Throwback Thursday (The New “Middle Class”)

I questioned who was benefiting from this shallow society we now live in. Pondered what the cushion between the haves and have-nots was, now that the middle class has all but disappeared. As I was debating this topic with another person the answer suddenly presented itself.

The new cushion between the rich and rest of us is the entourage and handlers who make their living suckling at the teat of wealthy individuals. Take for example one of the major players, Jonathan, of Village Green Properties. He is a millionaire (he has an F150 Ferrari hanging from his ceiling…just because) who continually makes poor design decisions and wastes money on ill-advised projects. He has an entire executive staff who will stomp down upon one another to get in his favor or impress him so they can climb ever closer to him on his corporate ladder. They refuse to say no to him out of fear he will cast them aside. They do not share the valid concerns of lower employees about issues that arise at his properties. They will ignore cost-effective/ethical solutions brought to their attention by anyone lower on the totem pole than they are. They would rather chew people up and spit them out in a pattern of failure than address the idea that the process Jonathan has put in place, or their own terrible ideas aren’t successful. Anyone who appears to be willing to offer Jonathan a different opinion/option is seen as a threat and kept at bay or let go. The hard workers who would ensure continued revenue at rental properties are continually sacrificed to balance mismanaged budgets and take the fall for mistakes of the entourage.  I have seen it happen at several companies I work for as well.

This isn’t only applicable in the business world. Society in general treats wealthy people as if they deserve more respect and less accountability than non-wealthy people. It usually has nothing to do with a winning personality either. It is the hope that by being nice to, and doing favors for, rich people, they will bestow some of their wealth and protection to the people surrounding them. It is the collection of people hoping to get close enough to the money tree to break themselves off a branch or two that form a protective bubble of delusion around those rooted in prosperity. They are the ones who keep the rich safe from the outrage of the poor.

As the pool of super wealthy consolidates to a smaller and smaller number, will the entourages of each rich person left also dwindle? At what point will people stop chasing the almighty dollar and open their eyes to the dysfunction of planetary management. Money has an arbitrary value which means we ultimately control what it is worth. The fact that so many people sacrifice ethics, integrity, time and even lives for a made-up commodity is pretty ridiculous if you stop and think about it. Greed has already been the downfall of many people and civilizations, yet it appears that too many people have not learned the lessons of our past. If we don’t stand up to greed and put an end to its reign it will also be the downfall of our entire population.

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Throwback Thursday (Disconnected)

*Wrote this back in November of 2013, more apt than ever…

Have you ever met a person whose reality just didn’t click with the majority of others? They are in their own little world and completely unable or unwilling to notice that what they are saying makes no sense to anyone else. I have discussed before how perception is reality and I am starting to wonder if the trend towards individual realities is contributing to the societal disconnect that has spread like a poison throughout much of the world.

Husband has a friend who, more and more, I am starting to dread having to interact with. He has no regard for the rules of my house. When he visits he constantly drinks all our beverages (bottles of alcohol/entire boxes of K-cup coffee), eats all our food, hogs the computer, leaves the toilet seat up after getting piss all over the floor and has even lit cigarettes inside knowing full well this is a smoke free household. I woke up at 6 am because I heard someone in the kitchen and it ended up being him helping himself to several peanut butter sandwiches in the dark. He dominates the conversations but never makes any sense and isn’t willing to listen to any input from others. When I hear he is coming my first instinct is to hide my coffee and make plans to be out of the house for the duration of his visit. If you ask him he will tell you there is nothing wrong with him and it is the rest of the world that is wrong.

He is just one of the people husband or I know that are really disconnected from general society. There is another guy who spends all his time holed up in his apartment watching questionable documentaries and playing Xbox…his ability to socialize with others without conflict has dramatically decreased over the years. One lady I know drifts through life naively refusing to see the world for what it is and won’t listen to anyone unless they are devoutly religious or famous in some way. There is no way to have an educated discussion with her without getting so frustrated that you just have to walk away. They both are absolutely positive they are perfectly fine and it is everyone else that has a problem.

Even within my family people raised by the same people took completely different views on the same lessons. Some of us practice responsible lifestyles where we don’t spend outside of our means, exercise regularly and eat a relatively healthy diet. We are always willing to help out others and are always there for our family members in need. Others went the opposite direction. They think there is nothing wrong with maxing their credit cards and then begging the rest of us for money. They bitch about how they feel like shit but have no interest in exercise or eating healthy and we should just be sympathetic to their complaining. They are always busy if we need something but we need to drop everything if they need help.

