Maps are Metaphors
Where would we be without maps? Especially when we’re on a dusty road and have never been here before. We either are on our way to a set destination, or we seek to experience new things in a land that we are unfamiliar with. Maps can define our surroundings, define who is in charge of the land, explain how to get from point a to point b, or simply convey what we can do or not do.
I am of an age that my early classrooms had rolled up maps hanging above the chalk boards. We also would carry paper maps in the dashboard of our cars. Maps served a metaphorical function of defining our world for political purposes and navigation. We used maps to represent the real world, and maps limited what we could imagine and describe. You could buy books of maps for your car. I had a thin but large book of low detail driving maps of the whole country. I carried a Thomas Bros., map book in my car. It was for Los Angeles and Orange County. …
Society suffers from political turmoil, conflict and inequality in access to participation. Much of the conflict in the world results from an inability of people to work fairly with individuals of different cultural perspectives. There is clearly need for more openness to multicultural participation in this increasingly interconnected world. While assessment tools and training programs exist, there is a shortage of best practices tools aimed at improving multicultural communication. This article argues that multicultural communication suffers from the same problems of unequal access and lack of participation as communication limited to a participants sharing more mono-cultural attributes. With increased recognition, individuals will perceive much of what they owe to each other when participating together in joint efforts (Honneth, 1997). I assume culture is conceptually complex and varied, even for those who believe they share only one. As Michal Jan Rozbicki (2012) says, people attempt to understand the other using their present knowledge. This default behavior of individuals, employing stereotypes, generalizations, or group identification, is harmful because it oversimplifies and misrecognizes cultural categories and details. …
Bernie Must be the Nominee
Let me clear, with some caveats first. I supported Bernie Sanders in 2016 as a volunteer and donor. I, again, support him for 2020.
Now I want to explain why Bernie is the best choice as 2020 nominee for the Democratic party. My argument rests on three points. 1 Trump and the Republicans will attack the Democratic candidate as if she is Bernie Sanders. 2) Any candidate that is not Bernie when attacked by the 2020 Republicans, will pivot to talking points. 3) Bernie as an independent aligns with values held by some independent voters and even some Republicans.
The most important of these points, I believe is the first. Trump and the Republicans are already preparing and testing out their attacks against the Democratic presidential candidate and down-ballot races. We saw some of it in 2018. Most Republican candidates running against Democratic candidates accused them of being socialist. There will be a set of attacks, along the same lines, “government healthcare,” “free college,” “open borders,” “reparations,” “progressivism,” and “populism.” Any Democratic candidate other than Bernie will attempt to answer these questions by pivoting away from them. Each non-Bernie candidate will protest and try to explain they don’t believe in those things. And they will sound defensive and weak compared to their opponent.
My second point is similar; most Democratic strategists have in the last few decades taken the wrong tact in fighting Republicans. There is an expression in military strategy that goes, “fighting the last war.” Modern Democratic strategists act as if they are combating Reagan policies. The modern Republican party with Trump at its lead is different. They claim to be addressing personal needs of the working class. In 2016 Candidate Trump was against NAFTA like treaties including TPP and claimed to be for helping US workers. In 2020 the Republican party will say everything they do is to benefit workers. They will say any positive numbers in the economy directly puts money in the hands of average Americans. They will accuse Democrats of destroying jobs and raising taxes. The response of most Democratic leaders will be, “No you don’t understand, the policies of Obama and other Democrats have been for the best.” This response will not ring true to voters. Voters remember the pain of the last ten years, and the Republicans will claim that is all because of Democratic policies. The best fighter will be the one who can say, “Yes, mistakes have been made, but the problems of the past have gotten worse under Trump and change must be carried out.” This differs from harkening back to a golden age, that some Democrats will want to do.
The third major point supports the other two, Bernie is mostly an independent. Bernie is not subject to some attacks talking heads will take against the Democratic candidate. He will answer with the perspective of someone who has been fighting for Americans as an independent most of his life. This should appeal to independent voters, who represent about a third of the electorate. And even some Republicans should feel they can cast a vote for him. While it has been the dream of many Democratic presidential candidates to receive Republican votes,most Democrats cannot achieve that. However, as an independent, Bernie may be in a good position to be acceptable to independent and Republican voters. …
Ideas are Weapons
Humans are sheep. We accept shared worldviews because of ideas in our head that are complex concepts that represent the activities and conditions around us. Human brains have developed over the millennia with the ability to store and retrieve social interaction plans and schemes.
