On Ideas

“Great minds think alike, and fools seldom differ.”
-Anonymous

It is quite amazing that many times throughout history thousands have shared the same idea, and only one has actually used it. Fantastic! However how has it happened and is it actually true? Have you ever seen the same people with the same idea at one point and then later come to find out that someone else just came out with the exact same thing. What about you? Did you ever come up with an invention or a creative thought and then find yourself seeing someone else do it? I have and it actually has a pattern.

There is a term called The Collective Unconsciousness that was first coined by Carl Jung. This is, as some of you by now know, the original imprint that is left on all humans at birth. It is by definition the universal datum, that every human being is endowed with and that is a psychic archetype-layer given to them at his/her birth. One can not acquire this strata by education or other conscious effort because it is innate.

Knowing that such a thing exists would bring some to think that maybe one should find a way to hear those ideas, and then listen for the gems. In fact there are probably over 98,000 people around the world thinking of this very thing right now. If that is true than what if you got them to all act on their idea at the same time.  If it was a miraculous invention then it could be a failure of preposterous proportions. If it were an ingenius idea then it could potentially spell disaster for all those in charge, especially if the idea was a real fireball. What if you were able to plant an idea?….well this is already being done and what I am talking about is an idea that is yours from day one. An idea that we all share at our very core.

But not all of us are born with the same ideas. Myriad of options include ideas that are tenacious, luscious, pretentious, ambitious, nutritious, cautious, rambunctious, flirtatious, surreptitious, and superstitious. It is the Wise Old Man.

It is he who holds all the cards, maintains the library and has all the answers. Everything is in 3D even in your thoughts. Deep down inside lies the idea that you have that starts at one and goes to 75,025. It spins continually throughout various aspects of the universe picking up entities along the way. You are at birth picked up along this spiral that rises and falls to every corner of the universe. Its pace drawn out at the very dawn of time. I wonder what it would feel like to rocket to the top of your spiral or plummet like a comet to the bottom of it. Both are likely a revelation of enormous proportions.

It is at these corners where you find the answers. Where you sit in a room and there are two doors. The one that you came in from and the one from which you will leave.  Walking through this door is likely the hardest thing for any human to do, because you see, the person in the room is not you, it is a memory inside your brain that you don’t even know exists. You could sit in that room your whole life and not even know it. Sometimes your memory might stand up, sometimes it might even walk towards the door, in the rare likelihood reach for the handle, and almost never actually go through the door.

Going through the door is acting on an idea. Going through with your plans, making sure it gets done, putting pen to paper to preparing and then putting it all in place. But that is what gets you to and through the door and remember it is on the otherside that you receive your revelation. Right now this is about the ideas as the Revelations can be so unfathomable that it would prohibit the very existence of the idea.

The truth of the matter is this. All of us must dig deep into our psyche and our soul and find your own idea or trajectory throughout the universe. You are there and with thousands of others. It is a matter of cleaning the air around you, sit back for five minutes a day and just ask for it. Those of you that are already there – corral those to the cause and get us all through the door. What is on the the otherside is there and has always been.

“An idea, to be suggestive, must come to the individual with the force of revelation.”

-William James

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On Hacking

“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root” ~ Henry David Thoreau

A very strange thing happened recently when I originally wrote this blog a couple of days ago. I posted what I thought was one of my most poignant entries to date, only to find that once I had hit the publish button the text had all but disappeared and all that was left on the post was the Anonymous logo that I elected to use for the post. Was I hacked for trying to write about what I had posted? I love conspiracy theories, so here we go again to find out.

Do you remember the good ole days when your folks brought home an Atari one year for Christmas and everyone sat around and played Tank on the 17 inch Sony Trinitron for 18 hours straight? I had a Christmas like that when I was young and on that day I was destined to become enamored with video gaming. So much that I can probably claim to have played almost every gaming console that has ever been sold in North America. Did you ever play the TurboGrafx 16? I did, but not at home, it was setup at the Radio Shack near my house and I played it so much that I got banned from the store. Who gets banned from Radio Shack anyways? I also must have entered a thousand ballots into a contest to play the systems headliner R-Type on the SkyDome Jumbotron, but alas I never won it. What about the Panasonic 3DO? I never owned one of those, but I do remember renting it and staying up for probably 48 hours straight one weekend to make sure I got my monies worth. I nearly finished Return Fire in that time. Find me someone that has done that and they can share the title of “Vidiot” with me, which I proudly was for a very long time.

