Archive for October, 2009
Thursday, October 29th, 2009
One of the pillars of modern society is the idea of selling everyone luxuries they not only can live without, but would be better off as a whole never buying into.
Private companies and individuals alike buy into needless luxuries. This is in part due to ordinance requirements in some locales.
In other cases, like the bleaching-white of our paper products, it is a shallow expectation forced on us from our modern progress social reality.
The US landscaping services industry includes over 70,000 companies with combined annual revenue of $40 billion. Large companies include the TruGreen Landcare division of ServiceMaster, The Davey Tree Expert Company, The Brickman Group, and Asplundh Tree Expert. The vast majority of companies are small with annual revenue less than $2 million. The industry is highly fragmented: the top 50 companies hold only 15 percent of the market.
The sterilization of formerly biodiverse spaces on private property combined with chemical contamination are side effects of having lawns.
Lawn Culture, or considering the loss of local biodiversity, lawn monoculture, like Automobile Culture, is one of those destructive modern design defects that has been mass marketed to us for decades.
As defects, these artificial modern cultures cause errors that while benefitting a company or a consumer only in the most selfish way, in exchange tax the whole for the long term.
Not many residents understand that lawn fertilizer can cause water quality problems – overall less than one fourth of residents rated it as a water quality concern (Syferd, 1995 and Assing, 1994), although ratings were as high as 60% for residents that lived adjacent to lakes (Morris and Traxler, 1996 and MCSR, 1997). Interestingly, in one Minnesota survey, only 21% of homeowners felt their own lawn contributed to water quality problems, while over twice as many felt their neighbor’s lawn did (MCSR, 1997).
After pollution cleanup, medical costs from toxins, and maintenance like water treatment, this is both a form of hidden capitalist welfare and a form of hidden individual pleasure welfare.
While we cling to such needless modern luxuries, the invisible costs stay with us for the long haul.
They’re like a prosperity sink in that when the economy is good, people buy into goodies like brand new cars, driving more miles, landscaping and lawn chemical services more, which of course applies the invisible costs against us in the background in a roughly zero-sum game for civilization overall.
UN agencies have said reduced or ended lawnmowing and treecutting will slow down global heating. The 1990’s EPA published legal briefs available without cost to those fighting compulsory mowing ordinances. Highway departments have found that bushes are better than mowed median strips.
The growing proliferation of anthropogenic biomes on a large scale has already been addressed here. So has the utter destructiveness of this activity, even as it is marketed to us, in a mindless display of contradictions, on no less than utilitarian and progressive grounds.
Anthropogenic biomes describe globally-significant ecological patterns within the terrestrial biosphere caused by sustained direct human interaction with ecosystems, including agriculture, urbanization, forestry and other land uses. Conventional biomes, such as tropical rainforests or grasslands, are based on global vegetation patterns related to climate. Now that humans have fundamentally altered global patterns of ecosystem form, process, and biodiversity, anthropogenic biomes provide a contemporary view of the terrestrial biosphere in its human-altered form.
Since mass marketing is practically a century-old science by now and another of the modern pillars is individual liberty combined with the distributed hidden cost of damage of such freedoms, we can’t reasonably expect decades of mere public environmental educating to outcompete these two forces.
Nevertheless, a tiny minority will always be around to calmly dissent against the liberated democratic masses who like a caged tribe of monkeys are as a whole easily manipulated by using consumer marketing combined with their own natural apathy and ignorance.
In the context of landscaping, three of the most significant ways to reduce environmental pollution are by cutting back on the use of chemical herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers.
The negative method, doing without, is only half the possibility for lawn alternatives. Another possibility is to replace these high maintenance, sterile lawns with the positive actions of natural local flora and fauna.
After all, they’re prettier and cost us much less both visibly and invisibly than paying for a host of economic and environmental parasites we call lawn services and chemical treatments.
Landscaping with native wildflowers and grasses improves the environment. Natural landscaping brings a taste of wilderness to urban, suburban, and corporate settings by attracting a variety of birds, butterflies and other animals. Once established, native plants do not need fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides or watering, thus benefiting the environment and reducing maintenance costs. Gardeners and admirers enjoy the variety of colors, shapes, and seasonal beauty of these plants.
Friday, October 23rd, 2009
The War on Inequality continues its slow march to the margins of credibility with this latest piece from the economics angle.
“We have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieve greater prosperity and opportunity for all,” Brian Griffiths, who was a special adviser to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, said yesterday at a panel discussion at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. The panel’s discussion topic was, “What is the place of morality in the marketplace?”
Without inequality, there is nothing greater than ourselves to aspire toward, no direction, and therefore leaves us conditions for stagnation, which is eventually civilization death of a sort that creates Third World conditions.
Those who detest struggle and the possibility of overcoming and thus growth, which is Life’s process for betterment, are aligned with total social and economic equality. The uninspiring multiculture mediocrity and its total lack of pioneering anything in our times has been telling.
