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My letter of complaint against Aurora Loan services and Lehman, to the Office of Thrift supervision, which is the Federal oversight organization that investigates consumer claims against banks and lending institutions:

To whom it may concern,
I would like to meet with someone In the Office of Thrift Supervision to discuss my concerns as a US Citizen and California Homeowner who believes that he is being systematically defrauded by Aurora loan services.

14 months ago, after nine months of arduous negotiation, I received a permanent fixed loan modification from my loan servicer; Aurora loan services. I am one of an extraordinarily small percentage of people who can make this claim. I am part of an even smaller group of freelance individuals who were able to achieve this. In a recent discussion with a consumer advocate for people like myself, it was pointed out that in the two years that this individual has been advocating for home owners like myself I am, in fact, one of only two people that he had heard of who had achieved this and not only gotten the Mod, but successfully maintained the payments and loan obligation!

When I applied for my loan modification I was not in arrears or late in any way. I proactively sought a solution in order to prevent any kind of problem with my ability to pay or maintain my fiduciary obligation to my mortgage. To this day I have a 100% and on-time payment history for the last decade. I also had to take the extraordinary measure, when I first purchased the house, of putting down $270,000, almost 50% value of the house, in order to qualify as a freelance person, to purchase the house. With the ten year perfect payment history and my deposit I have invested almost half of a million dollars into this home over the last decade, with 20 years of labor, prior to purchase, invested into saving for this home, AND MY LOAN IS STILL $500,000!! So I have not been able to pay down any principal and in the end run will have paid double for my home.

In this moment I believe that Aurora loan services is attempting to use a property tax loophole in my loan agreement in order to balloon my payment in such a way as to place me in default so they can acquire my property.

On Friday, June 18th Aurora wrote a letter, which was mailed and postmarked on Saturday June 19th. It arrived at my home on Monday, June 21st, which I opened immediately. The exact language of the letter was an inquiry into the status of past-due property taxes that were approximately 16 months in arrears. I found the inquiry confusing because my financial particulars had been scrutinized with a microscope for over nine months. Nevertheless I immediately contacted Aurora to try and straighten things out. I called at noon on June 21st and explained to a supervisor that I was in contact with the state tax assessor and had received information and documentation stating that the state was not interested in coming after me for my delayed property taxes. I had in fact made arrangements to pay a portion of the 2008 delinquent taxes and explained to the assessor my financial limitations due to physical injury, high medical expenses, and unemployment. It was then explained to me that I would be paying 1 ½% interest on the past due taxes but that no action would be taken unless I was five years in arrears. I tried to explain this to the supervisor at Aurora. I was then shocked to hear the following; “Aurora had decided to ignore the letter that had been sent to me three days earlier, telling me I had 30 days to resolve this matter, and that they were paying my tax bill that day!” The language of the letter sent to me and my promissory note both state that Aurora has the right to do this but that it is a discretionary choice because the language is; “Aurora may choose…”.

I then explained to the representative that this discretionary choice was not only a violation of their fiduciary obligation to both myself but also to their client and the investors who hold my title. I explained that, since Aurora knows all of my financial particulars having just spent 9 months investigating every single detail of my financial life, and that choosing to pay this tax bill and ballooning my payment by establishing an escrow account would increase my monthly mortgage payment from $1677 to almost $3600. I explained that this would be impossible for me to pay and that it would in fact placed me in a position of a forced default. A position I would fight and would end up costing hundreds of thousands of dollars and tying up the issue in court for several years.

I was then told; “too bad, you should’ve known better, but if you can raise $11,000 by tomorrow morning, (which was less than 12 hours away), I could avoid this entire thing by beating their payment to the tax assessor”. I was then told I could file a complaint in writing, but that the process would take up to 60 days to review, which made no sense since the action being taken that places my home in jeopardy was going to occur in less then 12 hours!

Over the next seven days I repeatedly called seeking help and a viable solution. Every representative that I spoke to, (while obviously referring to their scripted responses), told me that this situation was what it was and could not be escalated, but I persisted and at the end of every single conversation the situation was in fact escalated. (I have recordings of every single conversation.)

