Post for Apr 20-26 2014 [updated Apr 21]

TaN: Happy BirthDay Ting!  Welcome to the club.  It is a historic turning point in your life.  Hoping you are in good health and will continue to enjoy it for many more years to come.  As you celebrate your birth anniversary, so does the world join you in the celebration.  Who would have known that such an important day for the world will coincidentally be set on your day.  Have a healthful and meaningful celebration and may the Good Lord smile on you and keep you in His hands.  So, same day next year.

TaN: [last minute addendum] From the column Shooting Straight of Bobit S Avila last week in The Philippine STAR, dated April 17 — titled, “A Maundy Thursday reflection” — caught my eye and gave me another interesting epiphany.  In the column, what caught my attention and interest were the statements: (1) “Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos” (A new commandment I give you, that you love one another; as I have loved you) [John 13:34] and (2) “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” [Matt 20:28].

What struck me was it suddenly dawned on me the advocacy I have trying to put into words cannot be expressed more clearly, plainly and precisely than those in the Holy Scriptures.  Man’s primary purpose for existence in this world is to love one another and this can easily be done by being of service to others, that we should never profit from the good that we do for others — for when we profit (i.e., financially or even selfishly, as when we trumpet to the world the good that we have done) we are not doing but rather we are engaging in business.

In fact, in most instances, doing good for and to others entail not only doing it freely and for free (note: the two are not the same) but, many times, experience a (financial or chronological) loss — i.e., you have spend money that you will not get back or recover, or you will spend your “precious” time to go out of your way to do good.  But this is the way it ought to be.

In another instance in the Holy Scriptures, Jesus said (in John 14:6, KJV): “…I am the way, the truth, and the light: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” and this can be interpreted in many parallel ways.  In the context of this TaN, this passage may be interpreted to mean, “I am the way” to refer to His actions are what we are to emulate because “I am the truth” refers to mean what He says and does will always be truthful and the truth (again, the two are not identical and interchangeable) and the truth will always illuminate or show us how it is to be done correctly so as to be worthy and pleasing to the Father.

In a world of finite resources, it is foolishly absurd that people can lay claim to private property or ownership and that good works can be measured or meted out in terms of money.  What is the basis?  Is it fair to claim a piece of land just because you got to it first?  What about the animals and plants that were there ahead of you?  And, if we assume (for the sake of argument) that plants and animals do not have such rights — which, I agree, there is really no such thing as animal rights otherwise there would have to be plant rights, inanimate objects rights, etc — but that only man possess such rights, then how is it fair that just because you were born ahead of me that you will “own” property and nothing will be left for me?

Jesus showed us the way.  In His entire stay with us (and as in the poem that goes “He was born in an obscure village…”), He never had any degree, never commanded any army, never held any office, never owned any property (except for His sandals and the shirt off His back, which may, in all probability, given or loaned to Him), never traveled far, never did nor had any of the trappings that we so value today to serve as symbols of achievement and success.  He was born in the feeding trough for barn animals, wandered around (never straying far from where He was born), healed the sick, comforted the grieving, fed the hungry, and buried in a borrowed grave…He basically did what none would do today (probably because it would not be profitable).  It has been repeated more than enough number of times that, if Jesus would be with us today, He would not be accepted into any school, would not be listened to by the masses (not unless He would distribute food and money), would be ridiculed as a certified nut case and be strapped into a straight jacket in the blink of an eye.

True service shares and gives to others unconditionally and without hesitation, even at the extent of losing money and spending a lot of time just to perform or provide the service — never thinking of what can be gained or profited or publicity to feed the ego and gain fame.  Jesus showed the way; He humbled Himself as to wash our feet; He healed our sickness for free; He fed us; He taught us; He suffered for us.  Not once did He ever asked for recognition for Himself, not once did He asked to be publicized, not once did He required payment for His services, not once did He complain of the hardship and the suffering He had to endure for our sins and our caprices, and not once did He asked anything for Himself.  Truly, He is the epitome of service and love.  All He asked was that we emulate Him — for He is the Way, the Truth and the Light.

TaN: The state of today’s (formal) education is appallingly money-centered and neither education- nor learner-centered.  Practically every thing in today’s (formal) educational system is about the extraction of money from the learner and siphoning it to line the pockets of the educational institution’s owners and stockholders — from uniforms, to qualifying and/or entrance examinations, to identification cards, to text and reference books, to miscellaneous fees (in the form of add-ons like energy fee, dental and medical fee, athletic fee, library fee, thesis fee, and all the other absurd fees that are completely irrelevant to education).

The law mandates that 70 percent of the tuition fee is to be allocated for salaries and wages but they found a way to circumvent the law to ensure huge uncontestable profits — keep the tuition fee increase small and pile all the increases in the miscellaneous and other fees.  Moreover, many fees are innocently disguised to appear as if they are legitimate — like the energy fee, where the justification is the cost of maintaining the air-conditioned classrooms.

