My migraine is much decreased, but continues as a pulsing invitation to relapse in my left hemisphere. That problem became so severe in recent months, it pressured my right eardrum and interfered with hearing. That doesn't sound serious, but there was more - this is more than CFS. Anyway, I can't go out cuz relapse will ensue. And I shouldn't even miss the resting by posting here - plus I hate posting when my mind can't really command ideas, etc., as well as it should. But what I hate more is NOT doing anything when I CAN do something - even if it means thwarting my health. Living with CFS is so aggravating, even when you seem to feel not too bad).
Hi! My name is Jack, and I'm here to talk to you about BEANS. We all know that those bean-counting FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS like to nickle-and-dime us with fees and penalties and all that. Well, I'd like to talk to you about the nature of a certain financial industry which likes to refer to itself as "The INSURANCE Industry" ha ha - isn't that a joke. Well, just like the credit card companies, it has bean-bagged us with similar charges and outlandish legalese and fine print: But even more-so, it has put us through a year of watching CONGRESS COUNTING THE BEANS, concerning INSURANCE COMPANIES, all to no avail, because everyone enjoys abuse, yes? What is the nature of this "INSURANCE" game in our society? What are these so-called "Insurance Policies"?
A - They are COMMUNISM.
B - They are useful tools of enriching the middle class.
C - They are Ponzi Schemes!
I have a number of topics I am hoping I can cover adeptly... I remember once - before I had to "grow up" - telling a roommate that I wasn't sure I supported the concept of private INSURANCE. "WHAT? How can you not be in favour of INSURANCE?!" he said. But that's not what I said, I said I was not SURE... It was something I was THINKING about... And so, LIKE A GROWN-UP, I WAS SIMPLY INTRODUCING A TOPIC INTO NORMAL CONVERSATION. Since he was already locked in BLAMING mode, I discerned correctly that he was not worth the breath. He was the same way when we tried to play guitar and harmonica together - he banged away harshly on his steel strings, not very well, and yelled at me for not bending my C harmonica to the various chords in HIS choice of boring blues songs. Well, as great as I am at harmonica, I can't bend a C harmonica to every chord. Once again, I simply had to hope that this guy would eventually grow up. Instead, he became a Republican - big surprise, right?... (When all answers are already in your head before you even ask the questions - and when you finally extort enough money through the old-boys-network, you don't even have to ask questions anymore. Ha!)
Anyway, I wanted to open up the brief topic of INSURANCE with this extended illustration because the extension leads into other topics of this (or other) post(s).
INSURANCE: I just heard that the "Sherona", of the Knack's song, "My Sherona!", is now an insurance salesperson in L.A. - good luck with that, hey... Private insurance is a relatively new idea in the history of civilisation - even newer than the FREE ENTERPRISE of Adam Smith. Back when it was first introduced, I imagine it may have been as much of a threat to the powers-that-be as labour unions have been a little more recently, since it offered some stability to poorer people, meaning they could not so easilly be exploited, co-opted, corrupted, etc. And, I imagine that it was quickly seen, by the powers-that-be, as an excellent tool of capitalism, hedging risks for large corporations, as well as skimming off a nice capital surplus for investment and accelerated growth and/or/and personal wealth/enrichment. Yum!
The funny thing is this: Insurance is Communism. OK, let's simply call it Socialism. But it's a queer kind of socialism, as it is managed by corporations, and most commonly: by pro-CAPITALISTS. In it's basic form, socialism may take away some individual motivation - it depends upon the nature and wealth of the society.
When Socialism takes the form of insurance, where the corporation skims off a little profit, it takes away a little more. Less abstractly, insured people are somewhat less self-motivated when they don't have to struggle to survive, or worry so much about suddenly becoming homeless. But this is fine in a FREE ENTERPRISE system, where many insurance companies compete to keep the degree of profit-skimming very low. Taken with this is the value of freeing insured people to now motivate towards pursuing things of convenience - products, services, mobility, etc. - which not only renders practically irrelevant their PRIMAL dis-motivations, but expands the economy, increases the middle class, and enriches overall FREE ENTERPRISE, so long as it is appropriately regulated.
For, if FREE ENTERPRISE is not regulated, it would not be long before insurance companies became the very blood-sucking capitalist overlords which the Commies warned about, lest they be managed by some religious or moral corporations, which nevertheless have their own megalomanic tendencies and agendae. COMMUNITY-MANAGED insurance companies are preferable, but generally not well supported or preserved by government and competitors, given some short-comings.
