The ramblings of an Eternal Student of Life
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Monday, October 15, 2012
Personal Reflections ... Public Policy ... Society ...

Just a quick follow-up to my last note, regarding Holotropic Breathwork. Plus a few other reality-based ideas rattling right now in my head.

Regarding Holotropic Breathwork — or actually, regarding the facilitator who gave the presentation on HT recently at our zendo — during her talk, she gave an example of the effect that the practice of holotropic breathwork has had on her life. I.e., she was driving home from work in traffic a few days after a ‘very intense’ HTB session. Somewhere along the way, she had a powerful revelation: the world is an illusion! But there were cars driven by fellow commuters all around her, and so she swatted that thought away with another thought: “Najiah, not now!!”

I.e., she was too busy dealing with reality to ponder that reality isn’t really real. Hmmm. You know, I’d feel better about Holotropic Breathwork if it heightened the practitioner’s sensitivity to irony. I suspect that it doesn’t.

Next, another random reality thought: I might yet live to see (might being the key word here) the demise of the public library, the public postal service, and public radio and TV (bye bye Big Bird). Arguably, all have become unnecessary due to the proliferation of the internet, and are too expensive to maintain in an unstable economy (as the American economy is becoming, even if it does manage to fully recover in another two or three years). Back in my day, those things were felt to be essential for a civilized society. Who knows what goes after that — the public school system? Nothing is impossible anymore.

One more reality thought. Barack Obama managed to reform the health care system as to make health care more widely available. In order to do that, he had to address the crisis of health care costs that were rising too rapidly. He chose to rely on government controls and agencies to accomplish this. The jury is not even in session yet as to whether or not this will work. Republicans and many economists say that the better way to control health care costs would be through free market supply and demand mechanisms. Democrats claim (most, anyway, Senator Ron Wyden being a notable exception) that market mechanisms impose too much unfairness, that only the rich will then get adequate care.

There is some truth to all of that. I myself thought (and still think) that a market-based voucher system having adequate government regulation and oversight could strike the best balance between efficiency and fairness. Recently, I heard another argument against Obamacare’s extensive government oversight mechanisms: i.e., even if all of the new health care bureaucrats identify effective cost savings measures, they may not be able to implement many or even most of their proposed changes.

Why not? Because, bureaucrats take their orders from politicians. And politicians take their orders from wealthy campaign contributors and lobbying interests. When a bureaucrat says that health care providers should stop doing things the old way and switch to a new way in order to save the taypayer’s $$$, the companies and other interests (including labor unions) that are involved with the old way of doing things are going to try to stop the change, even though it helps the nation as a whole (no surprise there — this is the American way!!!).

So, the political system will prevent the many changes that will be needed for a more efficient yet effective health care delivery system. Sure, if the NY Times or other public-interest media finds out, they will write and televise articles against these special interests, as to get the public riled up and force the changes to take place. But let’s face it — for that to happen, the change in question is going to need to involve a lot of money or be a very apparent situation. The problem is, changing the health care system for the better will take hundreds if not thousands of small changes, not a handful of big ones that might get Rachel Maddow’s attention. Corporate interest groups will be watching for all of those small but additive changes; the NY Times, MSNBC, and their like will ignore most of them, being too small to keep the public awake at airtime.

Bottom line, hard reality: a market system would force these many changes to happen, slowly but surely. A government-oversight system involving corporate campaign donations to our elected officials will block these changes, despite all the “good-government” journalists who try to promote the public interest. Obamacare is rolling down a well-intentioned road to bankruptcy.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 9:00 am      

  1. Jim, As I said before, seems Holotropic Breathwork is just another form of an altered state of consciousness–and don’t go into such while driving.

    As to your “random reality thoughts”: I’ve been thinking about the past and the future lately myself. Back before, in general, say the 1900s could people have imagined going any place without a horse? Or just plain by walking? For thousands of years the only way to get any place–however far or close–was either by walking or by horse (or maybe donkey or mule, camels in the desert, etc.), some animal to carry one. Actually, it’s amazing how far people traveled by walking/animal. Would the people who lived in the millennia before 1900 have dreamed of the automobile? I doubt it.

    And that’s why talk of the future–whatever it happens to be–seems to me to not hit close to the mark as anything we dream up now will be colored and contained by what we know now.

    Who knows what will be discovered in the future that will change everything–say a way is found to somehow either avoid the limit of inability to go faster than the speed of light or a way is found to simply go past the speed of light. Of course, it’s impossible and will never happen (so it is saidi). And then I think: Well, if someone had told people who lived in the 1700s that someday people would ride in things called cars and fly in things called airplanes, would travel thousands of miles in a few hours, they would have tho’t us crazy. Yet, here we are able to do just that.

    So, when it comes to the future, I tend to think that we cannot even begin to imagine what the future will be (no matter how close the future we are discussing is—even tomorrow).

    As to the coming election which you mention: My observation has been that this is the first one in any I can remember when there seems to be so much fear and anxiety regarding who will be elected. The Democrats are fearful of the GOP; the GOP fearful of the Democrats; churches are getting into all of it even. (Remember when there actually was a *separation of religion and politics?)

    What is wrong with today’s society? All this fear and anxiety makes no sense to me. If Romney gets in, I may feel like moving to Canada; but I won’t. I’ll live through it all. If Obama gets in, all the Tea Partiers and the GOP will also live. Isn’t that the idea of a democracy? Wait 4 years and throw them out if you don’t like them. I have heard some very strange goings on in (and maybe fostered by) the various social media that make me wonder if all this fear and anxiety have gotten to people, and they are becoming a little “out there” in their reactions. If Romney gets in, well, we’ve lived through Reagan, and the two Bushes; we’ll live through Romney as President if he makes it. If Obama gets in, the GOP and the Tea Party lived through 2 terms of Clinton; they will live through another Obama term also. I say just calmly cast your vote and see what happens. Whatever happens, we’ll live. MCS

    Comment by Mary S. — October 16, 2012 @ 1:55 pm

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