09-25-08 9:00Living Wage

I recently brought up the subject of a living wage. I was immediately pelted with questions - "Do you want 60% taxation or 98%? Would the employers have to bear this whole burden or would the government make up the balance? Don't you think it would send jobs overseas? How many hours a week would people have to work to earn a living wage?"

These are interesting questions, but I felt that their main purpose was to make the point that a living wage is impossible, that it just could never work.

Is that so? Is there really NO WAY to strike a balance between the wants of the ownership class and the needs of the working class?

If that's true, if there really is absolutely no way, then I think at that point it will be up to the owners to starting finding a compromise. Why them? Because it is a hell of a lot easier to compromise wants than it is to compromise needs.

I would say that if you cannot find a way to run your business so that your employees can get a living wage, then you have a faulty business model and maybe you should try your hand at something else. Not every business idea is a workable one, so what? If your profits are suffering too much to provide your employees with a living wage, then you are in a business that is just not a profitable one and it's time to try something different. That's the free market.

Looking 4 Logic: How about if people figure out how to make a living first, and then, when you can afford it, have a family.......yeah, that idea works for me.....

What do you have in mind for the people whose lives do not conform to your plan?

Looking 4 Logic: What is your idea of an income that is a living wage?

I think one person who works forty hours a week should be able to provide a simple home and food for himself and a spouse and a couple of kids. Nothing more.

Looking 4 Logic: A living wage is different for a single person than for a family...should people with children be paid more?

No. The single person would just have more disposable income than the family person.

Looking 4 Logic: Often, it takes a couple of years for a business to start making good money.......

Business planners need to keep that in mind when deciding if they have a workable business plan or not.

Looking 4 Logic: I think the minimum wage is a good wage for young people in high school and home in the summers from school...

If a person doesn't need to support themselves then maybe they don't need to work full time. If they think the money is more important than free time then they can work more as they choose, why not?

Looking 4 Logic: But, it's not fair to the small business owners or to the economy as that "living wage" is going to be passed on to the consumer....

If that's what it takes to get the product made then that is a true reflection of what the product costs. Expecting the workers to suffer to provide artificially low prices to the consumer is called "externalizing the cost."

Besides, I don't see why some of the cost can't just come out of the profits. Are the wants of the owners more important than the needs of the workers?

Looking 4 Logic: ...but if a person expects to have minimum training and make maximum wage....

Who suggested this? What the hell is "maximum wage?"

I don't care how deficient a person's "training" is, if they are willing to put in forty solid hours of work in a week they should be able to stay alive on it. If they want to do more than just scrape by, they are certainly free to pursue whatever "training" or additional work they want to increase their earning power.

Looking 4 Logic: So, for you, only business people should have to plan?

Business owners should have to consider the real costs of producing their products when they plan a business, yes. Do you think otherwise?

Looking 4 Logic: And if they don't plan well enough, your attitude is "fuck'em"...

You better believe it is. If someone's business idea doesn't work out, that's what happens. Unsuccessful businesses fail. That is the essence of the free market.

No failed profit scheme should be artificially propped up. If it is failing, it should be allowed to fail. However, that is very different from proposing that a person whose life is a failure should be allowed to starve.

If your business plan fails, you can start a new business, or, get a job working for someone else. But even the guy who failed to run a good business should get paid a living wage when he goes to work for someone else.

Looking 4 Logic: ..and yet you seem so outraged...

Outraged? How so?

Looking 4 Logic: ...when I think people should be responsible for their own choices...

There is nothing about a living wage which abdicates people from responsibility for their choices. It just says that if a person makes a choice to work a forty hour week, they should get paid enough for that work to live on. That's all.

Forty hours of a guy's life is worth food and shelter. Is there anyone whose life is so valueless that their honest hard work is not worth their own survival?

anxiousschk: Honestly, when people are asking to be paid $8-$10/hr for working at McDonald's when they couldn't even get their asses to high school to graduate...sorry, you don't deserve it.

I disagree. Forty hours of your week spent in honest labor is worth food and shelter. No one's life is so worthless that they don't deserve enough to eat after a hard day's work.

Looking 4 Logic: Hey! I am against lazy citizens who just want a handout!

