Happy New Eon! As we transit from one eon to the next, a report on the current state of the evolution.
Once, in our ceramic-making small enterprise, there was a young man who decided he would invent a system for speeding up the drying of the clay slip during the casting process so that he could cast more pieces per day. This resulted in many cracked pieces coming out of the firing. The ceramic-making process can be unforgiving as every action affects events within a holistic process. It does not work for each process to have an independent measure of success outside of its effect on the larger process. One must always maintain a systemic consciousness of the purpose which is to produce a beautiful work of art or useful object.
Our lives are our works of art.
Systemic consciousness is an ever-present awareness of the whole system, its effect, and its purpose. Throughout history, this awareness has been identified in multifarious cultures as being one with everything
In the twenty-first century, the problem humanity must solve is the transformation of our deeply entrenched technology dependent on fossil fuels to a different kind of technology, a massive transformation that involves other types of transformations beyond mere technology transformation. The biggest transformation might be the spiritual transformation, the relationship between the parts and the whole
Every system is a system within a system but an individual can hold but a limited amount of information in conscious focus, while all of our thoughts and experiences formulate the larger part of our consciousness hidden from our conscious focal point and, as postulated by Carl Jung, intermingling with collective unconsciousness. The aspect of our consciousness that is not captured by our focal point is our ever-present guide and so we must consider how we nourish it through the portal of our conscious focal point.
The facet of consciousness that focuses in the here and now is connected and guided by other perspectives of consciousness. We might be fully involved in a task at hand when suddenly an unrelated thought causes us to shift our focus elsewhere. To believe that a consciousness greater than our focal point is functioning at all times and that it is wise and good is to have faith even as we see evil everywhere in our world. We live in a fearful time when the human species must collectively transcend the errors of our ways for the sake of our planet, which is nature, and we are a part of nature. Can we do it? How do we synchronize all of human culture in the interest of planetary survival? We are not just transiting into a new year, we are transiting into a new eon. Happy New Eon!
“Technology got us here, can technology get us out?”
Before we can address that question we have to confront our fears. Climate change deniers tell us that climate change is a fear-driven narrative. I say it is a fearful reality that climate change deniers are trying to escape.
The ability to solve the problem depends on believing that the problem can be solved and the best way to reinforce the belief that humanity can do it is to train one’s focus on solving the problem
In the 20th century, physics broke through the classical domain and discovered that in the quantum domain, the observer affects the observed. There is the foundation of a “Can Do!” attitude! The parts and the whole of the system are inter-reactive, each affects the other. Some say wholeness is God, and God operating from the spiritual center of the individual is Christ.
Wholeness is everything including itself, the paradoxical meaning of “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” It is impossible to step outside of wholeness and objectively observe it because the observer is a part of the observed. Even though it may seem like our pursuits do not participate in the solution to the largest challenge to ever confront humanity, we are all part of wholeness, which works in mysterious ways. We cannot know everything but faith is faith in the unknown.
And so we must collectively apply systemic consciousness to everything that we do. It may not seem consequential in light of melting permafrost but wholeness is everywhere and in everything. The more we apply systemic awareness to anything, it increases systemic awareness everywhere. It becomes a habit.
As Martin Buber articulated so well, the events and circumstances of our lives are a conversation with God or wholeness. Both work in mysterious ways. God has a purpose for every life and so if we look around our own lives and apply the measure of systemic consciousness to whatever we are dealing with, it increases systemic consciousness about everything everywhere because wholeness encompasses everything. The most urgent reason for increasing systemic consciousness may be climate change but systemic consciousness has a purpose that is greater than any one of its parts. Systemic consciousness is a harmony that produces a synergy that gives us the energetic support needed to believe we can do this. We can’t all be climate scientists but we can all bring systemic awareness into everything and anything that we do.
So we must look around us and ask what is the systemic effect of what we see. Is the system’s practice consistent with its rhetoric? Is the rhetoric holistic? Does the system serve its collective stakeholders mutually?
Before we can ask if there is a solution, first we must acknowledge that there is a problem. The process of acknowledging the problem can bring on a fearful depression, but that is just the first reaction. The next part of the process asks the question, “What is the solution”? Do we build a spaceship to escape to a hypothetical habitable planet, or do we hypothesize that technology got us here, and technology can get us out? To believe that we can change our technology in time to save the planet as habitable for present life forms requires a huge leap of faith but it’s our best option, so let’s normalize it! Then what happens? We live in interesting times when our norm is preparing for the changing of the eons. If you doubt it, consider the permafrost that has been frozen for 27000 years and is now thawing.
