Got White Privileged?

The concept of White (Male) Privilege is not a new one. It came to rise as a concept in the late 19th and early 20th century at the same time as the expansion of the Socialist philosophy and the adoption of governments created around the ideas of collectivism.

Early 20th century history is full of examples from Communism is Russia, socialism in France and a rise of popularism resulting in any number of South American and Central American dictators. In the US Eugene Debs, a tireless promoter of the Socialist political agenda and labor Union organizations ran for President multiple times between 1908-1924.

However, in recent years, 1980-present, we have seen a marked increase in the use of this language and a broadening of its definition and application

This language is used in attempts to silence speech. The premise is that white people have been in a privileged position long enough to not have a clear and unbiased ability to participate in some discussions.

If the intent is to truely allow persons of color, (PoC) who are intimately aware of these issues due to personal experience a platform, then why are people like Thomas Sowell left out of this narrative?

The opinions from people like Thomas Sowell are not integrated into the narrative that seems to accompany the language of concepts like White Privlige.

It never seems that space is made for a single black mom from a poor neighborhood that is Anti-Abortion. You are more likely to see an opinion of yet another white guy that agrees with the narrative.

My intent in this questioning is not to debate abortion, but rather to better understand why people think Race plays a role in determining the inheirent value of somones opinion, and whether the same deference would be extended to POC that disagree with your own current positions.

In our present day the language of White Privilege, intersectionality and self identified Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) is intimately linked with a specific political ideology encompassing distinctly the left end of our politics.

To consider this premise reasonable, We would need to first adopt a expansive premise that an entire race of people (White) and more specfically a gender (male) ‘currently’ sit in a position of ‘Privlege’ that is ‘still’ only becuase they are white men.

It’s clear that historically in western cultures white people generally and white men specifically have enjoyed a position of privlege, largely becuase of their role in the Western European expansion of an economic culture. But in the US we have already passed civil rights laws and anti-discrimination laws. These laws already serve to set an ideal for America.

However, it would also require an acceptance that the entirety of a racially and gender identified group must be disadvantaged in their ability to engage in public discourse irregardless of individual merit. This is a sweeping generalization. It is no different in intent or mechansm than any other form of racism. This premise would obviously need to be rejected.

The history of America is largely a history of an expanding European culture and therefore there are indeed, a lot of smug white dudes were involved. But the idea of putting the current generation of white men in a disadvataged position simply becuase they’re white, to atone for some concept of ‘Their fathers sins’, is a form of racial descrimination.

While some may attempt to justify this as some idea of furthering some idea of Social or historical justice, it is still openly racist in motivation.

The other bit I find interesting is the Thomas Sowell question above. It seems the idea of white privlege most often must first pass an ideological agreement filter, which is inconsistent with the idea of valuing a PoC opinion about some of these subjects.

The question is why people like Thomas Sowell are left out of the narrative. He is a very accomploshed economist with something like 30 books published after growing up in Harlem and having worked as a government employee.

Perhaps it is simply virtue signaling or a desire to soften a particular position and sure some people probably appreciate it. It just seems to be a bit of preaching to the choir. It is doubtful that their are many people that agree with using language of White Privlege that don’t already agree with the leftist political positions that most often accompany this type of language.

Would anyone disagree that generalizing an opinion for an entire race is in fact an expression of racism?

Is there room within this type of language to acknowledge individual merit?

Should a govt be authoritive in creating privlege for POC to correct for history?

If so, what does success look like for correcting the historical white privilege and what is the measure of this success?

A separate tangent would be the cultural issues that exist within the US poverty culture, but we’ll save that one for later.

Certainly we should acknowledge that white privilege happened systemically in early America, and slavery peeked globally from the 1600’s till the mid 1800’s. That is a matter of settled history.

It is unclear though how using language that is discriminatory on racial lines helps us resolve the cultural issues those systems have left in there wake…


Investment and Vectoring

I had a dream… no, not the Martin Luther King Jr. kind, though I do share his desire that people are judged on the content of their character and not the color of their skin.

No, my dream was that I was stuck in an Airport with my family and an unhelpful airline agent was not issuing us our boarding pass. It was not clear to me when our flight actually left, what the issue with our tickets was, or even what time it was currently,  but my family was slowly spreading out through gift shops and restaurants, there was but one agent, and a long line behind me getting more and more impatient while security personnel, oddly European looking, hovered nearby in case I dare raise my voice too loud. It was a frustrating dream.

However, it was occurring while I was in a lucid state. I consciously knew it was a dream, I knew it was actually 3 AM, that I was uncomfortably laying in my bed and that there was no flight to catch. But I wanted to show that travel agent that I could get on that plane… yes, the imaginary one from my dream… I was invested.