There were also the many PC games over the years and lord knows how many leisure suit larry’s and king’s quest games there might have been had they kept going, but nothing would compare to the world of online multi-player gaming that arose about 15 years ago. For me the first was Doom, then Duke Nuke’em, then Command and Conquer and then two of my favourites – Counterstrike and Battlefield 1942. Even today so long after they first came out, they are still holding strong. During this time the world of the MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) was being born and it wasn’t until the jewel in the crown came to life, that I would be hooked. This my friends is the Franchise of Everquest I and II. I can go on for hours about the days upon weeks and months that I spent playing these games – or how about the dream I once had where my main character or avatar actually came up to me and started talking. What a conversation that was! Needless to say that was probably my first warning that I had a problem and that was only the 1st franchise. I would still go on to play the 2nd franchise for about four more years, until this.

April 16th, 2011 has now become a day of infamy in my world, the world of gaming and for Sony. For those that don’t know or didn’t click the link, they were hacked and not just any sort of hack. These dudes were pwned! Their networks are still down and they have even warned their customers (maybe 24.6 million accounts) that their personal info has been stolen and even some old worn out credit card numbers as well. Whatever you may be thinking, this is some serious business and so serious that I actually cancelled my account and had to retire my beloved 90 Human Shadowknight that I had been working on for four years. Man it was a slice there big fella, but it is time for us to part!

So who did this and why? Well let’s see – Sony laid off a bunch of employees two weeks before the hack. These were people who were working on another MMO and some of whom were probably quite upset. Another probable is Mr. Geohot himself who is not the best of friends with Sony and has even been sued by them for jailbreaking their PS3, but he has denied this accusation. Now here is something interesting, if you visit Geohot’s website your IP address is automatically sent to Sony, wowsers! Another probable and certainly not the last is the International Internet Hacktivist Group Anonymous. Now by even using their name I have probably drawn their ire, so using their logo may be even worse. I am not suggesting that they did this. I just like their logo and actually think that the story around them and how they are tied into this is quite amazing. Firstly they were conducting a DDOS (Denial of Service) attack against Sony leading up to the main attack of April 16th, but they have since denied that they took it any further than that. It has been suggested that someone may have been piggy backing on their work and that this person or group instituted a well planned and highly effective attack after the DDOS. They even left a file in the name of Anonymous on Sony’s network.

The whole story of Guy Fawkes has always intrigued me and I often thought that maybe he was framed or used as a scapegoat. That is why it is so ironic that Anonymous members seem to aspire to the imagery of Guy Fawkes, especially where they may be part of a plot very similar in nature and perhaps in conclusion to the gunpowder plot of 1605. Are they the ones standing guard over the powder keg sitting below the house of lords?

It is at this point that this gets foggy and where I have to wait for history to write the conclusion. I can however suggest the following: This is perhaps the largest theft of personal information ever recorded or at least reported in our history. We still don’t know who did it. One month after the attack the SOE network is still down. Apparently for the average layman, Sony had a rather sophisticated network. What does this say for every other network where we keep our information everyday? It seems to me that it just takes a motivated person or group to cause heck on any network no matter how big or small.

Keep your data safe!

Riel

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On Fear

“I just think you Westerners should take over this country if you are so smart.” ~ Pierre Trudeau

Well Pierre they finally have buddy and rest assured I know that you have turned two times in your grave since. May you rest in peace and be glad that you are not here to see what we have done.

Let me first start off with some very easy numbers for all of you to remember. 39.6 of 61.4 equals 24.31. What on earth does that mean? Well let me tell you, for those of you who have not yet figured it out. What that means is the Conservatives won 39.6% of the popular vote in an election where voter turnout was 61.4% and therefore only 24.31% of eligible voters actually picked the conservatives. In terms of real numbers that means out of 23,971,740 registered voters only 5,827,530 actually voted for the conservatives. Here are the stats in case you want to check.

Now wait a second, but we have a Majority Government elected by a small minority of the population. I think we have a problem here folks on many levels. The first problem is that voter turnout was only 61.4% and as I said before if we want a democracy than we need to start showing up for the vote. Just a little less than 10 million registered Canadian voters decided not to turn out on May 2nd. For whatever apathetic reasons or excuses that we give for these people the message is now clear. More Canadians than those that elected our “majority” Government do not subscribe to the notion that we are a constitutional monarchy with a federal system of parliamentary government. That is a mouthful and it is true, however it is an old hat and something needs to give.