I really don't see how a person who works a forty hour week can be considered a lazy person who just wants a handout.

anxiousschk: My best friend in high school had a baby her junior year, but went on to get her college degree. If she can do it, why can't everyone? Why is it okay to expect less?

We expect everyone who drives to have auto insurance. We express this expectation by making it fairly affordable, and mandatory.

If we want to expect everyone to get an education we should make it afforable and mandatory.

I really don't see how people can argue against the living wage. Say you have a guy picking tomatoes in the sun for forty hours a week. He has no skills, no education, he may not even speak English.

Does that mean he didn't bust his ass? At the end of that week does he not deserve to get paid enough to eat, and sleep in a bed of his own?

anxiousschk: Yes, he does.

Looking 4 Logic: Raver,your deal is that...

You have no clue what my deal is and your attempts to describe it are laughable.

Looking 4 Logic: ...you say that everyone, no matter how much schooling they have, have much experience, whatever, should all make the same "living wage"........

You see how your comprehension fails. I never said people with a lot of experience or schooling should make the same as people with no experience or schooling. I just said that no person is so worthless that forty hours of their hard work is not worth a week's living.

Looking 4 Logic: ...this is communist bullshit....."

Perhaps what you are describing is, but that's not what I'm saying.

Looking 4 Logic: ...the guy picking the tomatoes should not make as much as the guy who is the CEO of Green Giant."

Who is suggesting this?

Looking 4 Logic: If you are so smart, then what is your idea, dollar per hour, of a living wage?

Dollar values change. I could quote you a number today and inflation might make that number meaningless six months from now.

I am not talking about numbers. They are variables which constantly change.

I am talking about actual value. The value is food and a place to live. The numbers should be whatever it takes to make the system work.

Are you suggesting that it's somehow better for people to not get paid enough to live on for their work? Better for who?

Looking 4 Logic: I didn't think you would answer....

Well, you were certainly wrong about that.

So what is your answer? Do you really think it would be better for some people not to get paid enough to live on? Who would that be better for?

Looking 4 Logic: How can you say I am wrong and then still not give a dollar amount per hour of what you think is a livable wage. You didn't answer.

I gave a value answer. It is the standard answer to the "what do people need to live" question. You might have heard of it...it's traditionally called "room and board."

If you are not able to comprehend abstractions and the fact that dollar values change over time then that is you not understanding my answer, not me failing to answer.

Looking 4 Logic: A person should not expect to support a family on minimum wage. It's just stupid.....


Smushface: Yes, I am okay with some people getting paid a wage that isn't livable.

How do you expect them to live then?

Smushface: When did we stop telling people that they needed to work to achieve things in life?

How do you figure that putting in a forty hour work week is not working?

Looking 4 Logic: So, you are saying that if a person chooses to live in New York and only has the qualifications to work at McDonalds, then McDonalds has to pay him enough to live!? How can you say this?

I am saying that it needs to be a number that makes the system work.

What is the alternative? A system that doesn't work? What, exactly, are you suggesting for the guy who works a forty hour week at McDonalds? That he work a forty hour week and then go live on the street and beg for scraps?

Looking 4 Logic:If they had to do this, do you know how fast McDonalds would go out of business...?

It is not the responsibility of the McDonald's fry cooks to live in the street so that McDonald's doesn't go out of business. If McDonald's can't figure out how to pay a person an honest day's wage for an honest day's work, then they no more deserve to stay in business than anyone else who can't run a profitable business. It is up to them to make it work, or go out of business. That's the free market.

Smushface: Hmm...so now we reward piss poor decision making? That makes sense.

First of all, how do you figure that nothing more than food and a place to live equals a reward? It's not a "reward" if they worked for it. It's compensation for their time. Nothing more.

Second of all, unless every single decision you ever made it your life was absolutely stellar, I don't see why you want to shit on people who made a wrong decision. It can happen to anybody. I'm sure you have made a piss-poor decision in your life at one time or another. That doesn't mean you don't deserve to get paid when you work.

Lastly, you are suggesting far more than "not rewarding" poor decisions. By refusing to pay someone enough to get by, you are actually penalizing them for poor decision making, with starvation.

Is that really your suggestion? "Make the right decsion...or die!!!"


Here is a fairly decent living wage calculator:


This will give you dollar amounts. I don't agree perfectly with their calculus but it's a start. As you note, it definitely varies by location.