But life goes on, We still live in our day-to-day world and are still reliant on the old technology as we face the challenge of transforming the entirety that encompasses most of the globe into a more planet-friendly form of technology.
Reversing climate change is the unifying cause that will define the twenty-first century. Our species must develop the ability to align our actions with systemic consciousness. One might say we must collectively develop a higher consciousness. The entire planetary system changes and reveals information about itself that was previously unknown so there is no way of creating a certain model of the system. We see climate change disasters happening on a more frequent basis. We do not know when or where the next one will hit, though based on what is known, scientists can give us relative predictions which are also changing all the time. It may be that we as individuals may never be directly affected by climate change in our lifetimes but in our lifetimes we should be preparing for future climate change in a time frame beyond our lifetimes, all the while keeping on with the normal activities of our lives.
We must get past the shock of fear before we can turn our attention to developing solutions. The transformation of the foundations of global technology into a different form of global technology is the largest innovative challenge humanity has ever faced. It rests on believing that we can do this and collectivizing that belief and purpose across the world. “Act locally, think globally” has never been more relevant.
This is why I follow people like Will Lockett, whom I frequently mention in this newsletter. Mr Lockett does not back away from reporting the extent of the dangers of climate change and he also persistently pursues solutions. One recent article by Mr Locket reports on new technology for the early detection of forest fires, detected before the fire becomes a fire, when it is in the smoldering stage. If we collectively acknowledge that we have a problem, the first thing we are going to want to address is how to stop the damage before it happens.
On the coastline we should study topographical maps to determine which of our bridges or culverts can be modified for sea level rises, preferably using a 100-year framework.
Today I read about a new building technology called passive homes that creates self-heating houses that cost as low as $13.00 a month in electricity. Then I searched and found that there was an act passed in Maine in October 2022 titled LD 1656, “An Act To Promote Energy-efficient Affordable Housing”.
This proposed act, in my opinion, is an improvement over LD2003- HP 1489. There are several versions. The COMMITTEE AMENDMENT “ ” to H.P. 1227, L.D. 1656, “An Act To Promote 10 Energy-efficient Affordable Housing” was not enacted but is worth looking at to see where the thinking is going.
The House version is amended by the Senate by striking out all of sections 1 and 2 (the entirety of the House version) and inserting the Senate Amendment, deleting many parts that were an improvement over LD 2003-HP 1489 but were not specific to energy efficiency. The Senate version became the printed law, an improvement over LD 2003-HP1489 as it makes energy efficiency a requirement of funding for affordable housing, with options that include passive homes technology. No later than January 1, 2024, the Maine State Housing Authority shall adopt rules to implement the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 30-A, section 4726.
Unless our government is working over the holidays. Here it is:
Title 30-A, section 4726.
Let us hope that the new energy efficiency rules applying to subsidized housing are applied retroactively. LD 2003-HP1489 was enacted as an emergency, allowing its authors to get ahead of others in acquiring public subsidies. Thus we had the Boothbay Regional Redevelopment Corporation chartered about a month after the framework written by its VP was enacted into law as an emergency measure and the corporation readily acquired subsidies from the Town with very little questioning.
Will the energy efficiency requirements apply to the subsidy funding for the massive housing project being developed on the Boothbay Peninsula? Considering that the Boothbay Penisula’s power transmission lines have been overloaded for at least a decade, the corporation should apply these standards to reduce the overload it will create on the system. If the state law does not require the corporation to do so, municipal ordinances should.
In my opinion, it was a wise decision to keep the law governing energy efficiency separate from other issues, the House version mixes good ideas with bad ones. Good intentions lead down slippery slopes, such as the community board of stakeholders. All we need are equitable general laws that are honored, beginning with our lawmakers, and apply equally to all. The Rights of Tenants is a good idea but not necessarily an effective one.
The House (unenacted) Amendment LD 1656 provides that the income qualification for affordable housing be changed from 80% or below the median income for the area to 70% or below the median income for the area. That is better but not enough considering that the pre-existing, state-wide community structure mandates affordable housing zones in every Maine municipality.
