Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Deadliest Kool-Aid?

One of the more popular (and relevant) memes circulating today is the phrase “don’t drink the Kool-Aid!” which is an historically inaccurate reference to the cyanide-laced grape Flavor Aid brand drink that Jim Jones had conditioned his cult followers to take in November 1978. Fortunately for the makers of Flavor Aid, “Kool-Aid” is the meme that sticks. Technically, the event is listed as a “murder-suicide” because some were forced to drink and some were shot but the majority of the 918 dead took the poisoned brew willingly.

They had been conditioned to do so after months of disinformation and practice drills.

We can easily miss the lesson here by smugly believing that we would never be such a fanatical follower but there is a Kool-Aid that too many regular folks gleefully guzzle: Apocalypticism the fervid belief that the end of the world is inevitable and always right around the corner. Though primarily a religious phenomenon, there is plenty secular Apocalypticism to go around.

Certainly we live in perilous times, but that truth is far from the belief in the total breakdown and destruction of civilization. This Apocalyptic faith arises from a combination of a distorted focus on sensational negative news bias, catastrophizing and unwarranted assumptions about human behavior.

According to Psychology Today, the impact of constant “exposure to consistent, sensationalized pessimism and negativity” has a distorting impact on our perception, thinking and mental health. Sensational, negative news is immensely profitable to corporate media outlets and so it makes up a disproportionate amount of their programming giving us a false impression of what is going on in the world. While it is true that genuine catastrophes exist throughout the world, it is not true that there is widespread global chaos. What is true however is that humans have leveraged ever-evolving technologies to address and improve many of our most persistent problems and that life today is far better for more people than ever before.

Catastrophizing is “a cognitive distortion that prompts people to jump to the worst possible conclusion, usually with very limited information or objective reason to despair.” It is the certitude we feel when, prompted by negative news and marketing, we imagine a catastrophic outcome is not only likely but inevitable. And such thinking is profitably encouraged by the growing Prepper Industry which now has its own promotional expos.

Apocalypticism also involves (sometimes religiously inspired) negative assumptions about human behavior and dogmatic assertions about “human nature.” No doubt we regularly see media examples of terrible human behavior but most people do not experience or display such behavior. Negative assumptions about our own species enable our catastrophizing and lead us to imagine catastrophes that provoke a widespread surrender to barbarism and chaos.

Let’s face it. The biggest threats to human survival and ongoing progress come from a very few hubs of power and influence and the fear and greed that motivates them. We know what we need to do and, in spite off their resistance, we are doing it. Will disasters still happen? Of course, but if we refuse to drink the deadly Kool-Aid of Apocalypticsm we can be confident of our ability to survive and thrive.

Is Perfection the Enemy of Progress?

A vote is not a valentine, you aren't confessing your love for the candidate. It's a chess move for the world you want to live in.

The word “perfection” is actually about maturity and completeness, not a state of flawlessness as we usually assume. In many ways, the concept is a cancer that has caused untold personal suffering for those striving for what does not exist. It can also be cancerous in the political realm when seeking the “perfect” candidate prevents us from choosing the best candidate for the moment.

But how do we decide? How do we avoid making perfection the enemy of of the good? Of progress? First, we get informed. Seek and attend to independent, fact-based, credible news sources like TheWorkFM. Next, we avoid the trap of cynicism that arises from the “they’re all corrupt” attitude. Sometimes that can be a cop out that discourages necessary positive action. Finally, when it comes to political issues ask probing questions: which party or candidate represents (however imperfectly) positive, people-centered values? What values do they promote? What do their words and actions reveal about them? Which one promotes unity and which one sows seeds of division? What is their history?

We have seen that in difficult political times, many Americans respond by avoiding politics and voting. This may be an understandable response but it can be a dangerous mistake – especially in times of crisis. Democracy cannot exist without widespread participation. By contrast, sometimes those who are informed and active can be tempted into expectations of political perfection that end up alienating allies and preventing progress altogether.

If a home is on fire, is it not misguided to argue about who extinguishes it while it still burns?