But, what's wrong with that? If that means that McDonalds just can't afford to run a restaurant in New York City, then so be it. That's business. While I am touched by your tender concern for the well-being of McDonalds, I seriously doubt Manhattan would sink into the ocean just because they didn't have one.

Seriously...is greasy, bloated McDonalds really so vital to the health of our nation that we have to let them cheat so they can win? Do you really think it's important to use unfair, exploitive business practices to artificially prop up McDonalds?

Here's an idea. If McDonalds would just give their CEO $12 million this year, instead of $13.9 million like they did last year, they could afford to give a living wage to every fry cook in Manhattan. If the CEO can't even figure out how to turn a profit in New York City without using unfair business practices, then he is a few fries short of a medium and he shouldn't be getting paid so much any way.

Smushface: If you can go out with zero education and get your average job and Micky D's and make ends meet just fine....where's the motivation for a better life?

First of all, would you be satisfied with that? No?

What's your motivation? You want something more than JUST room and board, don't you?

Do you think you are the only person who feels that way? Do you feel that no one except you would ever shoot for higher than room and board, unless they were forced to by threats of starvation?

You would shoot higher. I certainly did. So would most people. In fact, most people do.

However, the second point is even more important. Suppose someone does just shoot for getting by, instead of making lots of money and acquiring pricey things and climbing the social ladder. Why isn't that their choice to make? Why is that a problem for you? Somebody has to flip the burgers in this world. And dig the ditches, and pick the fruit. Better them than you, right?

If there is a person who is happy doing that, why on earth should they be pressured to join the rat race and strive for ever higher levels of income? If they have chosen this, why not let them? They are not asking for a handout, or any help - they are working. What is your problem with people working?

Anyone, like you and me, who was not satisfied with life at the bottom could do anything they wished to reach for better...kind of like now.

The only difference is that the bottom would be set slightly higher, to the lowest level of self-sustainability. Better self-sustaining than asking for a handout...right?

Smushface: What an EXCELLENT MESSAGE TO SEND."The government will take care of you!!!"

You are insane if you think a living wage equates to a government handout. People deserve a living wage who are WORKING. Get it, working? They should be payed by their employer in exchange for their work. What is the "government takes care of you" part?

If you ask me, the "message" we send now is, "No matter how hard you work, you still won't make enough to get your own place, so you may as well just stay home at mother's and play X-box in your shorts all day. It can't be done - don't bother to try." :-)

Looking 4 Logic: McDonalds is the essence of the American dream...I can't believe your derisive comments about it.....

That's really sweet.

However McDonalds is not a person. They will not be offended by my derision.

And if you think holding together the amaphorous notion that makes up the idea "McDonalds" is more important than feeding people who are working, you have strangely different priorities.

Looking 4 Logic: McDonalds was, at least until yesterday, a successful company...

If they no longer have it, they no longer have it. They should not be artificially propped up.

If McDonalds went down because they couldn't figure out how to make a product people can afford, then some other huge conglomco would rise in its place. Maybe even one that could figure out, like Henry Ford did, that you have to pay people enough to afford what you are selling to make a large business work. That is the free market.

Looking 4 Logic: You see Smushface, you are a capitalist, like me, while she is a communist....

Name one communist thing I have proposed.

Smushface: If you can make a "living wage" dropping out of high school, why bother aiming higher?

Oh, I dunnno...you might want to have a phone. Or, buy an album or something. You might get tired of staring at a blank wall and decide you would like a television. You might want a car. A guy might want enough money to take a lady on a really classy date and have a better chance of getting laid. I can think of a million reasons.

Smushface: IF they are HAPPY, as you suggest, then they won't be complaining about their situation.

The only complaint is that the minimum wage is not enough to live on. It needs to be a bit higher.

Smushface: They are asking for more money than their level of experience and education dictates they should receive.

Wrong. There is no person who is so inexperienced and so uneducated that forty hours of their hard work in a week is worth less than the food and shelter for that week. Labor is labor, and if all else fails a person should be able to fall back on their labor. If they are willing to work they should get paid enough to live.

Seriously, what is your alternative? After a forty hour work week the minimum wage employee should do what? Ask his parents for the money to make up rent? Get food stamps? How would that be better?

I really don't see how asking for enough to live on in exchange for honest work is asking for more than one deserves.