For the air-conditioning, the reason is that it will cover the cost of acquiring, replacing, and servicing the air-conditioning units, plus the operational cost (i.e., electricity).  Let us take a deeper analysis into this case.

  • The initial amount charged was 500 per student and there were 3 sections using the same classroom each school day.
  • Assuming there are an average of 40 students per section, the total amount per section would be 40,000.
  • Assuming that each A/C unit would cost 40,000 — though, it truth, it would be a lot cheaper since the A/C units would be purchased in bulk.
  • Up to as of this writing, there are 2 A/C units per classroom.
  • This would come to the 1st (morning) section footing the bill of purchasing 1 A/C unit, the 2nd (noon) section buys another or the 2nd A/C unit, and the last 40,000 from the 3rd (afternoon) section would be for electricity for the whole semester.
  • But then, the same energy fee is charged again for the next semester but the A/C units remain the same.  This means the 80,000 from the 1st (40,000) and the 2nd (40,000) sections are now pure profit.  It is not as if there are 2 brand new A/C units every semester, to justify the repeated and continuous collection of the 500 energy fee every semester.
  • Finally, this is not to include the times when there are extended periods of A/C not performing properly (like not cooling the room or completely not running).

It is pitiful and embarrassing how Big Business — in the persons of school owners and stockholders — turn big profits at the expense of the learners while providing very inadequate quality education.  It would appear that Big School would like us to believe that just because we “pay an arm and a leg” for the privilege to be accepted into a prestigious and expensive school, we are guaranteed quality education.  Well, there are quite a few expensive schools that truly provide quality education but those that do not should not be permitted to continue their shenanigan and fleece hardworking parents or guardians of their money.

Like what I have advocated and continue to maintain in an earlier blog, Education from the secondary level (as a minimum) should be public (ergo must be free and “standard” for all) but should be extended all the way to the highest (please read up on the Finland Phenomenon) eventually.  Private education defeats the purpose of education being an equalizer — to provide equal opportunity for and to all.  Private education creates a gap where only the can-afford will benefit because they have the resources to gain access to quality education.

TaN: Failure to know the reason behind events and things is advantageous to (irresponsible and greedy) Big Business.  Why is learning the reason behind events and things is superior to simple and easy blind acceptance and memorization?  While listening to the podcast of an environmental program, it suddenly dawned on me that ignorance ensures repeat customers.

Take the case of the conventional or mainstream (allopathic) medicine approach is just to address the symptom.  It is already bad enough that there is no explanation whatsoever but, to make matters worse, the patient has no idea how to prevent a recurrence — and this is not yet including the fact that the disease is not being addressed but just the symptoms.  Explaining the reason why the medical/physiological/pathological condition occurred will teach the patient how to avoid a repetition because they would now know what to avoid (to do or not to do).  But, a repetition of the condition is advantageous to the physician and to Big Pharma because they are guaranteed repeat business — a steady (or even increased) income or source of revenue.

Let us say a patient is suffering from hypertension due to dehydration, the conventional physician — especially those who no longer engage in research and clinical studies — would not hesitate to prescribe pharmaceuticals, such as calcium channel blockers or antagonists, diuretics or water pills, beta blockers, etc.  They know that hypertension can be cause principally only by either thickening (i.e., viscosity) of the blood, narrowing (thickening due to accumulation of plaque or constriction) or hardening of the arteries, or arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat.

However, instead of determining which is which, they go into experimentation and tell the patient to “try” this or that and change medication when the prescribed one does not seem to be making progress or improvement.  They will prescribe all the “poisons” and concoctions churned out by Big Pharma except the correct remedy — which is water.  They will make the patient try beta blockers (which makes the heart “beat slower” so it will not pump so hard thus lowering the blood pressure and the patient consequently feels weak), calcium channel blockers (which makes the blood vessels “relax” so the heart does not have to pump stronger to move the same volume of blood per unit distance because the blood vessel diameter will easily widen or enlarge), and diuretics or water pills (which makes the body expel more water — usually via the kidneys as urine — which decreases the volume of blood so that the heart will have less blood to pump).

In all the various methodologies or protocols a conventional allopathic physician employs to address hypertension, they have the same commonalities — they all have (side) effects, they all address the symptom/s but not the problem or cause, they all involve using “artificial” or man-made (highly) toxic chemicals that are patented ergo enjoy monopolistic prices and available only to those who have the means*, and they all end up making the patient worse than they started.

Without explaining or telling the truth about all that is relevant to a patient’s health or wellbeing and how to (truly) treat the medical condition, conventional allopathic physicians and Big Pharma are guaranteed repeat business.  Even if there is a perfectly good alibi — i.e., the physicians did not receive any proper training in medical school with respect to treating patients except to prescribe whatever Big Pharma dishes out to them — there is no law, nothing, to prevent them from doing their own research and/or conducting their own in-practice clinical trials and experiments to be up-to-date or to confirm all that they have been taught or told by medical representatives peddling their wares.

