Adapting to the Changing Paradigms

Adapt, or perish. Mr. Schifter chose the latter. It was dramatic, but was it effective?

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As a business, when the market–NO–when the PUBLIC speaks(your customers)…YOU LISTEN. YOU ADJUST and SERVE. That’s if you want to stay in business.

Of course, the liberal media will glom onto the “race to the bottom” narrative and completely not address the real, over-arching socio-economical issue here. Name another industry that has faced this kind of massive paradigm shift.  ???………….I’ll give you two, actually. The record industry and the newspaper industry. Note that neither of these industries chose mass suicide as the remedy to their new economic position. And those already in this industry who shifted with it or out of it, are either doing well or at least surviving. Which is more than we can say for Mr. Schifter. Heck, in the case of the record industry, some are even doing better. Just look at the billions of dollars in production costs saved by not having to producing as many physical CDs and packaging. Suicide, in any situation is a big loser’s cop-out. You’re basically admitting that you don’t have what it takes to make it. It’s the very definition of the self-fulfilling prophecy of a self unfulfilled.

Never before in the course of human history have so many industries been touched, adversely or auspiciously by the seemingly cold hand of technology. In fact, technology is the sometimes sweet, sometimes bitter fruit of our biological evolution, and as so, is as immutable and unconcerned with what we want and prefer as the universe itself.

So to portray those who follow it’s charge and benefit from its fruits as a result of serving market trends(read: “what the public wants”) as just simply villainous or unethical capitalists, is to be luddite. The lion’s share of technologies ever created have eventually given-way to objectively better ones over the course of human history. And will continue to do so. To have prevented the adoption of any one of them may have altered the course of human history and, more importantly, human progress. Not to say that progress is always objectively good, but one would be hard-pressed to argue against technological improvements in the field of medicine.


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@ 11;34sec. of theFebruary 7th, 2018 episode of ‘Democracy Now’, a 501(c)3 non-profit news organization. That accepts no funding from advertising, underwriting or government agencies.

At 18:00 of this segment of the February 7th, 2018 installment of Democracy Now, program Bhairavi Desai of the New York Taxi Driver’s Alliance states: “There is no alternative for them”. Well, she could argue that there is no specific alternative that will keep New York taxi drivers’ employed in a similar capacity, doing the same work, for commensurate pay, but she CAN NOT argue that there just simply are no alternatives for people whose line of work isn’t as lucrative is it once was, because THERE ARE other lines of work. (see the eggs in a basket analogy below). One of the most basic laws of the universe is adaptation. He who does not adapt, does not go on.

Now whatever you think about companies like companies like Über and Lyft’s attitude to the existing labor laws, you have to admit that they are only responding to the market. Which begs the question, why didn’t the taxi industry see this coming? And wy didn’t they adapt when they saw it changing? Because what does the market respond to? The market responds to what people want. Whether it be technologically driven or not. One cannot sell a product to someone who does not want to buy it. Period. Or in the case of citizen-sourced ride-sharing, a more affordable alternative to the product with minimal differentiation in the experience of using  the product. A new product with a negligible difference from an older more expensive product will outsell the old product every time.

SO what’s the Lesson here? One: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Two: Take precautions that keep your basket in the best shape. Three: Get and stay getting AS MANY and OF AS MANY kinds of good new fresh eggs as you can. This way you don’t fret over losing any one, or even a couple of one particular type of egg.

It’s easy to see the good stockholder’s methodology in the above analogy. It’s not by accident that this is the preferred method for investment.

It’s rather ironic that Mr. Schifter, rest his soul, characterized his situation as  “(being) a slave working for chump change”. Screen Shot 2018-02-10 at 12.15.47 PM.pngOne could draw almost a direct correlation between Mr. Schifter’s predicament and the slave labor of the south when the Cotton Gin was introduced in 1793. Not to equate Mr. Schifter’s choice of profession with the forced “indentured servitude” of African Americans around the turn of the century in America, but the salient similarities still apply here:

(from Wikipedia)

“While it took a single slave about ten hours to separate a single pound of fiber from the seeds, a team of two or three slaves using a cotton gin could produce around fifty pounds of cotton in just one day.[24] The number of slaves rose in concert with the increase in cotton production, increasing from around 700,000 in 1790 to around 3.2 million in 1850.[25] By 1860, black slave labor from the American South was providing two-thirds of the world’s supply of cotton, and up to 80% of the crucial British market.[26] The cotton gin thus “transformed cotton as a crop and the American South into the globe’s first agricultural powerhouse”.

( )

As a business, when the public speaks, YOU LISTEN, YOU ADJUST and YOU SERVE. That’s if you want to stay in business. Though, you may have to innovate and diversify and accept less of a profit. If not, there ARE alternatives. Adapt.

