Life is for Living

This blog is to collect random thoughts that don't really have a structure, except a publishing chronology, and even that is unlikely to follow the creation chronology.

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Calm, excited, weak, strong, funny, serious, lazy, worker, irresponsible, thinker, shallow, selfish, generous, spontaneous, impulsive, undecided, poor, rich, tall(ish), ignorant, cultured, sophisticated, procrastinator, stoopid, clever. Pick any two, or more... ;-) 
One of my favorite quotes: "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well reserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming... 'Wow! What a ride!' "

Generally interested in a lot of subjects:
- Artificial Intelligence (mostly because there's so little Natural Intelligence around)
- 3D printing
- DIY projects (including home foundry, electronics, general hacking)
- Scuba diving
- Mountaineering
- Paragliding
- Music
- Arts (mostly visual arts) including street art
- Dance
- Intentional communities
- Society in general, how to fix the current mess in particular, or rather how to escape it

Saturday, March 13, 2010

About voting...

There's a lot of talk in all media about voting, as France is getting ready to vote yet again. Well, it is assumed that when somebody says "France", it is meant to be all the French people. Or the majority. Or the ones who count...
And here we have the perfect illustration of one of the language abuse that get committed routinely, in all media: "France has elected a new president", "France won a gold medal", "France are the football world champions", "France's debt is too high". All the French inhabitants are lumped together in a uniform mass and it is assumed that whatever applies to France also applies to each individually.
How easy it is, then, to decide on policies that will make it all better for "France"... regardless of the consequences for most of the French people. Any measure that increase GDP is a good measure, isn't it? Surely, with a higher gross income per capita, everybody will benefit. It doesn't matter that rising average income in a population means most people at the bottom of the ladder earn LESS, because those at the top earn MUCH MORE.
Explaining that would be too complicated. "They" wouldn't understand...
A few days ago, there was a projection of Ken Loach's film "Bread and roses" in a local cinema, followed by a debate. The evening was organised by Amnesty International, to highlight the plight of immigrant women in the US, and generalize it to their situation worldwide.
In the ensuing discussion(not much of a debate, actually, as these sessions are only attended by people that all agree with each other's opinion to a great extent) one person in the audience asked a question, and the moderator's reply was that it would be too complicated to answer the question, implying that time was limited, as was the intellectual capacity of the audience. We rail against the chunk-bites formatting of most media nowadays, the lack of analysis, but when opportunities arise to widen the field, it takes too much effort, or it's too complicated, or too difficult.
That's probably one of the strengths of the right-wing parties all over the world: they make promises that fit nicely in sound-bites, and never fail to highlight the left parties failures to keep their promises...
Is there an example of a country somewhere, anywhere, where the population managed to exert meaningful change through the electoral process? I'm not talking about changing the color of the curtains in the National Assembly, or the token change of tax rate progressive factors, but the actual change of system. One of the articles in the current issue of Le Monde Diplomatique covers a report issued in December 2009 by New Economics Foundation titled "A bit rich". I highly recommend the reading of this report, as it brings water to my mill: the highest paid jobs are actually the most destructive to our society. Contrary to what we've been told, a rising tide does not float all boats. At least not the ones that have been scuttled by the financial (capitalist) pirates during the plundering...
There isn't a single political party in tomorrow's elections that advocates radical change. Lutte Ouvrière, one of the two "radical" parties, is probably the one that should be the furthest from the current system, advocates for the return to class war, but to obtain a better wealth distribution, not to upset the system.
The "Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste" (NPA) offers an end to capitalism, but without saying what will replace it, all the while guaranteeing jobs for everyone...
Is it a surprise that the people that want real change won't even go to the booths?
Voting is choosing who is going to dominate us.


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