is happening all the time, and no longer looks like news. Politically motivated embargoes on food exports devastate the economy and great industries close down or are heading towards troubled times. Our main local staple, oil, is selling at below-cost prices and it will never make a comeback.

I feel like a goat that was placed in a lion’s den to provide “live feed.” The lions are fighting about who is going to kill and eat me. There is a gnawing feeling at the pit of my stomach that political leaders, big businesses and even religious leaders have failed me. I am not uncomfortable, thanks to many years of work and saving, but the more powerful are fighting to take away my hard-earned security.

I am told that we live in a democratic country and that we the people call the shots. Looking hard at my situation I am unable to see evidence of it. I live in the best province in the best country and what I need for survival is being threatened. A quick scan of a major newspaper reveals three articles trying to convince us that we would benefit from privatizing some aspects of health care. I know where that will lead. Next to us is a much bigger economy where the majority of personal bankruptcies are generated by healthcare issues.

The news is the only TV program that I watch and it is never good. I don’t want to shut it off and pretend that it’s not happening. That may be dangerous. Last week protests around the world dominated it. Most noticeable and close to home were millions of people, including vast numbers of youths trying to draw attention to the predicted extinction of our civilization. It was taught at University long ago when I was a youth and now people are finally taking action. Extinction Rebellion they are calling the movement. I feel shame that we didn’t do enough, but it’s too late. Possibly I can help them by arguing against others of my generation who invested in keeping things as they are and refuse to accept change.

This week any news not related to the upcoming elections is dominated by the greatest betrayal in recent history. When the West was facing ISIS in the middle east, the landless Kurds provided the much needed “boots on the ground.” Often they were teenage girls with guns. Now the “greatest President of the USA” faced with impeachment is trying to focus the Media away from his trouble by letting Turkey exterminate the Kurds on the border.

I try hard to keep up with the pre-election politics. I see one leader singing praise for what he did in the last four years, but he could have done a lot more. He points out the lack of performance of the opposing party that was in power for ten years and did less. Things were so messed up that they delayed retirement age by two years as if that would have helped. The leader of the opposition gets on and wastes all his public exposure on calling the present Prime Minister names. I would much prefer a plan and a declaration that if they fail to implement, they would penalize themselves. No go.

The local candidates come to my area for public debate and I faithfully attend. I watch the sitting MP follow his leader and spend most of his time knocking the Prime Minister. He will leave more money in my pocket. Ha Ha. I wish he would send me the Carbon Tax refund but I was supposed to save money at the gas pump which never showed a decrease in prices. A $1.07 per litter just like before provincial elections. The other available candidate is wasting time trying to tell me that we should burn our way into extinction since he and a few others don’t “believe” the world’s scientists. The next candidate (Green) is offering to retrain people who will lose jobs when we change our major energy production methods. She is speaking to folks who want to fight the unavoidable change. She is on the stage ahead of her time. What should I do?

Let’s face it. I am OK right now. If they try to privatize health care, I will fight and probably die. My life has been good, but I am concerned about my grandkids who will still be fighting when I am gone. Overall, my generation improved the well being around the world, won some equality for the oppressed and created miracles like the internet. Now we are voting and may force some good changes to happen.

I will probably choose to vote for a “Mother” since I trust mother’s instincts to prevail against male egotism. Mothers always fight for the kids. That is just me. You make your own choice.

See the source image

The Kurdish youth sacrificed for power and greed. Are our youth next?

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Sunday, 6 October 2019

Economics, politics and morality change.

Economics, politics and morality change.

If there is one thing that I can guarantee in this life it is that things will change. There is nothing wrong with change as long as we realize that it's good and bad.  Very often the same change is viewed in opposite ways by different people.

I was a child right after a great war and most of the people I knew were survivors of the war. They were a different crowd from what we are today. People who survived the hardships and the fighting, who lost their families and all that they had were not the type to demand protection from governments. They were self-reliant risk-takers who accepted whatever came and regularly prepared for whatever may come. Another mark of hard times was the ability to help each other even by risking themselves. My mother told stories of Nazis coming through the front door and Jewish children hiding in the basement. My ancestors risked themselves and their families for people they didn’t know.

