Sometimes a song says so much about the singer’s view of her personal life. I can bet you that the current reconciliation between her and Chris Brown is neither her first nor her last.
The idea I am about to propose is not fundamentally a new one and many people including myself have previously written about the issues involved, but mostly in a peripheral manner. However few writers, if any, have dared to point the central issue- largely because it is so unpleasant to admit.
Have you ever considered the possibility that post-WW2 “civilized” western societies are actually sociopathic systems masquerading as just and benevolent entities?
Note that I said ‘sociopathic’ not ‘cruel’, ‘barbaric’, ‘unjust’ or ‘unequal’. The reasons behind my choice of that particular word will be clearer as you read this post.
Human history shows us that societies, civilizations and “nations” which are deeply fucked up, sadistic, barbaric, repressive and otherwise overtly repulsive are rather common. They however differed from contemporary post-WW2 western societies in one fundamental way.
They did not pretend to be just, fair, nice, decent or caring!
One could argue that west-European societies, especially anglo-saxon ones, did exhibit the beginnings of sociopathy as early as the mid-1800s. However even at the height of their pre-WW2 hypocrisy it was common knowledge to even the most illiterate villager in any given colony that west-Europeans were greedy human scum.
But WW1 and then WW2 changed things.. A combination of technological developments and the aftereffects of these wars made it clear to everyone with more than half a brain that the old ways were unworkable. It is no coincidence that the modern model of a supposedly caring and benevolent state which provided for its “own people” came into being after WW2 and under the threat of communism. But old ways of perceiving the world die hard. The supposedly caring, just and benevolent society was a mask for the ugly human mind underneath it. A lot of the hostility, savagery and repressiveness got sublimated into general society giving us the dystopia we live in today.
Though modern western societies frequently proclaim that they are good, just, fair and decent institutions- it is now becoming obvious to many that they are not what they fervently claim to be. And that is my point- They have become systems that try to rule via polished deception, scams, fraud and propaganda. This hallmark of sociopathy is especially obvious When you look at how they treat individuals who trust them and work for them.
Consider the following..
1. “Law and Order” is supposed to protect the rule-abiding citizen from criminals. How does that work in practice? Most of the people currently in jail or probation are small time crooks or unfortunate people. How often do you see supremely corrupt people caught, let alone prosecuted or jailed?
But isn’t it supposed to protect you from thugs who want to steal your stuff or harm you? Isn’t that all of main-stream media keeps on telling you? Isn’t that what society keeps on telling you even when it is clearly not the case. Contrast this to old monarchies or dictatorships which seldom tried to hide the real reason behind ‘law and order’ which has always been repression and assisting the rent seekers.
2. Consider banks and other financial institutions. Modern western societies portray them to as fair, “legal” and objective handlers of money. But is that true? Aren’t they just officially sanctioned oligopolies who lend money they don’t have to collect money obtained through real work? And what is with nickel and dimming their customers and trying to screw them over with ‘gotcha’ clauses. Then there is the issue of differential conditions for lending whereby a well-connected conman can get and default on millions or billions while they chase some guys who took a student loan for a four year degree from some state university.
But western societies portrays their banks as well-meaning, decent and law abiding- even when the converse is true. Society will cover all loses incurred by banks who conned everybody else while treating the average citizens as indentured laborers who were trying to con the banks.
3. Have a look at the medical systems, private or public, in western countries. Why are they so inefficient and expensive? Why doesn’t increasing expenditure improve outcomes and patient sanctification? Some of you might think of doctors as poor souls doing a thankless job for moderate wages. But is that true? Isn’t the medical profession really about making ever-increasing amounts of money from sick and dying people regardless of the outcomes? You might have noticed that western doctors don’t like less expensive competition. Is it about protecting the patient or their income stream? Are they really so good and the others really so bad?
But everywhere you look physicians are glorified by society as selfless heroes who will move heaven and earth to help their patients. How can societies act as if plainly observable reality is false?
4. Society portrays corporations as job creators, but who really creates jobs? Doesn’t demand for a product or service by consumers who happen to have money create jobs? But contemporary western society seems to forget that and portrays people who spend as stupid and impulsive while glorifying those who “save” money thereby removing it from public circulation. Who will buy stuff or services if everybody saves lots of money? and where are the jobs to redistribute that money come from, especially in our era of outsourcing and automation?