Smushface: Ahh...but therein lies the rub. If you create a "living wage" the cost of living inevitably raises.

If the prices are being kept artificially low by exploiting the workers then they are not running the business very well. The price of the product should reflect what it really costs to make it, including the labor costs. That's a free market basic.

Besides, McDonalds netted $893 million last year. I'm sure good business managers and clever corporate planners could find money in their operating budget somewhere.

Looking 4 Logic: Don't bother Smushface. I thought she was smarter......I see know it is a waste of my time to bother with her.

You mean, you see now.

09-25-08 9:00Democrat to Republican

Jessica: So I asked my friend's little girl what she wanted to be when she grows up. She said she wanted to be President some day. Both of her parents, liberal Democrats, were standing there, so I asked her,

If you were President what would be the first thing you would do?

She replied, 'I'd give food and houses to all the homeless people.'

'Wow... What a worthy goal !' I told her, 'You don't have to wait until you're President to do that. You can come over to my house and mow, pull weeds, and rake my yard, and I'll pay you $50. Then I'll take you over to the grocery store where the homeless guy hangs out, and you can give him the $50 to use toward food and a new house.'

She thought that over for a few seconds while her Mom glared at me, then she looked me straight in the eye and asked, 'Why doesn't the homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50 ?'

I said... 'Welcome to the Republican Party !'

Wow, that's cool. The homeless people in your area are really lucky that you are willing to give them this opportunity. How often do you do this?

Jessica: this is a joke, used to make a valid point. the point of the joke is to work for what you want instead of expecting a handout.

Yeah, really!

If those Wall Street guys really want $700 billion, they should just go out and get a job! A really high paying job.


"But you could easily replace the homeless man with someone on welfare refusing to get a real job...I would find that much more humorous!"

Replace the homeless man with a Wall Street wheeler dealer who just lost everything and now refuses to get a real job and it would be hysterical.

09-25-08 8:00Finishing High School

A to Z: Other than dying, there is no excuse for not finishing high school! What reason could there possibly be?

When I was a sophmore in high school I was smarter than my teachers. They had nothing to offer me.

I got my GED during the summer and instead of going back as a high school junior I started as a college freshman. I had a 3.98 GPA and graduated with honors in less than two years. I was done with college while my "graduating class" were still throwing spit balls in HS.

09-25-08 8:00Not Capitalism?

Clair Will: The "Thanksgiving model" you are proposing is not Capitalism! In capitalism there is a free market. An artist can paint a painting and then auction it, and sell that painting for however much other people are willing to pay for it.

Under your system, once the artist's minimum needs are met ("firsts") then he would not be free to sell a painting and keep ANY of the proceeds. He would have no incentive to paint.

This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.

First of all, if you consider what we have in the United States right now capitalism, then the system I am proposing is no less capitalism.

One of the "firsts" I am proposing is full education. We already have public education to the high school level. Would carrying this to the college level make us not capitalists?

Another "first" is health care. We already have public healthcare for the elderly. It's called Medicare. Would sharing this health care with everyone make us not capitalists?

Another "first" I proposed was a living wage. We already have a minimum wage, but it is not sufficient to support a family on. Would raising the minimum wage to a living wage make us not capitalists?

Paying a living wage doesn't limit the owner's profit above and beyond that. And there is nothing in what I am proposing that has anything to do with abandoning the free market.

I have never, ever suggested that a painter could not sell his painting to whoever wanted to give him the most for it, and how you got this from what I have proposed is a mystery to me. He would have to pay taxes on the sale, just like he does right now. But using those taxes to provide decent social services doesn't preclude a free market, any more than providing less-than-adequate social services is good for the free market.

Most importantly, if you think a painter would stop painting, you have no understanding at all of what it means to be an artist. An artist creates because he cannot NOT do it. It is a drive.

I am a professional artist, and I have made my living by my art, but my best art is the art that I have done for nothing more than the joy of creation.

Clair Will: Ah, ok, I think I see what you're suggesting.

How much living wage? When you talk about a "living wage", how much per year are you thinking of, roughly? Are you requiring employers to pay this as a minimum, or would the government top up salaries that fall below this level? If the former, have you considered the effect on jobs being sent abroad? If the latter, do you do the same for the unemployed?