As I got older, the future changed into the past. Taking risks became a bad thing where it used to be admired. In our attempt to spread the risk around and make everyone share in it, we became very conscious of safety. First, it was good as we gained socialized medicine, police, fire protection, and even unemployment insurance and crop insurance. We are fighting for more and it is a good idea. However, we lose some freedom in the process and we should consider if it is important. Often the elimination of risk makes us less concerned with the price of doing so, in which we give up freedom to do “our thing.”.

Two examples come to mind immediately. Take the Canadian tobacco industry. In the 1950s and sixties, tobacco was a major industry in Ontario. In the Niagara Region, we had the thriving Ontario Tobacco belt famous around the world. In came the fight against smoking and devastated the region.

Another example is the thriving Asbestos mining in Quebec. Again in the sixties, Canada was supplying 40% of the world’s need for that “miracle Fibre.” I remember asbestos everywhere including at the bus stop where I was waiting for the bus to take me to school. We all had asbestos sheets behind the wood stoves to prevent fires and all the heating plumbing was insulated with the substance. It provided jobs for many thousands of Quebecers and was a very good investment opportunity.

In came safety concerns, about smoking and about asbestos both being cancer-causing. Politicians and governments fought fiercely to keep it on the markets but lost. The need for safety convinced the public to ignore economics and champion safety and safety won. The mines and tobacco farms went bankrupt, and the world carried on as if nothing happened. In many cases, the fight went overboard but when change gains momentum, there is no way to break it.

Now, we the people of Alberta find ourselves in the same fight in a big way. We have around a third of the world’s oil reserves buried in our backyard and we developed ways to mine it. In our minds, we were all rich, but the change was faster. First, our greatest competitor and market, the USA, found cheaper oil that costs less than what we produce. They flooded the market leaving us with having to sell to China. While we were working on that, we were handed the biggest Trump Card. Studies that began a long time ago brought safety against us. We are not risk-takers.

This time we are not talking about the workers and consumers getting cancer, but about the earth itself sustaining irreparable damage. We tried all we could to minimize the concerns, but the risk is too consuming. If the mother earth is hurt none of us will be left untouched. Critics try their best to deny the facts but the younger people are not willing to take the risk. These youngsters will soon be voting and they are saying “we will not forget.”

It hurts to give in or lose an important game, especially for proud men. I know the feeling. We will scream and go down kicking, but we will not win against “safety” in this reality. We will have to cut down our carbon emissions, give up on exporting solid liquefied oil and find new ways to make a living. Oil and gas are needed for plastics, for heating until new ways are found, and for lubrication. This is a time of big changes and the more we resist the harder we will hurt ourselves. My advice is, let’s innovate and roll with the punches. We can be a leading force in the new world if we focus on innovation instead of fighting what we can’t beat. The young people we are chastising are our ticket for a bright future, so let’s invest in them.

I prefer to spend whatever is left in oil revenues on building a future than on trying to fight to make us great again in impossible ways, if anyone cares about my opinion. There is always change and we choose how we deal with it.

Looking at this poster that was published in the fifties shows how far we have changed as a society.

Here is a link to my blog:  Feel free to check other articles and comment.

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Make America (Canada) great AGAIN?

Make America (Canada) great AGAIN?

My favourite outing in the summer is Waterton Park. I get to be surrounded by beauty and meet people from all over the world. Last Sunday I observed two young men eating ice-cream wearing red hats one saying Make America Great Again and the other Make Canada Great Again. Dare I ask which America or Canada they want back? I don’t know. Possibly they don’t know when it was great but they know that it was better before their time without knowing why. We are both enjoying a main street lined by little shops and places to eat. 

Canada was celebrating its one hundred birthday when I arrived. I could see it through the airplane window when I felt the landing gear touch ground, lift, touch again, and I was here in North America. I never left it for a moment since. It was great. Not so much for me at the time, but the people here had a good life. I still had to climb to get it but I knew I could do it.