While some of the more socialistic countries are more restrained in their praise and adulation of corporations, there is no mistaking the general attitude of western societies towards them, which can be summed up as- corporations are almost always right unlike the median citizen.
5. The educational system in western countries is another class of protected holy cows who can do no wrong. But does the current educational setup facilitate any learning- other than teaching students how to kiss ass and follow the herd? Now that may be the real reason behind their existence, but why are those in the system and society so unwilling to call them out on the con? How can the majority of people go on blathering about improving our schools and universities when their very existence is the real problem?
You can look at the few examples I have given above in isolation and see them as individual problems. But is that really the case? Aren’t they the small-scale outcomes of a larger phenomena- namely that modern western societies have become slick, unscrupulous and dishonest systems who constantly and loudly preach something while setting up things to generally do the opposite of what is advertised?
Isn’t the relationship of contemporary western societies with citizens functionally identical to the one between a sociopath and his/her victim.
What do you think? Comments?
These links are NSFW.
Smartphone Self-Shots: Feb 26, 2012 – iPhone is still the leader, though a very significant number look like Androids.
More Smartphone Self-Shots: Feb 26, 2012 – and the bathroom mirror is still the most common location.
One of the more popular responses to younger people complaining about the lack of decent job opportunities goes something like this-
“You should have gone into some trade or taken some vocational training.There are lots of well-paying blue-collar jobs that kids like you don’t want to do because you think they are beneath you.. yadayada.”
Another related one goes something like this-
“You should have done a major in some STEM discipline rather than some liberal pinko commie artsy subject. Look at those hard-working Asians.. yadayada “
These points, or some variation therefof are the staple responses of old farts, baby boomers and disturbingly enough some of the older gen-Xers (born before 1970). In my opinion, both types of responses are based in some combination of cognitive dissonance, lies, bullshit and wishful thinking. Here is why..
Let us look at the viability of entering vocational training, trades and similar blue-collar jobs. While some jobs in those areas still pay well, there are some serious issues with recommending them to everybody.
1a. More entrants into any of these vocations will depress wages. You must be aware that jobs related to building houses, meat-packing and even agriculture once paid OK wages. But is that still true? Could it be that an influx of Mexicans and immigrants in these occupations have depressed wages? Would more people entering these vocations not have a similar effect on wages?
1b. Technological changes can quickly render entire vocations utterly worthless. Even simple technological changes and innovations can reduce the demand for occupations or make them redundant. How often do you have to fix newer cars as compared to those built-in the 1970s? Do we still set newspaper type by playing around with hot lead and molds? How many people want to repair their computers nowadays as compared to even 10 years ago?
1c. Then there is the tricky question of how people and businesses can pay for more well-paid tradesmen when the amount of money in general circulation is shrinking. It is kinda hard to pay more people better wages when your own incomes are going down and the economy is shrinking.
1d. What about pensions, disability and money after retirement? As many of you know, tradesmen-type jobs become much harder to do after a certain age as they are physical- unlike desk jobs. Given that the income stream for most tradesmen is not constant how do you intend to provide for these people after they can no longer work in their occupations?
Now let us talk about STEM jobs..
2a. Most STEM jobs require aptitude and a significant investment in university education, typically 5 years or more. However the majority of them pay less than 70-80k/ year (typically 50-70k/ year). Today many of the people entering these fields have large student loans. Combine that with poor job security and difficulty in getting another job in the same general area. Is it still a good deal?
2b. Outsourcing, and H1B-type “insourcing”, is huge in STEM areas. What are going to do if the Harvard educated sociopaths who run your company decide to replace you with someone in (or from) China and India? Face it- they don’t care about the long-term or even the medium-term. It is all about the next four quarters and they don’t care about the quality of your replacement as long as he or she does not cause a large problem within one year (four quarters).
2c. An even worse situation occurs if they simply outsource the entire facility to China or India- as is increasingly the case. Remember they don’t care about anything that won’t hurt their gerrymandered figures for the next 4 quarters. What are you gonna do with your investment in STEM education and a huge student debt?
2d. Have you noticed that employers want exact skill fits but are unwilling to even help with basic employee training? Let us say your STEM degree was in an area in demand 5 years ago. Is that still the case? Would you be hired to do something that was similar, but not a perfect match for the advertised job? What would occur if the business focus of your employer changed?