The point is this: In an economic system of FREE ENTERPRISE, insurance tends to be a good thing. It is a good thing IN THEORY, because, due to various human, corporate and government failings, and the facts of ENTROPY, systems of true FREE ENTERPRISE, which are rather compatible with democracy, don't last very long. Insurance companies give way to monopolies, and/or other economic forces increase the overall risk and/or expense, and so it costs more and more to run a insurance company without resorting to the likes of: corporate raidings; violating anti-trust laws; playing numbers games on wall street; increasing rates, and expelling people with pre-existing conditions.
Thus in a pro-CAPITALIST system, i.e., a monopolist or corporatist system as we have today, (as opposed to Adam Smith's FREE ENTERPRISE system), the game of insurance more reintroduces the drag of PRIMAL DIS-MOTIVATON at the EXPENSE of motivation-towards-convenience, and thus removes the social and economic utility of insurance, towards the benefit of the elite: the exploiting capitalists and government persons and families managing the now-monopolistic insurance corporations.
Just as the great majority of jobs are created by small business, the great majority of people in this country today are FREE ENTERPRISE by occupation, in that their labour and activities produce and increase things and services of VALUE. Furthermore their occupations tend to support wide-scale competition in business, as FREE ENTERPRISE creates real wealth in the economy.
Note: The relative values here, however, are debatable). Less than 1% of the population is actually CAPITALIST by occupation, in that these people merely play with money - syphoning up money, making money off of money, playing the numbers, managing all the rest of us...
The philosophical breakdown might look more like this:
A - Capitalist elite: less than 2% (Actual capitalists)
B - In bed with the Capital Elite: 5% (OTHER Wealthiest families, gov't, media)
C - Others benefitting somewhat from Capital Elites: 8% (The temporary elite, gov't, media)
D - Other invested Capitalist Wanna-Be's: 15% (Business, Dupes and Chumps, Republican)
E - Other Capitalist Wanna-Be's bought-out by Capital Elites & associated Business: 15% (Teabaggers, Religious Right, GOP)
F - Other defenders of "The Capitalist System" and "Pro-Free-Market" 15%: (Other Republican, ConservaDems)
G - "Dissonants", i.e., Pro-"Capitalist System" and Pro-"Free Enterprise": 10% (Democrats, lower middle class, labor, libertarian, progressives)
H - Anti-Capitalist Pro-Free-Enterprise: 10% (PROGRESSIVES, Libertarians, Marginalised, labor, Poor)
I - "Dissidents", i.e., Anti-Capitalist Socialist, Communist, Anarchist: 5% (Radical, Alienated, Poor, Other Progressive)
J - Ignorant/Unaffiliated: 15% (Various, Mainly Poor)
(NOTE: Independents are scattered all about. "G/h" prolly being the statistical mean).
(PERSONAL: I have to wrap this up ASAP and try to get along to getting other things done. My relapse/migraine has been bubbling up and down. Now I am making pseudo-Hispanic cornbread and boiled potatoes, after finally playing with dog. I really want hush puppies. I'll divide this post into two or three PARTS, and I'll get along to post a more fun ABOUT ME AND MY DOG post in a day or so if possible).
CONTINUING: Well, this makes it look like the majority of people are Capitalists, when in actuality the huge majority, perhaps 70%-80%, are FREE ENTERPRISERS. The majority of people are mislead into the promise that the "CAPITALIST (elite) system," and it's government and media reinforcements, is the system that will and shall bring them economic and personal progress in this life, when in fact it is labour, regulations, FREE ENTERPRISE, and social support, (such as churches, barters, favours, friendships, etc.), which is truly benefitting and progressing them.
So, Americans are believing ONE philosophy, while being personally invested in another. This is a major cognitive dissonance. It looks like the Capitalists are in the majority, when in fact the opposite it very, very true - and the real Capitalists are in fact a propagandist minority cajolling and extorting the majority of society.
And this cognitive and actual AND ECONOMIC dissonance is resulting in political turbulence and polarisations. (This brings us to "THE PROBLEM OF THE MIDDLE" to be discussed ASAP). Progressives are unfortunately lumped in with Democrats, Republicans with Tea-Baggers. Leaders and icons are used as lightning rods to justify attacks against people who don't necessarilly follow them.
And whereas the concept of SPIRIT, as in the SPIRIT of INDEPENDENCE & SELF-DETERMINATION, which should be UNITING US ALL, is conflated with RELIGION and it's related buzzwords and political interests. RELIGIOUS moral issues of high ambiguity and sensitivity have been used to keep one part of the middle class divided against the other - such that when such an issue is given the chance TO BE RESOLVED LEGISLATIVELY, it is instead continued to be used as a tool of division, mobilisation and attack instead.
