RH: ROBERT's ALMOST-COMPLETE ARCHIVE OF WORKS..... My other blog is "I came, I saw, I solved it" at http://i-came-i-saw-i-solved-it.blogspot.com/.......... Robert Ho REQUEST FOR STATEMENTS at http://roberthorequestforstatements.blogspot.com/2011/01/robert-ho-request-for-statements.html

Blog Archive


About Me

My photo
My archive of works is at http://i-came-i-saw-i-wrote-it.blogspot.com/

Saturday, February 17, 2007

RH: Robert's TorchLight Effect

From: Robert Ho (ho3@pacific.net.sg)
Subject: RH: Robert's TorchLight Effect
View: Complete Thread (2 articles)

Original Format

Newsgroups: soc.culture.singapore
Date: 2003-11-25 08:08:50 PST


Suppose you find yourself in a huge, totally dark warehouse armed only with a torchlight. You switch it on and in its glow, you see a
sleeping tiger. You are alarmed. You breathe quicker and shorter. Your pulse races. Your adrenaline pumps up. Then, you notice that it is toothless and clawless. No danger. So you point your light elsewhere. And shines onto a Zen garden. You can see its tranquility, its meditativeness. You breathe easier. A mood of serenity ensues. You even feel calmer after the tiger scare. Then you point your torchlight elsewhere again and it shines upon an armoury of weapons from rifles to rockets. You see their potential for killing and how easy it is to use them. You think of how easy it is to pull a trigger or to fire a rocket. Your finger itches to try.

Thus, what you see depends on where you focus. If you focus on a
tiger, you see danger and that may make you react to the danger, in
many possible different ways. If you focus on the armoury, you become
aware of its potential and possibilities of causing deaths.

In many ways, what you see depends on what you focus on. This is what
I call the TorchLight Effect.

What then, is the purpose of Robert's TorchLight Effect? What are its
practical applications?


Consider. If countries do not have a military, or only a small and
unimportant military establishment, would they be as warlike and would they go to war as easily?

I think not. Here, we come to one of my aphorisms: "Wars happen
because countries have the means to wage wars".

Notice that this aphorism is totally different from the usual lies
from governments that 'wars are for defence'. Because, in this new
millennium, wars are no longer necessary. I believe mankind has come
far enough to forego war, except for the small skirmishes of small
groups that not only cannot agree but have the means and weapons to
argue with bullets. These still remain but are no more than the usual
fighting with knives and parangs of gangsters, which will probably
continue for another millennium.

But state to state wars are totally unnecessary.

This TorchLight Effect explains why countries like the US spend so
much [US$379 billion -- more than the next 15 largest spenders] on
its military and cannot trim it down. It explains why the US
continually prepares for war and worse, even to actually commit war
even though all logic and sense show that war is the worst way of
deciding state-to-state issues.

It also explains why the military establishment, especially the US's,
has a life of its own, an ethos that self-fulfills, that grows
organically bigger and bigger without the possibility of being cut
down in size.

Suppose we, for a moment, focus on the environment.

Now, since we shine the torch on the environment, we naturally become
aware of environmental issues. Litter, rubbish removals from homes and streets to landfills, pollution in air and water, etc. All these we become aware of simply because we focussed on them. If we had not
focussed on them, we would not see these issues as such big issues,
maybe only a vague awareness. Thus, again, what we see depends on what we focus on. When we focussed on the environment, 'facts and figures' about the environment become highlighted and passed into the general consciousness.

If we had not focussed on the environment, these same facts and
figures would have remained in our lower consciousness and become less important and less compelling. Thus, what we see depends on what we focus on.

Coming back to the military, it is the same phenomenon. Precisely
because we spend lots of taxpayers' monies to build up a huge military capability, we become aware of 'facts and figures' that seem to 'threaten' our 'security'. If we had not spent this monies, and kept the military small, all these 'facts and figures' and huge volumes of reports of threats and constant analyses would not become high priority in our consciousness and we'd be better off, using the
taxpayers' monies for better purposes.

Would the 'security threats' remain and catch us unaware and

Unlikely. My argument is, most military establishments have a life of
its own once created, like Frankenstein's monster, and continue to
alter facts and figures by its very existence and purpose.

To put it another way, Singapore does not have an Information
Technology Minister. So, IT issues become less focussed, and less
facts and figures appear to demand priority in the national
consciousness. Less IT spending, too. If there were an IT Minister, he would immediately set about creating an IT Ministry, with lots of IT officers and analysts, and in no time, IT would become part of the
upper consciousness rather than remain low.

If you create a Minister of Women's Affairs, the same phenomenon would happen. Suddenly, women's affairs would be top in the national
consciousness. Women's affairs would demand a big budget to 'properly' establish Women's Affairs officers and enforcers and specialists, etc.

Or, to use yet another example, suppose we have a Minister for Parks.
Suddenly, lots of facts and figures about parks would surface. There
would need to be a state budget to look after parks and to promote
their use. There would be need for analysts to keep tabs on park usage patterns and communications officers to advertise parks and promote their use. A whole range of park issues would ensue. Thus, what you see depends on where you focus.

Coming back to the military, the military is probably the worst way of spending taxpayers' monies. Once a military establishment is created, it creates an arms industry that develops more and more expensive ways to kill humans in easier and easier ways. In fact, the availability of the weapons is instrumental to their actual use in wars. Once an arsenal of weapons is created, the temptation to use them is great and only the voters' reservations hold back the military from committing wars. Once you have soldiers, expensively fed and maintained, you even try to use them rather than 'waste' such an expensive asset sitting idle. Thus, militaries are like self-fulfilling prophesies. They come true. They will be used in exactly the way they have been trained and equipped to be used. When you have the wherewithals for war, wars will happen. Only the voters can save a President and his military from their folly.

For example, when you have generals and other expensive staff, would
they quietly sit throughout their careers preaching peace and
non-viloence? Or are they more likely to push for war to enhance their power and sense of purpose and importance?

Thus, my TorchLight Effect helps to explain why militaries are like
Frankenstein's monster, that once created, has a life and growth of
its own, a self-fulfilling ethos of its own, and a tendency to do
precisely it is designed to do. It is time, in this new millennium, to rethink and refocus on something less destructive.

Robert Ho
25 Nov 03
UK 1606 Singapore 0006