2e. Then there is the issue of age discrimination. By the time you have put in 5 or more years in University + a few years in the area you are already in your 30s. Even if you are very competent and productive, few STEM-heavy companies now want to hire employees past their mid 40s or early 50s. What are you going to do? It is unlikely that you will have tons of money saved aside after paying off your student loans and white picket fence lifestyle- never mind kids. Can you really retrain? and more importantly- would you do that after knowing how businesses operate in neo-liberal economies?
Do you NOW see the fallacy in suggesting vocational training and careers in STEM?
What do you think? Comments?
I found this one amusing enough to post.
Let me begin this post by saying that I did try to shorten the title. However it quickly became obvious to me that doing so would remove the core concept I was trying to get across. It goes something like this..
The real reasons behind the decline of the family, social congeniality and many related problems in the west have little do with the decline of “morality” in children or liberalism. These issues are, in reality, linked to the world view of their parents and grand parents.
As I have noted in a previous post, the relationship between parents and their children in white (north-European descent) countries is adversarial. One of the most obvious and revealing manifestation of this predominately white parental adversarialism can be seen in how parents from various cultures treat their own children and what they expect from them.
The vast majority of parents in most Asian, African and South American countries for all their other faults are remarkably similar in their approach to parenting. They care about relating to their kids and try very hard to make the lives of their kids better. Whether they can achieve that is open to debate- especially in the case of east-asian parents, but their heart is in the right place. Kids mean more to them than money, deprivation or personal inconvenience. They are willing to sacrifice for their kids on their own- rather than to avoid breaking laws and bylaws. I am not implying that non-white parents are incapable of abuse or cruelty towards their kids. It is just that they are much less likely to do so even if they are not being supervised.
In contrast- most white (north-european) parents see their own kids as adversaries, inconveniences, money pits and hindrances. I have often felt that white parents see their own children as a status enhancer and somebody to boss over, rather than as their offspring. I also believe this attitude arises from a fervent belief in CONservatism.
In most parts of the world parents who demanded rent or utility money from their young adult kids living with them would be considered insane. So would those who let their own kids indenture themselves to banks when they could readily afford to pay for their education or giving them a good start in life. In most part of the world, babysitting your grand-kids is considered a fundamental part of being a grandparent. I could, once again, give you more examples- but that the focus of this article.
Now there are morons who might say- “but will that translate into our kids caring for us when we grow old?” The answer is, by and large, YES! Sure, you can always find examples of children who will not reciprocate but the majority of kids in most societies (and throughout human history) do care for their older parents to a level that might astound those in western countries.
I believe that problems arising from adult children ditching their parents, or measuring all interactions with them in terms of money, in white (north-european) countries are really about payback.
CONservatives try to disguise their reprehensible world view with terms such as responsibility, independence, discipline, manners, hard work etc- but they are fooling nobody but themselves. It is plain to any outside observer that the relationship between parents and their own kids in white (north-european) countries is based on ego, exploitation, status, abuse and is more similar to the one between a master and slave, employer and employee or indentured laborer.
It worked for so long (150 odd years) because there was potential for growth, expansion and increased isolation in the real world. However the ponzi scheme has run out of an increasing supply of naive fools and the pyramid is starting to crumble onto itself.
what do you think? Comments?
As some of you might have read, a recent claim by an as yet inadequately identified ‘source’ about the recent supra-luminal neutrino experiment is getting a lot of publicity. The source claims that the observed 60ns edge of neutrinos over the photon based value of ‘c’ was due to a loose fibre-optic cable in one part of the apparatus. Lots of morons and scientists are prematurely rejoicing that this ‘source’ has somehow debunked the supra-luminal neutrino experiment. However I know a few things about the pathetic and petty nature of academics and will therefore make a prediction.
The ‘loose’ cable idea is a PR stunt by some scientists to win some recognition.
Here are my reasons-
1. Let us start by assuming that a ‘loose’ fibre-optic cable is indeed the cause of the observed anomaly. But if that were so- the observed anomaly would change substantially over time from factors such as changes in intra-day room temperatures, simple mechanical displacement from handling the affected instrument or nearby ones.
However nothing of that sort can be seen in the original data. The observed anomaly was notable for being consistent over a period exceeding a year! I would find it very odd for a fortuitously loose cable to remain so unperturbed for over a year.
