Consumerism, Society

Labor: Take off Your Hard Work Badge, We’re All Wearing It.

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The sad truth is that no one cares about your job. No one cares about how many hours you work, your personal achievements at work, or how loved you are by management. Everyone works and everyone has some measure of stress from their job. Mindless minimum wage work has the hardship of low pay and often little room for gainful promotion. High-paying professional consulting has the benefit of good pay but the punishment of unending hours, mental strains, and a backstabbing culture to move up. Not all jobs are terribly stressful or difficult but stress is a given, it cannot be escaped. Your task isn’t to take pride in your duress but to find a way to enjoy your life on your own terms.

The “I’m a hard worker!” badge is the fool’s uniform. Your employer wants nothing more than for you to center your personal identity on your work output. Motivational speakers and psychology consultants develop incentives, programs, and rhetoric all specifically designed to help you forget that you’re just one of many millions of workers performing largely unfavorable jobs for money just so you can survive. Notice how over the past few years name tags at retailers have transformed from employee, to sales, to customer service, to customer service representative, to associate, to partner. This is why it is imperative that you do not identify with your employer but with yourself. If you start to attribute your personal image to “insert job title here” you will lose yourself completely overtime. Those paychecks will mutate from providing you a way to live into oil running a machine.

Now, should you be truly in love and passionate about your profession that is a whole other scenario and we do not seek to detract from the meaningfulness of anyone’s work.  This piece is written specifically for the battered workers that are treated like excrement every day and expected to swallow their pride because they aren’t good enough for it. Let your fellow man vent, do not fall into the trap of scolding others for their disappointments and frustrations. To attempt to relieve someone of their true feelings is an arrogant and disgraceful practice. Offering a different perspective may help them but to demand that they pep up when they are tired, overworked, or ill from their labor is to act as if they have not labored at all.

This is not to say there are not hopelessly negative people out there that manage to destroy every positive potentiality that comes their way. Identifying these types is easy because they shoot down every opportunity and have too long invested in a victim mentality to ever part with the hubris propping up such poisonous thinking. In effect, for them to take an opportunity would mean to undermine their character image. Avoid them.

Anger and frustration are not bad sentiments if you have the ability to channel them into something useful. Indeed, how else will you liberate yourself constantly diluting your real feelings into cheap feel good phrases and self-deceit? Denying yourself your true feelings about your life will only lead to resentment, confusion, and neurosis. Let your anger be a motivational force and you may manage to do something about your grievances, let it become who you are and you’ll never overcome anything.

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Isolation, Society

Social Media: 1,000 Ways to Say Nothing.

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The rapid growth of social media platforms and their popularization have done great things in the way of connecting us but perhaps little in the way of making us better thinkers. The massive followings garnered by celebrities with nothing profound or moving to say is not difficult to see. The modern deification of technology means that most if not all technological advances are seen as good while refusal to accept them or integrate them into one’s life is seen as stubborn, backward, or primitive. While it is foolish to forgo the efficiency of communication now allowed us, is it not also foolish to use them with the belief that their usage is a sign of individual progress? As if attaching one’s identity to the progress of technology makes one progressive as well.

Much of the social media world is redundant with most differences between platforms happening at the interface and target audience levels. All this aside, if no one has much of anything to say but still speaks what will the communication landscape look like? Does having access to the internet mean that we will access the largest storehouse of human understanding or masturbate to porn? This is the irony of promoting new social media technology under the auspices that it connects us like never before. To say that we are more connected than ever before carries with it the tacit implication, or rather implied truth, that being connected through social media is good and that those connections are equivalent to the ones made in real life. If they are the same then there is no dilemma here, but if they aren’t why are they different and do these differences undermine our original notions of being connected with a layer of superficiality?

The physical realm is not only disappearing in resource exploitation but in human interactivity as well. Without questioning the nature of friendship too greatly could we not find that maybe most of the people we interact with over our media platforms are not necessarily a part of our living life? By living life we mean to say the physical reality we live in, sure their comments may affect us and their presence can be said to be felt through images and videos but these are still virtual manifestations. We have moved from keeping up with the friends we know to befriending people we don’t.

There are no right or wrong answers here, but some time soon sit down alone and run through your social media profiles. Ask yourself why you are friends with someone and then think about what a friend is.

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Politics, Society

Politics: No Party is Your Party.

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As elections come and go and incessant debating floods the airwaves about the latest policy or bill proposal the disturbing truth remains that your political identification is irrelevant.