Finally, after eight days of some of the most surreal conversations I’ve ever had in my life, I reached a senior supervisor in the executive division capable of actually addressing the situation. During the course of that particular recording I have a senior representative acknowledging that an error has been made and a violation of the inherent agreement presented to me in the initial letter dated June 18th. I was offered 30 days to show I was resolving the problem and denied that without notice. I believe that this is in violation of not only the Consumer Protection Act, but also several fair trade practices. I further believe that this attempt is motivated by several factors; 1) that I am in fact a successful loan modification candidate who is maintaining his credit and payment history with perfect payments, and 2) that they are not making any money because I’m doing that, and 3) that my house is not upside down and that they can acquire this house and what little equity I do have by initiating this discretionary move.

During the course of the conversation the supervisor agreed that I should be entitled to not 30 days but 60 days, and that she would arrange that, and that my credit would not be negatively impacted in any way if I maintained good faith and paid my payments, and that they were working best faith efforts to try and find a solution.

Unfortunately, as Aurora knows, I am still partially disabled and not eligible for unemployment and I am still unemployed. I am not eligible for disability, and my unemployment precludes me from obtaining an equity line or fair interest rate loan to bridge the new payment costs. They also know that every month, no matter what it takes, I somehow manage to pay my payment, every single month, on time, no matter what.

I do not, nor have I ever tried to deny that there is a property tax delinquency. My complaint is that Aurora chose to violate my rights as a valued client and homeowner by offering a 30 day window to solve, or show that I am solving, the tax issue problem, and initiated an action that was not only unnecessary but purely discretionary, and essentially places me in a position of forced default. Even if the tax assessor was going to take action they are required to notify the bank which then have the opportunity to pay the deficit. the only reason it was paid is so that they can balloon my payment and force me out.

I explained that I would fight this to the very end, to which point I am writing this letter to your organization to initiate an investigation into what I believe are extremely unfair and prejudicial business practices by Aurora. If one goes to Google and types in the phrase “suing Aurora Loan services” literally thousands of stories like mine appear. Where is accountability and transparency? Where is advocacy for the consumers and american homeowners who are being trampled by these cheats and liars?

In these uncertain times I am an exemplary model of fiduciary frugality. I have an absolutely perfect credit history and tier one credit with one exception; which is a short sale on the house that I lost at the beginning of the real estate and financial debacle we are now all facing. Aurora loan services knows absolutely everything about my financial predicament, and also knows that I proactively sought a solution and received a permanent and fixed loan modification that would allow me to keep my home.

By choosing to do this, by choosing to ignore the letter I was sent offering me 30 days, by initiating an action that was not necessary and that prevents me from obtaining a bridge loan, I believe that Aurora is trying to steal my home and I will fight this for as long as I humanly can. It is incredibly offensive to me to have to be dealing with this issue considering it took 20 years to save, ten years of perfect payments and 9 months of arduous negotiation to get the loan mod.

I’ve spent my entire adult life, from the age of 15, working incredibly hard and assiduously maintaining my credit history and profile. I have never been overleveraged or over indebted. When a situation arose that could potentially be a problem I have proactively sought and received and achieved solutions. I’ve successfully raise a child who is sober and sane, having graduated from public school with honors and attending college in the fall with an almost full scholarship.

I pay my taxes, and I’m a solid citizen of the United States. I deeply resent that Lehman and Aurora have received federal funding specifically designated to help individuals like myself who have been fiscally prudent and hard-working, and that they are systematically targeting and defrauding homeowners like myself.

The entire system is set up to not only prevent individuals from actually receiving help, but also so convoluted and bureaucratic in nature that when a problem does arise, the system is entirely designed to get a consumer to give up in frustration. I am not one of those people. I’ve worked too hard and too long to buy and keep my home and will not turn it over to a bunch of corporate thieves and bureaucrats who caused this problem in the first place.

I would like to initiate a full investigation into this sequence of events. I am in possession of all documentation and shall attach copies of the letters sent to me detailing the timeline and the fact that I had 30 days, which was ignored. I am also in possession of all conversations between myself and representatives of a Aurora loan services, as legal audio recordings.

I believe that I have the right to keep my home. I believe that the 20 years of labor that I spent saving up to buy my home has value. I believe that the 10 years of absolutely perfect payment history, even in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, has value. I believe that I put my obligations as a homeowner above almost everything except for my responsibilities as a parent to my child. I have made incredible sacrifices in order to maintain and pay my monthly mortgage payment. I recognize that this is my responsibility.

I do not recognize the right of Aurora loan services and Lehman to take my home on a technicality that was entirely avoidable and at their discretion. Again, I believe that this discretionary action is a significant violation of Aurora loan services fiduciary obligation to both the investor holding title and myself as the homeowner and I seek justice.