Is it still an insurrection if they deny it?

or Actions speak louder than words.

In February 2024, We look back on several years when illusions ruled. I suggest that we look to the leader who guided us through our last great challenge, the Civil War (oxymoron intended).
Hopefully it will not be as unpleasant as it was in his time.

We at TheWorkFM will be working to Raise the Bar, to Return to a better normal, maybe getting closer to greatness.

Very Few People really liked the orange guy, but many joined his call to trash the government that unlimited money has created.

And since Capital is our de-facto bottom line and the economy where we all meet, maybe we could take an idea from the New Testament and Drive the money-changers from our money temple.

That means dealing with the Money in the Supreme Court, and every other compromised government entity from the Post Office to the FDA .

If capital is our bottom line and the government is the ref, let’s make it a fair game.

Capitalism may be a lousy religion, moral code and ethics system but it has rules and we are not holding the Captains of Capital to the rules of their own game.

One major example is Externalized cost:

Externalized costs are how companies make profit. They minimize their spending by cost externalizing, which is basically a fancy term for the company offloading “indirect costs” on the public or the environment. We pay for the clean-up or for the social progams needed by underpaid employees.

How we chose and evaluate politicians is also lacking.

Elected leaders should promise to improve the lives of their constituents not their donors – or resign. Period.

And taking an oath to a historical document doesn’t help elected officials get better results. We should add some measure of competency.

Politicians can be separated into two camps. Those who see a problem and look for solutions until it is solved, and those who see in every problem a chance for profit, or can be sold on someone else’s scheme to profit.

In fact there are so many flaws in our government in 2024 that it overwhelms the average citizen and either paralyzes them or makes them cynical. People who like the game of politics as played are probably in it for the wrong reasons.

So at WRWK we will be working to find and bring you the stories of average heroes who could live among you. People who decided to be a part of the solution.

If you already follow us you know that our content is full of genuine problem solvers. This spring we will also work to bring you more of the playbook side.

The Bottom line is still that in our 50 to 100 years here, we can either help improve things or do nothing, or get in the way.

At WRWK we choose to be useful.

My motto is to “vote early and often”.

We can also vote for the world we want with every dollar we spend and everything we do. At least the world around us will get a little better.

Ron

TheWorkFM

https://geography101.blogs.bucknell.edu/2018/12/09/externalized-costs-a-capitalism-crisis

Following the lead of Jack Schuler, we could all take the Lincoln Pledge:

THE LINCOLN PLEDGE​

With malice toward none

With an open mind and an open heart

I pledge to follow the better angel of my nature

In order to secure a lasting American future

To deeply listen to the other side

To do all that I can to bridge

The current political divide

I seek not to persuade

I seek only to share

How much I care

you will find the Lincoln Pledge here

https://www.jackschuler.com/about-1-1

Modest Holiday Wishes

Or

Let’s make the Holidays Great again by not passing the debt on to our kids.

The holidays we think of at this time of year , were actually celebrated thousands of years before any religions claimed them. Even to primitive life forms, sunlight means warmth and food. And just as surely, early humans noticed the sun’s motion and prepared for days with less sun, and looked forward to longer days when life re-emerged.

Civilization has made astounding progress in the last few hundred years, by capturing and using millions of years of stored sunlight. It has made us materially powerful but not any wiser.

In fact we are headed back into the climate that millions of years of capturing carbon took us out of. While many of us understand what is happening, the habits of extravagant energy consumption run deep in our lives, and in our built environment. Those habits even affect our responses to the changes we know are needed. This makes all of us passive bystanders as our civilization collides with the “climate tax”, climate refugees and the usual crisis carpet baggers.

As we face the changes ahead, we recall the stages of Grief (https://health.clevelandclinic.org/5-stages-of-grief):

Denial.

Anger.

Bargaining.

Depression.

Acceptance.

Whatever stage you find yourself on at any moment, realize that everyone else was on that energy binge and will be in one of those stages too. We were all victims and perpetrators, and we need to reach deep into our holiday spirit to help each other make it through the post-binge slump.