False flags are flown - FAKED EMERGENCIES - to herd us and our wealth into continued support or opposition to manipulative abstractions. The term "Free Markets" replaces "Free Enterprise", etc., giving us all the sneaking suspicion that we own our soul to the company store.
So, there is considerable dissonance in the political and social system. How do you insure that? How do you make sense of issues and odds? How do you find direction and progress? Answer, from the mouths of the elite: "YOU DON'T - we like things the way they are. We don't want a powerful and united and happy and healthy middle class because THAT LEADS TO SOCIAL REVOLUTIONS against the faux MIDDLE, which supports us. As it did in the 1760's and the 1960's. And one way of decreasing the coherent middle class, besides shipping jobs overseas, and so on, is INCREASING INSURANCE RATES AND DENYING COVERAGE. (These measures can be seen as a kind of externalisation of costs). RATHER THAN REPAIR RISK. Rather, that is, than actually doing the job of INSURANCE. ASSURANCE. SAFETY. MOTIVATION. No - all those values get turned into money and are syphoned up to the CEO's, etc., at the top.
True Capitalism turns Insurance arrangements into selective Ponzi schemes, their Companies into Pimps, and those covered: INTO HOPELESS GAMBLERS. Most propagandists use verbal ABSTRACTIONS to herd factions together; entice us to buy or to give up; divide us against ourselves, become conquered... Call it comfortable "sheepification". The illusion is that you can reach the Land of Plenty, where you too can sing "HEADS I WIN, TAILS I WIN!", (The Wall Street "QUANT ETHIC"), and escape the barren land of "HEADS I LOSE, TAILS I LOSE," (The Catch-22's of Indentured Servitude).
Promises, promises, (whilst you are robbed blind). But instead of finding better and better odds as we theoretically approach OZ - safer and safer risk - we find that THE ODDS GET WORSE. Income gets worse. Insurance pay-back gets worse. Yet we keep pushing forward in this promissory delusion FOR FEAR OF LOOKING BACK and witnessing our folly.
This is the trap of regressing benefit - or diminishing rewards. In Cognitive Psychology, it is translatable to Operant Conditioning through Intermittent Reinforcement. It is the dopamine-addictive high of gambling, crack, etc., which refuses to give up even as the whole world, including rewards, falls apart - based on the ABSTRACTION that "I (the EGO) SHALL SUCCEED!" (Problem is, there has been so much abstraction, that this has become an affair of the limbic Id, supplying fixes to the ego...
Same in society, we believe in fading promises, and are more and more driven by pain and punishment - disrespect and abuse...) Well, in a more general psychological scale, sticking to abstract promises or ideals, (such as "Capitalism"), despite continuously regressing benefits is analogous to, (and related to), what is called the false optimism of the "Rose Coloured Glasses." This "Rosy Optimism" is beneficial to health - unless and until it comes up against prohibitive realities, or bad odds. IN FACT, as it operates, it is a KIND OF LEARNED HELPLESSNESS, where many facts of REALITY are ignored or distorted, just to allow the person to keep believing the abstractions that he/she believes - but, indeed, this person who assumes to be so much in CONTROL, is actually dim-wittedly HELPLESS - (we're talking degrees here).
It is a way of skirting evidence which would otherwise be very DEPRESSING. In fact, it is the actual DEPRESSED people who see reality more for what it is: They don't ignore the facts, (and this is the first step towards true progress). SOooooooooooooo.... When a pseudo-happy, motivated, decisive (yet out-of-control) Rose-Coloured person is suddenly forced to take off those rose-coloured glasses, what happens?
He/she comes face to face with depression. He/she either DEALS with it, (unlikely), OR he/she goes off into chaotic, misdirected anger and associated IDIOTIC POLITICS. That's exactly what is happening today as our wider society must come to grips with the realities of the current economic/social DEPRESSION. Insane, static, angry politics. Am I not wise? Yes, I am.
OK - I have mentioned dissonance in society/economics, and I have mentioned entropy in the system. They are both basically the same thing - the first is more concerned with social values, bonds, politics, abstractions, psychology, even organisational and monetary economics.
The second, ENTROPY, mainly concerns the breakdown of technologies, as well as the natural invasion of chaos; MISTAKES; external costs; or heat death - AS WELL AS the UNnatural invasion of ever-increasingly EXTERNALISED COSTS, (such as pollution, taxes, etc.), mainly by corporations, into the social Commons and into other mechanisms and technologies in society. (I mentioned that increased insurance rates and denying coverage can be seen as an externalisation of costs by insurance companies upon society.) Overall, in the widest sense, ENTROPY is at the very root of social and economic dissonance, and so I am simply going to refer only to ENTROPY now, as representing all forms of entropy and dissonance...
