Dividing society

… Not a good idea, I think. This one’s going to be a rather hard to digest piece so if you’re not up to it, just read the post scriptum – it’s really all you need.

               Hard work means effort and sweat – even the mental kind. It is a measure of intensity, not time. I could work 8 hours a day chopping wood – that’s hard work. I could be filling forms for 12 hours a day – that’s too much work. Unreasonable amount of work. However, I want hard work but I don’t want to work longer hours. Is that even a thing? Because we’re being pushed aside from hard work by inventing tools to make it easier – but we’re spending more and more time working. It’s something our society does and it’s not making any sense, at all. We invent computers, we invent machinery, we invent smartphones – hell, there’s more computing power in my wife’s 50 euro no-name smartphone than I had in the first computer I ever owned (a 486 with 16 megabytes of RAM). We make work easier, faster – but we don’t use that time we saved for anything else but work.

               We communicate using phones, video-conference, social media, but we don’t do that in person. We talk to people but we don’t meet. We see each other but we don’t touch. We’re becoming physical hermits on our own free time. It’s not that we can’t interact, because we can – but we don’t want to. And we’re being told it’s the correct way of living. Bullshit. It’s not.

               We choose less time for ourselves and more time dedicated to our job because we don’t know what to do with it. It’s not something they teach in school. The social skills we learned from playing with our friends are eroding. We’re home-schooling kids because school education is not that good – correct reason, incorrect decision. We’re teaching our kids from the same sources they use at school – only we say we’re doing it to give our kids an advantage while the teachers are doing it for the paycheck. The correct decision would be to improve school education without taking away what shreds of social interactions still exist. Get better teachers or make them better. But no, that’s not what we’re doing. That’s also not all we’re doing – we’re teaching them to avoid people. We’re teaching them we don’t trust other people and that we don’t want to trust them. And our kids grow up to become worse than us. We’re not working to survive, we’re working because that’s the only way to avoid unscripted social interactions. At work you know what to expect from your co-workers – it’s in the job description. When you step outside the office or outside your home – you can’t be sure of anything, there’s no script, no certainty, no HR department or job title to protect us and nobody to hold our hands and assure us we’re needed – there’s only us and them, we don’t know who we are and we don’t know who they are. We’re also afraid to find out. It’s fear. That’s what we really teach our kids – doubt and fear.

               We didn’t have smartphones or computers to play with growing up. Hell, my folks didn’t own a telly until I was like 6 or 7. We used to play with sticks, with mud, with stones, whatever we could find. I have a scar on one finger because I tried chopping wood when I was about 10 – point being I was allowed to. They trusted me. I did stupid things, many of them, yes. But I chose to do them and I got punished for doing them. I learned that doing stupid things means me getting punished. I learned cause and effect. So did you, probably. Look around, now. We’re not doing that anymore, are we? We’re keeping our kids safe. Correct reasons – but very bad choice. We’re here, now, alive and breathing. When our kids look at us – they see only that. They can’t see our past, our mistakes – they aren’t us. All they see is their parent not trusting them to decide for themselves. We’re not trusting them, we’re not giving them the same choices we’ve been given. We ended up here, now, more or less in one piece and sort-of functional, but we won’t give them the choices that worked for us. Safe isn’t shelter – is support. We’re not supposed to hide them from danger, we’re supposed to help them make their own mistakes without suffering the consequences of those mistakes for the rest of their lives. We’re not teaching them to swim, we’re keeping them in the kiddie pool in knee-high water. The big problem is not the safety – it’s the message. All they see is their parents telling them over and over: “We don’t trust you to make good decisions, we don’t think you’re good enough to think for yourself”. That’s not safe, it’s stupid.

               The world used to be made of winners and losers. Now it’s made of socially accepted and rejected. Of us and those unlike us. Either you fit in or you’re rejected. You can do whatever you want if you have a good reason for it. It’s ok to protest taxes by setting fire to some cars or shops belonging to innocent people. It’s ok to protest police brutality by shooting cops. It’s ok to crash airplanes because you’re depressed. It’s ok to protest stupid drawings by killing the people who drew them. It’s ok to kill or hurt because your religion demands it. To hell with the consequences. Bullshit. We’re making the world harder to live in. We’re looking for somebody to blame. We’re giving up our freedom in the name of safety because we’re afraid of making bad decisions. We’re afraid of the consequences. We’re idiots.

