An Inspiration For Living Lonely Moments In Paradise!

When the plane landed in Fort Lauderdale Florida, the pilot announced “Welcome To fishing-518775_640Paradise!”  I was excited about the pilot’s vision, which seemed at first to be mine; but, concerned about what I was running away from,  what I was losing and how empty it might feel to be without contact with everyone I had known for so long!

I had sold my practice, my home, and nearly everything I owned to move to Florida. I had given up a handful of treasured friendships, a huge number of fun acquaintances and over 12,000 patients, many of whom I knew by name and personal history for nearly 40 years.

I flashed on visions of the forest of friendships I had just willfully been transplanted away from. bamboo-142635_640For moments these thoughts made me imagine images of being a space traveler marooned on a distant, beautiful but alien unpopulated planet, perhaps Mars.

As we drove to our new home using a navigator to guide us along unfamiliar roads,  I thought that I felt for moments like the character in the story “The Martian” must have felt. Had he felt lost, lonely and wondering what tomorrow would be like as I did now? There was a big difference, of course,  from the situation of that of “The Martian” in that we were surrounded by people and a safe environment but what about my soul’s environment?   Like the Martian I had lost all that makes living life meaningful such as the relationships, trust, respect and common history. I had lost what had grown up over many years as a forest of “friendships” with different degrees of nomenclature like casual, personal or family.  More than that I had given up my relationship with my community, my practice of Holistic Eye Care, something I had invented, nurtured and grown into a giant tree.  One so strong that it had survived the financial  storms of 3 major recessions over nearly half a century.

It made me wonder what forces had created such momentum that I had been willing to leave the beautiful creation of a lifetime that had for some reason now become toxic? Something I occasionally viewed as a wasteland of destruction. oradour-sur-glane-1635802_640There was a lot to think about.  There is also no simple answer.  Some have tried such as the book “Who Stole My Cheese?”  But I was not looking for a description of change I was looking for socio-economic forces that had reshaped and redefined my world. Seven months later I think I have found it. I am a sci-fi writer because I am always searching for answers to question such as:  what is it that creates or destroys civilizations?  Why destruction and creation are so intimately intertwined? And finally does it have to be so? My own experience was now helping better define these questions and paint images of possible answers.

I think that the catalyst of the torrentuous socio-economic forces, that I had experienced so recently, might be described as the loss of responsibility and connection between the people that hand-1917895_640make up a civilization.  I thought back on 40 years ago, when I first moved to Brewster in upstate NY, where my office had been.  I recalled a farmer who had walked 3 miles to my office for his eye exam because he said, “It did not warrant starting his truck just to drive 3 miles.”  Times were different then. It was not that he walked so far so casually and so unpressured by time, that was just a description of what had changed since then. That was just a flavor of the essence of the ethos of that era that you could easily taste.  What was so different was that this farmer would soon know me by name as he did hundreds of the other people whose lives he touched every day!  Keep in mind the phrase “whose lives he touched.

40 years ago as I started my practice, I became enamored with the people  I served quite quickly. Apparently they with me too.  Six months after opening my doors to what I expected to be a weekend, part time practice, I was working full time.  I had to give up my other two part time offices. The force that made this change was the large families of  Irish and Italian heritage Americans who were soon to become my extended family.  They got to know me personally, like me and trust me. With that relationship, the whole family had to come see me and eventually most of the town.  We were all in this life together!

What changed 40 years later to make me move and give it all up for a promise of paradise but a loss of family?  In my opinion, the essential force is the loss of connection between people and the loss of responsibility for your actions or inactions.  From the viewpoint of my profession,  we saw the destruction of the doctor patient relationship created by the third party payors.  When people came to me 40 years ago, the service was thorough, affordable and easily paid for in cash.  When I left, the service was more mechanized, far less personal and no longer affordable in cash.  In fact is is the biggest disaster of American health care history.

I believe in the system of free enterprise and capitalism (with some caveats).  It has certainly worked for me for a long time. I believe that the strength of any economy is small business and entrepreneurship. Why?   Because I believe that it is the knowing of your outsource-1345109_640clients and responsibility to your community that keeps you on the straight and narrow path.  The path that for many American’s is defined on Sunday Mornings under the multicolored shafts of light falling through stained glass windows. Take away this connection and it is easy for Chinese factory owners to adulterate milk or put dangerous materials in sheet rock.  It is easy for Monsanto to create toxic herbicide that will likely soon be proven to have caused cancer in millions of people while rationalizing that they are the Horn Of Plenty that feeds civilization.  It is easy for congressmen to take millions of dollars of bribes while the Wall Street rich devour the lifeblood of America’s workers with carnivorous creations called derivatives (otherwise known as gambling).

Where there is no personal responsibility, there is no community. There is nothing to lose but the smell of fresh minted money and what temporary pleasures it might buy.  IBM, in some ways started this revolution and they became named for it.  IBM stood for “I’ve Been Moved” as in from my family, my home and my community for money’s promise.  We were willing to give up what makes life meaningful for the casino of promises that were  never fulfilled.