It is odd what we often become invested in. Sometimes it is simply from habits. Once we invest enough time in something we want to ‘see it through’. We maintain an idea of how it will be. We project into the future a completion and vision of what that future will look like. Whether your a meth head stealing a TV with an idea of being high soon, or a CEO trying to save a company from a disastrous quarter, the base motivations are the same. Life is like X, and you want it like Y.

Investment is a two-edged sword. It is both a powerful tool to help accomplish things and a basis for a lot of unhappiness.

As we project out an idea of how our life will be we create essentially an imaginary idea. This is based on the past, but typically includes presumptions of how we want current things to change. This often results in two separate views of the future. One is actual reality. That is the way things actually are. The other is your expected reality. The way you wanted things to be when you reached this point in time and space.

Visualize this as a vector. From one point you have a line heading straight up. This is Actual Reality. A few degrees off to the side lets say at about 1 o’clock on a clock face, you have an equal distance line. This is your Expected Reality.

vectors 1

As these lines continue to diverge the gap between them gets larger and larger. It is this gap that we fill with disappointment, spite, disillusionment, and regret. The further these lines diverge, the greater the space to fill.

If we maintain an investment in our expected reality the gap widens. We must, therefore, maintain an integrity of mind and choose to invest in actual reality in progressing towards our imaginary future while ensuring we do confuse what actually IS with what we imagined.

We can aspire towards a future happily if we continuously reset our current view to be in line with actual reality. We must be invested in the change we wish to see, but not in the imaginary future we associate with it.

They certainly are different!

While comfortably musing as an older member of society and contemplating the age old question of the aged, “What is wrong with this new generation?” a thought occurred to me.

In my opinion, there is nothing “wrong” with this next generation. They are just different, just as we were different from our parents and they were different from theirs. The drastic shift in the environment which each generation is reared in is enough to create divide between each successive group of young people.

My grandparents were born in the early 1900s. As children they saw the first world war. As young adults they saw the Second World War , The rise of commercial air travel, the delivery of basic services to each household, electric, water, sewer. They watched the expansion of residential phone service. With each step the world seemed smaller and smaller.

My parents generation were born into a period of isolationism. As young adults they saw the Second World War. They watched on TV the news of Kennedy’s assassination and the start of the Cold War. They also saw the world grow smaller as air travel became cheaper and the government installed the Eisenhower interstate system. It is interesting to note though that post World War II up through the 70s toys and products were still primarily made of wood and metal.

My generation, those well on their way to being grandfathers and grandmothers now, saw an explosion of plastics in every part of life. A move towards rabid consumerism and a shift to a disposable society. The post 60s era disposed of the sanctity of many belief structures. And the expansion of large government programs struck at the foundation of American families.

At each transition from generation to generation there was likely many people asking the same question:

“What is wrong with this new generation?”

Well, they certainly are different!

​In hindsight

In hindsight it seems that in my youth I was much more motivated by where I wanted to be and how to get there. I thought about success, or at least believed it, though I don’t really recall ever defining what success looked like. Other than the idea that success was somewhere different than where I was.
As I grow older it seems that I have shifted my my motivation at some point. I am now much more motivated by figuring out where I don’t want to be and how not to be there.

In hindsight it seems that in my youth I was much more motivated by how to attain things, or at least believed that in attaining things I would find more happiness.

As I grow older it seems that I have shifted away from that desire. I am now much more motivated to shed and discard things from my life. Both material in the sense of things, and in responsibilities and desires. 

​Distance between neurons

The distance between two neurons is about 3.5 nm. That is a mere  .0000035 centimeters or 0.000137795  thousandths of an inch.

And the speed of a neural impulse can be as fast as 200 or more miles per hour though other impulses,  such as pain impulses, can travel as slow as 0.61 m/s or 1.365 mph.

Impressive?.. yes, but even the top speed of a nerve impulse through the body is still 3 million times slower than the speed of electricity through a wire.

The closer a neuron is to its neighbor the faster it can transfer the nerve impulse. At each junction, a series of electrochemical reactions occur that enable the nerve impulse to move between neurons and therefore through the nervous system.

Within the nervous system, the repetitive reuse of a nerve path reinforces the path and leads a faster pathway.  Much like the plasticity of the brain in adapting to a person’s repetitive work,  an athlete’s ability improves with practice over time because the entirety of their body adapts to minute changes in behavior and repetitive activity.

Even the skeletal system strengthens, and bones become stronger for people practicing karate due to repetitive impacts.

The muscular system redistributes stored energy into key muscle groups to be more readily available depending on the type of repetitive activity. Even the respiratory system adapts itself to be more efficient for a repetitive anaerobic or aerobic activity such as wind sprints vs long distance running.

This biological fact is the foundation of mastery of in life. The creation of structure, a particular form or technique, and repetition (practice) is essential to improvement.

This is true for all activities that people engage in. Whether the goal is a 5-minute mile (3.1 min kilometer), a wicked backhand in tennis, speed reading 500wpm, dance, prayer, a musical instrument, meditation or even performing a single 800 pound (363 kg) deadlift as your friend records you for a youtube video.