Entropy is a DRAG on a system. It is an increase of HEAT, FRICTION, INFORMATIONAL CHAOS, MISTAKES, or COSTS, which makes progress of and towards Security or ORDER, or HAPPINESS, more and more difficult. (Entropy is the reason why we must resort to colder and colder and smaller and smaller processes to keep INFORMATION SYSTEMS and NETWORKS sensible and valuable relative to the rest of a more entropic economy, if not to the material world in general).
SOooooooooo... Entropy increases, & costs increase, & expenses increase, & punishments increase, & RISKS INCREASE... while odds and information and REWARDS regress away into infinity! Regressing benefits! There are very few progressive ways to structure societies so that this loss of security and structure is relatively stabilised, relative to stable population-increase, labour wages, etc. - and neither Capitalism nor Communism, and certainly neither Fascist Totalitarianism nor Socialist Totalitarianism, (both forms of "Statism"), are capable of accomplishing such a balance for long. Democratic free enterprise IS. As is Democratic Socialism.
In our current system, insurance companies have felt the need to conglomerate, restrict benefits, deny coverage, gamble on wall Street, MONOPOLISE, etc., in order to keep ahead of this entropy as well as of subjectively-perceived entropy. (Sometimes "entropy" is defined by, or relative to, abstractions which are standards to goals which simply can't be reached).
More politically, entropy, like NATURE or GLOBAL WARMING, is defined as "Labor Unions", "Taxes", "Environmental Regulations", etc. Or various political groups. It never ceases to amaze me how humans will, so facilly, deal with nature by blaming NATURE on particular people - witches, the ill, gays, THE VICTIMS, and such. Yes, these are the sorts of targets that suddenly-shocked rose-coloured dupes like to blame, erratically and insanely, as is their fashion. Oh that really, really concerns me - cuz it is an ancient, ancient habit - and if we can't tame it well, then there is eventually no hope for us. It is an absurd, superstitious and ultimately sociopathic kind of learning, mentality or behaviour, and is, along with JEALOUSY, the arcane foundation of a large part of what people like to call "morality".
Well, if insurance companies feel the need to deal with entropy in this largely economically-superstitious, gambling way, then how much so do those INSURED feel the need to manage their lives? Planning, measuring risks, assessing security in their lives, over entropic time, as they seem to sense entropy eating away both from the outside economy and society, where all externalised costs are being dumped on them, and from within THEIR EVER-PROMISE-FAILING INSURANCE COMPANIES?! See how this all fits together? Before expanding this topic of Individual GAMING FAILURE, a little bit more about ENTROPY in Capitalism:
In FREE ENTERPRISE systems, groups and societies and individuals are allowed self-determination, and there are protective governmental regulations to protect safety, spread out risk, and to prevent the essential degeneration into destructive and exploitative capitalism, (which is a Ponzi scheme for the rich). Government, or the COMMONWEALTH, is concerned with the WELFARE of the social COMMONS, and so is also concerned with providing a great degree of INSURANCE for individuals. It additionally charters corporations TO WORK FOR THE PUBLIC BENEFIT, by short-term contract. And it fosters decentralised competition and opposes monopolisation, as well as the artificial creation of money through numbers games and Ponzi schemes - bean bags, baby.
In pro-CAPITALIST SYSTEMS, however, people, groups, companies and free enterprise is exploited, and value becomes an abstraction - a dream - which, nevertheless, serves the elite quite well, and quite AS IF it were real: In the same way that too much paper money decreases the real value of money for the un-rich (inflation), impoverishing them at an increasing rate, whereas the devaluation generally enriches the elite by expanding it's control, securing it's hedged investments, and simply not reaching their realm so devastatingly... While more money is in their hands to spend on more quality and available goods. True capitalism, (unregulated, malregulated, corrupted, feudal), is the opposite of FREEDOM FOR ENTERPRISE, it is FREEDOM FOR ENTROPY.
In an entropic, counterproductive Capitalist system - most explicitly in a PERMANENT WAR ECONOMY - the chances that cars will break, that levies will break, that banks will fail, that taxes will increase, that bombs may fall - THAT GLOBAL WARMING WILL INCREASE - and that you may contract cancer from one of 60,000 untested, unregulated chemicals dumped into the environment as EXTERNALISED COSTS - these odds all increase overall for the population, more people get sick and die, and your insurance rates go up. More people are dropped for pre-existing conditions.
