Thursday, April 17, 2014

On Democracy

Democracy has been accepted as the most suitable form of government for most nations around the world. Not so many dare to challenge the idea of democracy, saved for some crazy advocates of theocracy and tyrants. Even some autocrats still use the idea of democracy; their own version of democracy, of course.
The idea of legitimizing a government from the vote of the people, through a general election for example, has been one of the central tenets of democracy. That will bring us into TWO questions.

  1. Who is legitimate to vote?
  2. Who is legitimate to be elected?

I will address question number one first. The idea that every man/woman has one equal vote in determining the course of the nation is appalling. It means the subjugation of the true ideal to the popular beliefs. It is like voting using SMS in TV reality show; not the best one wins, but the most popular one. For a TV show, maybe I still can accept it (with grumps), but for the course of a nation, it is closer to a disaster actually.

Only a man who is capable of making a rational, informed and unbiased judgement can vote. And in democracy today, that is a far cry. No wonder, democracy today is actually a plutocracy, the centralization and power and wealth among a small group of rich people, because the rich CAN manipulate the mass, simply because the mass can be manipulated. Thanks to democracy.

The ideal of democracy can be only fulfilled when ALL of the mass is educated to make a rational, informed and unbiased judgement. That is close to impossible due to the imperfect nature of man. Therefore the next best thing is NOT allowing everyone to vote.

Now for question number two, who is eligible to be elected. The idea of equality to be elected is also appalling. It is against the fact and against the law of nature. Each of us differs in capability and resource possession. The one who has more will have more chance the one who have less. 

The idea of allowing everyone an equal chance to get elected means we allow the incapable to lead us, given he/she gains the majority support. Given the manipulability of the mass, we are ended with getting a leader who is not the most capable, but who is the best in manipulating the mass.

Only the one with capability in leadership, the best of the best among the citizens are allowed to lead. Therefore, the election will be among the best individual, not the richest.

With those two questions, I hereby challenge the central tenet of democracy, which are universal suffrage and equal opportunity to be elected.
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Monday, July 07, 2008

Citizen Responsibility

When we heard something about citizen responsibility, our first response is to think that it might be related to paying tax, abiding the law, etc. We are born into this world to live where a national state is a reality. It' s very difficult to imagine a life without state, without government. Actually, state is of course not an absolute reality. We made it, by a contract at the moment of the establishment of the state, by constitution or any other means.

By accepting state as an absolute reality has advantages as well as disadvantages. The advantages are the aura of the protection of the state, positive law to govern the civil conduct, protection of public and private properties, and many other. Without state, those might be difficult to achieve. When we have a disagreement with someone, we don't have a mediator, in this case: state. We might have to solve the disagreement by ourselves or find a good mediator, which might not be easy. We also feel safe in the presence of law, remembering that crime is punishable by law, so we do not have to carry weapon or learn martial arts to protect ourselves. Our protection is guaranteed by law.

By accepting state as an absolute reality actually IS the disadvantage in itself. We surrender ourselves to the presence of the state, then we forgot that our presence as humanbeing is actually more absolute than the state. We rely to the state on anything, even thinking. We want the state to think what is best for ourselves.

Is it necessary that living together in a state need to be like that? No, not necessary. The people of Greece in ancient time lived in polis. In a polis, each citizen is responsible for the wellbeing of the state. Each held office in turn, serve as civil officer and judge. They lived an active political life (the word politics is derived from polis, although lost the meaningful part).

Maybe we need to reinvent the ideal state, to recapture the responsibility of a citizen. Maybe we are too comfortable after we surrender the responsibility to the politicians. It cannot be like that forever. Having lived in a third-world-country, I personally experience the effects of that surrender. The politicians are not serving the state, but themselves. And we, the people, must face the consequences those are not our wrongdoings.