2. This is not the first time some pathetic loser (academic) has tried to raise objections to the data. First it was relativity and GPS satellites, then it was inadequate statistical analysis, then it was inconsistent with existent ideas about supra-luminal particles.
At some stage, a skeptical person has to wonder why many so-called scientists are so dogged in their defense of their theories. Shouldn’t theories be based on reality, rather than vice versa?
3. This is NOT the first time somebody suggested that neutrinos have supra-luminal velocities. This particular experiment was infact conducted to check similar results from a less accurate setup. Furthermore Einstein’s theories are rather sparse when it comes to the behavior of tachyons and certainly does not prohibit particles that were ‘born’ as tachyons.
Let us face it- we have no clue if neutrinos have any mass. Our current theory about neutrino having mass is based upon their ability to change from one form to another. Nobody has measured the mass of a neutrino by either direct or indirect methods, unlike similar measurements for many other subatomic particles.
That is all I have to say for now. What do you think?
As a rule, I write about something only after giving alternate viewpoints some consideration. In the case of physical objects and devices, this includes hands on experience with the product. Consider this post about my thoughts on the likely future of PS Vita in that light.
First the good news.. The overall design, build quality, usability, screen resolution, CPU and GPU power is top-notch. You really cannot complain much about the hardware part apart from some wishful thinking about better CPUs (it is already a quad-core ARM9), the “quasi-HD 220 dpi display” (it is HD for all practical purposes) or the battery life (quite decent for something that does so much). I also have no issues with its cost or size, which are inline with its function and form. Furthermore comparing a dedicated gaming device which has real physical controls with the iPhone 4 or 4s is an exercise in stupidity.
My issues with this device are about its uncertain future as a mobile gaming platform- specifically its role in the device ecosystem. When the original PSP came out in 2005, smartphones were rather primitive and seldom used for serious or even casual gaming. YouTube and other “tubes” for media streaming were just being developed. FaceBook, Twitter and a lot of social media sites either did not exist at all or were just being developed. To put it another way- the PSP was the only game in town as far as high quality handheld gaming was concerned. Sure, you could your Nintendo handheld something, but it was pretty much restricted to sidescroller action games, go-kart simulators and puzzles.
Fast-forward to today and you will realize that much has changed. People use handhelds in a fundamentally different way than they did even 4 years ago and that in my opinion is the first problem for something like PS Vita. Handhelds (mostly smartphones) are now seen primarily as a portal into the virtual world. While there always will be serious gamers, the vast majority of users see games as one of the many uses of handhelds. It is no wonder that short episode length and casual games such as Angry Birds or similar physics based games sell so well. Then there is the issue of gameplay interruption for checking FaceBook updates, Twitter feeds, texts and forwarded viral YouTube videos- you get the picture.
While the PS Vita is an excellent piece of hardware, the software (games and applications) that I have seen to date are based on outdated ideas about how people play on portable gaming systems. Most of the publicized game titles are versions of PS2/PS3/PSP classics or heavily inspired by them. Now that decision by itself is not wrong, but how many people would want to play for a solid 30 minutes on a mobile gaming system? While Sony could bridge that gap by getting more independent developers to develop mobile-friendly games, their previous record in this area and attitudes towards small independent developers has been rather “asian”.
This “asian” attitude spills into their applications too. Everything from their Web browser, FaceBook client etc look, feel and behave somewhat differently from iOS and Android versions of the same. While the quality of their applications is quite good, it is unlikely that most of their users would be interested in learning another new way to do the fricking obvious. In my opinion, they should have just used virtualized android versions of popular applications or built them to look and behave exactly like them. But it seems they have allowed “asian” pride, obstinance and control freakery to overrule expedience.
Then there is the issue of half-hearted support for things like PDF files, Flash videos, Video Conferencing etc. Surely there are ways to make the most common and medium CPU intensity things like Flash Videos work smoothly on a quad-core ARM9 CPU+ GPU combination! And what is this fetish with proprietary storage formats? Just stick with a format that is common, inexpensive and functional.
In conclusion, the PS Vita is a very well-built and powerful handheld device which has been crippled by the “asian” corporate culture of Sony. They seem to forget that the world has changed since their glory days in the 80s and 90s. The PS Vita is a microcosm of Japanese society and its inability to accept or interact with a world which has grown past their “accepted” mental models.
