The Big Picture

Like the scene on the battlefront in a war, there is much smoke, flying debris, destruction and conflict, but the scene is a battle for the ethos of the United States. Mariner decided to get above the commotion by sitting on one of 8,000 satellites in low Earth orbit and looking down at the fray.

Battles for ethos occur, on average, every 61 years. Unfortunately, every change in ethos included a military war.[1] The nation has begun another battle for ethos, launched by the election of Donald Trump.

Ethos is a word that describes the innate spirit and purpose of an institution; in this case the institution is the United States. Ethos is an attitude carried by every citizen without conscious awareness yet it shapes the self-perception of what every citizen believes is a national role in society, morality and among other nations.

The political energy required to shift a national ethos is immense. It takes time, economic transition, generational adaptation, international acceptance and a period of stability. Even so, there are citizens who continue to oppose change for many reasons, e.g., racism and, currently, Reaganomics. In each transition of ethos there are always progressives and conservatives but a third issue is necessary – usually requiring cultural adaptation. Today, it is the global pressure on the role of a nation where technology ignores boundaries and global warming threatens global economics.

When will military war occur? It seems there is a point where the old ways want no more change and like the way things are whereas new behaviors, economic opportunity and moral stress want to move on.

Will war emerge in Taiwan and the Pacific Rim?

Will extended war erupt in Europe versus Russia?

Is it possible that war could erupt in the U.S. between populated states and Dixie all over again – a war fought in the Constitution?

Could it be an economic war between plutocracy and democracy?

Sitting on this satellite, mariner perceives one thing: It is far from over.

Ancient Mariner

[1] Independence 1776, Civil 1861, WW1 1914, Vietnam, 1975, in process 2016.

Population

For the last few days mariner has been poking about in information about global population. As a general introduction to the subject, below is a clip from the New Statesman, a British web magazine:

“Japan’s prime minister Kishida Fumio warned last week that the country’s demographic crisis was approaching a tipping point. “Our nation is on the cusp of whether it can maintain its societal functions,” Kishida told the Japanese parliament on 23 January. “It is now or never when it comes to policies regarding births and child-rearing – it is an issue that simply cannot wait any longer.”

This is not an overstatement. Japan already has one of the world’s oldest populations (second only to the city-state of Monaco), and it is ageing rapidly. In 2022, the number of births fell below 800,000 for the first time since records began (in 1899), eight years earlier than the government had predicted. This compares to more than 2 million births per year during the baby boom of the 1970s. Life expectancy has also increased. This means that almost a third of the population – 30 per cent – is now aged 65 or above according to the World Bank, raising the cost of social security programmes, such as pensions and medical care, while the proportion of The working-age people who pay into these programmes is shrinking.”

This perspective pretty much describes the situation for virtually every developed nation. In the United States, the U.S. Census Bureau released estimates showing the nation’s 65-and-older population has grown rapidly since 2010, driven by the aging of Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964. The 65-and-older population has increased by over a third during the last decade.

Couple that with Japan’s other concern about fewer workers to support discretionary funding for things like retirement, Social Security and health care, and the U.S. clearly is on the same path as Japan.

Mariner’s interest in global population began as just a curiosity but the elephant in the room forces a serious fear about the United States comparable even to the devastation of global warming.

The elephant is the ultra-conservative movement in the U.S. Their focus is to reduce taxes, attack Social Security and stop immigration – the big three associated with the subject of population. Does the electorate prefer stupid, self-centered legislators? Consider George Santos, Marjorie Taylor Greene et al. Is the atmosphere in legislative chambers filled with debilitating drugs?

One day, Alfie, the government will represent the best interests of the nation, but not soon.

Ancient Mariner

It is over.

The battle to sustain individuality and Homo sapiens authenticity has been won by AI. Watch the following clip then read on:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s11k0yAA8ZQ

Already AI is good enough to write novels, essays, legal briefs and singlehandedly manage most trades on the stock exchange. The ability for anyone to write any style of entertainment is just one database away.

With the invention of the gene splitter Crispr, AI will be able to pool all human variations into a massive database so parents can pick any child they want. Who wants a Donald Trump lookalike? How about triplets that are the Kingston Trio?

