No plans, No problem, No Injustice…REALLY???

st louis 9

By Kenneth Justice

Everywhere I go I see injustice” he said

~ In just a few hours I’ll be traveling to Minneapolis, Minnesota and the next stop on my Drinking in the Culture Tour. A coffee house tour that has been my excuse to get out into the world and learn more about different culture throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe.

One of the unique elements of my traveling this year is that I haven’t been making reservations or sticking to strict plans on any of my trips; I’ve been merely showing up to each city and seeing where the cards might lie.

Of course, going on so many trips without any reservations has meant that I never really know what to expect; I’ve stayed on the sofas of strangers that I met along my journey, I’ve hung out with homeless people at coffee shops and listened to their stories, and now this weekend in Minnesota the only thing I know for sure is that in the morning I will be at Bull Run Coffee in the morning and Kopplins Coffee in the afternoon.

J.R. Tolkien wrote, “Not all those who wander are lost

I identify quite a bit with that quote because even though there is a sense in which I’m wandering around the Western World; I’ve never felt lost. What began as a simple idea, ‘visit 100 coffee shops in as many states and countries this year as possible’ has become something so much more. Through my many conversations with readers and fellow bloggers that I’ve met along my journey; I’ve come to realize that the connections we’ve made via the Internet are actually much deeper than I initially understood. The communities that each of my fellow bloggers have developed on their own websites and blogs has the potential for as much depth and connection as they desire.

It also helps that the coffee house culture from city-to-city is very welcoming to visitors. Even in places where I didn’t meet with any readers or bloggers, I’ve always met dozens of people hanging out at the coffee houses; there is something about a coffee house that encourages conversation among strangers.

We live in a time when massive amounts of people all across the Western World feel lonely. Depression and other mood disorders are on the rise and the psychological community has been totally inept and powerless in treating and addressing the epidemic. Millions, perhaps billions of dollars are spent every year on research studies and in treating loneliness and depression; yet all that the PhD psychologists and researchers are really accomplishing is obtaining nice little salaries for themselves thanks to Government Grants and Universities paychecks.

Yesterday on the Ranting Crow blog my dear friend penned an excellent question,

It is asking a question that makes us think. But research costs money.

Who gains, from knowing poverty exist?

Who do you think gains the most. Those in poverty or the researchers. Is there anything gained at all

Think about it. Every day thousands upon thousands of dollars are awarded to Universities and researchers to ‘study’ poverty; yet is that money really being put in the right place? At what point in Western Society are we going to stop giving millions of dollars to white collar University students to ‘study’ problems; and instead begin actually fixing the problems we see all around us?

The simple fact of the matter is that whether we are talking about the government level of society or the academic level; the white collar men and women who have had a strangle hold on the way our society functions are stubborn people. They are resistant to change. They are content with receiving their nice little pay checks and living in a world of injustice, hypocrisy and nepotism.

—-) If you are religious then you know that with every New Year that passes us many of your religious freedoms are being taken away

—-) If you are in the middle class than you know that the middle class is shrinking

—-) If you are not geared toward the academic world then you know that the intellectual elites simply don’t value you or your opinion about life and culture

At one of my coffee house stops an older man said to me, “Everywhere I go I see injustice”. I empathized with what he said quite a bit. And it’s not merely one side of the equation that is guilty of injustice. Whether you are liberal or conservative, and whether you live in North America or Europe; the politicians on both sides of the aisle (both conservative and liberal) are simply making a mess of things. They are inept and uncaring towards the very real problems that everyday people face in their lives.

If you made it this far through my article this morning thank you, I’ve stepped away for just a moment from my normal coffee house character studies to share a few thoughts that have been bugging me for some time. Sadly, I don’t have all the answers, perhaps you know where were supposed to go from here……..for now, I’m just going to show up in Minnesota and I’m excited to see what lies ahead.

Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee this morning, Kenneth

If you live in or near the Twin Cities I’d love to have coffee with you this weekend! Email me or simply stop by one of the coffee houses I will be visiting.