The solution that I’m seeking is to be able to keep my home that I’ve invested 30 years of my life building and investing in. But I believe that the only reason that the loan company is pursuing this matter is an attempt to acquire my home which is, at this point in time, not upside down, although most likely unsellable, due to the current economic climate.

The current status is that Aurora has made three suggestions that make no sense;

The first offer that was made to me was a suggestion to actually apply for a new loan modification. This absolutely made no sense to me! I just received a permanent loan modification 14 month ago, not a trial loan modification, but a permanent fixed loan modification, terms are 30 years at 4%. This was a modification that I received after nine months of arduous and debilitating negotiation to move from a negative A.R.M. loan that was accruing over $1000 a month in debt obligation prior to the modification. The first contradiction is obviously that Aurora of knows that I just received a permanent loan modification 14 months ago. They also know every single detail, down to the penny, about me and my financial particulars! They also know, 100%, that I am not eligible for loan modification under current guidelines. That I got a permanent loan modification at all is something close to a miracle. That I have maintained it assiduously puts me in an extremely small percentile. So it’s not really an offer of solution or resolution to suggest applying for a secondary loan modification, to pay off the $11,000 that they chose to pay and then penalize me for. As I have stated numerous times, I was working with estate tax assessor, there was no problem, and for whatever reason the decision was made in panic that has caused this problem. So again, to offer as a solution that I go through a process that almost got me hospitalized through stress the first time, and that I actually completed and maintained, is not a real offer resolution.

The second offer they presented was that I simply pay off the entire $11,000 payment in one shot. This again is a non-resolution as they know everything about my finances and now that I have no money, or at least not that kind of money, to be able to make an $11,000 payment. In point of fact, if I had that money in the first place I would’ve simply paid the state tax assessor.

The third offer makes the least sense, and that concerns me the most because of the implied dishonesty. I was told that they would be willing to spread the payments out over a five-year period at $267 a month. I asked if that would be including any kind of an escrow account that would also balloon my payments, which Ms. Farley, the exec in charge, could not answer. On the recording that I have she then goes on to state that they would not be charging me any interest for this five-year period. Here’s where it gets weird; $267 a month for five years equals $16,000. The amount in question that was paid on June 21 by Aurora is $11,000. So contradiction number one in this statement is that obviously they are in fact charging interest! Not only are they charging interest, but actually charging extremely high rate of interest where the debt, at the end, would actually be at 50% interest. If the amount financed is $11,000, and the amount is paid over five years and ends up being $16,000, then they are making a $5000 profit on this arrangement. So you can see why discussions and negotiations with this organization are almost impossible, because at every turn they are positioning themselves to either make money or steal my house.

The choice to pay this tax debt was discretionary! The problem that is happening right now is because Aurora preemptively chose to ignore the letter that they had sent me and pay a debt that was not necessary to be paid in that moment. I recognize there was a debt obligation to the tax assessor and that I was responsible to resolve that. The current and ongoing problem is entirely due to the panicked decision to preemptively pay this tax debt. As I pointed out to you there are thousands of examples of people being defrauded of their homes by this company in exactly this manner.

If they want to seek resolution they need to approach me with integrity and some sense of honesty and a desire to seek a mutually beneficial solution. I have 100% demonstrated over a ten-year period my absolute integrity and good faith. I am a valued client who is being treated very badly and who has to remain extraordinarily vigilant in order to protect myself from what is obviously unethical business practices.

I also wish to report this in an effort to dispute and refute the current claims by the GOP that we are all fiscally imprudent homeowners who are not eligible because we are utilizing our funds for entertainment and frivolous ventures. Quite the reverse; I don’t go out, no vacations, having bought a new piece of underwear in two years, extremely high medical expenses, a son headed to college, luckily on scholarship, and financial hardship due to both physical and medical issues, an financial hardship due to the current economic downturn and unemployment issues, not eligible for disability, nor am I eligible for any of the federal assistance programs as I don’t fall within the guidelines that are extremely unrealistic and unhelpful anyway.

Please help me resolve this matter in a timely manner and help me keep my home.
Thank you.

J. March

The right to vibrate!