Somehow there has to be a way of connecting people to people and make business, its owners and its workers intimately responsible to the communities of people they serve. We must recognize that each of us holds the lives for our country’s citizens in each others hands. Not because it was so warm and fuzzy to be in the community I helped grow with me 40 years ago (though that is a good enough reason) but because otherwise the landscape of vitamins-2002561_640life becomes so toxic that the best of us will leave.  The vast majority of us do not work for money, we work for personal satisfaction, respect and a feeling of self worth, personal value. The majority of employees leave a job not because of money but because they are not treated with respect, listened to and praised for their achievement.

My experience, is that with the creation of self respect by serving a community of people we know, enough money always follows. You also get to share the wealth around if you don’t live in fear of a lack of money to cover expected personal economic crisis.  America has proven this for over 200 years.  “Too big to fail” is not an option, it is a symptom of the bribery and corruption of our government (mostly our representatives) on all levels that allows for a lack of responsibility.   It is enough to make a person run away from their home and seek a new start almost anywhere else. It is something to write about, for me.

I believe in what Walt Disney said years ago, “It is better to entertain with the hopes of educating, then educating with the hopes of entertaining.”   This is my dream and what I hope to inspire in others I get to form a community with.

Janr Ssor

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GOOD – A bail-In For America!

A Lesson From Greece…

Now that American bankers and the darlings of  Wall Street are wallowingmoney-1078267_640 in wealth again, maybe it is time they shared in the debt we and our children have been given by our great government bail out.   Here is a great story from “Good.” Donald Trump you should read this! A Lesson from Greece:  Time for an American Bail-In by Tim Fernholz

Because I feel this story is so important, I have added here a copy of  some of the text from the above web site in case it becomes inaccessible. Note though published several years ago, it is still incredibly relevant!

bail-in-not-out-401

The Livermore Centennial Light Bulb: Proof Products are Designed to Fail

A light bulb built in 2012 will last for 1000 hours. A light bulb built in the 1890s has been on in a Livermore California Fire Station for over 970,000 hours (and is still going).

Here is a bit of its story as told by Dick Jones retired engineer and member of the Livermore Centennial Light Bulb Committee.

The Centennial Livermore Light Bulb was installed in 1901.  How long did it take before someone realized it was something significant? …………..  read the whole story here. 

Bernanke’s Fed VS Ron Paul

Is Ben Bernanke is the only serous policy maker in the District of Columbia? Richard Lehmann at Forbes thinks so.  He says, congress and the President are much too involved in re-election politics to address the mounting fiscal problems we face.

Lehmann says,  Bernanke is expanding monetary policy in an effort to get the nation’s finances at the federal, state and local levels back into balance with expected revenues, including trillions in unfunded entitlements and mandates.  He says,  it’s unlikely this can be accomplished through growth and cost cutting. So the Fed clams it has settled upon inflation as the solution.  Inflation is well known for its long term negative effects, but few ever speak of inflation’s short term benefits.

Lehmann says,  inflation robs from those with wealth to benefit those with massive debts, such as Uncle Sam and states like California, New York and Illinois. It steals from taxpayers through higher nominal taxes while depreciating the value of their financial assets.  It steals from pensioners and workers by devaluing the benefits promised and received. It also tends to drive appreciation in hard assets, such as real estate and gold.

The benefit of inflation now is that it should bolster the housing market and reduce the likelihood homeowners will walk away from their underwater properties. Inflation thus could be used as  an economic reset button. The Federal Reserve gets to effect policy without public discussion and without anyone having to face an election.

Lehmann says,  Bernanke can  promise stable rates for the next three years in pursuit of this effort and thereby show how Fed policy is really “quite transparent.”  When inflation finally reaches levels that can no longer be ignored, interest rates will be raised. But those raises will continually lag the rate of inflation on the radonale that we don’t want to hurt the economy.

Whether an inflationary policy by the Fed is right or wrong is a hard question to answer. In addition is this Bernake’s efforts or just what is going to happen because we cannot control our financial situation?

Lehmann says there are some possible inflation shelters:  real estate, commodities, stocks, adjustable-rate debt and precious metals.

While the long-term effects of inflation are unpleasant, there are maybe no  alternatives to our current situation.  It is a possible way of returning some balance and reality to our current economic confusion.  A free market can do that, though had we not borrowed so much money to forestall these events,  I think it would have long ago been resolved.

Lehmann says,  that as an instrument of policy inflation is a cowardly solution, but then, cowardice is what got us into this predicament in the first place.

I would call it cowardice and  greed.  Corporations who promised too much and would not deal with the unrealistic expectations of unions or wage expectations.  Corporations who live for the next quarter and not their long term viability.  Individuals who borrowed on their home mortgages for stupid luxuries and vacations,  blindly wanting to believe there was no end to their home value that was never going to deflate.   We are all to blame,  especially for our personal inaction when we noted NOW and THEN that congress  responds to bribes and not votes.

We have yet to dump the crooks and bums called congress and the White House.  The only real candidate for change is Ron Paul and people are still clinging to the status quo that they hope will avoid inflation.  This is True Cowardice.   Change is always scary but there is no joy in life without challenge…. just a slow death.

Janr Ssor