Our Duty to Know

The mariner reported recently that only 42 percent of people polled knew about the existence of ObamaCare (Health Care Reform and The Affordable Care Act). One would think with the saturation of news stations, newspapers, magazines, and the political party battles, the percentage would be a lot higher. A citizen must cast the log from their own eye before they cast the forest out of the eye of Congress.

Our culture is changing ever faster in every respect. Money flies across the internet within seconds; within a decade plastic cards will eliminate paper money as the common format for financial transactions. Technology alters our daily habits. One simple example is the telephone. The mariner’s parents had one telephone from 1949 to 1963 then had to update their model when tone dialing replaced the clicking noises of the round dial telephone. In recent years, the telephone has changed not only its appearance and technology; it is changing every six months. It barely can be called a telephone as Internet technology has made it a toy, a movie theater, a television, a teletype machine and provides banking and retail services – oh, and voice communication.

The telephone is just one example of how our view of the world has changed and how we communicate – who would have thought that the U.S. Postal Service would become an anachronism? The mariner has mentioned in other posts the disappearance of privacy – a subtle but very important element of personal freedom.

Our duty to know goes beyond everyday habits. The advances in medicine and science will change the definition of what life means, how long we will live, what our medical policy for patient care will be in the future, even how we apply religion and faith to our behavior. Great moral issues will be tested as medicine extends the actuary tables beyond the age of 100; Social Security, Welfare and virtually all the laws, regulations and expectations associated with the human condition must change dramatically. This change is at our doorstep and modifies our financial security as we grow older.

Science has left us in the dust as it redefines reality, how the Earth works, and what the role of technology will be in our society when computers and robots are as aware as we are and can think faster, and immediately understand emotions as a cause and effect phenomenon.

Then there is the whole issue of government in the grips of immoral forces that want to shut out those who need the government for survival: virtually all elected officials are in government to get rich, not to serve the democratic principles of a once great nation.

The point is this: Each of us, for our own wellbeing, must read more, listen more, and think more critically about our culture. It used to be one would go to school for a while, learn a trade or business, and spend our middle and later years becoming more experienced and skilled at the trade we learned when we were younger and at some point retire to a relatively comfortable lifestyle. This is no longer true. What we learned in school and in our early adult years lose value quickly. More and more workers are discovering that financial life ends at fifty – with medicine providing another fifty years of life with marginal income.

For our own survival, it is our duty to know what is happening around us in government, education, banking, earth sciences, medicine and our own security in what is a very volatile oligarchy.

Ancient Mariner

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