Now I sit across from my seventeen-year-old grandson and it upset him that he is too young to vote. The news is showing hundreds of thousands of young people striking and demanding political action aimed at climate change. He feels that the adults who can, are not addressing his concerns, yet he will have to deal with the consequences of their votes. I was his age when I arrived in the “Canada” that they wish to go back to. I remember how great it was.

Let’s go back a bit. I was a young guy, and I used to do all the shopping for the family. I took the cloth bags that mom made and walked to a nearby grocery store. The owner was a proud business owner. From there I went to another little business, a vegetable store and once a week to the butcher shop. Now and then I would go on my bike with friends to a movie in a local theatre. I had a friend who’s dad was the shoemaker in town and there were lots of other little businesses, too many to mention. One can still see the empty stores in our towns. Canada and America were great.

At seventeen I had many jobs to choose from. There were no teen gangs in the streets, all the kids had part-time jobs mostly in the service industries. Most mothers didn’t work and nobody complained about their place in society. All our friends had jobs, a lot in transportation and manufacturing, and we considered teachers or nurses a higher class because of their education. Doctors were even higher yet, but they didn’t hesitate to make house calls.

It was not even that long ago when there were many people employed as a postman, milkman, postmaster, and even a waiter was well paid. We didn’t yet believe that we were saving money and becoming more efficient by firing people, closing family businesses and training the public to live without services. If the government shored up a corporation, it was expected that they will pay back their debt to society and not take the money elsewhere.  

Sadly, at about the same time that I arrived in North America, the picture began to change. It took a long time and was done in small increments so we didn’t notice. Instead of reusable cloth bags that mother sowed, we have one use plastic bags that are choking the oceans. There are no stores in neighbourhoods and we must use vehicles to shop and shopping we do. We shop online, in other cities or even the orient. There are no jobs so we make statistics look as if there are, and we dare not criticize the government since we are spied on every move we make. Instead of questioning actions that harm us or reduce our potential of well being, giant media corporations shy away from reporting anything which will make us question our way of life.

I happen to think that we must build upon our strengths instead of trying to protect what we have accumulated. To me saving money is important but only if I save it from being wasted or taken away by someone who is not willing to give anything in return. If I pay for the work of my neighbour, I don’t feel bad. He or she will return it for what I do if they are honest. What I hate is when someone rips me off. That includes politicians.

I want to see our children well educated able to compete with children from other countries, regardless of parents' income, so I don’t support cuts to education. I want our aging parents and those of us who are sick and injured well cared for so I don’t support cuts to health care. We only spend half of what our neighbours to the south do per person. I would like to support small family businesses instead of those owned by outsiders. That is why I write for a small locally owned newspaper, not for a large media chain.

When I hear that we must tighten our belts to attract investments I get confused. There are no investors who give us money because they care about us. They invest to make money promising jobs. We could have all the jobs we need, as we used to, if we invest in ourselves. If we run out of jobs, people would not come here as they do but it wouldn’t happen. All we have to do is make it popular to provide jobs instead of to eliminate them.

First I wish to be sure that there will be a Canada for my grandchildren. Secondly, I like to make Canada great again, by sharing and cooperating not by depending upon outsiders to save us. All we need is to know that it’s possible and do it.

In the words of a very famous US Congresswoman: We can be whatever we have the courage to see.

Here is a link to my blog:  Feel free to check other articles and comment.

Sunday, 22 September 2019

My “friends” the politicians.

My “friends” the politicians.

Again it is the season of elections and charismatic individuals stand before me calling me their friend. If I have anything to say to those “friends” I have to wait since they don’t have time to listen. They are too busy this time of the year, securing votes. I understand. It is difficult to figure out which promises will convince me and other “friends” to hand them power over us. It is burdensome to persuade so many people to vote when they know that you will lord over them for four years looking important but have no capacity to improve their lives even slightly. At best you have one vote. My “friends” in the halls of power will be entitled to use a fancy wooden bench and vote as they are told, or they can be replaced. Even the most influential amongst them must remember not to stand in the way of the party leaders at all times.