               You can’t ban smoking and believe it’s making tobacco less desirable. You can’t outlaw stupidity and think it’s gone. You can’t stop violence by shooting innocent bystanders. Making war in the name of peace is like having sex to promote abstinence. You can do it but it doesn’t mean it’s going to work. We’re judging validity of reasons instead of the consequences of actions. We’re giving somebody who downloaded or sold a pirated game or music cd the same prison time as a killer diagnosed with depression. No, apparently it’s a thing to give them 15 years in jail, the same amount you’d give a killer or a child abuser. What is fair then? Three years in jail? Up to five years in jail and juicy fines even if it was for personal use and even if you’re a first time offender?

               It’s quite easy to divide society into law-abiding citizens and criminals. Extremely easy, even. But who gets to make the rules? Are the rules fair? Nobody cares – you’re either with us or against us. We’ve drawn a line in the sand and now we’re saying we’re safe on this side and on the other side it’s pandemonium. Bullshit. We’re not safe, we’re believing we’re safe. What happens if the killers running around in Syria or Iraq calling themselves Islamic State decide to blow up refineries? What happens if they’re flooding our countries with refugees – and hiding a few terrorists in that group? Do we stop helping refugees instead of detecting the terrorists? Do we bomb them into the stone age? Nah, we just do what we did to Putin – we’re going to punish them by fines and trade sanctions. We’ll make them illegal, that’ll teach them a lesson.

               You can’t stop people from wanting more. Anything you prohibit will make weak-willed individuals crave as a gesture of defiance. Lack of education and the need to fill the missing pieces of their identity will make them ignore whatever you tell them. You’re not making new drug addicts from happy individuals, but from those that aren’t happy. How much money they have won’t matter. People have no idea what happiness is or how to get it. They’re being told they can replace it with things, with food, with clothes, with perfumes – just like drugs. Happiness doesn’t come from external sources, is internal. Alcoholics, drug addicts, smokers – they all use what they use because it’s easy. They won’t look at a washed-up dirty addict with two teeth and a face full of scars and say “Jeez, I want to be just like that” – they will look at people who appear to be successful and copy their behavior. Drinking, smoking, drug usage – those are all social activities at first. They do it to belong, to feel included. They see a nice looking, clean, wealthy Wall Street analyst doing drugs and say – it can’t be all that bad. If he can do it and still have what he has – I can too. I can’t get addicted because I’m special, bad things don’t happen to me. Everybody told me how special I am. How lucky I am. People get addicted for a reason – they’re poor, they’re unstable, they’re rejects and pariah and I’m not. I won’t get addicted to whatever. The bigger problem here is this – society punishes the rejects with jail time while wealthy individuals get a few weeks of rehab – and it’s the wealthy ones who keep the system running. The system goes on, unchanged. It won’t change if we reject those who passed the point of no return instead of those keeping the system running. It won’t change if we don’t change it.

Post scriptum:

               People aren’t losers by accident. People aren’t losers at all, they just think they are. They don’t know any other way, they’ve been taught to do just that. We’re trying to stop abortions but nobody cares about the kids after they’re born. We just hand them over to schools, to the government and say “here, you educate them, it’s your job and I’m paying the taxes”. It’s not really a good idea, not for us and not for the kids. Hell, it’s a stupid idea, but what do I know? What would happen if instead we were to teach kids what’s really important and how to get what they want? We’d stop selling the amounts of crap we’re selling now, that’s for sure. Nobody’d want to work in finance, in sales or in the media, except those who feel a connection there or those who think it’s just a job. We wouldn’t stop a single mother from working two shifts to make enough money for a bigger house – we’d be paying her kid’s day care fees. We’d pay her more. We wouldn’t make fun of strippers or prostitutes working to pay for college or whatever. We’d be helping them. We wouldn’t make things illegal – we’d prevent people from wanting them, by personal example and good education. Common sense folks, that’s the spirit. Working hard is what we should want, instead of wanting to work more. Is that so much to ask?

               Being happy is hard work, misery is easy to get. All you have to do is look around and do what those around you are doing. Just give up. To hell with that!

                If you want to get ahead in your chose profession, just adapt the following and tell your employer: “I want more money but not for free. Give me something harder to do. I’m smart, I know my job and I’m willing to get out of my comfort zone to learn even more. I’m willing to work hard, I’m strong enough to learn from my mistakes and to accept the consequences of those mistakes – so if you’re willing to invest in me, I’ll work my ass off to make you more money. I’m the best investment you can make right now – and I’m willing to stake my job and my career on that.” Then do exactly that.

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