My friend Richard astutely pointed out that I might consider personalizing my blog more. Speaking from my own experience and heart about things I am thinking about and observing, rather then just intellectual ranting. I started this blog to talk about large scale patterns and themes I see perpetuating in the social collective. I agree with my friend, and so…

A lot of what seems to be happening in the world right now, as a part of these incoherent and chaotic economic times, is really quite confusing to a lot of people, myself included. When I started this Blog I decided I wanted to look at the bigger picture, rather then the surface details, as that appears to me to be where we all get stuck. It feels to me like the world has so much access to immediate visceral information and no clear sense of what to do with it all. I also noticed a trend, an evolving pattern, where News gets posted and the invisible masses now have access to a forum of vituperative invective, through which they can voice their dissatisfaction or collective angst and confrontational opinion, but that not a lot of the language was geared towards change or solution.

So I decided to take a step back and look at what I choose do with my own life, where do I focus my passion and intention, to see what it is that I am actually doing and then assess those observations with the question in mind: “Why do we think that what we do with our lives is so important?”

Essentially I have devoted my soul and life journey to exploring and participating in learning about different ways to vibrate. I like things that vibrate. (Please keep your minds out of the gutter here…lol)…but in fact, I do happen to speak well the language of vibration, in certain dialects. I essentially speak in a certain form of math. Intuitively, without formulas and theorems, I speak the language of cumulative, non-language based vibration sequence. I tend to orient well within a 4 dimensional topography of interacting vibrational energetic states. I play guitar. I record and manipulate sound to be disseminated later. I have spent most of my life learning this language, learning this craft, not so much because I want to, but apparently some soul aspect of who I am needs to do this, in a way that is as essential to me as breathing or eating. I know a lot of folks who have devoted their lives to this exact same path. I also know some are committed because of the economic agenda and some like myself submit to the will of this harsh mistress like a religious calling or any other vocation that requires certain surrender to an unseen but definitely heard pull towards some ineffable outcome. I once described being a professional musician wanting a steady career and liveliehood being akin to consistently placing your hand on a hot stove and expecting a blowjob. You get burned but you keep putting your hand back on that stove thinking the next time, ahhh the next time…but seriously…

I went the other night to the Nokia Theater and watched Jeff Beck play guitar. As I often do in large gatherings, I disengaged from the experience to look around and observe people sharing the experience. I had an insight that they were all collectively sharing the language of the story being told, they were immersed in this vibrational unfolding of emotion and energy that was all math and skill, art and science. The physics involved, the amplified instruments, the vibrating strings and frequency range of the guitar and the bass, the symmetric distribution of the drums and subdivision of the 4th dimension into discreet groupings, the elegant colors and sonorities, expressed as decoded binary conversions, keyboards making sounds entirely constructed of imagined digital waveforms, the displacement of energy and increase in amplitude, the physics of the sympathetic vibrations and standing waves pulsing through me, the huge volumes of displaced air thrumming with low frequency oscillations, and the connected consciousness shared by the connection between Jeff beck and the audience. As I looked around I again paused and asked myself; “Why is this communal connection important? Why is this so compelling to so many of us?”

We, as musicians, explore a literal 4 dimensional topography and we, as a species have come to relate imagistic and emotional aspects and attributes to various sequences and formulae. It is really quite extraordinary that a frequency based vibrational relationship can evoke so much response. It seems logical that vibration can connect us to the ineffable pervasive universal mystery, as that is essentially what physical reality is. What fascinates me is this particular spectrum that music and audible sound and language inhabits.

I am part of a community of individuals who have ostensibly devoted their lives to pursue their internal connection with and through vibration. I inherently recognize this requirement, this calling, that, like a lover’s embrace, or a religious epiphany, that calls so many to a path that requires no less then the same pursuit, passion and fidelity. as any deep religious calling. Now, in these uncertain times I find myself fighting to survive, fighting for my right to vibrate. I find myself fighting for excellence and against mediocrity. So the answer to my question seems to be it is so important to so many because it connects us to something deeper and more meaningful then the surface agenda that our artificial construct of a social consensus has created, and connects us to the ineffable aspect of soul and life that is so missing from the global cultural imagination, or lack thereof. So I shall continue to support those who explore vibration in its many forms and will fight for the right to vibrate!

Any thoughts?

A perfect example

The other day a news item appeared detailing a  drunken internet conversation between an irate tech blogger and Steve Jobs. The actual content of the experience is linked below. I posted the following response as I believe that this scenario is a perfect example of the disconnect between the individuals who essentially comprise the feudal serfs in the digital domain of consumer culture, who are serving the lords of the feudal technocracy.

Dear Mr. Tate,

Seems to me that you had an opportunity to really explore some cool ideas, with one of the Feudal lords of the technocracy, and you wasted it on non-issues.