Their reality is so different from ours and it causes a disconnect between us. The further the divide, the shakier the bridges between us becomes. I foresee a time in the future where I won’t be willing to meet them halfway on a dangerously fragile bridge and it will be set on fire in a sweet release that leaves me with less stress but possibly more guilt. I wonder if this is the same feeling many other people have when they encounter someone whose reality is so far away from theirs. I wonder if the same questions run through their heads. Is it worth building a bridge to cross the divide? Do you have the time and patience you need to build and maintain a connection? Is the other side going to put any effort into it too?

As less and less people are willing to put forth the effort to make those connections the realities pull even further apart. It is a ripple effect that is turning into a wave of disconnect.

Throwback Thursday (Not a Post For The Bleeding Hearts)

Base needs, primal fears and the society we have created that caters to one and denies the other. That is the topic of thought that has been swirling around in my head for the past couple of days. I have been pondering about the correlation between the way we live our modern lives and the increase in mental/emotional issues/drug addictions as it relates to the laws of nature. We often use the phrases “survival of the fittest” and “the will to live” when we discuss the tenacity of humans against adversities. If we are bound by a will to live yet also bound by the premise that only the strongest will survive than what happens if a species takes away the constant threat of disease and famine, reduces the threat of war and increases the average lifespan by more than double? There must be a balance and currently we have tipped the scales with overpopulation which has allowed an accelerated destruction of multiple other species and the very environments we actually depend on for life. At a certain point disease, famine & war will once again knock the quantity of man back down to a more manageable level but in the meantime I think nature has devised some new standards on which to judge our ability to survive this new world we have created. I hypothesize that thanks to a combination of lowered social expectations and an increase in technology nature has found a way to correct for our new inclinations to breed genetic weakness into our population. Where once you literally had to be strong to survive in a world full of disease, hard labor and little resources to go around we now have to be mentally strong to survive in a world full of temptation, lies and constant tests of character. If you manage to be born into a family that actually has the financial resources to provide you with clothing, food and shelter are you lucky enough to also be provided love, support and encouragement? Are you taught right from wrong as defined by the general public and not by your specific neighborhood or gang, or are you left to fend for yourself in a dysfunctional environment? Was your educational development nurtured and were you given the attention needed to fully utilize your own natural skills? Did anyone bother to say no to you so you would learn that you can’t always get what you want? Was any emphasis placed on making healthy choices for your body? Were you taught social skills so that you could make friends? Was the concept of balance reiterated over and over again until you understood that nothing is permanent and it can’t rain all the time? In these nice ideal circumstances you would probably have the strength to easily shrug off petty insults by others who were obviously insecure, to say no when weaker friends offered you life-destroying drugs and to stand firm against others who would try to manipulate and connive against you. However, if you were denied love as a child, abused, ignored and/or raised to be guarded and selfish than it would take much more strength to rise above the new trials that life throws at us. More so now than ever before we have people addicted to drugs/alcohol, taking prescription drugs, stuffing their bodies with unhealthy processed crap, squandering their talent while they suffer in silence, continuing the cycle of selfishness/violence/abuse they were born into, taking their own life or taking their rage out on innocent people in horrific killing sprees. I feel that the proclivity towards succumbing to the new pressures of life is just an indication that the will to live isn’t strong enough in some people to ensure their survival. I can’t count how many times a little voice in my head has said that this is all so hard and what is the point of going on…that this world isn’t worth living in and nothing will ever change. I can’t count how many times I have been overwhelmed with sadness and hopelessness, with pain and loss and violent frustration. The thing is though, even in my darkest moments, I have never even come close to giving in. No matter how loud that negative voice has been, my will to survive has been louder. I questioned before if the new way to survive this world was to give in to the current philosophy that standards aren’t important and hard work is to be punished, but now I think that perhaps that line of thinking is just an indicator of the weak. Our world is the one we have made it. By changing the standards by which nature grants us survival we have created a world of weak people trying desperately to find a way to drown out the will to live. If we want to change the world we need to start by fostering mental strength into the next generation. If their base needs are met they won’t be tempted by drugs, won’t suffer depression/anxiety and won’t want to lash out at others. They will have the will to live which includes the motivation to lead healthy lives and create positive innovations that benefit society instead of being slaves to fear and greed. It can be done, but are there enough strong people left to make it happen? What do you think?

One More Time For the Cheap Seats in the Back

Remember when I talked about another hashtag…well we can add several more to the mix after the most recent display by America that nothing has changed.