What do you think? Comments?
As the longest running American sitcom “The Simpsons” has its collection of fans and detractors. While there are those who believe that it is ‘not as fresh as it used to be’ there is little doubt that the show still has more than enough viewers and relevancy to remain afloat. But what makes this show relevant and engaging- after almost 23 years and 500 episodes?
Make a guess..
It, more than any other show on network TV, explores the deep and increasing social cynicism prevalent in developed countries.
Network TV shows were, and still largely are, designed around validating and celebrating the status quo. In such shows- government agencies are always peopled by smart and competent people (Law and Orders, CSIs, X-Files), families always have textbook-style dysfunctions (every single sitcom), unusually attractive professionals (ER, Alley McBeal, Boston Legal to House) or are full of witty 20-30 somethings with lovable dysfunctions living in coastal cities (Seinfeld, Friends to Big Bang Theory). Occasionally you have semi-realistic but overtly sanctimonious crap such as ‘my so-called life’ to ‘the wire’.
The Simpsons differed, and still does so, from every other mainstream sitcom in three fundamental ways.
1. It lacks people who can be easily pigeonholed. While Homer is the official buffoon, he has far more redeeming characteristics than your average TV dad. Lisa for all her goody two-shoes act is often shown as an elitist, mean and competitive bitch. You almost feel sorry for characters such as Smithers, Moe and Skinner. Even somebody like Mr. Burns has his moments of redemption. The show is therefore far closer to reality in that its characters are not too rigidly typecast.
2. It mercilessly exposes the dark sides of every occupation and institution it examines. It is equally cynical about so-called ‘respectable’ occupations such as teachers, scientists, doctors, pastors to the more questionable ones such as lawyers and CEOs. In a similar vein, it is very critical of institution ranging from schools, universities, churches, police to corporations and elected government officials.
3. The characters in that show feel human and worthy of empathy. When is the last time you felt a connection to the outrageous and over the top characters and antics see in shows such as South Park, Robot Chicken, Family Guy etc? I cannot resist pointing out the irony that the most show with the most ‘human’ characters on network TV today is the one with live human characters.
In my opinion, it is the mixture of these three attributes that has given “The Simpsons” its longevity and popularity. It is probably the most accurate documentation of what living in the USA has been like for the last 25 odd years.
What do you think? Comments?
Each nation and society has issues which are so emotive that no sane politician wants to touch them, even if doing so could give them a short-term boost amongst their supporters. These issues are popularly referred to as ‘third rail‘ issues. In the American system, ideas such as withdrawal of social security or medicare benefits and strict gun control are considered third rail issues. Even politicians who are supposedly opposed to these ideas will not dare say or do anything beyond the bare minimum for fear of career-ending repercussions in future elections.
However the increasing coarsening of political environment and dependence on extremist constituencies for winning party nominations have made many republican/right-wingers test ‘third rail’ issues. One of the overlooked third rail issues concerns access to contraception, abortion and other feminine health related issues.
For a long time, most republicans nor democrats did not push their views any further than the uneasy consensus they arrived after ‘Roe vs Wade‘. The conditions at the beginning of the G.W.Bush presidency emboldened some conservatives to push for severe restrictions to abortion in some states. Their initial, and often partial success, made them even more vocal to the point that banning contraception is now an acceptable issue in the republican presidential circus.. I mean primary.
However doing so has likely caused them to touch one of the third rail of american politics- Access to contraception for women. You might wonder why access to contraception is so different from restricting abortions- something the CONservatives had some success with in the retarded states. Let me explain..
What percentage of women ever had an medically induced abortion? The likely answer is 5-20 % depending on the population you poll. Now ask yourself- what percentage of women have used any form of contraception? The likely answer is- close to 100 %.
The extremely widespread use of contraception by women crosses lines of race, income and social class. The mere mention of this issue at republican presidential comedy shows.. I mean debates, by idiots like Santorum, has unleashed something that will doom them in 2012 and haunt them for years afterwards.
How many women will vote for a guy who wants to criminalize contraception- yes criminalize, because that is exactly how democrats will paint it in 2012. How many will vote against him or someone like him?
Some of you might say- “but Romney or Gingrich is not that CONservative, nor is Ron Paul”. While that is technically correct, you are ignoring two issues.