Are you thinking of the Swedish model, where most people pay about 60 % income tax ?

The Swedes certainly seem happy with their system. They rank among the highest in the world for personal happiness, satisfaction with their government, health and longevity, etc. But, what works for them might not work exactly the same for us.

So, to all these questions, I would suggest a pragmatic approach. We should figure out what it should be to make the system work and then do it.

An obvious point of priority adjustment would be our military efforts. We could fund public everything for what we are spending in Iraq and it would be a much better return on investment.

Clair Will: How many hours a week must someone work in order to get this "living wage"?

Most people seem to think that a forty hour work week is about right. It seems to strike a pretty good balance of professional time and personal time. Anyone who wants to work more is certainly free to.

But I for one have always wondered why we all have to work so much. Why did we spend the last two centuries inventing every kind of labor-saving device, if we all still have to bust our asses all the time? When do we get some return on that investment? :-)

I'd love to see everyone have more time to focus on what they can be instead of what they can get.

09-24-08 8:00Good Money After Bad

Amy: What did you think of Bush's bailout speech? It has me shaking!

Bush is just trying to scare us into giving him even more power. It got him what he wanted after 9-11, so he's trying it again.

But he is trying to put out the fire that is burning our money by throwing more money onto it. This will only make the flames burn higher and soon the bailout money will be gone too.

It is exactly the same as trying to stop terrorism by throwing more killing at it.

It won't work.

But please, don't be afraid. First of all, believe it or not, there is still plenty of food. It may be a little harder to figure out how to get the food from the farm to the table without money, but people have always found a way to do it. And if you have food, and family, and friends, you really have everything you need.

Don't let this dope scare you into giving away our democracy.

There is nothing to fear.

09-24-08 7:00The Wealthiest Man Alive

In the years that I have been with my husband, our financial fortunes have spanned the range from sitting pretty, to surprise layoffs, to unavoidable bankruptcy, to food stamps, and then slowly back up to comfortable.

In all that time, my husband has never once worried about money.

He doesn't ignore money. He has a job, pays the bills, manages our finances adroitly. But he has never lost a minute of sleep over it. Never once let concern about money interfere with his happiness. Never once gazed with longing at some object he could not afford. Never once wished for anything more than exactly what was possible with what we had.

And once the bills are paid, the subject is gone from his mind. Except as a simple tool to bring us the simple necessities, money is utterly meaningless to him.

Money is not important.

There is a Zen story which illustrates this:

A Zen Master lived the simplest kind of life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain. One evening, while he was away, a thief sneaked into the hut, only to find there was nothing in it to steal. The Zen Master returned and found him. "You have come a long way to visit me," he told the prowler, "and you should not return empty handed. Please take my clothes as a gift." The thief was bewildered, but he took the clothes and ran away.

The Master sat naked, watching the moon. "Poor fellow," he mused, " I wish I could give him this beautiful moon."

Money is a trap. If you want it, you will always want more of it, because there is always more that you could have. Wanting money creates an endless hunger that can never be fully satisfied. This is a ticket straight to suffering.

Money is an illusion. The billionaires of this world have spent the last week shitting their pants because their whole imaginary empire is crumbling down. These poor guys have come to our government with their hat in their hands, begging *us* to make them rich again. I hate to think of the agony that they are suffering, losing so much of what is the most important thing in the world to them. Too bad they don't realize they never really had it.

Money is nothing.

Can money make us happy?

Can money bring Grandma back to us?!


The wealthiest man alive is the man who already has everything he could possibly want, because wealth that is not measured in money can never be taken away. My husband is this man.

Free yourself from the trap of money and this can be you too.

Kelly: This was great.

I don't care about money. Sure it's nice to have but it's not everything. As long as I'm healthy and with those I love, I'm good.

Rachel: I can honestly thank you sincerely for this post. I really needed to read this.

Lil Missy: I really wish I could feel as you do. I think about money all the time. Constantly. Incessantly.

No matter what else happens, this is one problem you have the ability to solve, right now, with no help from anyone. It's a very simple trick but it will save your life.

Thinking about money does not bring money. It only brings suffering. After you have given your finances enough thought to decide what your course of action is, you have to stop thinking about it.

It's like this - if you were fretting about bills and taxes and the economy, and then suddenly a snarling tiger came charging towards you, all your worries about the money would be gone. Instantly. Your entire mind would be filled with the immediacy of the moment and the situation directly before you.