One of these incidents happened only a couple of miles away from me. I was not at all surprised when I heard and that should be a bad thing. I shouldn’t be so desensitized to innocent people being shot and killed, in front of their family, for no valid reason. Except I am. I don’t think I am alone in that either. The sad truth of the matter is that far too many people have decided that nothing they do makes a bit of difference and that dangerous notion has had a rippling affect on the rest of us. Why care?

What is it going to take to get people to wake up? How far do we need to slide before we realize we don’t have to live like this? We can do better, we can be better, but it takes all of us. Every single person caring enough to love themselves so they can refuse to give into fear and hate and insecurity. We’re all in this together, we’ll never get out of this alive. We don’t need to waste our time butchering one another and tearing people down because that will never build up anything of worth.

Humanity is capable of so much good, so much potential for greatness and yet we hold ourselves back from it and allow the least of us to steer the course we take. We hide behind flimsy justifications and take comfort in apathy. We “like” a post or re-tweet a bold statement about change and feel like we’ve done our part. Yet we make no change to the day to day life we live and that is where the change needs to start. Change always starts out slow and builds. One person deciding they are going to be decent and then another person and another until being decent to other people becomes the normal way to interact with friends and strangers alike.

Don’t wait for another hashtag, don’t wait for your neighbors, friends and family to put in the effort before you do. Make the choice that you’re going to be the example and start living the changes you want to see in the world. No one is going to come fix this. We have to do it ourselves.

 

 

To Speak or Not to Speak…

Since it’s common knowledge that everyone has a different view on life based upon their unique experiences you’d think we’d have learned to less critical of others. Unfortunately this has not been the case throughout our history. The more diversity that exists the more you see a push back against it. Thus one must carefully consider what topics are acceptable to talk about when one engages in social activities.

If you’re an open-minded person who doesn’t spend a lot of time judging others and you’re also a person who’s been desensitized to most things that would shock a more sheltered individual you might find yourself openly discussing topics that you think are no big deal but the other party is standing there wondering “why the fuck is this person telling me this?” and planning their escape as quickly as possible. Of course even if you stick to neutral topics what are you supposed to do if someone point blank asks you a personal question? On one hand, no one likes a drama dumper, but if you have legitimately lived a life where lots of crazy shit has happened how do you respond without either lying or coming off as a hot mess to be avoided?

Once you are alone again you are left to ponder the situation and wonder if you should let the opinions of others influence the way you interact and take steps to edit your responses, or if you should give zero fucks and continue to be open about the life you’ve lived and decide that if they don’t like that they probably aren’t worth knowing. Maybe it’s a little bit of column A and a little bit of column B. I’m not sure there is a set standard for what is and isn’t acceptable regarding amount of and content that you should share. I would love to see a discussion about that actually. Make some charts and graphs that outline the point at which a topic is no longer socially tolerated.

What do you think? What topics are off limits? What dramatic life events should people keep their mouths shut about? Does it say more about the person sharing or the person who’s uncomfortable being the auditory recipient of the life story of someone who didn’t have the fairy tale upbringing? Is there no right/wrong answer to this and we should just admit this a tricky grey area that will forever cause problems for people?

The Less Things Change…

Yet again there has been a mass shooting, right on top of another shooting. The outpouring of support flooding the news and internet followed immediately by the outpouring of outrage and division and finger pointing. A new hashtag to add to the slew of hashtags that catalogue a pattern we say we want to change but do nothing about.

If something is important to you, you find a way, if not you find an excuse…or in this case you find a distraction.

“Gun control” some people scream, “We need gun control to stop all these senseless killings!” Let’s look at that as a solution. Gun control, as they are requesting it, does not in any way try to limit a (relatively sane) law abiding person’s ability to obtain a gun for hunting or home defense. It simply means that people who have a criminal history or a penchant to say, open fire on innocent people, wouldn’t be able to easily get a firearm. Now, those people are going to find a gun anyway, there’s a black market for everything and if someone wants something bad enough they will find a way to get it. Gun control in that aspect would probably fail more than it would succeed, although I wouldn’t mind tighter restrictions. The other form of gun control would be to ban assault rifle sales, which I have to say, makes sense. Who needs an assault rifle for anything? You aren’t going to shoot bambi with one and it’s a bit of an overkill for home defense. Realistically they are only good for killing a large amount of people so…why would an average American need one? That being said, I will repeat my earlier sentiment. If someone wants an assault rifle they are going to find a way to get one, there’s a black market for everything and just because you can’t buy one in a store it won’t stop destructive people from obtaining one. Gun control, well it’s great in theory but probably won’t stop these mass killings. We need a world-wide mental shift in how we view others.