By living as an active citizen, we are fulfilling our destiny as a humanbeing. Like Aristotle said, we are a political animal, an animal who lived in a polis, who are responsible to govern ourselves, not to be govern by others.
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Monday, November 12, 2007

On Judgment

Judgment has been an inseparable part of our lives. Let me be clear first, judgment in this post is not judgment in the meaning of consideration, but judgment in term of assigning certain presupposed value to something, labeling something is good or bad compared with certain presupposed value.

We were judged since we were kids, then we were judged when we entered school. Then in family, society, and the list goes on and on. What is this judgment all about? Judgment brings order within the society. And civilization springs from order. But it also brings curse, which is conservatism, reluctance f or growth and progress, feeling good in the comfort zone. And we are all get use to it. We have norms, rules, and laws.

In one way, it helps us to quickly make decision in daily lives, so we don’t have to ponder each time we need to make a decision, something like an autopilot. But when the course is rough, any sensible pilot will manual ride and turn the autopilot off. The problem in our society is we enjoy too much of autopilot, we let other people (government, religious leader, columnist, etc) to speak behalf of us. We cease to have our own opinion.

This kind of autopilot is shutting down our rationality; surrender it to the manufacture of the autopilot (a.k.a. government, religious leaders, etc). And it begins mostly in school.

to be continued
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Friday, July 27, 2007

Egotism and Horizon of Consciousness

Human being is considered as a selfish being, concerned for itself, not for others. Even altruism acts can be traced as also selfish acts; yearning tributes for eternal life, good names and reputations, future careers and politics. Even the most altruistic act, a love from a mother to ber children can be seen as a selfish act, because it makes her feel good.

All of these is not necessarily bad. As Adam Smith said: It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.

Selfish acts are seen as problems because of our lack for horizon of consciousness. Horizon of consciousness is the inability of our mind to comprehend the limit of cause and effect toward self.

The space horizon seen a concept of self as limited to one-self. It is not necessarily so. Self can be expanded to ones family, related kins, neighbors, nations, even the whole world. Everything that is done to our family is done to us, everything to the world is an act to us. In that sense, there are no rooms for egotism. When we cannot see the result, it doesn't mean it's done to us. The "us" itself is the problem.

The time horizon demand to see immediate result of everything. When we trespass this horizon, everything that we have done is never useless. This immediate things are the remnants of our limited stay in this world (a fancy way to say that we are going to die :p ). Everything is a process, and nothing is loss, says the conservation of energy theory in thermodynamics. When we cannot see it, it doesn't meant it is not there, maybe it is not there yet.

By expanding the horizon, we can see how it really works. There are no room of egotism or altruism. We differentiate them only because of our limitation. Everything done is done. That's all.
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Thursday, May 24, 2007

I Consume Therefore I am

It is the very word that is spoken everyday, by everybody. Consume, consume, consume. We are surrounded by advertisement to tell us to buy more, eat more, drive more, watch more, wear more, more.. more... more... You even have to spend more to gain less, less weight, for example.

Why are we so futile against the barrage of advertisement?

There is a hole in our soul, whether you realize it or not. A hole that left us empty. When we are young, we run for our parents to fill that hole. It makes us safe, when we are near them. When we grow up, we begin to fill that hole from the society, to find something that makes us feel safe, and good. Here comes the moral standard. We feel good if we behave up to certain standard. We feel accepted. The modern world create more standard, beyond traditional ones. The traditional ones will include religion, attitude in society, and common decency. But now it is not enough.

The new standards are education, lifestyle: body-shape and facial, dietary, entertainment, etc. We feel not safe and not good if we are not educated. If we don't watch the same movie as others we feel left behind.

Marketing people simply manipulate our natural tendency. They make us to identify ourselves with our consumption. Consume more, you will be better. So we toil everyday just to consume more and more.

Unfortunately, no matter how much we consume, we cannot fill the hole in our soul, and it is even a better news for the marketing. It means, we are going to consume more and more, it will never be enough, until we realize that we are heading on the wrong direction.
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