(Kelowna, Canada, 27 February, 2013)
Opponent vs. Proponent
Since I have a great interest in the social evolution of China and the far east in the influence of global relations, I see it as wise to consider the interaction of social contemporaries. While watching a documentary about Ai Weiwei I heard him say "My opponent makes a move, I make a move."
In contrast to this I think my proponent makes a move, I make a move. However; my proponent oft times is of the kingdom beyond the physical realm and I believe that the moves are intended to promote the unifying of the world of humanity, so therefore, I look for agreeable forces to work with rather than opponents to fight. I was wondering what he would think of this attitude but found no way to question him.
(Nanjing, China, 27 April, 2012
amended 4 September, 2014)
By almost any political judgement, North Korea is likely to be construed as the most Communist country left in the world. Considering this, it was quite a surprise to me to see the state of public social life. From what I see I am developing a new statement on the nature of social order as it now stands in the world.
I observed the daily life of the people, looked at their living conditions, listened to their thoughts on life, observed their relationships on an individual basis and as functioning groups, saw the benefits they did and didn't have — depending on their status — and perused the institutional functioning that was visible during my visit. From all that I see, there is no doubt left in my mind that the only functional differences between the diverse political systems now in existence are the terms of ownership used for material possessions and the explanation for the order of relationships.
The material benefits enjoyed by the wealthy are the same everywhere — luxurious accommodation, fancy cars, fine dress, good food, special events and aloofness from the mass of the people. Only the imaginary concept of ownership as defined by law and social agreement is interpreted and written in different ways. Capitalism, communism, socialism, authoritarianism, theism and the various blends of these ideas differ only in explaining who rises to the top of the social order, who supports it and who is left out.
To an unbiased observer they all appear to function the same way. The poor struggle for mere survival and often die in neglect. The masses of workers and managers build the infrastructure, energize the system, give substance and vitality to daily life and praise/fear the leaders. The leaders shower society with their dreams of greatness, draw illusions of grandeur for the masses to aspire to, live coddled in isolation from the deepest and most meaningful relationships in human existence and vie for primacy.
My personal experience from encountering an exceptional range of people in most of these social systems provides me with the confidence that genuine friendship and associating in a spirit of unity is respected everywhere. The influence of this attitude, free of prejudice, transmutes fear and strangeness into deep consideration and builds the foundation of amity and concord. It obviates ideological differences and introduces happiness and humour into relationships. It provides one with the garb of cultural acceptability and opens doors to the most meaningful and appreciative relationships. Still I find that I have serious enemies but even they are persuaded that true and abiding friendship is an unassailable fortress to be acknowledged, desired and respected.
(Nanjing, China, September, 2012)
As an example of the absurdity of financial assertions, consider that Apple Inc. is claimed to be worth $656,270,000,000 or almost $100 for each person on earth! Expected 1 year revenue of $223,000,000,000! That requires about $32 this year from every man, woman, child and infant now living on the planet. Can you believe that? I don't!!!
(Kelowna, 4 September, 2014)
Most recent trailing twelve month revenue reported $178,000,000,000 is less than 80% of the expected revenue of 2012, which shows the absurdity of the expectations then (and I think the "reported revenue" includes excessive financial transactions that inflate the underlying facts). The atmosphere around the floundering icon of innovation remains exuberant! Yet I feel a cooling of the fad appeal.
Compare with Samsung whose productive output of a far greater range of products is far in excess of that of Apple.
Audited 2013 cash flow of $50,190,800,000 or about 28% of the claimed position of Apple.
I think some day historians will deduce the absurdity of the reported financials of the world in which I now live.
(North Vancouver, Canada, 15 November, 2012)
With a reported $156,000,000,000 of revenue for fiscal year ending in September with higher sales of Macs, iPods, iPhones and iPads; it would require about 43% more revenue to hit the expected target. What serious investor can accept this degree of over-statement as good advice? Obviously the hype around Apple can't be taken seriously. More evidence of the hype around Apple has been seen on Yahoo Finance where almost every headline has been prepended with a link to APPL
quotes even when it is difficult to see any relationship in the news to Apple. Facebook appears to be second in this type of hype.