In wealthier communities, the talking point for providing affordable housing is the need for essential workers. LD 2003-HP1489, enacted in 2022, fails on that score. The highest median income in Lincoln County is in Bristol at $92,788.00 median income for the zip code 04564. Even at 70% of the median income, most essential workers can’t afford to live in zip code 04564, unless “the area” is defined widely. I have yet to find a definition for that term, so that’s easy, make it state-wide, with consideration given to places where the median income is below the state median, and/or where it can be statistically identified as having a higher-than-average homeless and housing problem.
The unenacted House amendment attempted to incorporate language that would prioritize the areas with the most critical need:
When determining where to build new housing through the program, the authority shall prioritize proposals that are:
A. Geographically located in or proximate to communities in which there are chronic and severe shortages of affordable housing;
In an act that functions as a state-wide municipal ordinance, there must be language that prioritizes the areas with the direst need but this language is too vague.
The greatest state-wide need in housing is in low-income housing as calculated by a median income “for the area” where the area is the entire state. It is appropriate for the state to manage a state-wide area and a state-wide area is consistent with the transference of municipal ordinance power from municipalities to the state, enacted in LD 2003–1489, and it is the only justifiable reason for taking that power. If the state makes funding available for low-income housing, based on a state-wide area, to any community, then housing affordable to essential workers can be found in every community. By making the area on which the median income is calculated the entire state, it follows that the greatest need, among the state’s lowest income demographic, will be prioritized.
The House amendment mandated that the housing be corporate-owned by the government, a non-profit, or a for-profit corporation.
The policy of promoting and/or mandating corporate-owned affordable housing needs to be understood in its historical context. THE LANDLORD’S GAME: The Grand Dispossession of America by Greg Daneke, Emeritus Prof. is a good read.
Across social media reports of corporate-owned single-family homes tell of notoriously ruthless landlords. The House amendment made the nightmare even worse by mandating that affordable housing must be “multifamily residence buildings containing apartments, as opposed to single-family houses”. That only ups the ante on feudalism being perpetuated state-wide, from the working class being codified out of home ownership to being codified out of living in a single-family home and having a private relationship to the land, in an increasingly controlled society.
The reasoning for corporate ownership of affordable housing for the masses typifies the rationale used to keep the masses in their places. The rationale is that housing must be corporate-owned to ensure that the housing will remain low-income housing for a designated number of years, afterwards the owners of the development can sell the housing or increase the rents.
The entrenched policy not only ensures that the housing will remain affordable, but that the low-income renter will also remain low-income for the duration of the timeline. Subsidies require that a certain percentage of housing in a development be affordable. Units are designated as affordable housing so that if the tenant increases their income beyond the limit for the unit, the tenant must move out of the unit, rather than paying more in rent. Since the policy is designed to retain the occupants as low-income earners. what happens to low-income tenants when the timeline for affordable housing expires?
What is the “Exit Strategy” of the policy?
When systemic consciousness is applied, it starts with clearly defining the goal. If a policy is to be in effect for several years, at the end of the cycle there should be an improvement for those whom the policy is intended to serve. Or, to turn that around, identifying the beneficiaries at the end of the cycle, identifies the beneficiaries whom the policy ultimately serves.
At the end of the affordable housing timeline, the corporate owner can increase the rent or sell the land and housing for a profit. The tenant has been prohibited from increasing their income should they wish to retain their housing and so cannot afford to pay more rent and may be forced to move. The policy serves the owners and investors, consistent with the way that central management of the economy has worked since 1976. The rich have gotten richer and everyone else has gotten poorer. That’s built into the system. But consider that a housing development law enacted everywhere, all at once across the entire state will also expire everywhere all at once across the entire state and the homeless population could increase dramatically at that point. Then factor in what could be happening with climate change at the end of the timeline.
Our new educational amendment replaced the word “restructure” with “innovate”. Let’s apply that to central management. Don’t restructure central management, deconstruct central management and let the economy innovate from within.
LD 2003 HP 1490 prohibited municipalities from regulating housing density and designed funding as an invitation to corporate developers to come into the state and build ubiquitous, uniform, crowded housing zones for “the workforce” everywhere.
No, that language doesn’t mean home businesses because home businesses are not included as stakeholders anywhere in Maine, though I have to give credit to the report by the House for mentioning remote workers, but as a demographic moving to the state not as stakeholders with special spacial needs, not as in designing homes to accommodate working at home.
