I am not a martial artist and I doubt I really ever will be. But back in the day, after I was a Christian (~2002) before I was an atheist (~2007), I picked up Bruce Lee’s book Jeet Kun Do: Commentaries on the Martial Way thinking it would teach me something about Jeet Kune Do. How to move my fists, feet, body, be cool, etc. When I saw the book’s title in the store the “Commentaries on the Martial Way” were in little letters so I didn’t read them. It didn’t take me long to realize I had purchased a compilation of Bruce Lee’s philosophical notes related to martial arts. The martial way, training, motivation, teaching, and more in the form of short quotes or page-long notes. It was a good accidental find for me in a shiftless period and got me into kung fu movies.
Have you ever heard of Skyrim? It’s an adventure world of swords, dragons, and Nordic-medieval grit and you get to play the dovahkiin, a human with kinship to the dragons. It’s basically your job to adventure around and beat things up with the ultimate goal of saving the world from a pending apocalypse at the hands of an evil dragon. It’s pretty awesome if you’re into that sort of thing.
Anyway, I was doing something monotonous the other day and amused myself by wondering what it would be like to be in the game as one of the random town people, bandits, or various other things you come across as a player. Dragon’s don’t show up until he starts his reign over the land and even then they don’t come to town until the %#$ dovahkiin comes along bumping into people, knocking things over, and pawning pillaged wares on our shops for every scrap of gold.
Generally speaking the non-player characters don’t associate you, the dovahkiin, with their overall hardships. On the contrary you’re the guy who helps them. This morning I helped a town leader by paying off hired blades squatting in his town’s mine. As a reward the town leader pays me more than what I payed the mercenaries, so the guy was able to help himself the whole time if only he had the programming. And I have no sympathy for his workers, who were complaining about going back to work. I started off in wandering around in rags and bindings and managed to make a decent amount of coin as a vigilante doing odd jobs for people. Contrary to what you’d think based on my previous paragraph towns and shop keepers don’t seem to mind my bloody pilfered goods as long as I didn’t steal it from society.
There is a minor point to this post besides just bsing my tales in Skyrim… there are quite a few people that I have ran into in my life who remind me of non-player characters. Content to live a life without variation where change is a matter of anxiety because it’s outside of their control or willingness to reach out and take control. In reality each individual is the protagonist in their own life; there is no way to walk out of your own story.
I wonder what would happen if voting got tied in with paying taxes via what I’ve started calling in this article a “tax ballot.” With the development and availability of modern information technology it’s possible for voting and taxes to occupy the same time frame for every state, provide a “paper trail” in the form of a series of digital exchanges that the voter/tax payer initiates and can track personally.
A system like this would also open the door to true government transparency. I spent a while trying to figure out where my tax dollars go and couldn’t get further than the typical pie-graph of defense, medicare/medicade, social security, and various other black box systems voted on by representatives. Whatever happens in the black boxes obviously money goes into the pool and expenditures come out another side, for many of them to the aid or paycheck of another citizen. In the system I’m wishing for privacy precautions should apply which means that the system shouldn’t be able to display on basis of individual or business except for the case of the individual or business logging in. Displaying pools by county with additional drop down pools for public offices and organizations as well as fed and state tax expenditures.
In time this kind of system can be revised and expanded to include functionality for bidding in or out various services that are new or obsolete in local government which can be expanded wider until it reaches a federal level. This process would give tax payers some self-representation and, therefore, personal responsibility for the way the local, state, and federal government distributes services. A government for the people could start to becoming of the people and by the people.