hel·low (ˈhelō/) exclamation. A salutation embodying the vibrant energy found in the color yellow.

26 March 2014

The United Crumbs of America

Any and every self help book resonates a similar solution to life’s obstacles–divide and conquer. Break large and complex problems into small and simple parts. It is easier to jump over several mole hills than scale a mountain. With any virgin problem or circumstance, a large and singular entity exists, but as men begin to interact with it, that singularity becomes divided. At every division, the large entity becomes less intricate and diverse, and the huge problem is dispersed among dozens of separate entities. When keeping the end goal in mind, the once massive obstacle has been hurdled. But are the divided segments ever put back together?
Intruding upon the unknown lands of North America, the early Europeans dug their ships onto the virgin sands and set out to divide and conquer the large continent. First with small colonies upon the Eastern shore, and then states forming as they expanded to the Mississippi, the Europeans segregated peoples and properties until they seized control of the new land. As these settlers moved west, their divisions became larger. The small segments of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Delaware transitioned into the larger lands of Georgia and Missouri. Lighting out to the territories, the new lines were drawn and soon Texas and Montana and Wyoming were divided and conquered. Along the Pacific coast, the far west of the new America, only three divisions arose to conquer the territory–Washington, Oregon, and California.
As more people now migrate to the coasts, the need for future divisions arises to manage regional disparities. A proposition for Six Californias has been proposed for this purpose. While the division of California may help conquer the problems of the area, a further division of the continent seems to defeat the initial purpose of the new land of the free–to be one united nation. Although the country has effectively operated in its fifty united divisions, as continued crumbling occurs, at what point does the country become nothing but lines of division?
United Crumbs of America
A similar pattern of growth arises in the formation of businesses and organizations. A man begins building bicycles in his garage, and as more people begin to buy his work, he hires more workers to assist him. Jimmy seems to have an aptitude for attaching tires and gears whereas Timmy is much better at configuring brakes and handlebars. The man who started the business no longer needs to touch the bikes, as Jimmy and Timmy divide and conquer the building among themselves. Over time, finances are given to Oscar and advertising to Arthur, and before long, there are several layers of abstraction between the bicycle mechanic who founded the business and the people who work for it. With growth, finance departments form to manage the cash flow for buying rubber brakes pads for Jonathon, who works several managers beneath CFO Timmy. After so many divisions, the small parts become crumbs and no immediate loss is noticed when some go missing.
Let us welcome the six new divisions to the United Crumbs of America.

19 March 2014

Honest Beauty at McMurdo Station

Traveling is an experience many people claim to enjoy. Seeing new places, but not through a picture. Tasting new foods, but not through unauthentic imitations. Conversing with new people, but not over the web. These are the fruits of travel, and so many of us desire to indulge in them. Most of these desires are rooted in honest beliefs, for we often think we wish to travel and encounter something new, but to what extent can we really travel? If traveling is moving, then of course we can participate. But if travel is something more than the physical, our minds must be exposed to something foreign, something diverse. But is that what we want?

Diversity is a tenet that the contemporary liberal holds dear. Diversity is the silver-lining to globalization--the homogenization of the world. Rather than preserve culture and embrace the differences among them--as our world claims to do via globalization--we are meshing them into a muddled soup. The individual spices that we once enjoyed collide and form a tasteless muck. When traveling in the modern world, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to taste these individuals spices. But there is comfort in a bland stew, and maybe that's what we like?

To take America, the world's melting pot, and search for diversity, it often difficult for us to taste something we have not experienced before. The culmination of cultures in the United States boils away the "impurities"--the unrelated features of the various communities from which it is derived. The once pure land, dotted with unique family-owned motels, has been raped by the corporate sameness of Day's Inn. It would be an impressive accomplishment to find a motel untouched by the Gideons. But that is not what we seek. For many, the Day's Inn is warming. We can move great distances but find the same Bible in our bedside table at the end of the day. If we hunger, there will be golden arches before the next horizon. Try as we might, it is difficult to taste a different spice.

What is the traveller to do? Staying within the confines of one's community does little to suffice the wandering mind. For those wishing to sweat off the spiciness of a new region and have no water to quench the burn, there are few places open for raw exposure--for those places are off the beaten path devoid of the luxurious sameness where we find solace.

There is, however, something honest about these places. Their humility and simplicity. They are stark, unfamiliar. The feelings one can encounter upon visiting places such as this rare. Traveling to Antarctica, for instance, is a wholesome goal for the wanderlust. Within the mountains of snow and ice, isolated in a polar land, lies an uncapitalized beauty. McMurdo Station is buried on the Southern corner of the continent--a utilitarian town. Frigid, disconnected from other civilizations, a flavor of its own. The sharp and unfamiliar cold has no comfort, but this feeling is unique to the region. When there is no quick release from the cold--the spice--we can begin to experience something new. That is traveling.

Shipping out to McMurdo Station.

12 March 2014

Haragei & Obfuscation

As famously explored by Ishmael in Melville's Moby Dick, we are isolatoes. All creatures are islands, seemingly together and cohesive, but alone in their own skins. We may form chains, like archipelagos, but our individual selves are forever detached from the selves of those around us. We are each are own souls, spiritually separated, and beings that can never truly understand the fullness of another, if even ourselves. The closest connection we have is communication.

The origin, the "commons", is shared by the subsequent community that is formed. Communication is a set of rules through which we are connected. It is an everyday art that can bond our otherwise untouchable souls. Escaping the human superiority complex, all creatures are capable of some flavor of communication, be it oral, visual, olfactory, or else. The finer aspects of communication lie in fluency, for when users begin to subconsciously understand the intricacies of the art, greater interpersonal relationships can form, bringing isolated bodies together.

The embodiment of this mantra is haragei, referred to in Japanese as a rhetoric form that relies on subtle implications. Affected by culture, these communications spread and adapt to circumstance. Rarely enabling a concrete understanding, haragei is a representative form of communication that relies on attitudes and communal feeling. It is unspoken but moving, for it plays on more feelings than specific words. The subtlety is the source of its power, as is often the case for any art form. Haregei may be the most useful art of communication to break the barrier between our souls. Only, of course, if it mutually learned.

The most important aspect of communication lies in the origin of the word--commonality. If the form of communication cannot be used by the community members among which the system was developed, it is useless. From the guttural sounds of animals to languages in which we program computers, the gamut of communicative means relies on structure and group consensus.

While haragei is an innately simple art of conveying thoughts and feelings, obfuscation, 08|=(_)$<4+!0|\| in leetspeak, is the complication of communication. Shifts in common structure. Jargon. Repetitious or repetitive words. VV3!|^o| mechanics. Uncommon expressions. Deviations from commonplace idioms. Obfuscation is the collection of uncommon practices in a language that is designed to mislead unwarranted receivers. When in a group of several islands, obfuscation in communication can be useful for connecting a minority of parties in the group--drawing a bridge of jargon that cannot be understood by the majority.

The disparate results of obfuscation are two-fold. For security purposes in digital environments, obfuscation can aide in encrypted messaging. For highly technical fields, such as medicine, the complicated speak can disguise unappealing information to the rest of the community. However, obfuscation, such as 133+ (leet), can often lead to communicative discrimination without a grander purpose. And when obfuscation is unintentional, poor communication results.

When communication fails, the only connection between our souls is lost. We are isolatoes.