“Tolerance” some people scream, “We need to accept people’s lifestyles and stop hating people different from us!” Yep, we sure do. Except guess what that also includes…all the other beliefs including religious ones. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t tell people to accept the LGBT community but at the same time condemn all the Muslims (or any other religion) or right wing political supporters. Either everyone needs to accept everyone else who is different from them or we all just have to admit we’re prejudice assholes and there is never going to be this happy utopia where we’re all free to do who and what we please. The key to this is that part about hating other people different from us. We are probably never going to agree (as a species) about darn near anything because there are just too many people with too many beliefs and experiences that make up their opinions on the world. That being said, there is no reason you have to hate people who have different beliefs or lifestyles than you do. You can disagree with them, in fact disagreements can be beneficial, but why can’t it stop there? Disagree but leave it at that. Why is it so important to certain people that everyone is the same as them? I’m guessing it’s an insecurity thing. You aren’t really secure in your beliefs so you feel the need to make sure everyone around you feels the same so you can validate your own agenda. Might that be an indicator that your thoughts aren’t on the plane of truth? Probably. Things that are true don’t need justification or validation…they ooze security. If you feel hate towards someone it’s probably fear and that fear is probably from insecurity and you might want to take a long hard look inwards to find out why you don’t believe the things you’re telling yourself. When you come from a place of truth and love you won’t need to argue about tolerance because it will happen naturally.

“We need to eradicate the Muslims and ISIS” some people scream, “We need to kick them out of our country and blow them all up, they just want us dead so we need to kill them first!” I am not even going to consider that as a solution. I will never hold an entire population to blame for the actions of a few. That being said, there are far too many people that are more than happy to let fear rule their opinions. They don’t understand that you can’t fight hate with hate. That’s like trying to put out a fire by pouring more fire on it. Think about the whole concept of bullying. People who exude confidence, strength and kindness are not likely to be bullied or attacked. The U.S. used to be viewed as strong but we have far too long been a nation divided and that makes us an easy target. We became complacent and then condescending to our own people and the rest of the world. Why act surprised that we’ve lost the respect of other countries and our own citizens. Instead of raising a fist in hate towards others why don’t we work on ourselves. Why don’t we stop focusing on everything and everyone else and admit we’ve fucked up, we’ve let ourselves go, we’ve got a lot of work we need to do in order to get back to a place of strength, confidence and kindness.

We can enact gun control and there will still be deaths. We can preach tolerance and there will still be hate crimes. We can pull a Nazi style mass execution and there will still be people from other countries that want to see Americans suffer. We need to get at the root of the problem if we want to see things change. Until we are willing to do some deep introspective self-analysis and then take the hard steps needed to change the way we look at humanity as a species we will continue to fight one another and self-destruct. If this is important to you…you’ll find a way, if not you’ll find another hashtag just around the corner.

 

 

Throwback Thursday (Misalignment of Want vs Action)

It appears that a common topic has been hitting several of the blogs lately, it is a topic that I have long pondered. When it comes to what you want, and what you actually do, how often are they aligned with one another?

This last weekend was yet another example of my actions being completely out of line with what I wanted to be doing. Social expectations, personal relationships and my own guiding principles often play heavily in determining my actions. What I feel like doing, or would want to be doing if I lived in a consequence free world, are more often than not at the bottom of my decision-making process. I am not sure if that is common (anymore?) amongst the general population as I am constantly seeing people act with little consideration for how their actions will negatively impact their life or the lives of others.

While it can be frustrating at times to refuse myself the impulsive desires that naturally occur, to keep my mouth shut when I want to scream obscenities at a deserving recipient and maintain a strict adherence to personal standards, I do so because I have seen firsthand how dangerous it can be not to. While family and friends can come and go, I have to live with myself forever. I would rather not have to live under the long-term consequences of poor choices made to fulfill a fleeting want. Our past actions, more than the honeyed words we speak, determine how much faith others have in us. If others do not trust you, life can be a very lonely place, if you don’t trust yourself it’s even lonelier.

That being said, why is there a trend towards doing whatever the hell you want? What motivates others to discard developing stable relationships, provide quality services and focus solely on whatever pleasure or profit can be gained today, with no thought of how it could destroy things tomorrow? Is it another symptom of our self-destructive nature? How do you justify it? Is it really as dangerous a lifestyle as I perceive it to be? I am not asking these questions in a judgemental way, I am genuinely curious to know why people do what they do.