The iPad is obviously not a revolution, nor is any aspect of corporate america, not just apple, that interested in transforming the world or a revolution or being Green, unless you count “Benjamins” as Green. A true revolution would re-distribute the apple cart, no pun intended here, and rip the status quo a new ass*@*&, which would in turn force a re-invention or re-model of a consumer based mentality that constantly looks to distracting technological modalities to spur true innovation, rather then nurturing and fostering real critical thinking, artistry and craftsmanship.

Corporate feudalism and maintaining the status quo is an inherent aspect of a consumer based technocracy. Disseminating information and the means of distribution regarding art, images, words, music, etc…and the tools that are being used to deconstruct the already destabilized and failing economic modality, through marketing strategy and re-packaging of old ideas, is a much more pressing arena for discussion then a commercial advertising campaign and an idiotic and obviously non-sequitor based marketing campaign.

From WIKI: “Friedrich Hayek argues for the classical liberal view that market economies allow spontaneous order; that is, “a more efficient allocation of societal resources than any design could achieve.”[4] According to this view, in market economies sophisticated business networks are formed which produce and distribute goods and services throughout the economy. This network was not designed, but emerged as a result of decentralized individual economic decisions.”

Jobs nailed it when he responded you can simply choose NOT to participate and let the technology evolve as it will, you responded with a certain kind of sophomoric belligerance that again ignored the historical precedent and missed the true opportunity for a meaningful dialog.

You had an opportunity to discuss real concerns like; the re-allocation and distribution of intellectual property and the destabilization of the economics of individuality and the artist. The actual impact that that has on true revolution. You had an opportunity to bend the ear of a corporate feudal lord who has single handedly been responsible for a large amount of the re-distribution of tremendous resources and economic attributes, away from the individuals and true revolutionary thinkers and artists out there, and diverting those precious resources into his own coffers, and instead you whined about non-issues that are self-resolving as the historical imperative of techno-evolution so clearly points out. Do you even remember Beta video tape?

…or what about the environmental impact that 1 million IPads produce? How is that a revolution? How is he able to maintain the moral highground when kids in China are disassembling old Macs for trace elements in incredibly toxic work environments? Planned obsolescence and environmental impact are much more significant issues from a true revolutionary point of view. Revolution sees the inequity in the status quo and seeks change along lines that the powers that be resent. You could have pointed out that inherent contradiction as a basis for argument rather then a pissing match over a few lines of code.

You wrote that you were engaged in a Flaming dialog, but your flame was seriously tepid given the scope of the opportunity.

The details of how a specific disseminating technology evolves are meaningless, the bigger issue is the reductivist attitudes of the noblesse oblige corporate mentality. You had one good point; that it is not within his corporate pervue to determine global moralities, but he actually answered you in a meaningful way by calling into question your ability and history to innovate and create, as opposed to just critiquing others. Which, by the way, you did not respond to.

Given the opportunity, I would have had  a completely different conversation.

The soul of brevity

My first post on this blog was an unintentional exercise in verbosity. I needed to get it all out of my system, to say the things I was thinking about, trying to frame the ideas that I want talk about in this blog. I think this process is my way of finding my way back to my own imagination, which I believe is at the root of possibility.

Brevity, the ability to actually be succinct and to the point is a gift. I look for clarity in the world around me, in the mythologies that are playing out in the world around us, and the dilemmas we are all facing. I look for leadership, and within that container I look for brevity and a certain kind of directness that speaks to a globalized truth. I am not diminishing individuality or unique perspective when I ask for unifying leadership that speaks to the core issues that we are all facing as a global culture. (Now I know what I say”global culture” it raises some ire because differentiation amongst various levels of sociological strata, based on finance or race or creed or opportunity, set up a specific scenario that does not actually appear to be unified at all.) So to use this idea of global culture I probably need to succinctly clarify that what I’m describing is the unifying field of humanity that we all share via our biological commonality and our shared environment.