Categories: Culture & Society

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63 replies

  1. The problem lies with love of power which is why politicians of any persuasion forget their promises.

  2. in a way, your going round america talking to people in coffee shops is a bit like those white collar researchers telling us of the problems. though in your case you are not being paid for it, at least not directly.
    have you noticed that no one you meet ever tells us what the solution is. perhaps there is no solution. how about asking a following question ‘what is the solution? ‘to those people who so readily and accurately tell you what the problem is.
    i have read your blog and the questions you posed. They are very profound questions some of them, but i dont see anyone giving solutions. perhaps there are none.

    • I sometimes read the comments and it becomes clear that the number of suggested solutions far exceeds the number of perceived problems!

      Everyone has their own solution, and this I think is the beauty – the solution is staring us in the face. If everyone has their own ideas about how to make the world better, then the solution is to allow people to take control of their lives and for governments to stop trying to impose a one-size-fits-all solution on the people.

      Telling everyone what to do is hard work and almost doomed to fail. You would have to be a supra-genius to know what is best for everyone. By contrast, most people are quite good at making their own decisions about their own lives.

      You’re gay? Cool, get married (or don’t).
      You’re a Christian? Cool, go to church.
      You want to drink coffee? Sure, no problem.

      As Kenneth says, not all who wander are lost.

      Yes I’m a libertarian 🙂

    • hi steve, i was thinking of the global questions …eg to answer the person who said there is a lot of injustice in the world , or poverty… where are the solutions to them? personal problems are easier to suggest solutions for, as you have pointed out but world problems? i do not see any. unless I have missed them in the comments section. in which case it would be great for u to compile them in a post. it would be much appreciated.

  3. I am honoured to have been mentioned and seat here centre stage reading.
    Thank you for giving the question a thought.and maybe one day we find an answer. I do try. for a can of beans of single dollar means a meal for a family who cannot afford it.

    • I thank you my friend. From the bottom of my heart.

      This deserved a single comment box.

    • I’ll tell you it’s true. In fact, my wife is going to the food bank today. We and my kids are in the safety net, so to speak, so I think we do better than some; I prefer getting dry beans, but then, we have running water and electricity to soak and cook them, which I know a few do not necessarily have.

      My small hope is that the researchers are able to show that the face of poverty has changed. Some of us, such as myself, are well-read and well-educated; but due to chronic illness, abuse, and other circumstances, we struggle. I am upset with those that abuse the resources given for help (it usually means more red tape and hassle) but, I don’t want to be ignored just because I’m playing by the rules. I still want to be part of that discussion.

    • I know I to had a time of visiting a food bank. And it helped me realize that if i can help one family with a meal I will. an extra potatoe is peeled with ease. a can of beans do not cost much.
      I try my best.

      I also understand that some do not want to come forward with there problem. Out of shame. I had that to

      it show how badl we need to communicate with our neighbours but not so easy.

      I hope we find a way and i decided to make a post on this for Monday. i thank you for your thoughts. and story. be well.

    • Yes, it’s often the little things that make so much difference. You’re welcome, and thank you, too.

  4. You speak the truth! I think it’s called analysis paralysis. Our culture spends millions to analyze a problem to no end yet won’t spend the same money to implement solutions to that very same problem.

    Enjoy the twin cities!

  5. I think most problems are solved by the change of attitude in the individual. Political resolutions usually are just organized back room agreements that further the agenda of the politician. Or they say what they think their constituents want to hear and then do whatever furthers their own political status.

    Look at the Berlin Wall as an example of people demanding change. No violence…just a huge amount of agreement that things must change. Now, politics can prevent change…just look at how much has been done to ensure that confusion about the existence of climate control exists…yet, reality proofs it’s valid.