No wonder MAGA resonated with so many people: the era of “Great” came out of our children’s inheritance. This also explains the popularity of Jewish, Moslem and Christian Death Cults in these “Last Days” of our energy binge.

It will get easier as the deniers lose credibility but distractors and carpet-baggers are always there to turn social losses into personal profit.

Be generous but avoid the “Great Again” myth. We all had a good time, now we can clean up our mess, move on, and make way for the solutions of 2024 . The solutions must include care for the generations that will inherit what we leave behind.

It’s a great time to practice the holiday spirit that helps us all get through the lean times.

Happy Holidays!

Teri Kanefield has a great explanation for The work we have to do in 2023. These are the things we should be talking about. Here’s a teaser:

(from https://terikanefield.com/can-democracy-work-in-america-part-1-there-are-no-yankees-here/

“The Misinformation-Outrage Cycle, Part 1: “There are no Yankees here!”

Plato argued that democracy was inferior to other forms of government, including monarchy, aristocracy, and oligarchy because democracy—by its very nature—undermines the expertise necessary for good governance. This is summary of Plato’s thoughts is from the Stanford Dictionary of Philosophy:

Most people do not have the kinds of intellectual talents that enable them to think well about the difficult issues that politics involves. But in order to win office or get a piece of legislation passed, politicians must appeal to these people’s sense of what is right or not right. Hence, the state will be guided by very poorly worked out ideas that experts in manipulation and mass appeal use to help themselves win office.

Democracy requires an educated population able to analyze the implications of government policies. It requires voters to look beyond their own interests and consider the interests of society as a whole. It requires people who are aware of the appeal of a demagogue and can withstand that appeal.

This cannot happen if people do not have accurate information.

The British philosopher A.N. Whitehead famously commented that the history of Western thought “consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.”

This brings us to the question: Will America prove Plato wrong? Or will America’s experiment in self-governance prove to be another footnote to Plato?”

Link to Teri’s site, the rest of this article and all her work:

I intend to make the most aspirational idea in Human History Work.

That’s why I am at TheWorkFM.

Ron

The Fall of 2023

2023 is the year for change, not that anyone wants change but that we need to change or we’ll destroy the place and each other.

The second world war demonstrated how much damage a few anti-social types in powerful positions can create.

At that time there were reasons for chosing powerful uncaring people. As my dad used to say Hitler was a german solution to run-away inflation. Desparate people do desparate things, and once you get used to collateral damage, genocide is just around the corner.

Humans are social animals, we work well in groups covering for each other in more and more complex ways, one the next thing you know we have created computers, airplanes, medicine, art, websites about almost anything.

Our Mirror Neurons make civilization possible just as our reptilian hindbrain keep us a few bad days away from the next conflict.

No two ways about it, War is out of style, no longer useful. Like the gold rush and the rush to bitcoin, converting or killing for your man-in-the-sky.

Life is about life, we are either helping or we are not. That is how humans need to keep score.

In 20, 30, 40,90 years we will all yield back our physical forms and leave behind only what we have worked for.

Let’s try to be useful.

Ron

the work fm

WRWK and that boring old normal that we all miss

WRWK is like so many good ideas that are passed over for the more exciting but passing fads and thrills.
WRWK is not a fad. It is about life as the only unique thing that separates us from the dumb animals, plants, bacteria, rocks and planets that we share our existence with. I mean Dumb in the sense that other animals do not speak. Humans can be very dumb in that they don’t seem to listen or speak rationally. Humans in spite of their larger brains often stay in the emotional section of their brain and only use the reasoning ability to conjure up “reasons” for what they have already done, or want to do, or want to get someone else to do for them.
At WRWK, the work fm we want you to remember what life is about: life; and help find ways to enjoy it, each other and skip the noisy thrill seekers digging holes we will all have to dig our way out of.
Life is a miracle, It should not exist as far as our scientist can figure. So while you’re here, enjoy the miracle, yourself, each other and how clever we can be, but above all, try to be useful.
Stay tuned to WRWK, we will help as we can.