Party leaders are more powerful “friends” but only one of them has the ability to make a difference in my life. It is the leader of the ruling party. By virtue of controlling the majority of wooden seats occupied by well-spoken individuals who obey their wishes, he or she rules. 

Each chair is a vote dedicated to a “leader” who owes his power to those who give him money to rent airplanes, big busses with lots of beautiful stickers and to finance brochures, ads, billboards, and payments to sympathetic popular media outlets. The big media corporations influence a large number of voters and the little ones play nice to representatives hoping for crumbs. The whole “machine” is feeding upon itself giving me the illusion that I have an influence. After all the candidates call us their “friends” before elections. I always vote and never tell others how to vote.

I would like any and all Albertans in Ottawa to actively promote selling our oil east and possibly they are trying.

I replay in my mind the important items from the first week of the political campaign. There is a lot of talk about the Prime Minister masquerading eighteen years ago as the cartoon character Aladdin. To me he looks more like a coal miner before a shower but apparently, he insulted minority groups. I welcome the discussion about racial discrimination in our society. I suffered from it. I remember graffiti on an old building in Calgary saying “keep Canada clean, paint a Pa- - i.” Many of my friends have been prejudiced towards French people, Muslims, and native people, it is a good time to get rid of the behavior, but we are not doing that.

The people who abhor the prime minister’s insult to minorities also want to cut transfer payments from Canadian oil revenues to the French and demand that we should force the First Nations to accept oil pipelines through the land, which we “graciously” allowed them to keep as Reserves. I guess wearing a costume is more insulting than forcing people to obey our wishes. I fear that I am becoming cynical.

I take a pamphlet that came in the mail advocating to “re-elect” someone who’s been representing me in the halls of government. He doesn’t give an example of anything serious that was achieved. I don’t blame him. The benefits usually go to swing areas that the party in power hope to win in the next elections. My representative can promise but can’t grant money. If his party wins, my riding may receive some benefit but probably not. We are what they call a “safe seat.”

I may as well look at what the parties offer all of us if elected. All of them promise whatever surveys show that Canadians want. I want what will help my community which is not being offered. Here are miners, farmers, ranchers, and many seniors. We are being baited with a promise to scrap a Carbon Tax. I see on the news millions of kids demonstrating all over the world wanting governments to cut carbon emissions.

I investigate on Google and the picture is clear. The majority is demanding taking action to protect the environment with my province being somewhat an exception. Our vote may be a protest vote. The party in power may end up being a minority government but there are smaller parties who most likely will support them. What should I do? Should I vote for the most friendly candidate in my area? I have done that before.

Being a writer I sit down and try to come up with a statement that I could ask all the candidates who are on my ballot. They all claim to be my “friends” and they all promise nice things. There is a possibility to improve. Here it is:

“Will you promise to propose and pass a law that will allow voters to file a complaint about false promises or false statements by politicians and government officials, with high fines as penalties for misleading the voters?”

I don’t know anyone who likes to be held accountable for the promises they make. On the other hand, I know most people like to know that a deal is a deal and all sides will live up to their word. Life could be so simple.  

The leader’s job is to give a good example and improve the lives of those they lead. Their vote may not count for much but their commitment is valuable and can restore people’s faith in our democratic system.

If we had a law forcing honesty in the halls of power, it would affect all those who we pay to lead, from backbenchers to party leaders, including the Prime Minister. I don’t have enough money to buy elections but I would love to know that I invest my vote in people who will keep their word.

At least that’s the way I see it.


Here is a link to my blog:  Feel free to check other articles and comment.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Predictions and disagreements. (About Artificial Intelligence.)


Predictions and disagreements. (About Artificial Intelligence.)

A California couple approached me about The Simple Raven’s Posts. Surprisingly, there are readers of The Pass Herald in faraway California. They wanted to know if I am familiar with the famous Israeli professor and author Yuval Harari. He has been on the number one bestsellers list for a while and is giving lectures all over the world. I had heard his name but didn’t know a thing about him so I decided to investigate. The California readers were right. Both Yuval and I believe that “we are the stories we tell ourselves.” The more I listened I realized that we have a lot in common.