1. Romney feels a bit too deceptive to most, Gingrich has issues in his past and Ron Paul is unlikely to be nominated. Therefore every additional serious negative hit against any of these three will have a far larger impact as far as their general electoral prospects are concerned.
2. Nominating any of these three along with a more CONservative VP candidate will bring out women voters out of the woodwork. Even women who never vote consistently or vote republican will likely vote democrat or not vote republican. Furthermore discriminating against white women at the electoral booth might prove much more problematic than doing the same to black men.
To make a long story short- republicans have gifted democrats a rather potent issue to savage them with at election time. In a normal world, a candidate in Obama’s position would have no chance of winning reelection. However republicans seem to be determined to make sure that he gets a second term.
What do you think? Comments?
While spying and surveillance have traditionally been important tools for terrorizing and subjugating populations, I believe that recent technological developments (ubiquity and negligible cost of communication) may have made them worse than useless. On the other hand, there are those who believe that technology has made spying and surveillance easier. As I will try to show in the rest of this post- both views are true, but not for the reasons you might imagine. So let us begin by looking at how those who believe that technology facilitates spying and surveillance are correct.
I will be the first to admit that services such google, facebook, twitter, email, IMs, texting does make spying and surveillance much easier. There is however an often ignored cost for this ease of data collection and classification. The sheer volume and multiplicity of data requires extensive and automated computerized analysis leading to a problem that I had discussed in a previous post on a related topic- a high percentage of false positives if you tighten the criteria for flagging and a high percentage of false negatives if you loosen them. Both result in an exponential increase in the cost, effort and disruptions caused by implementing such systems- albeit via different pathways. Couple this with the tendency of bureaucracies to expand and consume more resources and you quickly end up in a scenario where the society spends most of its time spying and monitoring itself- with disastrous effects of productivity, morale and the social contract.
There is however another way for technological advances in communication to negate traditional ideas about spying on and monitoring people. To understand how it works, one has to start by looking at what people typically communicate about.
The vast majority of inter-personal communication isn’t about seditious ideas or actions. It is about everyday “stuff”.. what is happening in their lives, what they ate that day, what they are read or heard about, how their jobs are working out, how other people are behaving etc. Paradoxically, it is the discussion of these everyday topics (gossip) which poses the greatest threat to any hierarchy. People learn a lot about what is happening around them and elsewhere through these casual and often oblique titbits of information. A substantial part of their world view comes either directly from such casual information or its extrapolation into their lives. The most frequent source of exposure to new ideas and concepts is also via gossip.
Cynicism about the world and loss of faith in the ability or power of institutions occurs via steady and constant exposure to common gossip. However it is hard to stop gossip because most human communication IS gossip. Furthermore, gossip almost never corrodes belief in the system via a single large hit. It does so through an incessant shower of small facts and titbits from different and often unrelated sources.
Therefore efforts to spy on and monitor populations in our highly connected era to preserve the status quo are, at best, a waste of time and resources. They do however enrich a few and give others a false sense of security.
What do you think? Comments?
I found this gem on the intertubes.
The following are 20 signs you might be a typical American worker….
1. If you are working three jobs and you still don’t have enough money at the end of the month, you might be a typical American worker.
2. If your job involves asking the question “Would you like fries with that?”, you might be a typical American worker.
3. If you shop at the dollar store because Wal-Mart is too expensive, you might be a typical American worker.
4. If your job requires you to wear a smock, a brightly colored polo shirt or lots of “flair”, you might be a typical American worker.
5. If people are constantly asking you where the restroom is while you are at work, you might be a typical American worker.
6. If your employer hires extra part-time workers in order to avoid giving anyone full-time hours, you might be a typical American worker.
7. If you are required to watch a mindless “training video” after being hired, you might be a typical American worker.
8. If the company you work for is owned by someone on the other side of the world, you might be a typical American worker.
9. If a trained seal could do your job and you feel like your expensive education is going to waste, you might be at typical American worker.
10. If you don’t have any health insurance at all, you might be a typical American worker. Only about 25 percent of all part-time workers in the United States receive employee benefits such as health insurance or paid sick leave.