    So…with the idea of change occurs and starts with the individual, I want to share this wonderful video I found yesterday concerning perception of homelessness.

    http://kindnessblog.com/2014/04/24/have-the-homeless-become-invisible/

  6. There’s a solution to the problem of injustice, it’s just not one that people are willing to enact. While it would be detrimental to try and make unequal people equal (we all have different interests and skill levels) we could still decide as a species to be constructive instead of destructive. We could acknowledge that money is arbitrary and instead of chasing the almighty dollar work together to ensure that each person has a place to live, food to eat and a community to belong to. Everyone of able mind and body would contribute in the way they are best suited to the society in which they live. Take away fear and greed and the levels of injustice would dramatically decrease.

  7. This is striking back to a conversation I had with my students just yesterday. We’re reading Alas, Babylon, and they began to realize how many life skills they don’t know. I then told them that, if they knew they were missing knowledge on something, to go out and learn it. I then issued a formal challenge with a prize to the class with the highest participation rate.

    Knowing is a huge step, but following through with correcting it is a whole other matter.
    If you know something is wrong, then fix it.

    • As I was once a student of the school of education, I am pleased to read this. I remember one of my first education professors teaching me that there is a difference between mere schooling, and education. You have nobly challenged your students to go beyond their schooling and their classroom to make education a lifelong goal, as I believe it should be.

      Despite my undergraduate studies in elementary and music education, I descended into disability and homesteading house husband life instead of going on to teach school. But I champion those friends and family I know that teach, and teach well as you have demonstrated.

  8. It is a very good point, and it can be very overwhelming – but I refuse to do nothing, I’ll just continue to do a little at a time in my little part of the world. I can’t redistribute research grants and funds, but I can help out here!
    Enjoy the weekend!

  9. Beautiful piece. All I can say is that it must be something in the water. Or maybe just water itself. If only we could combine all water world wide with benevolent logic. Science could do that. Come up with a benevolent logic pill that does the opposide of Crack cocane. Make us all non-crazy . Who knows?

  10. “Millions, perhaps billions of dollars are spent every year on research studies and in treating loneliness and depression; yet all that the PhD psychologists and researchers are really accomplishing is obtaining nice little salaries for themselves thanks to Government Grants and Universities paychecks.”

    I suspect that many who profit from the problems of humanity want those problems to continue. They would lose a lot of money if people weren’t as depressed and lonely.

  11. we have studied the art of consumerism specifically for the reason to be separate from our brothers. . . edgy, unique, independent and all that stuff,. . . but in our separation we have become lost in our own funk . . . dumb on us . . .

    that’s why you can go to an Indian village in the Amazon and find more (real) laughter that you can in this country. . . .

  12. “Ranting KJ” – I like it!

  13. We are a culture obsessed with knowledge and terrified to make a mistake. Without the courage to try things that might not work, we stick to what we know, which we think is safe. It isn’t. It’s killing our ability to listen, to trust ourselves, and to ACT. I am personally terrified about what this is doing to us in terms of education, corporations and medical research.

    Knowledge gluttony coupled with the inability to act on what we know/learn is bull shit, it’s useless. It’s posing, it’s lethal, it’s hurtful. Ranting Crow hit a major nerve, I applaud him and you for asking the tough and important questions.

    Ok so now I’m fired up, I better sign off! Balls to the wall, kid.

  14. Make it a Great Weekend Kenneth and if anyone comes up with a viable plan for world peace please let me know.

  15. This post looks at a foundational illness threatening America’s future. I produced 1000 page reports condensed from 80,000 pages of collected data from global open sources and presented the results with an analysis of alternatives to solve every key issue presented. Every federally funded research concluded states the problem and provides solutions. Timelines can be days or decades depending on complexity and scope. The single overriding block to implementing solutions to the greatest problems man has ever faced on the planet is nothing more than the avarice of those very few key leaders in critical positions. The problem is unsavory and the solution makes the problem undeniable. Solutions validate a problem exists. The decision is always based on protecting ones ego and personal ricebowl. When Hillary Clinton retorted angrily to congressional inquiry with, “What difference does it make!” Those hearts that ached as a result of political machinations and inept leadership at every level answered back, “It makes all the difference in the world.” Their collective voices were never heard. The millions of dollars spent are like water flowing from rivers into oceans, the cycle continues unabated until a river flows no more and then the research community wails in unison of the great disaster about to unfold. Still, great things do happen; but, there is no unified leadership dedicated to real solutions to our world’s problems. We are left to fend for ourselves. It’s the grassroots effort that will bring us to real solutions we all can live with.