Another problem is who we have just elected. None of the ethical issues and parliamentary rebukes that brought down Harper’s government would stick to him on the campaign. All he needed was to wage a campaign of fear on coalition governments, Quebec Sovereignty, an NDP surge, crime and more. Manufacturing fear to justify their initiatives and policies is what they do best and now that we have given him exactly what he wants the tide of fear may turn in the other direction. Some of this may just be fear mongering on my part and really only time will tell. Truth be told he is not warm to the press, he does not like people that support other parties, and when it comes to protesting the G20 in Canada – WATCH OUT! The G20 security is as one commenter suggested, “just a warm up” now that Harper has a majority. Controlling the press, the competition and creating a police state are all serious issues that could become everyday realities over the next four years. The question is whether or not you will standby and watch or do something now and if you didn’t vote, do you even have the right?

Riel 

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On Taxes

“When there’s a single thief, it’s robbery. When there are a thousand thieves, it’s taxation.” ~ Vanya Cohen

If this doesn’t agitate you enough to get you out and start your own tax revolt than I don’t know what will. Today the Fraser Institute released one of its Alerts called The Canadian Consumer Tax Index, 2011. Search the title on the website, but here is the Coles notes version just in case.

This little report tracks the total tax bill of the average Canadian family and I assume that they have been doing this for a little while now. This years report concluded that our total tax bill has risen 1,686% since 1961. Now in contrast for those of you who think back to the good ole days when you got everything you needed at the five and dime, prices for shelter has risen 1,175%, food 498% and clothing 510%, all in the same period. Back in 1961 the average Canadian family paid 33.5% in taxes and roughly 56.5% went towards the necessities of life i.e. shelter, food and clothing. Today the same average Canadian family pays 41.3% of its total income towards taxes and only 34% towards the basic necessities. Now it gets even better. Most governments, as we are all well aware, are running deficits  provincially and federally. One day these deficits will have to be paid and where do you go to collect payment on a deficit, yeah you guessed it, Taxes! If we include our deferred taxes or the amount we have to pay for these deficits than the increase since 1961 is actually 1,887%. More for Ottawa and your provincial capital to squander and less for you to keep a roof over your head, food in your belly and a shirt on your back.

The powers that be could suggest that our tax rates are average compared to other countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and development (OECD). We are also not facing austerity measures that other countries are facing right now. Well isn’t that a relief. One thing is for certain is that most countries that have introduced these measures have faced a general public that have defied these measures through protest. Just look at Greece as a prime example.

Even though we are in the midst of an election there is no immediate reprieve in our future from either party. We are fundamentally stuck in a quagmire of government waste and mismanagement of our tax dollars. Pick any item: crime, military, health care, infrastructure and the list can go on and on. The issues are so immense that we have no choice but to change it from the ground up.

The Luddite movement was known for destroying mechanized looms to protest having their jobs replaced by machines. Picture yourself as a Luddite against unfair taxation and misappropriation of your tax dollars. The mechanized loom is the current tax system in Canada and you have the hammer, you just have to put it to work!

Riel

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On Greed

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed”

Mahatma Gandhi

Today marks one for the record books. Now it isn’t official just yet, but if you are an investor in Exxon Mobil then you are going to be very happy once you hear officially what their profit was in the 1st quarter of 2011. Market Watch estimates that their 1st quarter profit will be somewhere around 9.8 Billion USD, which is up 56% from this time last year. Now I shouldn’t say that it is a record as they have respectively reported profits of 14.83 and 11.68 Billion in two separate quarters in 2008. This must make you feel warm and fuzzy as you go to fill up your car. You should also know that today the very fancy and highly palatable Brent Crude was priced at around $128 USD.