A Loner, Out, Aloning

This post is a reply to a comment posted in response to an article on The Introvert’s Way column column

Why You Shouldn’t Fear Going Solo

on the website. It deals with the First the original comment:

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Now my response:

Very encouraging to read your comments and they were particularly poignant coming from a self-described extrovert.

I used to be terrified to sit in a fast food restaurant alone, for fear everyone was watching and pitying me. Then in college, I just decided, “Dammit, I got 4 hours in-between these classes and I gotta eat!” So I started with false confidence. Then I began to notice how people who looked completely comfortable eating alone behaved and just mimicked them.

The stigma attached to loners stems back to our embedded social evolution where the anti-social tribe member was the outcast and a threat to the tribe–whether as some mysterious antagonist threat or as a proof that one can thrive without the tribe, thereby rendering its existence invalid—at least for some.

Even as I’m writing this I’m realizing I haven’t been able to think this clearly to write since having a family member move in with me.

I’m just one of those people who can’t function when in the presence of others for worry that I have some obligation to them–be it practical or just a simple social awareness of their presence out of respect of their humanity. Hence, I’m not able to function as myself and participate in the activities that keep ME whole and satisfied.

Not all of us need all of the rest of us to achieve a feeling wholeness.

I still feel a small amount of uneasiness when out doing things in public that most people do with a group or at least one other person. I’ve missed more than a few movies I’ve wanted to see in the theater because I couldn’t get one of my kids or grandkids to go with me, but I’m a whole lot older now, and I really don’t have to care what people think of me.

So there.

Recently I heard yet another perspective on luck. I had previously heard and posted two other perspectives under the Sound Advice section at–(all three are now posted as a weekly featured post) but this third perspective put a grand perspective on the luck phenomenon and the strange relationship people have with it–particularly, the successful vs. the not so successful.

The first perspective was a segment from The Atheist Experience podcast that focused on buying-in to luck as a superstitious practice–where for example, people attribute favorable occurrences to a particular item such as a lucky pair of socks that helped them bowl a perfect game and how it robs them of the merit of having actually had the skill to perform the feat. The superstitious reliance gets wrongly attributed to an item not actual ability.

The second perspective was from an episode of The Adam Carolla Show Podcast that was actually spurred by an article written by Richard H. Frank, ironically, the author of an article of the third perspective that in Adam’s opinion,seemed to give a little much sway to luck in the achievements of successful people. Adam has touched on the subject of luck in previous podcasts, but his ire was laser-focused on the disservice it does to people who rely too much on luck, whether it be as an excuse for why one isn’t successful and how those same people attribute too much of others’ success to luck.

The third perspective, from the aforementioned Richard H. Frank, Goldwin Smith Professor of Economics at Cornell University and author of Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy, put the concept of luck into what I think is its proper perspective by explaining how people in general are often reluctant to acknowledge what role luck plays in their lives and how successful people can vacillate between giving luck too much credit to appear humble and on the other hand, giving luck no credit in order to avoid appearing that their success had one-hundred percent to do with their merit and skill.

I think the proper way to look at the phenomenon of luck is to best stated in a quote from Elmer Leterman:

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

I sum it up this way:


Luck is not some nebulous state or characteristic bestowed randomly upon certain special souls.

A better way of characterizing the phenomenon that we call “luck” is–in its “good” state: a preparation of ONESELF that makes one susceptible to probable favorable opportunities.

In its “bad” state, where one may have not explicitly, or at least not with express intent, become subject of some unfavorable event, has nevertheless, found themselves in, or been put in a situation that has made them susceptible to an unfavorable circumstance.

You CAN think of luck as a four leaf clover–where the clover is NOT a magical item that imbues the possessor with favor, but as simply ANY DESIRED THING, that one must not only make oneself proximal to physically, but to have prepared oneself for taking advantage of the opportunity to possess it when it presents itself.

So, was it luck when I walked into a Starbucks over the weekend and had the clerk tell me that the previous guest had left a five-dollar gift card to use for the next guest (me)? You could sat yes, but you could also say it was my preparation of getting out of bed a driving to Starbucks to take advantage of the opportunity that made me the beneficiary of someone else’s random act of opportunity.

But of course you would also have to say it was bad luck when the clerk forgot to cue my drink for preparation by the barista which left me to watch as three people who came in after me, leave before me with their coffee.



Metabolizing Emotions

This post was inspired by thepeoplestherapist

Forgive and forget? Nah. Metabolize, January 22, 2010

Metabolization, in its most basic explanation, is the body’s process of converting the food we ingest to the various building blocks our bodies need to keep it going. It’s also the process whereby the body discards that which it doesn’t need.