The other day I went to see a screening of the new Michael Moore film “Capitalism: a love story.”, and was pleasantly surprised. Not only is it an excellent film by virtue of its clarity and succinctly delivered message, but what caught my attention was the initial premise that Mr. Moore presents. In my first blog I spoke about being a student of history and what I believe to be was a failed system of collective consensus based on the acquisition of material wealth that supports the idea of a corporate feudal society wherein we, meaning 99% of the world population, or the feudal serfs serving the corporate masters. The opening of Mr. Moore’s film is an overdubbed version of an old school history film about the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, and interestingly enough he uses that particular story and model as a way of demonstrating the parallels between what caused the decline of the Roman Empire and what’s currently happening in the American and actually Western world political systems. He goes on to explain that the very system that we are operating under is an extremely divisive state where the disproportionate distribution of wealth is at the root of the problem. I have to be honest and say I felt somewhat vindicated in my rant, as having never seen this film, I found it interesting that the meme shared in my blog, of history repeating itself, referncing the Roman empire, the initial ideas starting this blog, were in fact identical to Mr. Moore’s message. I was pleased to be in line with these memes as an agent of possible discourse and change.

I want solutions. I want to live in a culture that supports the idea that life is about imagining possibility and doing something about it. We are rushing headlong toward some invisible destiny based on this idea of acquisition and material wealth as if these things are somehow a cushion against the invisible pressing immediacy that our own mortality and fragility presents us, on a moment to moment basis. We are, after all, an incredibly tiny and fragile species living in a vast universe, we are the Who’s in Whoville, waiting to hear from Horton.

If imagination and soul are deeply connected, where is that in our social worldview? I know I personally spend a lot of time looking for deeper connections. In music that I make, in the words that I write, and with the people that I care about. This blog is my digital message in a bottle and I’m casting out into the Cyber-Sea in hopes of being found.

My hope is to participate in the dissemination of memes that actually help change the world for the better.

A “snow crash” world

This blog is about ideas. Looking at ideas that circulate through the social consensus on a global scale. Exploring Memes; Main Entry: meme
Pronunciation: \ˈmēm\ Function: noun
Etymology: alteration of mimeme, from mim- (as in mimesis) + -eme
Date: 1976 : an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture

Inherent in our culture are consensual ideas and forms that shape our world-view. Within the context of these conceptual ideas are inherent contradictions that I believe are the foundation of a sort of global hypocrisy that we all participate in. Hence the name of this blog.

So, I will be exploring ideas that we all seem to agree upon, that everyone seems to have an opinion about, and trying to get to the root of these ideas by examining the inconsistencies.

Consensus is not political, religious, philosophical or racial. There are large-scale consensus issues that occur at every moment of every day, that I believe are at the root of some of the major contradictions that we are facing at this time in history. In this age of digital information, so many ideas are being put forth in the digital sea of informational vomit, that it’s almost impossible to say what’s real and what’s not real. Hyper-polarization, this tendency towards extreme viewpoints, in my opinion, is a symptom of a global consensus breaking down. Deep core issues and fundamental viewpoints are being called into question and argued with religious fervor. The vehemence of this sort of rhetoric, is directly proportional to the fundamental schism between what is a true reality, something that actually makes sense to the moral collective unconscious, and the actual implementation and distorted reality that has occurred over time. As human beings, all subject to the exact same frailties, inherently we all share the same basic DNA, the same motivating forces, and the same ubiquitous drives. I believe that all human beings strive towards a vital sense of purpose, and the sheltering sense of community. Within that context the obvious drives towards shelter, food, service, purpose, and safety are consensual themes that connect every human being on this planet. Regardless of politics, race, creed, religious perspective, these ideals are obvious and self-evident throughout history. The great figures in history, the great teachers all spoke of this commonality and essential morality. Truth and morality are not the domain of any particular or specific viewpoint. To claim authority and/or ownership of a higher idealized state of moralism is in my opinion, completely deluded. No one, absolutely no one, knows the absolute truth! To assume otherwise, or to project and speak otherwise, is a sales pitch, someone is trying to sell something to someone else. What we are seeing, in the breakdown along lines of differing worldviews, polarized to the extreme, is this essential discontinuity between what every human being knows to be experientially and intuitively real, and this current, falsely created global consensus, that we are living under.

Looking at the American political system, and current economic meltdown, I’m hard pressed to find any exacting or detailed reference that allows me to understand this specific and detailed sense of hyper-polarization that seems to be occurring. A good example: partisan politics is a complete fiction. It is a consensual political ideology that has evolved only in recent history. I’m not saying hyper-polarization and division in political arenas does not have an historical precedent, but this level of vituperative and divisive rhetoric seems to be a recent event based on economic agenda, and the ready availability of information and dissemination through Internet and other media-based propaganda systems.