  16. I like the four explanations of poverty by Bryant Myers found in “When Helping Hurts” by Fikkert and Corbett. We’re broken in our relationship with (1) God (2) self (3) others (4) the created environment. Each leads to its own source of poverty and explains why money doesn’t solve the problem. Injustice relates to number 3: people treating other people badly. Removing injustice is a powerful way to battle poverty.

  17. Having just earned my masters, I totally agree. I would add that at my university, in my field, the students are not white collar. They are mostly foreigners. And they are not really paid that well for their research. It’s the professors that oversee their research that are paid well. And paid according to how much research they do and how much they publish. So with their paycheck dependent on research, they only have one goal. I hope some day in the near future academia gets a major overhaul because they are wasting way too much money that could be used, as you said, to fix real problems.

  18. Kenneth, are you familiar with Studs Terkel? How do you think he might have utilized blogging had he tapped into it?

  19. At first made me think of Hakuna Matata – The Lion King. 😀
    True not every one that wonder is lost, but sometime we need to get lost, to be found. I think it takes a brain to break the injustice chain.
    It was a story about a King who asked this old wise poor man: how come he’s head was like a snowball, full of gray hair, but the King had only gray beard? The poor wise man told him that day and night thinks about Poverty when the King smiles and lives from it.
    Your positive, skilled thinking is framing your blog, shaping your moments and engaging us all in your Culture Tour.
    Have a nice weekend!

  20. I think you are falling victim to liberal expectations. Expectations see problems everywhere, and draw from a bottomless pool of victims. I enjoy your daily blog. But I think what you’re suffering from is a little cognitive dissonance. It’s fun going different places and having coffee with different people, and meeting friends from the blogosphere. Let yourself enjoy yourself. You’re sitting in a nice place, why search for worries? I see no moral need to balance your joy with a lot of handwringing. (Especially since we’re going to keep drinking coffee anyway. Ha!) My advice; a person retails to you a sad story? Grant them their dignity, and save most of the sympathy. People seem attracted to you anyway.

  21. Hmmmm, maybe we are seeing the values of personal peace and affluence here (taking the money and not really addressing the problems). No one wants to give those up. I could be wrong.

  22. The best vacation I ever had was to Kawaii – I ditched my friend who I was there with. He was working on a project and on a computer the whole time.

    I took off and wandered around, met a German traveler on a hike, and spent the next few days with him hitchhiking around the island, sleeping in the jungle, and exploring. We had a blast and I will never forget it.

    How do you know what you will encounter if you have everything planned out in advance?

  23. When it comes to politicians and major problems, we all know they aren’t actually trying to fix them. I think the studies are valuable because they show us the complexity of a problem. There is, for example, a difference in giving money to a homeless man and learning about how they got there in the first place so we can pull them out. For example,let’s say a study finds a large amount of homeless are in that state because of a mental handicap. Instead of throwing money at the situation, we could then use that knowledge to help those homeless people overcome their handicap and develop a better standard of life.

    Doing something like that takes time, far more than the amount of time a politician has before they are up for re-election. A lot of problems in our society are complicated and have no easy solution. It’s like a badly broken bone. Ideally, you’d have to set it and let it heal. This process takes too long for politicians. Instead, they just put a band-aid on the problem and say ‘look, I fixed the bleeding. re-elect me.’

    All the studies are well intentioned, if only the findings could be put into action. If only politicians were willing to risk their re-election to set the broken bones of society and guide them down the long road of healing.

    • “if only politicians were willing to risk their reelection to set the broken bones of society….”

      Perhaps the time has come to change the way we do politics in the united states……hmmmmm

  24. Open-hearted listening and diving deep to ask the big questions seems to be the answer. Alongside appreciating, accepting and becoming comfortable in that place of ‘not knowing’. You do all of these things admirably well Kenneth. Sending you best wishes for your ongoing journey.