Well, you don't have to wait until a tiger charges to stop worrying and focus on the moment. Just do it now.

Look around you. Listen. What is before you is what is real. You can think about this instead.

I'm serious. Your worries are you thinking about it. If you think about something else the worries are gone. And if you can't come up with anything else to think about, the moment, the Now, is always there to be the object of your attention. You can always enjoy the beautiful moon.

It takes some practice to focus on the now instead of on thinking. That's what meditation is. But you can start right away and it gets easier fast.

Lil Missy:How can you ignore the possibilities of money when you know the absence of it is allowing your child to suffer?

First of all, I never said ignore it. My husband doesn't ignore it, he gives it just enough thought to figure out the plan and then puts it aside.

But, I know how hard it is when you have special needs in your family. I can just say that there are libraries and support groups and networks and friends who are all completely free. And, the less you care about money, the easier it is to part with what is necessary to get what you absolutely need for your son.

As long as he has you with him, and you are hale and happy and helping him, he has the most important things he needs, and so do you.

Lastly, remember...this too shall pass.

Zak's Mommy: I don't think I have ever posted. If I have I don't remember it. I just like to read. With that said I felt like I had to say something about this post. THANK YOU. I just sighed a big sigh of relief. I needed that perspective at this exact moment.

We have 3 boys who are happy and healthy and my husband have beat all odds and have a wonderful marriage and enjoy each other. That doesn't mean we don't have those things we need to work on, but we are living and happy and healthy and...it's only money. Thankyou again for giving me this epiphany :)

Lil Missy: Thank you :) That was actually exactly what I needed to hear. You're right and things are much better now. It's easy to get caught up in the minutiae and forget about what really matters. Your words were very comforting and I appreciate them very much.

Jedi Princess: Well I don't think so. In fact, it made me feel worse.

I'm sorry to hear that. It is never wise to engage your emotions over money issues.

Jedi Princess: I guess why I find absurd is that ANYONE can just be like, "Eh, oh well!" when it comes to finances.

Unless you can get some emotional detachment on financial issues, the coming years are going to bring you a lot of grief. Our financial system is broken.

But we're not. We can still appreciate all that we have, and find other ways to get what we need. We can work it out. People are amazing...including you.

Jedi Princess: Ha! I'm pregnant and my daughter will be arriving in January. Her future is my highest priority, not my inner balance.

Your "inner balance" is as important to her future as anything else.

Jedi Princess: Your inner balance for sure won't pay the bills.

A lack of "inner balance" won't pay them either. So why go there?

Jedi Princess: You know, Raver...I really enjoy you being on these boards and enjoy most of the things you have to contribute. You're a very intelligent woman, and I respect that A LOT. But please, spare me the Maharishi Yogi bullshit, okay?

No way. I say what I think. Take it or leave it.

Jedi Princess: Well, I guess I'll be leaving it.

Suit yourself.

Jedi Princess: I mean it. I would rather be stressing over money than how how to live, that's for sure.

They are not separate.

Jedi Princess: I disagree.

I know.

09-24-08 2:00Commercials

Jessica: I saw the stupidest commerical! It was for McDonalds. The kids lost their soccer game, but they were jeering the winning team because the losers had Happy Meals and the winners didn't.

Don't worry kids. If you lose a game on the field, try a fatty, salty burger to chase your blues away. maybe if the losing team was more focused on learning better game techniques instead of drowning their sorrows away with fast food, they would have won.

you know, commercials have more of a power over people than we give them credit for.

It's interesting to see brain studies of people watching commercials. If you look at an MRI, you can see when a person watches a commercial for food, the R-complex (reptilian brain) goes into overdrive for several seconds. Then the energy merges into a brief solid flash, which is what it looks like when the brain has made a decision.

Then, two or three long seconds after the reptile brain has decided to eat, the limbic system and then finally the neo-cortex come into play. This is the brain structure that uses language, so this is where the person finally thinks, "Hmm, I'm hungry...think I'll get a burger."

In other words, by the time you think you are deciding what to do, it is several seconds after your reptilian brain has already made the decision and is impelling you to action. The word-play in the neo-cortex, where you appear to be mulling it over, is really just backfilling the justification for a decision that was made on a pre-cognitive level whole seconds before.