We are living in an age of “Corporate feudalism”. Or actually more accurately we are living at the end of the age of corporate feudalism, and we, as the feudal serfs serving the corporate masters, are at the end of our ability to sustain the system. The driving corporate and political agenda of acquiring material wealth as a focus of the global purpose is failing. The division of wealth between those who have and those who do not have, is also obviously failing. The consensual agreement to agree to and support the economic agenda, is failing simply because the premise of acquisition of material wealth is a failed proposition in the long term.

Money is a consensual agreement. Economics is a consensual agreement. Money is, entirely consensually, an agreement amongst individuals and collectives, symbolizing the willingness to exchange energy. In fact one could say accurately than money is a symbol for caloric exchange. I have a certain number of units of willingness that I have acquired that I can exchange, or that allow me to achieve certain goals, or enable certain actions to occur. These units of measure are based on a false standard that is entirely consensual. Now, this sounds somewhat anarchistic, but the idea of a consensual reality based on agreements that have no real foundation makes no sense to me.

I believe in the commonality of humanity. I believe that we are, as a species, animals acting out on primordial instinctual behaviors on a social scale, that has not really evolved past the amoebic stage. We are all still struggling for survival based on an illusion of separation. An illusion that states that somehow we are, in fact, somehow separate from Life. Each individual human life has its own special needs, its own special purpose. But every single person who has ever lived and died, every act that has ever occurred that we know about, every thought, deed, home, song, painting, sculpture, piece of architecture, every civilized notion that has occurred, has occurred on this tiny blue marble in space. We are, an animal species living on a limited resource planet. Acknowledging those simple truths requires a brutal self-evaluation and a willingness to accept accountability.

Everything we look at has some symbol based behind it. Language is sound and symbol. Music is mathematics sound and symbol. Art, the play of light, imaging, field of vision, interpretation, all symbols and reflections of the world around us. Perhaps a more interesting question is; what is it about the human soul that requires this connection to the ineffable through the interpretation and dissemination of evolving symbols?

I would love to see a biologist or any scientists show me a biological predilection towards partisanship, or realistically any form of extreme polarized viewpoint. Survival is not based anymore on survival of the fittest. Diversity and overpopulation are a fact, and the collective wellbeing is imperative and requires  areal dialog and real change. Rhetoric is a dialog designed to keep things in place the way they are. The soul of imagination is a larger view of the greater whole. Imagination and re-awakening that is a key element in renewing vitality in the global perspective.

I believe that currently, at least within the political and religious arenas, most of this hyper-polarization is based entirely on fear. There is a groundless quality to life, in this current economic climate, actually in general. Globally I believe there is a shift occurring. A shift in consciousness, and a shift in the overall global consensus. I believe that this shift is absolutely necessary for species survival. Because as we are living in this age of corporate feudalism and as it winds to an end, we are also operating as a lemming species. We are blindly following leaders into a chasm simply by virtue of apathy and consensus.

How is it possible, I would ask, that over 6 billion people allow the entire global process of social interaction to be decided by a population of less than 5000 individuals? (this is obviously a very loose guesstimate of the global political leadership.) This is a huge disparity in representation. There is also a false assumption within the democratic process that representation is best served by pursuing the economic agenda. The acquisition of material wealth is a short-term goal and we are, as a species, a short-lived species. Therefore, within a short span of our lives, it seems to me it would behoove us to focus our attention on increasing not only the quality of our lives, but the potential quality of future generations and the collective. The Native Americans had an understanding about this particular issue. Looking forward seven generations does not seem like such a crazy idea to me. In this climate however, most of the global leaders are operating on extremely short-term agendas, based on fear, political strategy and positioning, and the well-being of the select small group of individuals and corporate leaders.

If we are really at the end of the age of corporate feudalism, the question is what will the next phase be? As a student of history, I know that during these boiling points historically huge changes occurred through revolution. At junctures in history where the disparity in wealth, station, power and representation are so large as to be unrealistic, in general the feudal serfs have risen up. I am not advocating revolution. I am simply pointing out that the reality of our species historically is sudden and dramatic change in the face of inequity.

I have a son whom I love unconditionally. I have a son who’s about to go off to college. I have a very very deep desire to do everything I can to leave this world in such a way that my son and his children will benefit from my having been here. I am deeply troubled that this may not be a realistic possibility. It’s true that change can occur at the individual level. That change can occur via individual choice. That choice can only come when we drop our fixed perspectives and engage in open dialogue based on truthful examination of reality without bias.

