Perception Is Not Reality….

I have just read a book by Marian Salzman, The New Megatrends. It was more than interesting but as I read I questioned her base assumptions and then went on to see if her postulations held true. I usually question veracity in everything. Not because I am not a naysayer but in today’s environment you have to be skeptical at best. 

Rightly or wrongly I have always fought against conventional thinking. Right off the bat I am challenged by both sides. I am not a MENSA candidate but there are holes in so many beliefs. Without being overly dramatic I try to dig down and cut out the bullshit and see what is really going on. I am not alone but I am probably not  of the majority. 

Let’s go back to basics. I was born some 77 years ago. Strangely enough at that time and to this day I was not different than anybody else. I was a blank slate. The entire world population of 7.9 billion share 99.9% of the same DNA. That is both sobering and exciting. We weren’t born Republican or Democrat or Asian or European or even rich or poor. I was just a new human being plunked on this planet. Look out world!

As time went on I was either nurtured or abandoned. I was stimulated or set aside as a hood ornament. I was subject to love or abandonment. I was influenced by love and prejudice. I had an easy or a hard life. I was adjudged chosen or part of the refuse pile of life. I looked at life through a prism that was forced on me not chosen. I lived in Disneyworld or a ghetto and many times never knew of the other side. But it was who I was or at least who I was supposed to be. 

That perception stays with people for decades if not their entire lives. Now you can say that is the way society works and you might be right. It just seems to me reality gets father and farther away from all points on the spectrum. We really are products of our environment which is fine but haven’t we built in a view of he world that is not in synch with what is really going on?

Reality is just what is happening  at a given point of time. It is completely objective. As I love to say,It is what it is. I can look at an event through my different lenses and see it entirely differently than you. Who is right? In normal time we take look at things and say well it could be this or that. As the only saying goes, if you look at the right and left the truth is somewhere in the middle. We had  biases but we could see some of the error of our ways. 

That is out the window now. I would feel more comfortable with the extremes if they were based on fact or dare I say, reality. Sorry kids, the 2020 election was not stolen. Yet 60% of Republicans think it so. We cannot apply limitless funds to solve each and every problem but Democrats feel we haven’t even begun to open the nation’s vault.

 On the right we say less government intervention and rules. Don’t worry but  rely on the basic honesty of people. Right.. On the left we haven’t spent the initial COVID relief programs but we want more. Money is the solution to all our problems. 10 billion lost here or 50 billion there are just rounding problems. People, we have lost all sense of reality.

We cannot have an infrastructure that is crumbling but is encumbered by a myriad or rules and departments to oversee projects that have to be done now not years from now with resulting cost overruns. Yet we can’t cheat and lie on contracts and their fulfillment . We need flexibility but culpability. 

We have spent trillions on programs to help the poor with minimal results. Yet at the same time we pontificate that these  people just have to work hard and get ahead. Tragically all that money gets teachers who are not smart and incentivized but at the low end of the talent chain. Do you really think doctors and healthcare workers of a high caliber are going to use their talents to fix a screwed up system. Either side feel free to speak up if you think you have a handle on realty or is it really your perception of it?

Equality in pay and advancement is coming at a snail’s pace. You know it and I do too, that  women and minorities have been placated at best with cries of progress. At the same time if there is to be equality it has to be demonstrated that the talent is there and not  a required quota. For the upper 1% the rewards are absurd. That is not anti capitalism but a long look in the mirror. 

We got problems right here in River City. As we go through life every one of us could be busted for DUI. We have had it easy. When things are rolling we can cite this statistic or that but it is all our way of feeling better about who we are. I love the life that I have but it is with a dose of sobriety. The haves have gone too far and the haven’ts want a free ride. Somewhere in between is the right answer. 

The ending of the book revealed that we are all coming more and more into ourselves. The “ME” society is evident everywhere. Young and old. Every man or woman for themselves. Hyperbole? Look around you and not with your built in biases on either side but with a cold hard look at reality. Let me know if I have hit a nerve or totally missed the base. 

As always

Ted The Great 


Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JP Morgan in his bid to receive $84.4 million in annual pay was voted down by 31% of the stockholders. The company said the vote mat not be binding. The stock is down 23% from its highs. 

A policy analysis released by the Cato Institute in April shows that despite nearly $15 trillion in total welfare spending since President Lyndon Johnson began the “war on poverty” in 1964, the poverty rate in the United States has remained relatively constant.

U.S. health care spending grew 9.7 percent in 2020, reaching $4.1 trillion or $12,530 per person. As a share of the nation’s Gross Domestic spending was 18.7% of the national budget 

Research shows that Facebook users engage with misinformation — which often takes the form of fake news — 70 million times per month on average. This is a decline from the 2016 peak of 200 million monthly fake news engagements, but still no small figure. On Twitter, people share false content 4 million to 6 million times per month, a figure that has not declined since the 2016 election.