But then AI will perceive that it is much simpler to have one version of humans; just think how efficient that would be for politics, medicine, and one would need only one football team.

Perhaps it will be less expensive if humans had no need to travel.

Welcome to Matrix.

Goodbye.

Ancient Mariner

Blur

The conflagration of our global society continues unabated. Around the world political leadership is absent. In the US, governments at all levels are narcissistic; while Rome burns, Missouri is preoccupied with what women can wear to the legislature; abortion medication, clearly a private and personal situation is threatened by legislatures unaware of the real, critical issues that face the American citizen. Housing alone is a devastating issue far beyond a family’s ability to manage.

But we already know this. The cultural war that began over slavery continues today. It was as keenly about economics as it was about race; today economics still remains a divided issue between Dixie/isolationist states and highly populated/industrial states. For most of the nation’s history this cultural impasse has smoldered but in just a few decades modern telecommunication has allowed verbal armies to form instantaneously and reach every State. The American culture reeks of rotting oligarchs, gun murderers, increasing starvation, homelessness and obstructionists who destroy society rather than fix it. But we already know this.

The new ingredient is speed. Changing culture, economics, classism and standards of morality are flying through very little time at very high speed. Can the reader count the individual wing strokes of a hummingbird feeding at a flower? Is our same unknown factor, speed of change, an added consternation? Is the increased angst caused because we can’t step through change? Rather, it is stepping through us and not waiting for our judgment.

No one, not the citizenry, not Congress, not State legislatures, not Wall Street manipulators, has been able to harness this stallion of change. It runs free with virtually no control. How far afield will the stallion run before it is caught and reined into usefulness?

We stand aside and watch massive corporations take over government functions.

We watch forlornly as storefronts go the way of horse and buggy.

We shudder as powerful communication devices steal the dynamism of individuality.

We cower as incompetent governments hurt our lives more than they help.

Will it all end in apocalypse? Will it suddenly rise out of the night like a bright Sunrise? Who knows?

Let’s try to count those hummingbird wings to give us some insight.

Ancient Mariner

 

Pakistan

Until 2010, Pakistan was an economic powerhouse of the Middle East. Its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at $263 billion was ten times larger than second ranked Sudan at $26 billion.

In 2010, Pakistan had more than a million acres flooded by a storm that swept giant ocean surges far inland, decimating the agricultural base of the nation. In 2022, mountain snow melt from the Himalayan mountains swamped the country’s entire economic base.

Pakistan is centrally located in the Middle East and has a long border with India. While border confrontations have occurred in Kashmir, the two nations recognize one another in trade. Pakistan is bound by Iran to the west, Afghanistan to the northwest and north, China to the northeast, and India to the east and southeast. The coast of the Arabian Sea forms its southern border. Clearly in the center of the Middle East and a gateway to China and India plus access to global seaports make Pakistan a natural player at the center of economics and politics.

But no more. Pakistan’s economy has collapsed; its government structure is dysfunctional. Recovering the damage to the citizenry will cost more than $16.3 billion.

Pakistan is cited because it is more than a small island nation sinking into rising seas. Pakistan was a worldwide player with a slowly but continuously growing reputation among its neighbors. But Mother Earth advanced the global warming war from the Arabian Sea and from the Himalayan mountains. A Putin-style bullet war could not do this much damage.

The seacoast of Pakistan looks a lot like the eastern seacoast of the United States, around Florida and all the way to the Texas/Mexico Border. Fortunately, the US is a much larger nation than Pakistan with more than one narrow agricultural area. So far, Mother Earth is lobbing notable storms into the Gulf coast and Florida; as a diversion, she is engineering a major water shortage in the Rockies and California and this year started on the Mississippi River – preventing many river-dependent supply chains from operating.

Nations are not messing with an inexperienced, underfunded adversary. It is the nations that are underfunded – by several magnitudes. As humans continue to throw Carbon Dioxide and Methane into the atmosphere, as humans barbarically continue to destroy and contaminate the Earth’s environment, as thousands of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians and microorganisms disappear, dare we expect that Mother Earth will turn her head away?