The bottom line is, yes, commercials do have tremendous power over people because they are designed to hit you in a pre-rational place that responds instinctively to food and sex stimuli.

Sunny: Most commercials are stupid anyway. Anyone who would allow a commercial to influnce how they feed their kids or live their lives is dumb.

"Allowing" does not have as much to do with it as you might think. Commercials trigger instinctive responses in the R-complex of the brain, which is pre-cognitive and non-voluntary.

Sunny: Ha! I call BS and anyone who claims that is standing in it. If you allow a commercial to influence your life, you have issues.

It's not a matter of opinion. This has been determined using magnetic resonance image scanning of the brain.

Sunny: Subliminal messaging is so far fetched...

Subliminal messaging? LOL. This is not subliminal, this is hyperliminal.

Sunny: ...and yet so many will believe it because some scientist or Dr says so.

Do you know what science is? Nothing can be accepted on "say so." Every conclusion has to be supported with evidence in reproducible conditions. It has nothing to do with "believing". It has everything to do with showing.

Sunny: The fact is, only an idiot would allow a commercial to effect their life.

The advertisers are paying billions of dollars every year because commercials do affect peoples' lives. If it didn't work they would not be throwing their money away like this.

But, the easy fix is to avoid commercials. We don't have commercials at our house. Not because of hyperliminal messaging - just because they are annoying!

Sunny: That would be the only reason I can see why anyone with common sense would claim that subliminal messaging got the better of them.

That long, lingering pan of the burger, still bubbling and juicy from the grill, dripping with melted cheese, topped with garden-fresh tomatoes and crisp lettuce, is anything but subliminal. They don't want you to miss it. They want to rub your face in it and get your R-complex as excited as a lion spotting a gazelle across the Serengeti.

Again, it has nothing to do with "subliminal messaging." SM has never been shown to work, it was abandoned decades ago. Advertising strategies are all about what actually works.

Sunny: It is all subliminal, hypnosis, hyperliminal to me. Yes, I will agree commercials sell but I truly don't believe it has to do with hyperliminal.

As you are equating subliminal with hyperliminal, I don't think you know what hyperliminal means.

Sunny: Yes, I know what it means and what it is about . My point is that I do not believe that a commercial or any other type of advertising "takes over the brain".

What does it mean?

Sunny: From what I believe it to be, and excuse me if it doesn't come out exactly right, but it has to do with the in between stage. Like waking up from a dream not knowing if it was a dream or not. The realm is what I like to call it. In between reality and fantasy. I have read about it but it has been a while and I would have to read up on it to give a broader definition but I also think that there is different stages of hyper liminal.

Hyperliminal just means the opposite of subliminal. "Sub" is a prefix, like "hypo" which means "below." For example, "subdermal" and "hypodermal" mean "below the skin." Sub-liminal means "below the conscious level of awareness."

Hyper is a pre-fix which means "above." Hyper-active kids have above-normal activity, etc.

Hyperliminal means "above the conscious level awareness." In other words, something that is right in front of your face that you are fully aware of.

Sunny: Yes, and that is what I was saying. From what i have read about it, is has to do with reality and fantasy. Yes, it is in front of your face and you are fully aware of it. It is like subliminal messaging to me. It turns fantasy into reality.

It has nothing at all to do with fantasy/reality. It just means the opposite of subliminal, that's all.

Sunny: I am saying to me, that is what I get out of it.

I understand, thanks for clarifying.

Sunny: When it is in your face, like a commercial with a juice mouthwatering hamburger, you are playing fantasy/reality land. That burger is your fantasy that you want to become reality.

Commercials are not the only things that are hyperliminal. Every single thing that you consciously experience with your senses every moment you are awake is hyperliminal. It just means everything that you are consciously aware of.

But, some people have a pretty difficult time sorting out fantasy/reality even when they are not watching commercials! So I know what you mean. :-)

09-23-08 2:00Cults

JaynaMarie: What do you think is an element that is necessary for a group to be considered a cult? Do you think there are many mainstream groups under the guise of a legitimate group that are really a cult?

Has anyone ever heard of EST or Lifespring? They are considered by some to be cults.

