Symbolic Interaction & Inequality Revisited ( Walls,Walls,Walls)

The acquisition of 700 acres of beachfront property in the northern Kiluea region of Hawaii’s Kauai has produced a firestorm of protest against Mark Zuckerberg the multibillionaire whe heads Facebook.Zuckerberg is one of the “good guys” who wants to do good things for people and the world.It is his aesthetic predilection coupled with a need for privacy that caused him to acquire the property and to build a wall.It would seem that the land ” belongs”to a broad family of native Hawaiians as a sort of spiritual heritage.Zuckerberg’s legal folks tracked down and purchased property rights from all they could locate with some evidence of proprietorship.It did not help the OPTICS involved.(I hate that word but it works better for the subject than appearances!)that some received a paltry sum of $500 for their property rights.What are spiritual rights? (shades of native American burial grounds vs drilling opportunity,Amazonian Indian hunting grounds vs lumber and ranching investment)Zuckerberg has torn up the original agreement and has asked his legal folk to reinvestigate and revise.He wants to do the right thing but his enormous wealth and legal access swamp his own intent.Perhaps he shouldn’t build a wall unless it’s close to domicile.What then of his right to privacy and suzerainty over what he owns? DS asks for objectification relative to what’s best for mankind as the source for solutions,some of us say ” unknowable”.I suspect that Mark Zuckerberg would agree.

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2 Comments

  1. In 1979 our homebuilt ketch was anchored in Hanalei Bay not far from where Zuckerberg has purchased his 700 acres. Near the end of nearly two adventurous years, having cruised Mexico and the Hawaiian Islands with my wife and two teenage daughters, we were preparing for what turned out to be 26 days of ocean sailing between Kauai and San Francisco. There are times when the ingredients of one’s life conform to all the dynamics that explain the qualities of great art. It is clear from the perspective of added years that for my family the “art” of living was at its height. (It would be interesting to hear from other octogenarians their personal experiences depicting moments of life that fit what could be called a dynamic of life-enhancing “greatness”.) The physical beauty of this island (expanded by rental car and hiking) added greatly to the drama. It is easy to identify with Zuckerberg’s motives for embracing this environment.
    But his intended use of the land is apparently in conflict with how others FEEL the land should be revered. Feelings are hard to quantify. We know that they can be appropriate or inappropriate depending on different contexts and goals. Contexts need to be clarified in order to then measure the nature of any feeling’s “appropriateness” or not. Ultimately it seems reasonable that we should want feelings to support (not obstruct) “what works best” in causing the better future. “Spiritual, or religious feelings, (because they are based in faith, and are generally to be protected and not tested) are particularly difficult to adjust relative to mechanistically measurable, pragmatic goals. Daedal2207 accurately writes that:
    “DS asks for objectification relative to what’s best for mankind as the source for solutions.” He then writes, “Some of us say “unknowable”. I suspect that Mark Zuckerberg would agree.”
    My effort is to objectify our measurements AS BEST WE CAN in order to MAXIMIZE the probabilities that what we do ACTUALLY plays out for the better. I agree that when conflicting feelings about any issue are rooted in diverse faiths (often spiritual but not always) the best solutions tend to be messy and often “unknowable”. Thus for the sake of navigating our lives with truthful charts I recommend that the methods of science be given priority and the excess certitudes of faith subdued.

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