11. If your car is older than your kids are, you might be a typical American worker.
12. If you can’t afford to buy the things that you are selling to the public, you might be a typical American worker.
13. If the balances on your credit cards are larger than your bank accounts are, you might be a typical American worker.
14. If going to Burger King is your idea of “fine dining”, then you might be a typical American worker.
15. If it costs more to fill up your car with gas than you will make at your job today, you might be a typical American worker. The price of gasoline has increased by 83 percent since Barack Obama first took office, and the average cost of a gallon of gas in the United States is now up to $3.52.
16. If you eat your cereal with a fork so that you can save milk, you might be a typical American worker.
17. If your electricity bill keeps going up but your paycheck never does, you might be a typical American worker.
18. If it feels like you are losing an organ every time you pay for health insurance each month, you might be a typical American worker.
19. If you feel like your employer is constantly tempted to replace you with someone younger and cheaper, then you might be a typical American worker.
20. If you are so poor that you cannot even afford to pay attention, you might be a typical American worker.
What do you think? Comments?
These links are NSFW.
Tit Jobs: Feb 18, 2012- Chubby girls can do a few things better.
Sixty-Nine Me: Feb 12, 2012- The right angle for a deep BJ.
Self-Shots Without Mirrors: Feb 11, 2012- Getting attention without mirrors.
All functional social groupings, especially those made up of deliberative individuals, require a set of unwritten but important preconditions. One of them is that individuals need to feel “wanted” by the group to continue playing nice with other individuals.
A large part of human thought, culture, behavior and rituals is driven by the often unconscious understanding that people will stop co-operating if they are made to feel “unwanted”. As a corollary, most people do not expect those who are made to feel “unwanted” to continue playing nice or fair. Indeed, it is fair to say that the percentage of individuals that feel “unwanted” is very strongly linked to the level of dysfunction in any given society.
Being “wanted” in human societies is not as simple as sniffing each others secretions and accepting group membership- as is the case for insects or most animals. It is a far more complicated and dynamic process with many opportunities for failure and widespread disaster.
For most of human history, a series of social, economic and logistical considerations kept most people from feeling “unwanted”. Most people were pretty poor with few material possessions and therefore depended on interpersonal relationship for survival. Under such conditions making any more than a few people in your group feel “unwanted” was a recipe for personal disaster. Moreover changing fortunes and the vagaries of illness, disability and death made it rather foolish to create unnecessary adversaries.
However the rising standard of living and increasingly impersonal nature of living under the current socio-economic setup has fundamentally changed the need to behave humanely to people around you. Today it is possible to treat people around you like crap without suffering any real consequences. All you require is a bit more power in one particular situation than the person you are abusing.
This new found ability to abandon millennia of basic social protocols does however carry a nasty long-term consequence- a fatal weakening of the very structure that allows civilization to function.
As I have previously said, most people will play nice with others as long as they are made to feel “wanted”. However feeling “wanted” is not an end in itself. As far as human beings are concerned it is the precursor to benefiting from group membership. You can scam people into feeling “wanted” only to later screw them over so many times before they become too cynical.
Social atomization, by its very ability to isolate people from the consequences of their actions, encourages people to scam others by making them feel “wanted”. However it simultaneously it much harder for the disillusioned individuals to get support after being scammed. To make a long story short- it pumps put an ever-increasing number of cynics. But that is only half the story.
The considerable worldwide decline in birthrates has also cut the number of naive replacements who could be indoctrinated, abused and exploited. Therefore we have a self-accelerating increase in the real number (and percentage) of cynical individuals in societies as well as a concurrent decrease in the number of naive individuals who could replace the hardened cynics.
Today most people under a certain age are fairly cynical individuals whose life experience has shown them that they are “unwanted” by others and pretty much alone.
Somehow all of our sociolo-economic institutions, rules, laws and models are still based on the assumption that these people are naive individuals who can be exploited because they supposedly like to be “wanted” by people around them. But if that were the case why would so many prefer laptops, gaming consoles, smartphones, books and Netflix to interaction with people around them?
Could it be that, deep down, they know they are “unwanted” by others around them?
The next question is- Can a society made of individuals who know they are “unwanted” by people around them withstand even a moderate crisis or disruption of the rather delicate status quo? Would you cooperate with others if you knew that you are “unwanted” and would not benefit from your sacrifice for the group? Face it- nobody want to be the sucker who took one for the team and was ridiculed for their naivety.
What do you think? Comments?