How convenient would it be if there was a similar process for dealing with the various emotions we experience? To not let an emotion like anger affect us as if it was some poisonous toxin that gets absorbed at a molecular level, conversely, breaking us down from the inside. What if we dealt with anger? Not with the less practical methods of forgetting or forgiving, but as psychotherapist Will Meyerhofer suggests in his ‘The People’s Therapist’ blog, to not fear anger, but contain it – “feel it, study it, learn from it – but not succumb to the temptation to go unconscious and act on it”. Perhaps more of us would be less affected by physical manifestations stress and depression if we dealt with the emotions we are sometimes forced upon us by external factors.

Of course, one could aspire to a pre-emptive approach to controlling one’s emotions, as the David Banner character from the ‘Avengers’ franchise eventually learns to, but perhaps that’s a bridge too far for us mere mortals…for now.

Meyerhofer writes:

The mass unconscious discharge of aggression is commonly known as war.  At some level, it feels good too.  And leads to untold horrors.

That’s why metabolizing anger is a better strategy.  You put the anger into words, and start to understand it.  This process converts raw emotion into communication.

The poet, Rainer Maria Rilke, wrote,  “Let life happen to you.  Believe me: life is in the right, always.”

When a friend you’ve never even met, dies: Prince (June 7, 1958- April 21, 2016)

Hearing of Prince’s sudden passing on the afternoon April 21st 2016, hit me hard. That’s saying a lot for one who has handled the death of family members with measured stoicism. Below is my response to a response to a Huffington Post article  about why we feel deep loss when someone we never even met passes away.

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Prince: (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016)  


I took up playing guitar after I saw Purple Rain–LIFE CHANGING EVENT for me. Not because it was a good movie, or I was already a fan, but because I saw myself in a mysterious dude with faults and sensibilities I shared and who’s first language was music. I connected immediately.

This reply to the Huffington Post article Mourning Prince? Here’s Why Celebrity Deaths Can Feel So Personal mirrors my take on this one-of-a-kind musical and cultural PHEnom.


Being one who tends to be stoic, I think tend to think-ahead to events like this–what it will feel like and how I will react. On another level this feels like when Jim Henson died suddenly–he was my second teacher ever, after Mom, but I literally feel like I lost a big brother and a teacher  and no amount of preparation softens the blow for this kind of unexpected loss.

Just goes to show that we are more than just our physical connections. I Never got closer than thirty yards to this amazing cat, nevertheless, I am deeply affected. I feel like I lost a family member today.

Doterous God


As to human morality, if it could be said that the bible is its gleaning source, are we not at some point, cast-out as sufficiently tutored adolescents free to practice, free of the doting hoverage of a distrustful God-parent?

Are we not, as evidenced in the whole of creatures in our midst, capable of sustaining ourselves, post moral-gestation, even if occasional failure be an inherent ever-present possibility; the sharp tip of the arrow for whose lesson we are to annex into our moral quiver?

To be perpetually reliant upon the guidance of an omnipresent omniscient overbearing overlord is to be apart from the rest of what is natural.

And if we are the so-called higher animal, favorite-sibling of such a doter, does that not still put us at odds with the rest of creation?



Cultural Reverence vs. The Scientific Good

This post is a response to an article in the June 27th – July 3rd issue of New Scientist Magazine

(No3027), page 17 “DNA cracks case of Kennewick Man”


Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act

Q. When do the benefits of scientific discovery and inquiry supersede cultural tradition?

Q. When does the possibility of the discovery of something that could prove to be beneficial to the majority lose out to the cultural or pseudo religious practices of the minority and the federal law that protects it.

As it happens, this particular find turned out to be closer to what the Native Americans thought it to be. A fact that could only have been verified via scientific scrutiny. But what if the initial indications had proved true–that it wasn’t even likely Native American? You have to leave the possibilities of what even greater possibilities the relic could have held, to the experts, but surely even a layman can see the benefit of at least categorizing it and confirming it as the 8500 year old specimen it was, is of greater import than blind reverence to sacred tradition and federal law, for that matter.

Also, are certain cultures given an inordinate amount of reverence as an overreactive response to past atrocities committed against them? I can think of one that clearly isn’t.

Native American culture seems to gets a “mystical pass” for this reason, but also rightfully so because a lot of their cultural practices have at their core a respect and reverence for nature. Sure the practicality at the base of their way of life can be easily evidenced in things like reverence for animals and sustainable practices regarding the land that supports them, but one has to admit that there is a certain “woo” factor involved with their ceremonies and traditions. For instance, one can be pretty sure no rain dance has ever actually caused the flow of precipitous torrents of h20 from the sky. It’s nothing more than a signaling. A prayer.

With all the recent debate regarding the church’s tax-exempt status, is it just a matter of time before scientific inquiry, tempered with respect for cultural tradition, takes priority.

Diversion of tax dollars toward inquiry that can lead to discoveries that benefit humanity as a whole, from anti-equimenical sectarian institutions whose charge is the promotion of antiquated dogma that has all but ceased looking for answers to the perplexities of the human condition, would seems to be money better spent.