That would require local communities working innovatively around state municipal ordinances that seek to reinvent Maine as a cookie-cutter society that is allegedly fair to everybody whose existence leadership is willing to acknowledge. What about a development corporation that builds spaces for businesses in a home and a community designed for economic development? It might include a mix of tiny homes, multi-family complexes, and single-family businesses in a home and diverse community design, unique to each community.
State laws are engineered to prohibit upward mobility for the low-income sector so an affordable housing zone engineered for economic growth for the inhabitants can’t be financially structured around government subsidies. It could be a non-profit organization that is also a fiscal sponsor for the stakeholders in the community, allowing the corporation and the inhabitants to raise funds through non-profit fundraising. It would be an intentional community and it could be crafted to meet the requirements of the state-mandated “priority zones”.
Treat affordable housing as a foundation for growth that can create a field of activity in which a new middle class can emerge. Then, when the timeline for the affordable housing expires, the tenant may be able to afford to stay in the apartment — or even purchase it. This approach restructures the systemic goal of the system as helping those of meager means to help themselves so that eventually housing subsidies are not needed because people can once again afford housing by earning a living.
The policy proposed in the failed House amendment is anti-individualistic. To achieve the first systemic planetary goal, the secondary goal of implementing the innovative talents of humanity must be brought to bear. Suppressing individualism is antithetical to achieving the second systemic goal. Our living environment affects us in profound ways. If everywhere is the same, it encourages conformity, not creativity. We need diversified housing options for all classes. The twenty-first-century systemic goal is to reduce carbon emissions so why not make the funding available to all types of affordable housing?
Applying Buber’s thoughts to my own life, my purpose is very clear. Today I am the sole custodian of the assets of a unique American business and it is my life purpose to protect and preserve those assets, placing them where they can be most beneficial, but I exist in a system that seems to have designs against my achievement of that mission. Read more here.
I propose the GINI rating as the systemic goal of economic development policy.
Recently I read an interesting article about layoffs in the tech sector titled What Spotify’s Layoffs Tell Us About the Future of Work
While this shouldn’t come as a surprise given the recent number of layoffs in the tech sector, what is surprising is that this round of layoffs came after Spotify posted its first profitable quarter since 2021. source
The article reports that the tech sector has been overhiring for quite some time and speculates that it is because companies want to keep employees out of the hands of competitors. Companies are redirecting their focus to efficiency.
I have a different take on the reason. For decades states have been negotiating with large corporations trading subsidies for “x number of jobs at higher than average wages and benefits”. The states justify this system by proclaiming “Everybody is doing it and so we must compete”, supporting that the system is widespread across the everywhere economy.
The subsidies for jobs trade-off replaced efficiency as a business management principle. The tech sector is favored on state “targeted sector” lists, accounting for the growth in tech sector jobs, but the trade-off has nothing to do with whether those jobs are needed in an efficiently managed company or if the worker’s job justifies the pay. Stories are emerging of employees who are hired to do nothing as reported in Business Insider
On Monday, the billionaire tech CEO Thomas Siebel said he believed companies like Meta and Google overhired so much that they didn’t have enough work for employees. He is one of several tech executives to express concern that employees aren’t doing enough work.
Earlier this month, Keith Rabois, a member of the so-called PayPal Mafia, said Google and Meta hired thousands of staff who did “fake work” — a view that has gained some traction with several Silicon Valley investors and founders.” Business Insider
Considering the challenges we face in climate change that need all the innovative talent it can find, that is a shameful waste of human talent and energy in addition to being an abusive policy towards workers. The only metric used by the State of Maine for a “quality job” is “higher than average wages and benefits”, It doesn’t matter if the workers hate their job, it doesn’t matter if the job is fake.
The State is trading public subsidization of private industry for quantifiable revenue to the State in the form of personal payroll taxes. The tradeoff has nothing to do with whether the jobs are real jobs needed by the corporation. This is an example of NONsystemic consciousness. The motivation is to serve the self-interests of a faction without consideration of the effect on systems within systems.
The three companies that are the focus of the article, Google, Amazon, and Meta. have been promoting remote-friendly jobs, which do not have a collective area for the trade-off of public subsidies for higher-paid jobs, so the public-private deal-making does not apply. This can also account for the fact that remote workers find their pay decreased when they move to a different area because the terms of the agreement that guaranteed higher-than-average wages no longer apply. The deal was between the State and the private industry, not between the worker and the private industry.
And so we enter into a new era of efficiency-governed industry, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Happy New Eon!