(5 February, 2010) On Imagined and Experienced Life in China
Please understand that these comments are only related to my personal experience in China which began on my 60th birthday, 2004.
My lifelong beliefs regarding China were formed in an intended isolation from popular western presentations of news and sharing of views.
Throughout my life I have found it necessary to keep my opinion of China a secret. I am still influenced by an early childhood moment when I told someone that I would some day go to China. The offensive retort that I was subjected to accused me of insanity. I never again mentioned to anyone that I had such a strong desire to visit China as a confident and genuinely friendly person until I had actually accomplished the feat, which had for so long been but a dream. Although, as I finally prepared to come and friends became aware of my plans I still refrained from sharing my innermost feelings and found without exception that their advice was expressed in ways that showed a deep seated mistrust of my ability to do so safely and without trouble. In fact I felt that most of them harboured the belief that I was naive to think that I had the wisdom to do so. I believe that had I told them of my assurance that I could do so, in my own way, without encountering serious repercussions they would have been very forceful in trying to modify my optimism. The same antipathy towards China that I felt as a child was still prevalent. It is yet likely that some of those who have known me for the longest time will now excuse these claims of a lifelong plan, as something I've fabricated after the fact and a few will have a real appreciation for my efforts.
It was always evident to me that I was living among people who, as a group, disparaged China and could not see, nor were willing to look at China without prejudice. I must say that, notwithstanding the obvious prejudice that I encountered, the great natural qualities of Canadian friendliness and desire for fairness have been effective in helping to establish some of the best relationships that both countries enjoy. There is a long way to go and the current course needs to be corrected, but I sincerely believe that China and Canada will ultimately share in a well deserved glory for their cooperation in the development of international security and friendship. These two countries seem to me to share an indescribable affinity and complimentary qualities that create a mysterious yet palpable force that propels them along on a common journey of destiny.
In spite of all the commonly shared attitudes in the West, I have never believed that China is a society to be feared, nor the cold, heartless, godless country that it has been portrayed as in the media and talked about in general conversation.
I have always felt some sense of a deep responsibility to help China develop friendly relations with the rest of the world. I only now see that doing so at such an old age is very problematic. I am no longer able to acquire a new language as I would have been able to do when I was young. In more than 5 years of contact and more than 3 years of immersion in the language I have picked up only a few words and still even have trouble understanding the prices that I hear when shopping along the street. I can't recite even one sentence or phrase.
Even with this limitation of meaningful communication to only English, I sincerely enjoy my experiences and relationships with the Chinese people.
And now to some of the myths
and my perception of the facts.
- Myth: China is a communist dictatorship.
- My relationship with Chinese people clearly shows that China is the most unified, socially aware democracy I have ever seen. In government, business and daily life there is a constant sharing of opinion and ideas between all members of a group (with varying degrees of influence) before a decision becomes clear.
I generally see and hear from western contacts that they are very frustrated by not getting immediate, authoritative and clear decisions from Chinese leaders.
How little they understand the process. Such unwarranted expectations and the subsequent demonstration of anger and frustration with the situation can only produce an undesirable outcome and lead to failure.
I have found that making my opinion clear to each person concerned and giving them time to resolve the question in their own way as a group usually ends with an agreeable outcome and often brings goodwill and rewards in unexpected ways.
- Myth: Chinese have no freedom of belief and expression.
- I spent a lot of time and effort to find and understand the legal position of the Chinese government on religion, political expression and public opinion before coming to China.
Even before I had any opportunity to interact with Chinese people in this country, and in spite of the fact that everyone who knew of my intention to visit China warned me of the dangers of speaking in China, I was confident that I could openly share my opinions and ideals with anyone without fear of reprisal.
I have diligently sought and participated in every opportunity to share ideas in China. I have been to about 200 events since late March, 2004, accumulating more than a thousand hours of such experience. I have been to English Corners at Peoples' Park in Shanghai, Renmin University in Beijing and Gulou Square in Nanjing as well as many others at universities, English schools and business venues. I have socialized with people at conferences, business meetings, weddings and numerous other events. I have been welcomed into homes and taken on family and social outings. When appropriate, I have talked sincerely and openly about religion, politics and every form of philosophical idea that I enjoy. I have experienced a few moments of deep concern and discomfort, but have always been given the chance to develop an opinion to an agreeable conclusion and most often been genuinely welcomed and admired for having the courage and commitment to contribute towards a better understanding and development of ideas that will help build a more unified, peaceful and harmonious world.