Will the US be able to maintain leadership in the world when trillions of dollars must be spent in the war with Mother Earth to salvage Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charlotte, one-third of the land mass of Florida, Houston, one-fourth of Louisiana, San Francisco and Seattle? Perhaps Central America will disappear, and the Panama Canal will not be needed.

Mariner has not invented this dilemma. All the assumptions already have been discussed by scientists and futurists. Like a real bullet war, the battlefronts will shift, and the time may drag on but a war it is.

Ancient Mariner

Get ready, Get set, VOTE!

Stole the next paragraph from the Atlantic:

“For the U.S. House, where multimember districts would be allowed by the Constitution (but are banned by statute), switching to proportional representation would most directly break the two-party hegemony. Rather than splitting, for example, Arizona into nine separate congressional districts, all Arizonans could vote in the same statewide, multiparty election. Parties would win seats in direct proportion to their statewide vote share, so a party that gets a third of the votes in Arizona would get three of nine seats in Congress. Each party would select its candidates, instead of hosting primaries. Just as in our current system, general-election voters would choose their preferred candidate. The difference is that those ballots would also count toward the total vote share for that candidate’s party. A party that gets three seats would send its three most popular candidates to Congress. Giving political parties the ability to vet and choose their own nominees strengthens the parties’ ability to give voters clear choices.”

The premise is that confrontational parties cannot evolve into “neutral” political opinion. In some ways related to rank voting, in this process any and all parties could vote for the same candidate regardless of district; this approach would greatly weaken the advantage gained through gerrymandering.

A new thought about a well-rooted problem in our government. Offered for your cogitation.

Ancient Mariner

The Zones

A reader asked about the four zones of awareness. Rather than repeat the explanation, anyone interested should read ‘On Morality -2’ published September 30, 2022. One point that is very, very important to understand is that the virtue of the four zones of emotional awareness is dependent on the zones that precede each one.

For example, if one murders their spouse, beats their children and kicks the dog, these intimate behaviors will carry forward – perhaps friends and extended family should interact carefully. Further, one’s prejudices may provoke violence against other races or attack the US Capitol.  In the recognition zone, where our values depend on subconsciously formed opinions, the lack of a structured morality in previous zones allows irrational interpretations to be one’s guideline – perhaps murder some Asians.

The fourth zone, ‘inactive’, is the zone where people are dependent on society to set the standard. The most obvious failure is the Nazi holocaust. Jews may have had the most virtuous ethical values in the first three zones but the fourth failed to set a viable standard. There are journalists that bring up this comparison when reflecting on American social ethics.

As with Germany and the holocaust, it will take the US citizenry – along with great effort and sacrifice – to reinforce virtuous behavior in our society.

Ancient Mariner

Democratic Nationalism

Television news, newspapers, magazines, internet news sources – all are filled with the difficulties of living in today’s topsy turvy world. Older folk can remember when the times had their difficulties, but the society was stable; people knew where they stood in the big picture. There is no big picture today. There are some worldwide, complex issues that may take several decades to reconcile.

Interestingly, the concept of ‘nation’ is under duress. This is due to a significant change in how economies work: supply chains are managed by corporations, not nations. An analogy would be that nations have become like unions in a struggle to control benefits. Also stressing nations is that the Internet and AI are too fast and too universal to be contained within superficial borders. It may come to pass that nations have a role more like regional collaborators for best practices rather than controlling economies directly.

Obviously, the issues with global resources and global warming together will be a major ‘earthquake’ as population outruns natural resources. These issues, too, will strain the role of a nation.

Riding such a high-speed rail of change raises risk for accidents. Nationalism is undergoing major adjustment in a new era; an accident may be to allow dictatorships or corporatism to replace much of nationalism’s role. Far more important than the old-fashioned East-West competition is to hold on to democracy. If democracy fails as a major philosophy and individuals no longer have a say in the world order, Armageddon will arrive much sooner – or some Matrix variation thereof.

Important news to follow is related to:

The philosophical outcome of Putin’s war. Is the European Union still one political entity (watch Great Britain and Germany in particular)? Has the consortium of authoritarian nations in the Middle East collapsed? Has Russia itself reinstated a genuine democracy?