How contradictory that the same people demanding equal opportunity, which has fully transitioned now into railing against inequal outcomes, sell us their argument with the promise of everyone being able to “reach their full potential”. The new secular Christendom, which we now call Western Liberalism, is effectively a death cult.
“It was the failed moral compass of bankers which was primarily responsible for why we had this crisis,” he said. “The question is: what can we do in the culture of institutions to make them behave in a more socially responsible way?”
He’s implying that people who work in finance are not all there for the same reasons: to put their skills to use working hard to make an honest living and be a positive component in our society. Some people in finance might be there to game the system until ruin, hoping to make off with the goods before the rubble stops bouncing and investigations begin.
But this does not mean that the struggle over egalitarianism is over. Far from it. On the contrary, after the New Left of the late 1960s and early ’70s had been discredited by its bizarre turn to violence, it took the advice of its liberal elders and “joined the system.” New Leftists launched a successful Gramscian “long march through the institutions,” and by becoming lawyers and academics — particularly in the humanities, philosophy, and the “soft” social sciences — they have managed to acquire hegemony over our culture. Seeing themselves defeated and routed on the strictly economic front (in contrast to the Old Left of the 1930s, Marxian economics and the labor theory of value was never the New Left’s strong suit), the Left turned to the allegedly moral high ground of egalitarianism.
We can read more into this to understand that notwithstanding centuries of Western Christendom, or numerous decades of Enlightenment, or several decades of humanist liberalism, no new arrangement of universal moral value systems expected from everyone is getting us as a whole any closer to unified or the envisioned world lacking struggle and conflict.
Many people do not belong in our midst in any capacity. They cannot be coaxed, educated, or jailed into conforming and functioning consistently well. They are not biologically wired to function as we do, as living cells supporting a thriving social body maintaining a civilization.
Tolerance removes the filter that otherwise kept these malfunctioning human carcinogens out of our social body. Mandatory equality, as we are finding, was never a cure for such cancers.
Friday, October 23rd, 2009
We fear for ourselves so much we fear all conflict and all physical consequences.
But what if a big pain is needed to avoid a big destructive trend?
Most Bruneians want husbands who cheat on their wives to be whipped, according to a recent survey in the Muslim-majority country.
“The result of the survey is an indication of the pent-up feelings that women harbor against irresponsible men,” an unnamed social worker from Brunei was quoted as saying on the website.
Brunei can do what they want; I’d also support this in the USA.
Tuesday, October 20th, 2009
Modern society, with its rigid rules based on single factors, makes us feel confined and paranoid because we’re told we have freedom, but then each task has seemingly one right way to do it.
There’s always a path.
So for example, when we confront an obstacle like finding a career, most people give us worthless advice about education, certification and so on. That’s good for some; the real advice we need is knowledge that that’s one path of many.
For example, for some people, the answer is to skip all schooling and throw themselves into business ownership, and they’ll end up doing just as well if not better.
Here are some other solutions no one’s ready to think of that illustrate how many more options we have:
- Global warming. Carbon’s rising, temperatures are rising, we’re all going to be roasting. We need to cut back. Problem: the first world’s use is mostly its infrastructure, and it doesn’t want to give that up, especially for a third world that dwarfs it and is just going to keep on breeding. Instead of buying green lightbulbs, let’s destroy China and Russia. This eliminates a huge swathe of consumers and carbon producers.
- Roman Polanski. We’re promised a big public drama over whether he’s persecuted or not. Hollywood says he’s a victim; the woman he paid a million dollars to forget him drugging, raping and sodomizing her says he should be forgiven. But to give up on him means flouting our law for a celebrity, and ignoring the need to promise good people that they will be protected and that bad people will go to jail. New solution: re-route his plane to Afghanistan and let the Taliban try him. Problem solved!
- Health Care. Lots of Americans lack health care. Most of us fear another government bureaucracy because those are inefficient, more stubbornly blind than private industry, and basically hire a lot of failures and jerks who make life hard for us. Solution: let the government buy health care from the biggest providers and negotiate a competitive rate, then sell it back to our citizens. People who are impoverished still don’t get a free ride, which discourages parasites, but it’s easily available.
- Glenn Beck. The left flips out about this guy, and most people on the right seem to love him. But being offended is a problem for leftists. The solution is simple: separate television networks. You can literally buy cable package Red State or Blue State. This way conservatives don’t need to see your demented drug-addicted whore actresses talking about how they love to have horse anal, and liberals don’t need to see Glenn Beck talking about how inane liberalism is.
- Drug Policy. Legalize the stuff in Northern California, where all the good liberals live. Send all drug users there. Let’s see what happens. Who cares, really?
- Drunk Driving. Legalize it. Sure, go ahead. Let them drive drunk. But if they cause an accident, make it clear that alcohol doesn’t let them off the hook — and in fact will probably result in a speedy conviction. Then finally do what America has resisted for years: start yanking the licenses of incompetent drivers whether they need to drive to get to work or not.