Without doubt my involvement with the public has been noted by many officials and security personnel yet I have never been addressed, warned or spoken to in any way that would indicate a concern that my activities are inappropriate. Quite to the contrary, I have often been told that my effort is greatly appreciated and assured that I am not only welcome but greatly encouraged to continue to speak with everyone possible.
Quite a number of persons have identified themselves to me as members of the police, various government institutions, armed forces and members of the Communist Party. Without exception they have been friendly, courteous and appreciative.
It is obvious that my method of communication is done in a friendly spirit of consultation and that I do try to not be critical and derogatory in any way, but likewise I will boldly offer suggestions that show I have a deep regard for the need to make serious changes in order to build a more peaceful and progressive society. But I try to ensure that these suggestions are always proffered with a reasoned argument and whenever possible a method of implementation.
- Myth: The strengthening of China's influence is a military danger to the world.
- I see absolutely no evidence to believe such claims. I see much greater evidence that the engagement in war and hostile behaviour is definitely more common among the countries making such accusations and believe that the power of China will eventually play a great role in cooperation with other peace loving nations to bring a coordinated force to bear to eliminate the use of military intervention of one country within the jurisdiction of another. I believe that China's claim to promote and desire harmony in the global community is real and will be effective.
(21 January, 2010) On the development cycle
As I work on the development of software to run a newsletter email system I contemplate the processes that evolve in thought, resources and activity.
It seems that there are both predictable and unexpected situations that arise.
A lot of the time it is just a tedious painstaking series of writing code, testing and debugging, expanding the scope, revising the program to fit in new possibilities and repeating the process. This part of the development can last any period of time from minutes to years, depending on the project.
There are other times during which it seems that the mind turns to fog and it becomes frustratingly difficult to imagine what step to take next. No suitable algorithm can be clarified, no objects can be exactly defined, no process of logic can be visualized. It seems that the situation has become untenable, frustration mounts, the meaning of futility is enhanced, and sanity wanes. Often it is at this point when the sudden grasp of a new idea comes to light and a new dimension can be added to the work.
So it has been this week as I have been writing the code to manage the sending of email newsletters and writing the system to make it easy for subscribers to subscribe and unsubscribe using a secure method that will reduce as much as possible the abuse of the system by false registrations and keep it secure from intrusion by spammers.
Keeping in touch with colleagues to obtain suggestions and advice is an important aspect of the development process. It was from this that I discovered that there is a new feature that has been implemented which will make it easy for email recipients to unsubscribe from lists and at the same time provide a means for anti-spam organizations to distinguish between true and false reports of spam. By adding this feature to my system I am hopeful that a bulk mail system can be run in an efficient way without being falsely accused and unfairly impeded by anti-spam services.
(12 January, 2010) On education
Throughout my life I have struggled against the social flow of ideas regarding education. Even though the most enlightened friends have unrelentingly encouraged me to conform to institutionally provided courses of study which provide recognition and social opportunities, I have always seen that the only way to reach my goals was through independent study.
To me there are two purposes of education. First, and what appears to me to be the most common, is to be something; e.g. a doctor or a mechanic or a president or the like. For this the institutional method is indispensable.
The other is learning to do something. Since I have only had the desire to learn for the purpose of doing something this has been my course of choice. It is clearly evident to anyone interested in looking, that throughout my life I have consistently chosen to attempt to do things, and often things that are new to me. I have retained the skills obtained by this process for prolonged periods of time but also lost many to disuse.
I have never imagined that I could pursue learning for the purpose to be something. I have never wanted to be something so distinct that I was willing to give up my time, money and innate characteristics to conform to the institutional requirements.
I believe that I have been many things in my life. I do not see that being these things in any way makes me what I am. They are merely the result of doing. In my mind I have been an artist, a poet, a janitor, a delivery boy, a taxi driver, a race car driver, a photographer, a DJ, a TV producer, an actor, a mechanic, a plumber, a carpenter, a teacher, a drill instructor, a computer programmer, a business owner, actually too many things to list. I am confident that whatever I did at each stage of my life was done to the satisfaction of the recipient and worthy of professional respect.