I listen to a few talks Yuval held with famous people on the best world stages and he intrigues my imagination. This article is too short for me to outline all his ideas. During the last Google Talk I listened to, he deals with major threats to humanity and the world. Number one and two I mentioned in my articles often. Nuclear war is guaranteed to end life as we know it and Climate Change will destroy human civilization if unchecked. The next danger is much more subtle since it is yet not fully understood, but first lets deal with some smaller dangers.

Most of our historical effort was invested in getting people together to work on common projects. People existed in caves and forests competing for food. Family groups joined and eventually formed communities. From that point communities began to form tribes, agriculture was born, land ownership developed and human civilization arrived. In recent history we witness small nations forming into the countries we know today and Nationalism becomes a common term.

I grew up knowing that Nationalism is most important. I was born in a country that just became a new nation and the flag, national anthem, language, and other symbols were most important. I moved to a country (Canada) in which two dominating nations were trying to express themselves independently but uniting for mutual gain. According to Yuval, that era will soon come to an end. Together we are facing mortal dangers which can’t be solved by any one nation alone and some form of Globalism will happen. We have global ecology, global economy, and we are trying to manage it with national politics.

Yuval’s third potential danger for human existence is less known but exists nevertheless. It is related to Artificial Intelligence and its relationship with biological human brains. The first aspect to consider is the amalgamation of humans with machines. I have a pacemaker which has been keeping me alive beyond the natural cycle. This is just the beginning. We are developing ways to replace human organs. Soon we will be able to expand human life, but not for everyone.

With the improvements in artificial intelligence, we are facing a huge problem which is global, not national. Computers and robots are able to do most of what low-skill workers used to do. Driving, manufacturing, agriculture and lately service industries are mechanized. A I and communication devices will replace even Family Physicians. When politicians talk about immigrants, they ignore the fact that billions of people in other countries are becoming useless. 3D printing could replace all the cheap labor products we import from poorer countries.

We are already in the era of developing a “useless class” and soon that class will lose its political clout because they are useless. Yuval is agonizing over how to solve the problem while I see us already working on it. I see government after government coming to power implementing steps when people are not seeing. Reduction of funds to public education make future generations unable to understand what is happening to them.

The class that can afford it is pushing for savings on public health or fighting against implementing it where it does not yet exist. The war cry is, we can’t afford public health, but the outcome is shorter lives for the useless class. This endangers World peace.

Poor countries now possess huge firepower and can see what is happening. Poor people in affluent countries realize that corruption and modernization will eliminate their means of existence. In my opinion, we must accelerate our efforts to avoid catastrophe by implementing Christian “Love” and degrading evil “Selfishness,” immediately. The solution is not in solving the abortion issues but in figuring out a story that will ensure a good future for all of mankind. There is one commandment above all and it is: “Love one another as I have loved you.” It involves voluntary self-sacrifice.

Yuval Harari predicts the possibility of humans becoming more machines and less organic human beings.  Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk agree.  He said that we will become Gods. His is one option. The option I choose is to fight peacefully but relentlessly for our humanity. I also believe that we will become Gods, if we are not already, but by studying our spirituality. We ignored it at our own peril for too long.  

In my story of the future of humankind, we will use the creative power that God placed within us and invest in propagating Love and shaming Selfishness. The country people have been like that for generations and they are not gone yet. Their descendants now live in cities but remember their humble past and believe in decency. They are the patient people who always trusted God and nature and it never failed them for long.

Soon we will face a choice that we have never faced before. Are a few humans going to live forever in mechanized bodies or will we use technology to enable all of us to go forth as one body? I believe that we will not destroy those made useless, but lovingly caringly holding children and bringing the injured and elderly will step over the threshold and be in the promised kingdom.

Here is a link to my blog:  Feel free to check other articles and comment.


Sunday, 8 September 2019

The Hobo Professor.

The Hobo Professor.

