Let's see if I can draw you a pair of 3D glasses here Vance. Both of us being "vets" I know that we share a lot in common and hence we are both man of honour who live their daily lives in strict regimen to a certain code of conduct and thus upholding values. From this vantage point I believe no clarifications are required. I believe Will knows were I am coming from as we have exchanged similarly in the past wrt some of the points raised here.
Will's article is bonsai related, and hence posted on a bonsai "venue" and his reference may well have been misrepresented because of the bonsai scene. This is what I have gathered from your response were initially you seemed to understand the problems and perhaps the root only to limit your perspective specifically to the bonsai scene.
I stated the problem with today's respondents is society as a whole and not limited to the bonsai scene. Because the respondents on the forums are part of society we readily see this manifestations there. Why not? We spend a good protion of time interacting here/there.
Will and others have labelled it the "quick fix" I have labelled it "what's in it for me". When applied strictly to bonsai, they want a quick answer, without spending any significant amount of time researching a given question. We have become a society that everything needs to be fixed yesterday, as tomorrow I am moving on to something else. The hustle and bustle of the 21st century. We no longer take the time to smell the coffee.
On the larger scene, the little anecdote I reintegrated into this discussion is self explanatory. What's in for me? My daughter was POed at the whole idea or process, because she was instilled with a good set of values, only to find herself frustrated when her daily "proper" interactions go unnoticed and unrewarded, while others who seldom behave like human beings are being rewarded for good deeds on an almost continual basis.
This frustration led the discussion of why should I continue to interact with fellow man when my daily interactions go unnoticed and unrewarded = What's in it for me?
The question I asked why do you do these things? <<because it is the right thing to do>>
Do you need a prize/award for doing what is right? <<well yes because it is part of the program, and if they want me to continue they better soon start noticing>>. My daughter turned 17 boxing day.
I asked prior to the program, did you behave and act in society with others properly, kindly, etc...? <<well yes, but they have this program...>>
Forget the program for a minute. What does doing the right thing do for you? Why do you do it/did it prior to this silly program? <<uh I don't know>>
Come on know, doesn't it feel good to help someone else regardless of the circumstance etc... hold open a door instead of allowing it to slam in someones face etc...? <<well yeah!>>
How does it feel when others act irresponsibly etc...? <<it p...... me off>>
Now let's get back to the awards program do we conduct ourselves as human beings because a reward is involved or because it is the right thing to do? <<well.... both>> again what's in it for me... I will keep to the short strokes here for sake of expediency, this conversation went back and forth during dinner one night. It is one instance and there are many more, in favour of brevity we will leave it at that.
All three of us participating here come from the same generation give or take a few years, myself being the youngest. We conduct ourselves through a set of values instilled by our parents and enforced by society as a whole. The same values that we hold dearly are not being instilled in every household, and definitely not enforced by society. Why is that?
In yesteryear I will openly admit not everyone behaved according to proper decorum etc... but the majority did or we were quickly brought into line. We respected our elders as a fountain of knowledge and wisdom. We knew instinctively to seek wisdom from these folks, hell they have been around a long time, surely they should have come across it at one point in time. But more specifically we were taught to respect our elders. The latter was forged from a set of deep seeded values that were instilled in everyone of us. An old saying goes: "go with your gut" normally during these sessions a moral debate took place internally and we would eventually do what was right. How can we do what is right if in today's society what is right is obscured by the hustle and bustle. Well... perhaps we just wing it as we have to move on to something else...
At one point in time our mothers were in the home to see to our upbringing and correct our transgressions on the spot, human interaction was taken place vice electronic stimuli in one form or another. We knew what was right and what was wrong, and easily differentiated between the two. Today's society in the majority of circles see both parents working to make ends meet, have very little interaction with their children and expect them to act like responsible adults. Well they are trying, unfortunately without much guidance. This lack of guidance has forged a way of interacting in what they deem is responsible etc... I will not delve on this point too much as we can be here all night trying to clarify each others thoughts.
The hustle and bustle has seen parenting depart from the aforementioned to, here's $10 to go to a movie or a new video game etc... any form of stimuli so one can take a break. Why do we need to take a break? Well, because we are in most cases doing the job of 2 to 3 people, at relatively low wages (comparatively speaking) just to make ends meet etc... society as a whole is on overload. By the time they get home, they just want to relax and vedge, because tomorrow the wheel begins again. Now this is not going on in every household, I am not naive enough to think so, but it is happening on a larger scale than what we might be lead to believe. If we listen attentively to the reports from our children, then one has the pulse, more or less.
We were raised with values, these values are being passed down to our heirs. In most part they are readily accepted but confusedly receptive in comparison with daily interactions of society. e.g. Why should I do this whilst others do that or what they want etc...? Another anecdote...
Our dinner table is sacred so to speak. This is were the family gathers in peace and tranquillity, breaking bread. This is the place where we take the pulse on the daily happenings etc... it is also a time, to time out from society and review daily events in peace and quiet amongst our household. It is also a place where my partner (soon to be wife) take some time for ourselves, during tea. This is a house rule (tea time), this is a time were both Ruth and I relax, enjoy each others company without distraction and go over daily events etc... a ritual so to speak but, if our household functions as well as it does, its probably do in large part to this 30 minutes we spend at the end of each dinner. This ritual was met with a certain amount of resistance in the beginning as the children were not accustomed to this type of interaction between couples. But through our insistence it soon became a daily routine that has been accepted as "family practice" so to speak.