  25. Something tells me you are reaching more people than you know Kenny. Great post. Those are some deeply important questions. In my opinion, thinking about/studying the best way to handle our country’s issues (ie, poverty, education, penal system, national deficit, etc.) instead of acting is what’s contributing to everything going down the drain. But that’s just my point of view.

  26. This world is a relative world, with constantly changing ideas and values, rights and wrongs, viewpoint starting in ourselves, expanding to cosmic level through our interactions.

    The longing for the “Ideal World” is the spark, the hope what dwells in each and every one of us. However, we opressed our own selves with swinging between the eternal good where we always can go and strive for and the tradition and habit of wrongdoings and evil. There is no excuse for that, it is not “others”, it starts in us…

    Now, first time ever, in these years, as the merit of the age we do have the chances to share, grasp the core of the heartistic attitude, and help, support, live for others not only a conscience-comforting way, but with real actions.

    This is the time, when we can replace the old habits with new ones, and this way, step by step, supporting and caring each other, growing, gaining, sharing, maturing. And as individuals we’ll become cleaner in heart and mind, our interactions with each other will, and through this process we can experience the building of the Ideal World.

  27. What those in control need to realize, with the growing lower class comes the necessity of more connection in figuring out what needs to be done to bring a better balance back – and that typically, that doesn’t usually bode too well for those in control in the long run.

  28. I could rant for hours about all the injustice I see and hear in the world today, but part of the answer has to be………if governments gave all the money they spend on research and media communications to the actual poor, impoverished, homeless, starving, chronically ill and disabled people, they would go a long way into making their lives better.

    Sad to say, but I’m even reluctant to give to some charities as I know quite a lot goes on administration & publicity costs.

    While some research brings about amazing breakthroughs in medical science, a lot goes into ‘packaging’ the story behind or around those breakthroughs.

    Being a student of herbal medicine, I still don’t understand why there isn’t more effort in increasing nature’s bounty and bringing it to the masses. Indigenous medical practices have proven their efficacy time and time again, and yet researchers waste so much money isolating the effective compounds in plants and synthesising them, often with adverse side effects (when the whole plant balances the effect of the therapeutic alkaloids that make up part of the plant).

    Why spend money on treating the imbalances of the mind and body, when money could be better spent on restoring the conditions (housing, diet, exercise and work) that lead to depression, mental disorders and disease.

    In some ways, for a supposedly intelligent, modern and highly developed western world, mankind is extremely backward in it’s thinking.

    • “in some ways, for a supposedly intelligent, modern and highly developed western world, mankind is extremely backward in its thinking”

      Vicki, that sentence of yours sums up the problem perfectly.

  29. Reblogged this on seeking querencia and commented:
    Kenneth’s blogs always raise very relevant questions to ponder. I hope that you’ll agree.

    Blessings and grace, Lydia

  30. I enjoy your writing and look forward to your daily blog posts, they definitely leave me wanting more. Have you thought about turning the posts from this journey into a book? A bound collection of those alone would make a wonderful read, but I am sure you have much more material that has not made it into these daily posts.

  31. Wow. I “followed” this blog a long time ago before you started out. I neglected to fix my settings to email me. I think it’s so cool… and I have SOOO much catching up to do.

  32. Republicans, democrats, independents…all peas of the same pod. The public likes to associate the political views of these groups, during campaign season as signs the parties are different. But behind closed doors, they represent the same foolishness. Neither party wants what’s best for the people they serve, because they’ll sell out their constituents in a blink, if it brings financial means. When you have a problem, but only apply a “solution” to the top layer or areas not directly related to the root, the issue will remain. This seems to be a foreign understanding for politicians.

  33. “Everywhere I go I see injustice”
    It’s true. The question is, are you willing to see it? I agree, with you. People are stubborn and resistant to change and may I add self-absorbed?
    But then there are people like that old man. And you! 🙂

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