I did the Basic and Advanced Lifespring back in the mid 90's. I learned a lot of interesting things, but they came on really strong asking for money, and tried to convince me that the main lesson I was supposed to be learning was that joining their organization was the key to success.

JaynaMarie: I've never heard of either of these...are they pyramid scheme type things or what did the organization do?

They were marketed as a kind of crash psychology...a very intense interactive program where you were supposed to be able to overcome all of your fears and hang ups and become truly powerful. They had all kinds of group activities and therapeutic constructs and role playing and trust exercises. (Ever hear of the trust exercise where you close your eyes and fall backwards and trust a partner to catch you? This is one of their techniques.)

The Basic was supposed to be like years of therapy crammed into a weekend, and you were supposed to emerge at the end as a fully realized being, in total control of expectations and self.

And then you were supposed to sign up for the week-long Advanced course.

Having finished the Advanced, and (somehow) becoming even more complete than before, you were supposed to sign up for their Power Training, where you learned the power of achieving your dreams by persuading others to buy into your goals. The main goals at this stage, however, were signing new people up for the Basic. You demonstrated your completeness and enlightenment to them by your successful recruitment efforts.

It was very intense and I learned a ton of stuff about myself and about others. I saw some people make really miraculous breakthroughs. The experience has really stayed with me. But, I was immediately suspicious of some of their actions.

They spent one whole day with the group in an intense session, using hypnotic techniques and poweful environment manipulations to render the subjects into a state of extreme suggestability. We were supposed to be learning to overcome our limitations and fears, by being able to say YES! to anything and then do whatever it takes to make it happen.

At the end of an entire day of this, they put on a high-pressure ask to solicit money for their charitable foundation. We were expected to show how much we had learned by the size of the donation. Don't have the money? Nevermind, say YES! and you can make it happen!

Wow, it seems even nuttier now that I'm writing it all down.

09-23-08 2:00Real vs. Nothing

Knowbody: I would love to talk about my G-d with you! But i have never, however, been particularly fond of it when people share their 'truth' as if it is a blanket reality that everyone else must abide by.

Dude, there *is* a blanket reality that everyone must abide by.

The stuff falls at 32'/sec^, my friend. Minus drag. There is nothing on earth that can gainsay this clean and simple truth. It does this all times for all droppages by all people. It does this even when there are no people. This is the truth.

You tell me something about "G-d" that is this simple, beautiful, and immutable, and I will agree that you have touched a truth. Name one thing that I am NOT required to abide by and I will know you are not talking about anything real.

Knowbody: Words fail. What we are getting at is indescribable, so any attempts at definitions, explanations and/or formulas of practice are going to fall short of the mark.

Who cares? Try anyway!

There is really no way that we can accurately describe sub-atomic phenomenon. Sometimes it acts like a particle, sometimes it acts like a wave. What is it really? Who knows? It's impossible to get the human mind around such tiny things that are first here and then usually there but sometimes over there.

That doesn't stop people from talking about it. That doesn't stop people from measuring it. That doesn't stop people from using their measurements to make predictions which can be verified. Those tiny, indescribable understandings can be used to blow up an entire city. They have REAL power.

So, you can't say what you mean. I accept that. Talk around it if you must. But use your words to *point to* something. Blow a big fucking crater in the ground and I will see that you have a touch on real power. But describe something that doesn't DO ANYTHING and I will know you are not talking about anything real.

Knowbody: But, do we need to come to the same conclusion in order for it to be real?

What other meaning for the word "real" are you shooting for?

Knowbody: My proof is life itself.

Your life is definitely proof of your life. I would never, ever suggest that your life doesn't exist. You are it. You are manifest. You don't have to prove anything...you just are. I totally accept that.

I will say again, I am NOT looking for "proof" of God. I don't see why I should even be expected to accept "proof" of God in place of *actual* God. I am looking for actual God.

Show me where to look for actual God and how to look there. I will look, and I guarantee you if God is actually there I will see it. I will not accept anything less. Show me nothing, and I will know you are talking about nothing.

Knowbody: It;s like this. put duct tape over your nose and mouth. your life is dependant on nothing. show me the air! show me oxygen! yet it is everywhere. G-d is like this.

That I might accept. Put duct tape over your God hole and then die of Godlessness. Do that, and I might accept that you were dependent on God to live. Otherwise, it sure looks like you are talking about nothing.

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