It’s true that for me, at least at this juncture in my life, my political leanings are more towards a democratic process that is focused on human rights and accurate representation for the individual. To be really honest I don’t understand partisan politics. As a secular humanist I believe in the well-being of human beings by virtue of our connection to biology and planetary occupation. We have, at this point in time, no real option regarding leaving this planet to explore other possibilities. If that’s true, which unfortunately it is at this moment, then how do we actually engage in actions that benefit the global well-being of individuals and the collective social consensus? Now I know, at least I project, that readers of this blog will label my thinking “socialist”. Again, from my perspective, yet another artificial meme. In my mind all this politically divisive language is entirely self-serving. And the self that it’s serving is the agenda of maintaining the status quo. Maintaining the status quo makes no sense to me. This stuck quality, this sense of lack of novelty, ennui, even impotency, lies at the heart of the degenerating social consensus.

Real change can and will begin when we actually engage in a dialogue that addresses the real issues that affect us all collectively. Political agendas based on economic agendas are no longer serving the global purpose. In order for us to effect change I believe that we are going to have to begin engaging in dialogues where the heart of the discussion is re-imagining the global consensus. Ideally, from my point of view I would like to re-imagine the global consensus as a communal work of art. I would like to ideally imagine a global consensus where the foundations are based on the well-being of the individual within the collective well-being. The well-being of the individual being defined as the ubiquitous health, physical and mental and spiritual health, safety, education, and empowerment of the individual. I am not speaking in Pollyanna terms, I am not speaking in New Age terms. 6 billion individuals are being ruled by an agenda that makes no sense. The feudal masters are realizing this and scrambling to protect themselves. I personally no longer wish to be a feudal serf serving the corporate baronies.

Remember, it’s a social consensus. Everyone, everyone is guessing. Religious leaders, political leaders, economists, lawyers, artists, everyone, is guessing, and its not really working. As part of this consensus we all agree to follow the rules of the game. We all agree to pay taxes, to pay our bills on time, to pay for our mortgages, to support a system that focuses on rewarding the fiscally imprudent and ethically impaired corporate masters, and paying for that with the blood, sweat and tears of the masses.

What if the consensus changed overnight? I don’t see the difference between a collective willingness to agree to do all of these things, and a sudden reversal collective change in opinion and/or action that says we aren’t going to do this anymore. What if the American people decided to go on a consumer strike? What if we all agreed for one week to suspend consumption behaviors? No purchases except for absolute necessities like food. No purchases of gas, no bills paid, no restaurants, no entertainment, no movies, no sports events, nothing. What if we sent a message to the powers that be, that we’ve had enough? I can guarantee even a 24-hour period where this choice was made would result in extreme and sudden change. There’s an old joke, I think it was Jackie Mason who said it, but he posed the question; “What if we put the government, and all of our representatives, on a commission-based pay?”. I think a lot of things would happen differently if the way that our representatives got paid was not by the corporate propagandists, or the lobbyists, or our tac dollars, but by the way they actually functioned in their role as representatives of the social democracy and true advocates of the collective will of the people. Of course the immediate problem is the contentious and divisive state that we have arrived at along partisan lines.

In the 1980s author Neal Stephenson wrote a fantastic book called “Snow crash”, where he depicted a society based on easily accessible virtual realities within the collective corporate community. The idealized state within the virtual reality was not reflected in the social fabric of the fictional physical reality. We are, I believe, at the inception of this sort of a social universe. Watch people engaging with technology and media. George Orwell knew he was talking about when he wrote 1984. We are becoming anesthetized by the distraction that technology and media, and social networking are offering us. Lenin talked about religion being the opiate of the masses. I believe that information, the overwhelming glut that has become the digital sea of vomit that we are all swimming in, has become the opiate of the masses and we have become an apathetic and numbed species. If we wish to continue down this road, as lemmings, then we need do nothing. I believe that many individuals especially through this process of blogging, digital voices crying out, digital messages in a bottle cast out upon the digital sea, searching for answers within the collective, is the collective voice crying out for real change. Maybe if enough voices cry out reciprocal voices with acknowledgement and effort. Until then we dance to the mathematical melodies of an indifferent universe.

“The quality of your life is dependent upon the focus of your attention.” We need to shift the focus of our attention away from distraction and indifference, and focus on re-designing the global consensus.

This blog, weekly, we’ll look at various subjects and ideas/memes, where the inconsistencies arise by virtue of consensus, and the possibility for change. I welcome your comments and criticisms..