And as more companies, including your insurance company, more resemble living PONZI SCHEMES, abstracting away wealth, from expanding poverty, into unproductive mergers; Wall Street gambles; CEO's incomes, shares and bonuses, and FOREIGN COUNTRIES AND CORPORATIONS, then the greater is the chance that you shall reach FINANCIAL RUIN,(heat death), because you are poorer, your neighbour is poorer, and the dollar buys less and less value - less and less safety - risks going up & up.
The insurance company keeps promising to pay on claims, but in fact finds more reasons NOT to pay claims when ultimately called upon - based on their nebby nebby BEAN COUNTING. More and more sick people in emergency rooms increase your taxes and the risk of contracting some epidemic illness. More and more unemployed. The failure of abstractions, OR WALL STREET INVESTMENT BUBBLES, hit the poor far more than those who made them...
Yet you go on paying those insurance premiums, voting Republican, and blaming gays or foreigners or a black president - for the "moral decline of my country". You are playing the rose-coloured game of some poor Latin American serf, drawn to the Emerald City by TV, expecting to make Gringo dollars - while Gringo man has tied a rope around your country's economy with its forced loans and corporate installations, hung it out to dry, and run off to put the head - smiling - up on it's mantle called the U.S.S. Democracy. Nice work if you can get it. But you can't. I am being extreme to illustrate a point - and yet, for many people, this is not extreme - this is the reality - this is a DEPRESSION.
Your insurance is now a Ponzi scheme, benefitting only the corporate elite. It is no longer something that covers risk, it is a major risk in itself. An absolute DIS-MOTIVATOR, denied through your Rose-Coloured servitude. Promises keep you addicted. Fear of risk keeps you obedient. It is all a psychological mish-mash. Something like sado-masochism, when depression might benefit you more in the long-run.
You are not sharing risk in your society, you are isolated, alone - working for the man, one step away from homelessness and death. Well, that system sure makes a HELL of a lot of sense, doesn't it?! Return to FAIL. Return to PRIMAL DIS-MOTIVATION. Indeed, return less to primal survival, than to primal FEAR. Flight above flight - if you even have the health or means for either of these. Your SPIRIT has been sapped out of you. Where once was a dream, you now see no recourse - no opportunity - no enterprise. Wide-scale dis-motivation. Bye, bye, middle class. You gambled it all away. Depressing. Off come the glasses, and on go the marching boots.
And what is happening on the corporate/elite side of the equation? The same thing that's happening to you: Increased helplessness. The only difference is that they have ramped up their rose-coloured glasses, "successfully", and are now EVEN MORE MANICALLY sucking away at society's wealth. Depression has yet to hit the top. But they look at you, and they perceive need. They perceive the desperation. They feel you pathos - but in order to deny it, and continue with their anti-empathy, pro-entropy games of exploitation, they find you lazy and pathetic, an alien sort of uninspired toad, an object. Fodder. (Ha! - what was it the politician said?..."The destructive cynicism of low expectations," or something - I'll have to refer back).
Well, they fear you, they fear your need, they fight to control and escape you. It's a game of nonchalant nature after all. They be fine if you were dead. Just fine about that. So long as it happens OFF POLICY. If you don't help us count the exterminated surplus population, we'll simply add you to the number.
That's about all I have to say about that right now. I never intended to write another thesis but it happened. More later.
Suggested reading: "Radical Man" (auth unk); Books by Jeremy Rifkin & Thom Hartmann; the Cognitive Psychologist Martin Seligman; books on Chaos theory and Game theory; "The Wealth of Nations" by Adam Smith; "Resistance to Civil government" by H.D.Thoreau; "On Common Sense" by Thomas Paine; "The Economics of Time & Ignorance" (auths unk); "The Progressive" Magazine, and listen to Thomm Hartman and Norman Goldman.
PLEASE NOTE: Conclusion/clarifications to be set [HERE] soon!.
The cornbread turned out spectacularly, for once. Using no oats. Didn't forget any ingredient this time, including peas, which, besides taste, add a gluten-like bond. Also discovered that JASMIN RICE, although boring, is also great for baking in this respect, charlie.
Also made ketchup, tripling my supply. Also good. Lesson learnt: To easily transfer (cooled) liquid into, e.g., a tiny-mouthed ketchup bottle, (when you don't have a funnel), simply pour it into a ramen noodles packet and then pour that into the bottle. Very useful tip.
OK - now on with my pathetic life!...