Everyone is an expert when it comes to determining why the price of Oil rises. Is it the market speculators, the cartel known as OPEC, unrest in the Middle East and North Africa? If the world operated as simply as Adam Smith had hoped it would than it would be that increased demand and the reduced global supply is driving increased oil prices. These are still the fundamentals of economics and everything tends to come back to his rules at some point or other. However, for those of you that may think that it is the speculators that are driving these prices than you should spend some time researching what would make that sort of thing happen. I am not an economist and am not going to try to be on this post, but I will say this. Most investors these days participate in a pool or managed fund of some kind. Some of these funds can become quite large and with the amount of money being traded on a daily basis it is not hard to imagine one fund manager making a few key strokes on a computer that moves millions and billions of dollars into a market in a single transaction. These sorts of movements can trigger price changes on stocks and futures markets. But what is interesting is what is called the long position in the oil futures. Don’t ask me what the technical aspect of this means, but all you need to know is that roughly 40% of the money here is made up from the investing community and most importantly; most of this new money is coming from China. There is something wrong here and it is too big for any one of us to tackle on our own. As it stands today speculation on the oil futures market is unregulated and before we go and rein in the oil companies we should note that the only thing that is going to help us kick this ridiculous addiction to fossil fuels is when it is either gone or we start to supplement it with alternatives.

I am not quite ready to start introducing my ideas for a better future just yet, as I am trying to outline some of the issues first to help build my case. I will however put in a plug for Tom Rand who I met recently and who wrote this book called Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit. We should all be pushing for this type of change immediately.

Riel

 

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On Democracy

“MAN was born free, and he is everywhere in chains.”

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

What is worth fighting for anymore? It was only  a lifetime ago that Canada sacrificed 45,400 men for the most significant war ever fought over democracy in recorded history. Now it would seem that in Canada’s 41st election of which there has been 5 in the past 10 years and where we, as Canadian taxpayers, pay roughly $50 million each time there is an election, that Democracy is not quite what it used to be.

First and foremost in our most recent election in 2008 voter turnout was 58.8% of eligible voters. The lowest ever of any Canadian election. Where are those other 10 million voters and why are they not subscribing to a democracy that so many other millions of people cherish all over the world? It seems that the two top reasons why people don’t vote is because they are either not interested or didn’t like the selection of parties or candidates.

If this current election draws numbers similar to what we have seen in the past 10 years, than perhaps it may be time to start thinking of alternative ways to democracy in Canada. Or perhaps it may be time to scrap the whole idea. If nearly half of the population won’t support democracy than maybe they do not bear the right to have it. Winston Churchill once suggested that democracy was the worst form of government, except for those other forms that have been tried from time to time. If this is true than what are our alternatives?

Democracy does after all mean power for the people. Free-trade, trudeaumania and Diefenbaker have all brought out voters in record numbers. Healthcare, the environment and even the economy, albeit very important to many, still won’t draw out  the numbers needed to make a difference. When we all turn out to vote we make a difference. We also show respect to our grand-parents and elders, which is after all something that has been lacking in this country, as of late.

Riel

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On China

“Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire”

– Confucius

If you ever wonder what our impact will be on this point in history than just think what the future archaeologist will see most often when excavating sites 1000 years from now. They will at first be bewildered by this thing that keeps popping up on pieces of plastic and metal that has the words – “MADE IN CHINA”. In all likelihood, depending on how things shake up over the next century, they will think it is some sort of deity worshipped in the 21st Century.

Our appetite to consume products that we don’t necessarily need has created a market that entire countries are exploiting. China in particular is making too many products for western society and they are poised to make even more. In 2010 Canada’s total imports from China was $44 Billion, which accounted for over 10% of our total imports. We only exported about $13 Billion to them in return. It seems that they don’t want what we are selling as much as we want what they are selling. The situation is far worse in the US with their total imports from China accounting for nearly 40% of their total imports. It is starting to become an exercise in futility to actually find something that is not made in China.

But whose fault is this? Is it the consumers “demanding” these products, the Chinese manufacturer trying to create a capitalist success in a communist state, the western company that has exported the work it used to do or was intending on doing to a Chinese manufacturer, or some other mechanism only found through consumerism. The problem may not necessarily be the action that leads to more Chinese products being on the market, but the inherent ideology that first created the product and the need to produce it as cheaply as possible. As we continue down this road it appears that some are learning that cheaper does not necessarily mean better, and hence a general statement that products made from China are of an inferior quality is becoming more popular. With high demand for cheaper products comes the act of cutting corners to reduce costs and increase profits. Other contributing factors include the deplorable working conditions in some factories, lack of national uptake on country-wide regulations for quality, health, safety and environment, and a poorly trained workforce. Ultimately inferior products will end up turning into defective products and defective products lead to product recalls. Product recalls of everything from toothpaste to toys and drugs to dog food. The cost will be that some of our children and loved ones will get sick and in some cases may die.

All of this has already happened and yet we still keep buying like there is no tomorrow.

What Would Riel Do?

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