News on the State of the Union, Regardless of President or Party

Here's the news:

It's degenerated since the 60s. Sorry.

Here are some indicators:

Nowadays, people say someone is funny when they act silly or ridiculous. That's "funny" in the sense of, "odd". It's, "immature" or "stupid" as a synonym for "funny".

However, there's a more important meaning for the word, funny.

"Funny" means, it makes you laugh -- not just smile in a sickly, sort of stupid way. Laugh.

In that sense, the word, "hilarious" doesn't mean, "really silly or ridiculous".

It means, "makes you laugh really hard." A lot. It doesn't mean, "exaggeratedly silly" or "excessively stupid."

Because people settle for something that's just odd or ridiculous and call it funny means that the standard for funny has degraded. People misuse the words, funny and hilarious.

And because a sense of humor is the sign of high intelligence, it also indicates that the intelligence of the culture has declined.

Believe it or not, music is supposed to make you FEEL something. It's not about sounds; it's about feeling. By feeling, I don't mean the pounding of the beat. I don't even mean emotion, necessarily. There's a felt flavor to music and makes it possible to distinguish the Beatles from The Rolling Stones and Beethoven from Mozart. The roots of music were about feeling. Tribal song, tribal dance. It was not about "sounds". Sound serves feeling; it doesn't substitute for it.

Today's music tends to be mechanical. There are even drum machines used by some bands. Most drummers are too loud and don't know the difference between "rhythm" and "beat". Beat is repetitive; rhythm is syncopated (know what that means?); "beat" just pounds things home; "rhythm" makes you want to move with the music. Good drummers are few and far between. In general, music in public venues is too loud; people want to "feel" something and because the music doesn't make them feel something musical, they make up in volume what is lacking in musicality.

If you don't know what I mean, that proves my point.

Dance isn't something you make yourself do to conform to the beat of the music. It's something that music makes you want to do.

The use of synthesizers and computer-based "enhancements" has allowed people to substitute "sound" for feeling, the way stupidity or ridiculousness substitutes for "funny".

Just as it takes higher intelligence to have a sense of humor, it takes awakened capacity for feeling to appreciate music.

Those who argue with or resist these points have neither.

The creation of more and more laws points to one thing: people are unwilling or incapable of maturely regulating their own behavior. It's then necessary for regulation to come from outside. With more laws come more police, more lawyers, and more prisons. It's a sign of the immaturity of the populace and their inability or unwillingness to regulate themselves.

The really immature individuals seek, "deregulation". I'm speaking of business, here.

Just "deregulate" your children and see how well they mature. Such deregulation leads to a generation of spoiled incompetents -- as we see, so often, these days. They may "mean well", but they're incompetent and incapable of following a purpose through to the end.

The irony is, those who make the laws are generally as spoiled, self-serving and incompetent. The term for that condition is, "corrupt".

The teaching of self-regulation comes under the heading of "morality". Morality is inherent, not a social artifice. It used to be the job of religion to awaken a sense of morality, but with the decline of religion has come a decline of a moral sense. What passes for religion, these days, is actually codes of behavior without a moral sense (other than guilt or fear of being found out). These codes of behavior are about obedience, not about ones own wisdom. Some people think, "integrity", is a matter of conforming to socially sanctioned codes of behavior. Such people have no sense of integrity and can't tell what is wholesome (by feel) from what is unwholesome. They are suckers who elect corrupt politicians.

Another irony is that some teachers of children and school boards are equally incompetent. They commonly "pass" students who have failed to learn to avoid "hurting their self-esteem". Such teachers fail to understand the meaning of, "self-esteem". They confuse "self-esteem" with "other-esteem" (social status or approval); self-esteem comes from ones own sense of integrity and competence. Self-esteem can't be taken away by someone else because it is self-authenticating.

The United States of America should be called, "The United States of Money".

Money unites the greedy.

The general climate of business, particularly big business, but also of some entrepreneurs is, "it isn't personal; it's business", and anything goes as long as it's not against the letter of the law and can't be prosecuted. However, if often goes against the spirit of the law, which is to say, the spirit of fairness.

Thus, mediocrity, cheating, and general meanness are common in business culture. Selfishness is common. Exploitation is common. Anything for a buck, as long as you don't make yourself legally vulnerable.

People of that ilk like to believe, "it's OK as long as it's in the contract" and the contract has been written or vetted by attorneys.

Trust in business is at a low. How do we know? We know by the prevalence of attorneys involvement in business. You don't need an attorney if you and your business associates (and that includes clients and customers) operate in a spirit of fairness.

The way of doing business I have just described is utterly stupid. It's commonly said that the Stock Market run on fear and greed -- which is to say, that the Stock Market runs on emotion. The economy runs on emotion. When people fear to trust or harbor grudges against companies who deserve it, they are reluctant to do business. That mistrust and reluctance color all businesses, even those conducted fairly and ethically. The result? Two things: the involvement of attorneys and the slowing down of the economy. See? The climate of The United States of Money is utterly stupid and self-destructive. But those of that ilk don't see it that way, and so are utterly stupid in that and other ways.

One more point in that area: on consumerism

Consumerism runs on the belief that acquiring goods makes one feel better.

The reason it may make one feel better is that high-quality goods embody a kind of fulfillment of creative intention and so attract attention. Attention on something well done makes one feel better. That's the whole virtue of art (although mediocre "social commentary" art and wretched art are increasingly, it seems, common). Unfortunately, consumers of that ilk are themselves mediocre and incapable of excellence. Their intention is either scattered and weak or confined to limited areas of life (such as, "making money") and incapable of balancing multiple areas of life; so, they always feel scattered and disturbed. So they buy things to center their attention on something well done and feel better. It's an addiction -- an addiction of mediocre individuals to the products produced by somewhat better individuals.

Such individuals may become "money vampires" so they can acquire goods and social standing that temporarily make them feel better. They get an adrenaline rush every time they make a "killing" -- kind of like vampires. It's a temporary feeling. It's never finally enough, and so they have to do it again and again. That's the "one tenth of 1%" who own 90% of the wealth.

Now you know what makes the super rich run.

Make of all this what you will. If you have an argument with any of it, make sure it's an intelligent argument and not just a way of defending your opinion of yourself, when you know better. People who argue against it aren't playing with a full deck.

Here's the "full deck": mature mastery of ones own intention, to the degree of consistently getting intended results; the ability to direct and maintain attention where they want it; the ability to learn and remember; and the capacity for imagination -- all to comparable degrees. A full deck leads to the natural development of competence, morality, and wisdom because one feels and recognizes the consequences of ones actions.

Bear that in mind when you think about "Conservatives" and "Liberals" -- two labels with little intelligent meaning, anymore, that people use to avoid looking at the details of developments of the State of the Union.

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