This practice in order to take place requires one to make the time and expend a certain amount of effort towards the end. This time and effort is second nature to our generation as we do it readily on matters of importance. <<I don't have time!>> you make the time. You can either jump on the hamster wheel (hustle and bustle) and go round and round, or you can take the time and smell the coffee. If given a choice I like the aroma of a good cup of coffee, as a matter of fact I get off on the olfactory stimuli. It is not easy as we know to uphold our beliefs in a society that would sooner dismiss them without a second thought. We do it because not only is it the right thing to do, but we feel good when we do it. The smile we receive for an act of kindness regardless the act, is priceless in a bankrupt society devoid of moral values.
It takes time to develop a pair of 3D glasses and in doing so I hope I didn't lose you and are enjoying this tale with a good cup of Joe.
I stated that today's society functions pretty much on what's in it for me. I also stated that this translate to greed. Greed need not be attached to money. Greed is defined as: very keen or eager; needing intensely. My interpretation of the definition although in the Oxford greed is normally associated with wealth or food, I add to covet. Regardless of the interpretation it is wrong...
A society devoid of moral integrity and values soon will often turn to greed for self preservation. The mess we are currently in (the world) was created out of greed, whether personal or corporate. We as society are governed by the fractional money system, heck government, is driven and governed by the fractional money system. This system was created by bankers it is a system in which a society can be manipulated and controlled towards an end. It is a system that by virtue of its design creates competitiveness amongst its participants. It is also a system that propagates greed exponentially and in doing so can never satiate itself. Who owns the Federal Reserve, the country or a select group of bankers? When was the Federal Reserve created and why? What is its role in society? Did we go to war in Iraq over WMDs or oil? and if the latter why? Vance your a Vietnam vet, why was that war never won? The US certainly had the capability to win such a lopsided battle, or was there more to it, like the war needed to be sustained for profit vice won. I am sure everyone has heard this one before. Who controlled the decision making processes etc... the government or Wall St? and more importantly why?
The aforementioned system by virtue of its design collapses every 96-100 yrs, or in our case within the next few years. The depression caused by this collapse will make the previous world depression look like a cake walk. So you might ask how is this germane to this discussion? Well I said that "what's in it for me" can also be translated to greed, and society as a whole is behaving in such a fashion because of it. The system has created a responsive society and in doing so have no intention of changing the way the world functions as a whole. The hamster wheel that has been created I call the program. I get enough exercise and refuse to get on the hamster wheel. Am I naive enough to think my attitude towards what's right and what's wrong will change anything in the grand scheme of things? No! but I sure sleep better at night.
As I mentioned the fractional money system creates greed and by virtue of its design collapses every 100 years or so. As I mentioned the next couple of years will tell the tale. Hell all the analyst know this but will refrain in publicly saying so in fear of another general panic. But the present economic crisis in the US, fuelled by the war in Iraq, the bailing out of corporations and banks only accelerate the systems inevitable collapse. In a last ditch effort to maximise profits, the Federal Reserve has lowered their interest rates from 1% to 0.25% and in some cases written off certain loans. Every time the government borrows from the Fed, the deeper the world goes into debt, as the Federal Reserve, the World Bank and the International Money Fund are all part of the same conglomerate of bankers. How will we all be affected, God only knows.
In getting back to Will's original article it is the manipulated behaviour of today's society that is manifesting itself on the scene and this behaviour is not strictly limited to bonsai. Therefore, it is for those reasons that I tend to uphold my values in a world of seaming chaos. I cannot control everything in society, I am just a cog on the wheel like everyone else. But what little I do have control off I am not prepared to part with, and that by definition could be construed as greed. The precious moments away from the hustle and bustle of every day life are precious to me, my time spent with my trees are precious to me and my family. In other words since the only thing I can control in this chaotic society is my time, then I choose how I spend it. As we get older it is the little things that are precious to us, but unnoticed by society in general, hence the lack of recognition for someones efforts/work. Like I said you may draw from the well at will, just bring your own bucket as none will be provided.
This has been a rather long post and I will close it off with a bonsai related anecdote. I hope I was able to create the 3D glasses as promised and hope I didn't confuse you even more.
Someone who lives in the neighbourhood is into what he calls bonsai and which I have pointed out is more Japanese Gardening vice bonsai, as these trees are in the landscape and not in a pot. Anyway, he is interested with bonsai etc... and has drawn from the well on several occasions. He has commented on the wealth of knowledge I have gathered on the subject etc... and how I acquired all this knowledge? I mentioned my research, my participation on bonsai related forums etc... and have shown him my reference library. Although well read I consider myself far from being truly knowledgeable on the subject etc... So he draws from the well and, I allow water to be drawn as these conversations are stimulating to say the least but. He states there is so much to learn, and how did I acquire all this etc... when I mentioned although it is good to pick my brain, if you are truly interested in the subject you need to acquire books and conduct some research on your own etc... and I will be more than happy to clarify any matter that may arise. I don't have time! was his reply. I was deeply saddened by this reply. I explained that although he considers me a walking reference, in order to truly get to where he wants to go, he needs to get involved more into the subject of bonsai and Japanese Gardening techniques vice picking my brain. This individual is on permanent paid disability and is in his mid fourties. So when I say they come from all facets of society, he is a prime example.