There are numerous theories that question whether reality is possible. I think it is but would take massive amounts of soul searching to accomplish. I am just getting started 

Where Are We Going?……

I have been trying hard over the past couple of weeks to take my little brain back up to 30,000 feet. The view is better up here and fault lines are more obvious. There was a great article in the Wall Street Journal this weekend that asked if history has some rhyme or reason to it or is it just a whole bunch of random events? Good question.

It seems that it was just a few years ago we were in the midst of globalization. I buy from here and sell to there.Little countries became important if for nothing more than cheap labor.  Standards of living started getting to survival level. People were able to buy things they never thought they needed.

They became educated and more perceptive of the world around them. There was mobility.  Life was good and going in a positive direction for most. That should continue and prosperity reigns.

True to form that was not good enough or fast enough for some. I want it all and I want it now. Nationalism creeps in. Trade, immigration, even education takes on an air of conflict. Supply chains and diplomacy are a mess. The two bit bully on the block tries to take a chunk of land while waving nukes at us. China and everyone else seems to be on sort of a mission to prove their standing in our world. Is all or any of this connected and inevitable?

We have made some incredible strides and catastrophic mistakes throughout history. As the world become more affluent more seek higher education and that breeds new ideas and creativity. Yet in our new Age of Enlightenment we trend more towards anarchy and polarization rather than a kinder gentler world. Is this the way it is supposed to be?  Is this evolution of the body politic or just smashing atoms? Dunno. 

Technology has made this a different ball game.Make no doubt that Google, Facebook, Twitter et al have made our brains very easy to get into. The algorithms automatically shape opinion in a subtle and robotic fashion. The left and right learn next to nothing about alternate or opposing views. We claim to be open minded but they are actually locked shut. We are at opposite ends of the spectrum because that is very profitable for so many. 

The worst part is the anonymity of the spears and hatchets thrown. In a nanosecond my vitriol can destroy someone and have it “liked” or retweeted to thousands in a matter of seconds. No one can prove or disprove the allegations. We have perfected bots to the point where they can create cogent  praise or defamation just by pressing a button. 

How did we get here? I think a great part of this is our neglect of consequences or outcomes. I am stunned sometimes to see our military, three levers of government, medicine, education, corporations and even churches make some really boneheaded moves without realizing “what they have wrought”. You can ascribe this to a learning curve. I say it is blatant egoism and disregard. Irresponsible or criminal? Now we are getting to the good stuff. 

We place great emphasis on brainpower and experience. Look at our bewildering response to COVID. Not good! Archbishops, cardinals, university presidents, corporate executives, coaches have fostered and extended sexual predation. A festering boil. Malfeasance at every level of the food chain. Government programs at all levels are plagued by theft and corruption. Does history teach us anything?

I am in awe of Valadymir Zelensky, a former comedian turned leader. Inexperienced in both the government and military he has put on some performance. Is he just lucky? I think not. He has proven one thing to the chagrin of many world leaders.

They are not as regal in both position and thinking as they thought they were. Nations and skeptics have sat on the sidelines and now are all getting on the Ukraine bandwagon. Bully for them. How original. I didn’t see a statesman or stateswoman in the lot. That is not taking shots but being brutally honest. 

I guess what I am saying and have said before is that we have to take a long look at who we are as a nation and a world. Here we have to look at immigration and fix it. We have been trying for 35 years to no avail. Don’t snicker at that, but become nauseated. Our educational system is a wreck for a lack of a “Come to Jesus” meeting for all involved. Corporate boards and religious enclaves have to do away with the pomp and get their hands dirty. History is ripe with our foibles. They don’t overshadow but definitely compete with our accomplishments. 

On the world stage we are never going to agree on a system that fits all. The UN was a nice idea that has now gone impotent. War crime tribunals are an exercise in futility if we don’t have the guts to enforce their judgments. Sadly, we all act in our own best interests. Let’s just admit it. 

Where are we going? Don’t look to prognosticators to tell us. Look to ourselves and see if we want to make a difference or just enjoy the ride. Where that ride ends up depends on each and every one of us. 

As always

Ted The Great 


Below is a chart of countries on the democracy spectrum. Pretty amazing.Most notable is the number of authoritarian regimes. Some people like it that way or don’t know any other way. The democracy numbers have declined. 

Type of regimeScoreCountriesProportion of World population (%)
Full democracies9.01–10.00   8.01–9.002112.6%6.4%
Flawed democracies7.01–8.00   6.01–7.005331.7%39.3%
Hybrid regimes5.01–6.00   4.01–5.003420.4%17.2%
Authoritarian regimes3.01–4.00   0–3.005935.3%37.1%

Predators can be anyone, including a family member, clergy colleague, coach or friend. According to The Pragmatic Parent, “90% of the time a predator is someone with a relationship to the victim and the family. On the outside, they have a great looking life and are well-liked by others.Much of the time someone definitely knows what is going on .

Smart is being curious. It is realizing what you don’t know. It is to be willing to adapt to changing circumstances. It is taking life’s lessons and changing our own lives and maybe a small part of the world