This fact is also true for nonorganic organisms. Companies refine processes over time to add efficiency or remove inefficiencies. People become better at what they do for hobbies, jobs, and even socially with repetition.  How well a companies processes are initially designed to support the organization as a whole,  and the ability to adapt processes over time to the organizational needs as a whole, and not to a specific group or a department’s needs in isolation, is how companies improve.

When a company’s individual groups attempt to develop in isolation or adopt processes that make themselves appear successful at the expense of other parts it creates an imbalance.  This is not a matter of intent, but of objective measurement.  Just as we cannot assume a professional bowler is healthy because they develop a very particular set of bowling skills.

So in our increasingly academic world of knowledge workers, true performance is still a measure stemming from the body as a whole, be it the inescapable biological aspect of life on earth as an individual, or a collective body with shared goals such as a company or sports team, it would do well in all cases to consider our goals and actions in a more holistic manner. Considering not only what needs to be done, but how you will do it and what impact this has on other goals or other people, and whether your assessment or expectations of what success looks like for the particular action is intellectually honest.

The trick it seems is in maintaining some level of objectivity that removes you from the immediate needs of the moment and allows you some space where you can accomplish two things,  1) ‘choose to care’ and 2) ‘determining what to care about’.

Life builds momentum for repeated behavior and companies create policies and procedures to follow.   If you are able to ‘choose to care’ and ‘determine what to care about’ it affords you an ability to think outside of the immediate moment or the process you are following and consider whether your actions are in concert with other goals or how they may impact others.








Free Beer Tomorrow !!!

What is left of a life lived in the pursuit of concepts?

Success, Progress, Achievement, Productivity, goal?based fulfillment, attainment, what are these to a person that has been dead for a day, an hour, a second?

What are these things to the ones left living?  Do we think back fondly to our Grandfathers, Grandmothers, and ancestors and think… “YES, the sum total of their efforts to external things really worked out well.”  Or do we recall the time they gave us… the quality of our interactions, the relationships.  Do we consider their intent, or judge only on the results of their actions.

Does it matter how much money and wealth a relative has left in their wake if they were unkind to their children, angry, or short tempered with everyone they knew?

Are we defined by firmly held opinions about transient issues?

Do we accept our opinions as facts to quickly?

Do we invest in being Right about something, more than understanding its nature?

A life lived in the pursuit of tomorrow is the equivalent of a bar sign reading “Free Beer Tomorrow”.  It is a belief and an expectation, neither of which having anything to do with the razors sharp edge of existence, the instantaneous, perpetual, finite, infinite now.

Nothing Ever Happens on a Global Scale

Life is often a matter of scale. The overwhelming weight of 35,000 years of human history finds us toiling away on this earth amongst nearly 8,000,000,000 of our brethren and yet Friday can seem a long way off.  Statistics identify that at every second of every day lightning is striking the earth somewhere and yet there is a quiet repose when watching an approaching storm. An individual driving off for holiday on Memorial Day weekend is stuck in traffic pondering the philosophical question of “where in the world are all these people going, and why do they have to be in front of me?”

The trick it seems is in understanding your applied scale and then being able to choose it.  The golden age of communication that we now live in provides a constant stream of information from around the globe. Of which most is inane, negative, and fleeting in any importance. The conscious mind must be a gate keeper as the unconscious mind is a purveyor of all thoughts that are entertained. Horror movies do cause bad dreams, bad news from 1000 miles away can make you sad and for the soldier fighting in a far off land, the idea of death is not just a mental concept.

The mantra of “think global, act locally” as often cited, is at odds with itself as much as it is seemingly foolish.  The idea that an individual in America can help Africans facing a drought by taking two-minute showers is vanity at best and egocentric narcissism at worst.   However, if taken in a different way it accurately defines the role of the missionary who is willing to change their locality, but that idea is one of selflessness and not self-fullness.  The non-communicated requirement for this statement to be anything but folly is that you must be local to global issue you are to take action for. So there off you would be better saying “be local, act locally”, which is more a statement of what is real than some ideological expression as you are bound to your present location as inseparable as you are bound to your arms and legs.

Being a body that sits always in a single place within time and space we are only able to view the world from a perspective of “Self” and all of human history is more a summary of results from individual actions than of a collective. We do not express the purpose of a vehicle by detailing the individual functions of its many parts any more than an obituary list the historical changes in the world during one’s period of life.

From birth to death the constant element is ‘Self’.  Without this, there is no conscious, no responsibility, no action, and no progress. It is all the individual parts, fulfilling their individual purposes that make the vehicle go.  It is local, insulated action or inaction that makes the world what it is.  From sacrifice to murder, from salvation to suffering, from pleasure to pain, it all begins and ends with “Self”, and at the same time that by itself is not very impressive.