In the case of contemporary commercial products, there are countless instances where the consumer is left in the dark (though not necessarily requiring reasoning but definitely an explanation) about information they are entitled to have to assist and enable them to make informed consent.  One example is the inclusion of the neurotoxic artificial sweetener aspartame in regular (commercial) mayonnaise where it used to be an ingredient found only in those that are intended to be marketed to diabetics and those who are avoiding sugar.  The manufacturer — a mega corporation — did not even have the common decency or courtesy or the consideration to put some sort of a warning regarding the inclusion or formulation change on the front label to inform consumers who are health conscious and are trying to avoid toxic unhealthy crap as aspartame (and its other just-as-dangerous counterparts such as acesulfame-K, xylitol, and sorbitol).  The least malicious reason would be that aspartame is a lot cheaper to use as a sweetener than regular sugar whereas a more nefarious reason would be that the manufacturer would like to expose more consumers to the toxic effects of aspartame.   This could probably because they have a subsidiary or financial interests in a corporation that profits from people who are “victims” of such artificial sweeteners.  It is not far-fetched to believe that multi-corporation conglomerates — who have subsidiaries into almost all vital industries, like food, banking, pharmaceuticals, media, biotechnology, weapons, agriculture, etc — would covertly and nefariously include ingredients in our food supply that keeps us alive but diseased because they reap massive profits from it.  Remember: the logic here is that it does not make sense for individuals (conventional medical professionals) and corporations (Big Pharma) whose very existence or reason for being — let alone the income and profits generated or to be received — depend entirely on people being sick to honestly and sincerely look out for your health and welfare.  They gain nothing from healthy people.  In fact, if every person is well, they go bankrupt.

There are no profits to be gained — at least not much — from peace, honesty, generosity, openness, truth, and all that is good.  And, a lot of today’s jobs would be redundant — like lawyers, security guards, criminal law enforcement, etc.

TaN: With today’s ever-increasing intensity to amass wealth (but only for the already uber wealthy), marketing has evolved methodologies that are downright unethical but are so subtle that it both subliminally enters our consciousness undetected and are “forcibly” indoctrinated into the youth via formal education.

Capitalizing on the propensity of the average consumer — whether due to stupid and non-thinking habits or to sheer laziness — to disregard important information at the obverse side of a product label and intentionally written in almost unreadable print size, consumers of retail products tend to ignore the ingredients list and rely on the front label for information.

Take time and effort to study retail products and how they are packaged.  One will immediately notice the bright colors and large-print words (often with ambiguous and misleading terminology and visual effects).  Employing human psychology against — instead of for the benefit of — consumers, Big Business relies on the instinctive behavioral reflexes to peddle their environmentally-unsustainable and health-harmful products.

Impulse buyers are the dream customers of Big Business.  They make purchases without much thought to the impact on society and the environment.  They are the epitome of the saying, A fool and his money are soon parted.  These consumers consistently and continuously sink deeper into poverty while, at the same time, boosting the wealth of the uber rich and the global power elite ever greater.  However, a recent interesting article, entitled “NASA warns how ‘powerful, complex societies’ are subject to immediate collapse” by J D Heyes (URL: http://naturalnews.com/z044618_NASA_complex_societies_civilization_collapse.html), “predicts” a dire future if current trends and development does not turn around — not just slow down.

Failing to be aware of the rationale behind the marketing campaigns and advertisements become an unsuspecting consumer’s Waterloo and this is precisely what Big Business desires to ensure continuous and increasing profits — aside from the employment of unethical business practices with regard to worker benefits and wages, such as wage theft, business operations outsourcing, engaging in retail labor, and worker misclassification, as well as unpaid internship or OJT that should have been compensated.

There are many more examples of ways in which Big Business uses to earn from the ignorance or innocence of the consuming public.  Just be vigilant and be a critical and discriminating thinker.

TaN: I am suddenly reminded of the Peter Principle.  The Peter Principle is supposed to mean that the common management practice of rewarding good employee performance by promoting them to higher positions but another way of putting it is: A employee is promoted to a position of incompetence.  At first glance, this is not only “logical” but it is a good way to show management’s recognition and appreciation of the good performance.  However, if one looks deeper into the practice, it dawns on us that there is a drawback somewhere down the line.

Let us say that it is management policy to routinely reward an employee’s outstanding performance with a promotion.  In the new position, the employee is expected to be consistent and continue performing well.  Assuming that the employee does continue to exhibit outstanding performance, then management will promote him/her again.  This process continues and the employee continues to rise in the corporate ladder.  However, there will come a point when the employee will be put in a position where s/he will no longer be able to perform outstandingly.  At this point, the employee would be considered “incompetent” — but then it would be too late because it would be against labor law to demote a person unless there is justifiable reason.

I think corporate business — as compared to other types of business, because I defined “business” as “concern”, as in “it is none of your business” — should take another serious look into this and really ponder on its impact in the corporate structure and affairs.

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