In order to share my view of education, compared with society's practice of giving recognition and opportunity mainly to those who graduate from institutions, I'll give an example. In the late '60's and early '70's I chose to try my hand at works of art. I tried to join the community art group but was rejected because I didn't have an institutional degree. In spite of that I recall that a few individuals were moved deeply enough by my work to buy it and treasure it as a possession. The experience led me to question the qualifications of artists who claim that title merely on the grounds that they have a degree to show that they have studied the subject. Yet those that they study and recognize as masters are often individuals who have never been institutionally trained but are recognized as masters by what they have done. Many of the greatest works of art are recognized for the nature of the work, not for the institutional approval of the learning process. At what point in time did the right to be an artist become the result of institutional training? Likewise it is so with many of the professions in modern society. In fact, so much so, that virtually everyone accepts it as just. The deep realization of such an absurdity clarified in my mind the distinction of education to be something and education to do something. It was about that time when I resigned to a life of doing things rather than being someone. (Although not a great work of art, I feel this web design reflects a sense of artistry and professionalism in both appearance and functionality, yet I have never seen an opportunity to obtain reasonable employment in the field of Internet work without a degree.)
(15 December, 2009)
Just to be clear regarding my state of mind:- regardless of whether I'm experiencing ease or difficulty, I have a very deep sense of happiness that feels independent from the exigencies of daily life. This is something that I have tried to explain to those close to me but it can only be understood by those with a similar apprehension.
I often use the symbolism of sunshine to describe what I mean. Whether the daily life is experiencing calm or storm, above there is constant radiation from the sun which keeps supporting all life on earth. So it is with my view of happiness.
(1 December, 2009)
Many friends and acquaintances have pressed me to write about my life and views. Up until now I have resisted doing so. Perhaps the time has come to see what I can do.
I have generally avoided writing because my life is in such a state of flux that what looks good one day looks not so good in a short time; thus, I hesitate to write what will soon look poor. Also, many, maybe most, of my personal choices and experiences in life have been so poor that I prefer to let them go without comment.
I view my life as a perplexing blend of poverty and well being. Although never rich, I have enjoyed many momentary comforts of wealth. For example, in 1970 I was destitute in Europe, yet Steve Hilton welcomed me to spend a couple of days with him which started in Andorra and ended with hamburgers, fries, a bottle of wine, a bath in a tub and a night in the Paris Hilton Hotel. It was a pleasure to see that rich and poor could enjoy sharing thoughts, activities and time. During the trip I had a moment to demonstrate that an impoverished person could do things worthy of respect. The generator in his VW van had failed and supposedly been repaired by the service shop of a dealer. As night approached and the load of the lights was added to the system it failed again. Fortunately I was able to deduce the probable cause. At my request he provided a screw driver and kept the engine going as I got out and used it as a tool to burnish the commutator as the armature spun. In spite of the crudeness of the tool, it was done with enough skill and sensitivity to be effective. This cured the problem and we were able to quickly resume the trip to Paris. That time is a lasting memory for me and helped me understand that being rich doesn't ensure an easy life and being poor doesn't necessitate being without purpose.
I have also had some prolonged periods of so called middle class comfort, but have always felt on the precipice of poverty. I don't know which I'll experience first, the sense of comfortable success or final departure from this earth. Nor does it seem to matter!
My theory of evolution: every sub-quark expression of existence embodies the will to unite in the formation of the infinite display of the glory of reality along with the power of independent choice; thus evolving in a harmonious demonstration of the eternal possibilities of the Infinite Will along with other possibilities.
My theory of universal expansion: the observation of an expanding universe is a proof that the universe is an expression of an eternally active Creating Force causing existence to come into being everywhere.
My life is progressing at such a high rate of speed that where I was a year ago seems to bear little relation to where I am today, and where I am today may look like a very poor place compared to where I may be in a few years. Don't bother to look at where I was 40 years ago (circa 1970). Suffice it to say, it was not a pretty place.
In this respect the conditions of life for both China and I have had such a noticable improvement that we have much to be thankful for.
And now I hear cats howling outside my apartment.
© - David Clayton Ellsworth, 2015