I was hiking one day beside the river when I met a person who I assumed to be a Hobo. That is what we used to call homeless individuals who didn’t fit into our social system. Most of these people are uneducated and considered to be “low life” but a few are remarkably intelligent showing signs of high learning and great analytical skills. An invisible sickness takes them and they no longer play our game. This person was sitting on a rock playing a guitar sounding better than a lot of the celebrated artists. I started a conversation, and he was willing to spend time with me and talk. There was no need to pretend to be what we are not since he already reached the bottom. The Hobo knew things that most people don’t and he shamelessly called himself a “Schizo”. I felt safer around him than I did in parties with the elites of our society. I couldn’t help wondering who or what he was in a past life but he wasn’t telling.

He was obviously proud of being born and raised Albertan and mentioned training in the armed forces. When he talked about flying under the radar, I wondered if he was a pilot or was talking about the way he now lived or perhaps both. I was expecting him to ask me for money but instead; he opened a bag containing a pita bread, a nice big tomato, and some green onions. While making his lunch he asked me politely if I had eaten yet. Thinking about how he may have obtained the food I declined.

He peeled a sticker from the tomato reading aloud, California. My mother used to grow the nicest tomatoes in town, he said. You ate one and the smell and taste overwhelmed you. Now we buy our produce from another country and it looks beautiful but has no smell or taste.

We Albertans always gave the country all it’s needed, he continued while eating. When they needed to tie the land together, we pioneered, built a railway and made peace with the native people. When they needed coal, we worked underground and shoveled it out for them. They needed horses, and we raised them. As wars broke out, we volunteered and fought. They needed grain, and we cleared land and grew grain. They wanted beef and our ranchers provided it. The energy boom started, and we produced oil and gas, more than anyone. Now we must weather another change and I assume we are on our own, again.

My new hobo “friend for the day” wipes his grimy face, and a thought crossed my mind, did I just meet a prophet from the bible? He looks like one. They always use us, he said, and throw us to the wolves. We no longer have farms and eat ripe tomatoes, we pay someone else for imitation fruits. They sell our oil to themselves for nothing, telling us to be happy to have jobs in producing and transporting our products into their pockets.

Hobo strums on his perfectly tuned beaten up old guitar an old tune I remember, “The house of the rising sun” (The Animals 1964) and add, we were the gamblers and they the Casino. The Casino always wins. Our leaders contributed to an orgy which made us into a “throw-away society.” We have a competition in who are the best consumers and who provides goods to be discarded. All was well until our waste began to drown us, mostly the waste polluting the air but more. Now the world can see what is happening and soon oil will go the way horses went. Already prices are lower than production costs and we are trying to sell more for less. It’s futile, he said.

We still have our crops and meat production but we are losing the business. Farms no longer provide us with a living and the cost of production is rising steadily. We must use very expensive chemicals on the land and because of Global Warming insurance is high. Now our meat production is also seriously threatened.

Naming a couple of companies one in Israel and the other in the Netherlands he described a new method of producing real meat from cells taken from animals. It is called Cultured meat and tests reveal that it is indistinguishable from meat from butchered animals. Apparently, the idea of producing meat without killing animals is very popular and it will do two things. It will cut down pollution and devastate the ranching industry and related businesses. It could be the end of life as we know it.

The Hobo was one of the most interesting and well-spoken man I ever met. Change his appearance and there would be a line of people vying for his attention.

Albertans he continued, always saved the day and never received recognition and probably will do it again. We have a business-minded government in Edmonton, he said, and they are probably working right now planning Cultured Meat industries to take the place of ranching. We could provide the materials for a new industry if we stay ahead of the game. You can see that they are working on replacing energy production from coal and oil with new modern methods.

We are not the kind of people who wait for disasters to happen without being prepared. His voice trails off and I listen to the river rushing and contemplate what just happened. The rugged-looking person whom I expected to ask me for money turned out to be a well informed learned individual. I would expect a conversation such as this to happen in the hallway of the University, not in the wilderness.

A female voice came from behind me saying “professor, we are going now.” He gathered his belongings into his old sports bag, took his guitar and wished me a good day. It's been nice talking to you he said as he was moving with athletic grace uncommon for his age.


Here is a link to my blog:  Feel free to check other articles and comment.

