TaN: The system is not what is important; people are the key to change and to success. One prime example of this is the current political situation in the Philippines with respect to the upcoming 2013 polls – specifically the persistent and nasty issue of political dynasties.
There is a provision in the Constitution that specifically prohibits political dynasties. Still and more than ever, especially in the (upcoming) Philippine 2013 (midterm) Senatorial polls, political dynasties are sprouting up everywhere like crabgrass. And, they even justify themselves by claiming that the constituency clamored for them – even pleaded with or “beseeched” them (as if they are the messiah, as if there are no other people who can do the job) – or that they are providing voters with options, with alternatives and it is up to the voters to decide. These are simply lame excuses to (establish and) perpetuate themselves in power, to protect their interests, to guarantee plum positions are still available because they have reached their last term in office and is obligated to “take a break” before having a go at the desired public office again in the next elections.
The power to change, to turn things around for the better (or worse) is in us and only we can make things better (or worse). All the laws have no meaning, have no force whatsoever, unless we enforce them. This explains, in the case of the Philippines, the common comment “Laws are mere suggestions” and people violate it at will, while the same people are among the most law-abiding in countries with strict implementation of the laws of the land. When people refuse to oblige, there is nothing systems can do. They are just systems.
The Constitution and its corresponding body of laws can be written in the most elegant, strictest, most precise, finest, and most well-intentioned language but all that are naught if no one will enforce and abide by them, no one will obey them. On the contrary, even if there are no laws and regulations existing but people are mature and responsible, there will be peace and harmony. This is proof that blaming the system for our problems and our troubles are useless and changing the system in the hope that it will change our situation (automatically) is futile and utopic.
True change comes from within and requires the participation and full cooperation of each individual. Change will not come if we only pay lip service to it; we have to mean it. As Mohandas K Gandhi once was to have said, Be the change you want to see in the world.
It is sad – no, pitiful and embarrassing – that we should learn of such people, people who have no scruples, not an ounce of shame, that they would do anything for their own selfish interests, even go as far as to justify and defend their outed activities.
TaN: Where applicable, everything for the benefit of man should be offered for free. It has always been that what we produce should benefit as many as possible – for the common good. Moreover, when we consume products and services, we have to remember to maximize or optimize the consumption. This not only brings honor to the provider (or originator/creator) of the product or service but is the only true sustainable consumption.
In the “good ole days”, in the pre-money days, people used to do things for each other. Each member of the community contributes his/her talents to the good of the community – like making clothes, like hunting for (preferred) food, like making utensils or furniture, etc. The concept here is that there will always be something that each member (or several of them) will need and someone will be able to provide that need. The need will be satisfied because the provider will have his/her own needs that will require someone else to provide and reciprocity is expected. With the invention of money, man found a means to “keep a record” of the favors and the needs that was provided to or for others.
In the “good ole days” of pre-money, we did not keep a record of what we did for others; we just do our share because we know our needs will be provided for in return. We neither quantified our services nor others’. The survival of the community is of the utmost because we know and understand that its survival is also our survival. By providing for the needs of the community, we ensure our own survival so keeping tabs of our “contributions” was the furthest thing on our minds.
It was not until someone (stupidly) persuaded and convinced people to be self-centered and to quantify products and services provided that we began to be greedy and selfish and demand some kind of compensation in return. This started the whole shebang of private property, ownership, capitalism, industrialization, globalization, and, lately, consumerism. These all result in the ultimate destruction of the environment and the planet due to corporatization and privatization, to apathy, and, ultimately, to unbridled, wanton and rampant greed.
The only things that we can really, legitimately and justifiably put a price on is (added) labor – either due to others’ inability or incompetence to labor on their own (cause by physical handicap, by stupidity, or by lack of knowledge/experience) or to others’ laziness. This is much like what is attributed to be the utterances of William Gates III, when interviewed regarding his early success with Microsoft – that Microsoft was intended to serve only two kinds of people: the lazy and the stupid (which explains it being very user-friendly and rash of books and manuals such as Microsoft for Dummies, MS Word for Dummies, MS Excel for Dummies, MS Powerpoint for Dummies, and the lot).
Since all materials and worldly resources were already available when man appeared in this world, it would not be fair or morally defensible to claim them just because we happen to chance upon them ahead of others – as what has been happening since the Age of Exploration and Discovery when we “grabbed” lands that rightfully belonged to others just because we are physically or militarily superior even if the occupants and residents have dwelled for generations.
Even patents, intellectual property, and all other rights designed to restrict and monopolize utility are clever – no, more like sly, crafty, unscrupulous, sinister, insidious – scheme by grabby selfish monopolist-minded who seek not to share the benefits of his/her labor with others. Instead, they have convinced themselves and others that restricting other people’s access – via preventing others from replicating, from improving, from purchasing (due to prohibitive prices or to regulation of supply to create artificial demand), from sharing – is the right and wise thing to do and that financial compensation and monopoly is the moral reward from one’s labor, that is provides the best incentive for people (i.e., inventors and discovers) to be more innovative, more creative, more productive. It feeds the ego, lines the pocket (ensuring and reinforcing greed), and creates apathy, inequity, envy, and erects walls and barriers instead of building bridges and compassion.
IPs are the latest nefarious “inventions” of twisted consumerism-minded capitalists in their quest for total control over commerce and the flow of capital and of goods and, indirectly but ultimately, total control over people – i.e., consumers. The most effective (and traditional) ways are through the media, through public relations, and through advertising and marketing agencies – by controlling (read: spinning) the flow of essential information to the public, their minds and, subsequently, the behavior and the decisions are manipulated.
However, if everything is offered for free – sharing or given freely to all – all of these will be moot. If and when “fruits” of our labor are provided freely – as the Creator has intended and as He showed it by doing it first – every person will benefit and progress will proceed not only at a much faster pace but even be truly sustainable.