Voting has always given people the option to choose an elected representative from an already chosen pool of representatives that are integrated into the political and financial elite. This means that at the outset these candidates are in contrast to the voting public. Congress is overwhelmingly comprised of wealthy well educated lawyers and fraught with political legacies. While these things aren’t nefarious in and of themselves they do elucidate the strange demographic makeup of our elected officials, they typically are not like us.

However, the “us” elects them and they continue to come from strata unbecoming of the common man. It is no wonder we are not administered policies that appear to have great effect on us, the lobbying and special interests are unequivocally moneyed. It is not for the common man to hold office, it is a near impossibility to come into the national political arena without the backing of affluent companies or institutions with a history of supporting one party over another.

It is for this reason that the bellyaching about left or right is not valid, they serve the same interests in the end. People have come and still come to blows over political party affiliations. Yet, this affiliation is usually rooted in nothing more than a simple assertion that one is this or one is that, there is no greater political acuity in most voters; which is why they still vote.

Voting for a lesser of two evils as an act of civic duty and participation belies the corrupt infrastructure that keeps people from voting between the greater of two goods.

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Isolation, Society

Society: What’s your pill?

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What’s your pill? Is it a form of indulgent entertainment, drugs, sex, or some other potential vice? These things may not be bad in moderation, or even at all. However if you go to something daily to keep you from facing the rest of the day or to delay the coming of tomorrow you may be holding a pill. Not a plastic little pill, but a social tranquilizer. A good or service used to dope you down to an amicable fool. Something you feel you need every day just to deal with the day. You may tell yourself you enjoy it or that it is your right to continue to do it because it bothers no one else but those are the easiest and emptiest arguments one can field to rationalize behavior. We do not address the why’s of our situations only the how’s. How do I feel better? How do I look pretty? How do I feel wanted?

Luckily there are many options available to give you relief from these difficulties but none them are rooted in yourself. None of them ask you for an honest evaluation. Maybe depression isn’t always a brain problem, maybe its the result of a trying and draining job, an abusive relationship, or a sense of purposelessness.

We cannot be so daft as to believe that all is well as long as we take this pill or that. The supreme joy of working cannot be this citizens ailment, it must be in his brain if his body is sound, write him a prescription for opiates. This one isn’t dying from exposure to toxic substances, their body is fragile and given to cancer and exotic diseases so let us cure them with more chemicals.

The difference between a pill and a passion is remembrance. People do not forget what they are passionate about, they almost always forget what they find trivial. Stop and think some time this week about what you’ve done with your free time. What do you remember?

It is not what we say we feel, it is what we do that best illustrates our feelings. Then again, maybe we just forget about all the things we enjoy.

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Consumerism, Society

Consumerism: Is this it?

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The parades, light festivals, commercials, shows, and sales are all components of the greater consumer complex, showing us that nothing is so sacred as to be divorced of commercialization or free from advertising. It is so often overlooked because it is so prolific. Commercials enter the realm of the absurd and no longer inform us of the uses of a product but instead deliver a music video, comic sketch, or non sequitur to get us to remember the brand with no substantive understanding of what is being sold.

This is all that is hoped for, it is enough to plant the seed in the viewers mind. School buses carry logos and advertisements on their sides as children go to school. Applications across the internet spread various images and sound bites to keep us passively aware of needed products. As we drive to work billboards bombard us on every side. It appears there are few refuges to shield us from the latest consumer craze.

We do not know what is in our food, we do not know how our most cherished gadgets operate, we do not know who whispers in our elected officials’ ears, we do not know what is in the drugs our doctor prescribes us, we do not know where our clothes are from, we do not know how many have to die and suffer to prop up our way of life. We are not sure, if given the chance, if we could part with it. Is possible that we do not deserve it and gained our position from dumb luck? Objective circumstances pertaining to resources and industrial advancement? Maybe.

All of this points to the power of the industrial system, our modern society. We are no longer active participants in many of the functions of our daily life. In many cases we are utterly dependent on the flow and continuation of this system just to survive. Despite all the love for freedom and the promotion of the hard work ethic there still exists a life of confusion and hardship even for those in fortunate countries because for now… this is it.

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Society

Oppression: Remove the fetters.

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The great majority of us are beset by fallible values and beliefs. Beliefs that were given to us, forced into us by those seeking to reign over us through our tacit allegiance with their deceit. We are not born ideologically indebted to the country we are from, the predominant religion, nor the customs therein. Constraints imposed by others are only effective if we choose to wear them. Coercion is required when what is offered does not serve the ones taking the offing.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt.

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