- Crime. We can’t get over the mentality of rehabilitation, so we jail people, let them out and then watch helplessly as they commit more crimes. Exile them all to a city in the desert of Nevada instead, and let them victimize each other.
- National Debt. Our national debt freaks people out. We know we cannot pay it and that it devalues our currency. If we really care, we could always drop all government programs but the utterly essential until it’s paid off.
- Gay Marriage. What gays want is basically health care and the tax breaks for being married. Great, let’s give it to them. However, we should penalize those who divorce for wasting time and money with their neurotic drama. You get tax breaks when married, and you should pay a heavy penalty when you get divorced. In addition, we should create a “virtual child” that gay married people should be forced to support with alimony. Justice is equal treatment, after all.
Some of these solutions may be tongue in cheek, but the point is made: we’re thinking in the box and it makes us sick in our hearts and minds. We need to think outside of the box, which means sacrificing sacred cows and aggressively getting effective.
How could we be afraid of that?
Monday, October 19th, 2009
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake:
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble;
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
From William Shakespeare’s
Macbeth Act IV, Scene I
In William Shakespeare’s England, the practice of witchcraft was already ancient. The celebration of nature—the worship of earth, sky, and the changing seasons—is humankind’s oldest faith.
Like the Christianized Easter and Christmas festivals, Halloween was an important time that served a purpose.
The Celts believed that at the time of Samhain, more so than any other time of the year, the ghosts of the dead were able to mingle with the living, because at Samhain the souls of those who had died during the year traveled into the otherworld. People gathered to sacrifice animals, fruits, and vegetables. They also lit bonfires in honor of the dead, to aid them on their journey, and to keep them away from the living.
Moving on as a community event from grieving over deceased loved ones so people could get back to their lives seems like a healthy practice.
The pragmatic Pope Gregory:
As a result of their efforts to wipe out “pagan” holidays, such as Samhain, the Christians succeeded in effecting major transformations in it. In 601 A.D. Pope Gregory the First issued a now famous edict to his missionaries concerning the native beliefs and customs of the peoples he hoped to convert. Rather than try to obliterate native peoples’ customs and beliefs, the pope instructed his missionaries to use them: if a group of people worshipped a tree, rather than cut it down, he advised them to consecrate it to Christ and allow its continued worship.
Fast forward to now. You buy the kid another plastic mask, plastic hatchet and plastic bucket and drag her around begging processed sugar treats from everyone. What good is this mindless, empty routine?
Processed sugars and carbohydrates, which turn into sugar, cause a rise in the insulin level of the blood. This also raises the endorphins level, a natural mood upper in the brain. These sugars causes the body to have a chemical high, mentally, which results in a lift in mood. .
Continuous large doses of sugar and/or carbohydrates, overtime, usually cause the brain’s endorphins sites to slow production or close sites to regulate the amount of endorphins in the brain. When the body cuts back on endorphin production it reduces the amount of endorphins available in the body at any given time. The lack of enough endorphin in the brain causes slight to deep depression.
To maintain a normal level of endorphins in the brain the individual must eat more sugar and/or carbohydrates to get out of depression and maintain a normal mood level. This causes a vicious cycle of addiction, physiologically (Nay, 1996). This is also directly comparable to the cycle that is developed after excessive endorphins are released into the body from the use of alcohol.
Halloween is often on a work night so it can be a total hassle to take kids around door to door to pester the neighbors for the junk food they’ve been socially pressured to hand out.
Tip: natural food and home cooking is appropriate for every day of the year. Decent recipes for Halloween and Autumn season are easy to find and they don’t consist of 130% processed sugar with food coloring added for variety.
Why not start locally and change this ancient tradition from pure consumerism to festive, reverent and awe for the spiritual side of living?
As an alternative that is more traditional, yet oddly enough, less likely to conflict with many religious beliefs, simply spend some time in remembrance for a loved one who has recently passed on and ignore the trick-or-treaters.
Try elegant thematic gatherings and fairly authentic with all things therein instead of always cheap, always plastic, always some random mix. Although pumpkins are a native New World gourd, they’re natural and are now a part of the festival, so they’re in.
Ceramic and steel objects like skull candle holders, medieval weapons and jewelry are decorations that last for generations rather than a few years until they deteriorate as plastics to be discarded.
Candles and Autumn type incenses, oils, and even blazing torches are another excellent fit.
Costumes, if desired, also give us another junk plastics or authentic natural materials option.
Gothic, Celtic, Greek or other folk period theme styled gatherings (think Renaissance Faire but earlier in history) can shame the neighbor’s hodgepodge cowboys, pimps, pirates and accident victim mishmash.
Applying some standards for quality or authenticity in our lives can get us around passive Green Halloween type reactions and its oblivious consumerism counterpart and make for much more charming, non-destructive life experiences.
Opposing this new idea is the old fun-as-the-goal of modern living, but only when it is cheap and disposable. While we don’t need to lose fun-having, it is best had as a side effect of capturing meaning in our lives without leaving destruction in our wake.