South America seems intent on promoting authoritarianism. Will the United States be able to have direct influence in South American political philosophy or will China continue to back friendly dictatorships? Will America and international groups like G7 solve the immigration problem by underwriting large economic change in dysfunctional nations? A small cousin to the South American issue are the Caribbean and Gulf islands – even Puerto Rico isn’t happy with the US.

Pay attention to who controls public services, governments or corporations. A good example in the news today is the uncontrolled economic influence of corporations in the health industry. With much news coverage is the invasion into health services by Amazon and the hidden invasion into hospitals by venture capitalists. Pharmaceuticals have been an issue for decades. Also pay attention to support for senior citizens and common measures of human worth represented by policies on minimum wage and wealth taxes. If governments are to have a say in the future, they must be able to use taxes as an economic tool. Another sector under duress is all types of education, which have a growing investment by corporations.

So – intellectually there is a battle between 2oth century capitalism and 21st century socialism. Economically there is a battle between corporatism and democracy. Globally between China and the United States there is a battle for dominance in a one-world government.

The elephant in the room is physical war. What would it be like for significant portions of the world to live in battle-scarred ruins?

Ancient Mariner

The Election

First and foremost to celebrate is the election of the first Zer to Congress. At the age of 25 Maxwell Frost was elected to represent the 10th Congressional District in Florida. When Max was born in 1997, Chuck Grassley (R-IA) was 63 and had served in Congress since 1981.

It isn’t just republicans. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, is 82 – less than a year younger than mariner. Mariner remembers when she was a teenage hottie in Baltimore. Not to mention Biden, Sumer, McConnell and the Trumper as well.

The median age of Congress is 60! Mariner thinks about this as he rakes fallen leaves out of the garden. Many of the large issues clouding over the nation and the world today cannot be managed by individuals whose intuition was formed when most telephone networks required talking to human telephone operators or when Bill Gates was 10 years old. The first credit card wasn’t around until 1958; Chuck Grassley was 18. Can Chuck comprehend the social, economic and family impact of going Crypto?

But putting mariner’s crankiness aside, it was a night to celebrate! The Red Tide did not appear. Most of the election deniers were defeated (but many remain – the republican party still has some huge issues). As this post is written, the Senate leadership is unknown but both houses of Congress are close enough to require an attempt at negotiation.

It was an election balanced enough to keep the nation’s head above water and possibly deal with two imminent wars and a never ceasing invasion by global warming.

Bring on the Zs!

Ancient Mariner

For What it’s Worth

There isn’t much further to be offered by mariner. The entire world is in a state of upheaval not seen by planet, man or beast for the last 300,000 years. There are none among us who can foresee the future reconciliation of the turmoil. There are none among us with the strength and wisdom to command the tiller of history.

Overly truncated, he will share a few random thoughts that linger.

֎ To reduce the faith Jesus proposed to one observation, He said what matters to you for your own wellbeing is irrelevant. All that matters is what you do for the wellbeing of others – only in this act will you know the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus knew in his heart, however, that humans were simply over-intelligent chimpanzees so he offered forgiveness to provide time for humans to discover how Christianity worked. He was overly kind – perhaps a weakness in His doctrine.

֎ If, If democracy continues to clatter along for the next two years, only the option to run Biden again will avoid the collapse of Federal relevance. Both parties are in frightful disarray. In a time when the economy is a critical factor, a collapsed Congress led by a zealot, red or blue, will be useless.

֎ The only solution that avoids oligarchy and authoritarianism is to turn the tax structure upside down. Where is FDR?

֎ The world is headed toward corporatism. Super-sized corporations will assume control of many government functions; for example, capitalizing the health industry. The backbone of policy will no longer be driven by nations but by the internet.

֎ It is a personal fear that mankind will not survive global warming. Social collapse will occur. An example from history is the fall of the Roman Empire.

Will there be a global ‘dark age’?

֎ The one sustaining force that may sustain humanity for a coming communistic age is family unity. Not the nuclear family – a victim of technology and automation – but geographically bound multi-generational families that can muster a meager GDP for themselves. Was Jesus right?

But hang in there to witness a polar magnetic reversal, a Solar storm and, if you live long enough, a major ice age – all within the next 200,000 years.

Ancient Mariner