We live and operate in the world created by people’s ideas. Our beliefs in boundaries and countries come about because of our shared beliefs. Our political systems and economic systems are developed in our minds. Trust in currency and forms of capital depends on shared ideas. We usually fulfill and live in someone else’s dreams and passions. So, for these reasons, it is fair to say that ideas drive much of what occurs in our society through words, deeds, and group action. Books and other methods have been used to convey ideas down through generations. Part of our social world has come about because science and technology has grown and changed over the years. Likewise, our social interactions result from the slow evolution of our social mores, beliefs, and pattern of behavior. …
It is time for a revising of a writing aid called Writer’s Cafe. I first reported on my experience with Writer’s Café two years ago when I began using it. I had used it daily for almost two months. I produced two books with it, then took a year off. Looking at it this week I decided to talk about it again. Writer’s Café is a text editing, story planning, writing software.
Linux has been my favorite computer operating environment for about 20 years. Linux is a base level software that competes with Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac iOS. Android, used on smartphone and tablets is related to Linux. My main computer today runs Ubuntu Linux. If I were using a Mac or Windows computer I would probably be using Scrivener. However, the full up-to-date version of Scrivener does not work on Linux. …
Perhaps we can learn about human behavior by examining other animals in the past.
There was a TV commercial where the actor complained, “you spilled peanut butter in my chocolate!”
In a similar way I think we are stuck with very confused human brains because of all the mixed baggage from our past. I decided to tell the story of why we act the way we do based on our ancient genetic inheritance.
Trust or Distrust Drives Social Groups
Racial and ethnic divisions determine political alliances.
I grew up with trust issues with my parents. My relationship was often strained. Their mood swings and quick turns to anger confused me and kept me on my toes. I feel I had difficulty relating to others later because of my childhood experiences. Now, years later, I am glad I could always count on their physical and material support. Trust defines how we live in the world.
We trust a bank to keep our money safe. We trust a school to educate our children. We trust police officers to carry weapons responsibly to protect us from out of control fellow citizens. We trust politicians to make wise decisions that make the world a safer place. I have a wife, family, and friends I trust. This vital part of our day-to-day lives reigns supreme in how we live, but we don’t talk about it much. …
Consciousnesses as Peripheral Input Processing
I awake each day and remember where I am and who I am. I have a consciousness of a self that existed yesterday and back through time to my childhood. I have been thinking about consciousness recently. This interesting topic has a wide and deep associated literature.
A definition of consciousness was offered by John Locke’s in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding, (1690). He described it as “the perception of what passes in a man’s own mind.” Since then, the term has taken on the weight of hundreds of meanings.
Is consciousness the awareness of one’s perceptions and sensory input? Does it represent a person’s ability to exert free will? Is it the action of introspection? Are we being tricked by neuron activity that creates an illusion? Or, is consciousness some shared experience with other people, or extending even into the cosmos? This article will settle on only one interpretation of the term. I want to talk about our consciousness when we’re perceiving sensory input or internal memories. …
I am obsessed with reading science fiction, fantasy books, and watching movies. So, I am bewitched by those movies, based on science fiction and fantasy books and stories. You could say I make the ideal audience member. Movie producers have used written works to inspire and serve as the launching point for depictions on the screen. The history of science fiction and fantasy stories turned to movies dates back to the beginning of moving making. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne was adapted into a 1916 film. …
Many folks I know are employed at colleges in California as adjunct faculty. I’ve been surprised by the bemused expressions on their faces when I ask what the job is like. It seemed like my friends are of two minds about their careers in the teaching profession. This is a growth industry. Shouldn’t it be good to get a jig like this? I want to know.
Part-time and adjunct faculty are now an average of 49 percent of the faculty at post-secondary institutions in the United States. In California community colleges approximately 49,000 adjuncts were employed last year. Colleges are turning to adjunct faculty to reduce teaching labor costs, improve staffing flexibility, and quickly alter faculty numbers. The work life of these adjuncts can be rough, facing a lack of job stability and reduced benefits. …