Sep 23, 2017

Elections in the US - time to fix them...

Every time we have elections in the US, we all end up complaining about the many anti-democratic things - long lines on too few precincts; difficult registration; gerrymandered districts giving an unfair advantage to the party that did the gerrymandering; and especially election fraud by various methods including hacked voting machines. I'm sure that you can think of even more.

But these things are not necessary. There are solutions using the technology of today. I will propose a solution in simple terms without going into all the technical details. However, as a former database programmer, I have considered those and see this as a secure and reliable voting system.

1) Everyone with a social security number over 18 years old and not a felon is automatically registered to vote.

2) All voting will be done over a two-day period by computer, connecting to a voting database at the social security servers. Most people will be able to vote from home and even from their phones. Once a vote is posted to their Social Security account, they will not be able to vote again. 
Centers will be available for citizens without computer access and assistants will be available.

3) Voters will be able to access their SS page to verify their votes.

4) At the end of the voting period, tabulation software will be issued to various public agencies and news outlets. The code for this tabulation software will be reviewed and certified by the leading database companies and by representatives from schools of computer science.  These will tally the total votes for each candidate or proposition. If there are discrepancies, they will be investigated before results are confirmed.

5) There will no longer be an electoral college. The total popular vote will prevail.

6) Congressional districts will follow county lines wherever possible.

The above measure would eliminate almost completely the current anti-democratic factors in our current voting situation.

I used to do database programming and can imagine the technical steps needed to create secure software - but I doubt that many of my readers would want to read the minutia. If someone thinks that it is impossible, I would like the feedback but otherwise I submit this brief proposal to inspire new thinking....

Feb 3, 2017

Making Love Last

Today it seems like there is an undercurrent of cynicism about Love - it can't last - we shouldn't get too involved to avoid getting hurt..... The divorce statistics seem to bear out this pessimistic view of modern Love.

Well, perhaps. But there are some practices that we can use as lovers to greatly improve the odds for our relationships.

Our culture is not particularly physical - we don't touch each other a lot. In my English family, it was almost never. So Love was basically cerebral. We had reasons to love one another. "She is beautiful; sexy; smart; funny; a good cook; she seems to love me; etc." These are all judgements that our minds make up about the other person. If we have a lot of judgements in the positive column, then Love is justified. We can even feel emotions of love.

But what happens over time? We add some judgements in the negative column. "She is always late; she was flirting with that guy; she doesn't seem to like sex anymore; she hates football; etc." So we arrive at Mature Love. We don't feel strong emotions like we used to, but we are comfortable with each other and the positive column still is longer.

And with luck, we might just be able to maintain that state forever - especially if both of us are kind, considerate and secure. But all too often, the negative column keeps growing. Small hurts are not forgotten nor forgiven. And finally, it is impossible to generate those feelings of Love. We are left with anger and resentment - some kind of separation is inevitable.

These are the scenarios of Love based on the mind. Love based on judgements and evaluations. But there is another basis for Love that doesn't eliminate the mind, but adds another component to our experience of Love that transcends the mind.

That is Love between bodies.  I'm not just talking about sex, although that is a part of it. Mostly, it's about a regular body connection that is a communication without the involvement of the mind - a hug, for example. Experts talk about the benefits of regular hugs - the release of oxytocin that not only reinforces our feelings of Love but contributes to overall health. A hug is the most simple form of body communication. It can be done in the middle of normal daily activities, fully dressed. A hint - take a normal hug and make it just a little longer - long enough to really feel the body of your lover - and long enough that it goes beyond being routine.

But the real power of body communication is not just in hugs, but in putting together two bodies for the purpose of passing energy through the skin. I define "making love" as physical contact with both parties giving 100% of their attention to the other. Clearly, without clothing is far more powerful - although some people may find that they have to overcome resistance to physical intimacy. It is recommended that a regular time is dedicated to physical contact - upon awakening and just before going to sleep for example. I discuss this at length in my article on the Ceremony in this blog. Click on the link to see much more detail about technique.

There is something totally magical that passes between two bodies in Love. The mind cannot even begin to understand it. It is a kind of non-verbal communication beyond the abilities of the mind. Something passes between our skins that binds us and makes us want to keep communicating with our bodies. Sometimes, especially if we are young, we will want to go on to a full sexual experience. Wonderful. But we put our bodies together first of all to feel our Love.  Just a little caressing is all that is needed. Each couple will find their own path. It is so pleasurable that it will probably not require any effort to become a regular practice.

It is important to note that we should not try to use this kind of contact as a seduction for sex. Modern couples may not always have the energy for sex after a grueling day. The effort for one of the couple to use body contact as a way to initiate sex with a less willing partner will diminish both the sex and the practice of body contact. It is preferable to enter the contact with the intention of just being with the partner and sharing love. If during the contact, the bodies arrive at a conclusion that they want to have sex, splendid....

Adding physical communication of Love as a daily practice can greatly improve the odds for a relationship. With the more intense confirmation of Love, little slights are more likely to be forgotten. The positive column remains the longest and may even grow longer. This can easily become the most enjoyable part of the relationship.