Monday, 2 September 2019

Is Credit Limit “Heaven”?

Is Credit Limit “Heaven”?


I don’t watch much TV but the news interests me. Lately, there is a marketing campaign on the news, advertising an App for checking credit rating or score. In the commercial people in ordinary life discover that their credit limit is higher than they knew. Next, you see them spending, on vacations, new vehicles or apartment rental like billionaires. There is no mention of the payback time when they will work and suffer. It makes me sick to see people fooled this way. The ad doesn’t tell us how to get a better life, only to borrow and have a temporary sample of a good life.

I have seen some individuals, even governments, borrow to start businesses or even kick start a sluggish economy. I am in favor of borrowing if it will pay back later. Yet the motto of the late seventies, “Fly Now, Pay Later” which Chargex (Visa) used to advertise, offends my sensibility.

Most people, who are probably addicted to something, will agree that addictions are bad. There are substance addictions like alcohol, drug abuse, smoking and process addictions like sexual, shopping, eating, spending, gambling and I could probably write a whole page just listing the names. In my opinion, our overall worst addiction is to have instant gratification regardless of the consequence. It includes all the others. There is a good reason for the line in the Lord’s prayer that says “Lead us not into temptation.”

The best gifts that humans received from the Creator are birth and death. I woke up one time without remembering falling to sleep and cried. I was born and began my training on how to be human. As I learned, my body grew and so did my relationships and material possessions. I seem to have always known that it is all temporary which made it precious. If there was no death, I wouldn’t have enjoyed every stage in my life. In the end, I will go to sleep again without knowing where I will wake up. I already did have a near-death experience and it was not bad at all.

If you believe that we have only one life, as many people now do, you should plan to make it pleasant. It will not happen if you mortgage the future for an instant of pretending that you are rich. You must work hard and smart towards making enduring changes and resist the urge to pretend that you are rich and pay for it later.

When we are addicted we want something above all else. Often it’s clear to our minds that it is temporary and the mind will want more. The more we fight it the stronger is the pull towards it and we face the fear of losing whatever it is that gives us pleasure or relief. We need to be liked, or loved. In the case of addiction to consuming, food, goods or even services, we are fighting the knowledge that there will be an end. The addiction will demand more, and more is simply not available. More will kill the body that wants it. The next step is to deny what we know is true and reaffirm it by trying to convince others.

Our communities and families these days lack the closeness and intimate relationships which existed up to my generation. We try to mimic it by using new technology but it doesn’t. Starving for something, which is hard to identify, we feed our hunger with addiction to pleasure on credit as if there was no tomorrow. People will not survive if everyone cares only about the short-lived gains borrowing against the future without care.

Our aim should not be to fake being special for a little time but to make all of us enjoy life in a permanent and lasting way. We can do it using our creative power but we must be responsible. We are responsible to ourselves and to all future generations.

When a human spends all future earnings for something that will not last, he or she will be tempted to get more by taking what should belong to others. When someone obtains more than their own share, they will feel obliged to protect it by any means they can. Those who pay the price will keep working towards equality and eventually win.

There is no limit to how much we can spend or to how many things we could get if we had the means. Now when I am old and I have most of what I need, I feel like there is no need to obtain more. Perhaps I can replace some things but mostly I am happy with what I have. There is no way to have all the things that everyone else has. What about the younger people who don’t have what I do? Back I go in my mind to the times when I didn’t have a lot. The time when I arrived in a new country with the contents of one suitcase. Step by step I began accumulating things that I needed as much as my little pay for my work would provide.

Now I look at the young generation and see them much better off than I was and see them borrowing up to their credit limit to travel and have a good time. I know that they will have to go long periods of working without rewards to pay for what they borrowed and I am not feeling good about it. Some will find ways to increase their income but most will not. Real income didn’t increase in thirty years or more but prices did. It was paid by credit and credit is limited to what one can pay.

I see people waiting for retirement. Fewer people now have pensions and with strong objections to increasing taxes, pensions may not go up. What will happen?


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A Dreamer in Democratic pain.

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